Theatres and Theatre Companies to Check out in Saskatoon
Throughout Saskatoon’s history, there have been many theatres and theatre companies that have made their impact on the community. There have also been many cinemas, with the first motion picture cinema opening in June 1901. (Did you know the Coors Event Centre used to be a cinema?)
As humans, we love listening to stories and being entertained. Live theatre connects us and builds empathy, compassion, and community.
For theatre lovers like myself, here is an overview of the theatres and theatre groups to check out in Saskatoon (in no particular order).
1. Persephone Theatre
The Persephone Theatre is celebrating its 50th year in 2024. The theatre first opened in 1974 and has been a mainstay in Saskatoon’s art and culture scene. In 2008, a new 450-seat theatre complex was constructed as part of the Remai Arts Centre in the city’s downtown core. Today it’s a beautiful and modern theatre that produces more than a dozen live shows per year.
While I like to attend as many shows as I can throughout their season, their holiday-themed shows at the end of the year are a personal favourite and an annual tradition for me to attend.
2. Sasktel Theatre at the Remai Modern
The Remai Modern is a crown jewel on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River here in Saskatoon. While known as an avant-garde modern and contemporary art museum, it also houses a 150-seat theatre.
Screenings are varied from current Hollywood movies to vintage and classic films. The Sasktel Theatre also hosts Q&As and lectures.
Community screenings are free and open to the public. Talks, tours and other events are admission by donation or free with membership.
3. The Roxy Theatre, Riversdale
The Roxy Theatre in the Riversdale neighbourhood is one of my favourite film and performance theatres in the city. Built in 1930 during the Great Depression, the interior décor is reminiscent of a Spanish Villa and is the last atmospheric theatre of its kind in the city.
The theatre has daily movie performances and weekend matinees with a preference to first-run art and alternative movies and also hosts a variety of live, musical, and community events
4. Broadway Theatre
Located in the Nutana neighbourhood, the Broadway Theatre is Canada’s only community-owned, non-profit cinema. It’s an art film and performance theatre and frequently hosts live music performances, including shows by the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra and performances by the Saskatoon Summer Players.
5. Saskatoon Summer Players
The Saskatoon Summer Players is a non-profit volunteer theatre group celebrating its 60th season this year. They specialize in producing large-scale Broadway musicals and are the local premier producer for shows like RENT, Sweeney Todd, Annie, and Beauty and the Beast. You’ll find their performances on stage at the Broadway Theatre.
6. The Barn Playhouse
For more than 30 years, live community dinner theatres have been happening several times a year in a beautiful red barn 30 kilometres north of Saskatoon near the small town of Martensville.
Artistic Director and founder Vickie Dyck’s parents let her use their old red barn as a venue for locals to pursue their love for the stage, and the idea grew from there. Shows often sell out and there are options to attend a show-only or dinner and a show.
7. Studio 914 – La Troupe du Jour, Riversdale
La Troupe du Jour is the only professional Francophone and French-language theatre company here in Saskatoon. Found in 1984, they’ve produced more than 80 plays, of which half are original creations or adaptations by Saskatchewan authors.
They are located on 20th Street West in the Riversdale neighbourhood which includes Studio 914, a black box space that can hold up to 90 people for performances and community events.
8. Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre
The Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre presents cultural Indigenous theatre experiences focused on engaging First Nations, Metis, and Inuit youth and artists in Saskatoon. Over the years, they’ve created an inclusive and welcoming space for anyone to express themselves and continually promotes racial harmony throughout the province.
GTNT partners with La Troupe Du Jour and Studio 914 on 20th Street West.
9. Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan
Every July and August the banks of the South Saskatchewan River come alive with the sounds of live theatre within the fabric covering of the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan outdoor stage. The festival site became a permanent amphitheatre in 2020 and the theatre company continues to produce two live shows each season, making Shakespeare’s plays accessible to everyone through a non-traditional production.
10. Mini Fridge Theatre Company
If you’re looking for a dinner theatre experience, Saskatoon’s Mini Fridge Theatre Company takes the cake. The Mini Fridge Theatre Company was formed in 2016 and has fostered local talent for nearly a decade. They combine humour and food and put on performances in St. John’s Anglican Hall on Spadina Crescent.
11. SUM Theatre – Theatre in the Park
SUM Theatre is an independent Saskatoon theatre company that launched Theatre in the Park in 2012. They use the outdoors as their stage and put on performances in the city’s parks during the summer months. It’s family-friendly and has included popular shows like Alice in Wonderland, The Pied Piper, and Hercules as well as Saskatchewan-made plays.
12. TCU Place
TCU Place is one of the top go-to destinations for events in the city. The three-tiered theatre has more than 2000 seats and hosts live performances that include everything from local ballet recitals and professional dance performances to rock concerts and internationally renowned speakers and comedians.
What’s your favourite theatre in Saskatoon?
*Photo credit: Ashlyn George