Ronald Weihs, Playwright/Director
Ronald Weihs is a playwright and theatre director. He is the Artistic Director and co-founder, with Judith Sandiford, of Artword Theatre, a producing company that has been operating continuously since 1993. He holds an Honours BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Toronto, 1969, and a year of full-time art training at the New School of Art in 1967. In addition to writing for theatre, he is a specialist in technical communication. This resume focuses only on theatre activities.
Toronto 1969 – 72
Grew up in Toronto, and studied Honours English at University of Toronto. At that time, there were no theatre courses in universities, but was active in campus theatre, acting, writing and directing. Wrote a full-length musical as the annual “Bob Revue” at Victoria College. Organized a touring opera theatre with an Opportunities for Youth Grant. Spent a seminal year as a member of Toronto Workshop Productions, absorbing ensemble theatre techniques from George Luscombe.
Musical, book and lyrics by Ronald Weihs, music by Michael Jones, directed by Gay Stinson, produced by Victoria College at Central Library Theatre, 1969.
Young Canada Opera Theatre (1972)
Founder and Stage Director of Young Canada Opera Theatre, 1972. (Music Director, Stuart Hamilton.) Directed The Impressario (Mozart), La Serva Padrona (Pergolesi), La Voix Humaine (Poulenc-Cocteau), L’Heure Espagnole (Ravel).
Toronto Workshop Productions (1973-74)
Actor-musician for Toronto Workshop Productions, directed by George Luscombe. Performed in Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht, Mr. Bones, Mr. Pickwick by Jack Winter, Fanshen by Rick Salutin, The Working Man by Len Petersen.
British Columbia 1976 – 1981
Went to British Columbia, and shortly after joining the Caravan Stage Company, travelling through the interior of British Columbia by horse and wagon. Wrote and directed a play for Touchstone Theatre and started a theatre company in Duncan, Vancouver Island. Met Judith Sandiford.
Hands Up! – The Bill Miner Story (1977, 1984)
Script by Ronald Weihs. A collective creation of the Caravan Stage Company. Toured the BC interior, 1977. Directed by Nick Hutchinson.
Remounted in June, 1984, by the Caravan Stage Company and toured through Washington, Oregon and California. Directed by Richard Pochinko.
Highball! (1979, 1980, 1981)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, songs by Barry Hall, produced by Touchstone Theatre, Vancouver, 1979. Selected as highlight of the year by Vancouver Sun.
Island Stage Theatrical Company (1980-81)
Co-founder and Artistic Director of Island Stage Theatrical Company in Duncan B.C., 1980-81. Directed a new touring version of Highball! with songs by Ronald Weihs, and toured logging communities along the BC coast.
Toronto 1983 – 1989
Returned from BC to Toronto to work on a play with George Luscombe, and remained in Toronto. Worked with Richard Pochinko and Ian Wallace, Theatre Resource Centre. Worked with for over two years with Playwrights Theatre of New York on an original musical.
The Wobbly (1983)
Wrote (with George Luscombe) a play about the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Directed by George Luscombe. Produced at TWP Theatre, Toronto, February 1983, and remounted November, 1983.
Salluit theatre workshop (1983)
Conducted a 10-week theatre workshop for Inuit actors in Salluit (Arctic Quebec) and directed an original collective play, February – April 1983.
Temptonga, by Ida Carnevale (1985, 1986, 1987)
Directed several versions of a clown play written and performed by Ida Carnevale. Groundswell Festival in Toronto (1985), Canada Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver (1986), and Toronto Free Theatre in Toronto (1987).
The Beavers (1986, 1990)
Script and lyrics by Ronald Weihs, music by James Gray. Produced by Theatre Resource Centre at Theatre Passe Muraille, 1986. Directed by Richard Pochinko.
Produced April 1990 by Native Earth and Theatre Resource Centre at Annex Theatre, Toronto. Directed by Tomson Highway.
Resurrection of Henry Ford (1989)
Chosen out of more than 80 Canadian scripts by Writers Theater of New York for development by Playwrights’ Theater of New York. Directed by David Laundra. Given several readings and three of the songs set to music.
Artword Theatre, 81 Portland Street, Toronto, 1993-1998
Together with Judith Sandiford, created a small theatre space (60 seats), featuring original plays, storytelling, music, dance and visual art. Artword Theatre presented more than 100 events, involving over 250 performers and artists, including 10 original Canadian plays, 5 Artword Theatre productions, 57 concerts, dance events, readings, 3 opera projects and 2 Festivals of the Human Voice.
