Stage Door News

Toronto: Robin Whiffen becomes Against the Grain Theatre’s first Executive Director

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Against the Grain Theatre’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Robin Whiffen will become the organization’s first Executive Director, effective September 16, 2019.

An arts administrator and performer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Robin Whiffen spent the past three seasons with Opera on the Avalon, most recently in the role of General Manager. Inspired by a lifelong love of music, Ms. Whiffen is passionate about creating meaningful collaborative partnerships within the arts community, allowing audiences to see their full potential reflected through the power of opera. 

Ms. Whiffen is a Master of Business Administration candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland and holds a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from The University of Toronto. In 2017, she represented at the OPERA America Leadership Intensive in New York City and has been invited to speak across Canada in her capacity as an arts administrator and advocate of the operatic art form. 

Ms. Whiffen is joins Against the Grain as Executive Director in partnership with Founder & Artistic Director Joel Ivany, AtG staff and the Board of Directors: contributing to the continued growth and development of Against the Grain's artistic portfolio.

According to Against the Grain Theatre Board Chair Heather Legg, “We are thrilled to have Robin join AtG as its first Executive Director. She was the clear choice after an intense national search process that included many qualified candidates. Robin impressed the search committee with her strong leadership, thoughtfulness and clear ideas for realizing AtG’s strategic vision of making art and opera a thriving part of our community. We are excited to welcome her to AtG’s excellent team.”

"I am excited to join Against the Grain as Executive Director,” Robin shared.  “I look forward to working in collaboration with Joel, the AtG Collective and the Board of Directors to continue to push the boundaries of the operatic art form, allowing audiences to see themselves reflected on stage through the power of the human voice."

After three years as General Manager, Jonathan MacArthur transitions into a new role in the organizational collective as the Digital Marketing Manager: committing to the growing online presence of Against the Grain Theatre. In other company related moves, Miriam Khalil, previously serving as an Artistic Advisor will now assume the role of Associate Artistic Director.  She will continue to be heavily involved in casting and her quiet influence over the artistic direction of the company will now take on a more public position. Lastly, Shirley Neuman joins the collective as Government Relations. Having previously served on the Board of Directors for Against the Grain Theatre, Shirley’s years of expert grant writing has been pivotal to Against the Grain Theatre’s growth and programmatic success.

For more information, please visit AtG online at