New Pilot Program: Theatre Connects

New Theatre Connects pilot program links audiences to the work of Ontario theatre artists

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is funding a pilot project in seven Ontario communities to support connections between theatre companies, the presenters who bring in touring productions, the audiences who attend performances, and the public who participate in workshops and demonstrations. The project will include professional development for presenters in St. Catharines, Hamilton, North Bay, Kingston, Milton, Oshawa and Hearst. They will develop community-specific engagement activities that are in addition to the public performances. The project supports the cost of contracting the Ontario theatre companies, the audience development activities, and tour costs associated with moving the shows to each community. 

OAC’s Touring and Audience Development Officer, Aengus Finnan, is partnering with CCI-Ontario Presenting Network and Réseau Ontario to manage the pilot project that will involve two project coordinators, as well as project animators, to work with the theatre companies.

The following English theatre presenters have been selected for the project and will work together over the next few months to select four Ontario theatre companies by the early fall. They will determine the programming that will see these theatre troupes tour to the four communities (two companies to all four communities in the first year, and two companies to all four in the second year):

“Fostering creative collaboration between theatre artists supported by the Ontario Arts Council will help the province’s performing arts community continue to grow and become more competitive,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Theatre Connects will create new and different experiences in the arts that will attract new audiences and give local economies a boost.”

“Theatre Connects is modeled on our successful Ontario Dances program which has been very effective in creating greater and more engaged audiences for Ontario dance,” said Martha Durdin, OAC Chair. “We have phenomenal theatre in both languages in this province, and we hope that through this initiative, more Ontario audiences will be able to experience their work.”

“Audience and community development are two of the primary interests for CCI,” said Warren Garrett, Executive Director, CCI-Ontario Presenting Network. “We look forward to developing plans specifically for audiences in North Bay, Kingston, St.Catharines and Milton.”

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