Toronto Masque Theatre was founded by artistic director Larry Beckwith in 2003 as a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization dedicated to the revival of music theatre works from the 16th to 18th centuries and the commissioning of new works in the spirit of the masque from Canadian creative artists. Since then, TMT has produced close to two dozen critically-acclaimed productions.
Highlights of past seasons include:
- Masques of Orpheus: Major works by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and James Rolfe, broadcast on CBC Radio 2.
- Masques for a Reaney Day: A celebration of Canadian poet James Reaney, featuring a world premiere by Abigail Richardson, an 'auditory masque' by John Beckwith, and Reaney's play One-Man Masque.
- The Fairy Queen, Dioclesian, Dido and Aeneas, The Indian Queen and King Arthur: The five productions of our Purcell Cycle which brought together multi-talented performers on the stage of Glenn Gould Studio, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, MacMillan Theatre and the Betty Oliphant Theatre.
- Masques of Love: A Valentine's Day celebration at the Gladstone Hotel, with blues guitars, lute, a madrigal group, and cabaret singer exploring love through the ages.
- A Scottish Masque: A special show with “Shaggy Haggis” and TMT regulars Meredith Hall, Terry McKenna and Avery MacLean for CBC Radio’s OnStage Series at the Glenn Gould Studio.
- Commedia: A multi-media evening featuring the tour de force baroque ballet Les caracteres de la danse, the play Aria da capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a film by the award-winning Clyde Henry Productions and music by Debussy, Lully, Vivaldi and Jean-Feury Rebel.
- Masques of War: A triple-bill featuring The Siege of Quebec by Frantisek Kotzwara, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi and L'Histoire du Soldat by Igor Stravinsky.
- The Mummers' Masque: A commissioned work from Canadian Dean Burry, featuring Christmas revels Newfoundland-style. A raucous good time!
- A Moliere celebration: A double-bill featuring generous excerpts from Le Bourgeois Gentillehomme and Le Malade Imaginaire.
- Masque of the Muses: A mixed program featuring pieces inspired by the nine Greek muses and including a complete performance of Clerambault's La muse de l'Opera.
- Masque of Irony: A cabaret presentation inspired by the songs of Randy Newman, featuring tenor Benjamin Butterfield and actor Martin Julien.
- Crazy to Kill: A Canadian detective opera by John Beckwith and James Reaney, featuring 18 puppets.
Audiences and critics have praised TMT for the high standards of its shows and the warm and inclusive performing atmosphere.
The Convent of Pleasure dress rehearsal, May 2012. photo© Tariq Kieran