Touchstone Theatre

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Touchstone Theatre develops and presents professional theatrical productions. We explore the contemporary Canadian play through content and form. We stimulate public interest in Canadian cultural perspectives. [1]

Company History

For 40 years Touchstone Theatre has been a mainstay of theatrical innovation and excellence on the West Coast. The company's all-Canadian mandate has helped launch and develop some of the country's most important playwrights and actors, and its substantial body of work has garnered over 70 local and national awards.

Most of Touchstone's activities have fallen into one of the following three categories: premiere productions of plays and musicals by local artists, second productions of important plays premiered in other regions of Canada, and innovative collective creations developed within the company. Within each category Touchstone has explored a wide variety of styles, and stayed true to the exploratory and celebratory spirit of the company. Ian Fenwick, Gordon McCall, John Cooper and Roy Surette are all former Artistic Directors.

With Rumble Productions, Touchstone co-founded the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, which has gone on to become one of the city's most important cultural events. With the Playwrights Theatre Centre and now the Firehall Arts Centre, Touchstone birthed the Flying Start program which gives both development and a production opportunity to a new professional playwright. It is the only program of its kind in the country. With the Arts Club, Touchstone also produces In Tune, a biennial event which develops and showcases new Canadian musicals.

Now in its fifth decade of production Touchstone remains a lightning rod of theatrical activity. Its purely Canadian focus makes it unique in its region, and its reputation for excellence has earned the respect of audience, critics and colleagues.


2016 - 2017 Season

Brothel #9

Photo of Adele Noronha and Laara Sadiq by Emily Cooper

Rekha arrives in Calcutta thinking she has come to work in a light-bulb factory. In actuality she has been sold to a pimp by her own brother-in-law. In this impossible situation Rekha manages to shape her own destiny and find inner liberty. Winner of the 2011 Dora Award for Outstanding New Play and a finalist for the 2012 GG Awards, this is the Western Canadian Premiere of a deeply moving work that promises to be a highlight of the fall theatre season.

“Hard-hitting … There's hardly a moment here to get your bearings or catch your breath. And what comes as a shock is how quickly we - like innocent, virginal, religious Rekha - acclimatize to the warped morality of this world where sex slavery is treated with a shrug. The horror wears off and, within a few scenes, the monsters of Birbal, Salaudin and Jamuna have become complex, complicated humans simply going about their day-to-day existence. … an impressive work from Roy.” THE GLOBE & MAIL

Production credits:

Directed by Katrina Dunn

  • Starring:
    • David Adams
    • Adele Noronha
    • Shekhar Paleja
    • Laara Sadiq
    • Munish Sharma


Concord Floral

Photo of Adele Noronha and Laara Sadiq by Emily Cooper

Concord Floral is a million square foot abandoned greenhouse and a hangout for neighbourhood kids. Something has happened there. Something nobody wants to talk about. Ten local teenagers perform this piece about beauty, cruelty, mercy and being human. Written by Jordan Tannahill (Late Company) and directed & produced by Erin Brubacher, Greater Vancouver hosts this production through a unique multi-city collaboration, with performances at the Roundhouse in late January as part of the 2017 PuSh Festival.


Artistic Director

In the early 1980's Roy was Associate Artistic Director for Carousel Theatre in Vancouver and Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C. He became the Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre in 1984, directing many award-winning productions including Whale Riding Weather, Lion in the Streets, When We Were Singing, The Three Penny Opera, and The Number 14. Roy became Artistic Director for Victoria's premier company, The Belfry Theatre, in 1997. There, Roy directed over twenty-five plays including productions of Mary’s Wedding, Homechild, A Perfect Ganesh, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. In November 2007, Roy began his tenure as Artistic & Executive Director of Montreal's flagship English language company, Centaur Theatre. For Centaur, Roy directed many innovative, challenging, acclaimed productions, several of which were huge box office successes of world premiere productions including The Saint Leonard Chronicles, Schwartz's: The Musical, Last Night at the Gayety and Triplex Nervosa. Roy has directed at the National Arts Centre, The Shaw Festival, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Alberta Theatre Projects, Axis Theatre, The Arts Club Theatre Company, Carousel Theatre, The Kay Meek Centre, The Globe Theatre, Melbourne, The Kings Theatre, Glasgow, The National Theatre School, UBC, U Vic, and Studio 58.