MANDATE & APPROACH
The company's purpose is to explore, examine, and express the big ideas and questions relating to faith, spirituality, and the human experience. This is accomplished primarily through 'physical ensemble theatre' with an added emphasis on the creation, development, and production of original artistic works. The purpose is ideally pursued with intelligence, creativity, excellence, inclusivity, and an expansive view of the world and people. The company strives to challenge artists and audiences with regards to the big questions raised from its art, often emphasizing an ensemble approach and collaborative creative process. Artists and volunteers of any or no faith background or identity work with the company. The various and diverse opinions, beliefs, and perspectives of all people are respected and appreciated, thus informing a robust view of humanity’s relationship with faith and the many facets of this manifestation. The company believes 'theatre' is a live, in-person, shared and communal experience that transforms and transports the audience due to their intimate proximity and presence to the performers and the art itself. The company defines 'physical ensemble theatre' as working together to tell a story in which all performers take on multiple roles and are all equally essential in telling the story. The emphasis is on high touch, high impact, expressive sound and movement, often involving close contact.
HISTORY & WORK
9th Hour Theatre Company was founded in 2009 and became a registered Canadian charity in 2012. Halo was the company’s 22nd and latest production, presented in March 2020 as part of the tenth anniversary season. The company has now presented over 250 performances across about 25 venues in the nation’s capital and eastern Ontario. In the summer of 2021, an ensemble of 10 artists workshopped and developed an original work which culminated in previews to an invited audience. Overall, the company’s works consist of 1 touring original verbatim theatre piece, 2 original adaptations, 2 multi-disciplinary artistic fundraiser shows, 16 box office productions, 2 regionally touring shows, several staged readings, and 1 production in collaboration with another theatre company. Throughout the years, 9th Hour has worked with over 300 different artists and volunteers from across the country, children and adults alike, experienced theatre professionals, as well as emerging or amateur artists. 9th Hour’s audience has grown since it was founded, with the 2014 season of C.S. Lewis works alone captivating the imaginations of about 6,000 patrons. In 2013, the Canadian premiere of Freud’s Last Session toured the region for 7 months. Audience discussions have become a staple of 9th Hour Theatre Company by engaging in respectful dialogue about the themes and ideas raised from each of the pieces presented.
AWARDS & MEDIA
In addition to 9th Hour’s shows being critically well received, the company, as well as its work and artists, have been highlighted and interviewed in local and provincial media over the years, including three times on CTV television’s “Ottawa Morning”, a feature segment on the CTV evening news, several times on CBC radio’s “All in a Day” with Alan Neal, twice on CFRA talk radio’s “Late Night Counsel” once on CFRA’s Rabbi Bulka’s Sunday night show, several times on CHRI Family Radio, as well as on CKCU radio (Carleton University), CHUO radio (University of Ottawa), and the province-wide produced CBC radio show “Ontario Today”. Recently, Ruth Allison (costume designer for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) was nominated by the Rideau Awards for Outstanding Costume Design in the 2018-19 season of professional theatre. Flo Alexander and Tanya Sylvester were both nominated by the Rideau Awards for outstanding behind-the-scenes work in the 2017-18 theatre season of professional theatre in Ottawa, in which Flo won the award. 9th Hour was nominated by the Capital Critics Circle in professional theatre for ‘Best Production’ and ‘Best Director’ (Jonathan Harris) for the The Screwtape Letters, presented in repertoire with the company’s original adaptation of The Great Divorce in the summer of 2014. 9th Hour’s Narnia (2014) Set Designer, Andrea Steinwand was nominated for an emerging artist award in Ottawa’s 2015 professional theatre Rideau Awards. Returning 9th Hour artist, Robin Guy, was nominated by the Capital Critics Circle as best female actor for her role in 9th Hour’s 2015 production of The Creation of the World and Other Business at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre. In 2013, 9th Hour’s Production Stage Manager, Rachel-Dawn Wallace, won the professional theatre Rideau award for outstanding behind-the-scenes work for My Name Is Asher Lev.
IAN FARTHING (Artistic Advisor) – Ian is a freelance director, actor and writer, born in British Columbia. He undertook his professional training in the U.K. at the University of Birmingham and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and then worked in London for ten years. Upon returning to Canada, he appeared in numerous productions with the Arts Club Theatre (The Mousetrap, Cabaret, Shear Madness), Pacific Theatre (The Foreigner, The Clearing, Lettice and Lovage), and a number of smaller companies in Vancouver and across B.C. He also performed at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott, Ontario in 2004 and 2005, where he later served for 9 years as Artistic Director. He was honored with the Capital Critics Circle Audrey Ashley Award for “the excellence of his continuing contribution to theatre”. Ian is an Associate Artist at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver. He was also featured in 9th Hour's presentation of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival's production of Jesus, My Boy in 2013.
