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City Stages

City Stages: Theatre and Urban Space in a Global City

Series: Cultural Spaces
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    City Stages
    Book Description:

    City Stagescombines primary archival research with the scholarly literature emerging from both the humanities and social sciences.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8419-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Performing Arts

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Nomenclature
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: Towards an Urban Analysis of Theatre in Toronto
    (pp. 3-22)

    If it is true that theatre has become an important part of Toronto over the past four decades, it is equally true that Toronto has become an important part of theatre during this time. In fact, popular narratives of the city’s transformation and the theatre’s transformation since the late 1960s are remarkably similar: the story opens in a comfortable but parochial setting, the lead character grows restless with this staid environment and begins an awkward growth spurt, and, finally, a mature and vibrant mise-en-scène emerges. That this story does little justice to the historical complexities of both theatrical and urban...


    • 1 Urban National, Suburban Transnational: Civic Theatres and the Urban Development of Toronto’s Downtowns
      (pp. 25-47)

      After nearly two decades of continental economics and the recurring threat of federal dissolution, it is sometimes hard to imagine just how celebratory Canadian nationalism was in the late 1960s. Canada commemorated its one hundredth birthday in 1967, and the optimism embodied in projects like Expo 67 seemed to signal that the country had achieved national maturity and international stature. Centennial celebrations implied – indeed, shouted – that the Canadian federation was confident, modern, and secure, and that the able steward for the national project was a benevolent state. As in many Western countries in the late 1960s, Canada’s economic expansion was...

    • 2 Good Times, Inc.: Constructing a Civic Play Economy in the Entertainment District
      (pp. 48-70)

      Moving west from the St Lawrence Centre along Front Street, the streetscape narrates Toronto’s transformations. The glass and steel core of the financial district stretches north from Front Street, with its heart on Bay Street. So synonymous with money has this part of Toronto become that the name ‘Bay Street’ now serves as a geographical metonym for Canadian capitalism in general. Union Station, stretching along the south side of Front Street, recalls an earlier type of capitalism, where goods and people relied on the railway to move. This railway, in turn, was connected to a once-thriving port on Lake Ontario,...


    • 3 Space Administration: Locating an Urban History of Theatre Passe Muraille
      (pp. 73-90)

      When John Juliani described theatre in Canada as suffering from an edifice complex, he had in mind regional theatre companies that occupied buildings like the SLC. Canada’s regional theatre network was inaugurated by the opening of the Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) in Winnipeg in 1958, fulfilling recommendations made seven years earlier by the Massey Report. During the next two decades a string of buildings sprung up to house companies like Theatre Calgary and Neptune Theatre in Halifax, whose repertoires drew largely on the international mainstream and whose purviews were intended to extend beyond their immediate locales to wider audiences. This...

    • 4 A Troubled Home: Spatializing the Demise of Toronto Workshop Productions
      (pp. 91-115)

      Theatre Passe Muraille may have struggled to resolve its anxious relationship to 16 Ryerson Avenue, but it was not the only mid-sized theatre in Toronto to be preoccupied with its property. It is equally striking how much of the history of Toronto Workshop Productions (TWP) was tied up with its property at 12 Alexander Street, a former car showroom near the intersection of Yonge and Wellesley Streets in the city core. Through the 1980s, TWP increasingly invoked its property as a way of solving (or eliding) mounting financial and administrative difficulties. Like Theatre Passe Muraille before it, TWP invoked its...

    • 5 Movin’ On Up: Spatial Scarcity, Cultural Equity, and the Geography of Theatrical Legitimacy
      (pp. 116-132)

      Among the generation of not-for-profit theatre companies founded in Toronto since the late 1970s, none has purchased its own home. There are many possible explanations for this, including the fact that, while a number of these companies became well-known and long-lived members of Toronto’s theatre community, many remained relatively small enterprises. Companies like Nightwood Theatre, Necessary Angel, and Theatre Columbus often produced only one or two shows per season. This was not necessarily a problem, since the arts councils’ eventual extension of operating (in addition to project-based) grants to a few smaller companies provided a limited degree of stability for...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 133-136)

    To title this bookCity Stagesis to identify a conjunction between the urban and the theatrical. But exploring this conjunction is by no means straightforward, as this urban history of theatre in Toronto has repeatedly demonstrated. Time and time again, I have found that what appeared initially to be relatively contained case studies were far more complex than I anticipated. When I first became vaguely aware that there might be a link between theatre and urban planning (in its narrowest sense) in Toronto some years ago, I did not foresee that this would lead to a wider investigation that...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 137-160)
  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 161-170)
  11. Index
    (pp. 171-178)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 179-179)