Stage Door News

Toronto: Marjorie Chan to step down as Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre

Thursday, February 28, 2019

After six successful seasons with Cahoots Theatre, Artistic Director Marjorie Chan will step down, effective June 30th, 2019.

Appointed Artistic Director in 2013, Marjorie’s extensive association with Cahoots dates back to 1998 when she debuted in the Dora-nominated NORAN BANG: THE YELLOW ROOM. From 2006 to 2010, as Associate Artistic Director, Marjorie created Cahoots’ adaptive and dynamic outreach program, Crossing Gibraltar, a theatre training and performance program for refugees and newcomers, primarily in under-serviced neighbourhoods. Since its launch, Crossing Gibraltar has engaged hundreds of newcomers from across the city of Toronto and beyond, work for which she received a 2010 Canadian Citizen Award nomination.

As Artistic Director, accessibility has been at the forefront of Marjorie’s work, and in May of 2016, Marjorie directed Cahoots’ ground-breaking co-production of ULTRASOUND by Adam Pottle (Cahoots/Theatre Passe Muraille, May 2016). The production starred two Deaf actors and was performed in English/American Sign Language (ASL) with English captions, making it accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences. ULTRASOUND was produced in conjunction with the creation and launch of the DATT (Deaf Artists & Theatres Toolkit), a comprehensive and free online resource aimed at advancing the level of engagement and collaborations between theatre organizations and the Deaf community on and off stages.

Marjorie’s interest in the intersection of intercultural and interdisciplinary work has permeated throughout Cahoots artistic programming and operations. As the company’s artistic leader, Marjorie has passionately championed artists whose stories are rarely heard on stage, including those in alternative languages. In its 31st season, Cahoots presented performances in five different languages, including Tamil, Mandarin, Cantonese, American Sign Language, and English.

Under her leadership, artist development, mentorship, and community engagement have become the cornerstones of Cahoots’ success. In her role as Artistic Director, Marjorie has facilitated one of Cahoots’ key programs, the Hot House Creators’ Unit, where she encourages creative curiosity, artistic collaboration and idea exchange. For this work, and her work with other theatre companies, Marjorie was awarded the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Professional Theatre.

In reflecting on her time with the company, Marjorie spoke of the impact the company has had on her. “My first pay cheque with Cahoots was in 1998, so it goes without saying, that this company has been formative in my artistic career. Cahoots is a company that has always belonged to her artists. So I am grateful for all of the artists I worked with during my leadership. I learned and gained so much from every single meeting, reading, rehearsal, and production, so thank you. I will carry the experiences of these past six years as Artistic Director with me always.”

On behalf of Cahoots’ Board of Directors, Board Chair Dale Yim expressed gratitude for contributions Marjorie has made to the organization. “Marjorie’s contribution to Cahoots is immeasurable. Her presence, her generosity and her mentorship have shaped a large part of Cahoots’ current stature and trajectory. During Marjorie’s tenure with the company Cahoots has made great strides in its organizational growth and influence.  Her tireless dedication has touched countless artists, whose work and careers have developed under her mentorship; and her determined advocacy has pushed the company to new heights. The directors wish to thank Marjorie for the last six years and wish her many blessings with her next endeavours.”

Before her departure in June, Marjorie will program Cahoots’ 33rd season, scheduled to be announced in the spring of 2019.

Photo: Marjorie Chan.