Meet the Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace

Introducing Theatre Passe Muraille’s newly renovated Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace
The backspace has a separate entrance from ryerson avenue, with black barn doors with a red sign on top that reads passe muraille backspace

Toronto, ON — Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM) is pleased to open the newly renovated Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace for our 22.23 season thanks to receiving a $142,600 Resilient Communities Fund grant in 2021 from Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario. The funds were used to help with some renovation and equipment costs, in addition to offering virtual training programs and adapting marketing initiatives.

“Theatre Passe Muraille is a Toronto institution, entertaining audiences from across the city and beyond with its productions for over 50 years,” said Chris Glover, MPP for Spadina-Fort York. “I was pleased to learn about what you’ve accomplished with the Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace, and more, as a result of your grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.”

The space is named after former TPM Board Member and beloved artist Bob Nasmith, who shared in the company’s history since its very beginning.

Bob performs looking upwards into the lights. He is wearing a checkered green shirt with his grey hair combed neatly backwards.

Bob Nasmith performing in The 501: Toronto in Transit created by Justin Many Fingers, Bob Nasmith, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. Photo by Aviva Armour-Ostroff

Bob Nasmith was an artist who represented the spirit of creation at TPM. Bob’s commitment to counter culture and questioning the status quo is continuing to inspire our company’s work and decisions today. In the honour of this new name; The Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace, TPM is committed to keeping this space financially and physically accessible for Indie theatre creators”  

— Marjorie Chan, Artistic Director, TPM.

The Backspace theatre was an intimate, infamous space that kickstarted many productions and careers in the Toronto theatre scene. TPM intends to build on this legacy by adding upgrades to the space. The stage has been removed and a dance-friendly floor was installed throughout. Flexible and comfortable seating is also retractable in order to provide an open working space.

New filming and streaming equipment is being added so that we can continue to support digital productions. Over the next few years, we are also going to increase our digital capacity to be suitable for experimenting in extended reality (XR) such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as well as other immersive techniques. 

In this direction, TPM is also delighted to welcome Nicole Eun-ju Bell as the Backspace Coordinator and Assistant Production Manager.

Nicole is a mixed-raced person of east asian decent. She has dark black hair that is blowing in the wind. She wears glasses, a yellow turtleneck and a fun confetti patterned shirt overtop.

Nicole Eun-ju Bell | Photo by Elana Emer

“Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge and passion in emerging theatrical technologies, such as projection design, live-streaming, and XR experimentations. She has been a really strong presence at Theatre Passe Muraille for a while now, having worked on several of our shows through the years. With Nicole joining our team and the renovation of our Backspace, TPM is excited to build capacity and resources towards more innovative processes in theatre.”

— Indrit Kasapi, Artistic Producer, TPM

The Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace will welcome audiences in October 2022 , with our 22.23 season show,The Year of the Cello by Marjorie Chan and Njo Kong Kie — a co-production with Music Picnic.

The space is available for rentals, for more information on costs and other details, please visit our website:

Media Contact:

Emily Jung,

Government Support

Theatre Passe Muraille thanks its ongoing government investments through the Government of Canada, Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Art Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Toronto Arts Council.

Corporate Support

TD: Season Sponsor

BMO: Community Engagement Sponsor

Council for Business and the Arts

Foundation Support

Toronto Arts Foundation

Martin Atkinson Foundation at Toronto Foundation
The Guardian project – Rita & Jeff Rayman 

Butterfield Family Foundation

Wuchien Michael Than Foundation

Ontario Arts Foundation

Thank you   

John & Kay McKellar

About Theatre Passe Muraille

Founded in 1968, TPM is Canada’s original alternative theatre company, currently developing and producing new Canadian plays. TPM is striving to articulate a distinctly Canadian voice that reflects the complexity of our intercultural society. TPM believes there should be a more diverse representation of artists, audience members, and stories in our theatre. TPM aspires to be a leader locally, nationally and internationally in establishing, promoting and embracing collaborative and inclusive theatre practices. We do this so that we can support and ignite the voices of unique artists, communities and audiences.

Land Acknowledgement

As we renovate and open this space at Theatre Passe Muraille, we want to express our sincere thanks to the original caretakers of this land, the Anishinabek, Wendat, Haudenosaunee and the Mississaugas of the Credit. We embrace collaborative and collective values as exemplified by Indigenous cultures, and we aspire to live up to those values. We are also particularly inspired by the Dish With One Spoon Treaty. This agreement binds people on this land to share peacefully with their neighbours, so that we may all have enough.

There is one dish, one spoon, and no knife.  In that spirit, we honour all who came before us, our own ancestors as well as all the Indigenous caretakers, named and unnamed, recorded and unrecorded. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work, play, and create here in this community, and on this territory.

Thank you. | Instagram & Twitter @beyondwallsTPM

Visit the Bob Nasmith Innovation Backspace

The Year of the Cello by Marjorie Chan and Njo Kong Kie premieres October 15 to 29, 2022

“A lament for loves lost, and a Hong Kong that once was.”

A Theatre Passe Muraille and Music Picnic Co-Production: Wen and her friend Li-An are forever changed by their encounter with the Cellist, whose music unlocks all that was left unspoken.