Our History

Theatre Junction
Theatre Junction is a not-for-profit organization founded by Artistic Director Mark Lawes in 1991. The company was based in the Dr. Betty Mitchell Theatre in the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary for 14 years, interpreting classical, contemporary, and new Canadian plays. In 2005, Lawes changed Theatre Junction’s mandate from a theatre of interpretation to a creation-based theatre company with a long-term commitment to the revitalization of Theatre Junction’s creation practice, and to support creation based artists and their work, in an attempt to address the theatre’s relevance to a changing city and world. Part of his inspiration came from a sabbatical in Europe in 2003 where he worked alongside creators in theatre, dance, and opera, and was exposed to creation work and new artistic practices from all over the world. His experience provided the foundation for a radical and necessary change to Theatre Junction’s program, practice, and artistic engagement.

100 Years of the Grand
Old Vintage Theatre Grand, Calgary

Photo Credit: Glenbow Archives NA-4560-3

One hundred years ago, the city of Calgary, still very much a western frontier town, received its first major cultural gift, The Grand theatre, built by the visionary Calgarian, Sir James Lougheed. At The Grand, citizens and visitors of Calgary had an opportunity to come together and experience live performance created in Calgary and touring acts from around the world. The Grand was the initial home of many arts organizations in Calgary; the first theatre, opera, ballet, symphony concerts, and movies were seen here. This theatre was the centre of social, cultural, and political life in Calgary until the early 1960s when the Jubilee Auditorium was built. Slowly the theatre fell into disrepair and in 1979 it was slated for demolition. The Grand, like so many other historical buildings in Calgary of that era, had ‘come to the end of its economic life.’ But what about its public life? What about its public wealth? The knowledge of a shared past is the cornerstone to building a vital community for the future!

In 2004, when Theatre Junction made the bid to save it, The Grand had descended to its lowest point as a ‘cultural’ space, an indoor golf driving range about to become a parkade. With a significant leading donation from Calgary philanthropist Jackie Flanagan and the extraordinary vision of Mark Lawes, Theatre Junction was able to purchase and transform The Grand into one of the leading contemporary theatres in Canada. Theatre Junction GRAND opened in March 2006. Since then, under the artistic direction of Mark Lawes, Theatre Junction has been creating new work in Calgary with a company of artists and presenting contemporary performance from across Canada and around the world. Today Theatre Junction GRAND continues to stand as a monument to Calgary’s cultural past, and remains a space for artists to envision the future. This building is a reminder that we have the ability as a society to shape our collective culture and create public wealth for the benefit of the community at large.

On February 5, 2012 Theatre Junction GRAND will be 100 years old.

The Grand Theatre

The Lougheed block, which houses The GRAND, was built in 1912, when Calgary had a population of only 50,000. It was built as a multi-purpose commercial building, accommodating retail stores, offices, living quarters and on the ground floor, the Sherman GRAND Theatre. The GRAND was the biggest and best theatre in the Pacific Northwest attracting stars like Sarah Bernhardt, Fred Astaire, Ethel Barrymore, the Marx Brothers, George Burns, Arthur Rubinstein, Paul Robeson, among others. Both the Liberal and Conservative Parties held rallies here, as well as speakers such as Nellie McClung of the “Famous Five”, Prime Minister Robert Borden and Premier William Aberhart. The original theatre had 1,350 seats upholstered in green leather with 810 on the main floor and 540 in the gallery. The theatre was very modern for its time – all 15 of the changing rooms below the stage had hot and cold water as well as electric lighting. The theatre was even equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. In 1957 with the opening of The Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, The GRAND became primarily a movie house, an incarnation that lasted for almost 50 years.

The Morning Albertan, February 1912

 

Read this historical article Canada’s Finest Theatre, written by James W. Davidson and published in The Morning Albertan on Tuesday, February 6th, 1912. The day after the GRAND’s opening night performance!!

