In a bold move on Tuesday night, city council voted in favour purchasing 16 Ryerson Avenue, the historic building which currently houses Theatre Passe Muraille. As part of the deal, Passe Muraille will lease the space from the city, ensuring that it is able to remain open indefinitely. The well-respected alternative theatre (the first of its kind in the city) has been experiencing financial difficulties of late, so this new deal allows it to retire its significant deficit and focus on producing new works. Although the company itself will no longer own the building, all day-to-day running of the theatre will be left to the company and kept free from City Hall meddling.
Theatre Passe Muraille (which means “theatre without walls”), which was created as an offshoot of the notorious Rochdale College experiment, is perhaps best-known as the birthplace of international hits The Drawer Boy and The Drowsy Chaperone. It was recently satirized in the television show Slings and Arrows, which featured a financially-troubled independent Toronto theatre called Theatre Sans Argent. In its upcoming season, The Drawer Boy, one of the theatre’s greatest successes ever, returns to Passe Muraille.
Photo by gbalogh from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.