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RARE Theatre serves communities that have expressed a need to not only be recognized, but to effect systemic, radical change through the art of theatre. RARE reaches out and finds the theatre artists in those communities who wish to create work for the stage, either through documentary theatre (Rare, Borne) or plays created for the performers specifically using stories told in extensive workshops. (Wildfire, After the Blackout).

As a playwright, I bring all my skills and 35 year experience to bear in order to collaborate with and learn from these artists to tell human stories in which our exceptionalities are sometimes a feature, and sometimes merely a fact. There is a shocking lack of accessibility in this city for those who are blind, deaf, and brain injured, and  those who use wheelchairs. We want to awaken the public to this exclusion with the power of theatre, which stirs activism at its very root.



RARE seeks to effect three important changes through its work: to change public perception about people living with visible and invisible differences; and to change the state of community-based art creation in Ontario. By connecting more people with arts and culture created with people with differences, we aim to inspire and enrich people’s lives, while challenging any and all pre conceptions about people with exceptionalities.


“Shouldn’t we see on the stage what we see in our world?”

Judith Thompson  |  Artistic Director

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Our Story

Playing the role of Helen Keller at the age of eleven, I knew I had found my people, my path, my life.  I never thought to question any aspect of the world of theatre until my mid-twenties.  When I began to write plays driven by my social conscience, I started to feel a shadow; something was wrong with our theatre – in the rehearsal room, on the stage, in the audience.

There was one look: white and pretty – and one sound: fancy, except for the maids and fools who were generally not pretty and did not sound fancy; they were there to be laughed at, and to make the audience feel superior.

Shouldn’t the theatre MIRROR the world we live in?

Shouldn’t we see on the stage what we see in our world?

In the last decade there has been more diversity of colour on our stages, but there is still a large sector of the human community absent; those who are seldom heard and rarely seen.  These communities can range from foster children to the elderly, to people with exceptionalities and special needs; those individuals who remain hidden away in many societies, and largely invisible and unacknowledged in ours. 

Our company is devoted to using our theatrical skills to create theatre with individuals from these communities, giving them artistic space to reveal their souls and speak their truths, so that they are truly heard and seen by the public.  We have been hugely successful already in developing keen awareness of the lives of “others” and we believe, contributing to a process of social change.

 - Judith Thompson, Artistic Director


Want to be involved?



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Our Friends


Story Planet

Story Planet is a non-profit organization that empowers young Torontonians to make and share their stories. Our artists, writers  and volunteers provide young people –  specifically those from under-resourced communities – with creative workshop experiences that foster self confidence while building communication skills. Through the making and sharing of stories, we believe children build a sense of self worth, belonging, and creativity that will serve them throughout life.

ARCH Disability Law Centre

ARCH Disability Law Centre is a specialty community legal aid clinic dedicated to defending and advancing the equality rights of people with disabilities in Ontario. ARCH provides legal services to help Ontarians with disabilities live with dignity and participate fully in our communities. We work with Ontarians with disabilities and the disability community on law reform and policy initiatives, community development, legal advice and referrals, public legal education and litigation.

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People first of ontario

People First of Ontario is the provincial voice for people who have been labeled with an intellectual disability. We are about rights – human rights, citizenship rights, accommodations rights and language rights. The right to freedom, choice and equality for all.


The Disability Channel 

The Disability Channel is an international leader in the world of disability issues and solutions. Through due diligence and with over 30 years experience within the television industry, TDC has found today's market desperately needs original programming for and/or by persons with disabilities to be included on the TV programming schedule . TDC, with the proper components in place, is prepared to become that leading force on both the domestic and international stages for persons with disabilities.

TDC is leading the way in the world of technology with HD Digital TV platforms, combined with it's multiple national and Regional broadcasters. Customers will be able to receive the TDC signal domestically and global via the internet at a much lower cost, high speed efficiency and with many more viewing options available. TDC has a mandate to employ, support and promote persons with disabilities via our content, platform and marketing components, making the network stand out within the television industry.