A Guide to the Theatres of Peterborough

An embarrassment of riches


If you entertain any doubt that theatre is a force to be reckoned with in Peterborough, I’m here to set you straight. It wasn’t hard to come up with a whopping 35 diverse theatre and performance production organizations in our fair town.


Amber Coast Theatrical

Trent alum and performer Lucas DeLuca works with other theatre companies to create projects that provide professional development for young performers through mentoring, such as the Kawartha Rising Stars Mentorship Concert.  (more info)


Anne Shirley Theatre Company

The Anne Shirley Theatre Company has been a student-run operation since 2001. Presenting full-blaze mainstream musical fare like Sweeney Todd or Heathers at Market Hall, the company showcases Trent University theatre students but is open to the community.  (more info)


Arbor Theatre

Artistic Director Ray Henderson writes and produces musical adaptations of classics like The Three Musketeers, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book at Showplace and in schools featuring huge casts replete with local talent and young performers.  (more info)


Art for Awareness

The Citiots

The Citiots

AFA partners with social services organizations like Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Youth Emergency Shelter (YES) to present high-quality musical and dance productions that shine a spotlight on mental illness and other important social issues.  (more info)


Atelier Ludmila

Laurel Paluck overflows with creative and community-driven ideas, bringing her lavish puppets and magical flair to downtown streets and parks. Watch for her Light Hunters’ Promenade on the winter solstice.  (more info)



This local gang of mostly male comics, along with special guests, can be found doing their unique brand of over-the-top improv comedy monthly at the Gordon Best Theatre.  (more info)


Cordwainer Productions

This young company founded in 2014 by actor/director/producer and Trent alumni Dane Shumak, who has since moved on to a job at TIFF, produces edgy musicals, like punk rock band Green Day’s album-turned-rock-opera American Idiot, with a full cast of local talent like Ryan Hancock, Caitlin Currie, and Josh Butcher.  (more info)


Crime City

Crime City

Crime City

Andrew Root writes Crime City, a monthly detective series, recorded live with a troupe of local actors at the Theatre on King in the style of a 1950s radio drama.  (more info)


Firebrand Theatre

Artistic Director Beau Dixon is no lightweight. A dynamic musician, actor, and playwright, he has garnered two Dora Awards for his one-man musical drama Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story. His inspiring plays illuminate and educate the public, and particularly youth, on issues of racism and heroism through the stories of people like Viola Desmond and Bessie Coleman.  (more info)


Fleshy Thud

For almost a decade, theatre impresario Ryan Kerr has presented and performed in dance / movement works, often site-specific and in collaboration with other dancers, choreographers, musicians, and filmmakers.  (more info)


4th Line Theatre

A History of Drinking in Cavan at 4th Line Theatre

A History of Drinking in Cavan at 4th Line Theatre

Each summer 4th Line Theatre produces two original plays that capture some aspect of our local rural life and history, staged at the bucolic and iconic Winslow Farm just outside of Millbrook. With a professional cast and many local volunteers (and often a live cow and or horse for good measure), and the brilliant Justin Hiscox as in-house musical director, the productions have been consistent crowd pleasers for over 25 years.  (more info)


Horizon Days

Popular slam poet and choreographer Wes Ryan’s new venture aims its unflinching focus at examining trauma and abuse through the lens of dance, spoken word, and performance.  (more info)


Indigenous Performance Initiatives

Trent Professor Marrie Mumford was instrumental in developing a strong theatre, arts, and dance program within Trent’s Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, using the beautiful Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space as a lab and research facility, which continues to explore performance that embodies Indigenous knowledge and ‘restorative aesthetics.’  (more info)


Maanoo (Let it Happen)

Hilary Wear, superb actress and clown about town, facilitates cooperative intergenerational drama groups that generate physical theatre and storytelling from an Anishinaabeg Seven Fires Creation Story perspective.


Max’s Cabaret

Every now and then, dancer and magical being Max Price presents one of his infamous naughty and nice, pleasantly chaotic, Weill-esque, and vaudevillian cabarets in support of a local cause.  (more info)


Motley Collective

Amy M. Cummings and Jessica Lynch founded this alternative theatre collective in 2013 and have been bold enough to produce shows like the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Gordon Best Theatre and Temblay’s Les Belles-Soeurs at Market Hall.  (more info)


Mysterious Entity

Mysterious Entity's The Blind Eye

Mysterious Entity’s The Blind Eye

A compelling actor and director themselves, Artistic Director Em Glasspool hosts Script Club, a lively monthly incubator, facilitating the honing of plays such as Wyatt Lamoureux’s Algonquin Highway, which appeared at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, and also they produce theatre by themselves and others, covering challenging subjects such as mental health and gender identity.  (more info)


New Stages

Under the guidance of Artistic Director Randy Read, New Stages brings both full-scale productions and a reading series to Market Hall featuring local favourites such as Dianne Latchford and Rob Winslow, or other well-known Canadian actors like Derek McGrath, Jackie Richardson, or Charmion King. The result is a vibrant selection of contemporary theatre, in productions as diverse as Our Town, or the upcoming Angels in America.  (more info)

O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk Collective

O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk is a multi-disciplinary arts collective, formed in 2004 by Patti Shaughnessy, with Sarah DeCarlo, Sara Roque, and with William Kingfisher joining in 2008, to engage, amplify and nurture contemporary international Indigenous arts programming. OKW produced the Ode’min Giizis Indigenous Arts Festival and has brought productions such as Tomson Highway’s Rez Sisters, the world premiere of Cliff Cardinal’s Huff, James Luna and Guillermo Gómez-Peña, A Tribe Called Red, and comic Ryan McMahon to Nogojiwanong.  (more info)


