Factory stands on the land under The Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant, a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that binds them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent people (Indigenous and settlers alike) have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect. Today, the meeting place of Toronto (Tkaronto) is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. Factory would like to acknowledge with gratitude all the storytellers, stewards, and caretakers – recorded and unrecorded – that continue to host Factory at this gathering place for over 30 years.
Fiercely Canadian since 1970
Factory’s mission is to enthrall audiences with the imagination of Canadian playwrights and develop the next generation of diverse theatre artists. Since its founding in 1970, Factory has committed to exclusively produce Canadian plays. Factory has made it an artistic priority to invest in, and showcase Canadian artists who bring their stories to our theatre in Toronto. This has made Factory the home of the Canadian playwright and for over four decades, developing and producing some of the finest theatrical works in our national canon and giving space to some of the most gifted and prolific playwrights in Canada.
Founded in 1970 by Ken Gass and Frank Trotz, Factory Theatre was the first company in the history of this country to produce only Canadian plays. Its huge initial success led to the founding of the Alternate Theatre Movement which radically changed the face of Canadian theatre in favour of the Canadian voice. For more than 50 years, Factory has been known as the “Home of the Canadian Playwright” and has produced more than 300 new Canadian plays in mainstage productions and 600 more in workshop and other formats.
Throughout the 1970s, Factory operated out of a number of different venues across Toronto. In 1979, founding artistic director Ken Gass left the company and Bob White assumed the artistic leadership (1979-87). In 1984, Factory moved into its present location at 125 Bathurst Street. Under the Artistic Direction of Jackie Maxwell (1987-1995), the company continued its commitment to new Canadian work and developed a strong presence in translating the work of Quebecois authors for English-speaking audiences. Ken Gass (1996-2012) returned to Factory at a time of great financial duress. With the commitment of all of its talented staff led by its Artistic and Managing Directors, the subsequent period was one of operational stabilization and the presentation of dynamic seasons that began to increasingly focus on the work of culturally diverse artists and diverse theatrical voices.
Factory purchased its heritage facility in March 1999. Now in its 6th decade, the Factory is now lead by Artistic Director Mel Hague.