LONDON, ON – The Grand Theatre unveiled its 2017/18 playbill earlier today at a special event held at the theatre. Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum announced an expanded program that represents the biggest season in the theatre’s history; one that doubles the number of actors on stage, commits to more productions on its two stages, launches new collaborations and co-productions, creates five new initiatives including a new play development program, and kicks off a school tour which will be free of charge. Garnhum arrived at the Grand last fall, and since then the theatre has raised $1.3 million in new donations and sponsorships. The season is proudly sponsored by BMO Financial Group.
The 2017/18 season brings to London renowned artistic talent. Making their Grand debuts are Tara Rosling as Mabel Bell in Silence, Rebecca Northan as the star of Blind Date, Tracey Flye as director of Once, Silence Playwright Trina Davies, and Carey Perloff as director of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Returning artists include Director Peter Hinton on Silence and, after a 20-year hiatus from the Grand, Benedict Campbell will play Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (interesting to note, Campbell’s father Douglas Campbell played Scrooge at the Grand 20 years ago!).
“Since coming to the Grand, I’ve been warmly and generously welcomed not only by the Grand but by the community. Right away I knew I could dream big for this season,” said Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum. “As we set out to build this playbill and add new programs, the theatre received overwhelming support from the community, here in London and beyond. Together, let’s be World Curious and London Proud.”
The 2017/18 playbill features 11 plays on two stages, a five-concert series, and a school tour.
- The season showcases the North American premiere of the iconic Chariots of Fire, during which the theatre will be transformed into an Olympic stadium complete with a running track and onstage cheering section; the world premiere of Silence, by the award-winning playwright Trina Davies and the first play of the Grand’s COMPASS New Play Development Program; Rebecca Northan’s international improvisational hit Blind Date; and Garnhum’s own adaptation of A Christmas Carol which also marks his directing debut at the Grand.
- It introduces new partnerships and co-productions. The electric A Thousand Splendid Suns comes to the Grand in association with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). It premiered this February at A.C.T. with a sold-out, record-breaking engagement. Once is a co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the High School Project production of Evita marks a new partnership with Sheridan College Music Theatre Program (Michael Rubinoff Associate Dean).
- The theatre’s 144-seat McManus Stage launches a three-show series. The series includes the Grand Theatre’s production of The Glass Menagerie; the return of Ronnie Burkett’s The Daisy Theatre following last season’s sold-out run; and one of Canada’s most talented playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch, comes to London with 2b Theatre to mount the award-winning What A Young Wife Ought to Know.
- Jeans ‘n Classics, a roaring success in its first year at the Grand, returns with an all new five-concert series.
- 100 Schools launches this coming season with Beethoven Lives Upstairs, touring schools throughout the region at no cost to the schools or students.
- New this year, the Grand will host a series of panel discussions featuring internationally acclaimed author Emma Donoghue, award-winning activist and journalist Sally Armstrong, and playwright Daniel MacIvor, to name a few.
Since Garnhum’s arrival as the new Artistic Director last fall, the theatre has driven record donations levels and sponsorships. Deb Harvey, the Grand’s Executive Director, today announced a $1 million donation from long-time supporters of the Grand, Helen and Andy Spriet. In recognition of this being the largest single gift to the Grand, the main stage will be named Spriet Stage. For full release go to Grandtheatre.com/SprietDonation
Season subscriptions, with savings of up to 25% off the regular single ticket price, are now on sale to subscribers. Contact the Grand box office at 519-672-8800 or in person at 471 Richmond Street, London, Ontario.
About the Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre, a community hub of creativity, culture, and imagination, stages award-winning work from around the world and Canada under Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey. This stunning historic theatre, with one of the last remaining proscenium arches in Canada, features two stages, the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand Theatre season runs September to May.