4 Ways to Love Summer Theatre in Ontario

The entrance to a heritage theatre house in Picton

From curtain time to curtain call, theatre transforms the art of storytelling into an enchanting, collective experience. In Ontario, the thespian’s spell extends well beyond the traditional stage with unique and magical venues sure to appeal to both the novice theatre-goer and the veteran culture vulture. 

We invite you to fall in love with Ontario’s summer theatre scene, in its many forms. 

Warm Summer Night Theatre 

Warm summer evenings were made to spend outdoors. Bring a blanket and a picnic to the High Park Amphitheatre in Toronto for the Shakespeare in High Park series (ultimate date night). Driftwood Theatre Group is dedicated to delivering accessible, live theatre to all audiences. They're on the road this season with Motorcycle Monologues, workshops and innovative experiences for young theatre lovers.

Urban Theatre 

Ontario’s urban theatre scene is thriving. Be swept away with classics at the stately Ed Mirvish Theatre or catch a performance at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, one of the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatres in North America. Tour the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre on Yonge Street before your show. It’s the world’s last remaining stacked Edwardian venue and is rumoured to be haunted. Also reported to host ghostly apparitions, London’s gorgeous Grand Theatre, built in 1901, is still boasting its original proscenium arch (for the theatre and architecture junkies). 

Quaint Rural Theatre 

Embrace the Canadian narrative in a historic barn at 4th Line Theatre near Peterborough. Westben Arts Festival also showcases world class performances within a magnificent timber-frame barn with views over the rolling farm hills outside Campbellford. Once a working cattle barn, the Globus Theatre at the Lakeview Arts Barn now serves as a rustic venue near Bobcaygeon. 

Charming Small Town Theatre 

Across Ontario, audiences are treated to quality theatre in heritage venues and small-town playhouses, each with a fascinating history. Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre is the last remaining ‘atmospheric’ theatre in Canada, an intimate design style made popular in the late 1920s. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 2016. The Regent Theatre in Picton is a rare Edwardian style opera house opened in 1922, while the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre is set in an intimate, 100-seat 1867 village schoolhouse. Go with classics like The Tempest and Julius Caesar or a modern cult favourite like The Rocky Horror Show at the Stratford Festival, North America’s largest Shakespearean repertory theatre company on the banks of the Avon River (from Christopher Plummer to Megan Follows, many household names have tread the boards here). 

Yes, you’ll love summer theatre in Ontario. 

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