We are Ontario’s premier arts education company, offering students and teachers an opportunity to participate in dynamic workshops alongside established guest artists and instructors. Established in 2002, we have worked with hundreds of thousands of students and teachers all over Ontario. Our workshops were created to support school curriculum, to inspire students to strive for excellence, to increase self-esteem and to cultivate an appreciation for the performing arts.
To date, The Travelling Stage has taught in over 425 schools and child care centres in Ontario including the Durham Catholic District School Board, Durham District School Board, Peel District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Halton District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Toronto District School Board, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Upper Canada District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Greater Essex County District School Board, Waterloo Region District School Board, the District School Board of Niagara and numerous Private and Montessori Schools province wide.
Toni Grates – Director and Founder
Toni Grates has worked as an actor, writer, director, choreographer and producer in theatre, film and television in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Toni was the “Special Investigator” on YTV’s Gemini Award winning show “Ghost Trackers”. She has also had roles on “The Jon Dore Television Show” and in several Movies of the Week. She has appeared in dozens of commercials in both Canada and the United States. Recent commercials include Activia, TD Bank, Walmart, Tim Hortons, Polysporin, Old El Paso, Ford, Great Wolf Lodge, Cold FX, Dunkin Donuts, OLG and Air Transat.
Toni has performed on several stages in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as in many regional theatres, including the Tony Award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival. She was also the resident choreographer at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in 2003. In 2004, Toni’s one woman show, “A String of Broken Curling Irons” (which she wrote and starred in) was produced in Hollywood at the Egyptian Arena Theatre.
No stranger to comedy, Grates has done choreography for several shows at The Second City. She choreographed the Off-Broadway and Chicago version of the original “Sister Bernie’s Bingo Bash” and the Dora Nominated and Canadian Comedy Award winning production of “SARSical” at the Factory Theatre in Toronto.
Toni was also the head writer for the television series “Out There with Melissa DiMarco”; a Canadian sitcom produced for CityTV.
Grates is the Founder and Director of “The Travelling Stage”: a creative arts education company that brought dance and drama to over 250,000 students this past year. She has also been an adjudicator for the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s High School Shakespeare Competition, the CNE’s Rising Star Competition, a guest artist for the Sears Drama Festival and a juror for the Gemini Awards.
She has created and produced original shows for the Canadian National Exhibition and the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights. In May of 2007, she created and co-produced “Magic of the Mist”, which won CHUM Television’s Greenbelt Prize Competition’s Top Prize.
Most recently, Toni finished writing her first book. She has a television series in development.
Toni is a member of ACTRA, SAG, AFTRA, AEA and CAEA. She’s also a certified yoga instructor, with a special certification in kids’ yoga. She was nominated for an RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award in both 2012, 2013 and 2014.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from York University and a diploma in Musical Theatre from the Randolph Academy.