What Is The Ottawa Theatre Network?

The Ottawa Theatre Network brings Ottawa theatre professionals together!

Our mandate is to assist in the growth of professional theatre in the Ottawa region. Our first priority is to foster communication and resource-sharing among our professional theatre companies and practitioners.

If you want to read the Ottawa Theatre Network’s Call to Action and Statement of Purpose, click here.

What Is The Purpose Of This Blog?

This blog is the public face of the Ottawa Theatre Network. We will keep interested readers up-to-date on the progress of the Network specifically and Ottawa professional theatre generally.

What Is The On-line Workspace?

The Ottawa Theatre Network administers a private members-only on-line workspace.

  1. It is where stakeholders in the Ottawa theatre community can show their support for the Ottawa Theatre Network by signing up and contributing.
  2. It is where stakeholders in the Ottawa theatre community can meet, discuss, and share viewpoints, ideas, and resources.
  3. It is where stakeholders can pool and share information, thoughts, and wisdom, some of which may be posted here.

Currently, the workspace is free to join and open to anyone who wants to assist in the growth of Ottawa professional theatre.

If you would like to join the workspace, please click here.

Whether or not you choose to join and contribute to the workspace, please bookmark this page, subscribe to our RSS feed, add us to your blog rolls, follow us on Twitter, check back regularly, and comment whenever you think it appropriate.

This is an exciting time for Ottawa theatre. By reading this post, you are already a part of it. Stay a part of the story by checking in here whenever you can.

A Request for Feedback!

As we come to the end of our first year, I would appreciate some feedback on the Ottawa Theatre Guide.

Did you use the Guide to find out about upcoming shows? Was it helpful?

Did you use the Guide as an advertiser or to promote a show? Was it an effective? Did you have any response to your listing in the Guide either through audience surveys or anecdotal?

CTM Media was our distribution partner for this edition of the Guide; they have indicated that they will no longer be a partner in the future. This means the Guide will most like reduce the size of our print run and be distributed by volunteers. Would you still be interested using the Guide under these conditions?

Do you have ideas on how to make the Guide better?

Please feel free to contact Geoff McBride at otnguiderto@gmail.com


Deadline for Issue 4: Friday September 7th, 2012


The fourth deadline for listings and advertisements is Friday September 7th, 2012 11:59pm. Submission received after this time may not be included in the guide.

This issue will cover the following period:

October 2012- December 2012

Your listing should include:

  1. The production title
  2. The date and location
  3. The writer
  4. The director
  5. The description (75-100 words please and include performance times and ticket prices here)
  6. The web/social media info
  7. The box office or theatre’s phone number

If you would like to place an advertisement please contact us for details regarding the artwork.


Submitting art work for an ad?

We have a new e-mail address for our designer: otndesign@gmail.com

If you are submitting graphics or ad copy please use this address. Thanks.

New ad space available

The inside cover has room for one large ad or two smaller ads.

Looking for other ways to promote your show?

Check out CTM Media’s free electronic listing service:


Create a profile, post contact, show information and photos, link to your own social media sites as well.


Contact Geoff McBride at otnguiderto@guide or 613-240-4943

The Ottawa Theatre Guide Keeps Moving ! Issue 3 is Now Available.

Hello Theatre Makers!

The Ottawa Theatre Guide keeps moving! The third issue (July – September) is now available all over Ottawa. Keep an eye out for it.

You can also download a PDF version of the Ottawa Theatre Guide.

The Ottawa Theatre Guide Continues! Moving On To Issue 2 and New Rate Card.

Hello Theatre Makers!

The Ottawa Theatre Guide continues! After our initial run we are moving on to Issue 2 and working out the kinks. There are some changes to the look of the Guide (details below) and we are looking to get more companies involved. Check out the new rate card too if you are interested in advertising.



The second deadline for listings and advertisements is Friday March 2, 2012, 11:59pm. Submission received after this time may not be included in the guide.

This issue will cover the following period:

April 2012-June 2012

Your listing should include:

The production title
The date and location
The writer
The director
The description (75 to 100 words please)
The web address
The box office or theatre’s phone number

If you would like to place an advertisement please contact us for details regarding the artwork.


We are moving to a standard brochure size.

What does this mean? 
Instead of being folded twice the guide will fold three times. This will allow us to fit more prominently in the CTM display kiosks and allow us to drop more Guides at our own distribution spots.

Does it change the style or layout of the Guide?
The inside of the Guide remains the same, but the front and back covers will be smaller at 2.5” x 6”.

Has anything else changed?
The Special Introductory Advertising rates are no longer available, but our Listing Fees remain the same.

Contact Geoff McBride at otnguiderto@guide or 613-240-4943

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Reapply! Quarterly Guide Update And Meeting Minutes!


  • Pat Gauthier
  • Nancy Kenny
  • Lisa L’Heureux
  • Sterling Lynch
  • Geoff McBride


930AM, Nov 25th 2010, Chez Gauthier.


