Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Introduction to Directing at our Summer Theatre Intensive
  • Treat yourself to a unique learning adventure at our Theatre Ontario Summer Theatre Intensive, August 7 to 13 in Peterborough. Spaces are still available in our courses for actors, directors, and stage managers.
  • Members save 50% on E-learning courses from WorkInCulture. One of the six courses available is Financial Planning—Master your money! If you find "money stuff" intimidating, annoying, or excessively complicated, this course is for you.
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for undercurrents 2017 from the Ottawa Fringe Festival is July 4.
  • Deadline for Ontario Arts Council’s Compass Grants is July 5.
  • Deadline for applications for ArtsBuild Ontario and WorkInCulture’s Arts Facilities Mentoring Network is July 5.
  • Deadline for Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed Grants for organizations seeking funding for new ideas is July 6.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions, Job Postings and Discount Ticket Offers on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Welcome Mark Crawford as Playwright-in-Person at our Summer Theatre Intensive


Theatre Ontario is excited to announce that the Playwright-in-Person at our 2016 Summer Theatre Intensive will be Mark Crawford!  Mark is the author of Stag and Doe, Bed and Breakfast, The Birds and the Bees and the upcoming Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures.

Playwright in Person with Mark Crawford
Wednesday August 10th, 2016 (new date)
7:30pm
Trent University, Peterborough
FREE

Learn more about Mark Crawford and RSVP for this event

Playwright-in-Person is made possible by a grant from the Playwrights Guild of Canada, funded by the Canada Council.

Monday, 27 June 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of June 27

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
All Shook Up at
Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge
Patrick Cook and Company
Photo by Hilary Gauld Camilleri
Jun. 30, Something Fishy at Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover), with previews from Jun. 29
Jun. 30, "Master Harold" ... and the Boys at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), in previews
Jul. 3, Canadian Legends at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend), with previews from Jun. 30

In Toronto

Jun. 29, A Glass Hive AKA The Comedy of Errors at Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts

In Central Ontario

Jun. 28, Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Orillia Opera House
Jun. 29, Buying the Moose at Globus Theatre (Bobcaygeon)
Jul. 2, The Hero of Hunter Street at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook), with previews from Jun. 28
Jul. 2, Crazy For You at Port Hope Festival Theatre

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Monday, 20 June 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of June 20

ONstage Opening in Southwestern Ontario
A Little Night Music at Stratford Festival
Yanna McIntosh, Ben Carlson
Photo by David Hou
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

Jun. 21, A Little Night Music at Stratford Festival, currently in previews
Jun. 22, Breath of Kings: Rebellion at Stratford Festival, currently in previews
Jun. 22, Breath of Kings: Redemption at Stratford Festival, currently in previews 
Jun. 24, All Shook Up at Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge, with previews from Jun. 22
Jun. 24, Engaged at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), currently in previews
Jun. 24, The Birds and the Bees at Blyth Festival, with previews from Jun. 22
Jun. 25, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), currently in previews
Jun. 25, A Woman of No Importance at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) currently in previews

ONstage Opening in Southwestern Ontario
A Woman of No Importance at Shaw Festival
Martin Happer, Fiona Byrne
Photo by David Cooper

In Toronto

Jun. 23, The White Sheep of the Family at Scarborough Theatre Guild

In Central Ontario

Jun. 21, Wichita Lineman: The Music of Glen Campbell at Theatre Collingwood
Jun. 23, Hilda's Yard at Drayton Entertainment: King's Wharf Theatre (Penetanguishene), with previews from Jun. 22
Jun. 25, The Pencil Salesman at Westben Arts Festival Theatre (Campbellford)

In Eastern Ontario

Jun. 22, Perth through the Ages at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth)
Jun. 25, I Ought to Be in Pictures at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth), with previews from Jun. 24


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

Friday, 17 June 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

  • Joseph Recinos writes on Intermission: “There has been an incredible outcry from artists of all artistic mediums in Toronto for equitable and diverse practices. This outcry is a much louder echo of the cry our senior artists and champions of diversity have made through the years, which slowly began to alter the artistic landscape of our city. Through their combined victories and their struggles with adversity, we emerging artists—new blood—have with renewed energy and vigor taken up the call and now march with our elders, treading new paths amongst our urban jungle.” The Game Changer: Fires Ablaze.
  • This week’s #CdnCult Times from SpiderWebShow is “all about power and culture.” Christine Quintana looks at the hiring practices of our artistic leaders. Thomas McKechnie examines the late capitalist economic system that defines power in our society and how it is reflected in our cultural institutions. Devon Ostrom and Michael Wheeler discuss a recent CBC article on ‘the 1%’ in the arts and what that term means to them.
  • Hearing the stories of abuse out of Chicago’s Profiles Theatre, Travis Bedard poses questions on 2amtheatre: What can help keep our communities free of this sort of abuse? What are the best ways to enable our artists to protect themselves in such a vulnerable industry? He outlines some good answers as well.

