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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 (she/her) - Artistic & Executive Director
Anita (she/her) is an actor/director/producer/mother who is also the Artistic & Executive Director of 25th Street Theatre.  A dedicated and active member of the Saskatoon theatre community, Anita has appeared in Fruitcake (25th Street Theatre); The Penelopiad (Ferre Play Theatre); The Revolutionists, Boeing BoeingTrout StanleyQuick Bright Things (Persephone); Twelfth NightThe Winter’s Tale, and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan) among others.  Anita also regularly works as a director and is proud to have directed J. CaesarAs You Like It (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan); and The Invisible Girl (Persephone).  A passionate feminist, Anita is a founding member of Ferre Play Theatre whose inaugural production of The Penelopiad received numerous SATAwards.  Anita is proud to be a YWCA Young Woman of Distinction Award recipient for her work in bringing theatrical opportunities to youth in rural Saskatchewan.
Jensine Emeline (she/they) - Operations & Projects Manager

Jensine is a theatre designer and stage manager from Saskatoon and an alumnus of the U of S drama department. Select stage management credits include: With Glowing Hearts, Blow Wind (Dancing Sky Theatre), Blow Wind (Station Arts Center), and Girl in the Box (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). Select costume designs include: The Revolutionists (Persephone Theatre), With Glowing Hearts (Dancing Sky Theatre), The Penelopiad (Ferre Play Theatre, SATAward 2020), and Girl in the Box (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). 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.

Philippa Williams (they/she) - Community Relations Manager

Phil (they/she) is a regular old theatre rat from England. They are best known for diving headfirst into every opportunity, signing up for more work than there are hours in the day, and failing to own a decent winter coat. Above all else, Phil is passionate about building better theatre practices, where every worker is valued as much as their work. It’s a value she knows Jensine and Anita equally share, and is one of the many reasons she loves working for this supportive, scrappy little company.

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.

Greg Burroughs - Chair

Greg Burroughs was raised in Saskatchewan and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science.

Upon returning to Saskatoon, after living in British Columbia and Nicaragua, he volunteered in various Saskatoon community organizations.  He was an avid supporter of the Saskatoon Fringe Festival and those experiences led him to joining 25th Street Theatre’s board in 2014 and have been the Chair since 2020.

Greg is a strong believer in the importance of the arts to reflect, inform and entertain our society and is excited about the future of this organization.

Jennifer Nairn - Vice Chair

Jennifer Nairn has been a teacher with Saskatoon Public Schools since 2006, and has a passion for both teaching and the arts. As an enthusiastic supporter of theatre in Saskatoon she has directed many school plays, taught theatre classes at Persephone and is now a proud member of the 25th Street Theatre board.

Jennifer strongly believes in the positive influence theatre can have on youth and that the arts are such an important piece in a young person’s education.

Jennifer grew up in small town Saskatchewan where her love of theatre and the arts was born. She then moved to Saskatoon to attend the University of Saskatchewan, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and her Bachelor of Education, and has lived here ever since.

Matthew Stefanson - Secretary

Matthew Stefanson was born and raised in Saskatoon. After some years away earning a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Concordia, he returned to work with The Broadway Theatre, where he was the Rentals Manager for several years. He is currently a Realtor with Realty Executives in Saskatoon, but continues to be a supporter of arts and culture in Saskatoon.

He has sat on the board of 25th Street Theatre Inc for 3 years and currently serves as Secretary.

Wes Gramiak - Treasurer

Wes is employed at Veterans Affairs Canada after retiring from a rewarding 31 year career with the Canadian Armed Forces.  His interest in performing arts was fostered during his years volunteering in various capacities with the Saskatoon Fringe beginning in 2002.  He joined the Board of Directors in 2019 and is presently the Treasurer of 25th Street Theatre.

He gained valuable board governance experience by serving in a variety of positions up to President with the boards of the Central Saskatchewan Military Family Resource Centre (2004 – 2011) and Greystone Community Association (2006-2014).  His focus is on community engagement, governance, and fiduciary responsibility.

He has earned two degrees from the University of Saskatchewan: Bachelor of Arts (History) and Bachelor of Education.  He is the recipient of the Saskatchewan Centennial medal and Saskatchewan Protective Services medal.

Clarissa Kostiuk - Member at Large

Clarissa has been involved in the theatre community, primarily as an educator, since 2013 after finishing two years as an acting major at the University of Saskatchewan prior to going into the College of Education completing her Bachelor of Education Degree. Clarissa spent many years teaching with Persephone Theatre and now works for Saskatoon Public School Division teaching drama and musical theatre classes as well as coaching competitive improv and directing her school’s musical production.  

Clarissa holds a Post Degree Certificate in Special Education from the University of Saskatchewan. Through this certificate, she focused her many research projects on the impact of arts on youth with exceptionalities, specifically on the positive impact performing arts can have on youth mental health. Clarissa’s passion for theatre education is rooted in the way it can positively impact a young person’s life. 

Clarissa grew up in Saskatoon and became involved with theatre in high school. Her involvement in the theatre community here has continued to grow ever since and she is excited for the opportunity to sit on the 25th Street Theatre Board. 

Dezmereen Brown - Member at Large

Dezmereen Brown, an immigrant from Jamaica, has been a staunch supporter and volunteer for non-profits and community-based groups for over 15 years. In the past four years, she has volunteered with
the Saskatoon Open Door Society, and the Saskatchewan Intercultural Association and has supported various community-based groups in developing policy and governance structures, to guide their operations.

Dezmereen strongly believes in diversity and inclusion and believes that through arts and cultural programs, we can continue to build stronger communities, raise awareness, and share cultural expressions.

Her professional development includes a Master’s in Human Resource Development from the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and a Master’s in Public Policy Administration from the University of Saskatchewan.

Dezmereen joined the 25th Street Theatre Board in June 2022, and she is very excited about the opportunity to support the continued growth of the organization, in delivering exceptional arts, theatre and cultural programs for Saskatoon.

Clare Middleton - Member at Large

BFA in Acting U of S, MFA in Creative Writing UBC, Clare has been working in and around theatre for the past several decades. A founding member of Live Five, she has held various artist-in-residence positions around the province. Clare loves to teach adults and kids alike and spent nearly 8 years at the Saskatoon Public Library doing storytimes and puppet shows for Library goers. She got her start writing and performing plays at the 25th Street theatre Hericane Women’s theatre Festival over 20 years ago and spent some years doing Fringe theatre in Saskatoon and across Canada. Her present focus is on writing plays and Dramaturgy. She lives in Saskatoon with her husband, two kids and three dogs.

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.