See art in a new way, do theatre differently! Known for their groundbreaking and innovative productions (Wild Party, Grey Gardens), Acting Up Stage Company has partnered with AGO to present ReFramed: a whole new way for culture vultures to experience theatre in a gallery setting.

Acting Up Stage asked prominent Toronto playwrights to each write a short piece of musical theatre inspired by a painting that spoke to them. The result is three 20-minute art-inspired musicals (a seventy-five-minute show in total) performed inside the gallery space, accompanied by a cellist, pianist, and flute or clarinet. Beautiful.

Artistic Director Mitchell Marcus toured through the AGO about a year ago and spent a great deal of time figuring out which space within the gallery would work. “Something highly abstract with shapes and colours isn’t as good as something that has a person in it,” says Marcus, who ended up deciding on the Richard Barry Fudger Memorial Gallery. Because of its lighting and variety of paintings, Marcus believes this “Paris-salon style” offers the right space for actors, musicians, and guests alike.

In an effort to draw new and younger audiences, arts organizations everywhere are forced to think differently. “There is a lot of movement towards non-traditional space and immersive experiences, and that’s just indicative of where we are. Everything in our lives is interactive,” says Marcus. “I think these interdisciplinary collaborations offer a great opportunity for people who are arts lovers, or maybe people who wouldn’t necessarily go to a traditional art event but are curious people who want a different type of event to check out.”

Are you curious? You better act fast. There are only a few tickets left! If you don’t snag one now, you might be able to ‘bump’ into a show: “Our shows are at different times. In some cases, we are opening up the gallery after hours, in which case, guests would need a ticket,” says Marcus. But there will also be shows performed when the AGO is open to the public. “I hope we’ll create some interesting curiosities of people having an accidental encounter walking through the gallery and stumbling into a cello: ‘What’s going on here?’”

What is going on here is very, very cool. Stumble backwards into a cello playing music inspired by Marchesa Casati? Hell yeah.

ReFramed runs at the AGO from April 12 to April 17. More info here.