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

The Stage Manager's view at Classic Theatre Festival in Perth

Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It


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

We’re off next week, and the following Friday is Canada Day—so this column will return in three weeks on July 8.

Thursday, 16 June 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: 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 trained in directing with Tanja Jacobs at Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto

(June 7, 2016)  A list of things I have done in order to procrastinate writing this final reflection:

  • Moved into a new house
  • Cleaned my new house
  • Began crocheting a new blanket (in the middle of May)
  • Read an entire young adult fantasy series
  • Renewed my visa
  • Wrote this list
I have been very actively avoiding this final part of my grant. It’s not so much a desire for the process to continue; projects end, contracts expire, and we move on. I’m used to this part of the job, and I kind of enjoy it. The novelty of a new project every eight weeks hasn’t worn off just yet.

My procrastination comes from my lack of words. I don’t know how to describe the experience I’ve had. I haven’t yet been able to quantify or qualify my six weeks with the Harold Green. I’m worried I might never be able. I certainly learnt a lot during those six weeks, things I know I’ll be using long into my career. But when I step back and try to see the shape of what I’ve accomplished, I still can’t make it out.

There are two lessons that kept coming up during my time with Harold Green. The first was being in the space, and letting that be enough. Sitting and observing without measurable results was incredibly difficult for me, more than I realized it would be. The other lesson was to trust my instincts. I don’t know when I learnt not to trust those instincts, but it was repeated to me again and again. Trust my instincts, you are doing enough. 

I have sat at my computer for the past week and stared at a blank screen. I have fought this feeling, not recognizing it for what it is. I can try and force something, something that is half baked, not quite true. Or I could learn to trust my instincts, and let myself be with my experience, without forcing something untrue, something that I can’t quite qualify or quantify. This is a lesson I am still learning, a week away out from this experience. I believe it is something I will have to learn throughout my life.

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: Dan Watson

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

Dan Watson of Huntsville trained in artistic direction with Franco Boni at The Theatre Centre.

(May 12, 2016) Since January, I have been working under the mentorship of Franco Boni at The Theatre Centre to develop skills and knowledge to support my work as Artistic Producer of Edge of the Woods Theatre in my home town of Huntsville. Although I’m at the end of this professional development period, I’m at the beginning of a lot of things, and really in the thick of so many other things. It’s exciting, stimulating, overwhelming, and there’s no place I’d rather be. But before we get to where I am, let’s talk about where I’ve been.

What Did I Do?

Sign at Debajehmujig Story Tellers Space
I traveled through Northern Ontario meeting and learning from a number of different organizations and artists including Debajehmujig Story Tellers (Wikwemikong First Nation), Aanmitaagzi (Nipissing First Nations), Thinking Rock Arts (North Shore of Lake Huron), Myths and Mirrors (Sudbury) and the Whitewater Gallery (North Bay). During these visits I listened, learned, participated in events, shared communal meals, and started conversations that I’m certain will lead to future opportunities and collaborations.

I travelled to the Push Festival in Vancouver for a week where I had the opportunity to give a 10-minute pitch to a packed room of national and international presenters and theatre makers. I also got to see a number of incredible shows, projects and pitches. I also participated in panel discussions and round tables on different topics related to my professional development. I came away from the festival having made a number of really important introductions and connections. In particular, I was happy to meet Ron Barry from the Fusebox Festival in Austin Texas. The lessons I’ve learned from him will be so important for the future the Nuit Blanche North Festival I run in Huntsville.

Festival and Events Masterclass with Paul Gudgin
I participated in a 2-day intensive Festival and Event Masterclass where I learned practical tips and knowledge for festivals and events related to marketing, press, programming, evaluation, sponsorship and fundraising. This was led by Paul Gudgin who has over twenty years of experience in the management of festivals and events including the Aldeburgh Festival, City of London Festival and eight years as the Director of the world’s largest arts festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe during an exciting period that saw the event double in scale selling over 1.5 million tickets.

I held ongoing consultations with Franco Boni, and with Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre, I’ve been looking at Edge of the Woods Theatre: where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to go. In particular, we’ve been looking at who surrounds the organization, and trying to define what those relationships mean, what we want from them and how to go about it. We also have been looking at who isn’t there, and how we can invite them in. Through this process I’ve realized how important it is to tell your story, the work needed to craft that story and the importance of telling it to lots of people. I’ve started doing it already. Franco helped me prepare a presentation for a meeting with our local MPP Norm Miller, local MP Tony Clement and local associations and businesses to ask for recommendations of possible board members, contacts with different organizations in the region and to explore possible avenues of support for my activities.

