Friday, 17 November 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

TO Toasts

In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Fruitful and Festivity-Filled Fall for Ontario Summer Theatre

by Rachel Kennedy, Professional Theatre and Education Manager

As you have probably noticed, the bright, beautiful days of summer have come and passed for 2017.  It’s true that our clocks have changed, our fall jackets are starting to feel worn in again, and some people have even been shovelling snow—but that doesn’t mean that the excitement has stopped for Ontario Summer Theatre! It has been a busy month for OST members, as we tied up their summer seasons with an AGM and welcomed new talent into the room for our 2017 General Auditions—so grab a hot cup of cocoa and let us fill you in on what we’ve been up to!

A bench at the Blyth Festival
On October 19-20th, ten of our member companies got together for our AGM in sunny Blyth, Ontario. As if the scenic drive out to the Blyth Festival Theatre wasn’t enough, Artistic Director Gil Garratt was there waiting with a full two-day schedule of activities for everyone. Day one was focused on professional development and best practices. We welcomed Deidre Walton of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatre (PACT) in the morning for a 4-hour ALL-IN session: a highly collaborative program focused on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout Canada’s theatre sector. After a quick lunch we were back at it with a tour of the Blyth Festival’s newly renovated facilities and a roundtable discussion about audience development, strategic planning, and the ever-changing world of social media. For dinner, Gil told the group that he had a table reserved over at the Blyth Inn (affectionately nicknamed “The Boot” by locals) for their wing night. 

The Boot
I don’t know if you have been to Blyth before, but if you are familiar with small-town Ontario you may be asking why we needed a reservation for a Thursday night. If you are familiar with The Blyth Inn’s wing night, however, you wouldn’t even be asking. As Gil, Rachael and John explained to us, wing night is when the locals come out to hit The Boot in full force. We had a fabulous time rubbing elbows with so many members of the Blyth community and it is safe to say that Wing Night definitely lived up to its reputation. 

After dinner (and a mandatory Wet Nap bath) we headed off to the brand new Cowbell Brewery for a play reading by Sophia Fabiilli, sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada’s PlayConnect program. The large, picturesque brewery and restaurant is located just 900m from the Blyth Festival Theatre and makes for the perfect after-dinner walk to stretch your legs. When we arrived, we were shown to a private room reserved for our event, and were treated to an incredible show of talent from Sophia, who played every character in a reading of her farce Liars at a Funeral. After hearing most of the first act, our guests were filled with questions and excitement about the rest of the play. We were hooked. Sophia was kind enough to stick around and answer everyone’s questions, and even joined us in tasting some of the local flavours (the Absent Landlord Country Kolsch was a personal favourite).

Sophia Fabiilli
“I am still smiling from the experience,” said Sophia. “As an early career playwright, the opportunity to read my work for a room of Artistic Directors does not come up every day. One of my biggest takeaways is a simple one: AD's and their staff truly love theatre. We communicate so much over email that it’s easy to forget that the people running theatres are generally really, really excited about what they do—and when you get them in a room together that passion is palpable. So, if you're a playwright hesitating to submit your play... Or an actor second-guessing yourself before an audition... Remember the people on the other end have devoted their lives to this, just like you have. Don't let fear hide your passion!”

The second day of our festivities was focused on the AGM itself. Each theatre came with their reports and we discussed themes that were present in various seasons, as well as a clear focus on the growing importance of professional development and networking. After a great discussion, and our annual nominations for the Executive Committee, the meeting was adjourned and our group slowly dissipated, taking off in various directions for a beautiful autumn drive home. 

Members of Ontario Summer Theatre
Back at the Theatre Ontario office, the activity picked right back up as we continued preparing for the OST General Auditions to be held on November 6th and 7th at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. The generals are usually held every two years and are open for any OST members who wish to participate. This year we had eight member companies join us in inviting submissions from actors who wished to be seen. Once again hundreds of great resumes were sent out to various companies, and out of everyone’s top picks, a short list of 76 actors was chosen and scheduled. By November 1st we had our final schedule and the actors had just under one week left to finish their audition pieces. 

I was only able to attend for the last hour of Monday’s schedule, but the excitement in the air when I reached Tarragon’s studio space was palpable. I had the joy of seeing a few familiar faces as performers filed in and out of the waiting room, and I was excited to hear that our group of AD’s had also made time to see at least ten “crashers” that day as well! The atmosphere was supportive and the panel of professionals waiting inside was always filled with smiling faces, ready to soak up new talent. I wasn’t able to make it back to see everyone off at the end of the second day, but I so look forward to hearing more stories from the general auditions, and learning what new connections were made. 

