The name DitchWitch Brigade was inspired by a equipment company that produces vibratory plows, piercing tools, pipe bursters, stump grinders and the like that are used in the City of Toronto public parks and streets. We took this name because we like to dig a little deeper into our material and push it to new limits. We believe in the magic of live theatre as a unique form of cultural communication and entertainment while playing with multimedia applications on theatrical terms.
Besides, as our resident musician/performer Art Babayants quips, it has great rhyming potential: “DitchWitch is a kitsch bitch company”.
The DitchWitch Brigade was formed in June 2008 by alumni, current senior students, faculty of UC Drama Program, and the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama, as well as other independent artists to play with an aspect of Parkdale’s local history through the development of a performance project called Miss Toronto Gets A Life_in Parkdale. We started with an old painted outdoor mural on the wall of the Rhino Bar & Grill on Queen Street West. As a result of our interest we became artists-in-residence at the Rhino. We have been developing ideas around that painted image into a 90-minute show which plays with diverse formats of storytelling – expanding the notion of live theatre into mediated show formats like silent movie, slide-show, and video stalking. We expanded our interest beyond live performance because our perception of beauty, gender, and self is increasingly constructed and deconstructed by our interactions with technologically mediated forms of communication which created a history of storytelling in itself; disturbingly crossing, more and more, the line between the public and the private. Everyone can become a YouTube star in the privacy of their own, or somebody else’s dressing room.