• From the exhibition Risking The Void, a comprehensive, touring retrospective of the work of stage designer Cameron Porteous.

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Available touring exhibit

David French: Writing Home

Produced by the National Arts Centre in association with Theatre Museum Canada

This exhibit is available for touring to venues across Canada.

For more information, please contact:
Judi Pearl
National Arts Centre English Theatre
613-947-7000 ext. 537

An online companion exhibit is also featured on the NAC's educational website  ArtsAlive.ca.

Past Exhibitions

A pop-up exhibit
In the lobby of
The Elgin Theatre
189 Yonge St, Toronto

July & August 2016

This free pop-up exhibit offered the rare chance to see costumes and other theatre wonders up close.

Using objects from the museum’s collections, and on loan from Opera Atelier, the Stratford Festival Archives and from private collections of Canadian theatre designers, you get a sneak peek into the creative processes of the artists and production staff working as a team to bring theatre to life. 

This pop-up exhibit also provided a small taste for what you might discover in a permanent theatre museum.

TOM HENDRY: Kickstarter of Canadian Theatre

October 2014
to July 2016

Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

Tom was a playwright, producer, administrator, director, literary manager, policy creator, founder – and it turns out, a collector of posters. (Most of the posters in this exhibit were kept in a box under his bed). These posters that Tom’s family donated to the museum offer a glimpse of our country developing its professional theatre..

Renegade Bodies:
Canadian Dance in the 1970s

September 2011
to September 2014

Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

Theatre Museum Canada presented an exhibit by Dance Collection Danse

The 1970s saw an unprecedented dance boom in Canada. Canadian dancers travelled the world as unofficial cultural ambassadors. The craze for ballet, modern dance and jazz ballet intensified as aficionados packed studios and theatres. Young dancers in Canada rejected hierarchical company structures and struck out on their own.

The exhibit brought together photographs, posters and writing from a new book embracing a lively discussion about artistic and cultural shifts in the 1970s.

David French: Writing Home

Produced by the National Arts Centre in association with Theatre Museum Canada

An online companion exhibit is also featured on the NAC's educational website ArtsAlive.ca.

September to November 2011
National Arts Centre, Ottawa

September to October 2012
Tarragon Theatre, Toronto

October to November 2013
Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque

This special retrospective exhibit about one of Canada’s most influential playwrights, David French (1939 – 2010), produced by the National Arts Centre in association with Theatre Museum Canada, celebrated David French’s life, his career, and why his work was so important to the development of English Canadian theatre.

Herbert Whittaker: Catalyst for Change Exhibit

Herbert Whittaker: Catalyst for Change in Canadian Theatre

September 2010
to September 2011
Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

Curated by Kate Barris

The founding chair of Theatre Museum Canada, Herbert William Whittaker (1910 - 2006) helped shape and promote Canadian theatre as a critic, mentor, set and costume designer, director, author, collector, visionary, advocate and friend.

The exhibit highlighted important designs, writings and materials donated to establish the Herbert Whittaker Collection, the first contribution to our permanent collection.

RISKING THE VOID: The Scenography of Cameron Porteous

July 2009 to April 2010
Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Design Exchange (Toronto)
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (Guelph)

A touring retrospective exhibit of stage designer Cameron Porteous’ remarkable contribution to theatre in Canada. Curated & designed by Sean Breaugh and Pat Flood.

This exhibit was a collaboration between Theatre Museum Canada, the University of Guelph Library’s L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives and the Shaw Festival.

Our most comprehensive exhibit ever. You can also visit its website: www.stagedesignporteous.ca

Distinctly Different: Theatre Posters of Theo Dimson

Distinctly Different: The Theatre Posters of Theo Dimson 

January 2010 - September 2010
Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

Curated by Ivan Tanzer



Theo Dimson (1930-2012) was a world renowned graphic designer and had close ties to the theatre community in Toronto. Best known for his posters, he produced amazing pieces for George Luscombe at Toronto Workshop Productions, for Hart House, and many others.

The exhibit featured posters from Theo’s personal collection.

Photo of The Dimson.

Revival: Remembering Theatre in Canada

March 2009- January 2010
Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

Curated by University of Toronto Museum Studies Masters student Alison Little, Revival used artifacts from our permanent collection to highlight performances, productions and personal memories.

Prologue: The Inaugural Exhibit at Hart House Theatre's — Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

October 2008 to March 2009
Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History

Theatre Museum Canada now has a year-round display space thanks to the Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to mount temporary exhibits celebrating and exploring Canada's performing arts heritage.

The University of Toronto launched this renovated walkway on Monday October 27, 2008 with special guests including Theatre Museum Canada honorary patron Christopher Plummer.

Divas of Design: Leading Ladies of Operatic Set and Costume Design

March 2004 to September 2005
The Palladian Lounge of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
Toronto, Ontario

Visit the Virtual Exhibit


Divas of Design celebrated the work and creative process of three leading ladies of operatic design: Dora Rust-D’Eye, Dany Lyne and Susan Benson.

Representing the abundance of talent Canada has to offer in this field, these designers have been selected for the breadth and calibre of their work, as well as the diversity of their styles.

Celebrating 30 years of Theatre at Berkeley Street

November 2002 to January 2003
Berkeley Street Theatre




In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Berkeley Street Theatre, Theatre Museum Canada and Canadian Stage mounted a special exhibition in the lobby of the theatre with programs, posters and reviews going back to the days of Toronto Free Theatre. The exhibition opening coincided with a special staged reading of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, featuring members of the original cast.

Spring Thaw 66 Poster

The Theatre Museum: Our Heritage

November 2001 to February 2004:
The Palladian Lounge of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre




This exhibition featured over 200 artifacts, depicting the dynamic growth of theatre, opera and ballet in Toronto. As Herbert Whittaker, designer of the exhibition explained, “The exhibition traces the rise of Toronto's theatre, from its days as a touring town to its present independent stage.”

Herbert Whittaker at the Exhibition - Photo

A Life in the Theatre: The Whittaker Collection

September - October 2000
Toronto Reference Library




Celebrating the 90th birthday of Theatre Museum Canada's founder Herbert Whittaker, this show featured his personal collection of photographs, set and costume designs, props and other memorabilia. The theatrical treasures were collected by Mr. Whittaker over a lifetime of devotion to Canadian theatre, as a designer, critic and author of numerous books.

A Director's Vision: George Luscombe and Toronto Workshop Productions

August 1998
Harbourfront Centre




The Theatre Museum's inaugural exhibition featured numerous set designs, maquettes, posters by Theo Dimson, video clips, and other memorabilia from such ground-breaking shows as Hey Rube, The Mac-Paps, Christopher Columbus and Ten Lost Years. Luscombe himself was honoured at the opening gala.