Monday, 22 December 2014

ONstage Openings for the weeks of December 22 and December 29

ONstage Opening in Toronto
The Conjuror at Soulpepper Theatre
Suleyman Fattah, Court Howlett-Ben, David Ben
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
In South Central Ontario
Dec. 23, Peter Pan at Burl-Oak Theatre Group (Oakville)

In Toronto
Dec. 30, The Conjuror at Soulpepper Theatre

In Eastern Ontario
Dec. 27, Fairy Tale Ending – The Big Bad Family Musical at Kanata Theatre (Ottawa)

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Friday, 19 December 2014

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Conversation Starters
Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres
Migrations
  • Theatre 20 has introduced their new leadership team: David Keeley (Artistic Director), Nora McLellan (Associate Artistic Director), and Brian Goldenberg (Executive Director)
  • Susan Moffat, formerly the Interim General Manager at Tarragon Theatre, has been named as the new Managing Director
You can also receive news from Theatre Ontario every month by email.  Our archives are online and the December issue is now available.

We’ll be away for the holidays for the next two weeks—back in 2015!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops

New on the Bulletin Board
  • The Playwrights Project Toronto now invites submissions for the 2015 Project, focusing on the works of Robertson Davies.  The submission deadline is February 2.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members of funding opportunities, workshops, calls for submission, awards, and more—on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Theatre Ontario individual members can also access auditions and job postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Congratulation to Fall 2014 Youth Theatre Training Program Recipients

We are excited to announce the latest recipients of training grants through Theatre Ontario’s Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP).  $22,500 was awarded in total among the following recipients:
  • Artists Mentoring Youth Project – AMY Spring Creation Program (Toronto)
  • Community Arts Guild – In Common Ground (Toronto/Nipissing First Nation)
  • Essential Collective Theatre – Playwriting for Youth (St. Catharines)
  • Festival Players of Prince Edward County – Festival Players Young Company (Picton)
  • Thinking Rock Community Arts – The Rivers Speak Project (Sault Ste. Marie/Blind River/Mississauga First Nation/Serpent River First Nation/Elliot Lake)
We are happy to be able to support these valuable programs, and we thank all those who applied.  Over $77,000 was requested during this application round.

The next application deadline for this program is March 16, 2015.

Read more about Theatre Ontario’s Youth Theatre Training Program

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

Monday, 15 December 2014

ONstage Openings for the week of December 15

ONstage Opening in Toronto
Venus in Fur at Canadian Stage
Rick Miller and Carly Street
Photo by David Hou

In Toronto
Dec. 18, Venus in Fur at Canadian Stage

In Central Ontario
Dec. 19, Christmas Belles at Port Hope Festival Theatre

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Friday, 12 December 2014

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Conversation Starters
Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres
In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Join us at Theatre Ontario Next Generation Showcase

When: Sunday, January 18 and Monday, January 19, 2015

Where: Young Centre for the Performing Arts
Michael Young Theatre
50 Tank House Lane, Toronto

We warmly invite Directors, Artistic Directors, Producers, Casting Directors, Agents EIC signed or TAMAC members, and other Industry Professionals to join us for our annual showcase of graduating student talent.

For the first time, we will have electronic school kits hosted on Casting Workbook, which will be accessible on tablets, laptops, and smart phones before, during, and after the Showcase event (Wi-Fi is available in the venue).

In the days prior to the Showcase, all attending industry professionals will receive an email with links to each school’s page, containing the headshots and CVs of each performing student.  (Having a Casting Workbook account is not required to view these links.)

As this is a transition year, we will still have the traditional hardcopy school kits available at the event for those who want them. You will also still receive a hardcopy one-pager from each school with a listing of the students’ performance pieces, in order of presentation.

Any feedback or questions on this new initiative can be directed to Erin Keating, Program Coordinator,416.408.4556 x.12 or programs@theatreontario.org

R.S.V.P. to the Next Generation Showcase Required by Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Please call 416.408.4556 x.10 or email outreach@theatreontario.org

Join the conversation at #TOshowcase

Schedule of Events – Approximate Times
Lunch and Refreshments Provided

Sunday, January 18, 2015  
  • 9:00am - Industry Check-in
  • 9:30am - George Brown Theatre School
  • 10:20am - Ryerson University  
  • 11:35am - Sheridan / University of Toronto, Mississauga
  • 12:40pm - York University (MFA)
  • 1:10pm - York University (BFA)
  • 2:30pm - University of Windsor
  • 3:30pm - National Theatre School of Canada
  • 4:10pm - University of Alberta
  • 4:45pm - Canadore College  
  • 5:20pm - Humber College  
  • 6:00pm - Networking Party, Hosted by Soulpepper Theatre, Sponsored by Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts
  • 7:30pm - Panel Discussion – “The Business of Casting”, Sponsored by Casting Workbook
The Business of Casting at last year's Next Generation Showcase

