Studio headshot of Andrea Donaldson.

Nightwood Theatre announces Andrea Donaldson as new Artistic Director

Nightwood Theatre’s Board of Directors and Search Committee are thrilled to announce the appointment of Andrea Donaldson as our new Artistic Director!

Andrea has been the Director of Nightwood’s Write From The Hip Play Development Program since 2014. With nearly 20 years of professional experience, she has been a vibrant presence in Toronto’s theatre scene. She has worked as a playwright, actor, and producer, but most significantly, she has focused her career on Directing and Artistic Direction with a strong emphasis on new play development and nurturing women’s voices. Select directing credits include Grace by Jane Doe (Nightwood Theatre in association with Crows Theatre), Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells) by Rose Napoli (Nightwood in association with Crow’s Theatre), and Quiver by Anna Chatterton (Nightwood Theatre).

The Search Committee, comprised of Board members and artists, were pleased to review 50 applications and, following a rigorous interview process, are excited to share the announcement of Andrea’s appointment. Thank you to our Search Committee members: Susan Hodkinson (Chair), Karon Bales, Audrey Dwyer, Diane Flacks, Sharlene Kanhai, Andrew Moodie, Barbara Moses and Caroline Ursulak!

“Nightwood is in a healthy and inspiring place, and we had an impressive slate of applicants and interviewees. We needed someone who would take the helm smoothly and with fearless feminist vision and boldness. Times call for a decisive feminist and artistic voice and Andrea has both. Andrea also uniquely knows the company from many angles, including her history with the Write From The Hip program. Her work speaks for itself, she’s well-connected and regarded in the community, and she’s ready and raring to take Nightwood from strength to strength.”
– Diane Flacks, writer/director of Unholy (and a member of the Search Committee that hired Kelly Thornton as Nightwood Theatre’s Artistic Director in 2001!)

“Passion. Determination. A commitment to diversity. A commitment to inclusiveness. A willingness to listen. A willingness to learn. An ambitious vision for the theatre and for the future of North America’s finest feminist theatre. All of these things make Andrea absolutely perfect.”
– Andrew Moodie, actor

“Nightwood was founded with the objective of carving out a space that did not exist for Canadian female artists. I am grateful to this legacy and am devoted to extending its reach, carrying Nightwood into its vision as a world-renowned cultural centre; as the essential home for the creation of extraordinary theatre by female-identifying artists, and as Canadian theatre’s most inclusive and intersectional space of empowerment and opportunity. I am committed to producing stunning works that speak to the pressing concerns of our time: reflecting the diversity of our city and our country, with the deep value that how we make something is as important as what we make.”
– Artistic Director Designate Andrea Donaldson

“I am thrilled that Andrea Donaldson will be joining us as our new Artistic Director. Her dedication and experience in the theatre industry is admirable and I look forward to the new perspective that she will bring to the organization. I have had the pleasure of experiencing Andrea’s work as a dramaturge and a director over the past five years at Nightwood. She has the talent, determination and drive and is someone who shares the values of the organization and is ready to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.”
– Nightwood Managing Director Beth Brown

“Andrea is a passionate and intelligent artist and I am inspired by her vision. It is simply thrilling to see her long-standing dedication to the company now propel her to this position. She is poised for great success.”
– Kelly Thornton, who will remain Nightwood’s AD until April 30, 2019.

Nightwood Theatre sends huge congratulations to Andrea, who will take up her new position in May 2019, and who is currently traveling in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with her husband Rob Baker and their son Theo until the end of February!

Click here for the full press release.

Andrea was born and raised in Toronto, attending Claude Watson School for the Arts from grade four to grade thirteen, and then travelled out west to The School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, generator of such companies as Vancouver’s Boca Del Lupo and Theatre Replacement. Her years of interdisciplinary training synthesized into a practice that included devising, performing and directing new works for the stage. Upon resettling in Toronto, she found work partners in Theatre Gargantua, The Blyth Festival, Theatre Direct, and the Urge Collective, as well as a fortuitous meet-up with now long-time-collaborator Governor General Award-winning playwright Erin Shields.

For the last decade, Donaldson has been almost exclusively developing and directing new works for the stage. This naturally led to a relationship with Tarragon Theatre, where in 2012, Andrea was offered the role of Assistant/Associate Artistic Director. During her four seasons at Tarragon, she directed three season shows and contributed to the development of dozens of new Canadian plays. In 2014, she took on the role of Program Director for Nightwood Theatre’s Write From The Hip – a unit for exceptional emerging playwrights, in which she developed Rose Napoli’s Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells) and Grace by Jane Doe, Nightwood’s most recent production.

Donaldson’s directing credits include Grace by Jane Doe (Nightwood Theatre in association with Crow’s Theatre), Rosamund Small’s TomorrowLove (University of Waterloo), A Beautiful View by Daniel MacIvor (Festival Players, Prince Edward Country), Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival), Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare in the Ruff), Beverley Cooper’s Janet Wilson Meets the Queen (Great Canadian Theatre Company), Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information (RCPA), Arun Lakra’s Sequence (Tarragon Theatre), Chelsea Woolley’s These Peaceable Kingdoms (NTS), Erin Shields’ Soliciting Temptation (Tarragon Theatre), Erin Shields’ A Beautiful Man (Summerworks), Deaf collective Spill Propogation’s Une Parcelle de moi… (Espace René-Provost, Gatineau), Elena Belyea’s Cleave (NTS), Adam Underwood’s Tyumen Then (Toronto Fringe), and the following Dora-nominated projects: Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells) by Rose Napoli (Nightwood in association with Crow’s Theatre), Quiver by Anna Chatterton (Nightwood Theatre), Anna Chatterton’s Governor General-nominated Within the Glass (Tarragon Theatre), Erin Shields’ Mistatim (Red Sky Performance), Meagan O’Shea’s The Atomic Weight of Happiness (Theatre Direct), Maev Beaty and Erin Shields’ Montparnasse (Theatre Passe Muraille), Jason Long’s Offensive Fouls (Theatre Direct), and Erin Shields’ The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski (National tour).

Andrea was invited into The Stratford Festival’s Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction assisting Chris Abraham on The Matchmaker and Othello, and was honoured with Stratford’s Jean Gascon Award for Direction. She won Best Director Award – International Youth Drama Month – Shenzhen, China for Mistatim, which has played to over 500,000 children internationally. Andrea has been nominated twice each for the Pauline McGibbon Award, the John Hirsch Directing Award and the Gina Wilkinson Award, and has received a Dora Award for Outstanding Performance & Outstanding Production for performing in the Urge Collective collaboration of And By the Way, Miss (Theatre Direct).

Andrea is driven to create arresting works that expose private moments in a public fashion, most often using her voice to illuminate underrepresented voices and perspectives. Her directing has been described by critics as “sensitive,” “visually stunning,” “hilarious,” “thrilling,” “whip-smart,” “sublime,” and “bold.”

Andrea has been a regular guest director and coach at the National Theatre School of Canada, was a guest director with the 2018 Soulpepper Academy, and has mentored dozens of up-and-coming artists in the city. She is married to comedian Rob Baker (Second City/Baroness Von Sketch/writer for CBC’s Workin’ Moms), and mother to ten-year old mathematician/pianist Theodore Fitz. 

Photo of Andrea Donaldson by Dahlia Katz.

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