Young People's Theatre

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Young People's Theatre
YPT logo.gif
Address165 Front Street East
LocationToronto, ON, Canada
Coordinates43°39′00″N 79°22′08″W / 43.65000°N 79.36889°W / 43.65000; -79.36889Coordinates: 43°39′00″N 79°22′08″W / 43.65000°N 79.36889°W / 43.65000; -79.36889
Built1888 (stables)
Renovated1977 (theatre)
Official website

Young People's Theatre (YPT) is a Canadian producer of theatre for youth and Toronto's oldest not-for-profit theatre company.[1] Founded in 1966 by Susan Douglas Rubeš,[2] YPT originally operated out of the now-demolished Colonnade Theatre on Bloor Street. Since its 1977-78 season, the company has resided in a renovated heritage building in downtown Toronto.

YPT operates two performance spaces in the building at 165 Front Street East; the Susan Douglas Rubes Theatre and the Nathan Cohen Studio. It stages an average of eight productions each year. The current Artistic Director is Allen MacInnis and the current Executive Director Nancy J. Webster.[3][timeframe?]


Rubes created the Museum Children's Theatre in her Toronto kitchen and then, with the help of a few local businessmen, opened Alice in Wonderland at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1963. Susan staged her first YPT show, The Looking Glass Revue, at the Colonnade Theatre in 1966.[3][4]

Before finding its permanent home in 1977, YPT staged shows at the St. Lawrence Centre, the Ontario Science Centre and Toronto's Firehall Theatre. The company also toured to schools throughout Ontario, and toured the play Inook and the Sun in the UK. In 1975, Rubes received the Order of Canada for her work in children's theatre.[5] Two years later, YPT staged its first show at its current home (165 Front St. E) with an adaptation of The Lost Fairy Tale.[3] Young People's Theatre added a drama school in 1969, a community outreach program and resources for educators. As of 2015, the Drama School operates four different locations in Toronto.[6]

Several stage and screen actors have appeared on the YPT mainstage since the 1970s, including Martin Short, Megan Follows, Brent Carver, Cynthia Dale, Fiona Reid, Gordon Pinsent, R.H Thomson, Sheila McCarthy and Eric Peterson.[7] Celebrities such as Drake and Kiefer Sutherland also attended YPT's Drama School in their youth.[8]

In the spring of 2001, the theatre was renamed Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People after a donation of $1.5 million from Kevin Kimsa in honour of his mother. In March 2011, the theatre announced a change back to its original name: Young People's Theatre.

The Slaight family's 2015 donation of $3 million will result in the creation of the Ada Slaight Education Centre at YPT. At the time it was the largest non-capital gift received by a Toronto theatre company.[9]

In 2016 YPT was one of a number of theatres offering free tickets to newly arrived Syrian refugees.[4]

The building[edit]

Historic plaque on the building

Young People Theatre's current home is a renovated 1887 heritage building in Toronto, Ontario. This site was a three-story stable for the horses that pulled Toronto Street Railways horsecars in the late 19th century, as well as an electrical generating plant and a Toronto Transit Commission warehouse. The warehouse sat empty for much of the 20th century and was ready for demolition before it was chosen by YPT as its home. The building was renovated in 1977 by Zeidler Partnership Architects to contain a large main stage (the current day Susan Douglas Rubes Theatre) and a smaller studio (the Nathan Cohen Studio). YPT was given an Award of Merit by the Toronto Historical Board in 1979, "for its imaginative and sympathetic treatment of a landmark that might otherwise have been destroyed".[10]

Artistic Directors[edit]



  1. ^ "About YPT - Young People's Theatre". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Creator of Toronto's Young People's Theatre credited luck for her success". Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Creator of Toronto's Young People's Theatre credited luck for her success". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Maga, Carly. "Toronto theatres welcome refugees". Toronto Star, September 26, 2016. page E4.
  5. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Young People's Theatre opens new Drama School in east Toronto". Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (December 31, 2013). "The actress defined the Toronto theatre scene in the '60s and '70s, founding the Young People's Theatre, which still stands today". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "Young People's Theatre opens new Drama School in east Toronto". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  9. ^ " Young People’s Theatre opens new Drama School in east Toronto". North York Mirror, Sep 03, 2015. By Fannie Sunshine
  10. ^ "Torontoist". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Awards - Young People's Theatre". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "Ontario Arts Council Foundation Announces 1998 Winners Of The Lieutenant Governor's Awards For The Arts". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Torontoist. "Ten of Toronto's Unique Heritage Achievements | cityscape | Torontoist". Retrieved September 29, 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Young People's Theatre at Wikimedia Commons