About Theatre Rusticle

Theatre Rusticle is an independent physical theatre company formed in 1998 by Allyson McMackon. We create original and daring work inspired by plays, poems, history and literature with an eye to the relationship between text and movement. We are committed to creating plays that are spare yet image drenched and embrace the language of text and the body. Like the rusticles we are named after, we eat away at the raw material of our sources and leave beautiful, haunting forms behind. Our raw material is text, the body, emotion and narrative. Our forms are the plays we create.

We embrace imagination, play, the deeply personal, the deeply anonymous and the inner lives of both performer and character. In our work, the process is not hidden inside the performance, but a transparent layer breathing life and density into it. We aspire to create work that is human, and asks artists and audiences alike how they define themselves and the world we live in. Our plays are challenging, dream-like, capricious and rich with meaning. Our shows have tackled content ranging from Strindberg to Restoration Comedy and from Virginia Woolf to Pierre Trudeau.

A child of fringe festivals, we performed our first work at the San Francisco Fringe Festival in 1998 and since 2000 have been self-producing and developing new work. We were incorporated as a not for profit charitable organization in March 2005. Theatre Rusticle has received 12 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominations and has been seen across the country at the SuperNova Theatre Festival (Nova Scotia), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Vancouver 2008), Kelowna, Salt Spring Island and Victoria.

“Brilliantly performed and rife with thought-provoking metaphors, Dinner at Seven-Thirty, is a memorable production you simply must see”. ~ Mooney on Theatre

“…a lyrical mix of movement, music and text…a hypnotic waltz of the real and unreal…fact-based and fantastical”. Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun.

“…a chilling sensory experience”. Elissa Barnard, the Halifax Chronicle Herald.

Artistic Director Allyson McMackon

Photo of Allyson McMackon by Jeremy Mimnagh

Allyson has been involved in the independent theatre community in Toronto since 1989 as an actor, mover, administrator/producer, educator and director. She has worked with DvxT Theatre, STO Union, Skylight Theatre, Factory Theatre/Briefcase Productions, and in Rhubarb!, Summerworks, The Fringe and Groundswell Festivals, Blue Ceiling Dance Projects and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. She has taught at Unionville School of the Arts, The Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Sheridan College Musical Theatre Programme, The University of Toronto, four seasons at the Globe Theatre Conservatory in Regina, collaborating on Shakespeare with David Latham and Marti Maraden. She has been contract faculty at York University since 2008 teaching devising and movement/physical theatre in the acting and MFA streams. She directed Anna Karenina at George Brown Theatre School (2015), The Stronger Variations at York University (2013). She has led numerous Master classes for the Director’s Lab North, Buddies in Bad Times and Factory Theatre Foreman Series. Allyson was three times nominated for the KM Hunter Artists Award and received a Dora Nomination in 2008 for direction of April 14, 1912 and one in 2020 for choreography with Eclipse Theatre’s Sunday in the Park with George. She received a Harold Award in 2008.

In addition todirecting all of Theatre Rusticle’s work, she directed Brooke Johnson’s Trudeau Stories (Theatre Passe Muraille, Neptune, NAC/Mag North,Centaur, Thousand Islands), and coached on the award-winning If We Were Birds (Tarragon Theatre), Them and Us (Theatre Passe Muraille), Eight Ways from Mara (Zata Omm Dance projects), Farther West (Soulpepper directed by Diana Leblanc) and has mentored with Buddies’ Young Creator’s Unit and the Paprika Festival. Recent projects included the acclaimed  Our Town at Buddies in Bad Times

2018/19 saw Allyson direct The Threepenny Opera at Theatre Sheridan, devising a piece about F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald called Scott Shorts and Zelda at George Brown Theatre School, teaching at York University and Sheridan and mentoring artists in a bilingual musical called  Heresy at the Paprika Festival. She is currently contract faculty at York and Sheridan College (Musical Theatre Programme). She is a contributor in Evan Tsitsias’ new book, The Director’s Lab

“Superbly deconstructed…an expressionistic journey into the subconscious…Theatre Rusticle makes for very compelling theatre”. Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail.

“McMackon knows how to give vibrant physical and textual life to a scene”. Jon Kaplan, Plays International Vol.22.

“A stunning piece of theatre…all performances are engaging and sharp…a firmly rooted but exotic gem”. Les Gutman, Curtain Up (NYC).

Rusticle Collaborators from 1998-present: Erik Kever Ryle, Ian Walker, Fiona Jones, Isabelle Noel, Patrick Conner, Siobhan Power, Lucy Rupert, Peter Windrem, Melinda Little, Sarah Weatherwax, Glenn Davidson, Hume Baugh, Viv Moore, Paul Major, Brooke Johnson, Emily Hurson, Mike McPhaden, Noah Kenneally,  Liza Balkan, Misha Albert, Matthew Romantini, Michelle Ramsay, Lindsay Anne Black, William Yong, David Smukler, Susannah Mackay, Liam Hanebury, Jamie Ebbs, Wesley Connor, Shelley Brown, Erik Paetkau, Fraser Jackson, Michele Verheule, Michael Fedyshyn, David Pell, Bethany Bergman, Patric Caird, Ed Reifel, Joseph Phillips, Sandra Henderson, Katy Murphy, Maev Beaty, Ron Kennell, Andrya Duff, Thomas Morgan Jones, R.Kelly Clipperton, Chala Hunter, Dylan Bobbies, Sarah O’Brien, Simon Fon, Geneal St. Clair, Matthew Lawrence, Sarah Gale, Matthew Finlan, Geoff Whynot, Jenna-Lee Hyde, Priscilla Taylor, Augusto Bitter, Francois MacDonald, Michelle Tracey, Brandon Kleiman, Joey Morin, Kwaku Okyere, Amanda Cordner, Burgundy Code, Richard Alan Campbell, Nick Eddie, Alexandra Montagnese, Alexa MacDougall, Michael Derworiz, Matthew Rossoff, Annie Tuma, Richard Lee, Paula Wolfson, Victor Pokinko, Jeremy Mimnagh.

Theatre Rusticle is grateful for project funding from the Laidlaw Foundation, The Trillium Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts for various projects over the last 22 years.