Preparing for performance in Moscow

Theatre Smith-Gilmour has recently returned from a 7 week tour of AS I LAY DYING where they performed for 4772 people at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver and the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary.

Since 1980 Theatre Smith-Gilmour has created 44 shows, 18 of which were original plays. They have toured across Canada several times and to festivals in Moscow, China, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Thessaloniki, Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Taiwan, Denmark and Hong Kong.Their work has been nominated for 40 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, as well as for two Chalmers’ Best Canadian Play Awards for The Greenbird and Chekhov’s shorts.

Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith met in 1978 while studying at the School of Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France. In 1980, they formed Theatre Smith-Gilmour and for the last 37 years they have devoted themselves to telling stories that are unsentimental and ‘naïve.’ They also use the French understanding of ‘naïve’ to describe their process and work, ‘naïve’ in the sense of raw.

They strive to make each moment of a production a transposition of life as observed. Good, bad, or ugly: they work to honour the character’s humanity. This is why they believe their particular approach to theatre has been recognized as revolutionary worldwide, because the movement and the gesture grows out of deep emotional work – it is another means to reveal human nature rather than a style or mask that would show off their technical skills as performers.

They feel their approach is indispensable, and has kept Theatre Smith-Gilmour unique for over three decades.

Awards & Recognition

• 38 Dora Award nominations (winning 8) in Toronto
• Montreal English Critics Award for Best Ensemble
• 2 Chalmers’ Best Canadian Play Award nominations
• 2 Sterling nominations in Edmonton

Company Highlights include:

• Teaching and mentoring their work in creation theatre at Humber School of Creative and Performing Arts: GRIMM in 2008 and The Idiot by Dostoevsky 2013

• TSG’s Chekhov Cycle, a 4-part series of adaptations of Chekhov’s Fiction, which began development in 2000, has played for over 56 weeks collectively in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Quebec City, Dartmouth, the Hong Kong Cultural Arts Centre, Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, Taipei in China and Moscow, Russia.

• In 2007 Smith & Gilmour traveled to Shanghai, China to create and perform the first ever Sino-Canadian co-production: Lu Xun blossoms. The piece premiered in Canada at the Luminato Festival in June 2011.

• Partnering with Adam Paolozza and Ravi Jain to create SPENT which premiered in Toronto and has since toured to Mumbai, New York, Ottawa, and Edinburgh.

Michele Smith

* We believe that the actor’s imagination is at the centre of the process and the actors must risk failing in order to find a new freedom.

* Beyond linguistic, cultural and age barriers, we believe in a theatre of image and action that can make us feel by speaking to the heart.

* We believe that theatre can make us more humane, more tender, more compassionate, and more refined.

* We believe that the audience takes part in the show; that we are in a dialogue with the audience, a dialogue of feelings. We want to open their eyes, to make them feel, to touch them through feelings and vulnerability.

* We believe in a theatre that has no 4th wall, no sofas, no kitchen sinks. We believe in a theatre that is here and now on a bare stage but at the same time somewhere else through the actor’s imagination and the audience’s imagination.

Dean Gilmour

* In our work we write with our bodies.

* We believe that theatre asks people to listen, see and feel with the heart.

* We believe that the purpose of art is to make people more fragile, tender and tolerant.

* We believe that theatre creates a sense of community.

* We believe that theatre should destroy certitude and open up the imagination.

* We believe that art should educate and encourage change.

* The artistic process is at the heart of every aspect of our company’s operations.

* We believe that art is vital to our community.

* We believe that artistic diversity is what will make our culture healthy.