Sara Meurling is a professional arts manager, theatre producer, occasional playwright and arts equity advocate with a 35 year history of work within the professional arts ecology.
She graduated from York University with a degree in theatre in 1985 and her first professional position that same year was at the Theatre Centre (Toronto). She began as box office manager and over the next seven years moved into the role of Producer.
Sara helped rebuild the Theatre Centre after its founding companies moved on, collaborating with its artist-run committees to expand the creation-based, new play program R&D, which supported the work of artists ranging from Daniel MacIvor and Thomson Highway to Liza Balkan and ahdri zhina mandiela, and scores of others. It was that programming which sparked Sara’s drive to develop individualized services to producing artists artists on the margins of the ecology.
During the theatrical housing crisis, of the late 1980’s in Toronto for small companies, Sara operated the two-space facility at 191 Lippincott (sadly lost to condo-development) and presented R&D at a small venue on Harbord Street, for almost a year. She also led the team that moved the Theatre Centre into 1032 Queen Street West, where she successfully lobbied funding agencies to provide operating funding for the Theatre Centre as a co-producing company. With Daniel MacIvor, she launched B.A.N.G, a cabaret format program that celebrated collaboration, creation and the theatre community.
She's been active in the Toronto theatre community ever since – as a Dora juror for the (then) Awards for Small Theatre, Secretary of the Toronto Theatre Alliance Board of Directors, Chair of the Small Theatre Caucus, a member of the Steering Committee for STAF, a member of the original ArtsVote project as well as a member of the Board of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and Theatre Gargantua,
Sara did take a break from the theatre sector from 1998 - 2006, when she was General Manager of Carbon Computing, one of Canada’s largest Apple computer resellers, seeing its grow from a single office to a multi-store operation with $18.5 million in annual sales.
Sara returned to theatre in 2007, beginning as General Manager of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District (Toronto). In mid-2009, she became Managing Director of the Factory Theatre (Toronto). She was Executive Director of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres from 2014 to early 2019
Out of her foundational arts service work, and deep commitment to cultural and systemic arts equity, Sara has become known and respected for her outspoken partisan nature and her commitment to the work of Canadian theatre artists with a driving passion to "do better".
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