Artistic Statement

“The only plays that influence us are those for which we are ready and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have yet gone ourselves.”*

As south Vancouver Island’s flagship theatre, the Belfry plays a crucial role in the cultural ecology of our region. We have a responsibility as an artistic leader within Victoria, to nurture and support artists and theatre companies within our community.

It is our aim to produce plays that open doors to a new world or a new way of looking at the world we know, while telling engaging stories. In everything we do, from programming to community connections, there is an emphasis on advancing inclusivity and access—both onstage and off.

For the past 35 years, the Belfry Theatre and its audiences have been on a journey through the best of contemporary theatre. Our primary focus is on Canadian plays with rigorous ideas that address issues in the world in which we live. We also have a stated commitment to Indigenous artists and stories. The development of new work, through commissions, dramaturgy, workshops, readings and first productions, is an important part of our operations.

We are actively involved in actions to decolonize our practice and engage with, and create opportunities for, IBPoC artists to take leadership roles in the creation of work. The Belfry continues to find innovative ways to integrate the IBPoC community with the region’s non-diverse community—onstage, backstage, in our audiences, and in our outreach programs.

The Belfry also has programs for independent theatre companies, emerging and Indigenous artists looking to enhance their skills, and secondary and post-secondary school students within our isolated community. We believe in sharing our resources, and supporting cultural diversity.

While the production of exciting theatre is at the heart of who we are and what we do, what makes the Belfry particularly unique and a valuable community resource, are audience engagement activities and our mentorship programs—developing the theatre leaders of the future.

Michael Shamata
Artistic Director

* E.M. Forster, paraphrased.