Since Theatre New Brunswick’s first season in 1969, hundreds of artists, crafts people and administrators as well as thousands upon thousands of audience members, in fact a generation raised on TNB, have contributed to it’s over 220 Main Stage productions. Half of these have been Canadian plays or adaptations by Canadian writers and over 20 have been world premieres; works that nurtured the collaborative team of Alden Nowlen and Walter Learning, launched the plays of Norm Foster, gave us Marshall Button’s Lucien and most recently Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux’s The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy and David Adams Richards and Caleb Marshall’s Hockey Dreams.
Premiered and toured David Adams Richard’s Hockey Dreams adapted with and directed by Caleb Marshall and formally launched TNB Next Stage a studio branch that opened with a new adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House co-produced with the Montgomery Theatre in PEI
For the first time since they formally separated Theatre New Brunswick and The Fredericton Playhouse reunited to co-produce the world Premiere production of The Bricklin An Automotive Fantasy by Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux and directed by New Brunswick native Alisa Palmer. The co-production also released New Brunswick’s first original cast recording.
New Brunswick native Caleb Marshall was appointed Artistic Producer, introduced Opening Acts to the Main Stage and launched TNB New Voices to generate future submissions.
Leigh Rivenbark was appointed Artistic Producer and consolidated the company’s offices, rehearsal hall, shop, wardrobe and warehouse under one roof at 55 Whiting Road in Fredericton’s Industrial Park.
TNB had historically been the only regional theatre company in the country to tour all it’s main stage productions to the entire province. The company underwent a major restructuring and the provincial Main Stage tour was scaled back substantially to eliminate the company’s accumulated deficit. However the Young Company continued to tour the entire province. Under the new structure Leigh Rivenbark was appointed Interim Artistic Producer. Tania Breen was appointed Young Company and Theatre School Director. The company’s mission was focused to include celebrating New Brunswick’s best theatre artists.
Claude Giroux was appointed Artistic Director.
Scott Burke was appointed Artistic Director. The TNB Foundation was formed as a separate fundraising body to promote the public profile and financial stability of Theatre New Brunswick allowing it to meet its challenges, fulfill it’s mandate and grow. In addition to endownemt campaigns, every two years the Foundation would host a Gala fundraising ball.
The City of Fredericton purchased The Playhouse and Theatre New Brunswick formally became a separate theatre company. (However since it was an act of Legislature the company’s legal name is still Beaverbrook Auditorium Incorporated)
David Sherren was appointed Artistic Producer. Theatre New Brunswick Theatre School was founded by New Brunswick native Leigh Rivenbark.
Walter Learning returned as Executive Producer, reinstating Sussex as a tour centre. During his tenure, TNB toured to eight centres in addition to Fredericton: Grand Falls, St. Stephen, Sussex, Moncton, Bathurst, Campbellton, Miramichi and Saint John.
Michael Shamata was appointed Artistic Director, founding Brave New Words, a playwrights’ workshop and development program.
Sharon Pollock was appointed Artistic Director.
Janet Amos was appointed Artistic Director.
Malcolm Black mounted six touring shows from January to October of 1980 and a season of four productions starting at Christmas of 1980 and ending in May of 1981.
Malcolm Black was appointed Artistic Director. Late in the decade, TNB reached a peak in subscription numbers, exceeding 8,000 subscribers.
The Theatre New Brunswick Young Company was established with a grant from the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation. It mounted summer productions at King’s Landing Historical Settlement and toured to schools throughout the province from October to May.
The Playhouse reopened in May with a spectacular production of The King and I.
The auditorium was renovated into a 763-seat theatre with a fly gallery, additional offices and production space. During this time, a season of three touring shows was produced in Campbellton, making Theatre New Brunswick a truly provincial company.
Due to increased production activity, the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation awarded a major grant of $1,200,000 to renovate The Playhouse.
With additional financial support from the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation and service clubs throughout the province, Theatre New Brunswick was officially created and toured four productions to six cities, including Fredericton, from January to May.
In June, Walter Learning was hired to be the third General Manager of The Playhouse. He soon established a professional theatre company and became its first Artistic Director. The company presented a summer season of four plays in repertory.
The Playhouse opened in September. It operated primarily as a rental facility and was supported by an annual grant from the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation.
The Beaverbrook Auditorium Act was created by the Legislature of the Province of New Brunswick to manage The Playhouse – a 1011-seat auditorium given, as a gift, to the people of New Brunswick by Lord and Lady Beaverbrook, and Sir James Dunn.