A Reflection on 33 Years…

A note from Michele Smith:

“In 1980, when we embarked on this 33 year theatre journey we had two ambitious goals: one was to produce our creations and the other was to produce our Canadian adaptations of great literature that would be relevant to our contemporaries at home and abroad. 

The creations have been drawing from the great theatre styles we studied at the School of Jacques Lecoq in Paris; No Escape (1981); Carmen (1985); The Rites of Spring (1987) all drew from the style of Clown; more recently Spent (2009) and Death Married My Daughter (2013) both grew on the branch of Bouffon style.

On the other hand Theatre Smith-Gilmour’s adaptations are inspired by beautiful writers such as Chekhov, Julio Cortazar or recently William Faulkner, who are “treated” with a theatre style that matches the writer’s world: Conteur mimeur in Chekhov’s shorts and To Cry Is Not So or Melodrama in Chekhov longs…

A few years ago a third goal came into the mix: to support the younger generations of theatre makers, fresh out of Jacques Lecoq, Philippe Gaulier or Humber College (where we both teach and direct) and to welcome them, offer them a niche where they could display their wonderful theatre. We decided to co-produce, co-write with them, direct them but also to mentor them in producing, administrating and touring. 

So we produced the first run of Spent at the Factory Theatre in 2009 which Dean and I directed and co-wrote with Adam Paolozza and Ravi Jain (it’s still touring 5 years later). 

We more recently co-produced Death Married My Daughter with Play It Again Productions that we co-wrote with our daughter Nina Gilmour and Danya Buonastella. The play was voted Best of Fringe 2013 and is coming to the new Theatre Centre in April 2014 on a triple bill that we are co-producing. The triple bill includes Viktor Lukawski’s Business as Usual and Ralph and Lina, a new creation that I will be directing and co-writng with Dan Watson and Christina Serra. 

And finally in the fall of 2013 Dean and I adapted and co-directed The Idiot with 21 student actors at Humber College. I want to thank them for realizing my dream. Twenty years ago a passion for The Idiot overcame me as I was reading a new French translation by Andre Markowicz: I literally saw before my very eyes beautiful characters living and speaking their vison of a future life. In October our goal was to flesh out that first vision. Thank you again dear students for playing this “petit jeu” with us. Thank you for breathing life and youth into the nostrils of a beautiful Idiot.”

       Michele Smith

As we approach the end of the year, we hope that you are able to consider a donation to Theatre Smith-Gilmour. Your donation, whatever its size, not only will assist with our operating costs, but it also inspires us with your belief in the value of our work.  Every dollar goes towards supporting our future productions:

– the development of a new work: Jean Valjean, an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, “so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this.”
We believe that the time has come to simply tell this popular story with nothing but the actor’s imagination on a bare stage.

– a triple bill co-produced with three young emerging companies at the new Theatre Centre in April 2014.

– a remount and national tour of our adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying; 
“The set is stripped; the players are therefore forced into a level of physical invention which, if it were not breathtaking, would be false. The play is true. The members of the cast are the future of theatre in this town. And I had forgotten the sheer and simple pleasure of the magic of live performance.“-Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.

And if you are able to contribute to Theatre Smith-Gilmour on or before December 31, 2013, you will receive a tax receipt that can be applied to your 2013 taxes. Simply click here to donate securely via our Canada Helps Donation Page.

With best wishes for this Holiday Season and the New Year,

Michele Smith                         Dean Gilmour
Co-Artistic Director               Co-Artistic Director