I couldn’t point to any particular theatre experience that changed my life, but I have had plenty of experiences that inspired and shaped me along the way.
I was fortunate to grow up in Toronto where Susan Douglas Rubes founded Young People’s Theatre in 1966 and where the Stratford Festival was less than two hours away. Throughout my childhood, I remember going to productions at both venues and being engaged, challenged and inspired by what I saw. I particularly remember a YPT production of The Miracle Worker that held me in thrall from beginning to end and those early experiences of Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival still remain with me.
Balancing my academic life as a committed science student, college brought a whole range of new theatre experiences – Albee and Ionesco productions presented by on-campus theatre groups, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Improv Theatre Sports and big touring productions of Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera among others.
Leaving the world of science to embark in the world of culture, I pursued every opportunity to see theatre and dance and music productions of all kinds. As a young adult, I saw an array of Canada’s best from Robert LePage’s epic The Seven Streams of the River Ota to Daniel McIvor’s disturbing Monster to Tomson Highway’s haunting Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, alongside international productions presented every year at World Stage at Harbourfront Centre.
Most recently I am fortunate to be able to engage in theatre productions created and presented by the many talented colleagues with whom I work. From the heightened language productions of Red Bull Theater to the investigative theatre of The Civilians, from the amazing re-inventions of Elevator Repair Service to the inspiration of young people finding their voice in Our Time Theatre performances, from the delightful diversity of Here Art Center’s programs to the
charm of Clubbed Thumb’s original offerings, from the energy of Vampire Cowboys pop-culture hits to the boundary-pushing productions of Soho Rep and beyond. Happily, these days, I find myself right in the midst of the theatre that changes my life everyday.
Prior to joining the AAR team in 2004, Anne Dunning spent ten years in administration with the Danny Grossman Dance Company in Toronto. She was founding chair of the Canadian Dance Assembly, a trustee and chair of Dance/USA and sits on the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives Advisory Committee.