Our History

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Pi Theatre's mission is to produce and present bold and uncompromising plays that explore modern life. We connect audiences with theatre that's intellectually alive and emotionally charged.

Pi Theatre began life as the Pink Ink Co-op in 1984, led by Sandhano Schultze.  It quickly established a distinct position in Vancouver’s theatrical ecology, with a reputation for producing the work of Québécois playwrights, as well as works from the world stage.  In 1990 the company began to engage performers under Equity Guest Artist Contracts and in 1991, Pink Ink joined PACT, becoming a signatory to the Canadian Theatre Agreement.

Pink Ink was very influential in bringing the French-Canadian canon to Vancouver’s attention and it continues to be a specialist in this field. A highlight from the early ’90s was the first production of Polygraph (with Théâtre la Seizième) produced outside the auspices of Robert Lepage’s own company.  To date, Pi has produced more than 20 plays from Québéc in English translation, the most recent being Bashir Lazhar by Evelyne de la Chenelière in 2009.

In 1998, Del Surjik was appointed AD. Under his tenure, Pi continued its community leadership role as major force in See Seven, a marketing and shared-resource initiative for independent theatre in Vancouver. In 2005, Pi began touring, most notably at the National Arts Centre for the Magnetic North Festival, as well as regionally in BC.

Also in 2005, Pi formalized its commitment to mentorship with the launch of the emerging artists’ showcase Prime Placements. Since then, the company has welcomed 67 participants to the program in many different positions.

Early in 2008, Pi welcomed its third and current artistic director, Richard Wolfe. The company is now building a vision that puts the role of authorial voice at the centre of its activities and programming choices.  2009’s highly regarded Canadian premiere of after the quake introduced our audiences to the distinct voice of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. In 2013, Pi presented the Vancouver premiere of Mark O'Rowe's Terminus to rave reviews, eight Jessie Award nominations and three wins. This was followed by the world-premiere of Pi's first playwright-in-residence Sean Devine's Except in the Unlikely Event of War, which was nominated for three awards.

In 2015, Pi celebrated its 30th anniversary. In January, Pi toured its 2014 site-specific production of Jordi Mand's Between the Sheets to Victoria and in April we presented the second Canadian English-language professional production of Sarah Kane's BlastedBlasted was nominated for eight Jessie Awards and won three, including one for Richard Wolfe for outstanding direction.

2016 marked a year of premieres for Pi. We introduced the Lost Words series, conceived and developed by Pi's Artistic Associates Pippa Mackie and Jeff Gladstone. In March 2016, we hosted a concert featuring our composer, Gordon Grdina, and vocalist, Fathieh Honari, for our production of Ayad Akhtar's The Invisible Hand. This Canadian premiere of The Invisible Hand was nominated for eight Jessie Awards and won the award for outstanding lighting.

Last season we produced the world premiere of Long Division by Peter Dickinson. This exploration into the mathematics of human connection features an all-star cast and creative team. It premiered in November 2016 at Gateway Theatre, and received an encore production at the Annex Theatre in downtown Vancouver from April 26-30th, 2017. Long Division was nominated for Outstanding Set for the Jessie Awards. We were also presented by Boca del Lupo as a part of their Micro Performance Series with Amy Lee Lavoie's Genetic Drift from April 5-8th, 2017. Pi ended an exceptional season with a reading of Leanna Brodie's The Paradise Arms, a new English translation of Olivier Sylvestre's La beauté du monde

For 2017-2018, Pi will be presenting a season of Emotionally Charged work. From the English Canada premiere of Davig Greig's The Events, a beautiful meditation on rising above hate, to the incisive female sketch comedy series Lady Parts written and created by Katey Hoffman and Cheyenne Mabberley, or from the revitalizing power of music featured in our 3rd annual Sunday Soul Brunch, to the Vancouver premiere of Jordan Tannahill's elegant and haunting musical meditation on the extinction of life entitled Nocturne, Pi's season will move all audiences. 

Since the company’s inception, our peers have recognized Pi and its collaborators with 35 Jessie Richardson Awards and 118 nominations for outstanding artistic achievement in Vancouver professional theatre. Click here to check out some of our past shows.

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