Our Story

Nightwood Theatre marks its 40th season in 2019-20. As Canada’s foremost feminist theatre, Nightwood provides an essential home for the creation of extraordinary theatre by women. Founded in 1979, Nightwood Theatre has created and produced award-winning plays that have garnered Dora Mavor Moore, Chalmers, Trillium and Governor General’s awards. The company is helmed by Artistic Director Andrea Donaldson and Managing Director Beth Brown, whose leadership has received public acclaim for artistic excellence, the successful training and development of emerging female talent, and its ongoing activism around gender equity.

Nightwood Theatre is the oldest professional women’s theatre company in Canada. Founded in 1979 by Cynthia Grant, Kim Renders, Mary Vingoe and Maureen White, Nightwood has produced, developed and toured landmark, award-winning plays by and about Canadian women. Nightwood’s risk-taking approach has lead to the creation of plays as diverse as Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by the acclaimed playwright and novelist Ann-Marie MacDonald (Canadian tour and Chalmers, Governor General’s and Trillium Awards), Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears (Dora, Chalmers and Governor General’s Awards) and Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots by Monique Mojica (currently in curricula for Aboriginal Studies across North America), The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God by Djanet Sears, The Danish Play by Sonja Mills, China Doll by Marjorie Chan, Cast Iron by Lisa Codrington and Wild Dogs by Anne Hardcastle, among others. 

In addition Nightwood initiated The Groundswell Festival, (now in its 28th year) which is Canada’s national play development program for new works by women, and FemCab, Nightwood’s notorious annual celebration of International Women’s Day. In November 2003, Nightwood founded Hysteria, an annual multi-disciplinary festival of women’s work (co-produced with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). It also initiated Write from the Hip, a youth training program for novice playwrights (now in its 14th year) and introduced in 2004, Busting Out! a theatre program for teen girls ages 12-16.

In 2009/10 we celebrated our 30th anniversary at Nightwood Theatre with the largest season ever produced in our history. As the artistic centre-piece we produced the 4x4 Festival: An Off Road Event of Women Directors in November 2009. The festival had multiple components spanning the entire month: we produced or presented four mainstage productions spotlighting four exciting female directors, hosted an inter/national Directors Summit welcoming 150 delegates from across the country and around the world to master classes, panels, showcases, networking and creative exchange. In the past decade, the company has successfully transitioned from a small alternative company, to a mid-sized company that floats between its independent roots and the mainstream theatre world.



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