Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Please note our holiday hours: We will be closing at noon on Wednesday, December 23, and opening at 9am on Monday, January 4. Theatre Ontario wishes everyone a very happy holiday and all the best for 2016!

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for submissions for Acting Up Stage Company’s Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve Program is December 28.
  • Deadline for submissions to Direct at East Side Players in Toronto is January 4.
  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed Grants and Capital Grants is January 6.
  • Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio’s "Social Scripts" program starts January 8, funded by the Youth Theatre Training Program.
  • Deadline for submissions for Sudbury Theatre Centre’s Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve Program is January 8.
  • Deadline for submissions for Burl-Oak Theatre Group’s Page to Stage Student One-Act Playwriting Contest (for Halton area secondary school students) is January 8.
  • The Estelle Craig ACT II Studio theatre program for adults 50+ is holding an Information Day on January 8.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • b current invites submissions for the rock.paper.sistahz 14th Theatre Festival in May 2016, from emerging and established artists, as well as art facilitators, who identify as black, indigenous, or people of colour. The application deadline is January 11.
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, 22 December 2015

Theatre for Literacy

by Alexsandra Marzocca

Unable to make eye-contact, disinterested in making small talk, this painfully shy young man hid himself away from the group.  We’ll call him Adam.  Adam seemed like the least likely participant in our Theatre for Literacy drama course.  He passed when it came to check-in, and was reluctant to participate in his scene partner work.  But as soon as he got onstage, he came alive!  He was filled with energy and confidence that neither Ciragh, nor myself expected!

Theatre for Literacy is a program formed by two organisations, Frontier College’s ‘Beat the Street’ program and Theatre Ontario’s outreach program. Their aim is to provide a course that empowers students with drama techniques that develop their communication and literacy skills. The learners come to pursue a variety of individual goals that range from education (high school GED, post-secondary, or apprenticeship), to employment, to general literacy skill-building which provides increased independence. In addition to their in-class activities, they are also connected to supports through the Beat the Street Program. The course ran as a trial for four sessions, three hours each session, at Frontier College. Theatre Ontario hired me on to develop the curriculum and teach the course to several participants.

To be honest, I was a little surprised they hired me because I was incapacitated in the interview.  I had all of my wisdom teeth removed the day before, so I was a little high on Oxycontin and could barely speak through my chipmunk cheeks.  Some sort of intellect and personality must have shone through because a week later, and a lot more healed, I met with Katie (the Theatre Ontario Outreach Coordinator) to discuss the expectations they had of me developing the program.
The week leading up to our first class, I developed the four-week course with several goals:
  1. Create a safe, judgement-free space where participants can explore their creativity and self-expression
  2. For the participants to develop their self-confidence and interpersonal skills 
  3. To expand participants’ vocabularies and teach them how to write a scene or monologue 
I was so lucky that one of the other interviewees offered her services as a teaching assistant.  The job seemed a little overwhelming for one person.  Ciragh Lyons and I met at Frontier College during our ‘Adult Literacy Instructor’ training. She is a delightful English soul! She has more of a background in teaching, while I have more of a background in theatre, so the match was serendipitous. 

The students had no idea what they were getting themselves into! Literally. Frontier College didn’t inform them what they were signing up for, as a shrewd tactic that gained us many more participants. Most of the students hadn’t done drama since high school and even then, most of them weren’t so keen on it. These students are at Frontier College to get their GED. Most of them dropped out of high school, and a few of them are now in homeless shelters. Initially, it was hard to sell the value of this course to people who had a lot more on their plate than memorizing a monologue.

A laid-back guy, so chilled he was practically horizontal, was pretty engaged from the beginning. Ben openly talked about his darker life experiences. Although he was active in all our exercises, it was the monologue he wrote that really blew us away. During his final performance, he moved us all to tears. Having a monologue as an assignment allowed him to create a piece of creative writing that is an often overlooked literacy skill. He may not enjoy or be as skilled at writing an essay, but the metaphorical language he used to describe the pain he had felt, and was still struggling with, was powerful.

A quirky introvert (who methinks did protest too much) kept telling Ciragh and I, “I’m shy! I don’t know if I can do this!” But would often be the first volunteer and always the one to brought the laughter to the room. Despite herself, Ally was the most vocal in the group. However she found it challenging to write her own material. During Ben’s first rehearsal, Ally was completely moved and inspired to delve into herself, and find her voice. Her final performance is one that I’ll never forget. She was willing to open some wounds and share her pain using beautiful poetic language. She expressed that this course ignited an interest in pursuing creative writing.

A gentle giant. Softly spoken but with a comforting presence and one of the politest guys you’ll ever meet. George seemed vaguely interested in the course. I couldn’t tell if it was out of politeness or a genuine interest, but he eagerly began participating in activities and partner work. George is a musician who would make everyone else feel at ease but somehow carry that unease on himself. When we would work on posture and presence it was hard for him not to sway from foot to foot, or look away from the floor. When he was given a scene partner suddenly he had the environment where he could make eye contact and stand taller. Over the course of the four weeks, he slowly began to be more present in his own body. It’s amazing how a small thing such as posture can completely overhaul his stage presence as a musician.

It was incredible to see the impact that our short time together had on the participants. From the initial reluctance came an enthusiasm that exceeded my expectations. I felt lucky to have contributed to their development of self-confidence and social skills. I was honoured that they trusted Ciragh and I enough to tell us their stories. Our last session was bittersweet, because everyone did an amazing job of presenting their scene or monologue, but we knew our time together was finished. We all expressed the wish that the course continues so we can spend more time together developing their skills and confidence.

Monday, 21 December 2015

ONstage Openings for the weeks of December 21 and December 28

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

Dec. 29, At the Movies at Oh Canada Eh? Productions (Niagara Falls), with a preview on Dec. 28*

In Eastern Ontario

Dec. 27, Mary Poppins at Kanata Theatre (Ottawa) 

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Parfumerie at Soulpepper Theatre
Michelle Monteith, Gregory Prest
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

In South Central Ontario

Dec. 21, Snow White at Burl-Oak Theatre Group (Oakville)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


In Case You Missed It

You can also receive news from Theatre Ontario every month by email.  Our archives are online and the December issue is now available.

