Friday, 29 April 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

Reframed from Acting Up Stage Company
at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

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

Shaw Festival's Beyond the Stage for Educators
  • Deadline for applications for directors at Alumnae Theatre’s Fireworks Festival (non-paying) is today.
  • Deadline to apply for Magnetic North Theatre Festival’s Compass Points Program for 2016 is April 29.
  • Shaw Festival’s Beyond the Stage workshop for teens on Mask and Movement is on April 30.
  • Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre is seeking a volunteer Bar Manager. Applications are due on April 30.
  • Deadline to apply for Canada Council’s Theatre Touring and Special Initiatives Program is May 1.
  • Deadline for nominations for the Native Women in the Arts’ Barbara Laronde award for self-identified Indigenous female emerging artists living in Northern Ontario is May 1.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Arts Council’s Access and Career Development grants is May 3.
  • Shaw Festival’s Beyond the Stage for educators is on May 6. 

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Cahoots Theatre is hosting a free community event “ASL Explore” with Joanne Cripps from the Deaf Culture Centre on May 13 at 6:30pm at Theatre Passe Muraille.
  • Shakespeare in the Ruff seeks volunteers for their annual gala on May 26.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions and Job Postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Join Us at “Now What: An Emerging Artist's Guide to the Theatre Universe” presented by our Youth Advisory Committee

Join us at the Theatre Ontario Annual General Meeting on May 9, 2016 for a conversation about building your career in the theatre industry!


We’re getting real with panelists Joe Recinos, Sophia Fabiilli, Jeff Ho, Wayne Burns about the good, the bad, and the ugly, and hearing their advice on what pushes them forward and what they wish they’d known when they were starting out. This dialogue will be a unique opportunity for artists of all backgrounds to be a part of the conversations that are at the heart of Ontario’s theatre community right now. Panel discussion starts at 8PM with a Q&A to follow! Stick around until 10 to enjoy food, wine (by donation), and bid on silent auction items including a headshot session, audition coaching, VIP Doras package, and more. RSVP today - we’ll see you at the Randolph on May 9!

Questions for our panelists? Email us at youth@theatreontario.org. Join the conversation at #YACNowWhat!


Monday, 25 April 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of April 25

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Eastern Ontario

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Importance of Being Earnest at
St. Marys Community Players
Julia Gwyn, Charlene Van Veen, Dan Rankin, Ryan Stewart
Photo by Lucid Musings Photo
Apr. 29, Belles Soeurs: The Musical at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa), with previews from Apr. 27

In Northeastern Ontario

Apr. 29, For Life at Sudbury Theatre Centre, with a preview on Apr. 28
Apr. 29, Old Love at Espanola Little Theatre

In Southwestern Ontario

Apr. 27, Alice in Wonderland at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in previews 
Apr. 29, Quilting Pieces at Simcoe Little Theatre
Apr. 29, Shakespeare in Love at Stratford Festival, in previews
Apr. 29, Sleepy Hollow the Musical at Elmira Theatre Company
May 1, Uncle Vanya at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), in previews

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
The Fox on the Fairway at
Bloor West Village Players
Conor Ling, Whitney Alexander, Kristie Paille
Photo by Jennifer Etches

In Toronto

Apr. 28, Botticelli in the Fire / Sunday in Sodom at Canadian Stage, with previews from Apr. 26
Apr. 28, Shakespeare in Hollywood at Amicus Productions
Apr. 28, Ultrasound at Cahoots Theatre Projects / Theatre Passe Muraille, in previews
Apr. 29, Damn Yankees at Scarborough Music Theatre, with a preview on Apr. 28
Apr. 29, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Curtain Call Players
Apr. 30, Best of Kids Fringe Festival at Solar Stage Children's Theatre


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

Friday, 22 April 2016

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

  • Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program featuring Elizabeth Thomas (training in directing with Tanja Jacobs), Miranda Bouchard (training in design with Ruth Howard), and Matthew Thomas Walker (training in directing with Kim Collier.)
  • Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program featuring Jessica Lea Fleming (trained in artistic producing and programming with Tanja Dixon-Warren and Margo Kane), Sehar Bhojani (training in directing with Robert Ross Parker), Alessandro Costantini (training in directing with Caleb Marshall), and Deanna Choi (training in sound design with Thomas Ryder Payne.)
You can also receive news from Theatre Ontario every month by email.  Our archives are online and the April issue is now available.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

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.)

