Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre was founded in 1998 by 13 actors with the assistance of a grant from the Stratford Festival. Considered the best year-round repertory company in Canada, it has presented such acclaimed productions as Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya (2001, 2002, 2008) and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (2013). Since relocating to Toronto’s Distillery District in 2006, Soulpepper has presented such Canadian plays as Sharon Pollock’s Doc (2010), John Murrell’s Waiting for the Parade (2010), and Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience (2012). In January 2018, the company was rocked by allegations of sexual harassment against founding artistic director Albert Schultz and accompanying lawsuits against Schultz and Soulpepper.
Theatre Passe Muraille (meaning “theatre beyond walls”) was the first alternative theatre in Toronto. It focused on breaking down barriers and exploring new ideas and methods of storytelling. Despite financial crises over the years, it has maintained its alternative roots as a producer of provocative and groundbreaking Canadian theatre, as well as a launching pad for emerging companies and artists.
Since the Stratford Festival is the model for the Atlantic Theatre Festival, Bawtree invited Michael Langham, former Stratford artistic director, to direct Kentville native Peter Donat in the Festival's first performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which opened on 16 June 1995.