Stage Door News

Toronto: Crow’s Theatre announces Sherrie Johnson as new Executive Director

Monday, January 28, 2019

It is with tremendous excitement that Crow’s Theatre announces senior arts leader and long-time producer Sherrie Johnson, most recently of Canadian Stage, will be joining Artistic Director Chris Abraham at Crow’s Theatre as Executive Director, on February 11. 

We are thrilled to welcome Sherrie to the Crow’s Theatre family, to join Chris Abraham in continuing the remarkable creative and organizational growth the company has seen since it moved into Streetcar Crowsnest two years ago,” said Crow’s TheatreBoard Chair John Duffy. “Sherrie brings a new level of experience and stature that builds upon the solid foundation of the company. She and Chris are a powerhouse team. Their transformative leadership will make an even bigger impact for Crow’s, delivering urgently contemporary theatre in Canada.” 

Sherrie Johnson comes to Crow’s from Canadian Stage, where she has been a member of the senior leadership team, serving as Executive Producer and Director of International Partnerships.  She joined Canadian Stage in 2013, where she worked closely with Artistic and General Director Matthew Jocelyn to program, produce and present up to 18 productions per season.  Sherrie has worked with leading artists from around the world including Robert Lepage, Stan Douglas, Jordan Tannahill, and Crystal Pite. As the company underwent a major executive leadership transition through the 2017-2018 season, Sherrie lead Canadian Stage in all capacities as Interim Artistic and Managing Director and Executive Producer.  In that time of transition, Johnson brought $1.1 million dollars in new funds to the company and ended the 2018 fiscal year in a surplus position. Under her guidance the company also significantly exceeded revenue targets for the 2017-2018 season.  

Prior to joining Canadian Stage, some highlights of Johnson’s three-decade artistic career include: serving as Founding Artistic Director for Outside the Box, an ambitious multi-arts festival in Boston; acting as Senior Curator at the highly esteemed PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver; programming and producing the Six Stages Festival in Toronto, Prague, Berlin, and Glasgow; producing for Germany’s internationally renowned Rimini Protokoll; and co-founding the iconic indie company da da kamera with Daniel MacIvor.  In that setting, she served as producer and general manager for 14 years, establishing an international touring network for MacIvor’s acclaimed one-man shows. Johnson also launched a film and television division for da da kamera and produced award-winning short and feature films for MacIvor, as well as for Jeremy Podeswa, Wiebke von Carolsfeld, and Srinivas Krishna. 

Joining the Crow’s Theatre family feels like home to me” comments Johnson.  “Chris Abraham is one of the most dynamic and aspirational Artistic Directors in our country. We share a similar focus and desire to be influential connectors of the people in this city, in the country and around the world through the participation and animation of the arts.  As a team, Chris and I intend to be a catalyst for an inclusive and accessible organization that champions new works, builds a holistic blueprint for the artists creating the work, and redefines our way of thinking about institutional power.   Chris and I are well-matched partners.  With the committed Board and staff at Crow’s, we have the opportunity to make a lasting impression with our far-reaching imagination, ideas, exchange, and grassroots belief in how the arts can have a societal impact.  In addition to being excited about the artistic side, I am also looking forward to embracing the city-building facets which have become part of Crow’s growth.  By expanding our relationships with our east end neighbors outside of performances, we intend to evolve Streetcar Crowsnest as a meeting point where everyone belongs, and we are known not only for robust artistic programming, but our extraordinary commitment to enhancing our community’s quality of life."  

I have been watching and admiring Sherrie’s work going back to those formative years for Toronto theatre when she and Daniel Macivor created da da kamera, “says Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director Chris Abraham. “Aside from her incredibly varied career experience that has taken her across Canada, back to the United States, and overseas, Sherrie brings a dedication to supporting artists that knows no bounds.  She sees artists deeply and she listens. Creators across the country and beyond will tell you how absolutely they trust her.  This is what gives her such stature in the Canadian arts scene.  She marries her dedication to supporting artists with the ability to realize artistic and strategic ambition.  She’s a remarkable combination of talents.”

Johnson joins Crow’s Theatre in the last few months of their 3rd season in Streetcar Crowsnest. The 2018-2019 season, like its predecessors, has already celebrated huge successes, starting with the season opener The Wolves, co-produced with The Howland Company, which landed on almost every Best of 2018 list for the year and enjoyed sell-out houses.  The season has included the acclaimed presentation of Shaw Festival’s Middletown, the provocative docu-theatre piece The Assembly (produced in partnership with Porte Parole), and runs of Damien Atkins’ We Are Not Alone (produced in partnership with Segal Centre and 2b theatre company), and Abraham’s smash-hit production of Tartuffepresented in partnership with Canadian Stage, Stratford Festival, Groundling Theatre, and David versus Goliath Productions. The company is currently touring their critically acclaimed productions True Crime starring Torquil Campbell and The Wedding Party, created by and starring long-time Crow’s collaborator Kristen Thomson. 

As Johnson joins the company, Crow’s prepares to open a World Premiere co-production with Project: Humanity, Towards Youth: A Play on Radical Hope, co-directed by Abraham and Andrew Kushnir. The 2018-2019 season wraps up with a presentation of a Modern Times Stage Company production of The Cherry Orchard directed by Soheil Parsa and starring Arsinée Khanjian.

Photo: Sherrie Johnson.