‘Room’ among live shows set to return as part of Grand Theatre’s 2021-2022 slate


LONDON, Ont. — Curtains are set to rise on live performance at the Grand Theatre in southern Ontario as soon as this fall.

The London venue announced its lineup for the 2021-2022 season Thursday.

The slate includes the return of several pandemic-shuttered shows, including the highly anticipated stage adaptation of “Room” early next year.

Executive director Deb Harvey says in a release that the reopening plans will be informed by public health guidelines, and theatre-goers should have a better sense of what to expect once the Grand gets the “go-ahead” to welcome back audiences.

Harvey says the box office won’t open until the theatre receives direction about capacity levels, but ticket-holders with credits on their account will be first in line to book their seats.

The Grand is also set to reveal the results of a $9 million renovation to its lobby spaces and backstage areas, set to wrap up this summer.

The season is scheduled to kick off in October with the “Grand Re: Opening Festival” spotlighting four local artists.

The theatre has commissioned Summer Bressette, Richard Gracious, Alexandra Kane and Mark Uhre to create 16 nights of special events ranging from concerts to art installations.

The Grand said it is delaying its planned holiday production of the musical “Annie” until winter of 2022.

Instead, the Grand will ring in the festive season in December with “Home for the Holidays,” an original show from artistic director Dennis Garnhum.

The new year will usher in the return of “Room,” which was shut down in March 2020 on the eve of its three-week run. It had been slated to follow that up with another three weeks in Toronto with producing partner David Mirvish.

Adapted to include songs, the play is based on London-based author Emma Donoghue’s hit 2010 novel about a young mother and boy held captive in a storage shed.

The Grand’s popular Jeans ‘n Classics concert series will resume next year with shows paying tribute to artists including Pink Floyd and U2.

Also making a comeback is the musical “Grow,” originally scheduled for April 2020, which will debut in 2022 with the story of Amish twins venturing into the modern world during the adolescent rite of passage known as Rumspringa.

Other highlights include a new play based on the life of Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, also known as the face of the $10 bill. “Controlled Damage” by London playwright Andrea Scott is set to hit the stage in February.

“Throughout the last 16 months, we’ve said that we will be back, that the theatre will return, and when we do, we will be even better than before,” Garnhum, the artistic director, said in a news release.

“Not only have we used this time of being closed to public performances to renovate our physical spaces, but as a company we’ve embarked on a journey to grow, learn and work through a renewed anti-oppression lens, and we can hardly wait to welcome Londoners into the gorgeous space we have created, both inside and out.”

— by Adina Bresge in Toronto