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Bastion Theatre

Company in Victoria, British Columbia, founded by Peter Mannering in 1963 as an amateur community theatre company. Mannering was Artistic Director until 1971 when it assumed professional status under the direction of Edwin Stephenson. Keith Digby was Artistic Director from 1982-88, followed by Barry MacGregor.

The company performed in the 837-seat McPherson Playhouse (previously the Pantages), and ran a theatre school and theatre-in-education programme with the University of Victoria. It also occasionally toured to other theatres in Canada, including Theatre New Brunswickís Playhouse and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Productions tended to accommodate Victoriaís conservative audience and the size of the venue, including Shakespeare's Richard III; Theatre New Brunswick's production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and Canadian Ron Chudley's story of Montcalm and Wolfe, After Abraham (world premiere 1977). Typically one or two Canadian plays were performed every season, including Lister Sinclairís The Blood is Strong (1967), John Stephen Hirschís The Box of Smiles (1969), James Reaneyís The Killdeer (1973), John Herbertís Fortune and Menís Eyes (1977), Joanna McClelland Glassís Artichoke (1979), Erika Ritterís Automatic Pilot (1980), David Frenchís Jitters (1980), Sharon Pollockís Blood Relations (1983), Warren Gravesí The Last Real Summer (1985), and Allan Strattonís Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii.

Due to a large accumulated deficit, the company suspended operations in 1988. Another company attempted to rise from the ashes - The New Bastion, which operated for about five years. The company's venue, the McPherson, now serves as a rental house.

Source: Robert G. Lawrence. ďBastion Theatre Company,Ē The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.

Last updated 2006-05-10