About Theatre Gargantua
Our History & Process
Theatre Gargantua is one of Canada’s leading multi-disciplinary theatre companies. Under the direction of Jacquie P.A. Thomas, the company has been devising dynamic physical theatre for 30 years. Thomas founded the distinct Toronto company in 1992, after travelling extensively in Europe and North America and working with a diverse group of theatre-makers including the National Theatre of Greece, the Gardzienice Theatre Association in Poland, and the Peking Opera. Theatre Gargantua has used an evolving methodology to create numerous award-winning works and has become an eclectic fixture in Toronto’s vibrant independent theatre community.
Our productions explore socially relevant themes through dynamic theatricality that engages our broad and diverse audience. The ensemble expertly blends provocative text, acrobatic-like choreography, live vocal compositions, and media into our signature style. We create in a unique 2-year cycle – beginning with an inspired concept and distilling it into a richly layered work through several exploratory workshops and presentations. Each of Gargantua’s productions melds daring physicality with striking designs, underpinned by original live music and the innovative use of technology. This methodology has earned us a distinct place within Canada’s theatre ecology, and within classrooms and universities where our process is regularly studied and we often facilitate new creation workshops. Through the company’s growth our process and artists have always been central to our operations.
We are committed to the creation of original, compelling, relevant work that engages multiple senses. We strive to inspire and challenge our audience to see their world in new ways. We value a company culture committed to the ongoing exploration of the artists’ skills and talents; one that establishes long relationships over their careers and continually invites fresh new talent and ideas into the process. We believe this leads to a creative fluency within the ensemble which evolves with the infusion of new collaborators. We are dedicated to the development of a multi-disciplinary creation process and to an ongoing exploration of theatrical tools and methodology. We are committed to keeping our work active and accessible through artistic partnerships, audience development, and a progressive outreach program of artist training and community involvement.
Gargantua has garnered dozens of nominations, awards and recognitions for outstanding work. We have toured nationally and internationally; In the UK, the company held residencies at The Royal Exchange in Manchester and The Riverside Theatre in London, and we headlined at the Portland International Performance Festival in Oregon, USA. At home in Ontario, our work has been presented in environments such as the caves and the ruined mill of the Rockwood Conservation Area, and in Toronto in venues such as The Theatre Centre, Artword Theatre, The Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, and the Harbourfront Theatre Centre. We have also been presented in Mirvish Production’s subscription series at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. A film version of Raging Dreams – into the visceral was purchased and presented by the Women’s Television Network. In 2004 Artistic Director Jacquie Thomas and Associate Artistic Director Michael Spence were honoured with Harold Awards, a distinction for Toronto independent theatre-makers, and in February 2013, Thomas received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canadian culture. In 2019, Thomas was honoured with the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Professional Theatre at the 40th Dora Nominee Press Conference at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres.
25th Anniversary Season Dedicated to the Memory of Founding Board President George Thomas
George was a long-serving arts volunteer as the first President of the Board of Theatre Gargantua. He helped establish the company in 1993 under the artistic vision of Jacquie Thomas, his daughter. He passed away in July 2017 and in honour of the contributions he made to the establishment of the company, Theatre Gargantua is dedicating its 25th Anniversary Season and upcoming works to his memory.
George Thomas Tribute
Collaboration We are committed to diversity in all its forms and collaboration with those who share our values.
Creativity The fearless exploration of ideas and methodology is at the core of our company and drives all artistic and operational activities.
Excellence We value expertise, passion and artistry in the creation of high quality work.
Integrity We employ the highest ethical and professional standards and are transparent and accountable to our supporters, artists and community.
Stewardship We are responsible leaders and stewards of the art form and value the sharing of accrued knowledge with future generations of theatre makers.