What I Learned

It starts with the programming. Of course I already knew this, but it’s important to be reminded of it. The trick is what to program. How do you decide which ideas to pursue, which to leave, how to reconcile your dreams with the realities of your resources, and how to match your personal interests with what you think is best for the community you are engaging with? This professional development period will have an immediate impact on my activities during the Edge of the Woods Theatre Festival this summer. Particularly inspiring to me were my travels in Northern Ontario and how the artists I met worked to include food, land and young people in their process and approach. This summer we are working to develop activities around our performance programming that will explore relationships to food and the land around us, as well, we are engaging young people in our community through different workshops, programs and direct employment.

It takes time. Like many artists and organizations, I work project to project. I like it. It gives me flexibility to follow my impulses and interests. I also recognize that it has encouraged me to think in the short term. Developing partnerships has always been about immediate needs of a particular project. Once the project is done, do I keep up the connection? Sometimes yes, but often no. I always knew it was about developing relationships, but I don’t think I ever understood it. I maybe still don’t. Relationships take time to cultivate. Some won’t work out. Some will. So which ones to work on? Which to let go? That takes constant work and reflection. But I feel relieved of the pressure too. It’s okay Dan, it’s going to take time, you don’t have to make it all happen right now. In particular, I’m excited about the connections that I’ve made with presenters, and the process of getting supporters and potential donors/sponsors excited in what I’m doing. By thinking long term, I feel the pressure is off. Just keep finding reasons to engage, and when you get to the table with them, listen.

Look to the Young. In developing a plan for the future, we need to engage with young people. I’ve learned different ways that artists are engaging with young people including education, creation opportunities, platforms for sharing their perspectives and direct employment. The idea of employment is particularly interesting in the context of the Huntsville community. I learned from Debajehmujig Story Tellers that to encourage young artists to stay in their community, to develop their skills and share it with their community, they found a way to pay them a living salary. Young people also move from our community because there is little to no opportunity for a career in the arts. How can we give them reasons to stay in their own community? It is a challenge to achieve that, but a worthy goal for our organization.

My Future

So now we get to my present and future. This development period has given me time to develop, 
  1. I’m at home as a producer, and I like to be involved in the nitty gritty aspects of the programming I’m presenting. I like to get my hands dirty and I like to collaborate with those who are participating in the events.
  2. My gut intuition is my best friend. Of course I can’t do everything, hard choices have to be made, but following my gut, following what interests me, and not letting doubts suffocate me is essential as I move forward.
  3. I have a lot to offer my community. I’ve begun to define my role as a Cultural importer. This entails of course bringing in performances and events to my community, but also bringing ideas. I have connections with interesting artists both in Huntsville and across Canada. My role is to find ways these artists can meet and learn from each other, and ways that my community can benefit from those interactions.
Working with Franco Boni has been wonderful. His generosity, knowledge and perspective are super human. I have found in him a sort of tough love advisor. He has a skill of challenging me in a friendly way, to define and refine my actions and words. I know as I move forward, he will always have time for me in the future as both a friend and a mentor.

I want to thank Theatre Ontario for this opportunity. Its effects will have ripples professionally and personally for years to come. We are blessed to have organizations like Theatre Ontario, who support theatre artists, who strive to strengthen what is a vital and dynamic theatre community across Ontario. I know as I move forward in my activities and career, I will owe much to Theatre Ontario, and that is something I will never forget.

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: Deborah Lim

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

Deborah Lim will train in production management with sandra Henderson at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

(April 11, 2016) I’m really excited to start my work with sandra Henderson. Preparations for the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival have already begun, so I have some catching-up to do. 

When I was first looking to expand my knowledge and experience in production management, I was told to approach sandra because she is one of few independent production managers in the city, and the best at what she does. Upon discussing a possible mentorship with her, I was surprised to learn that we graduated from the same theatre program, and hopeful in seeing how far she has gotten in her career.

One thing that I am very excited about is troubleshooting and providing support to the many productions. I really enjoy problem solving and I believe this is a skill that I will be able to offer during my time with the festival.

With this mentorship, I am interested in learning what goes into scheduling, staffing, and contracting a festival with over 150 companies and 30 venues, and how the work is divided over time to make it manageable. I hope to leave this experience better equipped to serve my community and manage the independent projects and collectives that I am involved in.

