Catalyst Welcomes Acting Managing Producer, Brenda O’Donnell

on Tuesday, 11 July 2017. Posted in Latest News

For Immediate Release - July 11, 2017

Catalyst Theatre’s board of directors announces that Brenda O’Donnell will assume the position of Acting Managing Producer, effective July 11th, 2017.  Ms. O’Donnell was previously the Executive Director of the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta and is a senior arts administrator with extensive experience working for many of Edmonton’s theatre companies. Ms. O’Donnell will work closely with Mr. Christenson, the board, and the staff of Catalyst Theatre, to assist during the search for a new Managing Producer.

Farewell to Managing Producer, Eva Cairns

on Tuesday, 11 July 2017. Posted in Latest News

For Immediate Release - June 11, 2017

It is with mixed emotion that Catalyst Theatre’s board of directors announces that Eva Cairns will be stepping down as Managing Producer effective July 15, 2017 to assume a position as a Program Officer with the Canada Council in Ottawa.

                                                                       B&W Eva

“Eva has worked tirelessly to support Catalyst’s creation and touring mandate over the past decade. We’re deeply grateful for her commitment to our core artists and her enduring support of the company’s work. She’ll be greatly missed by all of us at Catalyst and by Edmonton’s theatre community. We wish her all the very best as she transitions into her new role in Ottawa and look forward to an exciting new chapter in the life of Catalyst Theatre.”
Janine Andrews, Chair

Eva has been with Catalyst since 2006. During her tenure as Managing Producer, she supported the company’s Artistic Director Jonathan Christenson, Resident Designer Bretta Gerecke, and all the members of Catalyst’s talented artistic teams in the creation of such acclaimed original productions as Frankenstein , Nevermore – The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Hunchback, The Soul Collector, Vigilante & Fortune Falls, and helped us share our work with audiences around the world, including engagements in London’s West End, New York’s Broadway district, and at theatres and festivals in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton and other cities across Canada.

“It’s been an honour to partner with Eva in leading Catalyst through ten years of unprecedented growth – an extraordinary journey full of thrilling highs and some challenging lows, and I can’t imagine having done it with anyone else. I’ll miss her keen intelligence, her uncompromisingly high standards, and her infectious laugh. I’m so excited for her as she embarks on this next great adventure in Ottawa and I wish her all the happiness she so deserves!”

                  Jonathan Christenson, Artistic Director

Catalyst Theatre’s board of directors will launch a national search for a new Managing Producer in the coming weeks.

For further information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Janine Andrews at | 780.953.5325

Jonathan Christenson at | 780.431.1750.


April News!

on Tuesday, 18 April 2017. Posted in Latest News

“It started wit’ just one little spark….”

It’s hard to believe that our epic Vigilante tour is almost finished. A little known piece of dark Canadian history was the fuel that ignited this fiery show. It began at Keyano Theatre in Fort McMurray in 2013, and now, almost four years later, it will close at the National Arts Centre after a three week run. During this tour we’ve shared the production with approximately 22,000 audience members over 43 performances, and we’ve loved every minute of it!

“… a riveting production that is one of those rare theatrical gems — by any measure an artistic achievement — fuelled by a great story, passion and talent audiences seldom get to experience.”
-London Free Press

As the tour wraps up, we’ve been reflecting on how we need you, our supporters and champions to help us with our most important fundraiser of the year, Over the Edge With 4 Play. We hope, if you’ve seen the show abroad or in Edmonton, that you’ll keep the work in mind and help us to continue to create new bold productions.

We hope to see you at 4 Play, and wish you a happy sunny spring!
The Catalyst Family

Look Inside: 6 Questions with Shannon Blanchet

on Friday, 30 December 2016. Posted in Latest News


Known affectionally to us as Elmira, Shannon Blanchet is a valued member of Edmonton’s theatre community and one of our favourite collaborators. She has toured the world with us for Nevermore, and we were over the moon when she accepted a part in Fortune Falls. Here are six quick questions with the  amazing Shannon.

Who do you play in Fortune Falls and how do you help to tell the story? 

I play a variety of roles in Fortune Falls (saying too much about any one character feels like giving the secrets away!).  In addition to working as a part of the ensemble of narrators who provide a “birds eye” or “outside” view to the story, I play Miriam Mesner, who is one of the people that suffers a great loss when Mercey Chocolate decides to close the Fortune Falls Plant.  I think her interaction with Everett awakens him (and the audience) to a notion of corporate collateral damage. I hope she invites the audience to question and reflect on how the corporate pursuit of constant growth, and the choices that people make in the interests of increasing the company’s bottom line can have a deep impact on the community at large, and not just the people who work within the industry.  You don’t have to work in the auto industry to be affected by the decline of American vehicle manufacturing if you live (or lived) in Detroit, for example.  I think the more “peripheral” characters bring this theme to the fore by forcing Everett to confront the realities of the system.  They pull the veil on his dream and reveal it to be a naive, sugar-coated vision of the world.

