Great Canadian Theatre Company announces new Artistic Director |

For Immediate Release - Ottawa, Ontario – July 3, 2012 


GCTC Board Chair, Nhanci Wright announced today that Eric Coates will be the next Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. "GCTC is thrilled to have such an experienced and respected member of the arts community joining us as our new Artistic Director. Eric is an excellent choice to lead GCTC into the future," says Chair Nhanci Wright.

Mr. Coates will be stepping down from his current position as the Artistic Director of the Blyth Festival, where he has worked in a variety of disciplines since 1995 and joining the GCTC team in September.

Eric Coates’ directing credits in Blyth include Dear Johnny Deere, Vimy, Against the Grain, Queen Milli of Galt, The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom, The Gingko Tree, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight, Having Hope at Home, and The Drawer Boy.  He has also directed for Thousand Islands Playhouse and Drayton Entertainment.  For CBC Radio: The Train, broadcast live from Blyth Memorial Hall, and twelve episodes of The Morning Scoop. Eric is extremely proud of the festival’s new play development record since he became artistic director in 2003: twenty-eight world premieres, eleven scripts published, and two finalists for the Governor General’s Award (Reverend Jonah by Paul Ciufo and Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott by Beverley Cooper).

As an actor, Eric spent four seasons with the Stratford Festival and has performed in regional theatres in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and New York. He has also appeared in several Canadian television series, television movies and the feature films Angel Eyes and The Pianoman’s Daughter. He has been a guest instructor for St. Clair College Performing Arts and he served on the advisory committees for Ryerson Theatre School, of which he is a proud alumnus. He has adjudicated Sears Drama Festivals for the Avon Maitland and Wellington County School Boards, and most recently adjudicated the Western Ontario Drama League’s festival entries. Eric is the President of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT).

Eric Coates states, "The Great Canadian Theatre Company represents an artistic ideal that I have shared throughout my career. For the last seventeen years, I have worked almost exclusively on new Canadian work and I look forward to continuing this practice in a vibrant and engaged community of fellow artists. GCTC is what we all strive to be as artists: independent, socially conscious, politically active and passionate. And, for the first time in my life, the words 'Go, Sens!' will cross my lips. I look forward to this appointment with great anticipation.”

Search Committee Chair and Board Member Bruce Nicol adds, “the Search Committee was unanimous in its decision to recommend Eric Coates for the position. We conducted a comprehensive national search and 39 candidates applied to be considered. We were very impressed by the level of calibre of all the professional candidates and the high esteem each one held for GCTC and the work the company produces.”

About the Great Canadian Theatre Company: GCTC is celebrating its 38th Anniversary Season in 2012 – 2013 and we have great cause to celebrate our achievements. In that time, we have developed from five people who joined together at Carleton University with little more than an idea, to become a vibrant independent professional theatre company. GCTC is committed to the production of new Canadian work, and to producing theatre that provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world.  We continue to commission and workshop new work by Canadian playwrights, as well as mentor emerging artists and theatre companies through professional development programs.  Website:




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Andrew Soobrian

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