Stage Door News

Hamilton: Theatre Aquarius appoints Mary Francis Moore as its new Artistic Director

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Theatre Aquarius is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Francis Moore as Artistic Director.

Moore will join Theatre Aquarius in July 2021 following the retirement of Artist Director, Ron Ulrich. A multi-award winning actor, director, dramaturge and educator, Moore is currently Associate Artistic Director of The Charlottetown Festival and Artistic Curator of the Junior International Children’s Festival at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.

With extensive experience in the development of new Canadian musicals, her work has been seen on stages across Canada, including Theatre Aquarius, where most recently, she directed Hairspray: The Broadway Musical in 2019. Previously she directed You Fancy Yourself by Maja Ardal and as a playwright brought her hit play Bittergirl to the Theatre Aquarius stage. Bittergirl: The Musical, co-written with Annabel Fitzsimmons and Alison Lawrence, was the most produced Canadian musical in 2017. She has also taught at the Theatre Aquarius School.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Hamilton. I have a rich history not only with the theatre but with the city itself,” said Moore. “My parents live here and both of my brothers live, work and raise their families here. There is a vitality and creative energy in Hamilton that I can’t wait to become a part of.” Over the past 25 years, Moore has created an exciting array of innovative, imaginative and commercially successful programming. She is a champion of new play development and has mentored many young artists. Inclusion and cultivating a healthy, respectful workplace is at the core of her working philosophy and artistic leadership. Moore believes that inclusion means welcoming all artists and audiences into spaces by dismantling systemic barriers.

As an original company member of Montreal’s Theatre 50/50, she championed barrier-free theatre. In 2016, with Mi’kmaq artist Nick Huard and Mohawk carver Watio Splicer, she co-created and facilitated the Canada 150 Dream Catchers Project, a series of cross country workshops for youth that explored the effects of colonization. The Confederation Centre of the Arts theatrical production, full of the music, dance, and stories inspired by these workshops, toured across Canada in 2017.

“Theatre has always been a place for me to create stories and expand my community,” Moore noted. “As Artistic Director, I look forward to cultivating relationships, listening to stories, and ensuring that the theatre is a creative hub for the entire community of Hamilton.”

“We are delighted to welcome Mary Francis Moore as the new Artistic Director of Theatre Aquarius,” said Annette Hamm, Chair of the Theatre Aquarius Board of Directors. “Our rigorous and extensive search process involved dozens of very talented and impressive theatre professionals from across Canada. We look forward to working with Mary Francis. Her values, talent and leadership will shape Theatre Aquarius’ artistic vision, opening the doors to new collaborations with local artists and communities.”

Mary Francis Moore will join Theatre Aquarius on July 5, 2021.

Theatre Aquarius is the only professional theatre company in the City of Hamilton and a leader in the arts sector. Celebrating its 48th year, Theatre Aquarius serves the Hamilton, Niagara, Halton, Brant area and is the largest theatre in the Niagara region after the Shaw Festival. A growing performing arts cultural hub located in the heart of downtown Hamilton, Theatre Aquarius also offers a range of education, artistic and professional development programs, with a special focus on reaching diverse communities and vulnerable youth.

Photo: Mary Francis Moore.