Monday, January 19, 2015
  • 9:30am - Industry Check-In
  • 10:00am - New Faces
  • 11:00am - London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
  • 11:20am - Centre for Indigenous Theatre
  • 11:35am - St. Clair College
  • 1:15pm - St. Lawrence College
  • 2:30pm - Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts
  • 3:45pm - Sheridan Institute: Musical Theatre (Part I)
  • 4:45pm - Sheridan Institute: Musical Theatre (Part II)
  • 5:30pm - Networking Party, Sponsored by Sheridan College
Read more about Theatre Ontario's Next Generation Showcase

Thanks to our sponsors




Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario
Theatre Ontario's 2014 Youth Advisory Committee
Upcoming on The Bulletin Board
  • Deadline for applications to Theatre Passe Muraille’s next “Pitch Andy” session for artists interested in introducing their work to Artistic Director Andy McKim is December 11
  • Deadline for applications to direct for East Side Players 2015-2016 season is December 12
  • Deadline for applications to Odyssey Theatre’s OAC Theatre Creators Reserve is December 15
  • Deadline for applications to Alameda Theatre Company's OAC Theatre Creators Reserve is December 15
  • Deadline for nominations for the Gina Wilkinson Prize, recognizing experienced female theatre artists transitioning from another discipline into directing, is December 15
Check out these items, and other postings from our members of funding opportunities, workshops, calls for submission, awards, and more—on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Theatre Ontario individual members can also access auditions and job postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

PTTP Profiles: Exploring Projects Funded by the Professional Theatre Training Program

Eight individuals were chosen as recipients of Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program grants during our Spring 2014 application round.  This month we check-in with three of the projects.

Pam Patel is training in Artistic Direction with Majdi Bou-Matar at MT Space (Kitchener)


Wow! Where has the time gone? Summer and fall zipped by so quickly and it feels like only yesterday that I started my apprenticeship at MT Space. Flying from one project to another while keeping an eye on the “big picture” has kept things very exciting and busy. It feels pretty special knowing that I was a part of so much that happened over the past few months.

In August and September, I had the pleasure of coordinating and being a part of the touring team of MT Space’s latest production, Body 13. We traveled to the Prismatic Festival in Halifax, performed at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and at University of Guelph, and ended our tour in Manitowaning on Manitoulin Island with Debajehmujig. Connecting with all of these groups was so valuable in learning what amazing opportunities can come out of collaborating with colleagues and fellow theatre companies. I look forward to implementing some of these ideas in the second half of my apprenticeship.

The team from The Last 15 Seconds
Majdi Bou-Matar and Pam Patel are in the centre.
I also experienced the ups and downs of coordinating a tour of our piece, The Last 15 Seconds, based on the events of a suicide attack that occurred in Jordan in 2005. We had the amazing opportunity to take the piece to Algeria this month, and so I worked with the team at MT Space to bring together the cast, coordinate a rehearsal schedule, make travel arrangements and look into visas. In the end, we collectively made the difficult decision of cancelling the tour due to recent events increasing the risk of travel to Algeria. Although it was a challenging journey, the experience taught me how to negotiate the needs of a theatre company with those of individuals, and most importantly, the true meaning of being a collective and a team. We listened to each other’s concerns with respect and support, and offered our honest opinions and ideas openly. I can only hope that every collective I work with in the future is like this.

Of course, the list goes on with what I’ve been up to at MT Space, including finalizing the second half of our season, accepting and filing submissions for our theatre festival IMPACT 15, and coordinating auditions for our upcoming production, Paradise. I am so grateful for how much space my mentor, Majdi Bou-Matar, has given me in offering my input and even taking on several tasks. I have experienced so much of what I expected, but I have also experienced a lot that I took for granted when I would watch Majdi work from afar. To be an artistic director like Majdi, one has to learn to be a certain type of person; a person that can make decisions on a whim and know when they need to delegate their work to others, and a person that can constantly monitor the crucial details without being too much of a perfectionist. To be an artistic director like Majdi is to be a parent to one’s theatre company and nurture it like your child, and so I hope to continue this apprenticeship with this in mind.

Thank you again, Theatre Ontario, for making this apprenticeship happen. Words cannot express my gratitude for this opportunity!

Madeleine Donohue trained in Producing and General Management with Monica Esteves and Eric Goldstein at Crow’s Theatre (Toronto)


I recently completed my training at Crow's Theatre in Toronto, working with Managing Director Monica Esteves and General Manager Eric Goldstein. My overall goals for this process were to enhance my existing skill set as a producer, which would aid me with my own self-produced work in the future, and also to gain a better understanding of the producer's role within a bigger organization, and within the theatre community at large. I'm happy to report that both of these goals were met, and that the experience was overwhelmingly gratifying on several levels.

Monica and Eric were incredibly supportive, patient, and welcoming throughout my stay with them, inviting me to participate in many different aspects of the company's operations. I shadowed Eric at rehearsals, fundraising events, readings and company meetings, assisting him with day-to-day company management tasks, which - I now know - vary widely and require considerable interpersonal skills, as well as managerial competence. One of my primary tasks was the preparation of artist contracts for various readings, workshops and productions, and I served as the company liaison for both PACT and CAEA. My experience contracting artists had thus far been limited to indie theatre work, so this was quite a different process than what I was used to, and I was pleased to learn a few "tricks of the trade" that both simplified and accelerated the process. I also coordinated scheduling, travel and accommodation arrangements for out-of-town artists, and again was lucky to benefit from Eric's experience in this area, finding new ways to work efficiently within a tight timeframe (and budget!)

