Dawson is presenting the Canadian premiere of Leopoldstadt

Sir Tom Stoppard’s play Leopoldstadt will have its Canadian premiere at the Dawson College Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Directed by Matt Holland, the play features the 2024 graduating class of Dawson’s Professional Theatre program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students because Sir Tom Stoppard is a renowned, award-winning British playwright with a 60-year career in theatre,” said Professional Theatre faculty member Leah Esau.  “He is best known for his screenplay Shakespeare in Love (1998), as well as his plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Travesties.”

Due to the pandemic closure of theatres in Toronto in 2020, the performance at Dawson College is the Canadian premiere of Leopoldstadt, which ended its Broadway performance in July 2023.

Director Matt Holland said: “it is a boon to the Professional Theatre program to be producing a current, critically acclaimed play; it elevates the game a little bit, for the actors and the crew.”

“I think it’s a really beautiful gift and opportunity,” said Charlotte Bourges, who is playing Hanna. “As a performer, I feel honoured to be part of the Canadian premiere of such a moving and human play.” Fellow cast member Giovanni Caster, who plays Zac, is also excited. It gives him greater motivation “to deliver the best performance I possibly can.”

Set in Vienna at the turn of the century, Leopoldstadt follows the story of a Jewish family over the course of 50 years: through love affairs, World War I, the annexation of Austria by Germany, and the aftermath of the Holocaust. This touching, “deeply-impactful” drama, is the winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, and the 2022 Tony Award for Best New Play.

Bianca Beldie, who plays Wilma, is excited “to dive deeper into the history of the Jewish people.” Chloe Lebel, who plays Nellie, says “the fully fleshed out characters will make you cry, laugh and reflect. It’s an immensely important story that begs to be heard and felt.”

“Come with an open heart and mind,” says Estefani Hernandez, who plays Gretl. Diego Nasser (Hermann) promises the audience “a roller coast of emotions and characters full of humanity.”

“It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s a family story,” said Frida Flores, who plays both Jana and Mimi. “Families have history: they have fights, they have losses, they have good moments, and each member just wants to be a full part of it. It starts off as something and the audience will quickly learn that it’s not what they think. These families are just trying their best to live normal lives, despite the wars.”

Cast member Chaz Heritage, who plays Mohel, says that the audience will also laugh: “There’s quite a bit of comedic moments throughout,” he said.

Matt says that the Dawson audience “can look forward to a large cast playing an extended family, which includes children and the elderly, so it’s a terrific challenge for the actors.”

“The play is also historically and culturally relevant as it chronicles the plight of a group of Jewish people during the first half of the 20th century. And it features the words of playwright Tom Stoppard, a celebrated master storyteller, who, in Leopoldstadt, tells a personal tale inspired by his own past experiences.”

Polina Kyrylenko, who is playing Rosa, called the play “very poignant and thought provoking.” She says it “raises questions not only about the events that had happened in the past, but also about the things that sadly have a tendency of happening cyclically in history.”

“We are fortunate to be working with such rich, poignant material, full of beauty, pathos and humour, and hope to do justice to the play while working hard and having fun,” Matt said. “Please come see it.”

Founded in 1973, Dawson’s Professional Theatre program is a three-year training program for acting for theatre and film.


Free previews of Leopoldstadt will be Feb. 5 and 6 at 7:30 PM. Opening night:  Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 PM. Other shows: also at 7:30 PM, will take place Feb. 8-9-10 and Feb. 15-16-17. Matinée shows: at 12:30 PM on Feb. 7, Feb. 9 and Feb. 15. To reserve for a large group, please email lesau@dawsoncollege.qc.ca

Online Box Office (ticket sales): https://thepointofsale.com/tickets/leopoldstadt

The Dawson Theatre is located at 2000 Atwater Avenue. The only access to the theatre is through the separate outdoor entrance on Atwater Avenue.

Last Modified: January 26, 2024