AT&T to sponsor theatre production

AT&T will sponsor its first live theatre production in Canada this fall.Through its international sponsorship program for theatre, AT&T: Onstage, the u.s.-based telecommunications giant will donate $50,000 to The Canadian Stage Company of Toronto to assist in funding a production of...

AT&T will sponsor its first live theatre production in Canada this fall.

Through its international sponsorship program for theatre, AT&T: Onstage, the u.s.-based telecommunications giant will donate $50,000 to The Canadian Stage Company of Toronto to assist in funding a production of The Wooden Hill, a work by Canadian playwright Don Hannah, inspired by the journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery.

The play, one of nine productions planned by the company during its 1994-95 season, is slated to run Sept. 23 to Oct. 22.

In addition to providing production funds, at&t will also run print ads in major Toronto newspapers to back the play’s opening, and it will donate US$5,000 directly to the playwright.

AT&T: Onstage spokesperson Michael Howell says at&t is committed to sponsoring ‘new and innovative, non-mainstream theatre works.’

Howell says the firm would like people ‘to think it is as risk-taking and adventuresome in its business as these plays are.’

During the course of the year, AT&T: Onstage will also provide sponsorship dollars for The Michael Snow Project, a Toronto retrospective of Canadian artist Michael Snow to be held March 11 to June 5, and the Toronto International Film Festival, held annually in the fall.

Meanwhile, Canadian Stage is betting 1994-95 could be a banner year for the money-losing theatre company, if it can reach its goal of attaining subscription sales equal to 75% of its total ticket sales.

Currently, only half of ticket sales are subscription-based.

But Canadian Stage, which primarily stages challenging plays by Canadian writers with Canadian casts, is hoping to pick up a large contingent of the 40,000 subscribers recently dropped by the city’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.

The Royal Alexandra, owned by Toronto retailer, restaurant owner and impresario Ed Mirvish, has switched in the last few years from staging several musicals yearly to importing big-name musicals from the u.s. for open-ended runs.

Martin Bragg, general manager of Canadian Stage, says many of the Royal Alex’s previous subscription customers are now out on the street, wondering where they could go to find challenging live theatre.

‘We want to provide it for them,’ Bragg says. PA