  • Our OAC grant application (for the quarterly “What’s On Guide”) was denied: discuss!
  • Collaborative Approach To Sustainability In The Arts [CASA]: Background and update.


  • Based on feedback from the Theatre Officer, the content and structure of the application is fine. Jury members expressed concern over the decision to create a “hardcopy” guide.
  • We discussed how to better position the application (e.g. The Ottawa market has very little “hardcopy” arts coverage and other organizations, like the Bytowne and the Mayfair, make excellent use of hardcopy guides).
  • We should solicit statement of financial support (E.g., yes, we will advertise!).
  • Geoff shared some background on CASA, an ad hoc group, led by Audrey Churgin of MASC, which is looking at ways to strengthen the profile and brand of cultural groups in the Ottawa area.
  • Geoff was asked to give a presentation on The Ottawa Theatre Network. Sterling was asked to give a presentation on social media and Ottawa arts.

Action Items

  • Geoff will revise grant application and submit to City of Ottawa (mid-January) and resubmit to OAC (Feb. 1st)
  • Lisa will investigate sending the “what’s on” via our email list.
  • Nancy will provide summary notes of some municipal documents.

Minutes, Minutes, Minutes: More Public And The First Seven

In our last meeting, it was decided we should make the steering committee meeting minutes more easily accessible to stakeholders and the general public.

From now on, the minutes will be posted on this blog.

Also, I’ve compiled the minutes from our first seven meetings:

OTN Steering Commitee Minutes For First Seven Meetings.

Come to think of it, the compilation might be a useful resources for anyone trying to figure out how best to bootstrap a volunteer organization into existence.

Keeping the Ball Rolling: Ottawa Theatre Guide Update!

Geoff has been working very hard to get the Ottawa Theatre Guide off the ground. Recently, he pitched the idea at a session of the 2010 Backyard Theatre Conference and asked for feedback.

If you were unable to attend, here are the official minutes from that session.


Facilitated by Geoff McBride; notes by Lisa L’Heureux

As a follow up from last year’s Backyard Theatre Conference, the Ottawa Theatre Network (OTN) was formed. One of the initiatives that this network is trying to carry out is an Ottawa Theatre Guide.

There currently is a grant in progress (deadline Aug 3). The OTN is asking for money for a part-time coordinator, a designer for the guide and to cover the printing costs. There are also plans in applying to the City for funding.

This guide is a marketing tool that local professional theatre companies will be able to use to reach a wider audience. It is meant to be cheap and effective (Geoff distributed some nice mock-ups of the guides to those present).

For the time being, this guide will be a quarterly publication that will help raise the profile of professional theatre. Guide will include a full listing of the productions happening in the region for the three month period (dates, production info) and companies will be able to submit information for listing for the fee of a membership (price not determined, but not that expensive, say $20 – 30). Companies will be able to have ads and buy space on cover for extra fee.

The guide would then be distributed throughout the city, to artistic venues, restaurants, on main streets. A list of drop off places will be made once funding received.

The intention is that this guide be bilingual. And because it is published quarterly, smaller companies will be able to add listings throughout the year.

Some of the questions asked:

  • Who will be distributing the guide? Are you considering asking for money from funding agencies for this or relying on volunteers (which might be tricky and time consuming)? Answer: This is something that will be added to the application.
  • Will there be room for editorials, something more than just listings, like a longer promotional piece? Answer: The main focus is to make sure that all information of shows is included in guide, if more room, then yes, there could be room given for this time of thing. However, the guide is to only be on one sheet of 11 by 14, and priority is given to shows.
  • For ad space, might want to consider theatres, businesses, performing arts community, and also restaurants (create partnerships and swaps).
  • Why is community theatre not included in this guide? Answer: When the OTN was created, it came from a need to create a voice for professional theatre in this city, to create common marketing opportunities and work at helping smaller theatre companies increase visibility. The amateur and community theatre of the region already have an annual listing guide, so it is not as pressing for them to have such a guide.
  • If you keep the name as such, The Ottawa Theatre Guide, it is misleading for you not to include all theatre. Therefore, either add professional to the name, or include community as well (in which case you can create a space for each within the guide so that reader can identify which productions are professional, which community, children theatre, etc).
  • Also, why only a guide for theatre. Why not a guide that involves all the performing arts: music, theatre and dance?
  • It would be great if this publication would also exist online. And that the online version includes more information and links.
  • The OTN, which is run by a volunteer steering committee, currently has a listing of the productions in the region. Here is the link should you like to view (and share) it: https://ottawatheatrenetwork.wordpress.com/whats-on-a-laffiche/ – we do hope that should we receive funding we might be able to have a proper website and design. Should you have listings that you want added, feel free to send an email to the following address: lhappy13@hotmail.com
  • For this guide to work, you’ll need the buy in of all companies so that it becomes a guide that people can rely on for complete and updated information, therefore submission deadlines will need to be set.

The Plan Ahead: A Quarterly Calendar of Events

Survey, survey, we held a survey!

