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Andy McKim, Headshot

Silver Ticket Award Mentor
Andy McKim

director, dramaturge, artistic director

Program areas: artistic leadership

“Chaos Leadership”
This is a phrase I made up in collaboration with Jane Marsland. It encapsulates our belief that artists exist in an organic and fluid organizational environment. One that is buffeted by a world that is ever changing and always out of our control. In order to adapt to this “chaos”, we believe that arts leaders must look toward creating new organizational models for our arts institutions. Ones that do not over-value five-year plans, when we operate in a world that is not within our control. It may be better for us to focus on the source of our resilience- our own creativity. The prevailing corporate/colonial/hierarchical model unlikely to be the ones that take us forward. A capitalist value system will always prioritize growth for growth’s sake. That is too institution-centric for an arts enterprise? We need to seek out art-centric values and visions that prioritize our art and artists over institutional growth. We acknowledge that it is difficult to swim against the tide of historic practice.

Therefore, Jane and I want to support the newer, bespoke models of organizational structure being developed for our community. Which means that we prioritize working with newer generation organizations that are value based and mission/vision led. Ones that centre their decision-making around a value system. A value system that is shared by all within the company and is reflected in the mission/vision of that company.

Our mission is to act as advocates when we collaborate with these companies. We don’t bring a predetermined set of models with us. Instead, our methodology is to use an “organizational-dramaturgy” style, that puts questions in the forefront of our engagement. We also have an assortment of helpful tools that we can bring to a conversation. The central understanding of our work has been crafted through years of commitment to the principles espoused by Arts Action Research. As they say on their website: “We engage the artistic process in every project and with each artist with whom we work. Artists need not be taught how to create, invent, or innovate, but rather enabled and activated to lead from the center, in ways they know and understand best. AAR believes that an art centric culture with an arts conscience can only be artist led.” That means looking at how your organization might be run like your rehearsal room- a collective and collaborative process, that prioritizes artistic creativity over institutional growth.

For the purposes of the Silver Ticket Mentorship I could collaborate with you along these lines. Together we could use your creative process as the blueprint for structuring your artistic/administrative affairs.


The recipient of the 2016 Silver Ticket Award is Andy McKim, the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille. The Silver Ticket was presented to Mr. McKim at the 37th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, held Monday evening, June 27, at Harbourfront Centre’s Concert Stage in Toronto.

Andy McKim has spent his professional life developing, dramaturging and directing new Canadian plays and has always valued the opportunity to tell resonant stories. He is known for his enthusiasm, fairness, good judgment and the ability to bring good ideas to the stage that are original in form and content. His contribution to Toronto theatre is unassailable.

In 1984, he arrived at Tarragon Theatre as an apprenticing dramaturge. From 1986 to 2007, he contributed to Tarragon’s growth as one of Canada’s premiere homes for new play development in his capacity as Associate Artistic Director, administering the Tarragon Playwrights Unit for over 20 years as well as its Spring Arts Fair. In that time he worked as a dramaturge with over 150 different writers, personally directing each of their public workshop readings.

In 2007, Andy McKim became the Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille where he has continued to nurture a great number of playwrights and demonstrated a singular talent in working with boards, communities and artists while producing memorable work. During his tenure, the theatre company has twice been recognized with the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Applause Award for gender equity. McKim has managed with thin margins of resources to continue the legacy of Theatre Passe Muraille, pushing the mandate and work into the present day.

Prior to moving to Toronto in 1984, McKim, who grew up in Quebec and attended Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, worked at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre (1976-1981) in a variety of capacities: house management, tour coordination, company management, stage crewing, audience development, assistant directing and, finally, directing on the main stage. From 1981-83 he observed, assisted and worked at a wide variety of theatres in the U.K., having been awarded a Gulbenkian Foundation Commonwealth Priority Grant for a two-year program as an apprentice director in both England and Scotland. He worked with over 40 directors including Sir Peter Hall.

Andy McKim has directed more than 50 different productions in Canada – nearly all of them world premieres. Most outstanding amongst them is 2 Pianos, 4 Hands by Richard Greenblatt and Ted Dykstra which won a Dora Award for Outstanding Production (Tarragon Theatre), was nominated for a Chalmers Award, toured to a dozen communities in Canada, went to New York and has subsequently had numerous other productions around the world for the past 20 years.

McKim sat on the Dora Awards Board from 1993-1999 and the TAPA Board from 1993-1997. He served as TAPA President (then known as the Toronto Theatre Alliance) from 1997-1999, and sat on the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) board from 1993-2005, serving as President from 2002-2005. He has been recognized with a Harold Award, the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Bra d’or award (for support of women playwrights) and TAPA’S George Luscombe Mentorship Award.

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