I was invited to participate in marketing and fundraising meetings, in particular for the company's upcoming production of The Seagull, and I oversaw several aspects of the marketing campaign, while also maintaining the marketing calendar and updating the ever-changing to-do list. This provided me with valuable insight into the logistical and creative marketing challenges inherent to a production of this scale, and into the amount of time, work and collaboration required in order to maximize the potential of any budget. I also participated in the negotiation process between Crow's and a Toronto ad agency with whom they were partnering for the first time, and it was fascinating to sit in on creative presentations with both companies, watching as divergent ideas, personalities and perspectives came together to create a campaign that ultimately met their collective needs. I am pleased to say that I am staying on with Crow's for the next eight weeks, continuing to work part time on the Seagull marketing campaign. I look forward to witnessing the fruits of our labours, on the marketing and creative fronts, and to remaining a member of such a dynamic, inspiring team.

This experience did shed some light on my own long-term interests in producing and general management, and ultimately it helped me to realize that working within a larger company such as Crow's may not be the ideal fit for me. While I am grateful for the tools that will help me to contribute within this environment, I am more eager to use those same tools in my continued self-producing work, which is a more natural fit for my personality and creative interests. That said, I am thrilled to now consider myself suited to occasional contract work with other companies; while I'm certain that I would not- at this point- want to commit to a permanent position, I do still enjoy the work, and look forward to continuing to enhance my skills through occasional supportive roles on a project by project basis.

Shane Carty trained in Directing with Douglas Beattie at Pie in the Sky Theatre (Stratford)


When Doug and I first discussed the possibility of working together in this way, I told him that my greatest interest was in learning how he shapes his style of direction depending on the actor he’s working with.  In fact, I pursued Doug as a mentor because he is uncanny in his ability to guide actors of different styles and levels of experience toward the same goal.  He also somehow manages it with grace, good humour and most importantly, an equal respect for all involved.  I think it’s easy to be a bully and I’ve seen many directors employ that tactic, rarely with any kind of good result.  In conversation after rehearsals, Doug gave me many insights into the various ways he tries to draw the work out of his artists.  Without going into too much detail, in the end, Doug’s philosophy seems to be centred around making the rehearsal process not only about delivering results; rehearsal should be rewarding and an experience as valuable as the final public performance. In fact, I think rehearsals are in some key ways more important to him than the actual end result, especially when working on a new play. 

As an actor, it has been my experience with ever-shrinking rehearsal periods that the work is often a race to opening night. Even though on this project there were only two and a half weeks of rehearsal, I learned that an effort can successfully be made to provide the actors with a sense that there is time to work, especially if, as a director, one is sensitive to that artist’s needs.  It’s a huge demand on the director, finding a different vocabulary for each actor, but in this case, it certainly yielded greater and happier results than a blanket “tyranny” approach might.

It seems obvious, but it seems the work of a director - a good one - seems mostly about patience.  Patience, preparation and a dedication to the needs of his or her collaborators.  It was tremendously valuable to have the time to spend observing and talking with a director as experienced as Doug Beattie.  Many thanks to Theatre Ontario for the support.  I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 2, 2015.

Read more about Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program

Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Monday, 8 December 2014

ONstage Openings for the week of December 8

In Eastern Ontario
Dec. 12, Alice Through the Looking-Glass at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa), with previews from Dec. 9

In South Central Ontario
Dec. 11, The Beck Festival at Theatre Erindale (Mississauga)

In Toronto
ONstage Now Playing in South Central Ontario
Next to Normal at Theatre Aurora
Dec. 13, The Snow Queen at Solar Stage Children's Theatre
Dec. 13, The Naughty Listers at The Second City

In Central Ontario
Dec. 9, Babe the Sheep-Pig at Peterborough Theatre Guild
Dec. 12, Rent at Theatre Collingwood

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board
New play development at Thousand Islands Playhouse
Charlotte Gowdy, Andrew Kushnir, Paul Dunn
Play Reading Week 2014 starts December 4
  • Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque 2014 Play Reading Week of public readings from their Playwrights Unit is December 4 to 9
  • Ottawa Little Theatre’s acting workshop with R.H. Thomson “Telling the Story” is on December 6
  • Theatre Passe Muraille invites submissions for the next “Pitch Andy” sessions for artists to introduce their work to Artistic Director Andy McKim; submission deadline is December 11
  • Deadline for applications to direct for East Side Players 2015-2016 season is December 12
Check out these items, and other postings from our members of funding opportunities, workshops, calls for submission, awards, and more—on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Theatre Ontario individual members can also access auditions and job postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Monday, 1 December 2014

ONstage Openings for the week of December 1

In Central Ontario
Dec. 3, James and the Giant Peach at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
Dec. 5, It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)

