Current Artistic Director, Mario Crudo, who joined Magnus in 1992, places his focus on the following areas: strengthening and broadening ties with the community, partnerships, generating new interest in mainstage productions, advancing new play development, and solidifying adult regional touring and other outreach programs, he also has a strong commitment to expanding the Theatre in Education program that offers many activities, including drama classes for all ages, touring plays for young audiences, and a summer school for young people. In an effort to make Magnus a year-round operation, he initiated summer mainstage programming.
In 1998, Magnus received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts from the Ontario Arts Council Foundation. The award recognized the Organization’s exceptional private sector and community support. This award certainly justified the dedicated work of the Organization’s management and Board to supplementing the Company’s operating support through innovative sponsorship initiatives and other fundraising campaigns.
Magnus Theatre has established a number of community relationships which include The Thunder Bay Children’s Festival, the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts, The Thunder Bay Fringe Festival, Arts Alive Festival, Arts & Heritage Alliance, The Chronicle Journal Arts & Heritage Awards, and Arts Week. The Theatre also shares its resources by renting the facility and costumes to companies for performances, as well as acting as a resource for community theatre companies.
Throughout the theatre’s history, it was obvious that Magnus would eventually outgrow the small hall that had served as its home for so many years, and the need for improved facilities became increasingly apparent. Magnus began its search for a new space in the early-nineties and in 1997 decided to build. Magnus inaugurated its 2001-2002 30th Anniversary Season in a newly built theatre attached to the historic Central School House, which houses Magnus’ administrative offices, in the Waverley Park heritage district.
Magnus Theatre is proud to have the privilege of helping to bring Central School back to life and back to the people of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. Central School was the first school in the City of Port Arthur. In 1884, two acres of Waverley Park land were granted by the Crown to the Public School Trustees and the original structure was built. For over 80 years the school was filled with the laughter of thousands of school children…many of whom are today’s community leaders. The renovation of the school also included the preservation and enhancement of the Waverley Park Heritage Conservation District.
The vision of Magnus Theatre board members and staff, along with the support and nurturing Magnus receives from individuals and businesses in the community, has made Magnus one of the most successful theatre companies in Canada. The theatre now employs up to 60 artists a year, including actors, directors and designers. Also, in the proud tradition of local support, Magnus has a volunteer base of over 250 individuals, which includes a dedicated and resourceful Board of Directors.