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, 15 June 2016

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Voice-Over workshop with Elley-Ray
  • Secrets to a successful voice acting career—join us at our Voice-Over workshop with Elley-Ray on June 18.
  • Treat yourself to a unique learning adventure at our Theatre Ontario Summer Theatre Intensive, August 7 to 13 in Peterborough, featuring courses for actors, directors, and stage managers. Registration deadline is June 24.
  • De-mystify dramaturgy and do it yourself! Dramaturgy for Everyone workshop with Matt McGeachy on June 27.
  • Members save 50% on E-learning courses from WorkInCulture. One of the six courses available is Financial Planning—Master your money! If you find "money stuff" intimidating, annoying, or excessively complicated, this course is for you.
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Arts Fellowships grants is today.
  • Deadline for applications for Young People’s Theatre Leaps and Bounds—A National Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Play Creation Initiative is June 17.
  • The next Shaw Festival “Beyond the Stage” for everyone is “May We Introduce You to… GB Shaw” hosted by Jim Mezon on June 18.
  • Cahoots Theatre’s free workshops as part of LIFT OFF! Festival are coming up this weekend: #ShareTheScreen—Working with Deaf Performers (Jun. 18) and Intro to Libretto Writing with Marjorie Chan (Jun. 19).
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grants is June 22.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • John Strasberg’s Organic Creative Process for actors, directors, and acting teachers is coming to Toronto on July 11 to 21.
  • The Siminovitch Prize and the National Arts Centre have announced a call for nominations for 2016—this year’s prize honouring a director. The nomination deadline is July 15.
  • Applications are open for the Shakespeare Globe Centre of Canada’s Bluma Appel Mentorship Award for Directors interested in an advanced directing study placement at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England. The application deadline is August 15.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions, Job Postings and Discount Ticket Offers on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Join Us at the Theatre Ontario Adjudicators Symposium

Theatre Ontario's Adjudicators Symposium is an annual opportunity for adjudicators to benefit from professional development and networking. The Symposium is a forum to share experiences, compare techniques and practices, and discuss training needs and opportunities.

This year's Symposium will be held on October 1, 2016 from 10:00am to 3:30pm at the Theatre Ontario office in Toronto. Registration is now open.

We are currently developing the symposium content for this year. Topics will include the past year in adjudication and the sharing of experiences, techniques, and best practices. We will also explore “in-service adjudication opportunities” for current members of the Talent Bank.

We also invite suggestions for other Adjudicators Symposium topics.

Related Reading

Monday, 13 June 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of June 13

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Eastern Ontario

Jun. 18, Blithe Spirit at Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque), with a preview on Jun. 17

In Southwestern Ontario

Jun. 15, Engaged at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), in previews
Jun. 16, Unnecessary Farce at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend), with previews from Jun. 15
Jun. 17, Brighton Beach Memoirs at Drayton Entertainment: Drayton Festival Theatre, with previews from Jun. 15
Jun. 17, Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning at Blyth Festival, with previews from Jun. 15
ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
2 Across at Gravenhurst Opera House
Deborah Tennant, Brian Paul

In Toronto

Jun. 13, Walk the Walk: National Festival of Asian Canadian Women at fu-GEN Theatre Company


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

Friday, 10 June 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

Rebecca Perry (second from the left, with Cole Alvis, Ted
Dykstra, Kevin Hanchard, and Grace Lynn Kung) was one of the
amazing panelists at Next Generation Showcase in January.
Hear her in conversation at Dark Nights on June 13.

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


Migrations

  • Alexandra Isenor is the new General Manager of a Company of Fools in Ottawa. 

In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 9 June 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 five stories:
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 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.

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 trained in directing with Caleb Marshall at Sudbury Theatre Centre.

(May 6, 2016)  After completing my time with this process, I am walking away with a much more detailed understanding of the various juggling acts that an Artistic Director must go through day to day.

Caleb has a very physically approach to the work. In his early years he thought very much that he was rooted in the Stanislavsky approach. After his Russian training he began to work deeper with the system that is about generating physical impulse.

He spoke about directing, and engineering. Engineering being telling actors things like sight-line issues etc. whereas directing is trying to give the artist something to connect to that roots them immediately in the circumstances of the world. Our work is finding the specificity of every moment, every movement, and the audience not notice that it has been thought out.

Sudbury Theatre Centre's production of For Life
Aidan DeSalaiz, Naomi Costain,
Daniel Abrahamson, Chelsey Duplak
Without FORM there is no Art. By the time you open the form is set. There can be 1 mm. of freedom in the form. You are ultimately trying to arrive at a clear form. We spoke about the differences between working with actors who are more connected to their impulses as opposed to let say young artists who may not have had the time or extensive training. In the end its about watching for an actors impulse, and learning how to articulate yourself with them so that you can bring that impulse to life to make a clear choice that supports the story.

He also explained to me the method of Points of Concentration. Which he explored with David Latham at the Stratford Conservatory. This method is about dropping in a word for the actors to explore through a scene, or a run of the piece. It can be different actor to actor or can be something applied to the whole company. It allows you to stretch out what is already there, or lessen it. An example could be the word friendship, soft, or boom. A company viewpoint can be… You’re all too angry, explore the word love as we go through this scene. See how that affects your work.

Perhaps the best kernel of knowledge he offered me was that it is okay to say  “I don’t know yet”. You are not giving up power or losing the respect of your actors. It is still at its core collaboration. I have felt in the past, the need to answer any question and would sometimes find my answer not very helpful. Simply because I thought if I didn’t have any answer that the company would lose a bit of respect or trust in me.

