In 1979, Judith Sandiford and Ronald Weihs met in British Columbia when Ron was touring Highball!, a play about logging, to logging communities along the coast. Judith painted a 40-foot backdrop and came along to wrangle the actors.
In 1982, they moved back east to Toronto, where Ron’s play The Wobbly (about the Industrial Workers of the World) was being produced at Toronto Workshop Productions, directed by George Luscombe. Judith pursued an art career, co-founded a collective art gallery called WorkScene, and edited a quarterly art magazine. Ronald continued to write and direct plays.
In 1994, they created the first version of Artword Theatre, in a second floor studio in an old factory building on Portland Street in downtown Toronto. It was there that they began their unique blend of original theatre, music and dance concerts, spoken word and storytelling events.
In 1999, with the help of supportive landlords, and some visionary policies of the City of Toronto, they created a major artspace: a 150-seat mainspace theatre, a 60-seat studio theatre and a beautiful art gallery with high white walls. There they developed their own original works of theatre, provided a home to many of the best independent theatre and dance companies in Toronto, and presented many art shows.
In 2006,the sale of the building to a condo developer forced the pair to wind down abruptly.
In 2007, Weihs and Sandiford moved to Hamilton. In 2007-2008 they prepared and presented If Cows Could Fly by Allan Merovitz at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre in Ottawa.
In 2008-2009 they became the resident theatre company at The Pearl Company. There they developed the 2nd floor performance space and created a season of four shows, based on Hamilton themes. You Are What You Do, Rascals & Numskulls, Sunamabeach, and Tobacco Troubadour.
In July 2009, they bought a cafe-bar at 15 Colbourne Street near James Street North, called it Artword Artbar, and began a listening room for live music and spoken word performance.
In 2012/2013, they also did a four-show season at The Lyric Theatre: two new shows, 1812 The Songbook and James Street and two revivals, If Cows Could Fly and Tobacco Troubadour.
In 2013, they added more stage area and lighting to Artword Artbar for their own brand of original ensemble theatre. These included Scroogissimo! (2013, 2014, 2016), James Street (2014, 2015), David L. Dawson’s MacBush, the Musical (April & November 2016), Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy (several iterations in various formats to 2019), a remount of the Charly Chiarelli favourite Cu’Fu? (2011, 2017),Charly’s Piano (2017, 2019), and Whoever You Are (2019).
In September 2019 they announced that they had sold the 15 Colbourne building to new owners who would take possession on December 5, 2019. Performances at Artword Artbar continued up to November 17.
In March 2020, they produced Walter: My name is Walter James Cross and I have schizophrenia at Saint Peter’s Presbyterian Church. The play closed March 13, a day before the end of its run, due to the Covid-19 quarantine.