John Thornton Theatre

John Thornton Theatre

The John Thornton Theatre is an playhouse located in Georgetown, Ontario (in Canada). It was the first theatre to be founded in Georgetown. The theatre itself uses an old church, part of which is now used for the Halton Hills Public Library [ [ Halton Hills Public Library main site index] ] and the old sanctuary of which is now the auditorium for the John Thornton Theatre.


Prior to 1912, the church that now houses the library and Theatre was in common use. A large bell is now outside the church commemorating when it was given over for commercial purposes. A local practicing artist, Paul George Hines, who had been in sparse shows in Toronto, asked permission to use the sanctuary as an auditorium for the occasional production. He and his friends occasionally put on a “theatrical production” for the community, but not professionally, nor on a regular schedule.

In 1959, when Hines died at the age of 78, two theatres were split from the small company that had gathered around the occasional shows: the John Thornton Theatre (named for Hines’ acting teacher in Toronto) and the Georgetown Little Theatre. [ [ Georgetown Little Theatre about – History page] ] .

After that, the John Thornton Theatre collected three artistic directors, an overall producer, and a corps of about seventy actors (the population of Georgetown is approximately 50 000 [ [,_Ontario#Demographics Georgetown, Ontario : Population Demographics] ] and so is quite capable of supporting this number), who are not paid a salary but rather sign up for plays and are paid per run of productions. (Certainly no actors consider this a full-time job.)

The John Thornton tries to produce a regular three plays per year, with a combined budget of $4 000 CAD; each one generally sees 4 performances, which bring in up to $700 each. According to producer Kim Hines, 2007’s fiscal year budget was $4 376. The Theatre also attempts to sponsor one original play from a local playwright, with an outside director, to support the fostering of new arts in Halton Hills, every year. This quota is rarely filled. The last one was 2007’s A Sordid Life.


* The most profitable year was 2001, in which an original production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet made approximately 750% profit.

* Surpluses are divided between salaries for the permanent staff, and charitable donations to local organizations.

* There have been a total of four executive producers over the approximately 50-year history; the current position is filled by Kim Hines, Paul Hines’ granddaughter.

ee also

*A Sordid Life (play)


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