About Theatre Direct
Now celebrating its 40th year, Theatre Direct Canada is one of the Country’s leading theatres for young audiences whose award-winning productions have reached audiences in schools and theatres touring throughout Ontario, across Canada and overseas.
Theatre Direct’s work has been recognized with 8 Dora Mavor Moore Awards and multiple nominations, 10 Chalmers Canadian Play Awards, and the Canada Council Theatre for Young Audiences Prize.
Founded by playwright David Craig in 1976, Theatre Direct Canada is one of the Country’s leading theatres for young audiences whose award-winning productions have reached audiences in schools and theatres touring throughout Ontario, across Canada and overseas. The company has received numerous nominations and garnered 9 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, 10 Chalmers Canadian Play Awards as well as the Canada Council Theatre for Young Audiences Prize.
Milestone productions include Thin Ice by Banuta Rubess and Beverly Cooper addressing sexual violence, A Secret Life by Ed Roy about hidden poverty, Toronto at Dreamers Rock by Drew Hayden Taylor, exploring the perspective of Aboriginal youth which toured across Canada, and The Buncha’ Young Artists Festivals 2000 and 2002 which premiered 8 new emerging playwrights and their work for young adults. Other notable productions include, And by the Way Miss…by the interdisciplinary collective URGE for girls between 12 and 14 years old, Beneath the Banyan Tree by Emil Sher, which explored the immigration experience of a South Asian child, Sanctuary Song, an opera by Marjorie Chan and Abigail Richardson and Binti’s Journey adapted by Marcia Johnson from the novel The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
In 2011, Theatre Direct initiated research, development and creation projects for children in their early years in an effort to encourage a greater focus on arts provision in pre-school years. In addition to extensive drama and storytelling residencies in kindergarten classes across the City, Theatre Direct created Old Man and the River a production especially for 3 -6 year olds and launched the first biennial international children’s festival dedicated to early years with the WeeFestival of Theatre and Culture for Early Years in 2014 and 2016 with the next edition in 2018.
- To commission, develop, produce and present theatre for, by, and with, young people that empowers, educates and inspires.
- To explore challenging ideas and subject matter relevant to young people, honestly, directly, courageously and passionately.
- To reflect and celebrate the cultural diversity of our audience through the stories we tell and the people who tell them.
- To nurture our audience’s appreciation of the arts and each other through accessible community and education programs.
Our work is driven by a belief that young people deserve truth not diversion – that they have a right to meaningful cultural content and experiences. We view our audience as thinking, feeling, complex individuals – not a market and not future audiences, but our present audience of emerging citizens that demands relevant theatre that engages all their faculties, feelings and intellect.
We believe theatre for young audiences should utilize a range of traditional and non-traditional approaches to presentation and employ multiple disciplines including dance, music, opera, puppetry and design.