The Darkest Dark

Based on the book by Chris Hadfield with Kate Fillion
Adapted for the stage by Jim Millan and Ian MacIntyre
Directed by Jim Millan

On the Ada Slaight Stage Feb. 20 – Apr. 2, 2023
Recommended for Ages 6-12 | Grades 1-6
Run time: approx. 80 minutes



A ground-breaking, magic-filled adaptation of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s bestselling children’s book.

Take a Sneak Peek!

“The creation of The Darkest Dark has been another challenging journey in my life. Jim [Millan]’s thirty years of creating incredible theatre and expertise in the world of magic will provide the perfect vehicle to envelop audiences.”

– Commander Chris Hadfield, Astronaut

It’s 1969 and Apollo 11 is about to land on the moon. Nine-year-old space-loving Chris spends his days dreaming of becoming a brave astronaut. But at bedtime, the night closes in and so too does his fear of the dark. For Chris, watching history being made hinges on conquering his fear – and embracing the unknown.

Chris HadfieldFrom the imagination of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield comes a ground-breaking new theatrical experience. More than five years in the making, The Darkest Dark is inspired by Commander Hadfield’s bestselling children’s book and brought to the stage by co-writers Jim Millan and Ian MacIntyre, and renowned magician David Ben. Weaving theatre, multi-media and magic, The Darkest Dark reveals a universe where anything is possible. And where the dark… is for dreaming.

Darkest Dark cast and creative team

Come Early and Enjoy an On-site Planetarium Before the Show
(select dates only)!

Space Dome

Visit our Studio theatre upstairs before seeing The Darkest Dark and experience Astronomy in Action’s amazing 4K digital planetarium dome! Enter a unique environment and watch the entire universe unfold overhead as a professional astronomer narrates this spectacular journey. Access to this portable planetarium will be free of charge to those with a ticket to that day’s performance of The Darkest Dark.

Please Note: The dome will be open on the following show dates:

SAT. FEB. 25 at 2:00PM and 7:00PM
SUN. FEB. 26 at 2:00PM
SAT. MAR. 4 at 1:00PM
SUN. MAR. 5 at 1:00 and 4:00PM

The dome will be open 75-minutes prior to the start of The Darkest Dark and closes 15 minutes prior to show time. The show will run a total of 4 times in one hour, and each show is 8 minutes long. Admission is on a first come, first served basis.

Inside The Darkest Dark

The Darkest Dark book cover

In 2016, Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield published his internationally best-selling children’s book, The Darkest Dark.

Director/writer Jim Millan (Kids in the Hall, Mythbusters, Broadway’s The Illusionists and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) developed a relationship with the Hadfield family when he worked on Chris’s science-based variety show, Generator. Both were intrigued by the idea of bringing The Darkest Dark to the stage. In 2017, Jim approached YPT to turn the beautiful book into a play.

Early on in the process, YPT realized that we were dealing with a production unlike anything we had ever mounted before – one that would weave magic, movement and multi-media with theatre arts. We knew we had a very special piece of source material, with a truly extraordinary creative team to guide the project.

The Darkest Dark - Herbie Barnes quote

Teacher Resources

  • For information on Play Companion Workshops, click here.
  • Study Guide coming soon.

Production SponsorSpace Place Canada logo

Space Place (Planetarium) Canada is working to bring an iconic planetarium to Toronto – bringing the wonders of space in an innovative, story-telling format for the curious kid in all of us.

The Darkest Dark is a recipient of The National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund,
representing the first English language TYA project to receive support.

nac logo
The NAC is proud to partner with outstanding Canadian artists and companies whose range of work is truly inspiring. The National Creation Fund is a catalyst for Canadian artists to take their projects to a new level…to be successful on the national and international stage.
– The National Arts Centre

This investment offers YPT an unprecedented opportunity to explore and pilot the integration of magic and illusion into this World Premiere theatrical event.

Development Partners

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
Geordie Theatre
Talk Is Free Theatre
Magicana Foundation

“As Canada’s premier theatre for young audiences, YPT offers over half a century of expertise in arts and education. The commitment the company shows to child development through the arts gives me confidence that The Darkest Dark will be in safe – and extraordinary – hands.”

– Chris Hadfield

Program & Study Guide

Drama Workshop

Curriculum Connections

The Arts – Drama
Science and Technology
Social Studies – Heritage and Identity
Health and Physical Education – Social Emotional Learning Skills

Ancestral Teachings




Confronting and overcoming our fears

Pursuing our dreams

Importance of friendship