As part of its expanding training programs for young opera professionals, the COC introduced a pilot residency program in 2016 for emerging opera companies.

The inaugural company-in-residence from 2016 to 2019 was Toronto's indie opera collective Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) ,whose offices remain at the COC’s administrative offices at 227 Front St. E. in Toronto.

The pilot company-in-residence program is designed to support an independent opera company during the critical transition from its initial formation to growing into a more established organization with a viable infrastructure. The residency program is aimed at opera companies that have been in existence for five years or less and offers dedicated administrative space and resources, mentorship, and opportunities to observe and/or participate in company meetings and events.

“Partnering with AtG during the program’s pilot stage gives the COC an opportunity to lend support to an emerging company while also receiving valuable feedback on how this kind of residency works and if it’s a viable structure we can build upon,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “Our hope with this residency program is to put a system in place that helps nurture those companies as they grow and seek to establish a sustainable future.”


Toronto’s opera scene received a jolt of energy with the formation of Against the Grain Theatre (AtG). With a goal to reinvigorate the operatic art form by presenting an eclectic array of musical works in unconventional spaces and innovative ways, AtG staged its first performance to a sold-out audience of 50 people, and with that the company was off and running. Since that first season, AtG has packed every single one of its productions with standing room-only crowds, winning a consistent level of critical and public acclaim. The arts community has embraced the AtG, as has a much wider, more diverse audience of people who may have never considered attending an opera. Founded by an adventurous collective of friends and artists, the company’s mission is to preserve the company’s unique ability to be serious in intent and execution, yet fun and irreverent in spirit.


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