Theatre Ontario’s office will be closed from December 23 at noon, re-opening on January 4 at 9am.  We'll see you in 2016!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.) These are some of the current participants' experiences.

Emily Oriold trained in general management with Deb Sholdice at Blyth Festival

(November 20, 2015)  First and foremost, I thank Theatre Ontario for this opportunity, and thank Deb Sholdice and Gil Garratt at the Blyth Festival Theatre for helping to give me a leg-up to reach for the stars! I feel absolutely fortunate to have been able to train with Deb for these six weeks. My training through the Theatre Ontario PTTP has been invaluable. I really feel that it has helped answer and clear up questions I had prior to my training about contract negotiation, bookkeeping practices, the audit process, and overall administrative management of a theatre company.

It quickly became clear that in order to run a mid-size theatre company, one must look beyond one’s own walls and have a strong impact on one’s community both on an outreach level and an economic level. I learned that building relationships with local businesses, patrons, and government bodies is essential when running a theatre organization.

I was able to observe Deb as she went to BIA meetings, strategic planning sessions for North Huron (where the Blyth Festival is located), and, specifically, a meeting for a larger project scheduled for Fall 2016 which will involve the partnership of other not-for-profit companies to realize the full scope. These are all activities outside of producing a regular season of plays. The full operations of a theatre organization go beyond a summer production season and it was very eye-opening for me to be a part of this larger conversation. As a professional artist with fifteen years of experience working as a performer and director, it became clear to me that is was more beneficial for me to do my training in the off-season so that I could get a better understanding of how a theatre organization operates throughout the entire year—not just when it is producing a theatrical season. I was able to observe the year-end audit process, fundraiser planning, membership and ticketing strategies for an upcoming season, and basic bookkeeping practices: all things I have never done before.

Emily Oriold's final day at Blyth Festival
with Deb Sholdice and Gil Garratt
I also was a part of the conversation as Gil and Deb put together their new five-year strategic plan. The Blyth Festival has had four Artistic Directors in three years. Now that they have been able to confidently contract a new AD, a strong vision could be agreed upon with plans made to support this vision, and activities outlined to execute these new goals. What amazing timing! We are currently putting together a five-year strategic plan for The Foster Festival with our Board of Directors and being a fly-on-the-wall as Gil and Deb went through their brainstorming session was—as I’ve already said many times—invaluable.

I am happy to report that with Deb’s guidance and assistance, The Foster Festival was able to set up a 2-Ticket Holiday Pass campaign which will, hopefully, be a boost to our November/December ticket sales. We have already seen some strong single ticket sales within the Niagara region and we would like to continue on this path by offering Holiday Passes as a Stocking Stuffer idea to our customers to encourage them to share the love of theatre with their friends and family. Deb was instrumental in helping me figure out how we can do this with our third party box office team. Because we do not run our own box office, we cannot just run any program we want at any time and we sometimes have to be creative in how we can implement these types of programs. Deb was such a big help to me when I put together my “pitch” to the Performing Arts Centre box office.

This past week, The Foster Festival held auditions for the World Premiere production of Halfway to the North Pole. I will be moving into contract negotiations with CAEA artists. Deb gave me a breakdown of what some of the questions might be coming from artists and/or agents. She also helped me crunch some preliminary numbers for designers and technicians. As a General Manager or Executive Director, our job is not to get in the way of the art and cut it off at the knees at every turn because “we cannot afford that.” It is our job to hear what the artistic vision is, understand the vision, and then figure out how we can fund this vision along with manage the finances surrounding expenses.

I will say it again, this training has only reinforced my confidence as the Executive Director of The Foster Festival and has given me further insight into what it means to run a professional theatre organization. If I can name one thing that is at the top of the list of what I have taken away from this training process, it is the importance of how closely the Artistic Director and General Manager or Executive Director have to work together in order to realize a company’s vision and, ultimately, make it a successful cultural endeavour. I believe that Foster Festival Artistic Director Patricia Vanstone, and I already have a strong and united working relationship. My training at the Blyth Festival definitely reinforced the importance of us continuing to work together on a united front to ensure the success of The Foster Festival.

In closing, thank you, thank you, thank you to Theatre Ontario and the PTTP. I would not have had the means to do this training otherwise and because of this training, I can now continue forward as the Executive Director of The Foster Festival with more confidence, tools, and tricks-of-the-trade than I had before starting this 6-week process.

Susan Cuthbert trained in directing with Robert McQueen at Harold Green Jewish Theatre

(November 19, 2015) As the run of The Immigrant winds down, I am both exhilarated and inspired to continue my journey directing, but also sad that this rewarding experience is almost over.  I absorbed specifics of how to create a supportive environment and the power of  choosing words that invite actors to take risks, stay curious and explore.  I marveled at Robert Mc Queen's diligent and tenacious intent to maintain focus on the actors' process, and his focus on each characters' specific tactics, intentions and actions. Some specific terms to guide performers he used : 'keep active, not complacent' , 'keep narrative alive' , 'dis-obligate yourself  from a specific destination ' , 'your character is rigorous' 'buoyant.'  I observed that this detailed work is especially necessary during the initial rehearsal process because once new elements are introduced, it is the heart and anchor of the piece.

I also observed how to deal with the pressure of time—especially once in the theatre; how imperative it is to be patient and maintain a cool, clear head so that solutions can be found as situations arise.
I noted how Robert led with a strong, clear vision while involving everyone both on stage and backstage. Everyone in the production is equally valuable and all views important for a cohesive vision. Seeing how  important the fine balancing act is of listening and communicating with clarity and fortitude throughout the process.  It takes a very secure person to delegate and discuss.  I hope to become that secure with my work as a director.

I was asked to talk to groups of audience members (approximately 30) about the production. At first I wasn't sure if I could be articulate what the heart of the show is, answer their questions or relay the Director’s vision. By the third talk, I had built some confidence and some valuable new skills, and was able to impart some of the feedback from the audience with Robert and the cast, which seemed helpful.

