Who We Are
The Theatre Centre is a nationally recognized live-arts incubator that serves as a research and development hub for the cultural sector. We are a public space, open and accessible to the people of our community, where citizens can imagine, debate, celebrate, protest, unite and be responsible for inventing the future.
The Theatre Centre’s mission is to nurture artists, invest in ideas and champion new work and new ways of working. The company fosters a culture of innovation by embracing risk and questioning traditional notions of failure and success.
What We Do
The Theatre Centre pursues a mandate of supporting artists who wish to develop works of an experimental or alternative nature, that challenge the definitions of theatrical performance by embracing music, dance, visual art and new media. The company provides space, mentorship, exposure and a sense of community through a series of carefully-conceived programs, which are adapted regularly in order to remain responsive to each successive generation of creation-based artists.
The Theatre Centre’s Residency Program is at the core of the company’s activity. A structured two-year program provides groups/artists with the necessary space, funding and mentorship to craft ideas still in their infancy into finished products that are both provocative and innovative. Residency facilitates a highly collaborative artistic process that brings together a variety of participants, both artists and non-artists.
The B.A.A.N.N. Theatre Centre was formed in 1979 by a co-operative of five independent theatre companies – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Autumn Leaf Theatre, AKA Performance Interface, Necessary Angel and Nightwood Theatre. They wanted a space to create, rehearse and present new work, a space where provocative ideas could be seen and heard. This group of artists went on to define a generation and inspire a new way of thinking about performance in Toronto.
By the mid-1980s, the founding companies left, and The Theatre Centre remained to assist other artists and groups. In 1984, the R+D (Research and Development) program was established and became the leading proponent for theatrical exploration in the city. In 2004, R+D was replaced by a two-year Residency Program. Over the years, The Theatre Centre has supported an unprecedented number of companies, productions, artists and ideas and continues to cultivate an environment that assists artistic risk takers: Jennifer Tarver, Chris Leavins, Sarah Stanley, bluemouth inc., Ame Henderson, ATSA, Cathy Gordon, Independent Aunties, Juliet Palmer, Michael Rubenfeld, One Reed Theatre, Jon McCurley & Ame Lam, Susanna Hood and Ravi Jain are just a few among them.
In 2002, The Theatre Centre presented its first Free Fall, a biennial festival dedicated to celebrating innovative boundary-testing work from across Canada and beyond.
Franco Boni has been the Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre since 2003.
In March 2014, the company moved into a new live arts hub & incubator at the historic Carnegie Library building at 1115 Queen Street West following a $6.2 million redevelopment of the heritage property.