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Necessary Angel

CTE photo
A scene from David Young's Glenn directed by Richard Rose for Necessary Angel, 2000, featuring (l-r) Brandon McGibbon, Duncan Ollerenshaw, John Koensgen and RH Thomson

Dynamic and innovative theatre company based in Toronto, Ontario, founded in 1978 by Richard Rose. Its name derives from poem by Wallace Stevens: "For I am the necessary angel of the earth/ For in my eyes you see the world anew." It is dedicated "to fully exploring the theatrical arts by creating original work that challenges assumptions and engages multiple points of view, while seeking to provoke and astonish," and it has become an important force in Canadian theatrical creation. Many of its productions are North American and world premieres. It tours its works to theatres and festivals across Canada and internationally. The company's plays have won many Governor Generalís Awards, Chalmers Awards, and Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

Among the works it has premiered are Timothy Findley's Not Wanted on the Voyage; Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter; John Krizanc's Tamara; Tom Walmsley's and Dolly Reisman's mr. nice guy; David Young's Inexpressible Island (1997); Richard Rose's adaptation of King Lear (1998); Hysterica (2000); David Young's Clout (2001); John Mighton's Half Life (2005); and Jordan Tannahill's It Comes in Waves (2015).

The 2011 season included Michael Ondaatje's and Daniel Brook's Divisadero: A Performance; Mighton's ontological play Risk, which investigates the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, an Austrian doctor whose discoveries were ignored and whose life ended in an insane asylum; and Micheal Healey's study of theatrical relationships, Are You Okay?

In January, 2000, Richard Rose told Eye (Toronto) of his own work with Necessary Angel: "We won't approach things simply...we want to look at the contradictions, to look at paradox and people wrestling with desire and personal history and politics. I guess I look for a certain three-dimensionality of experience. When I read plays that don't seem to interest or suit me, it's usually because they don't incorporate the fact that a person is thinking. There's a great Howard Barker line from The Possibilities: 'The common man? I never met him.' I'm trying to avoid moving to 'common,' I guess. I'm interested in plays where people think as well as feel."

From 2003 to 2012 Daniel Brooks was Artistic Director. Jennifer Tarver became A.D. in February 2013. Alan Dilworth is A.D. as of 2019.

The company's archives are at the L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives of the University of Guelph, Ontario.

Website: www.necessaryangel.com

Last updated 2020-07-17