Since its founding in 1994, Neworld Theatre has created, produced, and toured new plays, performance events and digital works. Our activities occur primarily on the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, extending across Turtle Island and beyond.
Our mission is to center stories and perspectives that seek to dismantle systems of oppression. Vital to this is an interrogation of whose stories are being told and who does the telling. We embrace the conflict we believe is inherent in any authentic consideration of power, privilege and access. We believe the creative tools and artistic processes of theatre are powerful ways of exploring who we are, our lived experiences, and offer practical modes for enacting change. This leads to intersectional collaboration, broadening access and deepening engagement. Our work is provoked by curiosity, asking difficult unanswerable questions and carries with it a real, true potential of failure. With this commitment to risk/failure comes a commitment to care. Humour, vulnerability and invention are key strategies we use to engage audiences.
Over our 28-year history, we have produced, presented and toured multiple works annually at festivals and theatres in over 40 cities and 10 countries worldwide. Major awards include several Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards including the Sydney J Risk prize and Ray Michal prize as well as three Critics’ Choice Innovation Awards, two Arts Club Silver Commissions, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, multiple Jessie Richardson Awards, the Rio-Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Canada Council Staunch-Lynton Award and the Siminovitch Prize.
Our motto is ‘plays well with others’. Collaboration and working across perceptions of difference are central to our ethic and the way we work. Our programming responds to the creative interests of Neworld’s core artists and opportunities that emerge in relationship to other artists and organizations. This commitment to collaboration also drives the community-engaged programs we deliver and the multiple ways we work with peers in the creative sector to develop cultural infrastructure and sectoral capacity both in the city of Vancouver, and across the country.
We measure our impact not only by productions and awards but also through the development of new work, partnerships, residencies, mentorships, community engagement, outreach and advocacy. Through artistic production internships, associate productions and the Fringe Forward Award, we support the work of emerging and mid-career artists. Partnerships are integral to all our work and built broadly from local community organizations, to national institutions, to internationally-recognized theatre powerhouses. Our work has been seen in various spaces by a vast array of audiences, from thousands of high school students in gymnasiums across BC, to a small group of incarcerated inmates at the Labrador Correctional Centre, to international audiences at off-Broadway theatre Soho Rep and online via SpiderWebShow’s FOLDA and Vancouver International Film Festival.