Dennis Garnhum made his debut as an opera director in October 2009, directing Pacific Opera Victoria's production of Verdi's La traviata. He returns in February 2012 to direct Carmen.
Dennis was appointed Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary in September of 2005. In the 2005-06 season he directed Trying as his Theatre Calgary debut. Since then, he has directed the world premieres of LOST – A Memoir and Beyond Eden, Much Ado About Nothing, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Of Mice and Men, A Christmas Carol, Enchanted April, and his adaptation of Timothy Findley's The Wars. He also directed his first opera, La traviata, for Pacific Opera Victoria. In the 2011-12 season, Dennis directs To Kill a Mockingbird and the all new production of A Christmas Carol for Theatre Calgary.
Prior to his appointment at Theatre Calgary, Dennis spent three years living in New York City. While there he directed Rat In The Skull at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and the premiere of the musical Two Orphans by Pulitzer-prize nominated playwright Theresa Rebeck in Boston. Dennis was the Special Projects Producer at the Long Wharf Theatre where he worked on the development of the opera Brundibar (Tony Kushner/Maurice Sendak.)
Prior to his move to New York, Dennis directed plays at almost all the major theatre companies in Canada. For the Stratford Festival of Canada, Dennis directed The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and premieres of two plays by Timothy Findley, Shadows and The Trials of Ezra Pound. Dennis directed at the Shaw Festival for six seasons. His productions there include The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, Still Life, Sorry, Wrong Number and S.S. Tenacity.
In Calgary, he was part of the 2004 playRrites Festival at Alberta Theatre Projects, directing Down The Main Drag. He was dramaturge and director of Maureen Hunter's new play Vinci. It was produced at the National Arts Centre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and CanStage in Toronto. At the Tarragon Theatre, he directed Skylight and Slavs. Both productions received Dora nominations for best direction. For the Manitoba Theatre Centre he also directed To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice And Men (Both co-productions with the Citadel Theatre), Closer and Three Tall Women. Blue/Orange premiered at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C. before transferring to the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg. In addition, Dennis directed Of Mice And Men at Neptune in Halifax, Sleuth at the Saidye Bronfmann in Montreal, and A Christmas Carol at Theatre New Brunswick.
Dennis has also enjoyed working closely with theatre students, directing The Laramie Project at the National Theatre School of Canada, and Arcadia at the University of British Columbia.
Dennis' concert versions of Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Hallelujah Handel have toured across North America. In 2002 Beethoven Lives Upstairs debuted internationally in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Special events which Dennis has conceived include a one night celebration of Stephen Sondheim at Harbourfront's World Stage in Toronto, with the musical theatre legend in attendance. In Great Barrington, MA, Dennis developed a one night celebration for the 100th anniversary of the newly restored Mahaiwe Theatre.
Dennis spent three summers in the Opera Program at the Banff School of Fine Arts working as Assistant Director to acclaimed opera director Colin Graham. He received a BFA from the University of Victoria, and an MFA in directing from the University of British Columbia.