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Toronto Free Theatre

Company in Toronto, Ontario, founded in 1971 by John Palmer, Martin Kinch, and Tom Hendry as a legitimate free theatre. TFT was absorbed into Canadian Stage in 1988 when the latter was co-founded by the TFT's last director Guy Sprung.

It started as a house specializing in aggressive and often transgressive theatre like John Palmer's The End, Martin Kinch's April 29, 1975, Hrant Alaniak's Passion and Sun, and Michael Hollingsworth's Clear Light. Performances were originally presented at Hart House Theatre.

The company's Policy Statement was clear: "...To provide, eventually, a milieu in which talented newcomers can learn and work. A School. A place of growth. An opportunity."

The company put out an impressive number of new works in the initial seasons until overtaken by exhaustion and fiscal reality. In 1976, it offered a subscription season. When Sprung took over in 1981, the company had broadened its mandate and presented works from the world repertory, including Waiting for Godot and In the Jungle of Cities, as well as maintaining an ongoing relationship with Canadian writers, actors and directors including Paul Gross, Anne Chislett, Clare Coulter, Fiona Reid, Jackie Burroughs and Michael Hogan among many others.

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

Last updated 2021-01-11