Some biggish news announced this week in regards to two of this city’s major theatres: Passe Muraille and CanStage (oh, I’m sorry, I mean “The Canadian Stage Company”—more on that later). Let’s start with Passe Muraille, the plucky underdog.
Probably the biggest morceau is that they’re kicking off their 40th season with a remount of Michael Healey‘s ridiculously successful The Drawer Boy. If you missed all the (admittedly numerous) previous opportunities to see this which has become the quintessential Canadian play, this is pretty exciting news. This 40th season will be outgoing artistic director Layne Coleman‘s 10th and the beginning of new artistic director Andy McKim’s tenure.
Meanwhile, over at The Canadian Stage Company, another sort of regime change is taking place. In 1997, CanStage combined the positions of Managing Director and Artistic Director into a single title: Artistic Producer, a role Martin Bragg has held until this time. Now, Martin Bragg has unveiled a new business model, wherein he retains the title of Artistic Producer, but David Storch will step in as Artistic Director, taking over many of Bragg’s current responsibilities. In addition, current Executive Producer David Abel is about to add Company General Manager to his title.
The company’s flagship venue, The Bluma Appel Theatre, is about to undergo $3 million in renovations as a part of the company’s rebirth. Oh, yeah. There’s also the name. The cool 90s shorthand “CanStage” is now officially gauche, and the company is returning to the more formal moniker of its origins. While nowhere near as egregious as the Rogers Home Centre or the Scotiabank Theatre, re-naming is always a bit of a drag and it will be interesting to see whether the new/old name sticks.
The Canadian Stage Company’s (rather bizarre-sounding) 2007-2008 season includes a Ted Dykstra-directed The Little Shop of Horrors, The Elephant Man and a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. The past couple of seasons have been as successful for CanStage as they have been disappointing for Passe Muraille – let’s hope these changes mean that both continue to be viable and exciting venues for Canadian theatre.
Photo by Metrix X from the Torontoist Flickr Group.