We spoke about designers…
  • Speaking with your designer and not slamming your exact idea on the table. Try and explain the feeling you’re going for, use triggering images. Otherwise why do you need a designer? Let them do their job!
…about casting
  • Bringing in 4 people you know can very well do it, 1 person you think could bring something that the other 4 don’t have, and 1 complete wild card. I thought this was a pretty great method.
…about working with your board
  • Presenting your ideas and selling the board on it. Get them excited and invested in the project. Be sure to be ready to defend your choices if needed, but at the end of the day, they have hired you to steer the company in its artistic direction!
…about budgeting
There was so much to say on this I couldn’t possibly write it all down for you. In the end…I am better for it. I sort of hate budgeting so it was good to hear that everyone kinda does! And that yes, it can be difficult but it is integral…oh.. and always shoot the revenue lower than you think!

Caleb said to me that as an Artistic Director you are essentially an Artistic Articulator. You constantly have to articulate your artistic vision to your staff, artists, your board. You have to remember that all of these people are not characters in a play, if they were they would remember what happened in Act 1. You must be able to articulate the artistic vision in an every changing world around you.

I think the greatest thing I learned is that it truly does take a team of people to run a ship. You hire professionals to do their job so that you don’t need to lie away worry about certain things. Delegation is key, and keeping your artists and tech, and employees happy and clear on the artistic vision is of the utmost importance.

I am very grateful for this opportunity. It was incredibly enriching allowed me to re-examine my process as a director. I look forward to working with Caleb again in the future. I think the STC is a fantastic company and to see the great strides he has made with the programming is very inspiring to me. He is making the STC a place for the community to gather. Ensuring that there is something reflective of all the people in our wonderfully diverse, and flourishing city of Sudbury!

Thank you for this opportunity Theatre Ontario!

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: Michelle Suzanne – From Singing to Conducting

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

Michelle Suzanne is training in choral conducting and music direction with Hilary Donaldson in Toronto

(April 11, 2016)  Today began my first mentoring session with musicologist and doctoral candidate Hilary Donaldson. She is teaching me the art of choral conducting, which I will add to my tool kit as I emerge in the field of musical direction. My first period of study with Hilary will end on the final Sunday of June. By then I will be ready to take up the baton during music rehearsals for Hogtown, a Toronto audience-immersive show coming in the summer of 2016, for which I will be the music director.

I have really been looking forward to this time of learning with Hilary. In the years that I have sung under her music direction as a soloist and section lead in the Eastminster United Church Choir I have come to respect her scholarly knowledge, and her “gentle but firm” style of leadership. In preparation for our first session I read a large chunk of one of my textbooks, “Conducting Technique” by Brock McElheran.

Hilary and I then discussed crucial aspects of the conductor’s job. One thing that she impressed upon me—and which I have come to admire from her leadership as my choir director—is that the conductor must have a high degree of knowledge of the piece(s) s/he conducts. Beyond the basics of the composer’s name and the year of composition, a knowledgeable conductor will understand the broader context within which a piece was composed. And so the scholarly side of my brain will get a good work out as I research the pieces that I will be practicing my conducting technique with. This is an unexpected piece of learning that I am quite looking forward to.

We spent much of our first hour together practicing the most basic (read: “easy”) conducting gestures. Hmm, good thing we’re starting off with the “easy stuff” first. There’s a bit more to the gestures than I realized. It’s one thing to watch a conductor when you’re singing; it’s quite another to do the conducting. I realize already that conducting is like choreography for the hands. All I know is that choreographers run when they see my name on a cast list—and not without good reason. I can see that I will require several hours of home practice to get these gestures into my body so that they feel second nature to me in time. Thankfully, I need not step-touch or shuffle off to Buffalo while I’m conducting. 

This week I get to work on practicing conducting gestures and meter changes with Benjamin Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb,” Bell/Fedak’s “A Song of Paul’s” and Joseph Martin’s “A Day Made For Praise.”

I have confidence that I will become fluid and fluent in the conducting gestures, and I am so delighted to have embarked on this journey. I know how important this mentorship period is in developing my confidence and my skills as a leader in music theatre. I can’t wait to see what kind of growth I experience over the coming weeks. I look forward to updating you midway through this period. Many thanks to Theatre Ontario for enabling me to set out on this enriching new path.

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: Donna Marie Baratta – “I Wanna Be A Producer”

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

Donna Marie Baratta is training in artistic producing and curation with Laura Nanni at SummerWorks in Toronto.

(April 27, 2016) I feel like the luckiest girl alive to have the opportunity to spend 6 weeks mentoring in Artistic Producing and Curation with Laura Nanni. For me, timing is everything—and this couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Two summers ago I began to dream about producing a theatre festival in Thunder Bay, Ontario in a beautiful outdoor venue, in the heart of our marina and on Lake Superior. The possibilities seemed endless...