In Eastern Ontario
Dec. 4, Jack and The Beanstalk at Smiths Falls Community Theatre
ONstage Opening in Eastern Ontario
Jack and the Beanstalk at Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Dec. 6, Disney's Peter Pan, Jr. at Seaway Valley Theatre Company (Cornwall)

In Northeastern Ontario
Dec. 3, Bob's Your Elf at Sault Theatre Workshop (Sault Ste. Marie)

In South Central Ontario
Dec. 4, Next to Normal at Theatre Aurora
Dec. 4, The Giver at dancyn productions (Oshawa)

In Southwestern Ontario
Dec. 3, Mary Poppins at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton)
Dec. 4, The Snow Queen at Registry Theatre (Kitchener)

In Toronto

Dec. 2, Curtains at Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts
Dec. 3, QueerCab at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Dec. 6, A Christmas Carol at Solar Stage Children's Theatre
Dec. 7, #KanderAndEbb at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
A Christmas Carol at Alexander Showcase Theatre

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Friday, 28 November 2014

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Conversation Starters
Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres
George Randolph with Premier Kathleen Wynne at the
Economic and Trade Development mission to China
In Case You Missed It
This column will be off next week, but we return on December 12.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Bridging the Gap at Theatre Ontario

by Sarah Siddiqui (with additional content provided by Rebecca Ballarin and Madeline Smith), Theatre Ontario Youth Advisory Committee

On Saturday November 15, the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) hosted Bridging the Gap—a multi-format Think Tank event that was a culmination of a year of work.

The idea for this event came after our Provincial Youth Forum, back in May. At our “Face to Face” component of the day (which took place during Theatre Ontario’s AGM), we hosted a multi-generational discussion in which the older, established members of Theatre Ontario got a chance to connect with the youth attendees of our workshops during the day. Many different generations got a chance to share what they wanted the future of theatre in Ontario to look like.  Both the older and younger generations felt that sharing each others experiences was a refreshing experience, and also expressed interest in more conversations like that. This past September, one of our satellite committee members, Jillian Bjelan, who is based in Huron County, hosted her own Satellite Face to Face event.

In hosting Bridging the Gap, we wanted to help youth feel supported, members of the older generation feel appreciated, and to try and flesh out the topic of the day as fully as we could.  We were lucky to have had the Annex Theatre generously donated to us by George Randolph, as well as a wonderful set of facilitators, who will be named throughout this piece.  The event was emceed by YAC member, Madeline Smith.

Bridging the Gap: Icebreaker
The day started out with an energizing, and ice-breaking activity, facilitated by Elizabeth Stuart-Morris. Elizabeth is a young, Toronto-based artist, and affiliate of the YAC. The activity involved us taking a random card from a standard playing deck. Our card determined our “status” (ace being the lowest and King being the highest.) We weren’t allowed to look at our own card; rather, we had to place it on our foreheads for everyone else to see. We interacted with each other for a few minutes, and had to determine what our status was based on how others interacted with us. Not only did the activity get us moving and talking to each other, but it also got us to reflect on some of the larger themes that would later get covered in detail—namely, systemic barriers that prevent different generations and other differing groups from working together.

Bridging the Gap: Forum Theatre
The first major component of the day was a Forum Theatre piece, facilitated by Simon Malgobat, Artistic Director of Mixed Company Theatre, with scenes performed by actors Steve Bruines, Thea Fitz-James, Omar Hady, Sharon Ramirez, Luke Reece, and Janice Yang. This part of the day consisted of four short scenes that demonstrated conflict based on aspects of the larger theme of the day. After these scenes were shown once, they were repeated one at a time, and the audience had the opportunity to take the place of one of the performers in order to resolve the conflict shown. In addition to this, each scene and conflict was open for discussion by the whole group. The Forum Theatre component sparked a lot of discussion – so much so that we began to lose track of time in discussing the third scene, so we had just enough time to cram in the fourth! From what I could tell, everyone in the room seemed to really appreciate the intersectionality of performance, discussion, and taking ownership over the scenes. From the feedback that we received following the event, it seemed to be a favourite among the participants.

Bridging the Gap: Keynote Address
by Philip Akin
Next, we had our keynote address delivered by Philip Akin, founding member and current Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre. Philip spoke to what he thought about the overarching theme of the day (namely, “bridging the intergenerational gap.”) Rather than offering us any easy solutions, he addressed many of the facets involved, and broke down the issue. He asked us what kind of bridge we wanted to build, and how much construction had to take place between different generations – does each generation have to build an equal amount and meet each other in the middle, or does one have to build more than the other? Many participants also cited Philip’s talk as a highlight of the day.

After breaking for lunch, the group was split into two groups to participate in our two workshops of the day. Our workshop on “Education, Training, and Experience” was facilitated by Kerry Boileau (program coordinator, SKETCH) and William Webster (resident artist, Soulpepper), and “Access (and Lack of Access) to Resources” was facilitated by Natasha Mytnowych (General Manager, Artscape Youngplace) and Brian Postalian (Communications Manager, Paprika Festival). While I found myself floating between both workshops as an observer, two of my colleagues sat in on both and can attest to them in greater detail. Rebecca Ballarin, who participated in “Access (and Lack of Access) to Resources noted that: “Brian and Natasha talked about…how they got where they are today. In their stories they talked a lot about the importance of making and maintaining connections with people, and also talked a lot about just diving into positions and roles in order to learn as much as you can.”

