New Play Development Program

COMPASS New Play Development Program is dedicated to creating and premiering new work on our stages. This program ignites imaginations by bringing a modern, unconventional, and brand new sense of theatre engagement to London.

The Grand will commission, write, produce, and premiere original plays that are relevant to our city, our province, and our country. While these homegrown plays will begin here, our stories will be shared with theatres and stages around the world.

On Stage 2019/20

“A major thread throughout my career has been a focus on developing new work. This season we are staging new works, which allow us to reflect our city, and its people – to show who we are and who we want to be.” –Dennis Garnhum

This London Life

Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Morris Panych lends his considerable talent to this COMPASS commission that celebrates, examines, and pokes fun at the constant comparisons between our city and that other London across the ocean. Panych has directed over ninety productions across Canada, and written thirty plays that have been produced throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a dozen languages. Notable plays include 7 STORIES, VIGIL, GIRL IN THE GOLDFISH BOWL, THE OVERCOAT, and THE SHOPLIFTERS. Learn More »


Morris Panych
Title Sponsor
Development Sponsored by
Tourism London


ROOM brings together artists from the UK and Canada to tell a story written by London resident Emma Donoghue. Following the success of the award-winning film and novel, Donoghue penned a stage adaption with songwriters and theatre-makers Cora Bissett and Kathryn Joseph. The production premiered in the UK in 2017 with original partners Theatre Royal Stratford East, National Theatre of Scotland, and Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Further development of the script is being supported by COMPASS and Covent Garden Productions. Learn More »


Emma Donoghue
© Punch Photographic
Title Sponsor


GROW sees the return of the PROM QUEEN songwriting team Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal, along with book-writer Matt Murray. This dynamic team represents the best emerging talent this country has to offer. COMPASS and the Canadian Music Theatre Project at Sheridan College will develop GROW in preparation for the premiere in April 2020, and looking ahead to future productions beyond the Grand. Learn More »


Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal


Juno's Reward

In spring 2020, we’ll be heading on the road again, visiting 100 schools in the region—this time with a new play developed with London students in mind. A celebration of Canadian music, JUNO’S REWARD, written and directed by Megan Watson, will be a lively play that both educates and inspires young people to dream big and love music! Learn More »

Presenting Sponsor

Make a Difference Community Pillar Partner



In Development

Ambrose Small: An Extravagantly Musical, Mysteriously Grand Ghost Story

by Trina Davies

Set against the wildly scandalous vaudeville era, AMBROSE SMALL will invite audiences to explore the Grand as an interactive, site-specific musical adventure.

Last season, we produced SILENCE: MABEL AND ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL by playwright Trina Davies. That work opened the National Arts Centre’s fiftieth season, and Trina is now hard at work on the new COMPASS commission. Here’s what she had to say about this script’s development:

“On December 2, 1919 Ontario theatre tycoon Ambrose Small sold all of his theatres, including the Grand, for a massive amount of money. The same day he disappeared. He left behind all of the money, a jealous wife, a disgruntled employee, gambling buddies, and a mistress. A little bit vaudeville, a little bit ghost story, the play will invite patrons to experience the Grand as they never have before. The compass program invited me to ‘Dream Big.’ I can hardly wait to share this big dream with Grand audiences.”

Trina Davies
Development Sponsored by
Tourism London

Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve

GUY LOMBARDO’S NEW YEAR’S EVE, with book and direction by Dennis Garnhum. This musical celebration of a local hero will celebrate Lombardo and his orchestra, The Royal Canadians, in a sweeping spectacle that traces his legendary rise to “Mr. New Year’s Eve.”

Development Sponsored by
Tourism London

Past Development

Silence: Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell

By Trina Davies
Directed by Peter Hinton

Premiered at the Grand Theatre in January 2018, toured to the National Arts Centre October 2018.


An Undiscovered Shakespeare

by Spontaneous Theatre

A workshop production presented by the Grand Theatre and the Stratford Festival.



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