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About the Centre: History

Theatre History
Gallery History
Youth Institute History
School of Fine Arts History

The English Classical Theatre of Montreal at the SBC opened in September of 1967 as a gift to Montreal from the children of philanthropist Samuel Bronfman, in honour of their mother's 70th birthday. This English Theatre designed by Phyllis (Bronfman) Lambert held 230 seats. Today, over 35 years later, the award winning Classical English Theatre of the SBC now accommodates an audience of over 300 and, under its Artistic Director, Ms. Bryna Wasserman, has earned a reputation as one of Montreal’s premiere English language theatres.

The Theatre of the SBC gives priority to the classical repertoire from which plays are chosen that are socially relevant. It provides an environment in which artists can create innovative, in-depth readings of these works that go beyond convention and sentimentality. Like all art, the aim is to produce a sudden flash of insight on how life works.

The Director steers the ship and in planning a season, directors are chosen first. The time-proven truths revealed by the classics need to be heard again by new audiences. By looking back at the past, these plays help interpret the present and provide a perspective for the future. Theatre can raise voices against the tides. That is why the English Theatre of the SBC encourages creative interpretations of classics - so that they will be meaningful for today’s audiences in Montreal and around the world.

Respect for the Art of Theatre and for its audiences is what has gained the English Theatre of the SBC the trust of colleagues. And it is because of this vision that some of the greatest artists from both Canada and abroad have come to The SBC English Theatre, including: directors, Bill Glasco, Guy Sprung, Chris Abraham, Michael Shamata, Marti Maraden and Steven Schipper; actors, Senator Viola Leger, Brenda Robins, Ric Reid, Rosemary Dunsmore, Gareth Armstrong, Albert Shultz, Kristen Thomson, and the late, great Uta Hagen. The consistent calibre of talent on and off the stage is what has led to both a rapidly increasing audience and numerous awards bestowed upon this Montreal English Theatre, including the prestigious Soiree Des Masques Awards, presented by the Acadamie Quebecoise de Theatre, for Best English Language Production in Quebec the last two years running.

Under Ms. Wasserman’s guidance, the Theatre of the SBC has truly become a vital cultural institution on the Montreal scene. Indeed, educators and students alike have turned to the English Theatre of the SBC as their “theatre of choice,” a widly popular second stage, the Saidye B Off Centre, was recently created to present cutting edge, riskier productions, and through such exciting programs as Monday Night Talkbacks and Sundays @ The Saidye, the Theatre of the SBC has developed a loyal subscriber base of nearly 3000 in Montreal.

The Theatre of the SBC can be reached by clicking Theatre Home

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Youth Institute
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School of Fine Arts
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