I am so fortunate to have learned from the best—especially for my chosen genre of music theatre! It's obvious that Robert has an innate and huge talent for directing but he  has also learned skills from many other directors including one of music theatre legends, Hal Prince. Robert is an actors' director, who is a powerful, generous and accomplished communicator and artist. Having been on the 'other side' as an actor he knows how imperative these qualities are in a director for a distinctive and exemplary production. Because Robert strives for world class excellence, he has inspired me to continue my journey as a director. And like him, I hope to be fearless, curious, and rigorous.  This experience has been a ‘spring board’ into a whole new world and has opened my life in ways so profound it is difficult to express.

I look forward to staying open and curious as I find my own voice and learn, express, guide and lead throughout my quest for this new exciting world. Who knew I could transition into a new career,  at my age?! Thank you so much for this unique and rewarding opportunity!

Miranda Bouchard will train in design with Ruth Howard at Jumblies Theatre

(November 24, 2015) I am thrilled to have been selected as a recipient for Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) support from Theatre Ontario, and am eager to begin my training with the incomparable Ruth Howard and the amazing people at Jumblies Theatre and offshoots.

During my mentorship with Ruth, I hope to learn more about the theory and history of community-engaged artistic practice (specifically theatre.)  I feel I’ve got much to soak in, to broaden my appreciation for the possibilities and power of the discipline. Simultaneously I intend to familiarize myself with theatre design, its multiple, integrated facets, and the ways in which those pieces function when applied to community-engaged theatre.

I will refresh the creative skills that will serve me during the mentorship and beyond as designer for my home organization, Thinking Rock Community Arts’, current project The Rivers Speak. These skills include design and creation of props, puppets, masks and costumes, scenic painting and production, various fabrication applications, lighting, spatial design and more. I’m excited for this phase of applied learning and experimentation, collecting samples, creating sketches, building mock-ups, combining ideas and disciplines, and ultimately hosting art-making sessions to produce the emergent ideas.

To this end—the ultimate task of building the visual components in group, back in Algoma—I will improve my facilitation skills through working alongside Ruth, and find my “style”, to most effectively engage both artist and non-artist community members, of all ages, in the processes of making and animating. As I move through my mentorship, I aim to be an asset, assistant and ambassador for Jumblies Theatre, to learn deeply by being deeply involved, and to maximize every moment of this opportunity.

I also hope to learn more from Ruth Howard about theatre design (advantageously, a specialty and area of interest for Ruth. I look forward to getting into hands-on making, experimenting and collecting as I work towards developing an overall design for the Rivers Speak, facilitation (getting comfortable as a facilitator, and finding my style, to work with groups and propel my project forward, effectively and equitably) and BIG questions (as the holder of a vision for the overall design, how do you balance holding tight to that vision, while letting go, adapting, and making room for others? How, as a settler woman, can I responsibly and equitably design a community-engaged production that represents and responds to diverse perspectives, stories, and views brought together in the spirit of cross-cultural collaboration?)

Courtenay Stevens trained in artistic producing with Jennifer Brewin at Common Boots Theatre

(November 24, 2015)  Well, my time studying artistic producing with Common Boots has flown by. It’s been a flurry of emails, copywriting, meetings, proof reading, more emails and group decisions about font, colour, ticket prices and content across the board.  Oh and meetings with the board.  And with publicists and pastors.

I’m not quite sure if Jennifer sleeps, as she’s always coming up with new ideas and creating ways to maximize the modest company budget while generating the most return and engagement. Through watching, I have certainly learned a few lessons about leadership. One of the key takeaways is empowerment.  Jennifer will present a challenge and allow a person to take it up, or will encourage them to stretch to reach it. This happened to me on several occasions. Empowerment and trust also allows the time to get work done. I suppose it’s the old adage of surrounding oneself with good people.

Jennifer knows and respects the value of people and community. She remembers people’s names and is generous in her interactions. She understands the collaborative nature of theatre.

Tails From the City at Common Boots Theatre
Having never worked at a desk, I too have been more exposed to the nature of collaboration outside of the rehearsal hall. My colleagues in the Common Boots office (which is often a cafĂ© or my kitchen table) have really carried me well during this training period. They have always been willing to share their experience and knowledge with me.  And in keeping with the way things go around here, when they don’t know, they just take a stab at it and are supported in their endeavor.

During our run up to the production of the Common Boots winter show, Tails From the City, I have made valuable contacts in disparate communities ranging from church groups to marketing.  I’m sure I can reach out to this network in the future should I need them and I know the Common Boots team also has my back.


Thank you Theatre Ontario for allowing me this eye opening opportunity to explore artistic producing with this local theatre company.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2016.

Learn 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.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Please note our holiday hours: We will be closing at noon on Wednesday, December 23, and opening at 9am on Monday, January 4. Theatre Ontario wishes everyone a very happy holiday and all the best for 2016!

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Sudbury Theatre Centre invites submissions for their Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve Program, with funding priority given to creators working in Northern Ontario for the development of new regional work. The application deadline is January 8.
  • Odyssey Theatre in Ottawa is hosting a workshop on “Physical Theatre and Mask: for performers, running January 15 to 17.
  • Odyssey Theatre also invites submissions for their Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve Program, with funding priority given to projects that incorporate a discipline related to masked theatre. The application deadline is January 18.
  • ArtsBuild Ontario has a new date for their Dollars to $ense Energy Conservation Workshop in Toronto: February 10.
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, 15 December 2015

Join Us at Theatre Ontario Next Generation Showcase 2016

When: Sunday, January 17th and Monday, January 18th, 2016
Where: Aki Studio Theatre
Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East, 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.

