“As much as the Christmas slot is for children,” it's also a time when families come to the theatre together, said Marshall, who comes to Sudbury from Theatre New Brunswick, where he's been the artistic producer since 2009.
“The programming should be for all ages, and should remind adults of their childhood sense of awe and wonder. I think Miracle on 34th Street accomplishes all of those goals.”
Taking the reins at STC in September, Marshall replaces former artistic director David Savoy, who stepped down earlier this year for health reasons.
He'll be in charge of the theatre's artistic vision, including the plays it runs and the actors it hires. Although he's already changed the theatre's lineup, Marshall said his immediate goal is learning more about STC.
“I have some real ideas of what could be done, but I'm not the kind of person who wants to come in and change everything overnight,” he said, speaking at a July 24 event where he was introduced to the media.
In general, though, Marshall said he believes in striking a balance between bringing in the best in theatre from elsewhere and telling local stories.
“Every community has its own unique history and challenges,” he said. “I think a local regional theatre needs to be representing that work and telling those stories.”
It's great STC has its own playwright-in-residence — Matt Heiti — whose plays have been staged at the theatre, Marshall said. Heiti is in turn helping other local playwrights hone their craft through programs such as Playwrights' Junction.
Marshall, who has been in the theatre industry for a little more than 20 years, is an accomplished actor who has performed on many prominent stages, including the Old Vic (London, UK) and the Stratford Festival.
He's worked alongside many famous actors, including Kevin Spacey, Antoni Cimolino, Norm Foster, Rosie O'Donnell and the late William Hutt.
After a number of years on the stage, Marshall went back to school to earn an MFA in theatre directing from Middlesex University in London, UK.
A native of Fredericton, Marshall returned home after graduation to become the artistic producer at Theatre New Brunswick, leading the organization for five seasons.
Under his leadership, Theatre New Brunswick nearly doubled its programming, purchased its building and recently saw the highest percentage of New Brunswick professionals on its stage in the company's history.
So why take on Sudbury Theatre Centre?
“I was ready for the next challenge and the next chapter in my career,” Marshall said.
“I was very interested in a regional theatre that offered a little more programming, a little bit broader seasons and has a great facility, and I think Sudbury really checked off all the boxes.”
STC education co-ordinator Judi Straughan said 45 people applied for the artistic director job, and there were many excellent candidates, but Marshall rose to the top.
“I think his resume speaks well for what we can expect here at Sudbury Theatre Centre,” she said.
“We're very excited to have him here, very excited for his leadership, and I know we're going to see some wonderful changes.”
STC board of directors president Brian Koivu also had nothing but praise for Marshall.
“While we considered many qualified candidates, Caleb is a dedicated artist and administrator with a youthful energy,” he said, in a press release.
“His experience and passion for community engagement makes him the ideal choice to lead STC's artistic vision into the future.”
STC will introduce Marshall to the general public at a special event in September.