Mama Says: You Are What You Do (March, 1994)
A musical play written and directed by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. The stories and songs that make up the play are all based on interviews conducted by the playwright some years ago. Original premiere.
me2 (July, 1994)
Two short plays adapted and directed by Ronald Weihs, produced by Artword Theatre, performed by Mhairi Fyfe with music by Archie Hughes. Based on short stories by Alberto Moravia. Original premiere.
Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (June, 1995)
Adapted and directed by Ronald Weihs from Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic love story in a war zone. Original score for piano composed and performed by Timothy Minthorn. Designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Choreography by Hedy Minten. Performed by Hedy Minten, Michael Spence, Scott Bell and Bruce Beaton. Set in the time of Homer, this play recounts an incident in the bitter siege of Troy by the Greek army. Original premiere.
Echo and Narcissus; A Mirror for Our Time (1996)
Dance/multimedia performance, conceived and directed by Ronald Weihs, choreographed and performed by dancers Hedy Minten and Michael Du Maresq, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford, with recorded electronic music by Eugene Martynec, and a visual and sound collage assembled by Alex Babytsch. Original premiere.
Cu’Fu (1996, 1999, February 2001)
Written and performed by Charly Chiarelli, directed and dramaturged by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Original premiere is 1996 and many remounts.
Filmed for Bravo Television by U.B. Wired Productions (1999)
Whoever You Are (November, 1997)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, based on a story by the renowned science fiction author Judith Merril. Set and lighting by Judith Sandiford, costumes and props by Debbie O’Rourke. Original premiere.
Artword Theatre and Gallery, 75 Portland Street, Toronto, 1999 – 2006
With Judith Sandiford, renovated a clothing factory into a major theatre space, with a 150-seat Main Space, and 60-seat Alternative Space and a huge art gallery. From 1993 to February, 2006, Artword was home to 372 separate projects, including 110 full theatre productions (not including workshops or festivals), 113 concerts, 37 dance programs, 13 festivals (including the Fringe and Summerworks), and 24 art exhibitions.
If Cows Could Fly (February 2000, June 2001)
Written and performed by Alan Merovitz, directed and dramaturged by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Re-staging of this Artword favourite.
Mangiacake (April 2001, March 2002)
Written and performed by Charly Chiarelli, directed and dramaturged by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Original premiere in 2001.
Filmed for Bravo Television by UB Wired Productions.
Toronto the Good (June, July 2002)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, designed by Judith Sandiford and Catherine Hahn. Produced with the help of a generous grant from the Commercial Theatre Fund. Original premiere.
Sur (November 2003)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs based on a story by Ursula K. Le Guin, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Original premiere.
Death and the King’s Horseman (May, 2004)
Written by Wole Soyinka, produced by AfriCan Theatre Ensemble, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed by Judith Sandiford, choreographed by Yinka Farinde, produced by Modupe Olaogun. A modern masterpiece by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright.
Fate of a Cockroach (April, 2005)
A comedy by the renowned Egyptian playwright, Tawfik al-Hakim, translated from the Arabic by Ronald Weihs and Emad Nafeh, directed by Ronald Weihs, music by Thomas Baker, scenic projection cartoon drawings by John Williams, designed by Judith Sandiford. Produced by AfriCan Theatre Ensemble and Artword Theatre.
The Full Nelson (January, 2005)
Written and performed by Donald Carr, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed by Judith Sandiford. Produced by AfriCanTheatre Ensemble and Artword Theatre. A virtuoso multi-media performance invoking the spirit of Nelson Mandela in a “phantasmagoric view of Black History”.
Market of Tales (November, 2005)
A collective work based on African sources, developed and directed by Ronald Weihs and the AfriCan Theatre Ensemble. Produced by AfriCan Theatre Ensemble and Artword Theatre. Produced by Modupe Olaogun, designed by Judith Sandiford, musical direction by Waleed Abdulhamid, stage managed by Tony Adah, choreographed by Muoi Nene.
The Gambler (January, February 2006)
Written by Ronald Weihs, directed by Molly Thom. With David Ferry, Irene Poole, Karl Pruner, Brett Christopher, Claire Jenkins, and Jennifer Phipps. Set and costume by Gillian Gallow, lighting by Rebecca Picherack and sound design by Richard Feren.
In 2006, a condo developer bought the building housing Artword Theatre. Ron and Judith moved to Hamilton in 2007.
Ghost Ship (2007)
Script by Judith Sandiford and Ronald Weihs, directed by Ronald Weihs, music direction and performance by Waleed Abdulhamid, choreography by Muoi Nene, performed by Seifu Belachew, Muoi Nene, Alexandra Semakula, Stella Umeh. Artword’s production about the perilous Senegalese migrations to Spain via the Canary Islands. Based on news stories and verbatim text of a specific incident. Performed at Trane Studio in Toronto. A workshop production funded by the Ontario Arts Council.
