Theatre Calgary traces its origins to the 1960s grassroots movement for local professional theatre. The company formed from the city’s two most prominent amateur theatre groups: Workshop 14 and the Musicians’ and Actors’ Club. Workshop 14 had been founded in 1944 by students of local theatre pioneer Betty Mitchell and took its name from Mitchell’s drama classroom at Western Canada High School. The Musicians’ and Actors’ Club (fondly known as MAC) began as a social club in 1963, with meetings held the basement bar of the derelict Isis movie house on 1st St SW, but members soon took to staging short plays and musical revues in the upstairs hall. Under the leadership of Kenneth Dyba, the two groups merged in 1966 as MAC 14. Then, on July 1st, 1968, MAC 14 became Theatre Calgary, the city’s first fully professional theatre company. Christopher Newton, who would later lead the Shaw Festival for more than two decades, was appointed Theatre Calgary’s first artistic director.