MISSION & VISION
Vital Stories, Connecting Us All.
Soulpepper is Canada’s leading artist-driven theatre company. We believe that stories can connect us, that they are vital to our understanding, compassion and knowledge, and that they can motivate us toward social change. We are passionate, understanding, and inclusive, instilling the values of belonging, excellence, and innovation in all we do.
We are artist-driven. We are a community of artists, theatre makers and administrators who are committed to creating vital theatre. We tell stories that resonate in different ways across time and place; stories that raise necessary questions; stories that can inspire us, and the audiences who engage with us, to imagine and work towards a better world.
As well as producing the work of diverse visionary artists, we offer a host of ancillary programs that nurture and develop the creativity of everyone who wishes to engage with the theatrical, musical, and performing arts. We offer these opportunities because we believe that the arts are for everyone, and we know that creative expression is a vital part of individual and community life.
We engage with our city, and its many diverse communities, through our programming and outreach, and strive to make Soulpepper a place of belonging for everyone who would like to participate, regardless of class, race, language, or ability.
Founded by 12 artists, Soulpepper was launched in 1998 with a two-production summer season at Harbourfront Centre, with the artists undertaking all operations, including fundraising. The Company’s ensemble approach to artistic rigor garnered enthusiastic response from audiences, artists and critics alike. With a focus on youth outreach and artist training, Soulpepper’s activities grew year-over-year to fill a vital need in Canada’s largest theatre market.
In 2005, Soulpepper completed a capital campaign and migrated from Harbourfront to its new home in the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, a world-class venue which anchors the Distillery Historic District as a cultural destination for residents and visitors. Under the leadership of founding Artistic Director Albert Schultz and former Executive Director Leslie Lester, the Company experienced a period of growth and expansion of its activities.
In 2008, Soulpepper launched the Soulpepper Academy, Canada’s only two-year paid training program for theatre artists of all backgrounds. Responding to industry needs, in 2014 Soulpepper grew the program to include specialized training streams in directing, acting, playwriting, designing, and producing/stage management.
In 2015, Soulpepper launched a Creative Capital Campaign, to raise $10 million to be invested into artists, ideas and new activity (rather than bricks and mortar), including touring, audio programming, and Project Imagination – an ambitious multi-year theatre commissioning program. The Campaign reached its goal in 2016, two years ahead of schedule, and the resulting activity has accelerated the growth and activity of the Company.
On July 1, 2017 Soulpepper opened its month-long festival of 12 original Canadian works in a multi-venue complex on 42nd Street in New York City. The festival featured 75 diverse Canadian artists, and proved to be a critical and audience success, garnering over 200 media articles, reaching 11,000 patrons, and planting seeds for future collaboration and international touring activity.
In the fall of 2018, Soulpepper announced the appointment Emma Stenning as Executive Director, and Weyni Mengesha as Artistic Director. Together with our Board Chair, Vanessa Morgan, Soulpepper’s leadership team is complete, and is beginning to write the next chapter in the ambitious future of the Company.
Annual Reports & Financial Statements
In our efforts to be a transparent and accountable charitable organization, Soulpepper shares our Annual Report and Financial Statements publicly.