In 1979 four women got together because they wanted to make theatre. It seems simple but in reality the very act in itself was political. Our stages were not only dominated by male playwrights but the new Canadian play itself was an anomaly. Now, forty years later our voices are heard across the country and around the world. It is with immense pride that we celebrate Nightwood’s legacy of propelling the voice of women on our stages and for making such a significant contribution to the canon.
In considering Nightwood’s place on the Canadian theatre landscape we must remember the shoulders we stand on and the path that has been carved by so many that have come before. From our founders Cynthia Grant, Kim Renders, Mary Vingoe and Maureen White who launched the dream, to Kate Lushington who succeeded as the Artistic Director in the late eighties and made it her mission to create more inclusion on our stages with the likes of Djanet Sears and Monique Mojica seeing some of their earliest work at Nightwood. We salute Artistic Directors Diane Roberts and Alisa Palmer who continued to push that conversation forward. And now, as we pen this message a new chapter unfolds again for Nightwood as the torch is passed from Kelly to Andrea, and the stage is set to build on our current success and push further the boundaries of what our theatre can mean for the next generation.
Nightwood has achieved an immense amount of growth since we were a fledgling company in the late 70s, and this resilience is a testament to all of the Administrators who steered the dream while balancing the budget. Let’s not forget their magnificent contribution. The rock on which Beth now stands has been built by all who came before her, as they tirelessly searched for money to make manifest the dream. And lest we forget the myriad of staff, volunteers and interns who have also contributed selflessly to our mission, alongside our board members, donors and funders who have invested in the company and the voices it has raised – this success is yours as well!
Finally, at its very essence, theatre is the artist and their audience. This beautiful act of storytelling, as we sit in communion with one another, is the most vital relationship we can uphold and we must protect it, for it represents our most basic human need. Connection. The artists within our 40th season are a collection of brilliant voices that have a deep-seated desire to share their work and worldview with you, in the dark, together.
Thank you for being here. For those who have been on the journey all along and those who are brand new to us, we are blessed to share our story together.
Kelly Thornton – Artistic Director Emeritus
Andrea Donaldson – Artistic Director
Beth Brown – Managing Director