CBC Television Network

Opening Night

Network: CBC Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1974 to 1975

Broadcast Medium: Television

Aired Wednesday nights on October 9, and October 23, 1974, January 15, and March 12, 1975.

This 90 minute program was a short series produced by Robert Allen. It featured several new theatre companies that are still making a contribution today: Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, The Open Group in St. John’s and the Tarragon Theatre, also in Toronto. The process was simple: record an original performance for television. Unfortunately, due to scheduling, this couldn’t always be done, so some productions were re-mounted for television with original cast members when possible.


1] The Farm Show, directed by Paul Thompson for Theatre Passe Muraille, offered a portrait of farming life in western Ontario. The cast featured Anne Anglin, Janet Amos, David Fox, Miles Potter, Ted Johns, and Carole Galloway, who had lived awhile in the town of Clinton, Ontario, to add authenticity to the piece. Ron Meraska directed the television version.

2] The Head, Guts and Sound Bone Dance, written by Michael Cook, was staged in St. John’s Newfoundland. It was the first drama produced by CBC television in the province. In the cast were Gerard Parkes, Pat Byrne, Dick Buehler, Florence Paterson, Todd Stuckless, and Kelly Buehler, and the program was produced for television by Ray McConnell. Set in the future, it was the story of a fishing community whose income had run out due to over-fishing.

3] Freedom of The City, written by Irish playwright Brian Friel, was the story of the Londonderry riots of 1970. It was a Broadway production, originally, but was  adapted for television by Hugh Webster. Eric Till was the director. The cast featured Florence Paterson, Neil Munro, and Mel Tuck.

4] You’re Gonna Be Alright, Jamie Boy, written by David Freeman, was performed by members of the Tarragon Theatre company. This working class drama starred Hugh Webster, Lillian Lewis, David Ferry, Jayne Eastwood and Chuck Shamata, and was produced by David Peddie and directed by J. Edward Shaw.

The show’s title, Opening Night, was used again for a Thursday night Arts program in 2002.  This in turn was cancelled in 2007.

Written by John Corcelli – September, 2005