Toronto has ample theatre productions going on throughout the year, but not all of them are huge, expensive and lavish enterprises. A fair share make the most of their big ideas for the stage with a far smaller budget than Broadway or London’s West End. Here then are some (but certainly not all) of the better Toronto indie theatres still delivering an entertaining night out.
Soulpepper Theatre Company | 50 Tank House Lane
Proud to state it’s “North America’s only year-round repertory company,” Soulpepper has grown from a two-production company in 1998 to hosting approximately 600 events annually. Over 200 people are employed through Soulpepper according to its site while Artistic Director Albert Schultz and company continue to forge ahead. Upcoming productions include Spoon River, The Play’s The Thing and The Thirst Of Hearts.
Buddies In Bad Times | 12 Alexander Street
Buddies In Bad Times was found by Sky Gilbert, Jerry Ciccoritti and Matt Walsh in 1979 with its current location home since 1994. Deemed as the “longest-running queer theatre company in the world,” Buddies has been the ground floor or launching pad for artists such as Daniel MacIvor, Atom Egoyan and Ann Marie MacDonald. The 2015-16 season includes The 20th Of November next month as well as The Road To Paradise and The Gay Heritage Project in early 2016.
Theatre Passe Muraille | 16 Ryerson Avenue
It’s amazing that a former bakery and horse stable is now a critically acclaimed theatre locale close to celebrating its 50th birthday. But that’s what Theatre Passe Muraille has managed to do since forming in 1968. With the mandate on its official site to “develop and produce innovative and provocative Canadian Theatre,” it has done a masterful job towards that goal. The theatre, which is also a mainstay during the annual Fringe Festival, will see an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World this coming season as well as Chelsea Hotel – The Songs Of Leonard Cohen.
Factory Theatre | 125 Bathurst Street
Toronto’s Factory Theatre is almost as old as Theatre Passe Muraille and sees its role as “to boldly bring new Canadian voices to the stage.” Its rich history (including over 300 entirely new Canadian plays) has included works by Tomson Highway, Kids In The Hall and also a one-man piece by Rick Mercer. “Canadian Classics Reimagined” is at the core of the venue’s 2015-16 schedule with Age Of Arousal, Banana Boys and A Line In The Sand some of the plays slated.
The Coal Mine Theatre | 798 Danforth Avenue
Ted Dykstra is the artistic curator behind this new theatrical venture. After its notable 2014-15 season the Coal Mine is on the cusp of announcing its second season highlights. The debut play, The Motherf**ker With The Hat, earned two Toronto Theatre Critic Awards while Creditors and Bull earned strong reviews in what the Toronto Star deemed “a wonderfully intimate new theatre.”
(Main photo via Kayla-Jane Barrie via Flickr)