RUTH ALLISON (Costume Designer) - Ruth has been interested in sewing since the age of eight years old. Since 2011, she has enjoyed getting back to this passion and loves to help with Telling The Story using fabrics and designs. Ruth joined the company in 2017 and has designed costumes for the Ottawa production of Godspell andThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2018, Halo as part of the tenth anniversary 2020 season, and the original work Beauty Will Save the World in 2021. Ruth also started her own fashion design and up-cycling business Melody's Fabric Re-Creations in 2021.
GEORGE DUTCH (Associate Artistic Director, Dramaturge) – George studied Acting at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver with internationally renowned theatre director, Gunduz Kalic during the 70s; then joined Kalic’s ensemble in northern Australia for 5 years where he taught a performance class in a university theatre program during the 80s. George was Director of the Drama Ministry at Dominion-Chalmers United Church from 2000-04. He has contributed to 9th Hour’s mandate since its inception as dramaturge, artistic associate, a participant in play readings, and with the business operations of the company. George was Assistant Director of 9th Hour's Prodigal Son (2017) and performed in multiple roles with the company since it began, most notably 'Sigmund Freud' in the Canadian premiere touring production of Freud's Last Session (2013), 'Screwtape' in The Screwtape Letters (2014) which was nominated for 'Best Production' and the beloved 'Mr. Beaver' in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2018). George thinks theatre should investigate big ideas related to the role of culture in shaping everyday practices of living.
ERICA O'REILLY (Artistic Associate) - Erica’s life-long love for the arts and collaboration in community has taken her all over the world, including: Toronto, New York, and Northern Italy. Locally, she has worked with: the Ottawa StoryTellers, Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, and the Ottawa Grassroots Festival. Erica was in 9th Hour Theatre Company's 2022 cast of the original work Beauty Will Save the World and was a facilitator for 9th Hour's Coming Out of Crisis physical ensemble workshop in 2023. Erica is incredibly passionate about the magic of storytelling and the healing power of the human spirit. When she is not in rehearsals or sharing within the Ottawa arts scene, Erica also works as a women’s spiritual and embodiment counsellor and sacred storyteller. In 2023, she launched Into the Circle Theatre - which is passionately rooted in offering sacred theatrical gatherings that weave hallowed tales of women re-membering and re-claiming their embodied wisdom and sovereign power.
JONATHAN HARRIS (Producing Artistic Director) – Jonathan is a versatile performing artist, athlete, director, writer, and musician inspired by stories that elevate our thinking and stir our souls, and devoted to seeing them imaginatively brought to life through the magic and collaborative practice of ensemble theatre. Jonathan is a colleague of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. Some directing credits include Halo (2020) as part of the tenth anniversary season, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, (2018), the Ottawa production of the musical Godspell (2018), Prodigal Son (2017), Arthur Miller's The Creation of the World and Other Business (2015), and The Secret Garden (2012). Jonathan also directed 9th Hour’s 2014 “Into the Wardrobe” season including an original company adaptation of The Great Divorce in repertoire with The Screwtape Letters which was nominated for best director and best production by the Capital Critics Circle. Other credits with the company include Set Designer for Halo, Prodigal Son, and Children’s Letters to God, as well as touring regionally playing the role 'C.S. Lewis' in the 2013 Canadian premiere of Freud’s Last Session. In addition to a strong passion for youth work in the community, Jonathan is devoted to ongoing nuanced discussion about complex ideas and contemporary issues.
TINA SEGRETO (Production Manager) – Tina became involved in 9th Hour in 2018 when she first took on the role of Front of House Manager for Godspell and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. She has spent the past 22 years working as a project manager in both the private and public sector. Tina loves to cook, entertain, swim and can also be found on the ball hockey court on Sunday afternoons. Tina was born and raised in Ottawa, met her life long partner at Ridgemont High School and together they have raised their own two children back in the neighborhood where their story began. Tina loves to travel whether it be with her family or friends or both on occasion and yearly looks forward to a break from Ottawa winters!
JOHN COOK (Artistic Associate, Producer) - John Cook has been involved in theatre for close to 25 years as an actor, playwright, director, producer, and artistic director. He has written for both community and professional theatre companies including Tale Wagging Theatre, Plosive Productions, Vintage Stock Theatre, East End Theatre, and ITR Theatre Company. John has also written humour columns for a variety of newspapers and magazines, including, The Weekly Journal, The Orleans Star, Monitor Magazine, Christian News Ottawa and Christian Current. One of his more memorable acting roles required wearing tights and a tutu during an Ottawa Theatre Challenge performance at the NAC’s Fourth Stage. He was also in 9th Hour’s production of Eyes Upon the Cross. John served on the board of several community theatre companies and is currently the Chair of the Program Advisory Committee for the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin College. He is also a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and Arts Network Ottawa.
