In the early winter of 2006, Andrew, Graham, Patrick & Trent met at Else’s Public House (pictured below). They discussed a strong desire to work together on their own terms, a healthy disenchantment at past projects and current prospects and a desire to create vibrant english theatre for the metropolis that they love, Montreal. And so SideMart was born.
That night it was decided that Andrew would direct the other three in David Mamet’s American Buffalo. Sarah Yaffe was brought in to design lights and quickly became the fifth member. And on December 1st, 2006, SideMart Co-op performed for the first time. That production went on to win the Mecca for Best Production, also garnering nominations for Best Ensemble and Best Actor (Trent Pardy), and Best Director (Andrew Shaver).
The next year found them honing their artistic and aesthetic voice in the site-specific Montreal premiere of Morris Panych’s The Dishwashers. The show converted the basement of Bu, a chic Plateau wine bar, into an intimate and exhilerating theatrical space. Also in 2007, SideMart became the Segal Centre for Performing Arts’ first Resident Company in that Centre’s newly built Studio. SideMart inaugurated the Studio in December 2007, with the Canadian premiere of Mark Doherty’s Trad, which earned company member Patrick Costello a Best Actor MECCA, and the company’s third Best Production nomination.
SideMart started 2008 by producing its first two original texts. Patrick and Graham both wrote one man shows that became The Apartment Plays, performed in the apartment above Theatre Ste-Catherine. A few months later, SideMart presented another, larger original work, Haunted Hillbilly: The Hyram Woodside Atrocity, Graham’s musical adaptation of Canadian author Derek McCormack’s novel The Haunted Hillbilly. The workshop featured a cast of 8 actors, as well as a band led by Juno-nominated songwriter Matthew Barber. The limited run laboratory exceeded all expectations; Hillbilly was nominated for 5 MECCA’s, winning 2 (Best New Textand Best Sound/Music).
SideMart’s second season at the Segal Centre included the english language world premiere of Gerard Vasquez’s Oooo!, which earned 3 MECCA nominations including Best Director (Andrew Shaver) and Best Actor (Patrick Costello).
As the company pressed on in 2009, making new work like Whiteman’s Whiskey Comedy Revue, a faux televised vaudeville, they also prepared Haunted Hillbilly’s December ’09 full scale remount. When the show went up in December, it was met with rave reviews. The piece received interest from many presenting companies and has been confirmed for the Summerworks Festival 2010 at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace.
SideMart is currently planning its fourth season. In October 2010 with the World premiere of Governor General Award winning playwright Morris Panych’s Gordon. SideMart is thrilled to have been chosen by Mr. Panych to debut the work and to have him involved in the production.