Today we feature three stories:
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Miranda Bouchard

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

Miranda Bouchard is training in design with Ruth Howard at Jumblies Theatre

(April 9, 2016)

What has been accomplished so far?

Artfare Essentials Training, December 2015
Photo by T. Syrette
I’ve been working alongside my mentor, Ruth Howard, who is the Founding Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre (Toronto), learning about Design for community-engaged theatre and performance contexts. I’ve been traveling almost on a monthly basis from my home in the Algoma District of Northern Ontario to work with Ruth and the administration, artists and participants at Jumblies Theatre and at Jumblies’ offshoot companies (Making Room Community Arts, Arts4All, Community Arts Guild and MABELLEarts). I’ve been learning through the process about different approaches to design, through the lens of community-engaged theatre, benefitting from training, participating in and facilitating certain community-engaged activities, attending performances and events, and making plans for the design of my home company’s community-engaged theatre production, The Rivers Speak.

Some activity highlights to date include:

  • Attending Jumblies Theatre’s renowned Artfare Essentials Training in Toronto in December. I received this highly-regarded training, networked with many theatre and community-engaged artists in the process, and learned skills and approaches to apply to my role as Designer for the Rivers Speak.
    Artfare Essentials Training, December 2015
    Photo by T. Syrette
  • Attending, participating in and even co-facilitating some activities and projects at Jumblies Theatre and offshoot companies, with the intention of learning each company’s approach to visual design and social engagement. Ruth, the artistic directors of the offshoot companies (Michael Burtt, Beth Helmers, Leah Houston and Liz Rucker), and a host of Jumblies-affiliated artists and personnel have been extremely generous with their time and talents, allowing me to ask questions, share ideas, and participate in activities that have extended and enhanced my mentorship. My weeks of mentorship have been primarily based out of Jumblies’ Ground Floor at CityPlace, where I’ve had the opportunity to attend, participate in and co-facilitate sessions and projects unfolding at and around the Ground Floor. I’ve worked at Making Room Community Arts in Parkdale, where I’ve attended as well as assisted with planning and facilitating some of their Sand In Water sessions. I attended a really profound puppet performance by the Arts4All players in the Davenport-Perth neighbourhood, and had the opportunity to attend one of their workshops, where I co-facilitated some puppet-making activities. The community members across the city that I’ve had the great fortune to work with thus far have been supportive, generous, and so much fun.
    Miranda (left) with Jumblies Artist & Metcalf
    Foundation Intern Nikki Shaffeullah, Mentor Ruth
    Howard, and former Metcalf Foundation Intern (and
    fellow PTTP recipient) Dan Watson, January 2016.
    Photo by Jumblies Theatre
  • Working closely with Ruth to fine-tune the Rivers Speak critical path; compile ideas and inspirations for the overall design of the production; open the design amply to integrate and consider community contexts, needs, stories, protocols, participation and more; consider a variety of different approaches to design; blend my experiences working as a studio artist into my role as Designer; network with other artists, making connections and widening the learning net; work hands-on to experience, participate and facilitate throughout my mentorship.

PTTP goals reached to date include:

  • Learning about the principles and practices of community-engaged theatre, and of Jumblies Theatre’s approach
  • Learning about a range of different design approaches, processes and considerations relating to community-engaged theatre
  • Adopting and developing new approaches and perspectives through experiential learning, refining facilitation and collaborative skills,
  • Connecting learning, all the way along, to the development of the design and related planning process for the Rivers Speak community-engaged production

How has your mentorship evolved from your original training plan?

We’ve had to slightly adjust some of our dates, testimony to how busy things can get when a mentor and mentee are each running organizations! Readjusting and gaining perspective on this has added additional value to the whole experience.
Facilitating at Making Room Community Arts, January 2016
Photo by M. Burtt

The four days of learning workshops, which had been planned for Algoma in March, had to be postponed. As a result, additional days of in-person mentorship will be added to the schedule. I’ve also been learning more than I thought I would! Experiences I’ve had and connections I’ve made have led to new and extended opportunities for learning, participation and research.

How do you feel about your relationship with your mentor?

