The Canadian Association for Theatre Research was originally created in 1976 under the name “The Association for Canadian Theatre History.” Since its inception it has been the principal catalyst for expansion of theatre research in Canada, as evidenced by the change in name in 1990. It aims to shape Canada’s theatrical present and future by preserving and interpreting our theatrical past and investigating areas of contemporary theory and performance. Specifically, the Association works to promote research and publication of the results of this research into Canadian theatre and drama, to encourage the collection and analysis of Canadian theatre materials, and to maintain a communications network for the exchange of information and research in progress.
The Association’s membership consists of theatre professionals, scholars, students and other interested individuals. Among its activities is an annual conference with papers and addresses on a variety of themes, and the publication of the journal Theatre Research in Canada (formerly Theatre History in Canada). It also produces a biannual newsletter as well as an Internet site and electronic discussion forum (CANDRAMA) to inform theatre researchers, teachers, and students of new developments in the field.
Long before the founding of the Association there had long been an awareness among enlightened Canadians of the primordial role that the theatrical arts have played and continue to play in the evolution of political, cultural and religious values in this country. One of the most “immediate” of the arts, theatre is inseparable from the historic fabric of the nation. The Association seeks to promote public awareness of the tangible significance of theatre and drama to our cultural heritage, and makes representations to various funding bodies to support research in this field.