Crane Creations Theatre Company (CCTC) was founded by Andreja Kovac, a professional director, creator, and producer. She is originally from Slovenia, but is now based in Mississauga. Andreja holds the equivalent of an MFA in Directing for Theatre and Radio from Slovenia’s National Conservatory for Theatre. She is also a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s directing program. Before immigrating to Canada she directed more than 40 award winning productions at Slovene state funded, repertory theatres, most of which toured internationally. She received critical acclaim as a director of classical pieces, contemporary work, opera, theatre for young audiences and devised projects.
After this success, and her time at the National Theatre School, she decided to take on another challenge, starting a theatre company in Mississauga. In 2015, Crane Creations Theatre Company was incorporated as a not-for-profit.
In 2019, Crane Creations Theatre Company was selected to participate in a series of workshops and a mentorship program, provided by Arts Build’s Creative Spaces Mentorship Program. This program focused on development, challenges and solutions for organizations owning funds and leasing or acquiring a space. The team started this program with only an idea, and came out of the program with a partnership that helped CCTC to gain access to a studio and workspace.
In January 2019, CCTC became a partner on an exciting international project with Presernovo Gledališče Kranj, a Slovenian theatre company. We worked together to translate the 7 play opus of Ivan Cankar, Slovenia’s national playwright, in to English from Slovene for the first time. This project is supported by the European Commission and Slovenia’s Culture Ministry. The books have been published in November 2021, and are available to purchase now on Amazon, and through our website.
June – August 2019
Summer Ensemble program: CCTC ran its first, which included 13 emerging artists, this coincided with the acquisition of a studio/office space that we have in Mississauga. We were able to provide the participants with training, and invaluable resources and insight into the professional theatre industry in Canada, and around the world.
October 2019 – February 2020
York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
From October 2019 – February 2020, Crane Creations was selected as one of 15 not-for-profit organizations to participate in an intensive 16-week entrepreneurship training program designed specifically for non-profit organizations. This program, collaboratively run by York Entrepreneurship Development Institute and Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre, helped us develop a professional business plan, executive summary, streamline their business model and meet valuable partners.
In March 2020, we launched a new professional, international puppetry festival in Mississauga. Bridges Festival was on track to present 3 indoor and 2 outdoor puppet shows, as well as 3 interactive workshops and an exhibition. Unfortunately, the festival’s launch was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as facilities were mandated to close on the first day of the festival. All but the first two shows and the exhibition were cancelled, which dramatically affecting attendance literally at the last possible minute. Despite cancellations, we achieved a lot with our first festival, and created important connections in the community, including sponsors and partners which have helped us immensely ever since.
June to August
Between June and August 2020, after a successful Summer Ensemble program in 2019, CCTC was able to provide 13 more emerging artists with invaluable training and knowledge about the industry once again. We were forced to move the program online, thanks to the pandemic, working over Zoom with the whole team for over half of the time those emerging artists were contracted to work with us. Thankfully, re-opening allowed us to eventually meet in person to continue to workshop new works, continue to develop existing pieces that had been started the year prior, and continue building useful, real-world applicable skills for the self-employed participants.
September 2020 – September 2021
Eugenia De Jong first Playwright in Residence
After the Summer Ensemble, in September 2020, Crane Creations Theatre Company selected Eugenia De Jong to be the first Playwright in Residence with us. She worked on a new play, Mirror, for young audiences, and continued to learn and work with us to take that project from the page to the stage.
In October of 2020, Crane Creations Theatre Company officially became a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (often referred to as PACT). Just like a medical association or an association of engineers, PACT is a member-driven organization of professional Canadian theatres, working towards the betterment of Canadian Theatre. PACT provides leadership, national representation and a variety of programs and practical assistance to member companies, empowering them to do their own creative work, and advocating for them.
In January 2021, despite an incredibly challenging year due to COVID-19, we were able to successfully launch a new program called Play Date. Happening on the third Thursday of each month, Play Date is an open to all, public play reading activity. Each month we select a play from a different playwright from around the world. We focus on reading and discussing the relevance of the play, its author, and use the opportunity to connect with community members who may have never read a play before. We would like to thank the city of Mississauga for generously supporting this activity. Anyone is welcome to join and read with us, regardless of their reading or language skills. Each session will be followed by a discussion led by a professional theatre artist to spark conversations about the themes, style, form, and current world issues related to the selected play.
In February of 2021 we received operational funding from the city of Mississauga. This support is crucial to be able to support our staff as they work on the many different projects we are constantly working on throughout the year. We are beyond excited that the city supports us, and we are looking forward to continuing to build this relationship as our events and activities grow as well. This funding allows us to properly support administrative staff, and continue to maintain our studio despite the COVID-19 pandemic. We are able to think bigger and set our goals higher for the years to come.
