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Small stage, big performances


Venus in Fur
by David Ives

Directed by Trevor Smith Diggins and Jennifer Barson

Thomas, a beleaguered playwright/director, is desperate to find an actress to play Vanda, the female lead in his adaptation of the classic sadomasochistic tale Venus in Fur. Into his empty audition room walks a vulgar and equally desperate actress—oddly enough, named Vanda. Though utterly wrong for the sophisticated part, Vanda exhibits a strange command of the material, piquing Thomas’ interest with her seductive talents and secretive manner. As the two work through the script, they blur the line between play and reality, entering into an increasingly serious game of submission and domination that only one of them can win. A mysterious, funny, erotic drama that represents yet another departure for the multifaceted David Ives.

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On Stage
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Four Guelph theatre artists decided to extend their craft outside of the traditional theatrical experiences and into The Making-Box, a small but spectacular comedy and improv club on Cork Street in downtown Guelph. Trevor Smith Diggins, Tim Clarke and husband and wife duo Jen and Paul Barson make up The Downtown Theatre Project, a multi-talented team of actors, directors, producers, writers, musicians and art-lovers. 

Now, with the Making-Box theatre closed, DTP puts on shows at the Red Brick Café on Douglas Street.

Check out some of DTP's past work here.


Trevor Smith Diggins is an actor, director and producer for the Downtown Theatre Project (DTP). In 2019, he played Martin in DTP’s The Goat and directed two shows: God of Carnage and The Other Place. Outside DTP, Trevor has been a local theatrical force for many decades as an actor, director, producer, adjudicator and workshop leader. An alumnus of the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank, he has directed numerous award-winning shows, and earned a total of eight awards for Best Actor. His best times onstage have included The Elephant Man (Guelph Little Theatre), COSI (Downright Productions), DineHer (RealSpaceTheatre), The Dresser (Cambridge), Self-Help (Elora), and Harvest (Elmira).

More info on Trevor


Tim Clarke is an actor, director, playwright and educator from Guelph. Past directing credits include The Drowsy Chaperone (Guelph Little Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (River Run Centre), Cabaret (War Memorial Hall) and The Short Tree and the Bird That Could Not Sing (George Luscombe Theatre). Tim is the founder of Fledgling Theatre for Young People, a drama education program for children ages 8-13.

More info on Tim


Jen Barson is an award-winning actor, producer, director and one of the four owners of The Downtown Theatre Project. Her passion for theatre was born in high school where she first performed as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Founder of the Guelph Film Office, Jen is also a board member of the Guelph Fringe Festival and Royal City Musical Productions. Her DTP credits include directing Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche and Collective Rage: A Play In Five Betties and starring in Bug and The Goat. Although many roles were special to Jen, her highlight role as the lead in Shirley Valentine, the one-woman show, tops the list.

More info on Jen


Paul Barson has been in the Guelph theatre scene for over 10 years now, starting as an actor and more recently moving into Producing and Directing. Paul has directed DTP's An Act Of God and All New People and starred in God Of Carnage. Paul currently sits on the board of the Guelph Arts Council. Paul is also the front man for Burlington country-rock outfit, The Vanishers. Paul's highlight performance was when he played John McCrae in the City of Guelph's production of A Night In Flanders.

More info on Paul

The Downtown Theatre Project has been leading the team that will bring the Guelph Fringe Festival back.
Visit for more information.


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Performances in Downtown Guelph



The Downtown Theatre Project strives to create an artist driven theatrical environment that is inclusive, welcoming, passionate, honest and supportive. We are a collection of Guelph-based artists aspiring to produce powerful and relevant theatre.
DTP commits to making changes in the way we operate as a theatre company and have outlined our focus here.
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