Brief History of Artword Theatre:
Version One 1994-1999: Ronald Weihs and Judith Sandiford created the first version of Artword Theatre in 1994, 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.
Version Two 1999-2006: In 1999, with the help of supportive landlords, and some visionary policies of the City of Toronto, they created a major performance space: a 150-seat mainspace and a 60-seat studio theatre. There they developed their own original works of theatre, and provided a home to many of the best independent theatre companies in Toronto. The sale of the building in 2006 to a condo developer forced the pair to wind down abruptly. Here is the link to the archive website for Artword Theatre 1994 to 2007
Version In-Between 2007-2009: Weihs and Sandiford moved to Hamilton in 2007. 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 (one remount and three new works, based on Hamilton themes): You Are What You Do, Rascals & Numskulls, Sunamabeach, and Tobacco Troubadour.
Version Artbar 2009-2019: In July 2009, they bought a little 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. For the Artword Artbar event and performance history 2009 to 2019, visit: Artword Artbar
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: Scroogissimo! (2013, Nov-Dec 2014, Nov-Dec 2016), James Street (2014 & May 2015), and David L. Dawson’s MacBush, the Musical (Apr & Nov 2016), Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy (several iterations in various formats to 2019). Also on stage were two plays by Charly Chiarelli, directed and dramaturged by Ronald Weihs: a remount of the Chiarelli favourite Cu’Fu? (2011 and 2017) and a new play Charly’s Piano (2017 and 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.
Version 2020: From February 2020 going forward, Ronald Weihs and Judith Sandiford, as Artword Theatre, plan to continue to create original theatre in Hamilton on a project-by-project basis, in various venues. Their first 202o project Walter: My name is Walter James Cross and I have schizophrenia was closed March 13, a day before the end of its run, due to the Covid-19 quarantines.
Version 2020 Online: Artword Theatre has been developing a Youtube channel for online theatre projects: Artword Theatre channel in YouTube