Now, almost two years later...the dream is becoming a reality. I am developing a theatre festival called Superior Theatre Festival (STF) with our inaugural launch in summer 2016, where I am in the role of Artistic Director and Executive Producer. Since I began envisioning this festival, I have confronted the fact that in order for this project to be a success I would need to seek out mentorship to address the gaps in my training. I knew, based on the way I learn best, that I needed structure, rigor and hands on training to elicit the kind of long term and lasting change I was looking for.  

During this search for mentorship I became acquainted with Franco Boni from The Theatre Centre who intuitively felt that Laura Nanni and I would be the right fit. For me, I instantly knew that Laura was the right match. In our first Skype conversation, I felt as though she was inside my head, asking me the most well-timed questions about the work I was doing and absolutely everything she said to me made complete sense. In one conversation, all my fears were laid to rest—she reminded me that I was taking risks, that there will always be a great amount of risk in festival curation and that there were going to be challenges but I was in a good place. Prior to our conversation, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that was to come, knowing how much work I had already done, not finding the words to articulate this and realizing that I had to rely on myself. I wasn’t even sure what tasks I could delegate and I didn’t have any money yet to hire someone to delegate to. I’m sure many of you can relate to this feeling.

As fate would have it, just after getting acquainted with Laura and applying to Theatre Ontario, Laura learned that she was going to be the new Artistic and Managing Director of SummerWorks. What was once going to be a mentorship in both Toronto and Calgary became a mentorship in Toronto with a festival that I greatly respect.

It seems heavenly orchestrated that I have the opportunity to work with Laura while she transitions into her new role at SummerWorks. The experience of seeing her step into this new position will be very valuable for me. Somehow this newness will mirror my own and there is comfort in knowing that all beginnings have the potential to be both sacred and chaotic at the same time.

As I approach the festival opening, Laura and I will articulate the necessary steps to create an event that has audience engagement at its core. Together with Laura, we have identified three specific areas for mentorship: community engagement, artistic curation and visioning and critical path building. In my first week, I will have the opportunity to watch Laura develop the critical path for SummerWorks and Progress, and then she will work with me on my critical path for Superior Theatre Festival. All of the work that I do with Laura will have a direct impact on my own learning. My mentorship is six weeks long, but it is going to be spread out with some of it taking place this spring/summer and the rest of it happening in February 2017 connected to Progress.

From May to February, I will get to see Laura work at developing partnerships, selecting work, engaging in contract negotiations, developing marketing plans to reflect the curation, siting work for site-specific projects and producing large-scale projects.  I look forward to engaging in as much of the work as I can with SummerWorks and contributing to their team.

This new direction is a big shift for me and I know that this practical one-on-one mentoring with Laura will be life-altering. I’m getting ready for big changes. Change and reinvention. I can hardly wait!

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 is training in directing with Kim Collier at Bard on the Beach / Electric Company in Vancouver BC.

(May 26, 2016)  Now is a great time to pause and write about my ongoing PTTP mentorship with Kim Collier. We’ve just finished the studio portion of our rehearsal period for her production of Romeo & Juliet and are now shifting gears for our move to the Bard on the Beach site—a giant festival tent that gets rebuilt each summer and equipped with all the necessities of a fully functioning theatre. The stage backs on to the Pacific Ocean, with the mountains in the distance. It’s quite impressive and a very unique playing space to take command of.

The show is growing beautifully. Through the demonstration of her own passion and belief in what the show can achieve, Kim elicits deep investment from her team. I continue to be very impressed with her ability to swing discussion from the big universal thoughts that have shaped her vision to the tiny details that will stack up to achieve it. She approaches the text with such tireless curiosity.  

One discussion we had that spoke directly to where I am in my growth as a director related to how Kim’s site-specific, independent theatre beginnings have informed her work for other larger institutions such as Bard. What she shared with me is that she continues to think of every show as site-specific no matter where she works. This involves consideration of not just the architectural structure and atmosphere of a space, but also the greater picture such as the neighbourhood that surround the theatre and the rituals associated with coming to this show at this time of year. I’ve loved meditating on these things and seeing her put them into action.

In creating her production of Romeo & Juliet for Bard, Kim has certainly taken into consideration how to maximize use of the physical structure, staging the actors in all available corners of the theatre. Since the beginning she has also been conscious that the impressive vista in behind the stage can be both friend and foe depending on how you interact with it. This has led to careful consideration of staging and design in order to play to the unique space’s strengths.

