Theatre Ontario honours Drayton Entertainment’s Mustakas

Theatre Ontario has announced the 2009 Maggie Bassett award will be presented to Alex Mustakas, founding and current Artistic Director of Drayton Enter­tainment.

The award, which recognizes a sustained and significant contribution to the development of theatre in Ontario, is a worthy honour for a man who turned a tiny, virtually unused theatre in Drayton into a vibrant theatrical company.

Mustakas first studied business at Wilfrid Laurier Uni­versity and arts administration at City University in London, but returned to Canada to pursue his dream of “a small theatre of his own where he could touch the art and touch the artists.”

From its first season in 1991 – performing for an audience of 14,000 – Drayton En­tertainment has grown under his leadership to become the third largest regional theatre company in Canada and the seventh largest employer of professional actors in the country, drawing over 200,000 theatregoers each summer to its six venues.

It currently operates theatres in St. Jacobs, Drayton, Grand Bend, and Penetan­guishene and has had an enormous economic and artistic impact on the communities.

“I really like to think that each theatre is indigenous to its community,” Mustakas has said.

He has also been actively involved with other theatre companies, sharing his business model and serving as guest director for productions at The Piggery Theatre in North Hatley, Quebec, Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Stage West in Mississauga, the Tor­onto Gilbert & Sullivan Soci­ety, and a number of productions with Kitchener-Waterloo Musical Productions, The Waterloo Regional Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Sym­phony.

He has served as President of the Association of Summer Theatres ’Round Ontario. Through donations of tickets, venue and discounted rehearsal space, he has helped local charities, schools and community theatre organizations.

“In selecting Alex Mustakas to receive the award, we were overwhelmingly impressed by the understanding that Alex has of the importance of the role that theatre can have in a community in so many different ways,” said Leonard McHardy, co-founder and owner of TheatreBooks, and chairman of the award jury.

“His commitment to theatre throughout the province has made it possible for Ontarians to participate in building healthy communities.”

Mustakas said, “I have never viewed theatre as my job. It’s so much more than that—it’s my passion. I am truly humbled to be recognized by my peers with this honour.”

The award will be presented Aug. 6 in St. Jacobs at the opening night of Drayton Entertainment’s production of Moon Over Buffalo.

As Theatre Ontario’s first employee, the late Bassett created a foundation for the organization by launching the Pro­fessional Theatre Training program, Summer Courses, and a Newsletter.

Read more about the Maggie Bassett award at