150 Profiles: Chris Abraham

As a way to mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist profiled Canadians from across the non-profit sector and put a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector. As 2017 drew to a close, we published our final profile of 2017 — reaching our target of speaking with 150 people! The Philanthropist recognizes that Canada’s history did not begin 150 years ago. And it will continue beyond 150 years. In this spirit, we will continue to profile people in the non-profit sector throughout 2018.

Name: Chris Abraham

Current role in the sector: Artistic Director of Crow’s Theatre

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 23 years.

Chris Abraham profile picture

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first paid job in the performing arts was as an assistant director to Tom Wood on his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in High Park. It was a thrilling, and gruelling summer. After the show opened, I worked front of house, and I got to see the show at least 60 times with full houses from every corner of Toronto. It was amazing to be a part of a production of theatre that reached so many different demographics across the city.

Describe your desk/workspace.
My desk sits in the middle of our busy production office/kitchen/meeting room at our newly opened theatre. It is surrounded by boxes of props, marketing materials, and more boxes. Everyone in the office wears headphones. My desk has a number of letters from donors and audience members pinned to my wall. There is a half finished bottle of Johnnie Walker on my desk that has been sitting there for 2 months. There is pile of scripts to read. Quite often my desk is used by a volunteer, someone I’m mentoring, or as a craft station for one of my kids when they visit me at the office.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I’m reading Macbeth in preparation for an upcoming production, I’m reading transcripts of documentary material for a new play we are developing about drama in eduction and radical hope in schools around the world. I’m reading plays at different stages of development, in preparation to finalize programming for our 18/19 season. I’m reading a book suggested by a good friend called Dreamland about the history of opioid crisis in America.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
Sustainability and work/life balance in the arts; growing new audiences; and connecting to what inspires us in the first place.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com

Chris Abraham is Artistic Director of Crow's Theatre in Toronto, Ontario.