Ruth is an excellent and collaborative teacher. Her encyclopaedic knowledge is a great resource for anyone, especially an emerging designer and administrator, to draw upon. She is easy to approach and talk to. I feel very comfortable and supported in this mentorship. I gain much from my one-on-one mentorship meetings with Ruth, and equally as much from experiential learning that’s been afforded to me through engaging in the work happening at Jumblies. I’ve learned much and made great connections with the Artistic Directors at the Jumblies’ Offshoots – Making Room Community Arts (Michael Burtt), Arts4All (Liz Rucker), Community Arts Guild (Beth Helmers) and MABELLEarts (Leah Houston). In between visits to Toronto, I know I can easily connect with Ruth – and with the artistic leaders at the offshoot companies, and with company member colleagues – anytime I have questions or am seeking information. I’ve been applying my learning as I further my PTTP mentorship from home, developing planning frameworks and documents, compiling inspiration boards, making maquettes, storyboarding, and discussing the Rivers Speak project with my colleague, Thinking Rock Community Arts’ Artistic Director, Robin Sutherland (herself a past PTTP recipient).
Facilitating at Arts4All, February 2016
Photo by R. Thawani

What will you be working on in the second half of your mentorship?

I aim to complete the overall design framework for the Rivers Speak by the end of August 2016. This will overlap with the second half of my mentorship time. I plan to continue my work with Jumblies and offshoot companies, attending the programming activities best suited to my interest in learning about community-engaged design and collaborative approaches. I hope to deepen my conversations with Ruth and the artistic leaders at the offshoot companies regarding their design philosophies, approaches and processes. Some of this will be in-person and I hope to develop a questionnaire to assist with this research that I can send from a distance, too. I hope to be of help with a couple of special Jumblies & offshoots projects unfolding in Toronto through the spring and summer – more details to follow. The mentorship will culminate in Algoma, where Ruth will visit Thinking Rock Community Arts. Together we’ll assess my design plans, along with ideas that have flowed forth from recent TRCA programming; evaluate the mentorship process, making plans for future learning and collaborations; and design and facilitate special art-making activities and a performance project which will put to use skills and approaches learned throughout the mentorship.

Related Reading

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Elizabeth Thomas

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

Elizabeth Thomas will train in directing with Tanja Jacobs on The Model Apartment at Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto

(April 9, 2016) If only my professors had warned me that you actually had to write responses in the Real World, I might have tried to be better at them. Flashbacks to university, half an hour before class: open notebook, greasy hair, chai tea. Go.

The first emotion that comes to me is relief. Relief that timing worked out, and that my grant could come through. Gratitude, to Theatre Ontario for believing in the opportunities this project affords me. Gratitude for Tanja, my dear friend and mentor, who reached out to me months ago and asked me what I was doing. To all the people, my parents, relatives, friends and strangers who helped set me up in Toronto. Thank you. 

The second emotion, quickly following, is fear. This is uncharted territory for me, not only creatively but personally. Contemporary work, without the safety net of a couple hundred years of productions and thought makes for a far more uncertain production. There is something comfortable about slipping into an old classic. Many of the big decisions have already been made, and the pleasure comes from teasing out specific details. Work that relates directly to our time and most recent history, like The Model Apartment, becomes trickier. The more I begin to sink into this project, the more I am aware of how trauma interacts with everyday life, as well as the reality that a story about the Holocaust will be very close for members of our audience. The responsibility of this story and the realities of these characters is daunting.

And transit. Really. Subways. For someone who’s never lived more than a fifteen-minute walk from anything I wanted to get to, two hours of commuting is mildly incomprehensible. (And I must say, after a lifetime of small-town living and four years on the east coast, the fact that strangers aren’t immediately invested in what I’m doing at that moment and the course of my life is unnerving, but something I could definitely get used to.)

Luckily, underneath the fear, a third emotion begins to wiggle its way into the surface, similar in colour, texture, and shape to the first. It sounds like the voices of those I am most grateful too. It’s a barrage of folks telling me I’ll be fine, that I know how to do this. That I have over prepared, (which can probably be a thing, when you know things like the most popular car in 1988 was the Ford Fiesta) and that this dedication to work will be my greatest contribution. I love to work. I am happiest when I am busy. When I am given a project, it takes up almost all of my life. I have been singing crooners and jingles from the play every day for the past three months. I dream in research. Everything is a book or a webpage, citations abound. I feel like even my hair has gotten bigger, absorbing the eighties one follicle at a time. I am overcome by a force of nature that is THE PLAY.
And then, in an intake of breath, I lay everything down. I have readied the scaffolding, laid out the ground plan. But, like Lola, stepping into a shadow of her future home, I won’t know until I get there what colours will be best. The rust, or the avocado?

