Grassboots Theatre is an artist-run company that celebrates the human spirit through socially relevant stories.  We prioritize work devised through physical theatre practices, research driven creation, and collaboration.  We are also strongly committed to the development of meaningful community engaged arts.

WHAT IS GRASSBOOTS THEATRE?

Photo by Andy Carroll

Photo by Ian Brown

Peyton Le Barr - Co-Artistic Director

Peyton is a theatre artist currently based in Peterborough, Ontario. She has been a professional actor for over a decade and has performed in Canada, the UK, and Russia.  Today, Peyton co-runs Grassboots Theatre Company, an artist run company that celebrates the human spirit through socially relevant stories.  Prior to, Peyton co-ran Spiel Players, a Toronto based theatre collective that developed new translations and adaptations of European plays.  With a special interest in physical theatre, Peyton continues to perform, direct, and produce independent productions, many of which are connected to her activism and her passion for using art for social change.  As an actor, Peyton has a long track record of performance in the UK including an adapted production of Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre where she played the title role.  Peyton has also performed in numerous independent and professional projects within Ontario.  

In 2017 Peyton performed alongside Canada’s acting legend Walter Borden in an adapted performance of King Lear on the steps of Toronto’s Homeless Memorial during their monthly vigilance to bring a spotlight to the shelter crisis during the extreme cold weather warnings.

In 2017 Peyton was a guest artist at Humber College where she taught site specific performance and has been a guest director at Newfoundland’s Stephenville Theatre Festival.  As a facilitator, Peyton has developed a number of successful arts programs and continues to develop new ways to integrate the arts into communities.  She is currently the Artist-In-Resident at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre where she facilitates trauma-informed workshops in storytelling.

In 2016, Peyton was identified as an emerging leading female artist through an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant and received an apprenticeship in artistic direction with Shadowpath Theatre Productions.  In 2019 Peyton was awarded a Metcalf Internship with Public Energy Performing Arts where she was the production lead for multiple touring companies and artist residencies.

Peyton holds an MFA (with merit) from East 15 Acting School at the University of Essex and a BFA in Acting from the University of Windsor.

Chris Whidden - Co-Artistic Director

Chris is a Peterborough based theatre writer and performer with a focus on mask, clown and physical storytelling.  As a creator his work is aimed at producing art for social impact and change.  Chris co-runs Grassboots Theatre Company, an artist-run company that explores the human spirit through socially relevant stories.  In 2019 along with a long list of community-engaged programming the company had its debut production written by Chris titled Repatriation to the Moon.  The play is on track for a remount in 2021.
 
Working as a professional actor for over a decade, Chris has spent most of his career in Ontario.  He was an original collaborator for the co-production There is No Word for Wilderness between 4Elements and Animacy Theatre Collective in Maitoulin Island and has been areturning cast member for multiple remounts.  Chris has also worked in partnership with Toronto Green Peace and Toronto 

350 to create a collaborative mask performance piece based around climate justice and the Degrowth movement through Animacy Theatre Collective.  Chris also carries a long record of classical productions in Toronto through his longstanding work with Alehouse Theatre, Hart House Theatre, and Seven Sibling Theatre.

As a writer Chris has had two plays produced, Welcome to Hell! and Roaring Robert, the latter of which was produced by Shadowpath Theatre including a sold out run at the Toronto Fringe.

In 2019, in addition to his work in theatre Chris works in video editing creating content for his YouTube channel which now boasts over 75K subscribers.

Chris is a graduate of the Performance Acting program from Ryerson University where he received his BFA and the Edna Khubyar Award for excellence in performance.