Stage Door News

Toronto: Funding cuts shutter Theatre Ontario

Thursday, October 3, 2019

October 3, 2019
Toronto, Ontario


The Theatre Ontario Board of Directors very reluctantly announces the impending closure of the organization, pending a vote of members.

This is a very difficult recommendation for the Board to make, as it means shutting down an arts service organization that has a 48-year history of supporting the theatre and arts communities of Ontario.

It also means a permanent layoff of our staff, Brandon Moore and Raeburn Ferguson, who are Theatre Ontario’s backbone and heart and who have gone above and beyond to make the organization function at a high level. Their leadership, creativity, professionalism and energy has been exemplary. We applaud their commitment to our members and to the artistic community across Ontario.

Theatre Ontario’s financial situation has deteriorated over the past several years. The final blow was the substantial cuts in the provincial government’s funding to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) that included an 8% decrease to Theatre Ontario’s operating grant and the outright and immediate cancellation of funding for the Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) and the Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP). We recognize that making these cuts was difficult for the OAC, and we appreciate their support over many years.

All Theatre Ontario programs that are currently in process – including Next Generation Showcase 2020, Festival 2020, and Adjudicator Professional Development – are under review.


In accordance with the Canada Corporations Act and the Theatre Ontario bylaws, a special meeting of members will take place on Saturday, October 26 at 11am. The purpose of the meeting is to consider a resolution to be put forward by the Board of Directors to wind down the organization. Members can participate in-person at the Theatre Ontario offices at 401 Richmond St., Toronto, Suite 350 or using teleconference technology. The meeting will be open only to members of Theatre Ontario whose membership was purchased or renewed prior to September 26, 2019. Specific instructions will be distributed separately to all eligible voting members by October 16.


Theatre Ontario was incorporated in 1971 and immediately filled the gap created by the demise of the Dominion Drama Festival and Theatre Canada, to serve the needs of the professional, amateur and educational theatre scene across Ontario. Its programs and services have included the Professional Theatre Training Program, the Youth Theatre Training Program, Next Generation Showcase, Theatre Ontario Festival, the Talent Bank, the Summer Theatre Intensive, and many more.

The Board of Directors regrets that this decision was necessary. Further updates will be posted as needed.