On Monday, rehearsal begins. Strange and familiar, it is my favourite place to be. The dust will settle, and we will make sense of it, together.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Matthew Thomas Walker

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

Matthew Thomas Walker will train in directing with Kim Collier at Bard on the Beach / Electric Company in Vancouver BC

(April 11, 2016)  A week tomorrow I fly to Vancouver where we begin rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet at Bard on the Beach. Though this will begin the formal part of my apprenticeship, Kim has been very generous and inclusive in looping me in at multiple points throughout her detailed visioning process and prep work.

I first met Kim last summer when I enrolled in her class as part of the Volcano Conservatory, which focused on collaborative creation techniques. I found all aspects of Kim’s class inspiring and was particularly interested in the fact that she was testing out how to apply creation techniques to Romeo and Juliet. Her eventual production was nearly ten months away, but she was already stewing on the material and wanted to dig in with us during our 3-day workshop. This was valuable to us because the material had value to her. Rather than working on a text arbitrarily selected just for training, we could engage with Kim as she tested experimental approaches to the text, searching to uncover its relationship with the Here and Now.  The class was made up of a wide range of artists (in age, background, experience, discipline) and Kim valued every voice, encouraging us to play boldly with the material from day one of the workshop.  I found this to be a unique and exciting use of a training workshop.  Instead of speaking in hypotheticals we were welcomed in and included in an actual process.   As an emerging director who believes greatly in a collaborative approach, I found it very inspiring to see an artist as accomplished and respected as Kim really listening and making use of the other voices in the room.  This lead me to reach out to her regarding mentorship.

It been six  years since I shifted my career from acting towards directing but this is my first time Assistant Directing. Knowing that this role can bring a wide and varying range of responsibilities I have been curious to figure out how best to support Kim throughout the various stages of her work. At first, I thought I would be happy to fade into the background and just observe her process, but Kim made it clear from the get-go that she would be making frequent use of me and relying on my voice much like in her workshop. She’s made me feel like a valuable part of the team, which has inspired me to invest greatly in the project.

To date our meetings have focused largely on design, staging and scene analysis. Through her many months of working with the material she has built a very strong and detailed personal relationship with the piece as well as a clear design vision. She swings easily from speaking of the play’s themes on the largest most philosophical level, to relating them to her personal day to day. It is a remarkable skill that allows her to communicate and inspire the other artists on the team. She believes powerfully in what Theatre can achieve, and asks us all to invest at that level. It’s very exciting to take part in.   While sitting in so far the best way I’ve been able to contribute and support Kim has been through letting her know how I experience her choices from the outside, almost as a test audience.  I try to articulate what the design or staging choices feel like for me as an observer, then we discuss how they fit with her vision and aims for the piece. As rehearsals begin, I’m sure this role will continue evolving.  I’m really looking forward to hitting the ground running and seeing how Kim’s many months of prep work will inform her work in the room.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.

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

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

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

  • Sudbury Theatre Centre’s “Playwriting Master Class: Creating Comedy Characters with Heart” with Norm Foster is on April 24.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre is seeking a volunteer Bar Manager.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions and Job Postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

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.)

Today we share four stories from current and recent projects:
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Deanna Choi

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

Deanna Choi will train in sound design with Thomas Ryder Payne at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto and the Stratford Festival

SOUND WARS: Episode I (of the original trilogy)


“What is a sound designer?”

When I tell people what I do for a living, this is the first inevitable question.

When I explain to them that I create scores, soundscapes, and sound effects for theatre, people look at me with a puzzled expression.

Then it suddenly dawns on them.

“Ohhh, you mean, you write musicals! Like on Broadway!”

I tell them that yes, sometimes I compose, and sometimes I write musical theatre numbers, but there are plenty of plays that also use sound and music without ancillary jazz hands and a Fred Astaire tap routine.

“Really? I’ve never heard music in a play before.”

