Get to know London’s theatre scene

CREDIT: FSU PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT.

Theatre in a community is important simply because it connects all of us in our humanity. It’s the place where we collectively experience something we all have in common: feelings. They may be conflicting reactions, but we all experience them. Theatre opens us up to having different perspectives, stimulates our curiosity, motivates change and can be a means of escape from the drudgery of everyday stresses. Emotion transforms into story, characters, plot, humour, anticipation. Here in London, theatre is thriving, evolving, and waiting for everyone.

Patrick Hoffer, president of London’s Music Theatre Players Company said it was working with theatre group, Musical Theatre Productions (MTP) that made him feel like he finally belonged in the city he moved to in 2019.

“I never felt like part of the greater community until I discovered MTP,” he said. “I have a new and profound sense of pride for my new city and a greater understanding of the incredible amount of talent there is here.”

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

Here is a list to get you started on your theatre journey:

The Grand Theatre (471 Richmond St.)

The Grand Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre with two stages. The Spriet Stage seats 839 people, hosts many touring and professional productions and is where the main stage performances are held. It is one of the last proscenium arch stages in Canada. The Auburn Stage space seats 144 and has a versatile black-box style configuration which perfectly suits more intimate, community and experimental theatre experiences.

The Palace Theatre Arts Commons (701 Dundas St.)

The Palace Theatre is considered the home of London Community Players, London Youth Theatre Education and London Fringe. Their aim is to motivate interest in producing work through volunteer, educational experience, and the efforts of local talent. Productions are presented by the community and for the community.

Kelli Gough Chair, Board of Directors at the Palace Theatre described the Palace as an art-deco heritage theatre which has been restored to its original look as it was in 1929. Gough said at the Palace, they offer high quality live theatre for the community and that it is a place for the patrons to play a part in the theatrical community through volunteering.

“The Palace Theatre Arts Commons has roots as the London Community Players,” she said. “This organization began 1974, fully operated by a team of faithful volunteers. Over the years, we have grown, and while the London Community Players still offers outstanding theatrical performances, we now are also home to London Youth Theatre Education (LYTE) and, since 2020, London Fringe. We continue to diversify our core programs and appeal to a more diverse audience.”

Allswell Productions

Allswell is a theatre company that nurtures an inclusive and innovative vision. Their ethos is to be a safe space for local artists to craft high quality theatrical works. Allswell fosters local pioneering talent. The company has been producing shows for nine years.

Scooter Productions

Scooter Productions is a local producing company that produces plays with a social conscious, drawing from the social issues directly impacting the local community. It was formed in 2017.

Theatre Western

Theatre Western is organized by Western University’s Student Council (USC). They work with undergraduate students at Western University to produce high-end productions for not only the student body but the broader London community. There are opportunities for volunteers to perform, direct, choreograph, dance or work backstage in the productions.

TAP Centre for Creativity

TAP Centre for Creativity is a creative hub. The space is compiled of studio spaces for artists in residence, a space for exhibitions. According to Kieran Belanger, communications support representative at the TAP Centre for Creativity, there is a studio known as their Black Box theatre which is there to house an assortment of work including those in development.

“TAP provides an inexpensive, accessible space for local creatives to experiment in a safe theatre environment, whether that means local playwrights bringing shows that probably would not be able to be put on anywhere else, people who want to bring unfinished work to try things out in a safe environment.”

TAP Program Coordinator, Jack Sizeland said the space was also used for more traditional conventional performances.

“The studio is also just a place for local community theatre groups if they want to do Shakespeare. There is a mix of giving writers a space to test their words and actors a space to test their chops in an inexpensive way.”

Musical Theatre Productions (MTP)

MTP host two to three annual productions that are chosen through a process where members of the London community are encouraged to submit their ideas for consideration. The submission must form a complete artistic team including producer, director, musical director, choreographer and stage manager who are prepared to produce a show.

There is something about sitting in a dark theatre that gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. Getting involved in the theatre community in some way, shape or form is almost undoubtedly going to fill you with a sense of creative energy that inspires you to contribute your own individual offering.