Before incorporating as a not-for-profit in 2006, ECT operated as a partnership between founders Jason Cadieux and Stephanie Jones (1998 to 2005). Under the name “The Essential Players” the co-founders mounted three productions collaborating with a variety of theatre practitioners including Carol Bolt (One Night Stand), Michael Healey (Scenic View) and Sarah Stanley (17.5). These projects and the artists who worked on them were extremely influential in the formation of our current mandate to create original works and present contemporary Canadian playwrights.

Upon incorporating in 2006 the company changed its name to the Essential Collective Theatre. Since then, the company has continued to produce contemporary Canadian theatre with a focus on new plays and Niagara work. ECT prides itself on mentoring local emerging artists, supporting playwrights, and of course, telling stories that hold up a mirror to the Niagara Region.  Artistic Director, Monica Dufault, launched the company into a “Season of Change” under her leadership in 2014, with plans for ambitious growth in ECT’s change of venue to the new FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

2015/2016

POOR

2016 FEBRUARY 18-28

Written by Suzanne Ristic
Starring Monica Dufault
Co-Presented with FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

A new one-woman play by Vancouver playwright Suzanne Ristic, this darkly comic piece was first produced in 2014 at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
The play centres on an ultra rich Canadian woman, Shelly Cormorant, who pretends to be homeless in order to better understand the plight of the 99%. A contemporary Marie Antoinette in her ignorance, Shelly unwittingly offends everyone she meets in her attempt to empathize with the “poor”, all the while taking advice from a vision of Scarlett O’Hara.

“The writing, by Suzanne Ristic is witty, clever, sneaky, poetic, and brilliant. It is both of our time in its exploration of wealth and class and also a timeless human story.” – Vancouver Fringe Festival 2014 Review, PLANK Blog

 

Falling: A Wake

2015 NOVEMBER 19-29

Written by Gary Kirkham
Directed by Monica Dufault
Co-Presented with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

One starry night the body of a young man, still strapped into his airplane seat, falls from the sky into the yard of Harold and Elsie’s chicken farm. A haunting and surprisingly funny play about love, loss, and the redemptive power of letting go.

‘”Extraordinary things happen to ordinary non-descript people every day,” Monica Dufault began as she pushed aside her coffee mug… “The play had to be meaninful and connect well to the community.”‘ – Zoe Adams, The Sound STC

“This will be the first time that our company is performing in a purpose-built, state of the art theatre venue,” [Monica Dufault] says. “It opens a whole palate of possibilities for us as we create the work.” – Niagara Falls Review

2014/2015

Wings of Wax

2015

Written by Lindsay Price
Directed by Monica Dufault
Starring: Joshua Stodart and Emma Mackenzie Hillier

Sound Design: Beau Dixon
Set & Lighting Design: Jacqueline Costa
Video Design: Kasia Smuga

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“With the intricate set, passionate director, and hilarious actors, this piece is sure to draw you into the adventure and pull you back and forth through a lesser known part of Canada’s history.” — KAREN FRICKER, DARTcritics, BROCK UNIVERSITY

 

The Valley

2014

Written by Joan MacLeod
Directed by Monica Dufault
Starring: Jason Cadieux, Peggy Coffey, Andrew Pimento, and Kelci Stephenson

Sound Design: Ethan Rising
Set & Video Design: The Brain Farm
Lighting Design: Kate Leathers

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“Dufault’s naturalistic directing style creates a seamless, uninterrupted world in which we can experience these characters as if we are sitting in the same room as them. In our society that still stigmatizes mental illness, we struggle to provide resources for individuals who are experiencing these kinds of issues. The Valley simply demonstrates a story about mental illness and the effects it has on individuals and the people close to them. It is up to us if this will create a public dialogue about mental health so that one day, we will shed the stigma and know what to say.” — SPENCER WALKER, DARTcritics, BROCK UNIVERSITY

2013/2014

Scenic View

2014

Written by & Starring Stephanie Jones and Jason Cadieux
Directed by Wes Berger
Lighting Design: Jacqueline Costa
Stage Manager: Stephen Newman

An Evening with Lucky Jim Lacroix

2013

Written & Directed by Sky Gilbert
Starring Stephanie Jones and Jason Cadieux
Lighting Design: Jacqueline Costa
Stage Manager: Stephen Newman

2012/2013

My Pregnant Brother

2013

Written & Performed by/Texte, traduction et interprétation Johanna Nutter
Directed & Dramaturged by/Mise en Scène et Dramaturgie Jeremy Taylor

“As compelling as it is intelligent and as witty as it is dramatic. She had the audience eating out of her hand. Three cheers for My Pregnant Brother.” MJ STONE, HOUR MAGAZINE 

“Si c’était une histoire inventée, on crierait à l’invraisemblance. Johanna Nutter a tiré de son histoire familiale un récit à la fois incroyable et d’une humanité universelle tant il porte d’imperfections, de complications, de souffrance et d’absurdité, mais aussi d’amour, d’émotion et d’espoir…” – MARIE LABRECQUE, LE DEVOIR 

Somnambulists in Love

2013

Written by Jason Cadieux
Directed & Dramaturged by Gyllian Raby
Featuring: Aparajit Bhattacharee, Edwin Conroy Jr., Stephanie Jones, Mary Laundry & Danielle Wilson

