louise-pitre

Louise Pitre is shown performing in Kristina in 2009. She is a founding member of new Toronto theatre collective devoted to musical theatre. ((Boneau/Bryan-Brown/Carol Rosegg/Associated Press))

A new musical theatre company launched in Toronto on Thursday aims to bring more Canadian musicals to the stage.

Theatre 20, an artist-run collective that includes stars such as Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!), Colm Wilkinson (Les Misérables) and Ma-Anne Dionisio (Miss Saigon), aims to increase opportunities for Canadian talent close to home so artists don't have to always head to the U.S. to continue working.

Mirvish Productions has agreed to let the company use the Panasonic Theatre in downtown Toronto for its shows.

Modelled on Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre, the company will be artist-led and artist-driven, artistic director Adam Brazier said at a news conference Thursday.

Brazier, who starred in Mamma Mia! on Broadway and The Rocky Horror Show in Toronto, was elected artistic director by his fellow artists. Other founding members include Dan Chameroy (Beauty and the Beast), Tamara Bernier Evans (Mimi/Pélagie ) and associate producer Michael Rubinstein.

Among Theatre 20's first projects could be an English-language version of Les Belles-Soeurs, which was a hit in Quebec.

The group plans to stage its first production in 2012.