An Update on Theatre Ontario's Future and the Special Meeting of October 26th

October 30, 2019

At the Special Meeting of the Membership on Saturday, October 26th, those Theatre Ontario members present voted to table the Board-proposed resolution regarding shutdown until February 29, 2020.

This was based on the general support expressed by the community via telephone, email, social media, official statements (such as the one made by Canadian Actors Equity Association on behalf of its membership), and especially from a pledge of support initiated by leadership at the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival to their peers in the professional theatre community in the membership.

In an excerpt from their message:
"Theatre Ontario has been a vital part of the ecology for over four decades. The organization has supported the Ontario Theatre communities, both professional and amateur, since 1971. It was created to fill the gap created by the demise of the Dominion Drama Festival and Theatre Canada, and has been instrumental in the development of young professionals across the field. … Shaw and Stratford have reached out to the staff and Board of Theatre Ontario to suggest that we believe these obstacles are surmountable and have offered help…to lower overhead and increase stability while the Theatre Ontario Board and Staff undertake a process to forge a path forward. … On a personal note, we will also be renewing our personal memberships or donating to the organization as we are able and hope you will consider the same.”
TC [Tim Carroll] and Antoni [Cimolino]
Anita [Gaffney] and Tim [Jennings]
(Shaw Festival and Stratford Festival Executive Teams)

Community and educational theatres have also expressed their desire to be part of the solution.

The vote reflected a sufficient majority to continue to try and find a way forward to see if these obstacles are surmountable.

Following the Special Membership Meeting, the Board of Directors expressed uncertainty about the next steps. Not all Board members are able to continue on this journey. However, some Board members want to continue to respond to the energy and expressions of support from the community. Solutions are going to take more than what the Board is currently able to do by themselves.

As previously reported, Raeburn Ferguson and Brandon Moore were given notice of termination as Theatre Ontario employees. Because of their respective years of service, Raeburn has already reached the end of her service, and is no longer with the organization. Brandon remains on staff until November 19th.

In the spirit of this community support, Theatre Ontario welcomes donations from the community. Donations can be made to Theatre Ontario via CanadaHelps. This is the preferred method to donate. We also acknowledge all of those who have already given support over the past year during our appeals.

Specific offers of “in-kind” support or general questions, concerns and reservations should be directed to


A Notice About Next Generation Showcase 2020

The Theatre Ontario Board of Directors is pleased to announce that The Next Generation Showcase 2020 will take place as scheduled on January 12 and 13, 2020 at Theatre Passe Muraille.

With the future of Theatre Ontario still uncertain, a top priority for the Board has been to ensure the security of The Next Generation Showcase. It is with great pleasure that we announce that Raeburn Ferguson, former Theatre Ontario Co-Executive Director, has assumed the responsibility of this program and is dedicated to continuing its legacy and contribution to theatre in Ontario.

Raeburn will be partnering with the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) who has agreed to assist in the delivery of The Next Generation Showcase 2020. In this time of uncertainty we are confident in this partnership.

We look forward to the growth and innovation of The Next Generation Showcase.


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