Kaleb Alexander, Michaela Washburn and Keith Barker in The Speedy (2014). Photo by Erin Gerofsky.

Kaleb Alexander, Michaela Washburn and Keith Barker in The Speedy (2014). Photo by Erin Gerofsky.

UNSPUN THEATRE

UnSpun Theatre is a creation-based theatre company that focuses on a collaborative, artist-driven approach to performance-making. We're drawn to the immediacy of live performance; we're challenged by the dedication that's required for both the audience and performer during a show. We're attracted to the scale and freedom in which it is possible to tell a story in the theatre. Our work is the result of collision and confluence, of shaping a single creation from several creative voices. UnSpun Theatre has been creating award-winning work since 2004.

Our 2013 adaptation of Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum was the first ever English-language theatrical adaptation of the acclaimed novel and UnSpun Theatre was awarded the rights by Mr. Grass himself. The critically acclaimed production was nominated for 5 Dora Mavor Moore Awards and 3 My Entertainment Toronto Awards and was invited to showcase at the CINARS Biennale as part of Harbourfront Centre’s inaugural Cultureport initiative in November 2014.

The Speedy, commissioned through Harbourfront Centre’s fresh ground New Works program, was produced as part of World Stage 2014. Exploring the sinking of the HMS Speedy in Lake Ontario in 1804, the play examined and critiqued the racist legacy of that event and how its narrative still shapes ideas around local Indigenous culture. University of Toronto professor Denise Cruz wrote that The Speedy played with “history and its telling, the destabilization of the ‘found’ or ‘discovered’ archive and the retelling of an inaccessible past, highlighting Indigenous voices that have been silenced and erased”. Professor Cruz has since continued to teach the play as part of the largest English course at the U of T, and this year it will also be included on the curriculum at the University of Windsor. 

In 2014, Artistic Director Chris Hanratty was shortlisted for the Ontario Arts Council’s John Hirsch Directing Award.

In August 2016, UnSpun Theatre will present a new performance installation, All The Things I’ve Lost, commissioned by the Gardiner Museum. This piece features four generations of women recreating lost childhood memories through objects, storytelling and clay.

In The Doras: 30 Years of Theatre, Dance and Opera in Toronto, theatre critic Jon Kaplan named UnSpun Theatre one of a handful of companies that “have given audiences some of the most exciting work of the past few years.”