About Theatre Direct
Theatre Direct is one of the country’s leading professional theatres dedicated to young audiences. Now in its 37th year, the award-winning company’s productions tour locally, nationally and internationally. In 2009, Theatre Direct opened the doors to two new creation/education and performance venues in the Wychwood Barns where it engages a diverse community of families and over 30 local schools.
- To create and present sophisticated and uncompromising theatre for, with and by young people that provokes, challenges and inspires.
- To present theatre that is socially conscious and reflects and interprets the diversity of the Canadian experience.
- To nurture our audience’s appreciation of the arts and each other through community and education based programs.
Our work is driven by a belief that young people deserve truth not diversion, that they have a cultural right to meaningful content and compelling, relevant theatre. We view our audience as thinking, feeling, complex individuals, not a market, not just future audiences but our present audience that needs and demands theatre that engages all their faculties and feelings.
Our audience inspires us to tackle big questions in the same way children and youth ask them, honestly, directly, courageously and passionately.
- Achieving artistic and educational excellence
- Ensuring physical, cultural, economic and intellectual access in its productions and programs for all young people and their families
- Mentoring and training young people and emerging professional artists through its various apprenticeships, internships, placements and volunteer opportunities
- Providing fair and appropriate compensation for artists and staff.
History of Theatre Direct
Founded by playwright David Craig 1976, Theatre Direct has produced over 85 production many of which toured schools and theatres extensively. The company has received numerous nominations and garnered 6 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, 10 Chalmers Canadian Play Awards as well as the Canada Council Theatre for Young Audiences Prize.
Milestone productions between 1980 and 1990 include Thin Ice by Banuta Rubess and Beverly Cooper, Getting Wrecked by Tom Walmsley, The General by Robert Morgan and Flesh and Blood by Colin Thomas, one of the first plays dealing with HIV/AIDS.
From 1990 -2002 plays included A Secret Life by Ed Roy, presented in an innovative environmental staging, Toronto at Dreamers Rock by Drew Hayden Taylor, exploring the perspective of Aboriginal youth which toured across Canada and The Buncha’ Young Artists Festivals 2002 and 2002 which premiered 8 new emerging playwrights and their work for young adults.
Since 2002, productions include Alphonse by Wajdi Mouwad, And by the Way Miss…by the interdisciplinary collective URGE for girls between 12 and 14 years old, the Beneath the Banyan Tree byEmil Sher which explored the immigration experience of a South Asian child and Binti’s Journey adapted by Marcia Johnson from the novel The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
In 2009 Theatre Direct opened the doors to its new home in the Artscape Wychwood Barns a redeveloped historic site surrounded by expansive park in the heart of mid-town Toronto. The company’s facilities include a fully-equipped professional theatre venue and an education studio.
Theatre Direct is an active member of Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), Theatre Ontario, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), Performing Arts Organization Network for Education (PAONE), and Council Of Drama/Dance in Education (CODE). We participate in these organizations’ various initiatives and committees such as the cultural diversity committees of PACT, the eligibility committee of TAPA and the youth training committee of Theatre Ontario.