When I learned that DJ Me Time was collaborating with Outside the March at Luminato it naturally caught my attention! Having attended several productions with the theatre company, I can only envision how unique this immersive experience will be!  R.A.V.E. is high on my list to check in to!

Me Time is one of Toronto’s favourite underground DJs, known for her inclusive events and infectious energy on the decks. While DJs typically mix and blend tracks, this time she’s teamed up with Outside the March to remix live performance styles, bringing interactive theatre to the dance floor to tell the story of a futuristic wellness startup and a founder forced to face the music.

This month, for just six performances during the LUMINATO Festival, R.A.V.E. blends fact and fiction, imagining DJ Me Time’s alter ego, The Founder, as an Elizabeth Holmes-style character, and the performance itself as the product launch of a new “R.A.V.E.” (Real Audio Visual Experience) technology.

DJ ME TIME AND LUMINATO LIGHTS UP R.A.V.E CULTURE

Staged on a dancefloor in a cleared-out cubicle farm at Downsview Airport Lands (the first-ever performance as the space is transforming into an arts and culture venue), audiences are invited to dance for the entire performance as Me Time performs one of her signature sets. Through storytelling and a cast of four dancer-performers, the audience becomes part of the drama.

R.A.V.E. is described as a playful interactive and participatory experience on the dancefloor where dancing is encouraged. Audiences are invited to fully participate at their own pace, physical ability and comfort level. But, don’t worry! You won’t be put on the spot or in the spotlight. A curious, open mind is all you need!

It is also parody meets autobiography; Black Panther meets Severance; and Oprah meets Daft Punk. It’s a dance party. It’s a theatre show. It’s a rave opera for desperate times.

We had a chance to chat with DJ Me Time to find out more!

DJ Me Time - Outside the March - Laminate

How did you land on the name DJ Me Time?

Growing up, I always felt like a bit of an outsider, caught in an intersection of identities. The dancefloor was the first place I felt like I really ‘found’ myself. Entering a flow state allowed me to explore my inner world and move through complex emotions. I wanted to share that transformative experience with others, but I know that in order to be able to embrace a journey of self-discovery, you need to feel safe. So ‘Me Time’ is about creating safer spaces, safer containers for people to connect with themselves and each other. It is an invitation for people to spend their ‘me time’ on the dancefloor too.

You have a pretty interesting career journey from theatre to television and now a DJ. Tell us about how you got here.

I started my art career at the tender age of 11 as Young Nala in the opening production of Disney’s The Lion King and went on to play Liberty Van Zandt in 10 seasons of the award-winning series Degrassi: The Next Generation. After studying Communications at Concordia University in Montreal, I specialized in Intermedia and Computation Arts, where I developed a deep interest in using interactive technology to tell stories and create connections.

Montreal, with its rich dance music culture and technological innovation, introduced me to the transformative power of the dancefloor. Meeting my partner and many friends on the dancefloor inspired me to collect stories of dancefloor friendships and research what creates fertile ground for human connection. This led to designing immersive dance events and workshops, culminating in my current role as a DJ and community architect. Throughout my journey, I’ve focused on dance music and storytelling as a catalyst for social change.

You’ve travelled the world playing at different venues, what have you learned so far about your audiences?

When organized with intention, dancefloors can create simulated utopias where we can build community through shared values, limited resources, and care. Where our world can feel lonely and isolating, people form deep, lasting or temporal connections with each other on the dancefloor. It is a space where we can dream new realities into existence.

It’s part theatre and part dance party, what’s most exciting for you about these upcoming events?

What excites me most about R.A.V.E. is the fusion (or mashup!) of different art forms to create a truly unique immersive experience. Combining theatre, dance, and rave culture allows us to tell a compelling story while inviting the audience to actively participate. It’s thrilling to see how narrative and performance can deepen the meaning of a dance party, holding up a mirror to our world and encouraging self-exploration and play. The interdisciplinary nature of the show challenges us to find the perfect balance between text and music, creating an engaging and transformative experience for the audience.

Music and movement are such powerful ways to connect with ourselves and with others, and we can only imagine what it’s like from your vantage point on stage looking out. Can you tell us about that?

From my vantage point on stage, DJing is an energy exchange. I am always moving and being moved by the dancefloor. I notice moments of ‘me time’ when people feel safe enough to close their eyes and explore their inner worlds, as well as moments of unspoken connection and play. These ephemeral moments are beautiful and fleeting, often only happening on the dancefloor. Seeing the crowd enjoy the performance, feeling the collective energy and connection, is profoundly rewarding and inspiring.

DJ Me Time  - Luminato - Toronto

The upcoming Luminato experience with Outside The March — how did that come about?

After a seminal trip to Berlin, I had this wild idea to bring immersive theatre to the dancefloor. I didn’t know how – but I knew that Canada’s leading immersive theatre company, Outside the March, would be a dream partner. To my excitement, they were enthusiastic about developing the piece together – so they commissioned me to spend the next 4 years developing this piece. Luminato Festival Toronto

What can people expect with R.A.V.E. at Luminato and any tips before going?

People can expect an engaging and fun experience with a few surprising twists and turns. R.A.V.E. is designed to engage your attention in the narrative while providing ample opportunities to dance. My advice is to come with an open mind and be ready to immerse yourself in the experience. Dancing is encouraged, but no previous rave experience is required. Just be present and enjoy the journey we will take together.

Anything else you’d like to share?

This piece was made possible by an incredible group of talented and hardworking people, who have been on this journey with me for up to 4 years. It wouldn’t happen without them. I’d especially like to shout out my co-director ! Kona, the chorus of performers (Chenise Mitchell, Ashley Perez, Wellesley Robertson III, Raoul Wilke). And development support from Griffin McInnes and Mitchell Cushman, embodied creative practice by Andrea Nann (Dreamwalker Dance), lighting design by Nick Blais, sound Design and composition by Amine Bouzaher, environmental design by Leigh van Maaren, and costume design by Diséiye and the full production team lead by Tori Morrison.

R.A.V.E. runs June 9-12 at 8:00pm at the Downsview Airport Lands at 123 Garratt Blvd as part of the Luminato Festival here in Toronto. For tickets and info visit: outsidethemarch.ca

Want to see what else is happening at LUMINATO? Check out the official site here.