2001 marked the centenary of London Ontario's Grand Theatre - the nation's
oldest continually-peforming playhouse. In honour of this centenary, Doty
Docs presents a series of historical snapshots of the Grand's greatest
moments. There are memorable stories, photographs, sound and video clips
- and a few guest appearances along the way.
GO TO THE GRAND!
New book chronicles every season at the Grand
Sheila Johnston (seen here at her book's launch) draws on a wealth
of photographs, stories and personal anecdotes to tell the story
of one of Canada's great playhouses. Lavishly illustrated and copiously
researched, this is a must-read for anyone who loves the theatre.
Available at most book stores and at the Grand Theatre for $38.00.
Published through Natural Heritage Books.
GO TO THE GRAND!
A Documentary in Three Acts
include Sir John Gielgud's 1947 visit, Victor Garber's early auditions,
Michael Ondaatje's controversial production of Billy the Kid and
those great Peter Dearing musicals of the 1960s. The film features
interviews with Hume Cronyn, William Hutt, Paul Soles and Rod Beattie.
VHS copies are available at the Grand Theatre for $23.00.
Produced by Doty Docs and CIVA Communications.
ordering information contact
The Grand Theatre Box Office
471 Richmond Street, London Ontario, Canada, N6A 3E4
1 800 265 1593
launch photo courtesy of southpaw design (www.southpawdesign.ca)
Peter Dearing Musicals
The great musicals
performed by London Little Theatre and directed by Peter Dearing in the
1950s and 1960s. The list includes My Fair Lady, Oliver and South Pacific.
Future stars like opera singer Victor Braun and actor Victor Garber cut
their teeth on these productions.
Cronyn and Jessica Tandy
Londoner Hume Cronyn and Oscar-winning wife, Jessica Tandy had connections
to the Grand stretching back to 1939 when Cronyn participated in a round
table discussion on the future of Canadian professional theatre and Tandy
performed Shaw in a touring company.
There are a long list of Christmas shows at the Grand, from children's
theatre in the 1950s to Christmas concerts in the 1970s to adaptations
of A Christmas Carol in the 1980s and 1990s.
has been the friend of local playwrights since 1936 when the London Little
Theatre scooped the Dominion Drama Festival with a play written by a Sarnia
author - the first Canadian play to be so honored. Other London authors
who saw their work performed at the Grand included Orlo Miller, James
Reaney, Peter Colley, Michael Ondaatje and Allan Stratton.
Classics and The Stars
They were drawn to the Grand from its first season. Stars who graced the
London stage included Sarah Bernhardt, Ethel Barrymore and Michael Redgrave.
The highpoint occurred in 1947 when John Gielgud kicked off his first
postwar North American at the Grand.
A perenial Canadian favourite, Letter from Wingfield Farm had one
of its first performances at the Grand's McManus Theatre in 1985, where
it quickly outdrew the mainstage production. It has been a favourite for
Londoners since then, but the character of Walt Wingfield is one of several
well-loved Canadians who have visited the Grand. Others have included
Dave Broadfoot, Sandra Shamus, William Hutt and the National Ballet.
Other Grand-related stuff you'll enjoy
Ghost of Ambrose Small
Something has been bumping around the Grand for years. Is it the spirit
of a former owner?
The son of fugitive slaves, Harrison became America's leading black actor
and went on to play God...literally. His NAACP honoured performance at
the Grand Theatre in 1934 remains one of the highlights in race relations
The most successful actor to come out of London community theatre. His
early, largely unknown, career as a child actor at the Grand Theatre is
traced by your web master.
The story of one of the most dynamic and creative forces in London theatre
For decades the semi-nude ladies above the theatre's proscenium arch have
inspired snickers from young boys and snooty comments from art students.
Now you can learn the true story behind the Grand's oldest artistic feature.
The official Web site of the Grand Theatre is full of interesting historical
tidbits: playlists from every season, profiles of past artistic directors
and details on the stars who have played there.
Small: Case Closed
Proposal for a new television documentary that will blow the lid off the
mysterious disappearance of former Grand Theatre owner Ambrose Small.
Promises more than it delivers.