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25th Street Theatre

Est. 1972

A group of University of Saskatchewan students established 25th Street Theatre as an artist collective in 1972.

 

They would go on to officially incorporate in 1974 becoming the first professional theatre company in Saskatoon.

As a producing theatre company, 25th Street Theatre became known for creating thought-provoking, new, Canadian plays that reflected the Saskatchewan experience. Among their most acclaimed plays were Jessica, Wolfboy, and Paper Wheat.

In 1989, 25th Street Theatre expanded its program offerings to include the Saskatoon Fringe Festival.

For over 30 years, the Saskatoon Fringe has been a culture landmark of Saskatoon supporting the creation of new work and artists who seek to work outside the traditional Canadian regional theatre model. As a member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF), the Saskatoon Fringe is a part of an international network of Fringe Festivals which provides a platform for artists from around the world to travel across the country sharing their stories.

In 1999, due to financial constraints, 25th Street Theatre made the difficult decision to no longer produce their own shows. The organization chose to focus their efforts on the thriving Saskatoon Fringe Festival instead. Things carried on this way for 25th Street Theatre for over ten years, but then things changed.

In 2020, 25th Street Theatre experienced two things for the first time:

1) the COVID-19 pandemic forced the first ever cancelation of the Saskatoon Fringe Festival

2) 25th Street Theatre received the largest financial gift in the organization’s history from Robert Steane.

The Festival was a combination of digital theatrical offerings, recorded panel discussions, small in person performances, children’s mini day camps, and community building projects. There were over 90 artists who participated in the Festival, and in a difficult time, received compensation for their work regardless of the viewership.

As a result of these two occurrences, 25th Street Theatre created This is NOT That (TINT) Festival in the summer of 2020.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions continue to complicate the traditional way of making theatre, 25th Street Theatre has repeatedly proven for nearly fifty years that the organization is adaptable and resourceful. 25th Street Theatre is a vital part of Saskatoon’s vibrant cultural landscape.

As a result of these two occurrences, 25th Street Theatre created This is NOT That (TINT) Festival in the summer of 2020.

The Festival was a combination of digital theatrical offerings, recorded panel discussions, small in person performances, children’s mini day camps, and community building projects. There were over 90 artists who participated in the Festival, and in a difficult time, received compensation for their work regardless of the viewership.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions continue to complicate the traditional way of making theatre, 25th Street Theatre has repeatedly proven for nearly fifty years that the organization is adaptable and resourceful. 25th Street Theatre is a vital part of Saskatoon’s vibrant cultural landscape.

Watch the NFB Documentary on Paper Wheat   

Listen to the YXE Underground Podcast on the History of 25th Street Theatre  

Read Our Kind of Work: The Difficult Time of 25th Street Theatre by Dwayne Brenna  

Learn More about The Robert Steane Legacy Gift  

Staff

Anita Smith – Executive Director

At the age of 16, Anita Smith began her career as a director, actor, producer, and arts administrator. Frustrated by the lack of access to the arts in her rural community, she created the SmallTown Drama Festival, annually bringing rural students together to share their productions. This early work laid the foundation for what would become a dynamic career and resulted in her receiving the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction Award. Anita then created the non-profit theatre company, Drama Queen Productions, which toured the province for seven years performing for thousands of young people. A passionate feminist, she directed the all-female presentation of J. Caesar at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan in 2016 marking the first time the company achieved gender parity in casting, a legacy that continues. As a founding member of Ferre Play Theatre whose inaugural production of The Penelopiad received numerous SATAwards, she is most proud of the industry-first childcare subsidy offered by the company. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Executive Director of 25th Street Theatre, she created the This is NOT That Festival which employed over 90 theatre artists. Also during the pandemic, as the Artistic Producer of Saskatoon Summer Players, she successfully produced a fully-staged, live-streamed musical becoming the first in the province to attempt this challenging exercise. Anita is passionate about improving theatre practices in Saskatchewan.

Jensine Emeline – Executive Assistant

Jensine (they/them) is a theatre designer and stage manager from Saskatoon and an alumnus from the U of S drama department. Recent stage management credits include: The Fourth Wise Man; With Glowing Hearts; Blow Wind (Dancing Sky Theatre), Blow Wind (Station Arts Center), and Girl in the Box (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). Recent costume designs include: With Glowing Hearts (Dancing Sky Theatre), The Penelopiad (Ferre Play Theatre), and Girl in the Box (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). They have also been able to stretch their other design skills by creating the set and lighting design for The Wolves (Little Big Theatre/EvilStick Productions/Live Five) and lighting for The Fourth Wise Man (Dancing Sky Theatre). Jensine is honoured to have been awarded Saskatoon & Area Theatre Awards for Outstanding Costume Design for The Penelopiad, and Outstanding Emerging Artist in 2020. Jensine is endlessly grateful for their mentors and friends, the guidance and support they have been given, and to be able to work in and share their passion for the arts and community in Saskatchewan.

To get in touch with our staff, e-mail info@25thstreettheatre.org.

Board

As a registered non-profit in the province of Saskatchewan, 25th Street Theatre is overseen by an elected board of volunteer directors who are caretakers of the organization.

Chair – Greg Burroughs

Vice Chair – David Samuel

Secretary – Matthew Stefanson

 

Treasurer – Wes Gramiak

Member at Large – Phyllis Lodeon

Member at Large – Jennifer Nairn

 

If you are interested in joining the Board of 25th Street Theatre, please complete the application attached here, and a representative will be in touch.

To speak directly with a Board Member, email board@25thstreettheatre.org.