In 1959, artistic director GEORGE LUSCOMBE (1926-1999) established The Workshop Theatre, one of Canada’s first professional theatre companies. The counterculture company moved into a warehouse at 12 Alexander Street in 1967. <PHOTO ABOVE – City of Toronto Archives>
Toronto Workshop Productions developed an innovative style, transforming documentary material into productions that ignited the political conscience of a generation. The tradition continues to this day – as Buddies in Bad Times – with an emphasis on LGBTQ theatre, cabaret, new plays and The Rhubarb Festival. In 1981 Mr. Luscombe was invested as a Member for the Order of Canada for “his contributions to the development of theatre in Canada.” In 1989, after three years of retirement, he successfully advocated for the building’s perpetual use as a community theatre space, and it was purchased by the City of Toronto.
Buddies in Bad Times is about to have two high-rise neighbours on its west side. But the theatre continues thanks to the foresight of George Luscombe.