Inwardly, I do the Captain Jean-Luc Picard facepalm. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Chances are, if you’ve been to theatre often enough, you have heard sound created by a sound designer. Perhaps it was so subtle and seamlessly integrated into the show that you didn’t even notice it–the underscoring perhaps reinforced your suspension of disbelief and brought you into the world of the play. Perhaps there were specific sounds–gunshots, doorbells, a fridge humming in the background, crickets to denote nighttime, which again were crafted to match the hall’s acoustic and not seem intrusive. 

That being said, even many theatre professionals have a limited background and understanding of sound. Most notably, the sound design category was removed from the Tony Awards in 2014 due to the Tony voters’ lack of expertise and inability to assess it, and the notion that sound design is more of a technical craft than a theatrical one.

To this attitude, I say [an eight-letter profanity that starts with b].

And yet, here I am, embarking on an apprenticeship with Thomas Ryder Payne. A renowned sound designer who has collaborated on shows with leading directors across the country, his work has been heard at Stratford, Shaw, Canadian Stage, Tarragon, The Theatre Centre, and many others. His designs rebut the Tony’s willful ignorance; they exemplify the marriage of the technical and theatrical elements of sound. His soundscapes evolve dynamically throughout the show to reflect narrative arc and character development. His aesthetic is layered and textured, and different elements reveal themselves at different timepoints, the way an expertly-crafted perfume reveals its top notes, middle notes, and base notes depending on how long the scent has been worn. Most people, however, would not argue that there is both an art and a science to crafting perfume. Furthermore, being a dynamic entity on stage, sound has the ability to interact with the actors and influence their performance in ways that may not be evident to an audience member. Other designers often operate this way too: for instance, a costume designer creating period outfits for a Louis XVI era piece will have their actors wear dozens of layers of petticoats (even though they will never be glimpsed by the audience) so that the physical weight of the fabric can help actors develop their character’s social status. Another example: in an interview, Taylor Schilling (of Orange Is The New Black) mentioned that all the actors wear authentic prison-issue underwear (in all its saggy, baggy glory) beneath their jumpsuits, for a similar reason. Similarly, sound heard by the actors (often through monitors placed upstage of action) can be manipulated differently than what is played out in the house if necessary. It can aid pacing of lines, underscore tension, or play up dramatic irony.

What do I hope to learn from this mentorship? If I am Luke, then TRP is my Yoda. Like TRP, I come from a music background. (Sidenote for those who don’t know: TRP was a rock musician in a Canadian band in the 90s whose aesthetic was like illegitimate lovechild of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Neo from the Matrix). Being a classical musician though, this realm of digital audio processing (DAWs like Logic, Reaper, Ableton), playback (QLab, Show Cue System), and sound reinforcement (i.e., you plug this yellow end of the cable into this jack in the speaker but FOR LOVE OF BRECHT DON’T TURN THE SPEAKER ON BEFORE YOU HAVE THE AMP TURNED ON) is foreign territory. I will be shadowing him at the Stratford Festival production of the Scottish play, and Arthur Miller’s The Incident at Vichy at Soulpepper. I will observe how he interacts with directors and other designers during rehearsals and brings a director’s concept to life. I will learn how to use the Force (read: my ears) to wield my lightsabre (read: Logic and Qlab) with lethal accuracy to defeat the Dark Side (read: the sound design ignoramuses).

Stay tuned. This Padawan is setting off on her quest for a new hope [in theatrical design]. 

P.S. Throughout these entries you may see photos of a mouse named Gustav. He’s tagging along for the ride and will post regular updates from behind-the-scenes. He’s an aspiring photographer and posts on his own blog at www.the-muriniad.tumblr.com.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.

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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Alessandro Costantini

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

Alessandro Costantini will train in directing with Caleb Marshall at Sudbury Theatre Centre

(April 7, 2016) I am thrilled to have been approved for this process. Working on a new piece of musical theatre with a wonderful team of artists will no doubt be an enriching experience. 

For Life
by Michael Doherty and Norm Foster
Directed by Caleb Marshall-Mentor

It is my goal to better my self in various aspects of my process as a director. Such as: 
  • The dialogue between Director-Designer, Director-Musical Director, Director-Choreographer, and in this case as well, Director-Playwright. 
  • This will be my first time working on a completely new piece of musical theatre and I am curious to see how the process differs from working on an already existing piece.
  • I will gain experience working on a piece that includes a small ensemble of actors. I have primarily worked with large ensemble musicals in the past.
  • To examine the responsibilities of standing as Artistic Director while directing a piece within the company.
I have previously worked with Caleb twice as an actor and have always admired his process. He manages to bring artists and designers together in a cohesive and constructive manner. He is extremely economical in his wording as a director. He is clear and concise. I appreciate that very much as an actor and am looking to strengthen those abilities within my self.

