About DreamNorth

Mandate

DreamNorth is a professional, not-for-profit theatre company committed to open-air summer productions of the works of William Shakespeare in the Canadian North; additionally, we aim to foster a keen interest in Shakespeare with youth workshops and community outreach programs, while providing an educational experience for Toronto-based actors and artists.

Company History

DreamNorth was co-founded by Yukoner Robin Urquhart and Toronto-based artists Laura Duralija, Kate Hodgert, and Aaron Stern in April of 2007 with the goal of bringing an open-air production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Whitehorse, YT, for the Summer Solstice.

Urquhart had shared his frustration with the fact that Whitehorse has very little outdoor summer theatre and almost no outdoor Shakespeare productions with Duralija over Ethiopian dinner one night a few weeks earlier and, by dessert, the two had hatched a plan to produce a play during the Summer Solstice (June 21) when Whitehorse receives nearly twenty hours of daylight. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seemed a natural choice for such a unique theatrical setting and, with this in mind, they approached Hodgert and Stern as potential collaborators. Both artists were blown away by the project’s potential and agreed to lend their talents to the endeavor immediately. Not only would the Dream project be filling a real artistic void and reaching new and unaffected audiences, the Toronto-Whitehorse tour would offer an un-paralleled artistic adventure for otherwise Ontario-bound professional artists. With this in mind, the foursome began planning for the production.

As June was quickly approaching, a core artistic team and project outline were quickly composed, and casting was completed by May to allow four weeks of rehearsal time. The company liaised with the City of Whitehorse, the Yukon Arts Centre, and several arts programs as pre-production was underway. With just a month to go, and not enough time to apply for funding, DreamNorth had to raise over $10,000 to cover the cost of flights alone. The company generated just over half of that in individual and corporate donations and fundraiser revenue and then raised the remaining funds through pay-what-you-can ticket sales once the production was in performance.

The play was given one performance in Toronto before the company left for the Yukon where they played to packed audiences at Lepage Park, in Whitehorse, for one week. The production was more well-received than anyone in the company had anticipated. Every performance drew a large crowd and the audiences were consistently responsive, attentive, and generous. This confirmed DreamNorth’s belief that the company was doing something really worthwhile – there was definitely a place for Shakespeare in the North!

While performances were underway, the ensemble of DreamNorth ran free youth workshops in the park and through MAD (Music Arts and Drama – an arts program which is part of the Whitehorse Secondary School curriculum). The workshops were so popular and the feedback so positive that the company decided to make education and outreach a serious priority for the following year.

Based on the success of the Dream tour, DreamNorth toured an outdoor presentation of Much Ado About Nothing to Toronto, Whitehorse and Atlin, BC, in the spring of 2008.

In summer 2009 DreamNorth will return to Canada’s north with Twelfth Night.

In 2009, DreamNorth officially became a registered Charitable Organization under the Revenue Canada Agency.