Bridging the Gap: Workshops
In regards to the “Education, training, and experience” workshop, Madeline Smith notes: “Kerry and Bill delivered and excellent workshop. Our first activity with them ‘broke the ice’ amongst our group of theatre practitioners, facilitators, studiers, and lovers, while the second offered a chance to simply introduce ourselves and be present with the group. My primary take-away was the simultaneous ease and difficulty of making a connection with anyone. On one hand, I felt well-acquainted with everyone in the group by the end of session, as though I could easily approach them and seek collaboration, assistance or conversation, even though we had merely shared our names with each other. Kerry seamlessly created a safe space for everyone, and assisted us in taking joy (rather than cringing) at the opportunity to be silly. That said, it most certainly was not as simple as saying "hi, my name is -" to establish this connection of future possibilities.  It took a great deal of bravery and integrity to be as present as Bill encouraged and assisted us to be, both with one another when introducing ourselves and when supporting one another during others introductions.”

Bridging the Gap: Panel Discussion
Our final component of the day was a panel discussion, chaired by YAC member Ray Jacildo. Our panellists were: Nina Lee Aquino (co-Artistic Director, Factory Theatre), Kathleen Gallagher (Professor at OISE), Luke Reece (Artistic Director, Little Black Afro), Chy Ryan Spain (Youth Program Coordinator, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), Rosamund Small (playwright-in-residence, Outside the March), and Wendell Williams (performer and researcher, Mammalian Diving Reflex). In facilitating the panel, we wanted to get a sense of how each panellist got to where they are now, what kinds of barriers they faced (systemic or specific), and what they can pledge to do to bridge the gap (whatever they interpret that to mean). A recurring sentiment throughout the panel discussion was that some of the panellists experienced a lack of supportive space or community, and later sought out to create their own spaces and communities for like-minded artists. On the other hand, some of the other panellists recalled being reached out to from other artists. In hearing both of these perspectives, I couldn’t help but think back to Philip Akin’s keynote address earlier in the day – namely, when he asked which generation had to build more of the “bridge” we kept referring to. In hearing the personal stories of the panellists, it became very clear to me that there was no straight answer.
 
Closing remarks for the day were given by George Randolph, who relayed his own personal story. Like many of the panellists, he had to actively seek out his own performance training, and carve his own unique path that ultimately led to his career as a professional dancer, and much later on, the creation of the Randolph Academy and its triple threat program.

Bridging the Gap: Theatre Ontario's Youth Advisory Committee
Throughout the day, many personal stories were shared, and a lot of dynamic conversations were developed around our theme of bridging the intergenerational gap.  Our biggest critique thus far is that the day was fairly unfocused on the central theme. Indeed, we were a little ambitious in the kind of coverage we wanted to achieve, and we welcome that critique. But, we’re happy that we were able to achieve our goal of trying to start dialogue on a very big topic. It’s a topic that we hope the next YAC can continue to foster productive dialogue on.

Catch up on tweets from Theatre Ontario's Bridging the Gap on Storify

Apply to join Theatre Ontario's Youth Advisory Committee

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board
  • Deadline for applications for Buddies in Bad Times’ OAC Theatre Creators Reserve is November 28
  • Deadline for applications for Canadian Stage’s OAC Theatre Creators Reserve is December 1
  • Deadline for applications for Canada Council grant programs (Developmental Support to Aboriginal Theatre Organizations, Theatre Touring and Special Initiatives, and Theatre International) is December 1
  • Deadline for submissions for Theatre InspiraTO’s Ten-Minute Play Contest is December 1
  • Deadline for submissions for Ottawa Fringe Festival Lottery is December 1
New on The Bulletin Board
  • Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque is holding their 2014 Play Reading Week of public readings from their Playwrights Unit on December 4 to 9
  • Ottawa Little Theatre is hosting an acting workshop with R.H. Thomson “Telling the Story” on December 6
  • East Side Players in Toronto invites applications for directors for their 2015-2016 season; the deadline is December 12
Check out these items, and other postings from our members of funding opportunities, workshops, calls for submission, awards, and more—on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Theatre Ontario individual members can also access auditions and job postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Legendary Commitment to Community Theatre

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

The Michael Spence Award recognizes outstanding contribution, generosity of spirit, involvement, and legendary commitment to community theatre in a region.  Originally presented every five years on Theatre Ontario's quinquennial anniversaries, the award is now presented annually within the region that is hosting the Theatre Ontario Festival.  In 2015, the award will be presented to someone in the ACT-CO region of Ontario community theatre.

We caught up with several past recipients of the Michael Spence Award to find out how they are currently contributing to theatre in their communities.

