The Maggie Tree is an ad hoc, Edmonton-based theatre company whose mandate is to support the development and visibility of women in creative leadership roles in the arts. The company was launched in 2007 by professional actors Kristi Hansen and Vanessa Sabourin, and has independently produced eleven productions.
The Maggie Tree, although happy to produce already established scripts if they give rise to an exciting story or theatrical investigation, focuses primarily on new work with a strong female-centric aspect. A particular preference is given to projects which create strong new roles for women and/or give voice to a female perspective. It is through supporting the development of this work that The Maggie Tree hopes to contribute to rectifying the gender imbalance that currently exists in the performing arts. But the work must also speak for itself.
The Maggie Tree is excited to work in most genres of theatre but focuses on work that investigates the integration of movement and text. Over the past eleven productions, The Maggie Tree has been developing its own process and methodology for working these two elements into a dynamic and inventive relationship.
We are not in competition with the masculine. We merely wish to contribute the feminine with the same level of dedication and credentials as the masculine receives. Above all, we focus on artistically challenging and exciting theatrical work. We seek to take risks. Big risks. To plunge boldly into the unknown and offer our audiences work that explores both itself and the human condition in an honest and fearless manner.
The Maggie Tree has produced five new scripts (by Beth Graham, Trevor Schmidt, Belinda Cornish, Jill Connell, and The Maggie Tree Collective – Kristi Hansen, Vanessa Sabourin, Jill Connell, and Amber Borotsik), won four Sterling awards for Outstanding Independent Production (Category E, HROSES: An Affront to Reason, A Life in the Day, and Folie à Deux), was nominated for three others (The Supine Cobbler, Age of Arousal, and Shatter), and boasts other Sterling awards and nominations for the work by individual artists involved: Outstanding New Work (Beth Graham A Life in the Day, Jill Connell Hroses: An Affront to Reason, Belinda Cornish Category E), Outstanding Direction (Sandra M. Nicholls Folie à Deux), Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Vanessa Sabourin Folie à Deux, Shannon Blanchet Shatter, Sandra M. Nicholls Shatter, Gianna Vacirca Blood: A Scientific Romance), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Jenna Dykes-Busby Category E, Louise Lambert Category E, Jayce McKenzie The Supine Cobbler), Outstanding Choreography (Amber Borotsik Hroses: An Affront to Reason), Outstanding Sound Design (Aaron Macri Hroses: An Affront to Reason, and Monstrosities), Outstanding Multi-Media Design (T. Erin Gruber Monstrosities) and Outstanding Set Design (Tessa Stamp Hroses: An Affront to Reason).
Read more about The Maggie Tree productions on our Productions page.
Vanessa Sabourin is an Alberta-based Theatre artist. She co-founded The Maggie Tree with Kristi Hansen, and is the former Artistic Director for Urban Curvz Theatre, a female-based company in Calgary (now Handsome Alice Theatre). Direction credits include Lost ‘n’ Lost Department (Pie Factory); Hunger Striking (Urban Curvz); Hunger Striking, A Life In The Day, Shatter and Hroses: An Affront To Reason (The Maggie Tree) and Cleave (Tiny Bear Jaws). Selected performing credits include Nevermore (Catalyst Theatre); Beckett’s Shorts (Surreal Soreal); Grease, The Sound of Music, Measure for Measure and Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre); Macbeth, Richard, A Midsummer Nights Dream, and Henry V (FreeWill Players); Madagascar (Blarney Productions); The Penelopiad (Alberta Theatre Projects); The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (Ghost River Theatre); The Crucible (Theatre Calgary); 19 Weeks (Northern Light Theatre); Dangerous Corner and When Girls Collide (Vertigo Theatre), Once Upon An Atom Bomb (Green Fools); Spitfire Grill (Leave It To Jane). Vanessa received the 2019 Sterling Award for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role for her work on 19 Weeks. She graduated from the Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts Program, spent 2 years at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and 7 months in Wales at the Centre for Performance Research.
Kristi Hansen is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program (2004), and of the Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts Program (2001). Theatre credits as an actor include pool (no water) (Studio Theatre); The Sound of Music (National Arts Centre), Little Elephants (Shadow Theatre); Apocalypse Prairie and Absolute Blue (Azimuth Theatre); L’Homme de la Mancha and Grace et Gloria (l’Unithéâtre); Saying Sorry is Not Enough (Tall Tree Theatre/Azimuth Theatre); The Jazz Mother, Pith!, The Scent of Compulsion and The Ambassador’s Wives (Teatro la Quindicina); Or, [sic] and Dying City (Trunk Theatre); Age of Arousal, Hroses: An Affront to Reason, Folie à Deux and Hunger Striking (The Maggie Tree); Grumplestock’s (Surreal SoReal Theatre); One (Ghost River Theatre/REDtoBLUE Performance); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Mayfield Dinner Theatre); June Moon and Rhinoceros (Media Room); Anime (Lucid Productions); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Free Will Players); Are We There Yet? (Concrete Theatre); and Woody (One-Legged Productions). Directing credits include Confessions of a Sex Worker (Red Umbrella Productions), Shatter (The Maggie Tree, co-directed with Vanessa Sabourin); and Work Plays (The Alberta Workers’ Health Centre). Dramaturge credits include A Life in the Day by Beth Graham. Kristi is a Sterling Award winning actor and producer. She is currently the President of the Board of Directors of Azimuth Theatre, and an Artistic Associate with Teatro la Quindicina.