Open a small theatre, and they will come. TORONTO writers, artists, producers and actors are finding new audiences in small neighbourhood theatres built inside a variety of structures. A former barber shop, a convenience store, a cellar, a former library, as well as some new ready-made venues are now playing an important role in our city’s indie theatre scene.
ANDREW SHAVER, who moved his Sidemark Theatrical Grocery from Montreal to TORONTO, in an interview with the Globe & Mail: “There’s just a wealth of creativity and talent in this city – and there aren’t enough spaces to accommodate them. Coming to TORONTO, living in the East End, it feels like living in Montreal in some ways – you’re still off of the centre. I get inspired by that sort of uphill climb.”
A few of TORONTO’s smaller theatres below . . . there are many, many more.
CAHOOTS THEATRE COMPANY – staging diversity since 1986, 388 Queen Street East, http://www.cahoots.ca
THE THEATRE CENTRE – former Carnegie library, newly renovated, nationally recognized live-arts incubator formed in 1979, 1115 Queen Street West, http://www.theatrecentre.org
STOREFRONT THEATRE – former drugstore, opened in 2013 with the simple idea of putting on a show, 955 Bloor Street West, https://www.facebook.com/TheStorefrontTheatre/
COAL MINE THEATRE presents ‘superbly written, richly thoughtful and fearlessly challenging plays’, 1454 Danforth Avenue, http://www.coalminetheatre.com
FACTORY THEATRE, founded in 1970, new work and play development are the heart of Factory’s artistic vision, 125 Bathurst Street, http://www.factorytheatre.ca
TARRAGON THEATRE, a leading Canadian company for the development, creation and encouragement of new work, 30 Bridgman Avenue, http://www.tarragontheatre.com
CROW’S THEATRE, over 20 years of alternative theatre focusing on new works with a sense of social criticism; brand new state-of-the-art facility at 696 Queen Street East #2C, http://www.crowstheatre.com
VIDEOFAG, converted barbershop in Kensington Market, specializes in cinema and live-art productions, unconventional performances, 187 Augusta Avenue, http://www.videofag.com
AKI STUDIO THEATRE, home of the Native Earth Performance Centre, Canada’s oldest indigenous theatre company, 250-585 Dundas Street East, http://www.nativeearth.ca/aki-studio-theatre/
RED SANDCASTLE THEATRE, converted store, home to community-oriented theatre projects, 922 Queen Street East, http://www.redsandcastletheatre.com
BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES THEATRE, leader in developing queer voices and stories, longest-running and largest queer theatre in the world, 12 Alexander Street, http://www.buddiesinbadtimes.com
ALUMNAE THEATRE, in a beautiful converted Firehall #4, 2 stages, large wardrobe department, dedicated to high-quality theatre not readily seen elsewhere, 70 Berkeley Street, http://www.alumnaetheatre.com