Similar to last year, 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 we are still transitioning to electronic kits, 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 can be directed to
Rebecca Ballarin, Professional Theatre and Education Manager
416.408.4556 x 12
programs@theatreontario.org   

R.S.V.P. for Next Generation Showcase Required by Friday, January 8, 2016

Please specify whether you will be attending on Sunday, Monday, or both days when you RSVP

Join the conversation at #TOshowcase

Schedule of Events – Approximate Times
Lunch and Refreshments Provided

Sunday, January 17, 2016
  • 9:00am - Industry Check-in
  • 9:30am - Canadore College
  • 9:55am - Ryerson University
  • 10:55am - George Brown Theatre School
  • 11:45am - York University (BFA)
  • 12:35pm - National Theatre School of Canada
  • 1:15pm - Lunch
  • 2:15pm - University of Alberta
  • 2:55pm - Sheridan / University of Toronto Mississauga
  • 3:55pm - Humber College
  • 5:00pm - University of Windsor
  • 6:00pm - Networking Party
  • 7:30pm - Panel Discussion

Monday, January 18, 2016
  • 9:30am - Industry Check-In
  • 10:00am - London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
  • 10:15am - Centre for Indigenous Theatre
  • 10:25am - New Faces
  • 11:30am - St. Lawrence College
  • 12:40pm - St. Clair College
  • 1:45pm - Lunch
  • 2:30pm - Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts
  • 3:40pm - Sheridan Institute: Musical Theatre (Part I)
  • 4:40pm - Sheridan Institute: Musical Theatre (Part II)
  • 5:45pm - Networking Party
Read more about Theatre Ontario's Next Generation Showcase

Monday, 14 December 2015

ONstage Openings for the week of December 14

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Dec. 16, Alligator Pie at Soulpepper Theatre
Dec. 18, Christmas Concert by the Candy Cane Carolers at Solar Stage Children's Theatre
Dec. 19, The Naughty Listers at The Second City

ONstage Opening in Kingston
A Christmas Carol - the Broadway Musical!
at Bottle Tree Productions

In Central Ontario

Dec. 17, Christmas Belles at Port Hope Festival Theatre

In Eastern Ontario

Dec. 17, A Christmas Carol – the Broadway Musical! at Bottle Tree Productions (Kingston)


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

Friday, 11 December 2015

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Bruce Spinney in Angel Square at
Great Canadian Theatre Company. Photo
by Andrew Alexander.

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

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 to apply for Thousand Islands Playhouse 2016 Playwrights’ Unit is December 11.
  • Deadline for nominations for the Gina Wilkinson Prize for a female theatre artist making a transition from one theatre discipline to directing is December 15.
  • Deadline to apply for the 2016 Harvey Residency at the Rosebud School of the Arts (Alberta) 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, 8 December 2015

Congratulations to Fall 2015 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). We thank all those who applied to the program.

$21,875 was awarded in total among the following recipients:
  • Aanmitaagzi Story Makers (North Bay) - Serpent People
  • Edge of the Woods Theatre (Muskoka) - Out of the Box
  • Essential Collective Theatre (St. Catharines) - Playwriting for Youth
  • Festival Players of Prince Edward County - Festival Players Young Company Workshops
  • Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio - Social Scripts: Youth Theatre Series
  • Paprika Theatre Festival (Toronto) - Core Educational Programs
  • Young People's Theatre (Toronto) - Three Up
Over $72,000 was requested during this application round. The next application deadline for this program is March 15, 2016.

Find out 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, 7 December 2015

ONstage Openings for the week of December 7

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In South Central Ontario

Dec. 10, The Beck Festival at Theatre Erindale (Mississauga)

In Toronto

ONstage Opening in Toronto
The Christmas Tree at Baby Gumm Productions
Ramona Milano, Marc Bondy
Dec. 11, Parfumerie at Soulpepper Theatre, with a preview on Dec. 11
Dec. 12, Krampus The Original Christmas Curmudgeon at Solar Stage Children's Theatre
Dec. 12, The Christmas Tree at Baby Gumm Productions

In Central Ontario

Dec. 8, The Snow Queen at Peterborough Theatre Guild

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, 4 December 2015

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

  • We are pleased to announce that the Ontario Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 new regulation includes an exemption for stage productions provided the e-cigarette does not contain nicotine, and that there is no consideration for the use of the e-cigarette (i.e. product placement.) Thank you to everyone who supported this advocacy initiative.
  • A tense opening night for Take Two Theatre in Timmins on November 20th: storm knocked out power, and it wasn’t restored until fifteen minutes before opening. They held the curtain briefly, and performed without a hitch to an appreciative audience.
  • The Quinte West council agreed to renovations to the Old Town Hall in downtown Trenton. Building code violations had closed the second floor theatre venue used by Bay of Quinte Community Players.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Join Us at Theatre Ontario Festival 2016

Tickets are now on sale for Theatre Ontario Festival 2016 in North Bay. Opening May 18, and running until May 22, our annual Festival is a celebration of community theatre featuring performances and workshops, bringing together theatre lovers from across the province. Early-bird passes at a discounted rate are available until January 31.

Festival accommodations can be booked at the Festival Hotel: the Holiday Inn Express. Accommodations are available at a special Festival rate, and includes a hot buffet breakfast.

Related reading


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

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

  • The final Ontario Cultural Strategy Town Hall is in Windsor on December 3.
  • Deadline to apply for Great Canadian Theatre Company’s Theatre Creators Reserve is December 4.
  • Deadline to apply for Theatre Aquarius’ Theatre Creators Reserve is December 4.
  • The Kick and Push Festival in Kingston invites applications for their 2016 Festival.  The deadline is December 4.
  • The Toronto Arts Council is holding an information session on the Long-Term Project Grants for Dance and Theatre program on December 7.
  • Deadline to apply for Thousand Islands Playhouse 2016 Playwrights’ Unit is December 11.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Acting Up Stage Company invites applications for their Theatre Creators Reserve.  Funding priorities are works that use music to illuminate the human condition, where the music is integral to the emotional journey of the character and the storytelling. Preference is also given to works written by teams who specialize in each area (book, music, lyrics.) Deadline is December 28.
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

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Inviting Applications for New Faces at Theatre Ontario's Next Generation Showcase 2016

Theatre Ontario’s 22nd annual Next Generation Showcase, presented in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, will take place on January 17 and 18, 2016 at Daniels Spectrum in Toronto.

