“Theaturtle was established in 1999 to create essential, ecstatic theatre that touches the earth and ignites the soul. Its name is derived from stories told in both Indigenous and Jewish traditions that the world sits on the back of a turtle. We develop work slowly and carefully, plodding like a turtle. Then we glide into national and international waters to share our Canadian-made, physically and musically robust theatre.”
Theaturtle began in 1999 when Adam Nashman’s The Song, featuring Alon Nashman and Deborah Hay, was hailed as “…a tribute to the possibilities of the human body and human imagination” (National Post). In 2000 at the Toronto Fringe and later with Theatre Direct, Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse was called “A One-Man Wonder” (Toronto Star) and “A Runaway Theatrical Success” (Globe and Mail). Alphonse has toured to the Edinburgh Fringe and South Africa’s National Arts Festival and most recently to parks in Ontario featuring Gabe Maharjan or Kaleb Alexander. In 2005, Alon Nashman and Mark Cassidy of Threshold Theatre developed Kafka and Son, based on a letter Franz Kafka wrote to his father. The play toured with acclaim across Canada in 2007, winning Best In Fest at many Fringe Festivals. Kafka and Son has travelled internationally to the National Theatre of Iceland, thrice to the Edinburgh Fringe and throughout Europe, garnering awards for Outstanding Performance at the Prague Fringe and Germany’s Thespis Festival. In 2017 Kafka and Son was showcased at New York’s Soho Playhouse. In 2006, The Snow Queen, scored by Canadian composer Patrick Cardy for string quartet and storyteller, was realized as a theatre/music/video production at The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The Snow Queen has toured to theatre and music venues across Canada and was nominated for Dora Awards for Outstanding Production and Performance. In 2009, Alon directed a workshop production of Noah’s Great Rainbow by Sam Chaiton featuring music by Mighty Popo, Waleed Abdulhamid and David Buchbinder, which investigates the shared experience of survivors of the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. Theaturtle tours the celebrated 2012 Stratford Festival production of Hirsch, created by Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson, about legendary Canadian director John Hirsch, which was praised by the New York Times and Dame Maggie Smith. Hirsch was presented by the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Uno Festival, in Edinburgh, and at festivals in Makhanda and Johannesburg. Recent projects include Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music, an international collaboration based on the remarkable life and artwork of Charlotte Salomon, which premiered in 2017 at Toronto’s Luminato Festival and travelled to festivals in Taipei City, Tel Aviv, Kyiv, and to the Czech National Opera.
Awards & Nominations
Alon Nashman is a performer, director, creator, and producer of theatre. Selected credits include: Scorched* (Dora Nomination: Performance), Remnants* (Tarragon Theatre), Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well, Botticelli in the Fire/Sunday in Sodom*, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Dora Nomination: Performance), THIS (Toronto Theatre Critics Award, Dora Nomination: Performance) (Canadian Stage), Hedda Gabler (Volcano / Buddies in Bad Times), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot* (Birdland Theatre), If Jesus Met Nanabush (De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre), The Barber of Seville (Persephone Theatre), Easy Lenny Lazmon and the Great Western Ascension* (Go Chicken Go), Reading Hebron, A Short History of Night (Factory Theatre), HIRSCH, and Birds of a Kind (Stratford Festival). Alon was Narrator/Storyteller in Tales of Two Cities with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Under the banner of Theaturtle, Alon has been involved with the creation, production and touring of numerous theatre pieces including Adam Nashman’s The Song, Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse (Dora and Brickenden Awards); Kafka and Son, developed with Mark Cassidy of Threshold Theatre, The Snow Queen (Dora Nominations for Production and Performance), HIRSCH created with Paul Thompson for Stratford Festival of Canada, and Charlotte: A Tri-coloured Play with Music, developed with UK-based scenographer/director Pamela Howard and Czech composer Aleš Březina. (*Dora Award: Production)
Staff & Team
Michelle Kwan | Assistant Producer
Michelle is a Cantonese-Canadian Stage Manager and Theatre Producer based in Toronto. She recently joined the Theaturtle team as an Assistant Producer and is also Co-Producers for My Korean Canadian Friend (Lunar Way Studio in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival). She is currently a “Room Master” for the immersive show “Illusionarium” in its world premiere season in Toronto. Her previous work includes Stage Manager for Alphonse in the park (2020) directed by Alon Nashman; Stage Manager for Elizabeth Rex directed by ted witzel, and Head Cutter for Rochdale directed by Nina Lee Aquino. Michelle was a Wardrobe Assistant for Romeo and Juliet as well as Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Stage at Shakespeare in High Park). Michelle is a proud graduate of Theatre at York University, specializing in production, set and costume design.
Board of Directors
Mark S. Anshan | board of directors
Mark is a lawyer and a former Canadian diplomat, serving on several non-profit boards. He provides legal, business, strategic and organisational advice to not-for-profits and charities. Mark is a Canadian lawyer, called to the Ontario bar in 1984. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he served in the Canadian Foreign Service at the United Nations and the Canadian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. As a lawyer and executive, Mark has been involved in the management and reorganisation of several companies and not-for-profit organisations, having served as a senior executive and chair and board member. He has extensive experience in management, strategic planning, governance and organising businesses. He serves on several boards in the Canadian Jewish Community as well as boards in the General community. Mark is a past President of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, and past Chair of ARZA Canada and ARZENU.