In March 2021, Bridges Puppetry Festival successfully completed its full three days of activities for the first time! COVID-19 halted the first edition of the festival in it’s tracks in the first year, when it launched on March 13th 2020. In 2021, we had 3 full days of professional puppetry, all online, as well as a selection of animated shorts that focused on various ways which animation, automation and robotics can relate to puppetry.
June to August 2021
From June-August 2021, the 3rd successful Summer Ensemble program took place, with 17 new emerging artists joining our roster of exceptional alumni. We were able to provide more artists with on the job skills training and support, despite still feeling the strong impacts of the covid-19 pandemic. We, once again had to shift the program to be partially online, and only a few weeks were held in person, thanks to re-openings in Ontario. We worked on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with the participants who are actors, as well as a short new play for young audiences called Mirror.
During the Summer of 2021, some of our team headed up to Saguenay to attend the Festival International des Arts de la Marionnette à Saguenay (FIAMS). This was our first in person event as a company since the beginning of the pandemic, and we were thrilled to discover many puppet shows that could be well suited for upcoming Bridges Festival.
Crane Creations, with the help of playwright in residence Eugenia De Jong was able to workshop and present a small public performance of the work-in-progress, Mirror. This creation process included composing songs and lyrics, building puppets, creating the set, and pushing this piece as far as possible in the short amount of time.
Artistic Director Andreja Kovac travelled to Slovenia for the launch of the translated plays of Ivan Cankar. This included presenting the project and the Slovenian National Playwriting Festival, where she saw the results of the two years of work on these books in person, on paper for the first time.
November – December 2021
Crane Creations produced its first full length play for the public at the end of 2021, Terror, by Ferdinand von Schirach. With strict COVID prevention tactics in place, including rapid-testing for all artists involved, as well as masks and social distancing for the audience, this show was a success, and welcomed various MPPs and Councillors from the Mississauga area and Peel region.
Our 3rd edition of Bridges Festival 2022 was a smash hit. We finally has in-person events after two years, including some in person puppetry (if it is safe to gather in person), as well as some workshops, industry events, an exhibit and more, happening all around the city of Mississauga.
We’ve always got lots of projects, and programs in the works behind the scenes. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when new things are happening.
May – July 2022
May 2022 marked the fourth iteration of Summer Ensemble, our annual program for emerging artists across Canada. We had 17 participants this year; actor’, artistic producers and stage managers. This year the participants of Summer Ensemble devised a 30 minute play about community, presented at the Four Corners in Cooksville Mississauga, with community partner, Heart Comonos.
July – August 2022
In July of this year, Crane Creations travelled to Maribor Slovenia to develop a co-production of Mirror, a puppetry show for children, with Maribor Puppet Theatre. The show was developed into a 45 minute musical, with composer Erik Geddis. Using innovative technology and 3D printing, Aleksander Andželovič, built puppets from corn and bamboo. Over the course of eight weeks the show was developed from a 30 minute workshop into an hour long musical with 14 new songs, and 5 more characters. The show was directed by Andreja Kovac, written by Eugenia De Jong, and puppeteered by Aimee Poulin and Eugenia De Jong. The show premiered in Slovenia on August 21 2022 and is now touring across Canada and internationally.
Our puppets have been visiting Christmas Markets across Mississauga. See if you can spot them around the city!
Crane Creations welcomed two new members into the team, Belle Samaniego and Luis Manzar. We are delighted that our team is slowly growing and cannot wait to see what happens next!
We welcome a new team member, Rob Stefanuik to the team!
We have a new theatre! Crane Creation Theatre Company is the new manager of Maja Prentice Theatre, a spacious 198 seat venue at the intersection of Burnamthorpe and Dixie Road. This beautiful theatre is nicknamed “Mississauga’s Hidden Gem”.
Crane Creations Theatre Company receives operational funding from Ontario Arts Council!
Bridges Festival is officially renamed to Puppet Festival Mississauga. Puppet Festival Mississauga runs from March 8 to 15 2023. We welcome audiences from across Mississauga to see puppet shows from around the world, including Choo Choo Whistle Woof! By Naive Theatre, Liberec in Czech Republic and The Happy Prince by Maika Theatre from Mexico. As part of our Discovery Series, Puppet Mississauga invites 9 Ontario based artists to participate in our first ever Showcase.
We’ve always have projects, and programs in the works behind the scenes. So stay tuned!