A Brief History

The story of The Theatre on King (TTOK) begins with an ending — the closure of the Union Theatre, a landmark that had long been a hub for avant-garde performances and artistic innovation in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough. With no alternative accessible and affordable space, this closure left a void in the local arts scene, a community once vibrant with creative experimentation and collaboration.

In response to this loss, Peterborough Theatre Users Group (PTHUG) was formed in 2003 PTHUG’s mission was to establish an accessible and affordable performance space that would continue to nurture experimental works and support diverse artistic voices. Over the next decade, PTHUG dedicated itself to this vision, engaging with the community and searching for the ideal location.

The breakthrough came in 2013 with a fruitful collaboration between PTHUG and Fleshy Thud, a dance-theatre collective led by artistic director Ryan Kerr. This partnership led to the establishment of The Theatre on King (TTOK), a versatile and inclusive space that charted its own course in the local arts community.

TTOK quickly established itself as a cultural hub in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, continuing the regional tradition of artistic freedom, inclusivity, and community engagement. It became a melting pot for artists from various backgrounds, offering a platform for both emerging and established talents to collaborate, innovate, and inspire.

In 2018, TTOK moved next door to a larger and more accessible venue at 171 King St, marking a significant phase in its evolution. The successful transition and renovation of TTOK were made possible by the overwhelming support of the community. Generous donations and countless volunteer hours were pivotal in enabling TTOK to expand its capabilities, allowing for a broader range of performances and
enhanced training opportunities.

2019 was a banner year for TTOK, showcasing a remarkable array of artistic activities and community engagement. The organization was on track for unprecedented growth in However, the momentum was halted by the onset of the pandemic, which devastated the arts sector. Despite these challenges, TTOK managed to stay afloat by leaning into its strengths in arts incubation. The theatre hosted residencies and cultivated exciting new works by diverse local artists, demonstrating resilience and adaptability.

Now, TTOK is embracing a significant shift in its operational model. Moving away from primarily being a venue, TTOK is transitioning towards an arts incubator model. This hybrid approach will continue to support venue-based activities but will place a greater emphasis on facilitating the creation of new, local, multidisciplinary works. This strategic pivot reflects TTOK’s commitment to nurturing artistic innovation and supporting the evolving needs of the regional arts community.

Today, TTOK remains dedicated to its roots while adapting to meet contemporary challenges. It stands as a symbol of artistic innovation, community engagement, and resilience, continuing to serve as a home for artistic freedom, inclusivity, and collaborative creation in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough.