This is where the story begins. Originally built in 1875, the Opera House is located on the second floor of the Orangeville Town Hall.
More than one hundred years later, The Opera House was fully restored—and a dream was born.
Founded by Jim Betts, Theatre Orangeville is established as a fully professional summer theatre, incorporated, with charitable status.
Together with the Orangeville Banner, we released a commemorative publication to mark the occasion entitled “Let the Show Begin”.
Featuring a message from Betts, articles on the Young Company, the restoration of the theatre, and more, this edition is a treasured artifact in our history.
The Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers (TOYS) launched! TOYS has been bringing young people together to bask in the joy of choral singing ever since.
One highlight, not too long after its founding, was when the TOYS of 1997 sang with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat star Donny Osmond in the Toronto production.
A magical year of change. We welcomed new Artistic Director David Nairn.
We also transitioned from a summer theatre to a regional theatre, programming our season from September through May.
We established our New Play Development Fund, which solidified funding for one of our core mission tenets: develop and showcase original Canadian works.
We partnered with our friends at Community Living Dufferin on several major projects: the Creative Partners on Stage Program and the Dream Factory (more on that later!).
Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS) is a theatre program designed specifically for adults with neuro-diversities.
The actors work with our directors and choreographers to develop two original scripts each year, fully supported by our professional production team and the accredited support workers of Community Living Dufferin.
There is nothing quite like C.P.O.S. anywhere in Canada and it happens here at your theatre!
We partnered with our friends at Dufferin Child & Family Services to establish the Theatre Orangeville Exceptional Players (TOEP) program.
TOEP is a skills-based theatre program using theatre games, music and improv for youth with neuro-diversities.
Two major events happened in 2010:
The Dream Factory opened—complete with our new rehearsal hall, workshop, and storage facility. Finally, we had everything under one roof, and a permanent home for our Academy programming.
The front of the building serves as Community Living Dufferin's home.
In the middle of the building, we have our beautiful rehearsal hall (which doubles as a black box theatre!) and a green room. This is where the magic happens when we are rehearsing a new show, running our Academy programs, or developing new works.
At the back of the building, we have our workshop and storage. That's where we make all of our sets (and sets for other theatres!). We also store costumes and props for future shows.
We also launched our Playwright-in-Residency program. With this program, we took our commitment to developing new Canadian works to the next level.
Funded by Canadian Heritage, we completely renovated the theatre and lobby with a focus on accessibility, high-efficiency lighting, and improved functionality.
First, we removed everything. Like a good spring cleaning, but... more.
Next, we built the new bones of the theatre. Hello wheelchair-accessible ramped floor; hello LED fixtures (we replaced over 90% of the incandescent instruments!); hello back rows with phenomenal visibility of the stage.
Finally—skipping hundreds of steps in between the previous step and now—we arrived at our current theatre. Beautiful, functional, and accessible... isn't she gorgeous? 😍
We collaborated with our local women's shelter, Family Transition Place, and 12 community members to present Rage Against Violence.
Rage Against Violence, written by Gary Kirkham & Dwight Storring, is a powerful, poignant performance offering a theatrical glimpse into the real-life stories of women who have experienced domestic violence.
We want to credit Women’s Crisis Service of Waterloo Region as the original commissioning agency.
The year of youth-powered goodness. We re-invigorated our Theatre for Young Audiences show, touring professional theatre into over 20 schools.
In fact, Peter Pan won the Creative Cultural Event of the Year award at the Mayor's Breakfast for the Arts!
In the Toronto Fringe Festival's first-ever partnership outside of the Greater Toronto Area, we launched FRINGEnorth(519). Two brilliant plays, at two fantastic venues, in two marvellous, theatre-filled days.
In celebration of our 25th year, we created the largest-scale production in Theatre Orangeville history.
The phenomenal cast included actors from the Young Company, the Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS) program, local actors, aspiring actors, and professional actors together on the same stage for the first time in the theatre’s 25-year history. Joining the cast were members of the Orangeville Show Chorus.
With a stunning set designed by Brian Ball, Jennifer Lennon’s beautiful lighting design, and stunning costumes by Wendi Speck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream transformed the waterfront amphitheatre at Island Lake Conservation Area.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime production on a massive scale: a 24-person cast, a 30-person choir, and a giant 60-foot outdoor stage.
This production celebrated the community, and was only made possible by the incredible level of community collaboration.
An excellent example of the communal effort to create this show: the 800+ mushrooms in the fairy ring were hand-painted by cast, crew, and community members at the Orangeville Farmer’s Market over four weeks.
Over the course of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we produced over 20 virtual productions and programs. Yes. Not even a global health crisis could stop us from making world-class theatre.
While many theatres hit pause, Theatre Orangeville’s team pivoted and immediately started thinking: “If we can’t have our community come to the theatre, how can we bring the theatre to our community?”
We brought new talent to our team and explored multiple ways to deliver the same artistic excellence to our community in the safety of their own homes.
After 585 days without a live audience, we launched a sensational summer series of one-man plays.
Featuring Mark Crawford in Chase the Ace and Cassel Miles in Josiah, our summer series was safely held outdoors at the beautiful Mount Alverno Luxury Resorts.
Distanced, masked, and outside, with rapid-tested performers—we brought live theatre back to Dufferin County in a safe, responsible way.
Thanks, COVID. We took what we learned from the first year of the pandemic and decided it would be good idea to future-proof.
The result? StageTOScreen. Combining theatre-on-demand and live-streaming productions, StageTOScreen embraces the hybrid approach we perfected over the pandemic.
- Able to join us in-person? Watch our world-class shows in the theatre.
- Unable to join us in-person? Watch our world-class shows live from home.
- Wanna watch theatre? Watch on-demand at anytime, from anywhere.
If that ain’t magic, we don’t know what is.