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 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, 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, we were 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. We started this program with only an idea, and ended up with a partnership that helped us to gain access to a studio and workspace.
In January 2019, we became a partner on an exciting international project with Presernovo Gledališče Kranj, a Slovenian theatre company. We are working together to translate the 7 play opus of Ivan Cankar, Slovenia’s national playwright, to English, from Slovene for the first time. This project is supported by the European Commission and Slovenia’s Culture Ministry. This project will come to completion by the end of 2021.
From June – August 2019, we ran our first Summer Ensemble program, which included 13 emerging artists. We were able to provide them with training, and invaluable resources and insight into the professional theatre industry in Canada, and around the world.
October 2019 – February 2020
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, and facilities were mandated to close. All but the first two shows and the exhibition were cancelled, which dramatically affecting attendance literally in the last minute. Despite cancellations, we achieved a lot with our first festival, and created important connections in the community which have helped us immensely ever since.
JUNE and AUGUST 2020
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. We were forced to move the program online, thanks to the pandemic, working over zoom 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 workshop new works, develop existing pieces that had been started the year prior, and continue building useful, real-world applicable skills.
JUNE and AUGUST 2020
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 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, 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.
Operational funding from the city of Mississauga
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 last year, when it launched on March 13th 2020. This year 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 – AUGUST 2021
Summer Ensemble Program
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.
Festival Internationaldes Arts de la Marionnette à Saguenay (FIAMS)
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.
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.