ROYAL MTC HIRES FIRST FEMALE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Kelly Thornton leaving Toronto's Nightwood Theatre to take over for retiring Steven Schipper

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Kelly Thornton has been named the new artistic director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Company. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

In its 60th year of existence, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre has finally broken the glass proscenium.

For the first time, Canada’s oldest English-speaking regional theatre has hired a woman to take on the position of artistic director. Kelly Thornton, 53, will leave her duties at Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre to come to Winnipeg to take the helm of one one of the country’s most important cultural institutions starting in June 2019.

Thornton will be taking the position left vacant by Steven Schipper, who announced in March he will be retiring from his post on May 31, 2019, 30 years to the day from when he was hired.
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Thornton, 53, has herself maintained a long career in Canadian theatre. Born in Brockville, Ont., the youngest of four children, she moved with her family to Melbourne, Australia, at the age of nine before returning to Canada six years later. Ultimately, her post-secondary education found her studying theatre at the University of Guelph. After working as an actor and dramaturg, she took the reins of the feminist theatre Nightwood in 2001.
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