Theatre listings of then and now

A compilation of sites that provide(d) theatre listings for Montreal and beyond

By Byron Toben

August 25, 2021

The pandemic has wrought cancellation or hiatus to many of the Montreal area’s most-used English language theatre listing sites. Below is an update of the seven most used, beginning with sites that cover(ed) the Montreal area only, followed by sites that include(ed) other locations as well.

Sites that covered the Montreal area only

Created in 2016 by Dawson drama grad Camilla Fitzpatrick, this site became the most prominent of those listed here. Its blend of upcoming shows and some reviews became very popular but, alas, all good things come to an end. This month, Ms. Fitzpatrick called an end to it after five years.

The Quebec Drama Federation (QDF) was created in 1972. Around 1995, its Board of Directors created a modest calendar to inform the theatrical community of what was happening and to avoid conflicts of opening dates. Physically, it was a folded black and white document mailed in an envelope and later, without an envelope.

Under the direction of Elise Menard, it evolved into a handy booklet. On the advice of Carolyn Flower, colour was added along with symbols and format for easier reading, refined by Lily Olivas. Jane Needles was involved in all this in various capacities and when she became Director-General of the QDF in 2007, instituted a periodic “Calendar Launch” to celebrate the release of the spring, summer, fall and winter editions.

These launches were events unto themselves where various groups would perform snippets of their forthcoming productions. The last issue that packrat me could find in my collection was number 67/ Spring-Summer 2019.

At the time of preparation of this article, it was unclear if the QDF would reinstitute the printed booklet or post it on its website or neither.

The pandemic has wrought cancellation or hiatus to many of the Montreal area’s most-used English language theatre listing sites.

Cult MTL was created in 2013 by members of the alternative weekly, the Montreal Mirror, upon its dissolution by brief owner Québecor. It posts a daily web version, augmented by a monthly printed tabloid. Editor in Chief Lorraine Carpenter apparently also heads the theatre department.

This volunteer-operated and run blog “is not a professional organization nor… aspires to be one.” Apparently created by Editor in Chief Rachel Levine, it lists 17 current writers and columnists as well as an amazing 103 alumni on vacation. Ms. Levine also handles theatre reviews, as does Anna Fuerstenberg, a Rover Arts theatre critic during its heyday (2008-2013).

Sites that covered theatre outside Quebec as well

This site was created in 1997 by Editor in chief Elyse Sommer. Based in New York, it covered theatre there as well as in Quebec and England. It recently gave up due to the paucity of theatrical presentations during this pandemic. However, it maintains a Google list of many past reviews. Carolyn Flower, once a publicist for the Hudson Village Theatre, was a frequent Quebec contributor. Not to be confused with the 1952 British play called Curtain Up.

Begun as a private letter in 1995 by Toronto-based Lynn Slotkin, it has grown into an encyclopedic listing of plays she has seen in Ontario, New York, and London, U.K. as well as Quebec. She claims to see about 250 plays a year. Lists everybody from actors and directors to assistant hairdressers.

Created in 2015 by semi-retired graphic designers Andrew Burlone and Patricia Dumais, this urban lifestyle website has enlisted Byron Toben as its theatre reviewer. Disclaimer – I know him quite well. Besides listing and reviewing Montreal area theatre events, he has introduced streaming events such as New York’s Bedlam Theater, Red Bull Theater, Gingold Theatrical Group, Mint Theater and Irish Repertory Theater sites.

You can Google his 490 articles to date, in reverse chronological order at Byron Toben Archives.

Beyond the scope of these overall listing sites, theatre audiences can follow what’s doing at individual venues or production company sites.

Feature image: x1klima via
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More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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