… clever, sexy and slick…
— Toronto Star

Bella Donna by David Copelin invites audiences into the world of intrigue, politics, sex, and power, all controlled by one of history’s most powerful and misunderstood women: Lucrezia Borgia.

While Renaissance Pope Julius II excommunicates LUCREZIA BORGIA (alleged daughter of his predecessor, Alexander VI) and her husband DUKE ALFONSO D'ESTE of Ferrara,  Alfonso dallies with his young mistress ANGELA DiGHILINI. Disguised, Lucrezia goes to Rome to seek a secret audience with the Pope. There she meets GIOVANNI, a young soldier, who doesn't realize who Lucrezia is and may be evidence of a guilty secret even more devastating to Lucrezia. SISTER BIBIANA, Lucrezia's confidante, arranges for Giovanni to come to Ferrara, where he is adroitly poisoned by Alfonso. As the evidence mounts, so do the dramatic stakes.

Our production of Bella Donna is directed by the Gina Wilkinson award-winning emerging female director, Anita La Selva, and stars Françoise Balthazar, Martha Chaves, Michael Giordano, Paul Hopkins, Chelsea Russell, and Dewy Steward, and is produced under the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association’s Artists’ Collective Policy.

We invite you to be a part of a phenomenal ride.
Are you ready to be seduced?


May 18 - Geoff Mays of In the Greenroom sat down with Bella Donna lead Françoise Balthazar to talk about her illustrious career, and the process of bringing the play back the stage. WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE!

May 18 - Cate McKim of Life With More Cowbell praises Bella Donna in her latest blog post! “Examining the political intrigue during the latter part of Lucrezia Borgia’s life through a 21st century lens, the wicked funny, sexy and irreverent script features all the salacious intrigue and backroom power plays one would expect…” Read more here.

past productions

WINNER, Best Play: Toronto Fringe Festival, 2005

“… a romp through the Italy and politics of the Borgia family, when Popes were politicians and not very holy ones at that. Savagely funny, sexy, saucy, and more than a little irreverent…” - CBC Radio (Marichka Melnyk)

“Bella Donna marries elaborate characters, high drama, minimalist period production and an aggressive sense of humour to create an altogether excellent piece of theatre.” - EYE Weekly (Andrew Braithwaite)

Berkeley Street Theatre, 2008

“With intrigue, irreverence and a whole lot of sinful sexiness humourously sprinkled throughout, the limits of passion, politics, religion and relationships are provocatively pushed…” - She Does The City (Tanya Scholes)

“This comedy set in Renaissance Italy is your one stop play for bosoms, forbidden passions, and religious intrigue… Balthazar is a standout as Lucrezia Borgia.- Gord McLaughlin