Having the opportunity to work with Norm Foster and Michael Doherty as playwright and composer will be a great examination of the process of the creation of a piece.

I believe I will contribute a great deal to the project. I have an extensive background in musical theatre and am very interested in storytelling through text, movement and music. I believe it to be a very strong and powerful form. The piece explores four young adults in their late 20s-mid 30s. Since I sit in this specific age range I believe I will be able to offer an essential perspective that is otherwise not represented on the production team.

I greatly look forward to the experience.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Jessica Lea Fleming

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

Jessica Lea Fleming trained in artistic producing and programming with Tanja Dixon-Warren and Margo Kane at Full Circle First Nations Performance’s Talking Stick Festival.

(March 31, 2016)  I made it back to Toronto with only a dash of jet-lag and a mild flu–not bad coming off the heels of a 2-week festival and grant-writing season! 

The Talking Stick Festival was a resounding success. The artists and audiences were equally inspiring, to say the least. The programming was ambitious and the schedule intense, but the staff and volunteers were fiercely dedicated to a smooth execution...thankfully. We got through it! We even stayed friends!

My primary focus was on production of the Industry Series, a 4-day event which brought together artists and leaders from across Canada and the USA. The series was thought-provoking yet practical in its approach, with much attention placed on equity in theatre and the power shift currently taking place between the Indigenous and mainstream sectors. It was especially enthralling to hear from the trailblazers in Indigenous performing arts–they shared their mutual experience of being witness to their life’s work coming to fruition. Being in dialogue with the many aunties and uncles who fought hard for access was eye-opening, and humbling. This is not to say that all is well now and we can call it a day! Nothing could be further from the truth. BUT, throughout the four days it became clear that there has been progress, and for that I am grateful and honoured to be part of the next generation of arts activists.

In addition to my work as Associate Artistic Producer and Programmer, I was able to attend many performances, workshops and events. I was excited to be among some of the first audiences for many works. Battle of the Birds by Kevin Loring was a definite highlight, as were the Indian Acts which showcased many up-and-coming artists. Despite all that, I have to say that the closing night show “A Metis Time and Space”, an evening of music, jigging, storytelling, traditional crafts and of course, soup and bannock, was a downright gift. Never before in my life have I been so submerged by my own Indigenous culture. It felt like I was finally coming home. I am not embarrassed to admit I wept crocodile tears. They made my split pea soup extra salty and delicious.

While I will miss many things about Vancouver (I really wish I had bottled some of that fresh mountain!), I am elated to be back in Toronto. Vangroovy was awesome, but I’ve always been more of a “eat your burger while running down the street in high-heels” kinda gal. It’s good to be home.

Related Reading


The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Sehar Bhojani and Secrets from the Disgraced Rehearsal Hall

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

Sehar Bhojani of Hamilton is training in directing with Robert Ross Parker at Hope and Hell Theatre

(March 21, 2016) I cannot even begin to describe the generosity and support that is held in the Mirvish rehearsal hall. You feel it before you walk in. There is a sense of a collective understanding of the importance of the story of Disgraced, and it is humbling to be in the room to witness it. Director Robert Ross Parker and I have quickly found a language where we can communicate about the play and with the actors. Since day one, all discussions have been deemed dialogues. We talk. We challenge. We laugh (so much laughing). We eat Timbits. I feel so fortunate to be in the room.

Patience. This is a word I don’t think I ever quite understood until being on the other side of the table, watching a scene be discovered for the first time. All of my experience has been in performance, where I confess my goal was always to ‘get it right’ the first time. But watching the skill that is patience being executed by the experienced talent in the room is extraordinary. We began with just a set and the words of the playwright. Now, there are relationships and moments of connection that have moved me, frightened me and most importantly, have challenged my relationship to humanity. And it’s only been two weeks!