This unique two-day event provides graduating theatre students the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of industry professionals, including casting directors, artistic directors, independent directors, producers, and agents. Many of the top theatre training programs from Ontario and beyond participate annually, and each year we also provide an opportunity for recent grads from other training programs wishing to pursue their performing careers in Toronto in our NEW FACES category.

To be eligible to apply to "New Faces", you must fulfill the following criteria:
  • You are graduating or have graduated from a full-time theatre training program within the last 3 years;
  • You currently reside, or plan to reside, in Ontario and are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • You presently do not have an agent.
Please note:  If you have already participated in the Next Generation Showcase in the past, you are not eligible for NEW FACES participation.

The application deadline is December 11, 2015.

Monday, 30 November 2015

ONstage Openings for the week of November 30

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Northeastern Ontario

Dec. 2, The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby at Sault Theatre Workshop
(Sault Ste. Marie)

In Northwestern Ontario

Dec. 3, The Book of Everything at Magnus Theatre (Thunder Bay), with previews from Nov. 30

In South Central Ontario

Dec. 3, The Heart as it Lived at Theatre Aurora

In Southwestern Ontario

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Grand Theatre (London)'s production of A Christmas Story
Isaak Bailey, Sarah Machin Gale,
Callum Thompson, Matthew Olver
Photo by Claus Andersen
Dec. 3, The Trials of Robin Hood at London Community Players
Dec. 4, It's A Wonderful Life at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton), with previews from Dec. 2

In Toronto

Nov. 30, P@ndora at Young People's Theatre (Toronto)
Dec. 1, The Addams Family, The Musical at Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts (Toronto) 
Dec. 2, Munsch-O-Mania at George Brown Theatre School 
Dec. 3, A Christmas Carol at Soulpepper Theatre
Dec. 4, Parfumerie at Scarborough Players
Dec. 5, Buster Canfield and His Circus of Amazing Fleas at Solar Stage Children's Theatre
Dec. 5, Tricks at Soulpepper Theatre
Dec. 6, Kim's Convenience at Soulpepper Theatre
Dec. 6, The Last Polar Bears at Solar Stage Children's Theatre

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
The Gift of the Magi at Theatre Orangeville
Mairi Babb, Mark Uhre

In Central Ontario

Dec. 1, A Charlie Brown Christmas at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
Dec. 3, That December Show: Peter Pan-to at South Simcoe Theatre (Cookstown)
Dec. 4, American Idiot: The Musical at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre (Peterborough)
Dec. 4, Miracle on 34th Street, the Play at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
Dec. 5, Marilyn-After at Baby Gumm Productions (Collingwood)

In Eastern Ontario

Dec. 1, A Christmas Story at Ottawa Little Theatre
Dec. 3, It's a Wonderful Life at Belleville Theatre Guild, with a preview on Dec. 1
Dec. 3, Angel Square at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa), with previews from Dec. 1
Dec. 3, Puss In Boots at Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Dec. 4, Anne And Gilbert: The Musical at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa), with previews from Dec. 1
Dec. 5, Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr at Seaway Valley Theatre Company (Cornwall)


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

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.) These are some of the current participants' experiences.

Yunjeong Faline Park is training in theatre administration with Niki Poirier at Roseneath Theatre (Toronto)

(October 30) I began my fifteen weeks of training with Roseneath Theatre, mentored by Niki Poirier, full of expectation and excitement. When I started, there were two unexpected big changes to the company. First, the company’s fall show had been moved from the first half of season to January 2016 due to the possibility of a teachers’ strike. Roseneath is a Theatre for Young Audiences which means its performance schedules and many other areas are directly affected by any job action in the school system. Second, the Production Manager left her position so there is currently a search on for a new Production Manager to begin in later December. In a positive way, this has allowed me to learn and work on projects with more focus and less pressure.

Staff meeting at Roseneath Theatre
Each week I’m with a different department. I started with Managing Director, Natalie Ackers on writing and preparing the Ontario Arts Council touring grant application by filling out forms and making sure everything was put it in the correct order. I also assisted Natalie with preparing a multi-layered and multi-year budget spreadsheets by using my knowledge and skills of the Excel program.

As a charity, Roseneath Theatre has an annual audit which started at the beginning of October. Since they are in transition of hiring a new bookkeeper, I was able to do most of the bookkeeping records including payroll, bank deposit, transaction record etc. by using the knowledge and skills from a bookkeeper class I took as a night course last year. I prepared the audit files and accounting records to make sure they were in accurate order. When the audit started, Niki and I assisted with any requests that the auditor needed. As a result, the audit took less than a week to process.

In the week with Artistic Director Andrew Lamb, I received instructions on how to use the Casting Workbook website and was explained how it works for him and other directors in this field. He gave me a list of actors he wanted to audition, so using the Casting Workbook I set up the audition times and made an audition schedule list for their upcoming January show.
I also attended PAONE meeting (Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education) with Andrew where I networked with people who are working in the Arts Administration.

In my weeks with Production Management I have taken on the responsibility of keeping track of the rehearsal hall rentals. I have also assisted Niki with set restorations for the upcoming performances by speaking with the contracted technicians to see how the set can improve and helping with research on the materials that to be used to do this.

Roseneath introduced an after school drama camp for grade 2 – 5 every Thursday afternoon for eight weeks. This is a new program for the company. I was able to assist the Education and Marketing Manager, Gretel Meyer Odell the first drama camp day to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Roseneath Theatre's booth
I also had the opportunity to attend a marketing conference, held by the Catholic Curriculum Corporation, called “Faith Meets Pedagogy”. I helped set up the booth and explained to educators what Roseneath Theatre does, giving a brief synopsis of plays of this season and how our work effects young audiences.

Working with Niki and watching how she works with multiple departments has given me a good sense of confidence in the work I have done so far and I believe that I will also be able to manage a variety of administrative positions after this placement is complete.