What do you find the most intriguing part of the world of Fortune Falls?

The blurred line between dream and waking, fantasy and reality.  What is fact and what is illusion? 

This is your second time performing in a Catalyst show. What did you learn from doing Nevermore that you’ve been able to bring with you into Fortune Falls? 

Nevermore was one of the most fulfilling projects I could ever hope to work on and was a large part of my life for six years.  I learned a lot about my voice over the course of those runs–musical passages that were challenging at the beginning of the project got easier over time as I learned to navigate them with more dexterity and as I gained freedom in the technical execution of the music, it freed up my mind to delve deeper into how the music was helping to tell the story (i.e  What about the sound of this word sung in this way reflects my character’s experience?).  The most important thing I am bringing with me to Fortune Falls is a trust in and love of the work and the ensemble.  The strength and bond of the ensemble is essential to Catalyst’s storytelling.  We work together to tell the story so much; it is vital that everyone has an equal belief in and commitment to the project. I love seeing what can be achieved when a team shares a strong and ambitious vision-it makes the impossible possible, and that is a very rewarding thing to be a part of.  I packed a lot more joy in my suitcase for the trip to Fortune Falls!

How do you think Fortune Falls will surprise audiences?

I think they will be surprised at how Fortune Falls differs in tone from other Catalyst pieces while maintaining the aesthetic and stylistic sensibilities that have become the company’s hallmark.  It’s definitely a lighter, more youthful piece than Nevermore, for example.  

You have a lot of experience with Catalyst, and have travelled a lot with the company. Do you have a favourite moment?

On Stage: July 6, 2010. The Barbican Theatre. Opening night.  The blackout between the end of the show and the curtain call.  


What’s your favourite Canadian play? (Or top three if one is too hard).

That’s such a hard question to answer that I am going to pretend I didn’t see it …

Look Inside: 7 Questions With Beth Graham

on Tuesday, 25 October 2016. Posted in Latest News


Beth Graham is one of Canada’s most prolific playwrights, actors, and a long time collaborator with Catalyst. When she’s not hitting the stage with us in shows like Nevermore, Hunchback and The Blue Orphan she’s busy performing and writing for stages across the country. Most recently Beth received national attention for her award winning play The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, which premièred at Factory Theatre (with Obsidian Theatre), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and received the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award.

As the co-writer of other award winning plays, such as The Drowning Girls, Beth is no stranger to collaborating with another playwright. So when Artistic Director Jonathan Christenson asked her to come on board as a co-writer for Fortune Falls, Beth was ready for the challenge.


What do you find the most intriguing part of the world of Fortune Falls?
The townspeople that make up Fortune Falls have been really fun to write. There’s so much to mine in the everyday lives of these characters.


Explain to us how being a co-writer works? We assume you don’t type on the same keyboard at the same time?
We talk. We each generate a megaton of writing. We assemble it. We talk some more. We each write a megaton more. Slowly, it builds and comes together. Jonathan is the lead creative so he has the final say and puts together the rehearsal draft. We talk about it as he builds that. Lots of back and forth.


How does your creative relationship with Jonathan change as you transition from an actor to a co-writer?
I don’t know! I guess I get to see how his mind works from a different angle. Every time you work with someone your relationship deepens. There was already a lot of trust and respect before we began and I feel like we’ve always been able to talk openly with each other. He’s a very collaborative director whether you’re working with him as an actor or as a writer.


How do you think Fortune Falls will surprise audiences?
I think it’s surprising because it’s hard to define- in a good way. I think and hope it will be unlike anything they’ve seen before- an original!


You have a lot of experience with Catalyst, and have travelled a lot with the company. Do you have a favourite moment?
There are a ton of favourite moments… If I had to choose one I think it was after we opened Nevermore at the Barbican. We had four hours of tech which was such madness. It seemed an impossible feat but the ensemble was so tight. We were flying by the seat of our pants for the whole show but we knew that if our pants ripped there was someone who was going to catch us. When we took our bows at the end of the show I didn’t know whether to faint or scream my head off. I was so relieved and elated. Talk about an adrenalin rush!


What’s your favourite Canadian play? (Or top three if one is too hard).
I’ve always loved Les Belles Soeurs and The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum. Recently, I loved reading The History of Breathing by Daniel Macdonald.


Favourite kind of chocolate?
I loooove macaroons! Chocolate and coconut = scrumptious!


A little self promotion: what else do you have going on this season that audiences may like to check out?
I’m acting in A Christmas Carol coming up at the Citadel.


APRIL 6, 2018

Join us for our wacky, crazy, over the top fundraising event – Over the Edge With 4 Play. Some of Edmonton’s most incredible theatre artist gather to participate in the craziest fundraiser in town!


4 brand new Canadian plays made in just 12 hours.
Join 4 playwrights, 4 directors, 4 actors and 4 designers as they set the stage on fire during our infamous fundraising extravaganza!