Founded in 1999 by Daryl Cloran, Theatrefront’s work has garnered critical success and earned us the recognition of our peers in Canada’s independent theatre community. Our first two productions, Our Country’s Good and fforward, both received Dora Award nominations (including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction). Soon after, I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe enjoyed an extended run in Toronto due to audience demand and was remounted by the Grand Theatre (London, Ontario). Sweet Phoebe was the highest selling production at the 2000 Summerwork’s Festival and subsequently remounted at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton).
In 2003, Theatrefront launched our first international co-production. Theatrefront ensemble members travelled to Sarajevo to work with an ensemble of Bosnian actors. Together we developed RETURN (The Sarajevo Project), an international co-creation that was produced at the Sarajevo International Winter Festival and Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre. RETURN was nominated for five Dora Awards, including Outstanding Production.
In 2009, we presented the world premiere of UBUNTU (The Cape Town Project) at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. UBUNTU was a collective creation developed by members of the Theatrefront Ensemble and actors from South Africa. In 2013, we launched an extensive tour of UBUNTU across western Canada, playing at Theatre Calgary, Firehall Arts Centre (Vancouver) and venues in Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Chiliwack. From 2009-2011, we presented our most ambitious creation to date, THE MILL; a series of four new plays commissioned by Theatrefront from playwrights Matthew Macfadzean, Hannah Moscovitch, Tara Beagan and Damien Atkins. The plays all featured the same ensemble of actors and investigated Canada’s historical relationship with our First Nations people. The four plays were stand-alone evenings of theatre, but each formed part of a larger, connected narrative. The productions also played in repertory, in association with the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto. THE MILL was nominated for seven Dora Awards, winning four (including Outstanding Production).
Playwrights’ Canada Press has published THE MILL, UBUNTU and RETURN.
In July 2013, Theatrefront merged with DVxT Theatre Company. Both companies shared a similar aesthetic in terms of style, rehearsal process, production values and core storytelling. Both companies featured a collaborative process, which afforded our creative teams extended periods of time to cultivate and rehearse each work, allowing the artists to develop layered and sophisticated theatre. At the time of the merger, Theatrefront (under the direction of Daryl Cloran) and DVxT (under the direction of Vikki Anderson) had collectively produced 20 productions, received 35 Dora Nominations and 16 Dora Awards and commissioned 9 new Canadian plays.
After the merger, Vikki Anderson became the new Artistic Director of Theatrefront and she began developing three new Canadian projects with the company: SNOW by Holly Lewis, The Orange Dot by Sean Dixon and RumiNation™ a collective creation with Jesse Ash, Piotr Biernat, Andrew Shaver and Naomi Skwarna.
In 2014, we presented the Canadian premier of Nina Raine's award winning play, Tribes, in association with Canadian Stage and Theatre Aquarius featuring members of the Theatrefront founding ensemble to great critical success.
In 2015, we presented the first public performances of RumiNation™ in Toronto to a sold-out audience. In 2017, we premiered Sean Dixon's The Orange Dot in Toronto.