Through the last half of training I will be working with and learning about Social Media, Marketing and Tour Management as well as deeper step into departments that I have already assisted in these past two months. It seemed quite a challenge to switch my career to a completely different field, but I’m seeing good results and can see myself as a good fit with Arts Administration. This training has proven that I can work with confidence, and I strongly believe that I will achieve my goal by the end of this program.

Camila Diaz-Varela will train in digital production management, online community engagement, and digital curation with Sarah Garton Stanley at SpiderWebShow

(November 11) As part of this PTTP cycle, I’m going to be working with the Makers of SpiderWebShow, training in Digital Production Management, Online Community Engagement & Digital Curation. The word ‘online’ and ‘digital’ are important ones here, because the SpiderWebShow is a website that experiments with how Canadian theatre, technology, and the internet can intersect. If you haven’t come across it before, you can check it out here: www.spiderwebshow.ca.

This is a map of where the Makers and collaborators of the
SpiderWebShow are based, generated by the Performance Wiki
I first came across the site when I interned for the Rhubarb Festival 2 years ago – my boss at the time, the amazing Laura Nanni, asked me to look up an artist that the festival was interested in and send her a digital sample of their work, and I found myself stumbling into the rabbit hole that is the SpiderWebShow archive. There are so many projects quietly living and growing on the site that all have the explicit mission of exploring how theatre and the internet can converge to serve each other. I had honestly never seen theatre artists behaving like this before. They were making 30 second audio clips of their own thoughts, writing critical articles on + for their communities, theatre and otherwise, posting mini audio plays to be experienced at home, curating photos of theatre in process. It all felt very much like a playful, authentic grab at something – possibly at communicating their processes as artists, but certainly at playing with a new online theatrical form. 

I was really inspired by it. At that time I’d just graduated from a music theatre performance program and felt like I had been in a music theatre bubble most of my life. I wanted to get inspired by what lay beyond, so I was focusing on getting to know my Toronto theatre community. I was also trying to expand my skill set by learning music production software on the side, and recording and editing my own music. At this point, I thought that these worlds would always be separate, but when I found SpiderWebShow, I saw a living example of how digital and live forms can converge and actually be performative and engaging.

Since then, I’ve been keeping tabs on the site. Watching new projects grow and especially following the #CdnCult mag’s new editions. This summer, I was working on a small project for the SummerWorks festival Conversation Series, and approached one of the founders of the site, Michael Wheeler, about using their PerformanceWiki (www.performancewiki.ca) as a platform for a document I was creating. Since he’s so awesome, he invited me into the fold, and things have snowballed to the point where I now have been offered the opportunity to work with the Makers of the show for the next four months. I am beyond excited about this.

I’m hoping to learn several things – first, how to efficiently work with artists who are not the in the same physical space as me. I have plans to work with artists who live in other countries, and we certainly don’t have the budget to travel for bi-weekly rehearsals. What can our distance provide us as creative fodder, rather than an obstacle? How can we create a nurturing, creative digital space for us to work in? I have a hypothesis that there’s something in the tone and speed of correspondence that affects productivity and creativity, and in turn, the product. Kind of like when you’re working in an office, and the kind of attitude/jargon you use to discuss things affects the vibe of the workplace. The process forms the product, right? I think I can learn a lot about this from the folks at SpiderWebShow, especially since these artists have way more experience with large-scale, long-term collaboration than me. In the few meetings I’ve attended so far, I’ve been surprised with how generous, friendly, and open the ‘bosses’ have been. I expected a much more authoritarian style of leadership, for some reason, but it’s been very nurturing and human. I really like that. I’m hoping to get some clarity on how they manage that, and why.

Another thing I hope to learn is how to curate an engaging, theatrical online space. One of the things I do know coming into this training is that building anything online requires some prerequisite technical knowledge. This can be overwhelming to learn and at times slow going, because sometimes even digital robots don’t want to obey commands. So that has to be taken into account in the curation of any artistic online work, because sometimes you don’t have as much time as you’d like to ponder and edit the piece – you’re just trying to get the link/tool/platform to function in the first place. Sometimes you have a deadline and you assemble the pieces you’ve got, and post them as is. I’m really curious how that process can be less stressful, and how to support the Makers in a meaningful way during the process. I’ve never been a production manager in a live theatre setting, only a creator and performer, so this is gonna be a learning curve I think.

I’m also really excited to connect with what theatre artists are doing across the country. Through SpiderWebShow I’ve already met so many people I’d never get the chance to meet, because I have never been in the same space as them. For example, I haven’t been to Vancouver in 10 years but the other day an incredible artist + person who lives there, Adrienne Wong, taught me how to make ponies ride across my Gmail chats. I know I’ll be learning professionally useful things (not just ponies), but at the core, I think SpiderWebShow is about connecting our Canadian theatre community using the internet, so somehow, I think it applies. 

The intersection of theatre and the internet is cool, because theatre is about sharing stories with other humans in the same space – so, human connection (among other things. I know this is a grand statement. Stay with me here.). And the internet is about sharing and connection too, but sometimes it’s not as human – it can be more data based, and troll-y, and media centered. Since the internet is a very new, growing, Wild West of a form, how can we make it be more human? How can Canadian theatre artists create an online space that is nurturing, and creative, and connecting/ed, and relevant?
I’m really excited to ask these questions with the artists behind SpiderWebShow. I’ll let you all know how it goes.   

Claire Burns is training in general management with Beth Brown at Nightwood Theatre (Toronto)

(November 16) In the past six months the Storefront Theatre has really evolved. We have gone from an ad-hoc rental venue to a theatre with a curated season—this fall we’re hosting six plays between September to December. My mentorship with Beth Brown at Nightwood has proven thus far invaluable in terms of the development of our organizational structure at Storefront.
I sort of slid into the role of Managing Director in late 2014 and to be honest, didn’t have much idea of what that role would encompass. Beth has been a real mentor in that I can talk to her about pretty much anything to do with the organization and she is always patiently guiding my decisions while being completely non-judgemental about some of the issues that we face.