Perhaps most inspiring to me has been how Kim’s consideration of the audience has shaped her vision. Bard is a far-reaching company that will appeal to all ages. It is entirely reasonable to expect that any audience will include both long time Shakespeare scholars in close proximity to youth who are attending their first piece of theatre. What I like about Kim’s approach is that she keeps this at top of mind without ever allowing it to steer her towards pandering or softening her choices. In fact, she’s used this knowledge to strengthen and specify her vision. She searches to achieve rich humanity within the many layers of communication Shakespeare has provided, while always remembering the impact that we can have on the youth in the audience. Perhaps I find this particularly pointed because of the play we’re working on. The timeless story follows the love between two teenagers who attempt to transcend their parents’ history of hate. When working with the actors Kim frequently references “that 14 year-old girl or boy in the audience” who stand to be impacted most. She has given much thought, and engaged fascinating discussion with the actors playing the two lovers to uncover what “our” version of this love will model for today’s youth (and their parents). The groundwork has been eliciting beautiful and affecting performances from the actors, which I feel will contribute to an enlightening experience for not just the youth in the audience, but for all.

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

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 trained in directing with Robert Ross Parker at Hope and Hell Theatre.

(April 25, 2016) I experienced a bitter sweet moment when Disgraced opened at the Panasonic Theatre on April 7th. It was a moment filled with opening night excitement and nerves while also the acceptance that my job, as the assistant director, had officially come to an end. The show has since closed and I find myself feeling that same bitter sweet moment again.

It’s been an amazing opportunity to sit on the other side of the table for this process. I was fortunate to work with Robert Ross Parker who allowed and even encouraged my voice to be heard while crafting this piece. I feel as though I have had a hand in preparing this play to meet a Toronto audience and will forever be grateful to Hope and Hell theatre for this opportunity, and of course, to Theatre Ontario for their generous support and patience during this process.

As I walk away from Disgraced, I take with me a myriad of lessons from the rehearsal room. The most prevalent being, trust. There is no creation without trust. There is no progress without trust. There is no success without trust. It has been incredible to watch the trust grow between the artists in the room every day. With every new discovery of text or character came a new level of trust between actor and director. I realized that as the trust grew stronger in the room, so did my artistic voice. I was able to contribute to the conversations about the direction of scenes with confidence, and was heard by the mutual trust and respect of the other artists in the room.

As I prepare for my first gig as a director this summer, I find myself already drawing on this experience. I am different. Disgraced has changed the way I approach my work and what I demand from myself in the work, trust. I have learned the true power of this word. I must have trust in the artists in the room, in my artistic decisions and most importantly in myself.

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.

Wednesday, 8 June 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

  • PLAY! A Symposium at the World Festival of Children’s Theatre opens on June 10.
  • Nightwood Theatre is holding “Breaking into the Biz” workshops on June 10 and 11.
  • SPARC has extended the call for submissions for proposals for their symposium on rural performing arts to June 13.
  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Arts Fellowships grants is June 15.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • ArtsBuild Ontario and WorkInCulture invites applications for the Arts Facilities Mentoring Network, for cultural leaders focused on strengthening the business and management skills needed to manage, renew and develop arts facilities.

Check out these items, and other postings from our members.

Tuesday, 7 June 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 five stories:
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 3, 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.

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Viktor Lukawski

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

Viktor Lukawski trained in directing with Andrea Donaldson and Joel Greenberg at Tarragon Theatre.

(May 20, 2016) I have just completed my director training, working as an assistant director on two productions in Tarragon Theatre’s 2015-2016 season: Within the Glass with Andrea Donaldson, and  with Joel Greenberg (Studio 180).

I discussed my time with Andrea in my last post, so I’ll focus on my work with Joel here:

Viktor and Joel in sync.
Joel was an incredibly inspiring director to work with, and was so honest and inviting from the first meeting, before rehearsals had even started. I felt very comfortable asking questions and discussing various topics about his process, preparation, and thoughts throughout the rehearsal period. We found that we had very similar thoughts on the production based on the notes we each took during the process. This was a great discovery, to have been able to be on the same page as the director, to be in tune with the director’s vision. (Even our clothing choices were in sync, as evidenced in the photo you see here, taken by actor Mark McGrinder during rehearsals.) 

At the same time, we were also very open about our differing styles of direction and creation, which allowed for in-depth discussions that I found to be very important throughout the second half of my training. Since I come from a collective creation/devised theatre background, the whole point of my training was to expose myself to different methods of theatre creation, development and rehearsal processes. As a result of assisting on these two productions, my training was very successful, informative, and will surely have an impact on my future work.
The process within You Will Remember Me differed greatly from Within the Glass in two very specific ways (aside from the different director, cast, and crew): 

1. The script was already set, was previously produced in Quebec (and translated into English), and the playwright was not present. In “Within the Glass,” a world premiere, Anna Chatterton was with us through the rehearsal process and was editing and re-writing the script as we went along. Here, the script didn’t go through any changes, other than a few small cuts here and there. Fran├žois Archambault didn’t see the show until his arrival to Toronto on opening night.

