Famous Canadian Theatres

Famous Canadian Theatres

There are many Canadian theatres that are worth visiting and offer spectators the chance to watch performances in different genres, including comedy, drama, fringe, experimental theatre.

4th Line Theatre

This famous theatre company was founded in 1992 to produce and showcase original Canadian plays. Located in Millbrook, Ontario, the company has developed a number of productions such as Wounded Soldiers, St. Francis of Millbrook, Queen Marie, Crow Hill The Telephone Play, and many others. It features outdoor plays and uses the latest technologies to create original productions.

Factory Theatre

This playhouse has showcased famous artists, playwrights, and troupes over the years, including names such as Tomson Highway, Rick Mercer, and Kids in the Hall. The theatre currently participates in the Not In OUR Space project, which is a nation-wide anti-harassment pilot project developed in collaboration with the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. The main goal of the project is to promote productive and safe workplace conditions for everyone, without discrimination, harassment, or bullying because of family or marital status, gender, ethnic origin, color, race, etc. The Factory Theatre has showcased a number of inspiring plays such as Escape from Happiness, The Rez Sisters, Love and Anger, and many more. The theatre building is also worth mentioning because of its Gothic style arch entry, hood moldings, gabled roof, and asymmetrical façade.

Canadian Stage

This famous non-for-profit company stages performances in three venues in the Greater Toronto Area – the High Park Amphitheatre, Berkeley Street Theatre, and St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Founded in 1988, this performing arts company features a unique combination of theatre, music, film, opera, and dance. Canadian Stage has been awarded awards such as the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Chalmers, and Governor General’s. A number of great plays have been staged in different venues over the years, among which London Road, Winners and Losers, and Venues in Fur. Recent productions include Five Faces for Evelyn Frost, Who Killed Spalding Gray, and Concord Floral. Canadian Stage also features performances by other arts organizations such as The 1979 Group and the Ace Dance Theatre as well as post-show talkbacks, pre-show chats, and student workshops. Canadian Stage also participates in the RBC Emerging Artist Program and offers professional resources, mentorship, and residencies. The main goal of the program is to offer support to artists and performing arts groups in different genres, including film, literature, performance, theatre, music, and visual art.

Centaur Theatre Company

Located in Old Montreal, this non-profit organization supports the production and development of plays in different genres, including cutting-edge vein, modern, and classical. The Wildside Theatre Festival is held in January and features shows, textless adaptations, autobiographical storytelling, and plenty more. The 2019 edition of the festival showcases plays such as Crime After Crime, Punishment, Fluorescent, and Hyena. The company also organizes a fundraising gala that features a silent auction, live auction, musical performances, and other events. The 2018 gala was attended by representatives of the Rossy Family Foundation, Reitmans Limited, Cummings & Gold Families, Air Canada, and many others.

Royal Alexandra Theatre

This is one of the oldest theatres in Canada which opened doors in 1907 and featured artists such as Edith Piaf, Ruth Gordon, Mae West, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles. Today, the theatre showcases musicals such as Mamma Mia!, Kinky Boots, and Come From Away.

Other theatres that are worth mentioning include the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Halifax Theatre for Young People, and Thousand Islands Playhouse.

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Theatre Festivals in Canada

A number of theatre festivals and events are organized in Canada to celebrate literature, music, dance, theatre, and visual arts.

Just for Laughs

First held in 1983, this comedy festival is organized annually in Montreal, Quebec. Many events take place at day and night time, including special programs in live venue theatres and clubs. Artists such as Michelle Wolf, Bryan Callen, Nicole Byer, and Chris Fleming will join the 2019 edition.

Halifax Comedy Festival

This festival is held on an annual basis in Halifax, Nova Scotia since 1995. The goal is to showcase talented Canadian and international artists. Multiple events are held to entertain visitors, including shows and special events such as the Last Laugh Comedy Club and The Best of the Fest. Past performers include names such as Glen Foster, Derek Edwards, Irwin Barker, Darcy Michael, and Cathy Jones.

Halifax Fringe Festival

Founded in 1991, this festival has non-mainstream theatre as its main focus. A number of events are organized in August and September, including dance performances, comedy shows, dramas, musicals, and more.

Calgary Fringe Festival

This annual event is held in Calgary, Alberta in two types of venues – Bring Your Own Venue and Lottery. Venues are assigned on a random basis as drawn in the lottery, and artists are free to choose a location if not drawn in the lottery. These locations are called satellite venues and are found outside the main festival venues, which in 2018 were Alexandra Centre, the Artpoint Gallery, Festival Hall, and Lantern Church. The list of featured artists includes names such as Paco Edhard, Paul Strickland, Erika Kate MacDonald, Shawn O'Hara, and many others. Visitors enjoy shows in different genres, including comedy, drama, storytelling, pop opera, improv, musical theatre, and satire.

Local and national artists participate in the lottery, and there are local and national waitlists. International artists join the festival as well, and there is an international waitlist. Artists from around the world come join the festivities, including countries such as South Africa, USA, Germany, United Kingdom, and Australia. Volunteers are also welcome to join and enjoy free snacks and beverages and free shows.

Magnetic North Theatre Festival

This theatre festival was first held in 2002 and was founded by artistic directors, journalists, and artists such as Allan McInnis, Katherine Kaszas, Marti Maraden, and others. It is held on an annual basis in host cities such as Vancouver St. John’s, Edmonton, and Ottawa. The goal is to support and promote Canadian artists and producers and to help them reach wider audiences. Multiple events take place in festival venues, including seminars, workshops, performances. Sponsors of the event are the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and Canadian Heritage.

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Other theatre events that are organized in Canada are the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, Carnival of Shrieking Youth, and Acting Irish International Theatre Festival. They showcase a cast of Canadian and international artists, including musicians, sword-swallowers, dancers, acrobats, jugglers. Festivals feature a host of different events such as TV specials, open-air shows and performances, club shows, and special and gala performances. There are also events featuring activities such as pancake breakfasts, children’s workshops, live art, and plenty more.

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