Company founded in 1918 by women graduates at the University College, University of Toronto, Ontario. Its mandate is to produce unusual plays of the past and present not readily seen elsewhere.
To that end the Company has presented such varied works as Shaw's In Good King Charles' Golden Days, T.S. Eliot's The Family Reunion Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Endgame, Ionesco's The Lesson, Pinter's The Caretaker, Vaclav Havel's Largo Desolato, Farquhar's The Beaux' Strategem, Jonson's The Alchemist, and Congreve's The Way of the World.
For the first thirty years of its history, the University Alumnae Dramatic Club performed on the stage of Hart House Theatre. From 1957, the Club performed at a coach house on Huntley Street, a garage on Bedford Road, a converted synagogue on Cecil Street and a church on Maplewood Avenue. The present home of the Alumnae Theatre is a historic Toronto landmark built in 1900, old Firehall No. 4 on Berkeley Street. This building was renovated and restored by the Alumnae in 1972, and contains a well equipped mainstage theatre, an intimate studio theatre, as well as a workshop, wardrobe, backstage and lobby space.
More recent productions have been Queen Christina and Camille by Pam Gems; Fen and Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill; The Art of Dining by Tina Howe; The Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker; Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing; Masterpieces by Sarah Daniels and Thirteen Hands and Departures and Arrivals by Carol Shields.
In 2013, to mark the countdown to its centennial year, 2019, Alumnae Theatre remounted James Reaney's The Kildeer (1960), which he wrote in 1960 on the invitation of his friend, Alumnae director Pamela Terry, and which launched his career as a playwright.
The Company's completely Canadian 2014-2015 season featured Escape From Happiness by George F. Walker; the return of the FireWorks Festival premiering two original full-length plays; Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock; the 27th annual New Ideas Festival; and the world premiere of Shirley Barrie’s I Am Marguerite.
The Alumnae Theatre has nurtured young playwrights with its New Ideas Festival. First-time directors are encouraged to take part in this three-week festival, which presents a new program each week in the Studio Theatre. In October 2013, the Company announced the Fireworks Series to showcase its homegrown talent in a further development beyond the very popular New Ideas Festival. Three full-length plays developed in-house are staged in the Alumnae Studio Theatre in November and December, and supporting events allow audience members to engage with the dramaturgical process and intellectual themes.
The Alumnae Theatre celebrated its 100th year with the 2017-18 season. The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, proclaimed October 20, 2017 as 100th Season of Alumnae Theatre Company Day.
Last updated 2021-03-17