About Play Development

The world is experiencing major changes marked by profoundly destabilizing events. The impact of these events is expansive and will reach far into the future. We ask our artists to respond.

– Jennifer Brewin, Artistic Director

Common Boots Theatre is one of over 250 professional performing arts organizations in the city of Toronto. We are distinguished by our commitment to develop and produce serious comedies featuring women as central characters, created through a collaborative process. We contribute to a vast network of theatrical activity across the country, articulating and exploring the many facets of the Canadian personality.

The plays are written by a writer and often in collaboration with a company of contributing artists. The relationship with the audience is integral to our story telling as such the development process has public presentations along the way.

We create original works that explore the connections between the individual and society, examining and transforming the ties that bind us — our ideas, our fables, our morals and our environment.

Our collaborative work emphasizes the virtuosity of the performing artist with inventive staging and scripted stories. The process evolves organically, through facilitated improvisation.

Humour is central to the work. Humour is an agent of change, a midwife to endurance, a sign of trust, an act of forgiveness, a tool, a weapon, and a medicine. Humour reminds us of our humanity and our cruelty. It engages an audience. It is between and among us.

The space and environment for each production is unique and integral to the art — a winter evening, a proscenium, a warehouse, a black box, or the airwaves.

Built, broken, recreated and refined in the process of performance itself, the resulting play is a living organism that adapts to its surroundings over time. The published play offers a polished spontaneity.

Creating opportunities for artists to develop and launch new works is part of the company’s legacy. From the beginning, Common Boots/Theatre Columbus has curated several series of festivals featuring work in development, including The Knee Plays and Mayhem and The Naked Muse. From these festivals came Kristen Thomson’s I Claudia, Theatre Smith-Gilmour’s Chekhov’s Shorts, Brooke Johnson’s The Trudeau Stories and Darren O’Donnell’s A Suicide-Site Guide to the City.