Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company

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Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
Formation 1962
Type Theatre group
Artistic director(s)
Max Reimer

The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company ("The Playhouse") was a regional theatre company, producing plays since 1962. Its first production was The Hostage by Brendan Behan, which opened on October 2, 1963.[1] The company performed out of the Vancouver Playhouse, a civic theatre in Vancouver’s downtown core (at Hamilton and Dunsmuir), which is also home to the Vancouver Recital Society and the Friends of Chamber Music. Citing financial difficulties, the company announced that it would cease operations on March 10, 2012[2]

Company activities[edit]

At the time of its closure, The Playhouse was presenting a five-play "Mainstage" season that ran October through May, smaller-scale productions and play readings at alternate venues, and special productions for young audiences. Productions generally ran for three to four weeks, with some matinees for students, seniors, and the disadvantaged. Some productions were preceded by guest speakers, known as "Salon Saturdays", with others followed by moderated "talkbacks" . The Playhouse also had an education and outreach program. The company often partnered with the Studio 58 theatre and production program to apprentice students and graduates.[3]


A major fundraiser for the company was the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival,[4] which was first produced as a single-winery event in 1979.[5][self-published source?]

In 2011, following in-camera deliberations by the Vancouver City Council, Vancouver provided the company with a complex bailout of approximately $1 million.[6] The information regarding the bailout was the result of a leak from Vancouver city hall,[6] following which the city posted the relevant documents on-line.[7] In response to negative reaction,[8][9] artistic director Max Reimer defended the city's action on the Playhouse's website.[10]

Artistic Directors[edit]

The company had many prominent Canadian directors serve as Artistic Directors over the years including Christopher Newton, Joy Coghill and Walter Learning. The Artistic Managing Director at the time of the company's closure was Max Reimer, who joined the Playhouse in July 2008.[11] The following individuals served as Artistic Director:

Production history[edit]


  1. ^ Retrieved August 23, 2011 from
  2. ^ .Sunny Dhillon and Ian Bailey (2012-03-09). "Money woes force Vancouver theatre company to close curtains". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  3. ^ Jeff Kubik (2007-04-12). "Getting the silent treatment". Fast Forward Weekly. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  4. ^ "Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival". The Globe and Mail. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  5. ^ "About the Festival". Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  6. ^ a b Jeff Lee (2011-09-16). "City bails out Vancouver Playhouse for $1 million". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  7. ^ Jeff Lee (2011-09-16). "Vancouver posts confidential Playhouse Theatre bailout documents online". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Vancouver Playhouse bailout sparks funding debate". The Georgia Straight. 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Artistic director Max Reimer defends city's million dollar Vancouver Playhouse bailout". Vancouver Observer. 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  10. ^ "Max Responds to Media Coverage of City's Assistance". Vancouver Playhouse. 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  11. ^ Peter Birnie (2007-12-11). "New chief at Playhouse to wear two hats". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 

External links[edit]