DJ Me Time’s latest event is much more than a dance party. 

The beloved Toronto DJ has crafted a show that blends dance and immersive theatre, telling the story of a futuristic wellness startup with a founder led astray (think Elizabeth Holmes, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop). 

For the past 8 years, DJ Me Time, also known as Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, has established her place in Toronto’s underground scene— launching the hugely popular monthly dance parties EveryBody and Bass Witch, and debuting at Tomorrowland Belgium, Hyperborea and Harvest Festival. 

She’s taken pride in championing safe spaces —celebrating sobriety and moderation, promoting diverse, underrepresented artists and holding intentional space for all bodies to move freely.

But before falling in love with dance and electronic music, she was known as a performer, starring as Liberty on Degrassi: The Next Generation for 166 episodes, and as Nala in the original Toronto production of The Lion King. 

With R.A.V.E., she returns to the stage for the first time in almost a decade, partnering with immersive theatre company Outside the March to bring the part dance party, part theatrical experience, part self-help parody to life for a limited run of performances at Downsview Airport Lands, as part of Luminato Festival Toronto.

Tickets for the show are already selling fast, and Me Time has been hard at work in rehearsals. We caught up with her ahead of the run to learn more about this one-of-a-kind show!

How are you feeling about returning to the stage after almost a decade?

In a way it feels new and in a way, it feels like I never left.  DJing has been my career for the past 8 years, and though it’s a different kind of stage, it has provided me a platform to share energy through performance. I didn’t miss learning lines though!

What can you tease about the show and the story you’re telling? We’re intrigued by the idea of a futuristic wellness startup…

R.A.V.E. tells the story of a visionary DJ who wants to change the world through the power of dance. She founds a wellness startup, but her good intentions get clouded by power and ambition and she is forced to face the music.

I wanted to explore how wellness, counterculture and community has been co-opted by consumer capitalism, becoming toxic when scaled for maximum profit. Think Gwyneth Paltrow/Goop, Tony Robbins, Oprah, even cult leaders like Osho — their missions aren’t necessarily flawed, but when you try to profit off people’s wellbeing (or lack thereof), their execution can become problematic and extractive. 

R.A.V.E. is an immersive experience and a mashup of dance, theatre, rave culture. What do you feel is special about bringing these different art styles together?

I’m interested in how to bring the power of narrative into the authentic world-building I have experienced on the dancefloor — deepening meaning by holding up a mirror to our world. To me, they all exist in parallel and it has been an incredible, and at times challenging, journey to try to knit them together.

This show is truly interdisciplinary from the process to the final product. What does it mean to hold audience attention, while encouraging them to dance? What does a script look like for a rave experience? What is the balance of text to music? How can we create a nurturing environment for self-exploration and play?

What do you believe is the power of dance music in inspiring social change?

Dance music came out of marginalized communities dreaming of a better world, where dance is resistance. It is a shared somatic ritual that allows us to connect with ourselves and each other.

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions that dancefloors are just hedonistic parties — but ask any raver and they have had a deeply transformative experience on the dancefloor. Most social movements involve music and dancing together — it’s because we can simulate a kind of utopia, where we can dream new worlds into existence.

How do you feel when you look out on a crowd enjoying your performance? What do you notice?

DJing is an energy exchange. I am always moving and being moved by the dancefloor. I notice moments of ‘me time’ — when people can feel safe enough to close their eyes and explore their inner world. I also notice moments of unspoken connection and play. These are ephemeral moments that are beautiful and fleeting, and often only happen on the dancefloor.

How would you sum up the vibe people can expect at the show?

It’s fun and engaging with a few surprising twists and turns. You’re in good hands, so come with an open mind and we’ll take it from there. Dancing encouraged (whatever that means to you), but no rave experience required!

R.A.V.E. runs from June 9-16. Tickets are available here.