So what’s next for the OST? We’ve certainly got a few tricks up our sleeves for the 2018 summer season, but for now our energy is focused on celebrating each of the current and upcoming season announcements. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Theatre Map and find out which OST company is near you—it’s never too early to start dreaming of warmer days!

Related Reading

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Upcoming opportunities for theatre artists from Theatre Ontario, from our members, and from other arts service organizations

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • GCTC’s next The Hive workshop for students is Musical Theatre is today.
  • Deadline for grant applications for the Ontario Arts Council’s “Northern Arts Projects” is November 16.
  • Daniela Saioni’s “Am I Covered? The Art of Visual Storytelling for Film and TV” workshop runs November 18 and 19. This workshop may be of interest for theatre artists interested in film-making, or stage managers interested in learning script supervision.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Common Boots Theatre in Toronto invites volunteers to be show ushers as part of their walking winter show The Story. Volunteer deadline is December 3.
  • Theatre Aurora invites volunteers for the production team of If/Then, opening January 25, in the roles of costume designer, props master, set construction, and scenic painter.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions, Job Postings and Discount Ticket Offers on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Congratulations to the Professional Theatre Training Program Fall 2017 Grant Recipients

We are pleased to announce the latest recipients of training grants through Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP). We thank all those who applied to the program.

$32,800 was awarded in total among the following 9 recipients:
  • Cole Alvis will train in directing with Nina Lee Aquino at Theatre Passe Muraille in Tkarón:to
  • Carly Chamberlain will train in artistic direction with Franco Boni at The Theatre Centre in Toronto
  • Howard J. Davis will train in directing and designing with Peter Hinton, Beth Kates, Michael Giafrancesco, and Michael Hart at The Grand Theatre in London
  • Aaron Jan will train in dramaturgy with Marjorie Chan at Cahoots Theatre in Toronto
  • Darwin Lyons will train in directing with Ravi Jain at Why Not Theatre in Toronto
  • Harveen Sandhu will train in directing, artistic direction, and producing with John Van Burek at Pleiades Theatre in Ottawa
  • Andrea Scott will train in producing with David Auster at the Stratford Festival
  • Sara Topham will train in teaching pure movement with Shona Morris at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London UK
  • ted witzel will train in artistic direction with Antoni Cimolino at the Stratford Festival
Over $101,000 was requested during this application round. The next application deadline for this program is March 1, 2018.

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline except performance.

This program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Monday, 13 November 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of November 13

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
Ordinary Days at Great Canadian Theatre Company
Katie Ryerson, Zach Counsil, Jennifer Cecil, Gab Desmond
Photo by Andrew Alexander

In South Central Ontario

Nov. 15, Jitters at Markham Little Theatre 
Nov. 16, All Shook Up at Marquee Theatrical Productions (Newmarket)
Nov. 17, Parfumerie at The Curtain Club (Richmond Hill) [with a preview on Nov. 16]
Nov. 19, Sleeping Beauty at Theatre Burlington

In Southwestern Ontario

Nov. 15, A Christmas Carol at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [in previews]
Nov. 17, Red at Calithumpian Theatre Company (London) [with a preview on Nov. 16]
Nov. 17, Things My Mother Taught Me at Grey Wellingon Theatre Guild (Harriston)
Nov. 17, Queen Milli of Galt at Thistle Theatre (Embro)
Nov. 19, Aladdin at Century Church Theatre (Hillsburgh)

In Toronto

Nov. 14, Old Man and the River at Theatre Direct
Nov. 14, Uncovered: Dylan and Springsteen at The Musical Stage Company
Nov. 15, Triptyque at Canadian Stage
Nov. 15, Weesageechak 30 at Native Earth Performing Arts
Nov. 17, Cake at Theatre Passe Muraille [in previews]
Nov. 17, Outside at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Nov. 19, Shen Development Festival at Soulpepper Theatre

ONstage Now Playing in South Central Ontario
Mambo Italiano at Whitby Courthouse Theatre

In Central Ontario

Nov. 16, The Giant's Garden at Kincardine Theatre Guild
Nov. 17, Robin Hood: The Panto at Port Hope Festival Theatre
Nov. 17, The Drawer Boy at Huronia Players (Midland)

In Eastern Ontario

Nov. 17, It Runs in the Family at Brockville Theatre Guild
Nov. 17, Shrek the Musical at Orpheus Musical Theatre Society (Ottawa)

In Northeastern Ontario

Nov. 16, Escape from Happiness at Thorneloe University (Sudbury) [with a preview on Nov. 15]

For all the theatre playing across Ontario, visit Theatre Ontario’s ONstage theatre listings on our website