Montreal Gazette announces Mike Payette’s departure from Geordie Theatre.

Read on Montreal Gazette’s website: Mike Payette to step down from Geordie Theatre for top job at Toronto’s Tarragon


Payette will take over in September from Richard Rose, who is retiring after two decades at Tarragon

Jim Burke – March 12, 2021


After five years as head of Montreal’s Geordie Theatre, Mike Payette is leaving to become artistic director of Toronto’s prestigious Tarragon Theatre.

Payette, who also co-founded the Montreal independent company Tableau D’Hôte Theatre, will take over in September from Richard Rose, who is retiring after two decades at Tarragon. Payette will also be overseeing Geordie’s transition period until next January.

Payette is familiar to Montreal audiences not just for his work at Geordie, Tableau D’Hôte and Black Theatre Workshop, but also at Théâtre Jean-Duceppe with a francophone version of A Raisin in the Sun, and at Centaur Theatre with Choir Boy and Hosanna. Last year, he was due to direct August Wilson’s Fences at Centaur before the pandemic shut it down. He has hopes to revive that production when possible. “We’re going to try to make that work,” he told the Montreal Gazette over the phone.

Payette also hopes to maintain strong links with Montreal throughout his tenure at Tarragon.

“For me, (the move) is an extension of a connection, a bridge to Montreal and to other regions in Canada,” said Payette. “We’ll see if some of the shows I’ll be directing at Tarragon can be partnered with Montreal companies. I’m not leaving the (Montreal) community. I’m stepping into another one, but the link is still there.”

Geordie has long worked at promoting diversity both on the stage and behind the scenes, a process that was particularly intensified during Payette’s time there.

“One of the things I’m really proud of is opening the table to communities who have been under-represented on main stages, especially from a theatre-for-young-people perspective,” said Payette. “I think we really managed to solidify the philosophy of what it means to be a theatre for all people.”

Geordie Theatre will be announcing a national call for a new artistic director on Monday, March 15.