On a more basic level, the internship has helped to develop knowledge around systems like accounting, bookkeeping, fundraising and leadership. As well as working with Beth to learn more about being a managing director I have also been afforded the opportunity to sit in on rehearsals for Diane Flacks’ new play, Unholy, which had its first workshop performance at the Groundswell Festival this October. As an artist/administrator who has written and directed my own plays this was an incredible opportunity to witness how a company like Nightwood works through the development of a script. It was great to be able to be in the room with the actors and great director, Kelly Thornton.

The more I learn about the disparity of female leadership in theatre—vis a vis directors and Artistic Directors, the more I believe that I would like to develop my skills and become an artistic director in the future. I’m excited to see how Nightwood curates their season, what speaks to the leadership of the organization and upon what they ultimately base their programming decisions. As a female artist and a feminist it has been an absolute boon to be working alongside Nightwood in any capacity and to be working with such strong, intelligent women has not only allowed me to grow as an administrator it also comforts and inspires me that a female based theatre company actually exists in Canada. After all - Girls Rule the World!

Michela Sisti will train in directing with Ross Manson at Volcano Theatre

(November 16) One week to go before I officially begin my mentorship with Ross Manson and Volcano Theatre. That exquisite build-up of anticipation that comes with starting a new project is beginning to play itself out inside me. Every now and then I get a little taste of what’s to come when I am cc’d in a email sent by a member of the company about some new aspect of rehearsal preparations.  I feel like I did when I was a kid waiting at my window before a big family event, the excitement rising in me in waves each time a new car pulled up to the driveway.

The big event radiating from the far end of these seven days is Century Song, a stunning piece of interdisciplinary theatre about one person’s journey through time and art and into the present moment.  It is a work inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens and it is performed to unearthly effect by the incredible soprano-dancer, Neema Bickersteth.  From a laptop screen in the in the quiet of an empty house I first watched a recorded video of Century Song’s National Arts Centre premier.  Even from a tiny screen the force of Neema’s performance and the story of endurance and vitality that was being told moved me.  It affirmed my obstinate hunch that art has the power bring us a little closer to facing the perplexity of our existence with bravery and with open hearts.  I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to work with Ross and the Volcano Theatre team as assistant director on preparing this show for its 2016 national and international tours.

Century Song is a project that encompasses so many of the questions and challenges that have intrigued me since I began my first stubborn blind stumbles into directing.  It has been helpful for me to think of these questions/challenges as tensions in content, form and process that must be keep taught and vibrant, rather than problems that need to be resolved.

The first of these tensions is between, on the one hand, those rich internal worlds of yearnings and visions that we all have within us, and on the other hand, the objective reality that we are part of a picture that is infinitely bigger than ourselves.  When I first met Ross I shared with him that I wanted to be involved in the creation of theatre that showed human lives within the context of a larger whole.  We are not just ourselves, I had ranted, we are part of a society, part of history, part of a very strange species of big-brained primates, part of the universe.  I think Ross smiled – whatever he did it was disarming – and he said something like, “Century Song, in the end, is about the journey of a person.”  I am going to take that with me into next week’s development period. I’m also going to carry those words into all of my own future directing work.  It’s obvious, but sometimes what is most obvious is what we forget. Theatre in the end is about people; it’s about connection.

The second point of fascination that I’ve flagged as I enter my mentorship with Volcano Theatre is the tension that exists among the multiplicity of art forms that are at work in Century Song.  In addition to Neema Bickersteth’s holistic integration of contemporary dance and operatic singing, Century Song, brings together live instrumental music, visual art from across the 20th century and animations by Germany’s fettFilm.

I see this work as a continued experiment in the layering of meaning. Each choice in movement, music, visuals, narrative, has its own colour, its own frequency. Putting these elements together is like building harmonies in music.  During my mentorship I want to continue honing my instincts for recognizing what precisely these elements are bringing out in each other.  What choices create consonances or dissonances? When are these elements bringing out the best in each other? When are they getting in each other's way?  Though asking these questions again and again I want to move towards ever-greater specificity in making artistic choices and to hone a method of working that contains and channels creative free-flow into lucid moments of theatre.

This brings me to the third tension I want to explore during my mentorship.   It is a tension of process and it exists between discipline and spontaneity in the rehearsal room, between restraint and freedom. During the development week I will be involved in I will have the opportunity to observe how Ross and the team work toward clear artistic goals while remaining open and connected to a creative process that is in essence chaotic and intuitively driven. The choreographic content of Century Song has so far been generated from improvisations and then sculpted into a series of precise actions to be repeated in performance night after night.  How Ross and choreographer Kate Alton work with Neema to prepare a Century Song that is newly and viscerally lived each night is something I am very curious about.

During the next few months Ross will be leading a team of artists who are each specialists in their respective fields.  A huge part of his work as a director will be creating the conditions for everyone to excel at what they do best and guiding these talents to co-operate as one body.  This spirit of complicitĂ©, of working together towards something awesome, something that can be shared with other people, is what I am looking forward to the most.

It is Monday November 16th. The sun is shining and people are walking the streets of Toronto with miraculously unzipped coats.  I’m going to join them while it’s bright. 

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2016.


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

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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

Danny Parkes in "Brother, Brother"
from the 10th Inspirato Festival.
Applications for the Directing Academy are due November 30.
Submissions for the Playwriting Contest are due December 1.
  • Upcoming Ontario Cultural Strategy Town Halls are in Kingston (November 25), Mississauga (December 1) and Windsor (December 3).
  • Deadline to apply for Theatre InspiraTO’s Directing Academy is November 30.
  • Deadline to apply for Native Earth Performing Arts’ Theatre Creators Reserve is December 1.
  • Deadline to apply to Canada Council’s theatre programs (Theatre International, Developmental Support to Aboriginal Theatre Organizations, Theatre Touring and Special Initiatives) is December 1.
  • ArtsBuild Ontario’s Dollars to $ense—Energy Conservation workshop is on December 1.
  • Deadline to enter Theatre InspiraTO’s Playwriting Contest is December 1.
  • Deadline to apply for Great Canadian Theatre Company’s Theatre Creators Reserve is December 4.
  • Deadline to apply for Theatre Aquarius’ Theatre Creators Reserve is December 4.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • The Kick and Push Festival in Kingston invites applications for their 2016 Festival.  The deadline is December 4.
  • Rosebud School of the Arts in Alberta invites applications for the Harvey Residency, studying themes at the intersection of faith and art.  The deadlines are December 15 (for 2016 and 2017) and January 31 (for 2017.)