Old Men Dancing

This troupe of men over 50 blow up our preconceptions about male identity, and have performed their original work at Harbourfront and throughout Ontario. They choreograph independently and alongside professionals such as Marie-Josée Chartier, Bill James, and Allen Kaeja, tackling themes like aging and death with movement, projection, and spoken word in fresh and surprising ways.  (more info)


Patria Music/Theatre Projects

Now in his 80s, Indian River native and Order of Canada recipient R. Murray Schafer is the composer of a cycle of mind-boggling proportions, with its mystical, site-specific musical performances, beginning with The Greatest Show in Peterborough in 1987-88, which was produced with help from Jerrard Smith, Diana Smith, and Thom Sokoloski.  (more info)


Peterborough Academy for Circus Arts (PACA)

Members of the Peterborough Poetry Slam Collective

Members of the Peterborough Poetry Slam Collective

With Artistic Director Thomas Vaccaro at the helm, PACA pushes circus boundaries to present spectacular multi-media performances as well as educational programs and jams for techniques like Cyr wheel, fire spinning, and aerial silks.  (more info)


The Peterborough Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA)

Founded by well-known actress Linda Kash and her late husband Paul O’Sullivan, PAPA hosts performance and improv classes throughout the year and during school breaks, fostering a new generation of theatre professionals.  (more info)


Peterborough Poetry Slam Collective

This collective turns poetry into a dynamic and performative competitive sport. In addition to hosting workshops and other initiatives, their regular inclusive and passionate readings, usually at the Spill, have attracted a solid following, and finalists have gone on to compete nationally and internationally.  (more info)


Peterborough Storytellers

Rita Grimaldi, Don Herald, Betty Bennett, Hermione Rivison, and Angelica Ottewill as well as guest storytellers keep alive this ancient artform monthly at the public library or a church. Grimaldi shares her in depth knowledge of creating, embodying, and performing in mask. The oral tradition enacted by this dedicated group transcends children’s stories, portraying global tales of archetypal heroes and villains and engaging portraits of psychological transformation.  (more info)


Peterborough Theatre Guild

Of the Fields, Lately at the Peterborough Theatre Guild

Of the Fields, Lately at the Peterborough Theatre Guild

Housed in a former Anglican church which it purchased in the 60s, the guild produces contemporary, community-engaged theatre, workshops, and readings throughout the year.  (more info)


Planet 12 Productions

Derek Weatherdon and Nicole Roy launched Planet 12 Productions with Boy Wonders in June of 2017. Its goal is to create meatier opportunities for young people in dramatic theatre.  (more info)


Public Energy

Formerly Peterborough New Dance, Public Energy has carried on the legacy of Artspace and the Union Theatre since 1994. In addition to presenting cutting edge contemporary dance from as far away as New Zealand, Israel, and South Africa, Artistic Producer Bill Kimball continues to fuel local initiatives such as the Theatre on King, and acts as a cultural catalyst for emerging multidisciplinary or experimental work through initiatives such as the Erring on the Mount multi-media festival, its annual Emergency program, and this year’s Alternating Currents.  (more info)


Ring O’ Rosie

And Then She Ate Me, presented by Ring O' Rosie

Ring O’ Rosie’s And Then She Ate Me

Ring O’ Rosie burst on the scene last year with the delightfully mysterious site-specific work And Then She Ate Me, presented in a charming cottage on a dead end street in the Teacher’s College area. Based in Peterborough, Montreal, and Toronto, Anne White, Miranda Jones, and Lillian Ross-Millard collaborate to create some fresh and lively devised theatre.  (more info)


St. James Players

Operating out of St. James Church, this longstanding community theatre is dedicated to creating opportunities for young thespians through musical, family-friendly productions like Mary Poppins or the Wizard of Oz.  (more info)


The Nervous System

Brad Brackenridge is well-respected as one of Peterborough’s finest performers, but is also a puppet master no less, producing incredibly poignant, quirky puppet shows like the site-specific Terror and Erebus, or Komachi on the Shrine: A Modern Noh Play.


The Theatre on King

Endgame, presented at The Theatre on King

Endgame, presented at The Theatre on King

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a tiny theatre that does just about everything! It supports the presentation of experimental and original work with its Small Dance for a Small Space series, Bernie Martin’s Myrmidon, Kate Story’s damned be this transmigration, or Charlie Petch’s Mel Malarkey Gets the Bum’s Rush, as well as classics by Ionesco and Beckett. Mentoring emerging performers, playwrights, and stage technicians of all stripes, the Theatre on King is a mini powerhouse—a full service theatre and virtual school in a 40 seat black box.  (more info)


Theatre Trent

While not a theatre per se, Theatre Trent funds Trent alumni and student theatrical endeavours (excluding beer) through student levees and has a handy costume crypt to boot.  (more info)


Thomas A. Stewart Musical Theatre Program

Budding musical theatre students at this arts friendly secondary school can dig their teeth into Cats or Legally Blonde for the full-on stage experience. Go big or go home.  (more info)


Trent Valley Archives

Local archivist organization TVA presents programming to entertain and educate, bringing Peterborough’s history to life using live actors on historic sites with events such as their popular Ghost Walks or downtown Scandals and Scoundrels Pub Crawl.  (more info)


Special mention: Union Theatre

A progenitor of many of Peterborough’s finest theatre organizations and performers, the legendary experimental and egalitarian Union Theatre broke the mold from 1989 to 1996, and left an indelible mark on the cultural heart of Peterborough.  (more info)


Myrmidon and Theatre on King photos by Andy Carroll. 4th Line photo by Davey Warren. The Blind Eye photo by Gabe Pollock. Other images courtesy the artists.

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Ann Jaeger

Ann Jaeger


Ann Jaeger writes Trout in Plaid, a journal of arts and culture in the Peterborough area.