The first stumbling steps in the life of Sudbury Theatre Centre were the direct result of The Awkward Stage, a book that reported the findings of a 1967 theatre study funded by the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. The Chairperson of the project was Lt. Governor Pauline McGibbon; Sudbury’s representative was Peg Roberts.
The publication recommended Sudbury as the most likely site for a permanent professional theatre, and the Gryphon Theatre Co. of Barrie approached local amateur theatre groups for sponsorship of a production. Despite initial resistance, five local individuals were eager to support the trial. Each knew that the establishment of a resident professional organization was the next step in the flourishing theatrical activities being conducted by amateur and school groups.
Those five champions – Sonja Dunn, Carolyn Fouriezos, Bill Hart, Bob Remnant and Peg Roberts – undertook the daunting task of raising enough money to bring the talented young Barrie company to Sudbury for a production of Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn. The production ran at Laurentian University’s Fraser Auditorium, and was financially and artistically successful. Audience surveys indicated support for a permanent professional theatre in Sudbury.
Encouraged by this success, the committee decided to move further down the path of establishing a professional theatre. Feeling the need for a chairman who was a respected businessman and community leader, they approached Morey Speigal. In July of 1971, he courageously accepted. Letters patent incorporating Sudbury Theatre Centre were granted on September 14, 1971.
By the mid 1970s, season subscriptions had tripled, and an increasing number of performances were sold out. Now was the time to lay plans for a home of our own! In July 1981, the sod was turned. Season subscriptions rose to 3,000 with sell-out houses for every performance. STC’s production of The Sound of Music shattered box-office records with an attendance of 17,000. The curtain finally rose on the 1982 season in a brand new facility – not just a fine building where plays are performed, but a living entity, brought to life with dedication, determination and dreams.
Countless professionals have shared the spotlight or engaged their behind-the-scenes expertise since our humble beginnings.