Maureen Lukie (Toronto) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 2007 on the recommendation of the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario


It’s been seven years since I received this award, that magical number – don’t they say that every cell in your body changes within seven years, so that you’re literally a different person?  But even at the cellular level, I’m still part of community theatre.  In those years, I have stepped back from the ACT-CO Board (14 years, that’s 2x7), but focused on supporting the Downsview Park Arts Alliance, a group of Toronto community arts companies who pool their resources to share building and storage space, materials, set pieces and knowledge, cooperating to help ensure each other’s survival in challenging times.  The DPAA also devoted several years to mentoring programmes teaching set design/build skills for youth.

While I’ve had great experiences directing and acting for other companies like Bloor West Village and the Alumnae Theatre, I’m rooted in Amicus Productions and the Toronto Irish Players.  They’re celebrating 36-year and 40-year anniversaries this year and facing inevitable ups and downs in the life cycle of a company.  Amicus has recently undergone a revitalization and reorganization; change at that level is hard but invigorating and makes you think about what you really want and value.  TIP finds itself going back to its roots as a cultural haven for recent immigrants, as it began in the late 70’s; as it entered this century, it appeared that that role had passed, but global economic changes have brought a new generation from Ireland to our city.  Time is creating a cellular turnover here.

If the past seven years have meant one thing more than any other, it is that community theatres prosper best not as islands but in archipelagos with causeways from one to another.  You need a distinctive identity but you can’t be so separate that you are alone in times of difficulty.  ‘Community theatre’ shouldn’t just be a name that signals amateur status but describe our relationship to each other, hands joined across the city, the GTA and the province, as we bring our common passion for theatre to the audience.  No matter how things change, I think that’s what I want and value.

Joe O’Brien (Ottawa) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 2013 on the recommendation of the Eastern Ontario Drama League


I had the pleasure of directing the Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Rumors in January and, following its most successful run, I thought maybe I would hang it up.  Well, as the OLT representative to both the EODL and the Ottawa Community Theatre Association (OCTA) , along came reports to be written and meetings to attend, and I was back in the race.

And then, this fall I was asked to direct a production of W. Somerset Maugham’s Jack Straw for the Linden House Theatre here in Ottawa. This small local company has been building a reputation for performing  British plays, often period pieces, that are amusing, light-hearted entertainment for a loyal following based mainly in Rockcliffe Village and New Edinburgh. With a strong cast made up of Linden House regulars and some top-notch performers from the OLT, this year’s offering stuck to that tradition and was well-received by everyone who saw it.

Most recently the Ottawa Little Theatre chose to honour me, along with three other candidates, as a 2014 inductee into the Cornerstone Project.  This project, begun  for OLT's 100th Anniversary in 2013 “recognizes and acknowledges the contributions of many volunteers and supporters who have given their time and energy to making the Ottawa Little Theatre the thriving community organization it is today – the cornerstones of the theatre.”  Inductees names are placed on a sculpture commissioned for the project that will stand in perpetuity at the entrance to the theatre.

As to upcoming projects, I have been offered the opportunity to direct a mystery farce titled, The Murder Room, slated for production in January 2015 at the OLT.

Ken Stephen (Elliot Lake) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 2007 on the recommendation of QUONTA


I was awarded the Michael Spence Award after over a quarter-century of active involvement in community theatre in Elliot Lake, and on the executive of the QUONTA Drama Region.  During that time I managed to write a few plays, and two of these were performed—the was never enough time for me to give to writing, and I always had more ideas than time to develop them.

Since retiring from teaching in 2010, I have changed my address to Woodstock, and shifted my activity emphasis from performing, directing, and administration to writing.  I blog about performing arts (including extensive writing about the QUONTA and Theatre Ontario Festivals this past year), rare classical music, and travel, and particularly enjoy frequent excursions to see various plays on stage.  One of my current projects is a most unusual one-act mystery play.  I remain passionately committed to the growth and development of theatre in Ontario—most recently as a Board member for Theatre Ontario.

Bev Dietrich (Elmira) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 2014 on the recommendation of the Western Ontario Drama League


I have just finished stage managing The 39 Steps by John Buchan at Elmira Theatre Company and found it to be one of the most challenging plays I have ever worked on: 86 lighting cues, 46 ASM cues, 300+ sound cues, 4 actors playing 28 characters which means 28 costumes, all done in 33 scenes. To top it off, we then loaded up the show and travelled it to another theatre to do it all over again for another weekend. It was just like Festival week!

Auditions are coming up for our spring show Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade, which I am stage managing.  As Minifest chairperson for WODL, I am working with Binbrook Little Theatre as they prepare to host Minifest in July 24 and 25 of 2015: six theatre companies doing the same one-act play.

Finally I love when my work and my theatre world collide. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the writing of the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. McCrae House has commissioned a local playwright to write a play about John McCrae of which will be performed in the back yard of McCrae House for a summer theatre experience. I have been working with the playwright assisting him with research and sit on the committee which will take this idea and make it happen next year.

The 2015 Michael Spence Award will be presented to an individual from the south central Ontario community theatre region, which includes the City of Toronto, Durham Region, York Region, Peel Region, Halton Region (except for the City of Burlington), Simcoe County, Dufferin County, and the District of Muskoka.  Find out more about nominating someone for Theatre Ontario’s Michael Spence Award.