ESTHER SANGALLI (Managing Director) - Esther loves seeing artistic works come to life. Exploring, wondering, inquiring are true to her heart as it is to the spirit of 9th Hour. Esther has been captivated by the ensemble style of theatre that 9th Hour presents since her daughter had a role in Godspell in 2018. Fascinated by the collaborative creative process, Esther joined the company in 2021. Esther is an open and perceptive leader who sees deep into the heart and embrace the best in people, even at their worst. Certified by the Institute for Coaching Mastery, Esther expertly maps and navigated complex relationships, emotions, and connections between heart, soul, mind and body. She is a sharply intuitive coach, fearless explorer of the heart, and tireless champion of love, self-care, and harmonious relationship. Esther’s love for people is complimented by her love for the earth. She has dedicated over 30 years to studying and pursuing emotional wellness, building a strong, powerful partnership in her marriage, and raising her six amazing children.
SUSAN MARRINER (Graphics Designer) - Susan has many years of graphic design experience, including educational, freelance and studio work. She is an Algonquin College honours-graduate of the Graphic Design Program and a Registered Graphic Designer of Ontario (RGD). Not only was Susan twice awarded winner of RGDs Design at Work competition, she has also been a part-time Graphic Design professor at Algonquin College. From 2019 – early 2021, she served as an executive board member on the North Dundas Chamber of Commerce. Susan has been the graphics designer for 9th Hour since it began as a company.
ASHLEY BARSTEAD (Publicity Manager)
Past Artists & Company
KATIE ADLESON (Publicity Manager) | FLO ALEXANDER (Production Assistant, Hospitality Coordinator) | LAURA BARKLEY (Stage Manager, Director) | CARE BALDWIN (Director) | ALEXANDRA BENDER (Community Engagement Director) | CHRYSTAL CANN (Managing Director) | MARC-ANDRE CHARRON (Director) | KEN CLEARY (Technical Director) | GABRIELLA GADSBY (Artistic Associate, Director) | BETSY JOHNSON (Front-of-House Manager) | EVELYN JOST (Hospitality Coordinator, Director) | JOCELYN KEAYS (Publicity Manager) | PETER LEYENAAR (Associate Producer) | ROB LINKE (Managing & Communications Director) | LOGAN MILLER (Publicity Manager, Stage Manager) | MEGAN PIERCEY MONAFU (Creative Associate, Director) | SARAH NIEMAN (Production Stage Manager) | DAVID PLOUFFE (Creative Associate) | ARIANE ROY (Production Assistant, Artistic Associate) | REBECCA RUSSELL (Artistic Associate) | LEAH SEABROOK (Managing Director) | BRONWYN STEINBERG (Director) | MISHELLE STOTT (Events Coordinator) | TANYA SYLVESTER (Assistant Stage Manager) | MARK TURCOTTE (Marketing & Communications Director) | PATTI VOPNI (Production Designer) | RACHEL-DAWN WALLACE (Production Stage Manager) | ANDRÉE-ANNE WILLIAMS (Community Engagement Director)
JOHN COOK (Board of Directors - Secretary)
TINA SEGRETO (Board of Directors - Chair)
ESTHER SANGALLI (Board of Directors - Vice-Chair)
EVELYN JOST (Board of Directors)
HUAN NGUYEN (Treasurer)
JONATHAN HARRIS (Executive Director)
Past Directors & Officers
FLO ALEXANDER (Board of Directors) | LAURA BARKLEY (Board of Directors) | ALEXANDRA BENDER (Board of Directors - Vice Chair) | CHRYSTAL CANN (Board of Directors - Vice Chair) | NANCY CHASE (Treasurer) | BETSY JOHNSON (Board of Directors - Secretary) | ANNE-MARIE LATULIPPE (Treasurer) | PETER LEYENAAR (Board of Directors - Chair) | ROB LINKE (Board of Directors - Chair) | STUART MURRAY (Board of Directors - Treasurer) | PAUL RACINE (Board of Directors - Vice Chair) | DANIEL BEZALEL RICHARDSEN (Board of Directors - Vice Chair) | KEVIN SCHAFER (Board of Directors) | LEAH SEABROOK (Board of Directors - Vice-Chair) | DAVID SHERWIN (Board of Directors - Chair) | ED VOPNI (Board of Directors - Vice Chair)