Soulpepper

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Soulpepper is Canada's largest non-for theatre company based in Toronto, Ontario. Its artistic director is Albert Schultz, who has served in that position since the company's founding in 1998.

History

Soulpepper was founded in 1998 by twelve Toronto artists who dreamed of a company that would produce lesser-known theatrical classics. Soulpepper has since become an important part of Toronto's theatre scene. It often presents Canadian interpretations of works by such noted playwrights as Harold Pinter, Thornton Wilder, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard and Anton Chekhov.

Soulpepper's founding members are Martha Burns, Susan Coyne, Ted Dykstra, Michael Hanrahan, Stuart Hughes, Diana Leblanc, Diego Matamoros, Nancy Palk, Albert Schultz, Robyn Stevan, William Webster, Joseph Ziegler.

In 2005, the Soulpepper Theatre Company moved into its permanent building, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. The joint project with the George Brown Collegetheatre school was designed by local firm KPMB Architects and is located in Toronto's historic Distillery District.

The theatre 2016 spring-summer schedule was announced in November 2015, including the first three parts of Suzan-Lori Parks' Father Comes Home from the WarsAmerican Civil War saga, as well as debut works by five new directors. Schultz has underscored the 2016 schedule as a key part in the theatre's evolution from a classics-based company to one committed to gender equality and cultural diversity. From June to August, Soulpepper will also be filming a television series based on Ins Choi's Kim's Convenience, which premiered on CBC-TV in the winter of 2016.

Youth Outreach

Soulpepper believes strongly that the connection between young people and the arts is best fostered through a direct relationship with the artists on our stages. At the centre of all of Soulpepper's education initiatives is the notion of mentorship: a direct and personal relationship between young people and our artists. For this reason, all education programs at Soulpepper are led by the artists of Soulpepper, actors/directors who are leading practitioners of their craft in Canada. Each participant of these programs will leave our home, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, with many meaningful and ongoing relationships with the artists of Soulpepper.

School Partnerships - Every year, Soulpepper commits to providing collaborative arts programs to a selection of schools in need of arts programming. Since 2001, Soulpepper has had the opportunity to work with a variety of schools including Queen Victoria Public School, Dundas Public School, Central Technical School, Earl Haig Secondary School and Market Lane Public School.

In Schools - Soulpepper In The Schools Program provides a bold model for arts education partnerships between public schools and the theatre. The goals of the Soulpepper program are: to encourage students to make connections between music, literature, performing arts and their own lives; to enrich their vocabulary and extend their means of expression; to become familiar with Shakespeare's stories and language; to experience, learn, and practice drama techniques.

ESL - Soulpepper believes that exploring classical text helps to release voice, encourages an interest in language and helps youth find power in speaking. To date Soulpepper has worked with English as a Second Language students in two Toronto high schools to develop and facilitate programs that introduce young people to classical text in a playful way.

The Academy

Soulpepper strives to play a significant role in the development of future generations of theatre artists through the Soulpepper Academy. This full-time, paid training program was launched in 2006. Selected through an exhaustive nationwide search, 8 artists undertake a one year residency to further develop their skills under the guidance of leading theatre practitioners, further their careers through involvement in Soulpepper productions, teach in the classrooms of the local community, mentor youth and develop a collective creation.

The Soulpepper Academy program is divided into two phases. The first is strongly focused on training and pedagogy, while the second shifts to performance/production with ongoing training.

After a nationwide search, the 2011/12 Soulpepper Academy is Akosua Amo-Adem, Qasim Khan, Sarah Koehn, Courtney Lancaster, Justin Many Fingers, Hannah Miller, Paolo Santalucia, and Daniel Williston.

References