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, 24 November 2015

Legendary Commitment to Community Theatre

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 2016, the award will be presented to someone in the QUONTA region of Ontario community theatre. The deadline for nominations to be received by Theatre Ontario is January 29.

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

Sharon Sproule (Espanola) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 1997

As one of the initial recipients of the Michael Spence Award I count myself as doubly privileged and honoured. I had the good fortune to meet and get to know Michael at the ‘birthing’ of Theatre Ontario in the early 1970s.To have been able to witness and experience his finely honed love of theatre in general—and of community theatre in particular—plus his outstanding organizational skills and expertise was inspirational indeed. Striving for those ideals became an indelible part of my theatre being. Then it almost goes without saying that to be QUONTA’s first recipient of the Michael Spence Award was a huge huge honour for me. 

Up until this year I have been able to stay physically active in theatre. The last few years I have focused mainly on my Espanola YouTHeatre , and working with kids has been extremely gratifying.

Arthritis and Age have finally caught up with me, and this year I am not able to take an active part in the physicality of theatre. I stay connected though, through the Internet and an Arts/Crafts/Entertainment network I have set up to help spread-the-word!

Harry Houston (Sault Ste. Marie) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 2002

Boy, time flies when you're having fun. I was honoured with the Michael Spence Award back in 2002. My theatre activities shift back and forth between acting and directing with various local groups. I am currently in rehearsals (directing) for Norm Foster's The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby for Sault Theatre Workshop. We open December 2nd for a two week run.

Sault Theatre Workshop, my home theatre, is in their 67th season of community theatre. Each year I co-ordinate the hosting of a non-competitive One Act Festival Workshop. We invite entries from across the QUONTA drama region and it has proved an excellent training event for new and beginning directors. We have been fortunate to have the amazing Richard Howard as our adjudicator/workshop leader for most of these festivals. It is exciting to see some of our former first-time directors blossom and take on major productions.

STW has a rich history, rarely repeating any play and offering a mix of classic and new theatre. I am pleased and proud to be part of an exciting and vibrant group that doesn't shy away from the issues and keeps community theatre relevant. 

Walter Maskel (Gore Bay) was awarded the Michael Spence Award in 2012

I received the award in 2012, and since then have worked on 13 productions for my home group, Gore Bay Theatre, as well as 3 productions for the Espanola Little Theatre (ELT). In 2013, I directed the ELT production of Looking by Norm Foster which received the Elsie at the Theatre Ontario Festival.

Fortunately for Gore Bay Theatre, Andrea Emmerton, a highly respected former Theatre Ontario Community Theatre Co-ordinator with extensive directing and backstage experience moved to Gore Bay. Since I was the only director for the group, (our town has only 800 residents and our group is very small), her arrival has lightened my load and made it possible for me to get back onstage occasionally. We have similar philosophies about theatre and are highly passionate about the art. It is part of our life and we go from production to production (we have worked on 12 shows together to date) and do whatever is necessary in order to stage a production—which means we are both working on the creative, producing, and executive sides of a production.

In the past forty years I have directed over 150 productions, and for the first time I have co-directed productions with Andrea and I highly recommend it. Working as a team facilitates a collaborative learning process that shares and generates ideas and is artistically highly fulfilling because the bottom line is what is in the best interest of the production. Our motto is “four eyes are better than two.”

Currently, we are co-directing three productions together: Dear Santa, by Norm Foster for the Espanola Little Theatre, a QUONTA show for Gore Bay Theatre Kindertransport by Diane Samuels, and a comedy for our summer season. We also continue to work with a youth group for Gore Bay Theatre and produced Murmel, Murmel, Mortimer Munsch, as part of our summer season last year, and will produce another youth production for this summer.

I continue to work on the QUONTA Executive, and although I have served a term as President, feel that it is extremely important to work for the continued success of our Region.

Related Reading

Monday, 23 November 2015

ONstage Openings for the week of November 23

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Eastern Ontario

Nov. 25, Greater Tuna at Bottle Tree Productions (Kingston)
Nov. 28, Have Yourself a Swinging Little Country Christmas at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg), with previews from Nov. 26
Nov. 28, Valley Vic and the Christmas Temptations at Stone Fence Theatre (Killaloe / Pembroke / Renfrew)

In Northeastern Ontario

Nov. 25, Mary Poppins at Musical Comedy Guild of Sault Ste. Marie
Nov. 27, A Christmas Carol at Sudbury Theatre Centre, with a preview on Nov. 26

In Southwestern Ontario

Nov. 24, Radio Ridiculous at The Registry Theatre (Kitchener)
Nov. 27, A Christmas Story at The Grand Theatre (London), with previews from Nov. 24
Nov. 27, Beauty and The Beast: A Pantomime at Guelph Little Theatre
Nov. 27, The Christmas Tree at Baby Gumm Productions (Hamilton)
Nov. 27, Collide-O-Scope at Theatre Woodstock

In Toronto

Nov. 23, Unwrapped at The Second City
Nov. 24, Kudelka Meets Ryerson Dances at Ryerson Theatre School
Nov. 26, The Dover Road at Stage Centre Productions
Nov. 26, Lend Me a Tenor at Alexander Showcase Theatre
Nov. 28, Cinderella at Stage Centre Productions
ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Sex Tape Project at fu-GEN Theatre Company
Louisa Zhu, Isabel Kanaan
Nov. 28, The Promise at Dreamtheatre Productions

In Central Ontario

Nov. 24, Snarl'd the Rapunzel Panto at Port Hope Festival Theatre
Nov. 26, The Gift of the Magi at Theatre Orangeville


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