The Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia served as the cradle for both French and English language theatre in Canada.Théâtre de Neptune was the first European theatre production in North America. The tradition of English theatre in Canada, also started at Annapolis Royal. The tradition at Fort Anne, Nova Scotia, was to produce a play in honour of the Prince of Wales's birthday. Prior to Paul Mascarene's productions, the Boston Gazette (4–11 June 1733) reported that George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer was produced on Saturday, 20 January 1733 by the officers of the garrison to mark the Prince's birthday. Paul Mascarene translated Molière's La Misanthrope and then staged at least two productions of the work during the winter of 1743-1744. The second performance on 20 January 1744 had also coincided with celebrations in the colony to mark the birthday of Frederick, Prince of Wales. The text of the first three acts is contained in the Mascarene papers, British Library. And four years after the Mascarene production, on 20 January 1748, Major Phillips and Captain Floyer also produced a play in honour of the Prince's birthday. Unfortunately, the Boston News Letter (3 March 1748) fails to indicate the title of the play. It does reveal, however, that the same play was staged a second time on 2 February 1748, at the request of Captain Winslow, after the colony received the news of Admiral Edward Hawke's success Second Battle of Cape Finisterre (1747), in October of 1747.
A performance at John Molson's Theatre Royal, Montreal, 1825
Antoine Foucher (1717-1801), of Terrebonne (father of Louis-Charles Foucher), was the owner of the first Francophonetheatre in Canada. In 1774, with various Britishofficers, he staged the first production of Molière at his home in Montreal. Other Garrison performances were private shows put on for troops, publicly performed by officers, which helped bridge theatre and war during its initial stages of development. It was welcomed by the populaces and distracted soldiers from war and routine military protocol.
In 1971 a group of Canadian playrights issued the Gaspé Manifesto as a call for at least one-half of the programing at publicly subsidized theatres to be Canadian content. The numerical goal was not achieved, but the following years saw an increase in Canadian content stage productions.
Victoria has a major regional theatre, the Belfry Theatre, as well as a professional company, Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. Intrepid Theatre is a local alternative company and organizes both the Uno Festival and the Victoria Fringe Festival.
St. John's has the RCA (Resource Centre for the Arts), an artist-run company that is based at the LSPU Hall. It also has the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre, with a 1,000 seat main theatre.
Clarenville, Newfoundland is the home to The New Curtain Theatre Company, which operates as a year-round professional theatre based out of The Loft Theatre at the White Hills Ski Resort in Clarenville (2 hours west of St. John's).
Cupids, Newfoundland is home to The New World Theatre Project, which aims to do work from and inspired by the year 1610, when Cupids was settled as Canada's first English colony.
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