Montreal, September 15, 2016 – The Centaur Theatre Board of Directors has announced that after ten seasons, Roy Surette, Centaur Theatre’s Artistic and Executive Director, will depart June 2017. Roy returns to family and friends in his home town of Vancouver, BC, to assume the position of Touchstone Theatre’s Artistic Director.
Centaur Board President, Howard Golberg, spoke on behalf of the Directors saying, “We are extremely saddened by Roy’s departure. With his impressive track record it will be a challenge to fill his shoes. To ensure a smooth transition we are forming a search committee to issue a call for applications immediately with the goal of selecting Roy’s replacement by January 2017. There is no great time to make such an announcement but Roy’s notice comes on the heels of an astonishing 22 Montreal English Theatre Award nominations, many for the captivating The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, recognition by the International Centre for Women Playwrights with the 50/50 Applause Award for last year’s egalitarian blend of male and female playwrights, and an upcoming season of international blockbusters we are looking forward to with great anticipation.”
Roy Surette’s unique ability to balance programming that both satisfied loyal patrons and attracted new audiences was an essential asset, one of many he brought to Centaur. Since the beginning of his stewardship in 2007, he extended Centaur’s scope by forging important partnerships with respected national organizations (Ottawa’s NAC, Toronto’s Canadian Stage, Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre and Kay Meek Centre). Mainstage programming included 18 world premieres, mostly by Montreal playwrights such as Steve Galluccio’s The St. Léonard Chronicles, Bowser and Blue’s Schwartz’s: The Musical and Last Night at the Gayety, and Marianne Ackerman’s Triplex Nervosa, all box-office successes. His innovative development of the Wildside Festival also raised the theatre’s profile on an international level. Through Brave New Looks, not only did local, independent companies (Scapegoat Carnivale, Talisman Theatre, Imago Theatre, The Other Theatre) benefit from the exposure Centaur afforded them, but audiences were introduced to English translations of renowned French plays or contemporary reimaginings of the classics. Countless Montreal theatre artists, from playwrights, directors, actors and designers, were showcased at Centaur due to Surette’s commitment to the advancement of local talent.
Recalling his arrival at Centaur, Surette shared that, “Coming from the West Coast was a huge change for me, yet Montreal welcomed me with open arms. This city’s energy and diversity, its vibrant dual-language performing arts scene, and Centaur itself … how could I not fall hopelessly in love? Leaving was a terribly difficult decision to make but with an elderly mother so far away, I felt she deserves my presence and full attention. I also look forward to reconnecting and working with colleagues and artists who have played significant roles in my life and work. It has been a privilege to serve this vital institution for the past nine years—I have great admiration and respect for the Centaur team—and I am confident the Board, whose passionate support has been invaluable, will select an Artistic and Executive Director with fresh insights and ideas to captain Centaur to its golden anniversary in 2019. You haven’t seen the last of me though; I have every intention of coming back to direct if they’ll have me!”
Roy Surette will be returning to Touchstone where he was Artistic Director from 1984 to 1996. For 40 years Touchstone Theatre has been a mainstay of theatrical innovation on the West Coast. The company’s all-Canadian focus makes it unique in the region and its reputation for excellence has earned the respect of audiences, artists, and critics alike.