Theatre Plus

Theatre Plus was a Toronto company founded in 1973 by Polish refugee Marion André [Czerniecki] and dedicated to political and socially significant theatre.

Theatre Plus

Theatre Plus was a Toronto company founded in 1973 by Polish refugee Marion André [Czerniecki] and dedicated to political and socially significant theatre. Located in the 500-seat Town Hall of the St Lawrence Centre (now the Jane Mallett Theatre), it presented a summer season of 4 plays, and between 1981 and 1986 an additional January production. Under playwright/director André the plays were selected primarily from the postwar European repertoire (Anouilh, Dürrenmatt, Orton, Griffiths) with some pertinent American choices (Williams, Miller, Guare, Rabe). The company had less success with its few Canadian originals. From July 1985 to November 1989 Malcolm Black was artistic director, introducing a more marked British flavour in the annual balance of European, American and Canadian plays.

Patricia Collins was memorable in Hugh Whitemore's English spy drama Pack of Lies (1986) and Roly Hewgill poignant in Joanna Glass's Canadian tragedy Play Memory (1987). Black was succeeded by the SHAW FESTIVAL's youthful Duncan McIntosh who took the company in new directions for its final four seasons (1989-93), putting together a basic ensemble of actors and initially playing in repertory on a unit set. The name was adjusted to Theatre Plus Toronto.

Landmark productions included Lanford Wilson's Burn This; Shaw's Saint Joan; Neil Munro's high-tech reworking of Hamlet; an elegant Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams; the daring Bal, a French dance-mime without dialogue; and a Canadian musical, Leslie Arden's The House of Martin Guerre. Finally defeated by a half-million-dollar deficit, the recession and a cost-saving move to the less familiar Premiere Dance Theatre at Harbourfront, the company folded in mid-season 1993, after 20 years.