 

Theatre Junction Grand Performance History


Theatre Junction Creations:

SOMETIME BETWEEN NOW AND WHEN THE SUN GOES SUPERNOVA
Mark Lawes and Company of Artists
2013

ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE
by Martin Crimp – Theatre Junction, Directed by Mark Lawes (Calgary)
2012

LUCY LOST HER HEART
Mark Lawes and Company of Artists
2011

THE COUNTRY
by Martin Crimp – Theatre Junction and Crows Theatre
2010

ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
Mark Lawes and Company of Artists
2009

LITTLE RED RIVER
Mark Lawes and Company of Artists
2008

ATLANTIS PROJECT
Mark Lawes and Company of Artists
2006

ARCHEOLOGY
Mark Lawes and Company of Artists
2006

FAR AWAY
Caryl Churchill – Theatre Junction (Calgary)
2006


Presentations:

GANESH VERSUS THE THIRD REICH
Back To Back Theatre  (Australia)
2013

SUNKEN RED
Guy Cassiers (Antwerp)
2013

HAPTIC AND HOLISTIC STRATA
Hiroaki Umeda (Japan)
2013

ME TALKING TO MYSELF IN THE FUTURE
Marie Brassard (Montreal)
2012

THE TEMPEST REPLICA
Crystal Pite (Vancouver)
2012

13 MOST BEAUTIFUL…SONGS FOR ANDY WARHOL’S SCREEN TESTS
Dean & Britta (New York)
2012

WE’RE GONNA DIE
Young Jean Lee (New York)
2012

PERFORMS TOM WAITS
L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres (Quebec City)
2012

ANOTHER DAY IN AMERICA
Laurie Anderson (New York)
2012

NEWYORKLAND
Temporary Distortion (New York)
2012

WORLD FAIR
L’A Rachid Ouramdane (Paris)
2011

THE GOLDEN MEAN (LIVE)
Compagnie Marie Chouinard(Montreal)
2011

L’EFFET DE SERGE
Vivarium Studio (Paris)
2011

UNDER THE SKIN
Wen Wei Dance & Beijing Modern Dance Company (Canada/China)
2011

C!RCA
by Circa (Australia)
2011

PERFORMS TOM WAIT
L’orchestre D’Hommes Orchestres (Quebec City)
2011

THE BALLAD OF RICKY AND RONNY – A POP OPERA
NeedCompany (Belgium)
2010

ARCHITECTING
TEAM (New York)
2010

WEST
Awesome (Seattle)
2010

DO ANIMALS CRY?
Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods (Belgium)
2010

ROADKILL
Splintergroup (Australia)
2010

CHINA
William Yang (Australia/China)
2010

7 IMPORTANT THINGS
STO Union (Quebec)
2009

ORPEHUS AND EURYDICE
Marie Chouinard (Montreal)
2009

THREE-SIXTY-FIVE
Wen Wei Dance (Vancouver)
2009

THE INVISIBLE
Marie Brassard (Montreal)
2009

7 DEADLY SINS
The Tiger Lilies (London)
2008

RADIO MACBETH
SITI Company (New York)
2008

THE RITE OF SPRING
Compagnie Marie Chouinard (Montreal)
2008

61 CIRCUS ACTS IN 61 MINUTES
Circa (Australia)
2008

PEEPSHOW
Marie Brassard (Montreal)
2007

SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD
Peter Brook (Paris)
2007

LIFE IS GOOD
W&M Physical Theatre (Poland/Calgary)
2007

UNBOUND
Wen Wei Dance (Vancouver)
2007

SOLO: THE DOUBT WITHIN ME
Philippe Decoufle (France)
2007

FAMOUS PUPPET DEATH SCENES
Old Trout Puppets (Calgary)
2007

INSOMNIA
Necessary Angel Theatre Company (Toronto)
2006

BODY REMIX GOLDBERG VARIATIONS
Compagnie Marie Chouinard (Montreal)
2006