The Company's first season was staged at the Royal Ontario Museum and included Synge's Playboy of the Western World, Strindberg's The Father, Maugham's The Circle and O'Neill's Ah! Wilderness.
By the 1949-50 season, however, five of the Company's nine productions were Canadian and included John Coulter's Riel. The Company presented, for the first time in the provincial capital, a play from Quebec, in French: Équipe's production of Sartre's Huis Clos/No Exit (dir.Pierre Dagenais). Compagnons de Saint-Laurent would also play for the Company.
In 1956, the New Play Society expanded to include a school. But by 1960, it was relying on virtually one production to assure its survival: Spring Thaw, an annual comedy revue that always did well. In 1971, a quarter-century after its foundation, the Company's charter was laid to rest. But Dora Mavor Moore's mark on the Canada's culture was indelible, and the galvanizing effect her Company had on Canadian theatre cannot be overstated.
The artists who worked with NPS included Mavor Moore, Lorne Greene, John Drainie, Don Harron; and writers Lister Sinclair (whose play, The Man in the Blue Suit, was the first Canadian work presented there in 1947), Morley Callahan and Andrew Allan among many others.
In its heyday, critic Nathan Cohen called the company, "professional in the best sense of the word."
Profile by Gaetan Charlebois
Last updated 2020-01-14