I am learning so much about how I behave in the room. As an actor, I only ever felt responsible for my character’s journey. As a director, there needs to be a constant active awareness of all the moving pieces that tell the story. I am learning that I enjoy and have the ability to maintain this constant active awareness. Seeing the full picture and thinking of all of the moving pieces excites me as an artist. It can be challenging to maintain but incredibly satisfying to engage in.

In addition to my duties as assistant director, I have been charged with the responsibility of being the ‘Muslim’ eye in the room. Essentially, this means being available to answer any and all questions about my experience as a young Muslim woman, the only voice I can speak to, in relation to the play. This can be tricky, depending on the artistic team. However, never once have I felt like I needed to be the authority on Islam as the only Muslim in the room. The amount of respect and dedication to authenticity is remarkable and makes me proud to be a part of the Disgraced team.

We are almost two weeks away from opening and we are in great shape. I feel as though we are right in the thick of it. The piece is now a living and breathing animal, and I am so excited to continue the work of deepening and asking the necessary questions this play demands of an artist.

Related Reading



The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 2016.


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

Monday, 18 April 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of April 18

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Opening in Toronto
Indigenous Dance Double Bill at Native Earth Performing Arts
Dancers of Damelahamid
Photo by Derek Dix

In Eastern Ontario

Apr. 21, Jane Wilson Meets the Queen at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa) 

In Southwestern Ontario

Apr. 19, A Chorus Line at Stratford Festival, in previews
Apr. 21, Mrs Warren's Profession at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), in previews
Apr. 22, The Ladies Foursome at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton), with previews from Apr. 20
Apr. 22, And Slowly Beauty at Dundas Little Theatre (Hamilton)
Apr. 22, Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show at Oh Canada Eh? Productions (Niagara Falls)

ONstage Now Playing in South Central Ontario
Moon over Buffalo at Whitby Courthouse Theatre

In Toronto

Apr. 21, Scarberia at Young People's Theatre, with previews from Apr. 18
Apr. 21, Refuge at Nightwood Theatre, with previews from Apr. 19
Apr. 21, Indigenous Dance Double Bill: Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming / NGS (Native Girl Syndrome) at Native Earth Performing Arts
Apr. 22, The Fox on the Fairway at Bloor West Village Players


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

Friday, 15 April 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

The Curtain Club's production of The Drowning Girls
Photo by Snapd Richmond Hill

Migrations


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Congratulations to the Professional Theatre Training Program Spring 2016 Grant Recipients

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

$36,055 was awarded in total among the following 13 recipients:
  • Thom Allison will train in directing with Allen MacInnis at the Grand Theatre in London
  • Donna Marie Baratta will train in artistic producing and curation with Laura Nanni at SummerWorks in Toronto
  • Deanna Choi will train in sound design with Thomas Ryder Payne at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto and the Stratford Festival
  • Alessandro Costantini will train in directing with Caleb Marshall at Sudbury Theatre Centre
  • Dana Fradkin will train in directing with Joel Ivany at Against the Grain Theatre in Toronto
  • Rose Hopkins will train in education coordination and associate producing with Claire Calnan at the Hamilton Fringe Festival
  • Deborah Lim will train in production management with Sandra Henderson at the Toronto Fringe Festival
  • Sebastian Marziali will train in scenography with Trevor Schwellnus at Aluna Theatre in Toronto
  • Gilda Monreal will train in playwriting with Rosa Laborde at Criminal Theatre in Toronto
  • Jane Spence will train in artistic direction with David Nairn at Theatre Orangeville
  • Michelle Suzanne will train in choral conducting and music direction with Hilary Donaldson in Toronto
  • Elizabeth Thomas will train in directing with Tanja Jacobs at Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto
  • Matthew Thomas Walker will train in directing with Kim Collier at Bard on the Beach / Electric Company in Vancouver BC
Over $98,200 was requested during this application round. The next application deadline for this program is October 3, 2016.

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

Learn more about the Professional Theatre Training Program

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

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council grants for Théâtre and Jets de theatre is April 15.
  • Deadline for applications for Canada Council grants for Theatre International Program and Individual Creation, Playwright-in-Residency, Artist-in-Residency and Professional Development is April 15.
  • Sudbury Theatre Centre’s “Intro to Musical Theatre: Singing in Character, with Michael Doherty” is on April 17.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions and Job Postings on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Welcome to our Productions at Theatre Ontario Festival 2016

Theatre Ontario is thrilled to welcome the four productions that will perform at Theatre Ontario Festival 2016 in North Bay. These productions are chosen from Ontario’s regional community theatre festivals, and are a showcase of outstanding community theatre from across the province.

