The Grand Theatre is shaking things up over the coming years, with its new artistic director announcing a program that will put the spotlight on local stories.
Dennis Garnhum took over the role this fall from longtime artistic director Susan Furley on October 1st.
He, along with the Theatre, announced the launch of COMPASS Tuesday, a new play development program dedicated to creating and premiering new work on their stages.
The program will feature shows focusing on Guy Lombardo, a play about London, England and London, Ontario, and the story of the Grand Theatre’s founder, Ambrose Small.
“The first one, Guy Lombardo, is going to be two years out from now, which is a fast timeline, but we’re well in development on that already,” said Garnhum.
“In order to show people what that means about these plays, we’ve also announced today that we’re going to be premiering next season, one of the plays we’re going to do, a brand new play, world premiere called SILENCE: Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell. So, it’s all about the man who invented the telephone and his wife.”
The new program has been well received and has the support from community leaders.
“Mayor Matt Brown stepped up, he thanked us and said he thought it would help ignite our city. So, I think that’s a great place for us to be, so I feel very supported and very hopeful for all of us here in London,” said Garnhum.
Garnhum says the program reflects his belief that in order to be a relevant theatre company, they must develop and premiere our stories on our stages.
“COMPASS will launch with four commissions that celebrate significant people from our past as well as examine ideas of identity important to our community and country today. This program reflects my belief that in order to be a relevant theatre company, we must develop and premiere our stories on our stages,” said Garnhum.
The Grand Theatre will hand out around $100,000 to help fund the first four productions, sponsored by Tourism London and Carlyle Peterson Lawyers LLP.