Looking Ahead

larry B


It’s that time of year when we put the finishing touches on our next season’s plans. Toronto Masque Theatre will be announcing its 2017-18 season plans at the World Premiere of The Man Who Married Himself (by Juliet Palmer and Anna Chatterton) next weekend. I do hope that you will join us for this very special show.

What will be different about this year’s announcement is that this past December, after much soul-searching, I came to the decision to step down as the Artistic Director of Toronto Masque Theatre at the end of next season. In consultation with my associates and the Board of Directors, we have decided that the 2017-18 season will be the company’s final season. Reflecting on the pressures of fundraising, programming and grant-writing, and observing the changing trends in Toronto’s cultural landscape, it seemed to me a logical time for such a decision. We have always operated with a very lean administrative structure, pouring the majority of our modest resources into the work that appears on our stage: hiring top-notch performers and commissioning some of the leading creative artists this country has to offer.

I look back on the past 14 seasons with nothing but pride and joy. Over close to 60 programs, we have explored a wide repertoire and, I hope, have helped to inform our audiences about the great potential that the masque art form represents, existing as it does at the intersection of the performing arts of music, dance and theatre.

I am deeply grateful to all of the creative souls who have invested their time and talent in bringing each Toronto Masque Theatre production to life. Over a decade and a half, we’ve been privileged to present some of Canada’s most beloved and dedicated artists.

What is perhaps dearest to me are the major new works that Toronto Masque Theatre commissioned from composers James Rolfe, Dean Burry, Alice Ho, Juliet Palmer, Omar Daniel and Abigail Richardson, working with some of our best writers, including André Alexis, Anna Chatterton, Marjorie Chan and Steven Heighton. I hope these pieces will enjoy a life beyond the company and, together, will stand as a uniquely Canadian repertoire of “modern masques”

And it has, of course, warmed my heart every time we have been able to program anything by that genius, Mr. Henry Purcell!

The community’s support of Toronto Masque Theatre has been overwhelming. My thanks go out to our loyal subscribers, donors, sponsors and to the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for their consistent and inspiring investments in the company.

There is one more season to come once this one concludes. And our plan is to make it an ambitious and celebratory year, the details of which will be announced next week.

In closing, I want to thank the Board of Directors of Toronto Masque Theatre and my close colleagues – Vivian Moens, Derek Boyes and Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière – for their support, counsel, friendship and tireless efforts on behalf of the company. At every turn, they have been an absolute dream to work with.

I look forward to celebrating in 2017-18. Please join us!!




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