Toronto Gets a New Resident Troupe, The Company

News   Toronto Gets a New Resident Troupe, The Company A new resident professional theatre, The Company Theatre, will launch in Toronto in early 2005, offering the Canadian premiere of Tom Murphy's A Whistle in the Dark.

The new troupe is led by artistic directors Allan Hawco and Philip Riccio, artistic producer Monica Esteves and producer Diane Mugford. According to the Oct. 14 announcement of the group's mission and upcoming production, "The Company Theatre is committed to producing relevant and evocative Canadian and international theatre, led by guest directors of the play's origin, creating rich tapestries that authentically mirror our Canadian cultural identities while providing a forum for innovative, bold, new challenges for Toronto theatre artists and audiences. Fostering collaborative relationships with theatre companies and artists, The Company Theatre will create a platform for more extensive cross-cultural works, regardless of language barriers or cultural differences usually limited to dance and visual art mediums."

With that mission in mind, the company invited celebrated Irish director Jason Byrne to direct A Whistle in the Dark. Byrne is winner of the Ford Sunday Independent Spirit of Life Award, directed over 20 acclaimed productions at the Abbey Theatre (The National Theatre of Ireland, where he is staff director). He is the artistic director of his own company, Loose Canon Theatre, for which he directed Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Coriolanus, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi and The Spanish Tragedy.

"The Company Theatre is a new company created by three of Toronto’s successful, young theatre professionals in response to a deeply-felt need for change in the theatre community, in our theatre institutions and their relationship with audiences and artists," according to the announcement.

Jason Byrne will direct an all-star Canadian cast featuring Joe Ziegler, Jonathan Goad, Allan Hawco, Philip Riccio, Oliver Becker, Sarah Dodd, David Jansen and Aaron Poole.

Designers are John Thompson (set and costume) and Andrea Lundy (lighting). A Whistle in the Dark is billed as "one of Ireland’s most revered plays." It's "a frenetically structured tragedy that speeds inexorably to its conclusion offering a compelling allegory of the ever-present and ever-violent consequences of nationalism and the band of family."

A Whistle in the Dark premieres at the Berkeley Street Theatre (Upstairs) Jan. 15, 2005, and continues to Feb. 6, 2005.

The Company Theatre will hold a benefit Nov. 10 at 7 PM at The Century Room, 580 King Street West, Toronto.

Hosted by CTV's Seamus O'Regan, the benefit will feature the Canadian female super group Shaye (Tara McLean, Damhnait Doyle and Kim Stockwood) among others. There will also be a money-raising auction.

Tickets to the benefit are $30 and available in advance at the T.O.Tix Booth (Dundas Square), by reservation through companytheatre@sympatico.ca.

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