Taylor Marie Graham’s Frog Song: An Opera for Children, in workshop at PlaySmelter 2019

Founded in 2006 in Kitchener-Waterloo and established in Sudbury in 2009, Pat the Dog is a catalyst for new play creation and regional theatre creators across Ontario. Fierce advocates for the regional theatre artist, we believe that all artists should have access to the highest quality supports for their artistic practice in their home community.  To make this happen, we are proud to have established offices in both Northern and Southern Ontario to best make this a reality and to truly capture the stories of our people and our country.

We believe these supports should be available to the artist at no cost. To do so, we work hard to find programs to fund this support.  We do the heavy lifting so that the artist can concentrate on what they do best – tell their story and tell it well. We then work tirelessly within the regional, provincial and national ecology to get that story to the audience.  To do that, we work with many partners, including other theatre/art organizations in co-production, productions and development support.

This had led us to found and produce the PlaySmelter Northern New Works Festival which runs annually each May in Sudbury. We created and now program Regional Women+ Lead, a national grassroots economic strategy for gender parity. In addition, we also manage Edna’s, a micro-performance space in Kitchener for theatre incubation and play.

Making art is hard labour.  It’s even harder to describe the process of how inspiration becomes tangible, takes shape and is ultimately articulated on stage. We’ve been accused of being elusive and “hard to understand” and we get it.  Here’s our Brag Sheet with a few highlights of a decade of work and efforts.

McKenzie-King and his faithful dog, Pat.

That Name

It’s always the first question. It does have something to do with our founding in the birthplace of the 10th Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon MacKenzie King.  He had a faithful companion named Pat. But the real answer?  It’s a strong nod to advocacy.  Note the intentional small “p” and small “d” in our logo’s font – it’s an acknowledgment that the course of the artist is tough, tenacious and economically marginalized.  We ask:  What other discipline trains folk and then expect them, upon graduation to take one to two other jobs?  Why is their chosen career meant to be done as a “side hustle”?  Bwahaha to that.  Artists are tired of being like the little dog waiting patiently by the table for a pat on the head and table scraps.  We’re serious hard-working humans creating your Canadian cultural conversation. This dog is awake, active and bites.