The Theatre Museum Canada was founded by Herbert Whittaker in 1982, for the purpose of preserving and celebrating Canada’s theatrical cultural heritage. Theatre Museum Canada seeks to share the wonder of Canada’s rich theatre legacy with Canadians and theatre enthusiasts everywhere. Theatre Museum Canada is a registered Canadian cultural charity, with a volunteer board of directors, an expanding collection, engaging activities.
Theatre Museum Canada seeks to share the wonder of Canada’s rich theatre legacy with Canadians and theatre enthusiasts everywhere. Theatre Museum Canada exists to serve the theatre community of Canada by preserving and interpreting the work of nationally significant theatre artists for the Canadian public.
The museum’s honorary patron is Christopher Plummer. One of Theatre Museum Canada’s ongoing projects is the Legends Library, which consists of filmed interviews of Canadian theatre icons such as William Hutt and Robert LePage. In addition to their online exhibits, the museum tours exhibits to various venues in Toronto.
TMC believes that the legacy of the past will inspire even greater achievements in the theatre arts in the future.
It all began in Vancouver in 1982 when Theatre Research in Canada (then called Theatre History in Canada) recognized the need for a theatre museum. The idea was championed by a few key people, including producer/director/designer Jean Roberts, and the drama critic for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Herbert Whittaker.
A feasibility study followed. The Canadian Museums Project, funded by the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, had the support of Ann Saddlemyer (chair), Jim Aikens, Curtis Barlow, Guy Beaulne, Jean-Cleo Godin, Anthony Ibbotson, John Lindsay, Richard Plant, Jean Roberts, Ross Stuart, William Taylor, Anton Wagner and Herbert Whittaker. Bilingual questionnaires were sent across Canada, achieving favourable conclusions. When Ms. Roberts’ health prevented her from continuing, ‘Herbie’ took on in the lead role.
In 1991 The Theatre Museum Corporation, was established. Its mandate was to collect, document, preserve, study, display and interpret the heritage of theatre in Canada, and to enhance the public appreciation of the historical context of theatre in Canada.
Many people, devoted to the concept of the Theatre Museum, have served on the board and volunteered their time over the ensuing years.
While a physical site is still in the future, Theatre Museum Canada has enlisted the support of key members of the theatrical community and continues to gain momentum and enlarge its collection. It has also evolved with the times, recognizing the value of a virtual site, which can bring together the theatrical experiences of each region in the country.
Today our activities include recording our Legend Library of oral histories and programming an entertaining and informative series of speakers’ panels that enlighten our audience about the people and events behind the creative processes of the performing arts in Canada. We are also committed to caring properly for our collection of donated artifacts, and upgrading this website so that it can best serve the curiosity of theatre students, professionals and enthusiasts. And we are planning for the day when we have a year-round home for our exhibitions and educational programming.
When King Blue Condominiums takes its place in the Toronto skyline at the corner of King Street West and Blue Jays Way, it will house a unique component to which no other condo development in the country can lay claim — it will be home to Theatre Museum Canada.
Planning is underway for an exciting museum that will be an integral part of Canada’s theatre, past, present & future. Its 900 square metres (about 9600 square feet) will include space for dynamic exhibits, presentations and educational programming.