White Crow

2012

Written by Dawn E. Crysler
Directed by Monica Dufault
Featuring: Dawn E. Crysler, Patricia LaRiviere, and Lorne Kennedy

Stage Manager: Diane Konkin
Sound & Lighting Design: Gavin Fearon
Set, Costumes & Props Design: Michael Greves

2011/2012

Hard Ways

2011

Written by Jason Cadieux
Starring Jason Cadieux
Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley

 

“Outstanding Direction – Outstanding Performance – Outstanding Production.” – JOHN KAPLAN & GLENN SUMI, NOW MAGAZINE’S BEST OF THE SUMMERWORKS WRAP UP

“A rich and frightening piece of work.” – P. LANGSTON, OTTAWA CITIZEN

“Gripping and entertaining.” – L. PEPPAS, THE WELLAND TRIBUNE

2010/2011

17.5

2011

Written by Jason Cadieux
Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley
Featuring Stephanie Jones
Sound Design: Justin Roddy

“A quietly remarkable piece of chamber theatre.” – R. HALLIBURTON, TIME OUT UK 

“17.5 crosses the finish line of excellence.” – J. WEGG, PULSE 

“Stephanie Jones makes this good plot totally engrossing – her skilled and very touching performance is absorbing from the off.” – GEMMA BRIGGS, CAMDEN GAZETTE UK

17-5

Luck

2010

Written by Stephanie Jones
Adapted from the the novel by Joan Barfoot
Dramaturged by Cole Lewis
Directed by Monica Dufault
Featuring: Darla Biccum, David Frisch, Emma Mackenzie-Hillier, and Stephanie Jones

Stage Manager: Dawn E. Crysler
Lighting Design: Mike Palmieri
Set & Costume Design: Michael Greves

luck2

2009/2010

CRACK

2010

Written & Directed by Sky Gilbert
Starring Stephanie Jones and Jason Cadieux

“Like most shows sprouting from their Essential Collective Theatre Company, it’s an edgy, provoking, sometimes uncomfortable affair. Which makes it unlike most theatres in Niagara.” – JOHN LAW, NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW

CRACK

She’s Mine

2009

Written by Stephanie Jones
Directed by Monica Dufault
Featuring: Jason Cadieux, Geoffrey Heaney, Vicki Jenkins, Genevieve Jones, and Stephanie Jones
Set & Costume Design: Pat Rocco
Lighting Design: Douglas Ledingham

shes-mine-poster

2008/2009

Possible Worlds

2008

Written by John Mighton
Directed by Peter Feldman
Featuring: Aaron Berger, Jason Cadieux, Miles Coverdale, Mac Dodge, and Stephanie Jones

Lighting Designer: Ken Garett
Set & Costume Designer: Pat Rocco
Sound Designer: Erica Sherwood
Stage Manager: Anrita Petraroia
Assistant Stage Manager: Genevieve Jones

“I’ve had the opportunity to see Hard Ways, and it is the best thing I’ve seen done in the region. The script, the acting, the lights and sound are all first-rate, and I recommend it highly.” – L. PEPPAS, THE WELLAND TRIBUNE

possible-worlds-poster

2007/2008

Road to Hell

2008

Written by Michael Healey and Kate Lynch
Directed by Renee Baillargeon
Featuring: Stephanies Jones and Bruce Davies

“Road to Hell a ‘knock-down, drag-out comedy’…Contrary to how it sounds, the Essential Collective Theatre’s latest production is paved with romance and laughs.” L. PEPPAS, THE WELLAND TRIBUNE

 

  • mailchi.mp/66fef3af01ed/e… ECT's tickets are now available from the FirstOntario PAC box office: The Welland Canal Play opens October 12!
  • Thank you to everyone who came out to our 12th Annual Wine & Reading last week! 🎉🥂🎭 https://t.co/uQCydajh9g
  • Click the link in our bio to get your tickets before it's too late!
  • Are you feeling a post-holiday slump? Treat yourself to a night out tomorrow at our Wine & Reading and keep that long-weekend feeling going!
  • RT @PGuildCanada: Want a night out in St Catherines? Visit Hernder Estate Wines May 24 for reading of "Split" by MJ Cruise @ec_theatre http…
  • Introducing the playwrights for ECT's 12th Annual Wine & Reading! ✏️📖🎉 Come see two great new plays by MJ Ctwitter.com/i/web/status/8…o/YUhD8Gl2or
  • Wine 🍷 + Theatre 🎭 = 1 great night 🎆 Therefore, you should come to our Wine & Reading on May 24! bit.ly/2qKOXjJhttps://t.co/ru3y37HM8r
  • Only 1 week left until our Wine & Reading! Don't miss out on your chance to enjoy a great night of theatre & wine! bit.ly/2qKOXjJ
  • Actors! Want to hone your craft? Stephanie Jones is teaching a 6-week Meisner Technique course. More info here:twitter.com/i/web/status/8…72
  • #tbt to our Burlesque event and this amazing performance by Tenja Hagenberg. You can catch Tenja again at our Winetwitter.com/i/web/status/8…jR