Bob Baker is familiar with just about every angle of a stage. The University of Alberta bachelor of fine arts (with honours) graduate acted on one for years, including at the Stratford Festival. He also danced across numerous stages as a member of the AB Contemporary Dancers. Baker has also directed others from behind the scenes as the artistic director of the Phoenix Theatre in Edmonton and the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto. And he’s been the artistic director of the Citadel Theatre for the last 15 years.
What are some of your duties and responsibilities?
I am responsible for everything that goes on our stages and anything that influences the audience’s experience. I choose the plays and the directors, who then choose their creative teams and actors. I work closely with executive director, Penny Ritco, to ensure the artistic and financial well-being of the organization.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Balancing the creative ambitions of the artists with the financial realities.
Where do you find inspiration for your creative vision?
From the artists: Their need to respond to the human condition in a creative manner. From the audiences: Their interest in engaging in new ideas and having their perceptions challenged.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
Directing plays and teaching; basically sharing all I’ve learned with a new generation of theatre artists.
What innovations do you hope to see in your field in the future?
I welcome any new form of expression as long as humanity, compassion and integrity are foremost in the storytelling.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
That I am an avid gardener, landscaper and nature nut.
Alberta’s move back to Step 1 did not include the closure of schools.
Meanwhile, Ontario shut its schools as COVID numbers increase.