By Keith Tomasek, Jan. 31, 2023
Seven years after becoming the Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre, today, Dennis Garnhum announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the 2022/23 Season.
During his years at the Grand Garnhum put London, Ontario on the map by fostering partnerships with international theatre companies, including the National Theatre (UK), Covent Garden Productions (UK) and the American Conservatory Theatre (USA).
The Grand co-produced the North American premiere of “Room,” based on Emma Donoghue’s best-selling 2010 novel, which is now headed to Broadway.
Speaking about the show in the London Free Press, Garnhum said,” they’ll be using our set and our script, so our work and our name will be associated with this production and will give us international exposure.”
Highlights of Garnhum’s work as a director include a record-setting run of an innovative and immersive production of “Cabaret,” which was extended three times and was set for a cross-Canadian Tour in 2020/21 before the pandemic shuttered theatres.
He also directed workshops for the musical “Grow” at two of North America’s most prestigious musical theatre incubators: Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Program and the Goodspeed Festival of New Music in East Haddam, CT. Following these workshops, the Grand produced the world premiere of “Grow,” to critical acclaim, in the Spring of 2022.
Most recently, he broke records again when his holiday production of “Elf – The Musical,” became the highest-grossing production in the Theatre’s history.
Anita Shah, President of the Grand Theatre Board of Directors, remarked: “If I were to describe Dennis’s tenure at the Grand in one word, it would be ambitious.
“Ambitious in his commitment to staging new work, ambitious in his natural ability to form significant, international partnerships, and ambitious to break down systemic industry barriers in a pursuit to make theatre arts more widely accessible.”
During his tenure as artistic director Garnhum spearheaded several, instrumental theatre programs, including the COMPASS New Play Development Program, 100 Schools educational outreach, and the 1000 Seats community initiative.
In late 2022, Dennis wrote and published his debut novel: “Toward Beauty: Reigniting a Creative Life on the Camino de Santiago.”
Part poignant memoir, part irresistibly charming travelogue, “Toward Beauty” chronicles the life of Garnhum as an artistic director and pulls readers into his expedition of self re-discovery through the pandemic – all while solo hiking the 830 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago del Norte.
Read our review of the book at this link.
Purchase the book at this link.
Speaking at the Grand’s annual general meeting, Garnhum said: “I came with an ambitious plan: to make us World Curious and London Proud. These four words encapsulated my dream for the theatre – to see us become a hub for generating bold, new productions from across the world and right here in London. And, more than that, to see the Grand become a place where all felt welcome: a true home to every Londoner.
“I am so proud of all that has been accomplished in the past seven years, and feel as though my work here is complete.
“I look forward to new creative adventures!”
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