The State of Theatre: Massimo Pagliaroli

Massimo Pagliaroli holds an honours degree in directing from York University and has been working as an actor, director, writer and educator for over ten years. In addition to various stage and television work his most recent credits include a three year run with the Toronto cast of Tony N' Tina's Wedding at The Second City and the highly successful run of his play Cheapskate in the Toronto Fringe Festival, which was a winner in the new play competition. His newest production, 24U2C, co-produced by Bound To Create Theatre, features two original comedies written and directed by him and is playing to packed houses for a limited run this week at the Diesel Playhouse.

What is your opinion on the current state of theatre in Toronto?

"I'd like to see a lot more theatre going on. I'd like to see the growth and expansion of new companies and new artists. And most importantly there should be a call to new audiences. Perhaps there is a general lack of interest but it seems a lot more challenging getting people to buy a ticket and come see a show."

What needs to be improved upon?

"I've talked to people, both in Toronto and in York Region, where I'm from, and there is a general feeling that people feel intimidated by the theatre, that it is only for a select "group", believing it won't be accessible to them or that there won't be anything out there that they could find their way "into". Theatre is competing with so many other, less expensive, forms of culture and entertainment...most of which can be enjoyed from the comfort of one's living room. We should investigate which stories audiences are looking for and find a way to bring that to them in addition to the many offerings available.

Where do you see yourself in all this?

"I'm at my best when I'm creating my own work. One of my goals is to try to reach audiences and bring them back to the theatre, to dispel any ideas that theatre can't be for everyone. I hope people come to this current production and realize that theatre can be interesting, informative, educational, insightful and provocative, and still be entertaining. I love going to the theatre. I think everyone should feel like that."

Massimo's newest production, 24U2C, runs until April 1st at the Diesel Playhouse.

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