Workman Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through creation and presentation. We support artists with lived experience through peer-to-peer arts education, public presentations and partnerships with the broader arts community.


Empowering artists with lived experience while challenging and advancing perspectives on mental health.


Workman Arts is the longest-running multidisciplinary arts and mental health organization in Canada. It was founded in 1987 by Lisa Brown, a former psychiatric nurse at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre (now known as CAMH), as a theatre company of eight member artists. 

Rendering of the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building from Queen & Ossington, courtesy of CAMH

Over the years, it has grown to a multidisciplinary arts organization with 475+ artist members. 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 and the annual Being Scene juried art exhibition. In 2019, Workman Arts was shortlisted for the Premier’s Arts Award. 

In the spring of 2009, Workman Arts moved from its original home at the 1001 Queen Street site of CAMH, to the former Equity Showcase Theatre at 651 Dufferin Street as a temporary arrangement while new facilities were developed as a part of a much larger campus revitalization of CAMH

Rendering of the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building from Queen & Shaw, courtesy of CAMH

In fall 2020, Workman Arts moved into our permanent home in the brand new McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building at the corner of Queen Street West and Lower Ossington. This world-class facility features a mix of clinical and non-clinical spaces on eight floors devoted to integrating research and care. In addition to Workman Arts, the building houses a Therapeutic Neighbourhood (a shared space for structured evidence- and recovery-based programming), a 300-seat auditorium, educational spaces and outdoor tranquil areas.


strategic plan 2019-2021

Our 2019-2021 strategic plan was developed through community roundtable discussions facilitated by Alan Kay and the Glasgow Group. The process was supported by the Workman Arts Board of Directors, the Strategic Planning Committee and the Member Advisory Committee.