Stage Door News

Toronto: Mirvish will dim the marquee lights of the Royal Alex to honour Marti Maraden

Friday, September 1, 2023

Mirvish Productions mourns the passing of Marti Maraden, one of Canada’s greatest actors, directors, and teachers, who died from a sudden illness on August 31, 2023, while visiting Sweden. She was 78 years old.

As an actor, Marti performed twice at the Royal Alexandra Theatre: In 1984 opposite Heath Lamberts in the Shaw Festival production of Cyrano de Bergerac, and in 1987 as Nancy in The Women, also a Shaw Festival production.

She also directed the Mirvish Productions/Manitoba Theatre Centre co-production of Calendar Girls, which played the Royal Alexandra in 2011.

To honour Marti’s tremendous contributions to the theatre, the company will dim the lights of the Royal Alexandra upon the first performance of the start of the new season — Saturday, September 23 at 8 pm, for the Toronto premiere of the musical SIX.

“Marti was a brilliant actor,” said David Mirvish. “Her performances were luminous, captivating and vividly alive. She was elegant and lovely with a beautiful voice. You could not take your eyes off her.

"Because of her rich experiences as an actor and a teacher of theatre performance, she became a very sensitive director, attuned to the needs of other actors.”

Born in the United States, Marti came to Canada in 1968 with her then husband, actor Frank Maraden, to avoid the Vietnam War draft. They both became members of the Stratford Festival in 1974.

Marti quickly became one of the festival’s stars, a standout in both Shakespeare and other classics. She spent 18 seasons at the festival, both as an actor and director. In 2008, she had a short tenure as co-artistic director of the festival.

She was a member of the Shaw Festival company for seven seasons.

Prior to this she was artistic director of the National Arts Centre from 1997 until 2016.

Marti also directed at major theatres across Canada and the United States.

Photo: Marti Maraden, © 2023 Mirvish Productions, Ann Baggley; Marti Maraden as Roxanne and Heath Lamberts as Cyrano in the Shaw Festivall’s Cyrano de Bergerac. © 1982 David Cooper.