Edge of the Woods Theatre grew out of the work of Dan Watson, Christina Serra and their colleagues to bring alternative performances and arts-making practices to Muskoka/Parry Sound. Through an invitation and financial support by the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, we presented the inaugural edition of the Edge of the Woods Theatre Festival in the summer of 2008. Drawing inspiration from varied forms of visually-based and socially-engaged performance, in particular Jumblies Theatre and the Cooking Fire Theatre Festival from Toronto, our inaugural festival mixed professional performances with community-engaged art-making activities in outdoor public spaces in downtown Huntsville.

We built on the success and lessons of our first edition and in 2009, with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, expanded our festival to make stops at four different communities across the region including the addition of affordable and nutritious food served fresh beside an outdoor fire. We also produced two community-engaged arts projects that encouraged intergenerational collaboration between seniors and youth, making meaningful connections between the regions’ inhabitants and the visible and invisible histories that lay within it.

These activities laid the foundation for Edge of the Woods Theatre’s creative path. Our interest in presenting large-scale events in public spaces has led us to co-produce (with the Huntsville Festival of the Arts) the annual Nuit Blanche North each summer. The event has drawn thousands of visitors to downtown Huntsville over its lifetime, presenting the work of hundreds of local and invited artists. And our desire to engage community members through art has led to the production of a number of different artistic projects engaging community members of diverse ages, economic status, geographies and abilities. In addition to these core activities, our work has evolved to include touring performances, allowing us to share the character and stories of Muskoka/Parry Sound throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada.