TLT's Artistic Director
''Je ne veux pas exagérer mais M Babayants est un certain génie en théâtre'' . Frédérique Cyr Michaud, Radio Canada
For full academic CV, click here La version française est au dessous
Samples of Stage Work
Miss Toronto Acts Back' dir. Antje Budde (trailer)
Godspell (trailer, MESS Studio, students)
Spring Awakening (university production)
Art was bitten by the theatre bug (a very large and venomous one) at the age of eleven when he started attending his mother’s acting school. After learning everything possible and impossible about Stanislavski's Method of Physical Actions, he began to work as an Acting and Movement instructor. Despite his passionate interest in theatre and acting, he went to university to get a BA in English and Education. Post-university, he dabbled with comparative literature, community arts and teaching English as a second/foreign language. In 2004, he received a Teacher of the Year Award. Right after that, he finally admitted to himself that theatre was his first and strongest love – much to the displeasure of one of his stern Armenian grandmothers, who considered theatre (as well as all of his other career choices) a ‘tragic waste of time’. He founded his first theatre company in 2004 and almost reluctantly started a directing career.
Art's recent directing credits include musicals (Share and Share Alike (2007), Seussical. The Musical (2009), Gypsy (2011), Godspell (2014), Spring Awakening (2019), contemporary Canadian drama Couldn’t We Be (2008), The…Musician: An Etude (2012 and 2014) and devised performances (In Sundry Languages, 2015). Even though he would never admit it, he actually quite enjoys being a performer too. He spent 2010 and 2011 being part of a marginally insane collective The DitchWitch Brigade and ended up performing the male lead in the second and third reincarnations on the multimedia hilarity called in 2010 – Miss Toronto Gets a Life in Parkdale and in 2011 – Miss Toronto Acts Back directed by Antje Budde and produced by a leader of Toronto`s indie theatre - Pandemic Theatre.
In 2012, he started another independent theatre company, The Toronto Laboratory Theatre, as if Toronto didn’t have enough independent theatre companies already. In 2013, drawing from his vast acting and teaching experience Art created a unique course - Embodied English – now a sought-after pronunciation and communication course for advanced learners of English living, studying or working in Canada. Art's most recent creation VIVISECTION (in collaboration with Marina Black, Paul J. Stoesser and Dmitry Zhukovsky) was featured at Toronto's Nuit Blanche 2015. He has also directed opera (The Diary of One Who Disappeared by Leoš Janáček). His most recent work, a devised collaborative multilingual production "In Sundry Languages" was presented at Toronto Fringe (2017) and Caminos (2017) and called by NOW 'a compelling critique of Canadian inclusiveness'. The script of "In Sundry Languages" was published by Playwrights Canada in 2019.
Art's interests in linguistics, education and theatre began to converge when he was completing his MA at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (Supervisor: Prof. Julie Kerekes). His PhD research, which he completed at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (Supervisor: Prof. Kathleen Gallagher) focuses on multilingual theatre and multilingual actors. Using practice-based research as his primary research method and phenomenology his theoretical framework, his research attempts to understand the process multilingual actors go through when performing in different tongues and how an multilingual audience responds to multilingual performers and performances.
Art has won numerous academic awards, including two Canada Graduate Scholarships (SSHRC), taught, co-taught and TA-ed a number of Drama/Acting/Applied Theatre courses and workshops, presented at a number of national and international conferences, including Langues en Motions (Nantes, 2012), IDEA (Paris, 2013), the American Association of Applied Linguistics (2015, Toronto) and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (2015, 2016, 2017). With his colleague Dr. Heather Fitzsimmons Frey, Art organized an international conference Theatre and Learning at the University of Toronto (2012) and later published his first edited collection loosely based on the conference proceedings. He is now co-editing (with Prof. Nicole Nolette) a special issue of Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada on multilingual theatre and dramaturgy (to be released in 2017).
Throughout his diverse career Art has worked with professional, semi-professional and amateur actors in Russia, Malta, Latvia, Bulgaria, the UK, the USA, and Canada. He is a fluent speaker of a number of languages including Canada's two official tongues. As an actor, he has enjoyed performing in English, French and Russian.
en français (version courtes)
Art Babayants est acteur, réalisateur et pédagogue torontois, d’origine arménienne. Avant de devenir directeur artistique du Théâtre-Laboratoire de Toronto (Toronto Laboratory Theatre), il a travaillé en Grande-Bretagne, aux États-Unis, à Malte, en Lettonie et en Russie. Il possède également un doctorat en théâtre et performance et il s’engage en recherche-création. Ses recherches portent sur le théâtre multilingue et sur la formation de l’acteur multilingue au Canada. Pendant sa carrière artistique, il a mis en scène des spectacles musicaux (Seussical, 2007; Gypsy, 2009; Godspell, 2014), des pièces contemporaines canadiennes (The…Musician, 2014), du théâtre ‘mock’-umentaire (comme partie du collectif The DitchWitch Brigade, 2009-2011) et des projets multidisciplinaires (VV-SECTION, ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche, 2015). Depuis 1997, Art développe des projets qui utilisent les techniques de jeu d’acteur visant l’apprentissage des langues secondes. Sa création la plus récente, un cours de prononciation et de communication avancées, Embodied English, est un cours actuellement de plus en plus en demande à Toronto.
L'entrevue avec Art Babayants: Radio-Canada, 4 septembre 2015