The Storefront Arts Initiative is a not-for-profit organization that provides affordable and inclusive presenting opportunities to independent artists and collectives. The SAI prioritizes new play development and uses a collaborative model with an emphasis on collective responsibility between artists and administrators, providing meaningful support and training opportunities for practitioners.
We present work designed to refresh theatrical form, emphasizing partnerships with established companies acting as a launch pad for emerging artists. We exist to provide an inclusive cultural platform for assembly and experimentation. Programming, presenting and producing models invest in the development of independent artists and collectives.
To facilitate the sustainable development and proliferation of a unified Canadian Storefront Movement. We will share our unique Storefront Theatre model, centered around multi-disciplinary community arts spaces, and groundbreaking artistic production, in the form of organizational infrastructure and a national touring model to create a micro-industry for independent artists. Redefining what a “night” at the theatre means in our day and age.
From 2012-2017 the Storefront Theatre operated out of an abandoned drugstore at 955 Bloor St. W. The 3500 sq ft black box space hosted a DIY lighting grid and homemade dressing rooms. Box office doubled as the bar for special events and audience members got cozy waiting in line for our one bathroom. There’s no shortage of indie artists looking for venues to produce work and Storefront’s 67 seat “hipster clubhouse” filled a real need for affordable space in Toronto.
From 2013-2017 the Storefront hosted over 200 events, brought in 14,000 audience members and worked with over 600 artists. Our 2015-2016 & 2016-2017 curated seasons brought us critical acclaim as the new IT kids in the Toronto theatre scene.
The Storefront is a launch pad for artists and collectives- prolific playwright Kat Sandler, Dora Award Winning Actress, Claire Armstrong produced some of their first works at Storefront and have gone on to work professionally at the national level. Storefront is also an artistic sandbox for established artists to work on intimate and risky projects.
The support of the Storefront enabled Award Winning New Musical Chasse Galerie to go on to a successful second run of the show co-produced by Soulpepper/Kabin and Storefront. Vancouver’s Blood Pact Productions enjoyed a sold out run of their show, Kill Your Parents in Viking, Alberta at the Storefront in the Fall of 2016 and presented their sophomore show, After Wrestling, in co-production with Storefront and Factory Theatre in the Spring of 2018.
As Storefront prepares to launch a new venue we continue to partner with established and independent theatre companies in order to present exciting, contemporary work.
MEET THE TEAM
Artistic Managing Director
Claire Burns is the Artistic Managing Director of the Storefront Arts Initiative. Claire is an actor, playwright, director and producer of theatre. Claire came on board the Storefront in 2013 and was instrumental in creating the company’s integrated Producing Model and approach to curation and marketing. She is dedicated to the philosophy that every single person who lives in a city, or a town, walks past a storefront and should be able to see their own stories portrayed therein. Claire is committed to an ongoing anti-oppression and self-reflection practice with a focus on reducing how discrimination based on race, gender expression, ability and mental health manifests in theatrical ecology and practice. Claire holds an HBA in Political Science and History from the University of Toronto, as well as a degree in Classical Performance from George Brown Theatre School.
Sedina Fiati is a performer, producer, activist and creator for stage and screen. She holds a BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Windsor and has performed, produced and created a variety of projects, ranging from devised work, Shakespeare, cabarets, and multi disciplinary projects. Career favourites: Co creator of Feminist Fuck It Festival (with Claire Burns), creator/performer in Switch The Village (a street performance project), producer of the short film, Maternal, performer in web series pilot, Super Zee. Sedina is the co chair of ACTRA National’s Diversity Committee and former 2nd Vice President of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association’s council.
From being the artistic producer for Blood Pact Theatre, a founding member of The Fool’s Collective (a trans-Canadian group of independent filmmakers), to working for a gamut of theatre organizations and festivals both in Vancouver and Toronto, Bri’s interdisciplinary approach aspires to venture further into the obscure territories of producing plays and films. When Bri isn’t working as a theatre practitioner, she fills her time as a freelance art director/production designer for the Toronto indie film & TV community. Bri’s recent producing credits include After Wrestling (Factory Theatre) and The Feminist F*ck It Festival (Storefront Theatre), No Clowns Allowed (Blood Pact Theatre).
Board of Directors
Kelly Read, Justis Danto-Clancy, Jeff Insell, Claire Armstrong