2. The style was very different: although both shows dealt with very serious subject matter, Within the Glass teetered closer to farce with a lot of physical comedy, while You Will Remember Me stayed more focused in the drama. That being said, both Joel and I were pleasantly surprised to hear laughs from the Tarragon staff, volunteers, and Audit the Season members during the first read-through. When I mentioned my surprise to Richard Rose (Tarragon AD), he quoted a very well-known and astute phrase: “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” I realized how important it was to provide opportunities for an audience to laugh, especially when the subject matter (a man suffering from Alzheimer’s) is so tragic, that being in that state of tragedy for so long would be almost unbearable.

Throughout the rehearsals of both these productions, I found that I was not only learning as a director, but I was also getting an incredible masterclass in acting. As an actor myself, I had the great privilege of observing performers that had a wide range of experience, from the well-seasoned to the emerging. Probably the greatest reward was watching R.H. Thomson in “You Will Remember Me” as he worked to make sense of the mental gymnastics that were required to follow the emotional arc of his character, Edouard Beauchemin, a man who was slowly losing his memory. It became clear that this process is an important thing for the director to be aware of, to realize the great challenge that an actor is faced with, and to, more often than not, get out of his or her way. The director is there to support and steer the ship in the right direction, while the actor is tackling the text and the character from all sides. A director goes through a similar “tackling” in the preparation for the show, months before the rehearsals even start. However, once we’re in the room, the actor then finds their own way through it. Having worked primarily as an actor, this experience allowed me to understand the processes from both sides of the table, and how they complement each other. Similarly, it’s important not to tread on each other’s toes—after all, both actor and director have their own distinct methods that aid them in achieving the final product.

Viktor and the team from You Will Remember Me
after a hard day's work in rehearsals
(hence with the image is a bit blurry...)
While at the Tarragon, I had a very unique interaction during my training: the theatre has a resident artist every season as part of their Urjo Kareda Residency. This year, they had Joel Bernbaum from Saskatoon's Sum Theatre, who was assistant directing Richard Rose on his productions in the season. This was quite fortuitous as I found a comrade to share my thoughts and experiences with during parts of the process. I was a pleasant addition to my training, and would encourage future trainees to seek each other out and exchange ideas.

Finally, since I have spent most of my career as an actor and tend to perform in shows that I direct, I haven't had the experience of walking away from a production when it's just picking up steam. It was a weird experience to say goodbye to these shows on their opening nights. However, like both Andrea and Joel, I felt it was always the right time to step away.

It reminded me of an old theatre tale (who told me this or where it was from, I can't remember) about a theatre director arriving for the last few previews and feeling like he doesn't have a place to hang his hat. It was a very clear sign that it was time for the director to let the show go and step back. It comes with a certain sense of melancholy and joy. Sadness to not continue the journey with the actors and crew, but joy to see the show land on its own two feet and hit the ground running.

I mention this because I held off on writing my final report until the show closed. I knew I would be returning to watch the show on its closing performance. What surprised me with both productions was how different the shows ended up from the opening night to the closing. The shows continued to evolve in the capable hands of the actors, as they felt more comfortable, and made more discoveries. I realized that Peter Brook was right when he wrote in “The Empty Space” that a show is never fully finished, that you have to approach each rehearsal and each performance “putting yesterday’s discoveries to the test, ready to believe that the true play has once again escaped us.”

It was beautiful to experience this, as it was something I had never realized as an actor: the show would begin and end with me, from the first day of rehearsal to the closing performance. I had never had the experience of walking away from it and then returning to it after.

These kinds of realizations have shaped my work as a director. I feel more comfortable now in this position, more sure of my choices and my vision. I also feel less nervous about directing seasoned actors who are more experienced than I am, as in the end, we're all just searching for the same thing, no matter what our ages and experiences are.

It was also a period of self-discovery, in the moments when I was just observing: “How would I do this production? How would I direct this scene? What do I think of these choices?”
It was good for me to see things differently sometimes, even though it might have been a bit frustrating. The frustration was beneficial. It showed me that I was at a new step in my career, ready to continue with my own projects and further explore my own vision.

Furthermore, the discussions I had with Andrea and Joel have influenced how I approach the rehearsals. The most important thing I realized is that there's no such thing as ‘too much preparation.’ Preparation is key, and one must start doing it way before the rehearsals even begin, no matter what the scale of the project is. The more prepared you are, the smoother the rehearsals will go. Knowing the smallest details allow the director to be more confident in the room, and in providing the proper support and direction to the actors. If you’re not taking the time to prepare properly, it’s akin to walking into an audition without having even looked at the script: you’re not doing yourself any favours.

Already I’m implementing these discoveries and lessons into my own work, and I’m finding a new joy and pleasure in my preparations for upcoming projects.

Thank you to Theatre Ontario, Tarragon Theatre, Andrea Donaldson, and Joel Greenberg for having provided me with such an immersive and inspiring training experience, which has become a huge stepping stone in my career as a theatre director.

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.