Tarragon Theatre’s mission is to create, develop and produce new plays and to provide the conditions for new work to thrive. To that end, the theatre engages the best theatre artists and craftspeople to interpret new work; presents each new work with high quality production values; provides an administrative structure to support new work; develops marketing strategies to promote new work; and continually generates an audience for new work.
As a complement to the new work created here, Tarragon presents new plays from all parts of the country, revives significant Canadian plays and produces international work, contemporary and classical. Long-term dramaturgy, tailored to the play and playwright, is a priority at Tarragon. Programs for play development are various and flexible ranging from Resident Playwrights to Playwrights Unit to WorkSpace.
Of great importance is the training of artists, administrators and production personnel from students to professionals in the creation, development, interpretation and production of new work. Education and outreach activities — to artists, to young people, to educators, and to our general audience — are designed to foster an understanding and appreciation of the process of creating new plays. Tarragon’s venue is used extensively to support the creation and development of new works by other theatre artists, through space made available for rehearsals, workshops, and productions.
Bill and Jane Glassco founded Tarragon Theatre in 1970. Bill Glassco was the Artistic Director from 1971 to 1982. In 1982, Urjo Kareda took over as Artistic Director and remained in that role until his death in December 2001. Richard Rose was appointed Artistic Director in July 2002, and Susan Moffat was appointed Managing Director in December 2014. She succeeds Gideon Arthurs, Camilla Holland, and Mallory Gilbert, who was general manager from 1978 to 2006.
In 1987, Tarragon purchased and renovated the building that has been its home since 1971. There are two playing spaces: Mainspace (205 seats), The Extra Space (100 seats). Both have flexible seating. The Tarragon Studio has three rehearsal halls, one of which can be converted to a 60 seat performance space. We also have a carpentry shop, a wardrobe shop, a prop shop, and three offices for playwrights-in-residence.
Tarragon is well known for its development, creation and encouragement of new work. Over 180 works have premiered at Tarragon. Playwrights who have premiered their work here include Morwyn Brebner, David French, Brendan Gall, Michael Healey, Rosa Laborde, Daniel MacIvor, Joan MacLeod, Hannah Moscovitch, Morris Panych, James Reaney, Jason Sherman, Erin Shields and Judith Thompson among many others. The theatre has been a pioneer in presenting Quebecois plays in translation, notably works by Michel Tremblay and Carole Fréchette, and Wajdi Mouawad.