Does anyone know the Soulpepper Theatre Company of Toronto? I have links and info online, I'm wondering if anyone has personal experience.

I love theatre. I've been seeing theatre literally all my life. My parents, who were big Broadway theatre-goers when they were younger, took us on a regular basis. Special gifts for graduations or other milestones often involved tickets to a Broadway show.

In college - university, I think I'm supposed to say - I started working with a professional company in Philadelphia, learning the subscription marketing business, and after I graduated, I went into theatre administration. I worked for two well-known off-Broadway companies in New York. I met great people, learned a lot, saw tons of theatre, lived on poverty wages, and wondered when I would write a novel.

Unlike most of the people I worked with, I wasn't driven by a serious Theatre Bug, hadn't been doing theatre since I was 10 years old, wasn't living my lifelong dream. I was doing something rewarding and interesting, but only one of the many career possibilities I had kicked around. Mainly I was avoiding going to law school, which was the paternal plan for my life.

My last theatre position was a nightmare, and it gave me the incentive I needed. I ditched the career altogether, found a few ways to support myself that were not creative or mentally demanding, bought a new typewriter (yes, I am old!), and started to write a book.

Around this time, I met Allan, and his non-career-oriented perspective on life helped me find the courage to do what I wanted. (Being a nanny and a freelance proofreader weren't considered appropriate career choices for Ivy League graduates. Whatever.) Allan was also a writer who currently wasn't writing, and we helped each other find the writer within.

My time in the off-Broadway theatre also coincided with the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic. By this timing quirk, I was touched by the crisis very early on. Vast numbers of people I knew from that time are gone, including two very dear friends.

Fast-forward to my post-theatre life, which is to say the last 20 years. I still love theatre. Seeing plays has always been a part of our lives, although I never became a fanatical theatre-goer, a common type in New York City. We've occasionally gotten season subscriptions, which can be a great way to put more art in your life and ensure a certain amount of interesting evenings out each year. (As a former theatre marketing director, I am compelled to note that subscribers are the lifeblood of nonprofit companies.)

In yesterday's Globe And Mail there was a brochure from Soulpepper. They're a repertory company, meaning they employ a troupe of actors from whom each play is cast - a true theatre company, not a star-based system. They have a space in Toronto's Distillery District, which I haven't seen yet, but very much want to. So I'm thinking of jumping into the arts scene in Toronto with a season subscription to Soulpepper.


Marnie said...

Soulpepper is very highly regarded, but I have no personal experience.


Not a Theatre-Goer

James said...

Likewise, I don't know much about Soulpepper other than it's good reputation. The Distilelry District (wiki) is an interesting part of town. It's the old Victorian Gooderham and Worts distillery (they also built our Flatiron Building), and there's a good chance you've seen it in a movie. It was the concentration camp at the opening of the first X-Men movie -- Lori & I walked past it while they were filming that. We didn't know what was up, but found the crowds of Nazi guards and Jewish prisoners sharing smokes rather surreal. Chicago, Cinderella Man, and about 800 other productions have been filmed there.

L-girl said...

Good reputation is good. That's a start.

Marnie said...

Shameless plug for an acquaintance's upcoming play.

L-girl said...

Thanks Marnie!

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind the trip, Orangeville has a wonderful live theatre. The box office is called Theatre Orangeville. Maybe too far for a regular subscription but good for a change of pace. Kathy