We have tabulated the surveys and we now know what you want. Sort of.

It was clear from the surveys that as a community we would like better communications within the professional theatre scene in Ottawa. We would also like to communicate more effectively with the media, our audiences and, more importantly, our potential audience.

Okay, so now what?

At a recent meeting of the Ottawa Theatre Network we discussed the best way to approach these challenges. We have already started work on our internal communications. The website, wiki, and this newsletter are all part of our internal communication strategy. We will continue to refine and develop these tools to serve the professional community and, as always, if you have any suggestions on how to improve this aspect of the OTN we would love to get your input.

A Guiding Light!

As for external communications we have begun exploring the creation of a quarterly guide/calendar that would be distributed throughout the city in a bid to retain and attract our audiences.

The guide would be similar to the one published monthly by the Mayfair Cinema. You’ve seen them around town: they are printed in two colours on an 11 x 17 stock and contain short descriptions of the films being presented that month. Inside the guide there is a calendar of the films, featuring a series of dynamic graphics. It is simple, elegant, and effective advertising.

And relatively cheap: a print run of 10,000 costs around $1500-$1100.

Say, how do I get in that guide, mister?

This is how we see it working. As a member of the Ottawa Theatre Network (and yes, we will have to work out what a membership is and how much it will cost) you can submit your brief description, art work, and contact info to the guide free of charge (other than the aforementioned membership TBA). The Ottawa Theatre Network will do the layout, arrange the printing, and organize the distribution of the guide. So along with your posters and postcards and whatever other media you are using to promote your production, there will also be 10,000 guides in circulation throughout the city advertising your show or event.

How much you want for it?

The long-term goal would be to make the guide self-sustaining through advertising. The Mayfair pays for the production of its guide through advertising revenue. Similarly in the Ottawa Theatre Network guide there would be space for advertising and the front cover would be made available, for a fee, to any theatre company that wished to highlight their production. We will also be applying for appropriate grants at all levels of government. If we proceed with this project we will need the support of the companies and artists who will be using this service.

What do you think?

The Ottawa Theatre Network needs your feedback on this idea. If you have comments, questions, or would like to help, please contact a member of the Steering Committee.

This post was first distributed via the Ottawa Theatre email newsletter, if you would like to be added to our mailing list, please click here.

And The Survey Says: We Want An Email Newsletter!

We asked, you responded.

In fact, 80 of you told us your thoughts on Ottawa theatre, on your role in the professional theatre community, and on how OTN can best serve you. And here are the results!

Who are we?
Primarily, we are performers: 46% of us said it is a our primary role in theatre. Secondarily, we are directors and audience members (17%, 15%).

A large proportion of us belong to no professional association (34%). Some of us belong to CAEA (17%) and some to ACTRA (11%).

In the past year, 30% of us worked in professional productions, 20% in semi-professional productions, and 18% in a Fringe productions.

We get our theatre information from a wide variety of sources but word-of-mouth is our most common source (17%) and company mailing lists / websites are a close second (16%).

An overwhelming majority of us prefer to receive our communications via email: 88%. Social media is a distant second (7%).

What do we need?

We identified three areas of need: communications, advocacy, and professional development

1) There is strong support expressed for an email newsletter which includes (in no particular order), rehearsal space listings, auditions notices, job postings, volunteer opportunities, events calendar, company profiles, a swap shop, and links to media and granting organizations.

2) There is strong support for advocacy, on behalf of Ottawa theatre, to governments, media, and business. There is also strong support for marketing and audience development on behalf of Ottawa theatre as a whole.

3) There is strong support for more professional development opportunities: primarily master classes with instructors from outside the region and mentorship opportunities.

What are we willing to pay?
Nothin’ comes for nothin’, and there is an understanding of that, and strong support for an annual membership of $25 or $50 (37%, 29%).

So What Does That Mean?
It means we have work to do. We are primarily an information portal presently, and so will use that position to communicate the information we gather, as detailed in your responses.

Now that we have your feedback, it’s action plan time. We’ll also look at other services, and how we can best provide them. Once we have that plan, and a meaningful roster of services, we’ll talk about membership fees.

If you want to sign up for our email newsletter, click here.

The Medium is the Message: Stay Tuned For A New And Improved Channel

The survey results are in!

Thanks to the efforts of 80 generous folks who took the time to complete our survey, we now have a clearer picture of the Ottawa theatre community. We also identified what our community needs!

And, yes, we are going to share what we discovered! We are also going to act immediately on one of the results of the survey.

The vast majority of people in Ottawa theatre (88%) prefer to receive communications via email. That crushes the very distant social media (7%).

If you are reading this blog, and you prefer to receive communications from social media, you are among a very small minority. Thanks for reading!

As a result of this discovery, we are going to launch an email newsletter!

The first order of business will be to share the results of the survey. We will also share our plan of action on what we are going to achieve and how we are going to achieve it.

Your feedback will be needed. So keep an eye out for the new email newsletter. If you signed up for the workspace, you will receive the it shortly!