Founded in 2001 by Jacob Zimmer in Halifax and now based in Toronto, Small Wooden Shoe Planning and Performance is an independent arts creation, education and research company and a registered charity.
Named after the tools French workers would use to jam the machinery when on strike. Their “sabot” – small wooden shoes – gave English the word “sabotage.” (although maybe not, actually)
Like them, we disrupt "business as usual" in hopes for a better world.
Over 15 years of making and producing new work, Small Wooden Shoe consistently delights and challenges through great nights out and an insistence that good ideas are entertaining. We’ve done what we’ve done by playing well with other humans - including curious strangers, artists, creation companies, venues and presenters across disciplines and fields.
We brought 35 of Toronto's most respected theatre artists together for one night at Convocation Hall to read Life of Galileo for Tracy Wright. Antigone Dead People recently travelled to Japan, overlaying the voices of Maev Beaty, Philip Shepard, Sky Gilbert, Frank Cox-O'Connell, Liz Peterson, Antonio Cayonne and Lindsey Clarke onto a unique international collaboration. We convened and hosted Unconference events that have brought together artists from across disciplines and created the space for previously unheard of conversations including CEO's of Arts Councils and outsider artists.
The intimate conversations of Perhaps in a Hundred Years, created with Ame Henderson, Chad Dembski and Kilby Smith-McGregor spread like a rumour and lead to Dedicated to the Revolutions, a show about scientific revolutions and the nature of progress that we developed at Buddies in Bad Times, the Toronto Fringe Festival, Harbourfront Centre and then toured across the country, partnering with the High Performance Rodeo, Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Canoe Festival and more.
We also convene Christmas concerts, on-line think tanks, public meetings; taught workshops, given keynote lectures and work on publications, all of which we consider to be part of the same larger project that is Small Wooden Shoe.
There are a remarkable number of continued collaborations that have emerged from Small Wooden Shoe projects and the impact of our approaches to theatre have helped influence artists like Jordan Tannahill, Erin Shields, Erin Brubacher, Christine Brubaker, Brendan Gall, Georgina Beaty, Ame Henderson, Brendan Healy, Michael Trent, Evan Webber, Frank Cox-O'Connell and more – many of whom continue to create great work, win awards and contribute to the future of performance in Canada. We are most grateful for this shimmering constellation of people we’ve been able to meet.
"not a conventional theatrical narrative. It is a wonderful insight into this group of artists’ struggle with the issues that concern us all: why we are here, where we are going, why we do what we do, how we relate to each other, and what the hell is wrong with the world?" - Dorianne Emmerton Mooney on Theatre
More of what the press says
The Fun Palace Radio Variety Show (Burdock Tavern, Rhubarb Festival, Monarch Tavern); The Summer Spectacular (outdoor, Toronto Fringe Festival); 3penny Christmas Concert (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Monarch Tavern 2009-); Antigone Dead People (2012, 2014); Difficult Plays and Simple Songs (independent, Koerner Hall. 2012); Sedition – or Kindness Makes Me Cry Like Nothing Else(Summerworks 2012); Perhaps In A Hundred Years (Hub 14, Summerworks 2011, independent 2005); Upper Toronto (Rhubarb Festival, Toronto Fringe, Polaris 25, Toronto Public Libraries 2011); Life of Galileo (for Tracy Wright) by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Birgit Schreyer Duarte with Jacob Zimmer (Convocation Hall, 2010); Dedicated to the Revolutions (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2009); It’s a Matter of Scale (Rhubarb Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2008); I Keep Dropping Sh*t (Toronto Fringe Festival, 2007); Reasonable People, Reasonably Disagreeing (HATCH, Harbourfront Centre, 2007); Connect the Dots(Audience Relocation Series, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2007); Do You Have Any Idea How Fast You Were Going? (Rhubarb Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2006)
Antigone Dead People: Sound Live Tokyo (Tokyo); Dedicated to the Revolutions: Canoe Festival (Edmonton), High Performance Rodeo (Calgary), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Kitchener-Waterloo), Super Nova Theatre Festival (Halifax); Perhaps in a Hundred Years: 2012: OFFTA (Montreal) 2005: Cafe Esperanza (Montreal), Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax) and Third Space Gallery (Saint John); No Secrets: SoloCentric Festival (Calgary), Festival Five (St. John’s); Hold On Tightly: SoloCentric Festival (Calgary)
Unconference on the Future(s) of Toronto Performance (Lead Partner. 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013); Workshops: (Mostly) Viewpoints; Contexts in Contemporary Theatre; Acting for Professionals who aren’t actors; Company in Residence Theatre Passe Muraille (2007-09); Performance Creation Canada Toronto (2009 Partner with Dancemakers, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Harbourfront Centre); Public Works – workshops and classes (2008 Partner with Hub 14); Not Quite, a Think Tank – online forum (2004-2007 archive online); Fragile Positions – panel discussion series (2004)