The Edifice Complex featuring The Great Canadian Theatre Company

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As part of the Creative Spaces Case Studies Webinar Series, join Hugh Neilson, Managing Director of the GCTC as he shares stories of how the

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The Edifice Complex featuring The Great Canadian Theatre Company

Presenter: Hugh Neilson, Managing Director of The Great Canadian Theatre Company

Wednesday, June 10, 2020. 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Cost: Free!

The Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) is Ottawa’s largest professional, independent theatre – with a mandate to “foster, produce and promote excellent theatre that provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world."

After spending the 80’s and 90’s operating out of a renovated truck garage on Gladstone Avenue, GCTC moved to the lovely, trendy, and super-hipster Wellington West neighbourhood of Ottawa where it now calls the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre its home. The Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre includes a 262-seat mainstage theatre, a flexible black box studio theatre, and two spacious lobbies. It has allowed GCTC to expand its activities and become a hub for community-based and artistic activities.

Achieving this new state-of-the-art and LEED-designated facility was not without its trials; during the course of the build, steel prices skyrocketed leaving the organization with a 1.6 million-dollar shortfall that took eight years to address. As part of the Creative Spaces Case Studies Webinar Series, join Hugh Neilson, Managing Director of the GCTC as he shares stories of how the organization achieved its dream of the new facility, how it successfully tackled the debt, and thoughts and approaches on how to reduce the possibility of similar circumstances.

About our Presenter

Hugh started his career in 1984 as a performer, director, writer and producer of theatre and comedy revue. He was also one of the founders and the General Manager of the Canadian Improv Games, a national tournament for high-school students that trains youth in the art of competitive improvisation.

His second career saw him writing on 15 children’s animated television series including Animal Crackers, The Busy World of Richard Scary, Anatole and Mona the Vampire as well as providing Production Management on two animated feature films.

In 2001 he started as Communications Director at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and later became the Deputy Director in charge of Labour Relations and Professional Development for PACT’s 140-member theatre companies, helping to promote best practices and set the minimum standards and conditions for theatres and artists across Canada.

In 2007 Hugh became General Manager of Theatre Passe Muraille and helped shepherd that organization through difficult financial times. In early 2010 he moved to Young People’s Theatre as its Executive Director, and worked to help advance that organization’s facility goals. As General Manager of Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon, Hugh secured government funding and put in place the plan and funding strategy to support a major renovation of the facility.

Hugh is currently the Managing Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa and remains involved with PACT advising on matters of contract interpretation and negotiation. Hugh has participated in and/or chaired on 15 negotiation teams for PACT, negotiating agreements with CAEA, ADC, PGC, APASQ and the Stratford Addendum.

About The Great Canadian Theatre Company

GCTC was founded in 1975 by a group of professors and graduate students at Carleton University. They envisioned a company that would only produce Canadian plays, especially those with social relevance. GCTC launched its first production in August 1975, and they have produced numerous shows since! In the 2016-2017 season, GCTC announced a three-year strategic plan as well as a commitment to accessibility both on and off-stage. Their aim is to tell a wide variety of Canadian stories to audiences, in ways that are accessible to everyone.

Other Information

This webinar is intended for arts managers interested in learning more about capital project development as well as the restoration and maintenance of creative spaces. There will be time for questions and discussion with the presenter following their presentation.

A recording of the webinar will be e-mailed to participants. This webinar will be delivered through Adobe Connect. If you require a dial in conference line or additional accommodations to participate, please contact

The Creative Space Case Studies Webinar Series is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

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