Monday, 24 November 2014

ONstage Openings for the week of November 24

In Toronto
Nov. 25, The De Chardin Project at Theatre Passe Muraille, currently in previews*
Nov. 27, James and the Giant Peach at Young People's Theatre, with previews from Nov. 24
Nov. 27, The Stronger Variations at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, with a preview on Nov. 26
Nov. 27, Kim's Convenience at Soulpepper Theatre
Nov. 27, A Christmas Carol at Soulpepper Theatre
Nov. 28, A Christmas Carol at Alexander Showcase Theatre
Nov. 28, The Griffin and the Minor Canon at ACT II Studio Theatre
Nov. 29, Mad About Munsch at George Brown Theatre School
Nov. 30, Shoestring Magic Flute at Solar Stage Children's Theatre

In Central Ontario
Nov. 25, Aladdin! (The Panto) at Port Hope Festival Theatre
Nov. 28, Everything I Love About Christmas at Theatre Orangeville, with a preview on Nov. 27

In Eastern Ontario
ONstage Opening in Eastern Ontario
The Railway Children at Ottawa Little Theatre
Nov. 25, The Railway Children at Ottawa Little Theatre
Nov. 26, Cyrano at Bottle Tree Productions (Kingston)
Nov. 27, Pomme and 'Restes: SHIPWRECKED! on the Tempestuous Lost Island of Never at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa), with previews from Nov. 25
Nov. 28, Cinderella at Mississippi Mudds of Carleton Place
Nov. 29, Lights, Camera...Christmas! (The TV Christmas Special That Nearly Never Was) at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg), with previews from Nov. 27

In Northwestern Ontario
Nov. 28, Ethan Claymore at Magnus Theatre (Thunder Bay), with a preview on Nov. 27

In South Central Ontario
Nov. 27, GLT-YC Y1A at Georgetown Little Theatre

In Southwestern Ontario
Nov. 27, Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus at Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
Nov. 28, Shrek The Musical at The Grand Theatre (London), currently in previews

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Theatre Ontario individual members can access discount ticket offers for shows marked with an * asterisk

Read more about our discount tickets program

Friday, 21 November 2014

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Conversation Starters
Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres
TO Toasts
Eastern Ontario Drama League One-Act Festival Award Recipients
You can also receive news from Theatre Ontario every month by email.  Our archives are online and the November issue is now available.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Congratulations to the Fall 2014 Professional Theatre Training Program 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.

$32,225 was awarded in total among the following recipients:
  • Jasmine Chen to train in Outreach with Marjorie Chan at Cahoots Theatre (Toronto)
  • Julia Hune-Brown to train in Artistic Direction with Ruth Howard at Jumblies Theatre (Toronto)
  • Sarah Kitz to train in Directing with Amiel Gladstone at Tarragon Theatre (Toronto)
  • Amy Lee to train in Directing with Jennifer Brewin at Theatre Columbus (Toronto)
  • Emma Mackenzie Hillier to train in Dramaturgy with Bob White at the Stratford Festival
  • Mariel Marshall to train in Directing with Ross Manson at Volcano Theatre (Toronto)
  • Ariel Martin-Smith to train in Producing with Nathalie Bonjour at Culchahworks and Nightwood Theatre (Toronto)
  • Peter Pasyk to train in Artistic Direction with Chris Abraham at Crow’s Theatre (Toronto)
  • Alexis Scott to train in Artistic Producing with David Whiteley at Plosive Productions (Ottawa)
The next application deadline for this program is March 2, 2015.

Read more about Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program

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


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario
Workshops at Theatre Ontario
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board
  • There will be a Town Hall Meeting on re-imagining the Prix Rideau Award for the Ottawa professional theatre community on November 24
  • Deadline for applications for Buddies in Bad Times’ OAC Theatre Creators Reserve is November 28
New on The Bulletin Board
  • Staging Our Histories is a new event in Ottawa in the spring of 2015, bringing together amateur and professional performing artists, academics, and the public.  They invite proposals on performance pieces presenting alternatives ways of knowing and sharing history; the submission deadline is January 9
Check out these items, and other postings from our members of funding opportunities, workshops, calls for submission, awards, and more—on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Theatre Ontario individual members can also access auditions and job postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Monday, 17 November 2014

ONstage Openings for the week of November 17

In Southwestern Ontario
ONstage Opening in Southwestern Ontario
Anne of Green Gables at Simcoe Little Theatre
John Dickson, Madison Reid, Gloria Mitchell
Nov. 19, Disney's The Little Mermaid at Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge
Nov. 19, Shrek The Musical at The Grand Theatre (London) in previews
Nov. 19, Snow White at Drayton Entertainment: St. Jacobs Country Playhouse
Nov. 20, Anne of Green Gables at Simcoe Little Theatre
Nov. 21, Jesus Christ Superstar at Theatre Ancaster (Hamilton)

In Toronto
Nov. 19, Spin at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Nov. 20, 84 Charing Cross Road at Stage Centre Productions
Nov. 20, The De Chardin Project at Theatre Passe Muraille, in previews*

