Canada's Significant Theatre from the 1950's hosted by Julian Sleath

August 11, 2021, 5:00 - 6:00 PM


Canada's Significant Theatre from the 1950's

This year marked the publication of Modern Theatres 1950 to 2020 edited by David Staples. Only one Canadian theatre is featured in the book with an essay by architect, Gary McCluskie of Diamond Schmitt Architects. Of it's day, the Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario was a remarkable design and unique to Canada.
Gary will take us through why this 1957 built theatre was such an achievement and how to this day it still proves to be an outstanding example of how human ingenuity can make a great performing space. To bring us right up to date, we will also talk with Simon Marsden, the current Director of Production at the Stratford Festival Theatre.
Moderator: Esther Van Eek, CITT/ICTS Director at large
Level: General (for all)
Discipline: Architecture

Session's objectives:

Understand how the Guthrie stage format came about. How productions have evolved to take advantage of this stage arrangement and how the Festival Theatre has been adapted to take into account more modern theatre practices.


Julian Sleath (Host) General Manager at Yonge Dundas Square
Experienced cultural programmer and planner with a long career as a theatre technical and production manager and then in developing programmes for music, public visual arts and lots more. Specialties: Event planning of large scale public events & programming. Getting building projects OPEN. Theatre and opera production, working with architects and engineers on new and renovated buildings for entertainment. Add to that Urban transformation projects.

Gary McCluskie Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects
Gary McCluskie is a principal architect at Diamond Schmitt, championing the design and execution of the firm's civic, arts, and performance-focused architecture. His projects contribute to the global culture by combining creativity, consultation, and a commitment to design excellence. An expert force, and community-minded, he activates these cultural intuitions with authentic engagement, offering an immersive experience.

Simon Marsden Director of Production - Stratford Festival
Simon Marsden works at the Stratford Festival as their Director of Production. In that capacity, he oversees the production department that comprises the behind the scenes support for the shows. The department grows to approximately 400 production staff each year who design and create the costumes, wigs, scenery, props, lighting, sound and video elements for the season. The crews run over 650 performances in the Festival, Avon and Studio theatres between April and November each year. He leads a management team to plan, manage and control a $20 million budget representing a 1/3 of the Festival’s annual expenditure. He has worked for the Festival in various capacities since 1995. On two occasions, he left Stratford to work in theatres in Toronto, China and England. Four years ago, he returned from Stratford upon Avon where he was working for the Royal Shakespeare Company in a similar capacity.

In order to attend this event, you must register for Rendez-vous 2021. All details here.