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In every major city, there exists a complex exchange between urban space and the institution of the theatre. City Stages is an interdisciplinary and materialist analysis of this relationship as it has existed in Toronto since 1967. Locating theatre companies - their sites and practices - in Toronto's urban environment, Michael McKinnie focuses on the ways in which the theatre has adapted to changes in civic ideology, environment, and economy.
Over the past four decades, theatre in Toronto has been increasingly implicated in the civic self-fashioning of the city and preoccupied with the consequences of the changing urban political economy. City Stages investigates a number of key questions that relate to this pattern. How has theatre been used to justify certain forms of urban development in Toronto? How have local real estate markets influenced the ways in which theatre companies acquire and use performance space? How does the analysis of theatre as an urban phenomenon complicate Canadian theatre historiography?
McKinnie uses the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts as case studies and considers theatrical companies such as Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto Workshop Productions, Buddies in Bad Times, and Necessary Angel in his analysis. City Stages combines primary archival research with the scholarly literature emerging from both the humanities and social sciences. The result is a comprehensive and empirical examination of the relationship between the theatrical arts and the urban spaces that house them.