People have been performing stories on these lands since time immemorial. Theatre Museum Canada is honoured to be working on what were and are the ancestral lands of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Anishinabek Nation, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
We invite the world to explore and be inspired by the past, present and future of Canadian theatre.
Our vision is a Canada that values all shared expressions of theatre by all people as essential and enriching elements in our social fabric.
We acknowledge that humans created the unique and powerful art of theatre to connect and uplift our lives and have been performing stories on these lands since time immemorial.
We are guided by our theatre roots to be collaborative, resourceful and creative in presenting memorable experiences for our audiences.
We are proud of the rich and diverse racial, cultural and linguistic theatrical heritage in our country.
We are a meeting place for all viewpoints and perspectives, to share stories of our humanity that enlighten our audiences.
We define theatre in a broad sense to be inclusive of all professional and amateur performing arts and theatrical events such as Ballet, Circus, Dance, Magic, Mime, Opera, Puppetry, Review, Street Theatre, Theatre, and Vaudeville.
A Brief History
It all began in Vancouver in 1982 when Theatre Research in Canada (then called Theatre History in Canada) recognized the need for a theatre museum. The idea was championed by a few key people, including producer/director/designer Jean Roberts, and the drama critic for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Herbert Whittaker.
A feasibility study followed. The Canadian Museums Project, funded by the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, had the support of Ann Saddlemyer (chair), Jim Aikens, Curtis Barlow, Guy Beaulne, Jean-Cleo Godin, Anthony Ibbotson, John Lindsay, Richard Plant, Jean Roberts, Ross Stuart, William Taylor, Anton Wagner and Herbert Whittaker. Bilingual questionnaires were sent across Canada, achieving favourable conclusions. When Ms. Roberts’ health prevented her from continuing, ‘Herbie’ took on in the lead role.
In 1991 The Theatre Museum Corporation, was established. Its mandate was to collect, document, preserve, study, display and interpret the heritage of theatre in Canada, and to enhance the public appreciation of the historical context of theatre in Canada.
Many people, devoted to the concept of the Theatre Museum, have served on the board and volunteered their time over the ensuing years.
While a physical site is still in the future, Theatre Museum Canada has enlisted the support of key members of the theatrical community and continues to gain momentum and enlarge its collection. It has also evolved with the times, recognizing the value of a virtual site, which can bring together the theatrical experiences of each region in the country.
Today our activities include recording our Legend Library of oral histories and programming an entertaining and informative series of speakers’ panels that enlighten our audience about the people and events behind the creative processes of the performing arts in Canada. We are also committed to caring properly for our collection of donated artifacts, and upgrading this website so that it can best serve the curiosity of theatre students, professionals and enthusiasts. And we are planning for the day when we have a year-round home for our exhibitions and educational programming.