In Eastern Ontario
Nov. 21, Fiddler on the Roof at Orpheus Musical Theatre Society (Ottawa)

In Northeastern Ontario
Nov. 21, Miracle on 34th Street at Sudbury Theatre Centre

In South Central Ontario
Nov. 19, Regrets Only at Markham Little Theatre
Nov. 20, Les Misérables at Oshawa Little Theatre
Nov. 21, Almost Maine at The Curtain Club (Richmond Hill), with a preview on Nov. 20*

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Theatre Ontario individual members can access discount ticket offers for shows marked with an * asterisk

Read more about our discount tickets program

Friday, 14 November 2014

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Conversation Starters
DNA Theatre's This Is What Happens in Orangeville (1987)
#CdnCult Times on SpiderWebShow looked at Canadian
performance culture's past, present, and future.
Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres
Migrations
  • We’re pleased to welcome Sandra Paquette as our new Executive Assistant, and Rachel Stableford as our new Development Coordinator—both joining us for one year at Theatre Ontario
In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Welcome Damien Atkins as Playwright-in-Person at Festival 2015

We are thrilled to welcome Damien Atkins as Playwright-in-Person at Theatre Ontario Festival 2015 in Oshawa.  For nearly twenty years, Theatre Ontario has been bringing together professional playwrights and passionate community theatre artists at Festival.  Damien will be reading from his work on the afternoon of Friday, May 15.  Tickets are now on sale for the Festival.

Damien Atkins has acted on most of the major stages across the country.  Toronto credits include Angels in America, The Caretaker, King Lear, The Importance of Being Earnest (Soulpepper), Someone Else, Unidentified Human Remains..., Shopping and Fucking (Crow’s Theatre), Seussical (YPT), The Clockmaker (Tarragon), London Road, 7 Stories, Frost/Nixon, The Glass Menagerie, Amadeus, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods (Canadian Stage), and Mojo, Our Country’s Good (theatrefront). Other recent acting credits include I Am My Own Wife (Dallas Theater Center), The Way of the World (NAC/Soulpepper), The Retreat from Moscow (Neptune Theatre), Mozart in Amadeus and Henry James in Geometry in Venice (Segal Theatre, Montreal).

He spent four seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, as both actor and playwright. Their 2001 production of Good Mother, starring Seana McKenna, made Atkins the youngest playwright to have his work produced by the Festival. His other works as a playwright include Lucy (at Canadian Stage in Toronto and the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City), Miss Chatelaine (Theatre Passe Muraille/Grand Theatre) and Real Live Girl (Buddies in Bad Times/Manitoba Theatre Centre/Grand Theatre).

Film and TV credits include Take This Waltz (feature), The Listener (CTV), MVP (CBC), Slings and Arrows (TMN), Our Fathers (Showtime), The Matthew Sheppard Story (NBC), The Eleventh Hour (CTV), and This is Wonderland (CBC). Damien has been playwright in residence at Canadian Stage and Crow’s Theatre, as well as a Guest Instructor at the National Theatre School of Canada. He has received nine Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for acting and writing, winning four.

Theatre Ontario Festival is co-hosted by Oshawa Little Theatre and the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario.  Playwright-in-Person is made possible by a grant from the Playwrights Guild of Canada, funded by the Canada Council.  Join us at Theatre Ontario Festival 2015

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario
  • Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp on November 15 in Toronto: Learn the necessary skills to produce creative works, including business planning, promoting on social media, crowdfunding essentials, and participate in a mock grant jury
  • Bridging the Gap, from Theatre Ontario’s Youth Advisory Committee, is on November 15 in Toronto—A day to share perspectives, knowledge and experiences while connecting, networking and collaborating
    Bridging the Gap from Theatre Ontario's Youth
    Advisory Committee is on November 15 in Toronto
  • Grant Writing Information Session for Theatre Individuals and Groups on November 18 in Barrie with Pat Bradley: a free workshop for anyone looking for tips and must-dos for preparing an application to the Ontario Arts Council
  • Webinars for Small Budget Arts Organizations: "Facebook—A really useful marketing tool” is a free webinar on November 20
  • Financial Basics for Artists on November 24 in Toronto: a free workshop on basic financial skills
  • Launching Your Career on November 24 in Toronto: Answers to your FAQs about the business of acting with Erin Keating and a guest actor
  • Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur on December 8 in Toronto: Thinking of producing a show or starting a theatre company? Join us for this workshop with Erin Keating and a guest producer
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board
  • The SPARC Network (Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities) is holding a network summit in Haliburton Highlands on November 14 to 16
  • Deadline for Ontario Arts Council Northern Arts grants is November 17
New on The Bulletin Board
  • There will be a Town Hall Meeting on re-imagining the Prix Rideau Award for the Ottawa professional theatre community on November 24.
  • Directors Lab North is now inviting applications for the 2015 Directors Lab; the Lab fosters a national and international exchange between a community of emerging, mid-level and established career directors that need a safe space to explore and connect with like-minded peers.  The application deadline is February 15, 2015.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members of funding opportunities, workshops, calls for submission, awards, and more—on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Theatre Ontario individual members can also access auditions and job postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website