Now in its 43rd season, Theatre Direct was founded by Playwright David S. Craig in 1976 and continues to create, produce and disseminate innovative work for, with and by young people.
Theatre Direct has received numerous Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations and awards, 10 Chalmers Canadian Play Awards as well as the Canada Council Theatre for Young Audiences Prize.
Milestone productions between 1990 – 2002 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.
From 2001 until 2018, under the leadership of Lynda Hill, the company broke new artistic ground with the production of And by the Way Miss…(2004) by the interdisciplinary collective URGE for girls between 12 and 14 years old; Beneath the Banyan Tree (2005) by Emil Sher exploring the immigration experience of a South Asian child; Sanctuary Song an opera by Marjorie Chan and Abigail Richardson; and Binti’s Journey (2005) 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 with the production of Old Man and the River (2013-2019) which has toured extensively across the country, and Flying Hearts (2018) an inclusive Relaxed Performance dance/theatre production engaging children 2+ and those with Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
In 2014, WeeFestival was launched – a children’s festival dedicated to early years which has now become an annual event. WeeFestival is now operating as its own incorporated entity under the Artistic Direction of Lynda Hill with support from Theatre Direct.
In January 2019, Lisa Marie DiLiberto was appointed Theatre Direct Canada’s new Artistic Director.