Ken Gass fonds [textual record, graphic material, sound recording]
Record Information – Brief
Ken Gass fonds [textual record, graphic material, sound recording]
- Hierarchical level:
- R5331-0-X-E, MG31-D98
- Type of material:
- Textual material, Photographs, Sound recordings
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
9 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Place of creation:
1.98 m of textual records.
42 photographs : b&w.
6 audio cassettes (ca. 6 hrs.).
2 audio reels (ca. 5 hrs., 45 min.).
- Language of material:
- Added language of material:
- English, French
- Scope and content:
Fonds consists of records relating to Gass's work as founding artistic director of the Factory Theatre and Rep Theatre, as well as his freelance work with other institutions and events: stage director's notes; handbooks; correspondence; production binders; manuscripts of original plays written by Gass; manuscripts of plays written by other playwrights; financial files; promotional material (posters, programmes and press kits); and house recordings of practice sessions and performances. Records also relate to Gass's drama teaching in various Canadian colleges and at the University of Toronto. There is a small amount of personal records including personal correspondence. The records range in date from 1970 to 2020. Records also included in the fonds relate but are not limited to the following: Canadian Universities Arts Festival; Festival of Underground Theatre; Factory Theatre Lab; Factory Theatre Lab London Festival; Factory Theatre West; John Herbert material; Canadian Rep Theatre as well as Canadian playwright's playscripts. Photographic material depicting (but not limited to): Argentinian actor/director Victor Solitario in Opera for the Americas presented at the Factory Theatre Lab, Toronto, Ontario; actor Geoffrey Bowes, who appeared in two productions presented by the Factory Theatre Lab; scene from the play Bagdad Saloon, Toronto, Ontario; interior of the Factory Lab Theatre; portraits of Paul Bettis, David Bolt, Patricia Brown, Don MacQuarrie and Howard Mawson. Sound recordings of reminiscences by Gass about the Festival of Underground Theatre, Renaissance '71, Factory Theatre Lab and the Toronto Theatre Festival, [ca. 1975]-1981.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
Gass, Ken, 1945- : Canadian theatre administrator, director and playwright Ken Gass was born in 1945 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia (BA, MA) before moving to Toronto in 1968. There, he briefly taught English at Parkdale Collegiate. In 1969 and 1970, Gass worked with Canadian playwright John Herbert at the Garret Theatre. In May 1970, Gass founded his own theatre, Factory Theatre Lab, which was devoted to the production of Canadian plays. He remained artistic director of the Factory Theatre Lab until 1979. During this time, Gass organized the Festival of Underground Theatre in Toronto (1970) and another festival, Renaissance 71 (1971). After resigning from the Factory Theatre, Gass became senior lecturer in acting and directing for the University of Toronto's University College drama program. He held this position for more than 30 years. Gass has also taught at York University, Brock University and George Brown College. During his career, Gass wrote and produced several of his own plays, such as Winter Offensive (premiered at the Factory in 1977, directed by Gass). His other plays include: Hurray for Johnny Canuck!, based on the Second World War comic book series by Leo Bachle (Factory, 1974); The Boy Bishop (Factory, 1977, directed by Gass); Claudius (Canadian Rep, 1993, directed by Gass) and Amazon Dream (Canadian Rep, 1994, directed by Gass) as well as Bethune Imagined (performed at Factory Theatre in 2010). He has also written for television (CBC-TV) and radio, including Terror (BBC 1981). In 1984, Gass founded another company, the Canadian Rep Theatre. The company's goal was to promote the production of new works as well as those from Canada's dramatic literary past. The company would be the first to present a Robert Lepage production outside of Quebec. In 1997, Gass once again assumed the position of Artistic Director for Factory Theatre. During this second tenure, he directed Ian Ross's fareWel and John Mighton's A Short History of Night (both in 1999), Florence Gibson's Belle (2000), and the National Theatre School of Canada productions of Walker's Better Living and Escape From Happiness (2002). In 2011, he directed Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters with a multicultural cast. In 2012, the Factory Theatre's Board of Directors fired Gass over differences of opinion concerning renovations to the theatre. This dismissal prompted a vibrant protest by the theatre community calling for his reinstatement. After leaving Factory Theatre, Gass revived the Canadian Rep Theatre. The company's revival season in 2014 featured the English-language premiere of Pacamambo by Wajdi Mouawad (directed by Gass), the Canadian premiere of Dead Metaphor by George F. Walker (directed by Walker), and the world premiere of Watching Glory Die by Judith Thompson (directed by Gass) at the Berkeley St. Theatre Upstairs. In the subsequent years, Gass went on to direct productions such as Helen's Necklace by Carole Fréchette (2018). In 2016, he was instrumental in founding ENSEMBLE Canadian Youth Theatre/Théâtre Jeunesse Canadien, a performance, training and mentorship pilot project that features graduates from professional theatre training programs across Canada. Gass directed the following productions for this project: Dreams (Rêves) by Wajdi Mouawad and an ensemble adaptation of Tough! by George F. Walker. Also of note, in February 2015, Gass directed a production of How Do I Love Thee? by Florence Gibson MacDonald at Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs, and Armstrong's War by Colleen Murphy. For his work and career in theatre, Gass has received the Dora Silver Ticket Award for lifetime achievement (1997), the Herbert Whittaker/ Canadian Theatre Critics Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre (2000), the George Luscombe Award for theatre mentoring (2001), the Toronto Arts Award (2001) and the Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts (2010).
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Electronic) The finding aid is a descriptive list including material relating to the Factory Theatre Lab, volumes 5-12, Factory Theatre Lab London Festival, volumes 13-15, Factory Theatre West, volume 15, and additional Factory Theatre Lab papers, volumes 17-19. MSS1197 (90: Open)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000002676.pdfSound recordings (Electronic) See MISACS for item level descriptions. (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- General Note:
- First set of records received during the years 1973 to 1980, then in 2021 from Ken Gass.
- Associated material note:
- Associated materials can be found in the Factory Theatre Fonds held at the L.W. Theatre Archives-Guelph University Library.
- Subject heading:
- Theatrical producers and directors - Canada, n.d., 1968-1980 Philip Shepherd, [1969-1971]
- Toronto (Ont.) - Theatre, [1968-1980] Factory Theatre West, 1973-1974
- Toronto (Ont.) - Drama festivals, [1968-1980] John Herbert, 1969-1971
- Theatre - Canada, [1968-1980] Canadian Film Retrospective, [1972-1974]
- College and school drama, Canadian, [1970-1973] Factory Theatre Lab London Festival, [1972-1974]
- Theatre scripts, [1968-1980] Playwrights Co-op, [1968-1980]
- Canadian drama, 1968-1980 League of Three (Free) Theatres, [1968-1980]
- Dramatists, Canadian, n.d., 1968-1980 George Brown College, [1968-1980]
- Canadian Writer's Guild, [1968-1980]
- Canadian Theatre Centre, [1968-1980]
- Factory Theatre Lab, n.d., 1968-1980
- Festival of Underground Theatre, ca.1970, 1970
- Canadian Universities Arts Festival, 1970-1973
- Playwrights - Canada
- Theatre - Canada
- Former archival reference no.:
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
Photographs: No restrictions on use or reproduction. Various copyrights on items less than 50 years old; copyright expired on items greater than 50 years old.
Sound recordings: Reproduction and use in any form requires the written permission of the copyright holder and in some cases of the donor; please see item level descriptions for details.
- Date modified: