About Kaleidoscope

Inspiring Young People Since 1973...

Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People (KTYP) has been the driving force behind professional family entertainment on Vancouver Island for over 45 years.

Through a season of mainstage productions, KTYP inspires young people through our innovative, imaginative, and original theatrical experiences.

Young People ages 4 through 18 can discover their creativity through classes in Musical Theatre, Acting, and Voice with instruction at Kaleidoscope’s Performing Arts Studio, the premiere theatre training school for young people in Victoria.

Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People is a Professional Theatre Company, a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, and a Charitable Not-for-Profit organization.

What Audiences Are Saying

★★★★★ - Jessica G.
I love attending Kaleidoscope productions with my family. I fondly remember going to Kaleidoscope shows with my parents, and I love being able to continue the tradition.
★★★★★ - Megan F.
Thank you for the wonderful performance of Gruff! It’s so wonderful that you were able to give the gift of free theatre to our city this year.  It was special for my mother and I to take my child to her first Kaleidoscope show, as I grew up watching your productions in the 80s and 90s
★★★★★ - Sherri G.
What a wonderful way to enjoy theatre. Felt very safe being out in the fresh air and lots of physical distancing between families:) Great Performers!
★★★★★ - Lee M.
My daughters first play today. Absolutely fantastic, she loved every minute
★★★★★ - Josh S.
My son is in the musical theatre program here. It is a great program and has done wonders for his confidence and overall well-being. I highly recommend it.
★★★★★ - Jennifer W.
We saw this today at Ed MacGregor Park, a great production!! The actors were awesome, costumes were so fun and the music was awesome!! Thanks for coming to Sooke!
★★★★★ - Jack W.
As grandparents we loved the look on our granddaughters faces as they were mesmerized by your talented actors at the recent Gruff production at Beaver Lake. Thanks

Our Values

Kaleidoscope Theatre is dedicated to these core values:

  • To create innovative theatre that is challenging and exciting, honours the imagination of young people, and encapsulates ideas and stories which will resonate in children’s minds and hearts.
  • A commitment to superior artistic values and professional production standards
  • To strive for excellence in all that we undertake
  • To provide mentorship opportunities for young artists (actors, technical crew, designers, playwrights).
  • To provide accessible and affordable productions, programs, and services that benefit children and their families

Our History

Founded in 1973, Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People has for over forty years served as Victoria’s premier producer of Theatre for Young Audiences.

The company was born when journalist Barbara McLauchlin and actor Paul Liittich sat down together in Victoria in 1973 to write an application for assistance in offering free theatre workshops to children. Since then, Kaleidoscope has survived and endured as an important force in the arts community on Vancouver Island.

Kaleidoscope’s first project, in 1973, was a free drama workshop consisting of introductory classes for children in acting, set design, and costumes. Later that year, Kaleidoscope toured two short plays, The Pirate Show and The Magic Stone, to local schools.

Elizabeth Gorrie officially joined Kaleidoscope as our first Artistic Director toward the end of our first season, in 1974.

Kaleidoscope’s artistic mandate, formulated in 1974 and faithfully upheld to this day states that the company’s raison for being is to “provide innovative and exploratory drama for young people”. Kaleidoscope’s goal is to make theatre that surprises, challenges, and engages young people, both intellectually and aesthetically.

Kaleidoscope quickly developed a reputation for fascinating audiences of all ages and has performed around the world in Japan, Singapore, Israel, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Washington State. The company has toured across Canada, performing in Toronto, Ottawa (including the National Arts Centre), London, Winnipeg, Montreal, Vancouver, and every city and town in British Columbia.

Company highlights include:
  • Founding Artistic Director Elizabeth Gorrie was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal for her work in Children’s Theatre;
  • Kaleidoscope was invited to perform at the annual conference of the Canadian Child and Youth Drama Association in Ottawa with our production of The Snow Goose. As a result of this success, the company was invited to direct the play in TelAviv,and returned to Israel again to direct The Snow Goose and Unicorns at the National Children’s Theatre in 1981 and 1984.
  • In 1979, UNESCO’s “Year of the Child,” Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People was chosen to represent Canada at an international TYA festival in Wales.
  • Box office records were broken in Victoria in 2002 when over 10,000 people took in The Hobbit at the McPherson Theatre over a period of only 10 days;
  • Followed by more broken records with the production of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe in 2003, and Peter Pan in 2004
  • In 2003, The Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Studio, the youth training and mentoring arm of the company, opened its doors under its current format
  • Kaleidoscope’s Adventures In the Rouge Trade by Robert Clinton won the Petro-Canada Theatre Calgary Play Advancement Competition in 2004,
  • In 2007 Kaleidoscope premiered an exciting Aerial Silk touring production: The Boy Who Learned To Fly at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.
  • In 2015 the Kaleidoscope Igloo Theatres made their debut as part of the Kaleidoscope Family Theatre Series.
  • In 2016, Kaleidoscope premiered a new bilingual production of The Little Prince which later had the English version presented at the Chemainus Theatre Festival as part of their KidzPlay Series, in 2018.
  • In 2018, Kaleidoscope was voted as Victoria’s Favourite Theatre Company by the readers of Victoria News.

Since 2011, Kaleidoscope has premiered over 20 original adaptations / productions for Victoria Audiences.

KTYP has produced over 241 plays, many of which are world premieres, and have entertained, inspired and educated over 3 million children around the world.

Recent Productions

2020-2021 Season - 47th Season

  • Puente Theatre’s Gruff
  • Home is a Drag
  • Michael Mitchell’s Canada is For Kids
  • Carousel Player’s HBD2ME

2019-2020 Season - 46th Season

  • The House at Pooh Corner
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery

2018-2019 Season - 45th Season

  • The Giver
  • Pippi Longsstockings
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Our Building

The Kaleidoscope Arts Centre is built on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen People. The Lekwungen People hunted and gathered here for thousands of years before European exploration, carefully managing the land through controlled burning and food cultivation.

The building that is now home to the Kaleidoscope Arts Centre was built in 1906 for J. Raymond and Sons’ Rosebank Lime Co warehouse and building materials store. The building continued to be used as a showroom and office space until the early 1950’s. From the 1950’s through 2013, the building had many tenants and occupants, including the Victoria Trades and Labor Union Headquarters from 1954-1963, and the Victoria Conservatory of Music through 1969.

Other past occupants include the Victoria City Social Welfare Department, the City of Victoria Parks Department, City Archives, the Greater Victoria Celebrations Society, the Victoria Tall Ships Society, and the Provincial Capital Commission until 2013. From 2019-2021 the building was occupied by MokSana Yoga Centre, who transformed it into the beautiful studio space it is today. 

Meet our Founder

Elizabeth Gorrie was a major force in young people’s theatre in Canada. She began singing and acting at an early age and quickly moved into a directing role, writing more than 50 original scripts and adaptations. As founding artistic director of Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People, she helped develop the company from a small touring group to an established theatre company with a theatre school program. Gorrie’s awards and honours included the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canadian theatre for young audiences, and CFAX Radio’s Arts Person of the Year for Victoria. Her imaginative productions often put classic works in contemporary context — for example, one adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set Shakespeare’s tragic love story in the West Bank. Her productions have been performed by companies across Canada and as far away as the National Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Kaze-No-Ko in Tokyo. With Kaleidoscope, she worked with local performance institutions, including the Victoria Symphony and dancer choreographer Lynda Raino. She used movement and imagery together to give her productions strong visual elements. She held a drama diploma from the Banff School of Fine Arts and an associate degree from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and an English and arts degree from St. John’s College at the University of Manitoba. Gorrie worked and performed with several theatres across the country, including the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, Kelowna’s Sunshine Theatre, Victoria’s Bastion Theatre and Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage. Elizabeth Gorrie was Kaleidoscope’s Artistic Director from 1974 through 1999.

Kaleidoscope is a regular member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, The Professional Arts Alliance of Greater Victoria, and Union internationale de la marionnette.