If Cows Could Fly (2008)
Directed a revised version of If Cows Could Fly, which played for three weeks at the new Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre in Ottawa, and at Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festival in August the same year.
You Are What You Do (2008)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, produced and designed by Judith Sandiford at The Pearl Company. A re-staging of the play that opened Artword Theatre in 1994.
Rascals and Numskulls: The Robert Land Story (2009)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, music by Gary Santucci, produced and designed by Judith Sandiford. Performed at The Pearl Company. Original premiere.
Written and performed by Charly Chiarelli, directed by Ronald Weihs, produced and designed by Judith Sandiford at The Pearl Company. Original premiere.
Tobacco Troubadour (2009)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, with songs by JP Riemens, produced and designed by Judith Sandiford at The Pearl Company. Original premiere.
Artword Artbar, 2009-2019
In 2009, Judith and Ron bought a small bar in the James North district, and converted it into a music and theatre venue, plus art gallery. They sold the building in 2019, to explore new adventures.
1812: The Songbook (2012)
Researched and assembled by Judith Sandiford and Ronald Weihs. Directed by Ronald Weihs, featuring the popular folk ensemble What the Folk. Performed at the Lyric Theatre, Hamilton.
James Street (2012)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, Songs written and performed by Mark McNeil. Produced and designed by Judith Sandiford at the Lyric Theatre, Hamilton. Original premiere.
If Cows Could Fly (2013)
Written and performed by Allan Merovitz, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford at the Lyric Theatre in Hamilton. A re-staging.
Tobacco Troubadour (2013)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, with songs by JP Riemens, produced and designed by Judith Sandiford at the Lyric Theatre in Hamilton. A re-staging.
Scroogissimo (2013, 2014, 2016, 2018)
A re-telling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, written by Ryan Sero and Charly Chiarelli, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed by Judith Sandiford, with live musical soundscape on piano, plus traditional Sicilian and British seasonal songs. Performed at Artword Artbar. Remounted four times.
James Street (2014, 2015)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, Songs written and performed by Mark McNeil. Produced and designed by Judith Sandiford at Artword Artbar. New re-staging at Artword Artbar, and remounted in 2015.
Trumpet Romance (2014)
Performed by Stuart Laughton, written by Stuart Laughton and Ronald Weihs, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford at Artword Artbar.
Written, choreographed and performed by Learie Mc Nicolls, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford.
MacBush: The Musical (2016)
Written by David L. Dawson, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed by Judith Sandiford. Original premiere and re-mounted the same year.
Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy (2017, 2019)
Documentary theatre based on the verbatim testimony of Langston Hughes, with poems by Hughes. Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, produced by Judith Sandiford.
Charly’s Piano (2017, 2019)
Written by Charly Chiarelli and Ronald Weihs, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Original premiere in 2017. Remounted 2019 in shorter version.
The Man in the Vault (2018)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. Original production.
Whoever You Are (2019)
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs, based on a story by Judith Merril, designed and produced by Judith Sandiford. (New production of 1997 play.)
Walter: My Name is Walter James Cross and I have Schizophrenia (March, 2021)
Directed by Ronald Weihs, written by David Laing Dawson, designed by Judith Sandiford, starring Sean
Emberley as Walter. This powerful one-person play was produced at Saint Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Saint
Andrew’s Hall, which was adapted by Artword as a theatre space. The last two performances, scheduled for
Saturday, March 14, were cancelled because of Covid-19.
Video Version of Walter
The performance of Walter on March 12 was recorded with three cameras by Gabe Etele, who also did the
sound recording and editing. The video was edited by Gabe and subsequently by Ronald Weihs. It is available
for viewing on YouTube and has been submitted to festivals.
Acting and Music:
* Actor-musician for Caravan Stage Company, 1976-78. Acted in Stag King, Hands Up!.
* Played hoedowns, bar gigs.
* Original lyrics and music for Hands Up!, Highball!
* Fiddle, guitar and vocals in “Stringfire”, a folk-bluegrass trio out of Vernon, BC, 1977.
* Fiddle, vocals in “Kickin’ Horse”, a country rock/western swing band out of Vancouver, 1978-79.
* Musical Director, Kaleidoscope Theatre Touring Company, 1981. Played fiddle, guitar, mandolin , banjo and accordion in Clowns and About Free Lands.
* Original lyrics for The Beavers, Moira.
* Original lyrics and music for You Are What You Do, Resurrection of Henry Ford.
166 Prospect Street South
Hamilton, Ontario, L8M 2Z4
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