For more than 30 groundbreaking years, Workman Arts has produced a variety of projects, including: 30+ original full-length Canadian plays, the annual Rendezvous with Madness Festival, the annual Being Scene juried art exhibition, and the international Madness and Arts World Festival.

  • 2018 Rendezvous with Madness Festival embraces a new, multidisciplinary focus, adding performance and expanded visual art programs

    2017 Kelly Straughan, former Executive Director of the Toronto Fringe Festival, announced as Executive/Artistic Director

    2016 Lisa Brown, Founder and Executive/Artistic Director announces her retirement in June 2017

    2015 Scott Miller Berry, recipient of Toronto Arts Foundation Margo Bindhardt & Rita Davies Award for cultural service, appointed as Managing Director

    2014 Workman Arts’ Founder Lisa Brown appointed Member of the Order of Canada

    2013 Workman Arts’ Founder Lisa Brown appointed for life as a Senior Ashoka Fellow

    2013 Lisa Brown receives Queen Jubilee Medal in recognition of her contribution in founding Workman Arts

    2013 Inaugural poetry anthology, All That is Real, is published including poetry by 32 member artists and edited by renowned Canadian poet and WA Poet-in-Residence, bill bissett.

    2012 Her Excellency, Sharon Johnson becomes a patron of Workman Arts

    2012 Workman Arts celebrates 25 years and produces the Mad Couture Catwalk and collaborates with Art Gallery of Ontario to present  one day symposium:The convergence of Art and Mental Illness in the 21st Century, both at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Mad Couture Catwalk is subsequently remounted at FAT Fashion Art Toronto Week and Rideau Hall in 2013

    2011 Workman Arts receives PSR Canada Pioneer Award for Excellence in Recovery as an organization that has made a significant contribution through promotion of education, support, wellness and recovery in the field of mental health.

    2011 WA produces Edward the “ Crazy” Man and lead actor receives a Dora Award for Best Lead Male Actor

    2005 WA is invited to partner with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the Toronto Consort. 9 artists create large scale paintings based on stories from Ovid’s Metamorphosis

    2004 Lisa Brown awarded Governor General Meritorious Service Medal

    2003 WA creates inaugural Madness and Arts World Festivalat Harbourfront Centre, including 187 artists and speakers from 8 countries. Subsequent editions produced in Germany (2006), Netherlands (2010). A China edition of this festival is in planning for 2014.

    2001 Lisa Brown is awarded Canadian Mental Health Association Award for Outstanding Public Service in Interest of Mental Health

    1999 WA creates the firstBeing Scene Juried Art Exhibit which has become the signature annual, juried art show.

    1994 WA tours Vincent throughout Ontario and Manitoba and later to Munster, Germany.

    1993 Workman Arts creates the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival which grows over 20+ years to become the largest mental health film festival in North America.

    1992 Workman Arts produces its first multidisciplinary festival, City and The Asylum Festival: Cultural perspectives on the history of Madness in Toronto.

    1991 Workman Arts incorporates and a Board of Directors is established.  WA produces Innerspeak, its first main stage original Canadian play.  22 other original Canadian plays follow over the next 24 years.

    1987 Workman Theatre Project (WTP) is founded by Lisa Brown.

  • In the spring of 2009, Workman Arts moved from its home at 1001 Queen Street to its current location in the former Equity Showcase Theatre at 651 Dufferin. This is a temporary arrangement while new facilities are developed as a part of the much larger campus revitalization currently underway at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). An exceptional part of this new development will be a “Centre of Excellence”, a unique, state-of-the-art facility which will allow Workman Arts to not only grow its existing programming but to also expand the depth and breadth of services offered to member artists and the wider community. It will house a fully accessible arts and learning centre that will include a 300 seat theatre, a visual art gallery, artists’ studios, digital media studio and rehearsal spaces. Shovels broke ground on the new facility in 2017. Workman Arts will serve as an international hub for arts and mental health organizations, performing a variety of activities including communications and education (workshops, seminars, lectures), public events, and research on mental health and the arts.