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Ottawa Little Theatre

Venue/company in Ottawa, Ontario, one of Canada's oldest continuing community theatres. The company has been producing plays since 1913, when it was known as the Ottawa Drama League. It has produced 1000 plays in 100 years, and was the original home of the Dominion Drama Festival.

In 1970, a fire destroyed the original venue, and a beautifully designed house, with 510 seats and specific to OLT's use, was subsequently built near the heart of the city.

OLT is a non-professional community theatre which now stages nine productions per year (September through May), each running for eighteen performances. In summer, a musical is staged at the house.

Active in the theatre community at large, the company also offers a school and the well-known Canadian One Act Playwriting Competition. Playwrights who have won it include Ken Mitchell, Robertson Davies and Joanna McClelland Glass. It also rents costumes from its wardrobe department.

Until recently, it has never been assisted by government at any level (and now only minimally), and is almost entirely supported by members, patrons and subscribers. Plays, aimed at the community the company serves and usually representing mainstream fare, are chosen by a board led by a president (the present president is Geoff Gruson) and guided by a play reading committee of five or six members (made up of people from the board, a former board member, a subscriber and a technical person).

Notable among the many who have had ties to the house are comedian Rich Little, photographer Yousuf Karsh and the Earl of Bessborough's son, Lord Duncannon.

In 1916, the OLT presented its first Canadian play: The Suffragist by Donald Guthrie. Its production of Robertson Davies Eros at Breakfast toured to the Edinburgh Drama Festival in 1949. In 1967 OLT commissioned and produced The Centennial Play by notable playwrights Robertson Davies, W.O Mitchell, Arthur Murphy, and Yves Theriault. Other Canadian productions include The Drawer Boy in 2013.

Reading: Iris Winston. Staging a Legend. Creative Bound Inc, 1997.

Website: www.ottawalittletheatrecom

Information provided by Brad MacKinlay and Alvina Ruprecht.

Last updated 2021-07-15