Big changes coming to Alberta’s theatre landscape

The options for theatre-lover Daryl Cloran to hone his dramatic chops at his Sarnia, Ont., high school were limited to non-existent. So Mr. Cloran, then about 15, started a company, Theatrefront, with friends.

They rented the auditorium above the public library and presented ensemble works that transcended typical high-school theatre fare – for instance David Mamet’s Bobby Gould in Hell and Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit as a double-bill. (“An evening of shows about hell!,” Mr. Cloran now jokes.)

Mr. Cloran took Theatrefront with him to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., then to Toronto, where he incorporated the company. Theatrefront went on to create international co-productions with theatre artists in Sarajevo and Capetown.

Mr. Cloran’s youthful passion produced results – and global impact. This September he brings that energy – and now years of experience – to Edmonton, where he begins his new job as artistic director at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre.

It’s part of a major shift in Alberta’s theatre landscape, with the departure of two long-time, legendary artistic directors at the province’s two largest theatre companies: Bob Baker at the Citadel and Dennis Garnhum at Theatre Calgary. Mr. Baker leaves the AD job at the Citadel after 17 seasons and Mr. Garnhum leaves Calgary after 11.

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