During the summer of 2008, a group of theatre practitioners began meeting at the outdoor basketball court at Bathurst and Queens Quay every Monday night from 10pm to midnight. A large roster of theatre producers, actors, and playwrights came out to play that summer including the 6th Man Collective’s founding members.
In 2009, the 6th Man Collective officially formed with members Byron Abalos, Richard Lee, Jovanni Sy, Colin Doyle, Darrel Gamotin and Nicco Lorenzo Garcia. The group formed around the idea of creating a site-specific piece involving basketball. In that year, we received support from the Ontario Arts Council’s Theatre Creators’ Reserve (TCR) program with two grants recommended by Theatre Direct and the Toronto Fringe Festival. From those funds we held a week-long text-based creation intensive at fu-GEN Theatre Company’s studio focusing on our memories of and experiences with basketball as a catalyst for creating content.
In 2011, Nicco Lorenzo Garcia left the collective and moved to Vancouver as well. That summer, we presented an excerpt of our piece called Monday Light Nights at the Kultura Arts Festival presented by Carlos Bulosan Theatre and the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture. We presented an interactive performance piece on the sidewalk of Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market.
Marjorie Chan joined the collective in the summer of 2011, mainly in the role of facilitator and dramaturge. In September 2011, we applied for The Theatre Centre’s Residency program and officially became a resident company during their 2012/13 season. That summer, Jeff Yung joined the collective as we began to delve into abstract movement work and created experimental audience pieces that played with direct interaction.
In August 2013, the 6th Man Collective performed Rebound: Live as a part of the SummerWorks Festival’s Live Art Series. Rebound: Live is the participatory component of Monday Nights and it was presented in Trinity Bellwoods Park three times as a 5-hour long cyclical, durational piece. From December 3-16, 2013, we had a two-week long intensive workshop that focused on movement and improvisation. We brought in movement experts like Andrea Mapili and Ben Kamino to guide exploration and refine physical pieces. Our exploration period ended with a well-attended public showing at The Great Hall, the site of one of Toronto’s first YMCA and the location of some of the history’s first basketball games.
In January 2014, Marjorie Chan stepped down from the collective due to other professional commitments. The 6th Man Collective is currently completing its final year of Residency with The Theatre Centre, which continues to support the collective’s work through the sharing of resources such as space, insurance and funds and will join as co-producers of the piece in September 2014.