On Wednesday, May 18, Festival opens with Gateway Theatre Guild’s world premiere production of Kristin Shepherd’s Curved, representing QUONTA (the northeastern Ontario community theatre association.) This is the second year in a row that the Festival host has been chosen to represent their region. Curved was the winning production at QUONTA Festival in Sudbury, as chosen by adjudicator Rita Huschka.

On Thursday, May 19, Northumberland Players returns to Festival for the first time in over a decade, as they present Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti, and translated by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans. From Cobourg, and representing the Eastern Ontario Drama League (EODL), this was the winning production at EODL Festival in Peterborough, chosen by adjudicator Annette Procunier.

On Friday, May 20, last year’s Elsie Award recipients for Outstanding Festival Production return to Festival, as Theatre Sarnia will again represent the Western Ontario Drama League (WODL) as they present 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman. This show was chosen by adjudicator Ron Cameron-Lewis as the winning production at WODL Festival in Woodstock.

On Saturday, May 21, Festival’s performances wrap-up with The Curtain Club’s production of The Drowning Girls by Beth Graham, Daniela Vlaskalic, and Charlie Tomlinson. The Richmond Hill community theatre will represent the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario (ACT-CO), and were chosen by adjudicator Thom Currie as the winning production in the Drama category from the ACT-CO Festival.

As previously announced, Theatre Ontario Festival 2016 will feature detailed adjudications with Mimi Mekler, Playwright-in-Person readings with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, workshops on “Comedy Scene Study” with Michelle Jackett-Webster and “Stage Combat 101” with Joshua Bainbridge, and awards and parties celebrating community theatre in Ontario.

The annual Theatre Ontario Festival is a showcase of outstanding community theatre productions; a classroom for passionate, dedicated community theatre artists; a celebration of excellence in community theatre; and a destination bringing together theatre lovers from across the province. Theatre Ontario Festival 2016 runs May 18 to 22, and is co-hosted with Gateway Theatre Guild and QUONTA.

Monday, 11 April 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of April 11

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Caught at Theatre Passe Muraille
Sabryn Rock, Jakob Ehma
Photo by Michael Cooper
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Apr. 12, The Beaux' Stratagem at George Brown Theatre School
Apr. 12, The Enchanted at George Brown Theatre School
Apr. 14, Das Ding (The Thing) at Canadian Stage, with previews from Apr. 12

In Central Ontario

Apr. 14, Young Frankenstein at VOS Theatre (Cobourg)

In Eastern Ontario

Apr. 13, Twelfth Night of the Living Dead at Algonquin College (Ottawa)

In South Central Ontario

Apr. 13, Charity Begins at Markham Little Theatre
Apr. 14, I Do, I Do, I Do at Burl-Oak Theatre Group (Oakville)
Apr. 14, Moon over Buffalo at Whitby Courthouse Theatre
Apr. 15, Don't Misunderstand Me at Georgetown Little Theatre
Apr. 15, Eat Your Heart Out at Theatre Burlington
Apr. 17, Readings in Wineries at Shadowpath Theatre Productions (Stouffville)

In Southwestern Ontario

Apr. 14, Hunting Cockroaches at Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
Apr. 15, Of the Fields, Lately at Cambridge Community Players
Apr. 15, What Happens in Vegas at Theatre Ancaster (Hamilton)
Apr. 15, BUDDY: The Buddy Holly Story at The Grand Theatre (London), with previews from Apr. 12
Apr. 16, Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin at Carousel Players (St. Catharines)


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

Friday, 8 April 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Honouring Excellence in Theatre by Students

Do you know an outstanding student who has made a commitment to the drama/theatre community in his or her school?  Teachers and schools can honour those students with Theatre Ontario’s Certificate of Excellence—and with commencement season approaching, now is a terrific time for recognition.

Theatre Ontario’s Certificates of Excellence are awarded to an individual who has shown diligence, excellence of participation, and/or outstanding commitment.  The person receiving the certificate may have worked as a performer, technician, organizer of the drama club, or may simply have been of great support and encouragement to others, during or after school hours.

Learn more about the Certificates of Excellence on the Theatre Ontario website