theatre no. 6’s calling card was…U: The Comedy of Global Warming, an intricately entertaining, multi-faceted, and multimedia experiment in marrying apocalyptic narratives and such comic forms as satire and the love triangle.
theatre no. 6 presents plays that speak to Canadians about what’s going on in Canada right now. Our productions explore, celebrate, and challenge ideas that we, as Canadians, have about our identity, our society, and our culture in the twenty-first century.
Whether a play we produce has been written by a Canadian or by someone from another country, recently or during another period in history, we’ll strive to present it in such a way that Canadians can recognize themselves in it. Your evening at the theatre will be entertaining, amusing, touching, and stimulating. If you’re looking for something thought-provoking, a theatre no. 6 show will always appeal to your inquisitive nature too.
theatre no. 6 is based in Edmonton, Alberta, and has been producing plays since 2009. Like many independent companies, it’s run by the artists who founded it and aims to present, on average, one production every year or two.
While we welcome the support of private funders, we’re not a society or registered charity and can’t provide tax-deductible receipts for your donations. If you’d like to support theatre no. 6 and its artistic mission, please visit our SUPPORT page, where you’ll find a whole list of different ways in which you can become an important part of our story.
theatre no.6 is founding Artistic Producer Ian Leung, and his partner, Associate Producer Melissa Thingelstad. To find out more about either Ian or Melissa, click the “Bio” button on their photo when it appears in the slideshow at the top of this page.
Ian is responsible for defining the mandate and the artistic mission of theatre no. 6, including choosing and directing the plays the company produces. Melissa’s artistic roles are numerous and include acting in productions, assistant directing, and advising the Artistic Producer.
Ian and Melissa both have extensive backgrounds in Arts Administration, which makes them a powerful team as the co-producers of all theatre no. 6 shows.
The artists, artisans, and technicians with whom Ian and Melissa join to bring each theatre no. 6 project to reality vary from project to project. Visit our PEOPLE page to find out more about some of these amazing theatre makers.
theatre no. 6 was founded by Ian Leung in the summer of 2008 when his pitch to create and mount a multi-media play about climate change in Alberta landed a slot in Edmonton’s 2008-2009 Indie5* theatre season. The show’s script, tentatively titled The Albertaville Project, went through several drafts over the following months and eventually became U: The Comedy of Global Warming.
U was initially slated to run from June 18 – 29, 2009 in the PCL Studio at Fringe Theatre Adventures, but casting issues forced its postponement to Indie5’s subsequent season. It eventually ran from December 11 – 20, 2009 in the Media Room (now the Bleviss Laboratory Theatre) of the Fine Arts Building at the University of Alberta, in parallel with the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen (December 7 – 15).
Liz Nicholls of the Edmonton Journal would hail the show (which intertwined excerpts from 22 hours of interviews with experts and politicians about climate change with a story about an oil executive who sponsors the immigration of a climate refugee from Tuvalu) as Indie5’s “most ambitious independent production” and “one of the season’s most challenging and provocative pieces.”
Life and projects with other companies put theatre no. 6 on hiatus for a few years after U, but it returned to production in the spring of 2014 with Wallace Shawn’s The Fever at the Living Room Playhouse, and the Alberta premiere of Michael Healey’s hit comedy Proud at La Cité Francophone later that fall.
To find out what might be coming next from theatre no. 6, visit our In Development page for details (and consider joining our e-mail list to be kept up to date on all the tn6 latest).
*Indie5 was a promotional umbrella that curated and presented full seasons of independent theatre in Edmonton from 2006 to 2011.
why the number 6?
We get this question all the time.
The original attraction to choosing a number for a name was that it left us a great deal of freedom when it came to defining a mandate. A number name is relatively neutral. It keeps an audience’s expectations wide open. With that kind of latitude, any play could conceivably be a theatre no. 6 play.
Of course, in the end, we did settle on a pretty specific mandate for theatre no. 6 (click on “about tn6”). It works for us for now, and we think its mission is important enough to keep us going for some years to come. Also, audiences are slowly coming to expect a certain kind of show from us. But our number name does give us the freedom to change direction someday, should we ever decide to do so.
On the other hand, a number still conveys ideas about quantity, sequence, and ranking, among other things. So why, then, did we fix on “6” instead of, say, “1967”?
Well for one thing, six was chosen because it’s short and therefore easy to remember.
For another, unlike lucky seven, magic three, or crazy eight, six is just a little off the beaten track, and we thought it could therefore be used to transmit a subtle message to audiences that they could and should expect something a little (or a lot) different from us.
If you consider that a number of human cultures originally counted in fives as opposed to tens – probably based on using the fingers and thumb on one hand – the number six can also represent the idea of pushing beyond boundaries. To get from five to six, you need to jump to another hand. Or to a toe. Or a rock. Or, if you stay with the same hand, you have to make a fist, erasing everything to start all over again. In each case, a leap from the known to something new is required. That idea jived with our interest in presenting theatre that invites audiences to consider ideas they may not have previously entertained.
It’s a fun fact but only a coincidence that theatre no. 6‘s inaugural show was originally slated sixth in 2008-2009 Indie5 season. And the fact that we share our name with the iconoclast hero of The Prisoner fame? Also coincidence, but definitely value added.
The clincher behind the choice was the sound of the word six when spoken aloud. As an utterance, stripped of its everyday meaning, the slightly sinister sibilance of six is just a tad unsettling. So, too, is an awful lot of great art.