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Robin Whiffen promoted to General Director of Against the Grain Theatre.

Ms. Whiffen takes on the role of the small-but-mighty opera company’s first general director.

📸 Photo of AtG’s new General Director Robin Whiffen by Taylor Long

TORONTO Marc Chalifoux, the Chair of the Board of Directors, is pleased to announce Robin Whiffen will be Against the Grain Theatre’s (AtG) first-ever General Director.  This new role recognizes her successful leadership of the organization and growing profile in the opera sector. Ms. Whiffen will assume the position effective immediately. She will continue to work closely with Joel Ivany, Founder and Artistic Director, in delivering on Against the Grain’s vision and mandate. 

Ms. Whiffen’s promotion comes as a result of her growing impact on AtG since joining in 2019. She has been instrumental in developing several acclaimed digital opera productions, including the award-winning and globally acclaimed Messiah/Complex, Sāvitri, BOUND and Identity, and articulating an ambitious, new strategic plan for the next phase of AtG’s success. 

She has also expanded the profile of AtG, frequently being invited to speak in her capacity as an arts leader and ambassador of the operatic art form for audiences in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Ms. Whiffen has acted as a mentor with the Association for Opera in Canada’s RBC Future Launch Fellowship program and has participated in the Business/Arts Executive Leadership program, as well as the OPERA America Leadership Intensive. 

“This promotion is a reflection of Robin’s strong management skills, as well as her active involvement in artistic decisions,” said Marc Chalifoux, Chair of the Board of Directors. “With this proven leadership team at the helm, the future feels bright at AtG as we continue to evolve the nature and perception of what opera and vocal works can be.”

“Robin has helped transform AtG into an internationally known company,” shared Joel Ivany, Founder and Artistic Director of AtG. “I’m so proud of her becoming Against the Grain Theatre’s first General Director. She deserves every good thing that comes her way.”

📸 Photo of AtG Founder and Artistic Director Joel Ivany and General Director Robin Whiffen

“It has been a very exciting few years of growth at AtG, and I look forward to continuing this important and fulfilling work with our team,” said Robin Whiffen. “I am so grateful for this opportunity, and welcome the opportunity to continue challenging the parameters of the operatic art form to make it more accessible and inclusive for our communities.” 

Ms. Whiffen’s appointment is also a milestone for AtG. The 12-year-old opera company began as a collective of young artists looking to create exciting art and provide opportunities for young talent. It has since grown into a bold presence in the opera sector, challenging the status quo and pushing the limits of what opera and vocal works can be. Ms.Whiffen’s appointment marks the first time the company has had a General Director.


Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) is a multi-award-winning Canadian experimental opera company dedicated to creating boundary-breaking, genre-defying vocal works and films staged in surprising locations emphasizing innovative storytelling and memorable artistic experiences. AtG is the creator of the internationally acclaimed film Messiah/Complex and the ongoing Opera Pub series.

Established in 2010 and still evolving, AtG is committed to revitalizing the operatic art form by introducing diverse audiences to outside-the-box opera experiences, creating daring re-interpretations of classical repertoire, and offering thrilling, intimate, and unforgettable experiences shared between artists and audiences.

For more information, please visit AtG online at, on Twitter and Instagram @AtGTheatre, and on Facebook at

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Media Contact

Joshua Knelman
Against the Grain Theatre