Toronto stage company Crow's Theatre, known largely for presenting new, original works and daring and provocative touring productions, is putting down roots by unveiling plans for a permanent home.
The troupe will open a 200-seat theatre at the base of a mid-rise condo Streetcar Developments is building in the east-end Leslieville neighbourhood. Estimated to cost $8 million, it is set to open in 2015.
"We just felt there was a new audience in the east end … and we know that we all have to work more to develop these new audiences," artistic director Chris Abraham told CBC's Metro Morning in an interview early Tuesday.
"We felt like we were in an ideal situation to do some of that pioneering work in the east end."
Abraham has been with Crow's Theatre, now celebrating its 30th anniversary year, for about five years. Since its founding, the troupe has presented its work on other Toronto stages and toured plays across the country and internationally.
Notable past productions include Unidentified Human Remains, High Life, Eternal Hydra and I, Claudia.
Though he's directed plays across Canada, both for Crow's Theatre and others like the Stratford Festival, Abraham said he's been seeking "something different with the company." The move comes as the overall arts community struggles with stagnating or declining government revenues, difficulty in relying on philanthropic donations and the ongoing need to grow audiences. He was also looking for somewhat of a change personally.
"The role of an artistic director is really to shepherd a meaningful conversation over time, and that's something I wanted to do — not only through my work personally, but also through the curation of work by the other artists that we'll be programming in our new facility."
In addition to staged plays, the new Crow's Theatre space will be a mixed-use facility that will host community activities, such as art classes for both adults and children. It will also be a social events space available for rent, Abraham said.