Monday, 31 October 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of October 31

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Central Ontario

Nov. 4, Twelfth Night at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
Nov. 4, Eclipsed at Peterborough Theatre Guild

ONstage Opening in Eastern Ontario
The Last Wife at GCTC (Ottawa)
Celine Stubel, Oliver Becker
Photo by Emily Cooper

In Eastern Ontario

Nov. 3, The Last Wife at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa), with previews from Nov. 1
Nov. 3, The Real Inspector Hound / Coffee House at Studio Theatre Perth

In Northeastern Ontario

Nov. 3, The Bold, The Young, and The Murdered at Take Two Theatre (Timmins)
Nov. 4, Rearview at Sudbury Theatre Centre, with a preview on Nov. 3

In Northwestern Ontario

Nov. 3, Disgraced at Magnus Theatre (Thunder Bay), with previews from Oct. 31

In South Central Ontario

Nov. 3, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Marquee Theatrical Productions (Newmarket)
Nov. 4, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon at Georgetown Little Theatre
Nov. 4, Wyrd Sisters at Durham Shoestring Performers (Oshawa)

In Southwestern Ontario

Nov. 3, Ten Times Two at Theatre Tillsonburg
Nov. 4, Buying the Moose at Elmira Theatre Company
Nov. 4, It’s a Wonderful Life at Elora Community Theatre

In Toronto

Nov. 1, A Brimful of Asha at Soulpepper Theatre
Nov. 1, UnCovered: Queen & Bowie at Acting Up Stage Theatre Company
Nov. 3, acquiesce at fu-GEN Theatre Company, currently in previews
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Nether at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton)
Andrea Runge, Nigel Shawn Williams
Photo by Banko Media
Nov. 3, The Swan Song, a Study in Terror at NAGs Players
Nov. 4, The Music Man at Scarborough Music Theatre, with a preview on Nov. 3
Nov. 4, Much Ado About Nothing at Hart House Theatre
Nov. 4, A Party to Murder at The Village Players, Bloor West Village
Nov. 5, The Enchanted Loom at Cahoots Theatre Company, in previews


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

Friday, 28 October 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Stories from the Youth Theatre Training Program: Community Arts Guild

By Christine Rankin, Education Assistant 

Our Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP) offers financial support to programs that deliver accessible training to young people (age 14 to 21), led by professional artists in skills such as technical production and design; theatre administration and producing; and performance skills and play creation. 

Community Arts Guild was supported for their program IN COMMON GROUND that took place in the communities of Scarborough and Nipissing First Nation during April-June 2015. 

The Community Arts Guild uses the collective quality of group creation to build and strengthen the sense of community between artists. Upon designing a project to focus on youth entitled IN COMMON GROUND, they sought funding from Theatre Ontario under our Youth Theatre Training Program. From April to June in 2015, IN COMMON GROUND united the youth communities of Scarborough and Nipissing First nation through art-making.  Realizing that their youth groups paralleled each other, Community Arts Guild and Aanmitaagzi decided to collaborate on this project.
“The opportunity to collaborate with Aanmitaagzi in this training program was an inspiring and enriching experience. It was wonderful to spend time in Nipissing and collaborate with them…they are extraordinary artists and Community Arts Guild is proud to have developed a deeper relationship with them.”
It included six workshops and two intensive weekends that were split between each location. IN COMMON GROUND additionally occurred in tandem with Jumblies Theatre’s Train of Thought events: a touring community arts project that used various art media to explore the histories of relationships between first nations, other communities, and indigenous land. With the added support of Jumblies Theatre, the youths in the IN COMMON GROUND program likewise explored themes of land throughout their workshops, focusing on the need to respect the earth and the awareness that humans are its guests.

The workshops involved creative training in the fields of theatre, music and dance. The participants explored the role of movement in storytelling and the range of forms that movement can take. They engaged with mask work, improvisation, choreography, and even some puppetry. The participants also explored an auditory plane of art through voice work, soundscapes and drumming. Needless to say, the participants’ creative minds were kept extremely busy! These sessions not only promoted the development of artistic skills for future artists and creators but also for everyday life! Participants gained valuable insights toward creative problem solving, expression, self-confidence, and critical thinking. The participants had fantastic things to say about their learning experience:
“Best thing learned – being sociable with others making new friends, respecting others. It helped me to keep active. It’s been a great and wonderful experience.”
“It was a very adventurous experience for me, and my first time outside of the city of Toronto…chatting with others [was] very awesome.”
The workshops and intensive weekend in each location were geared towards the goal of creating a final piece that celebrated all of the above arts and that was presented in their communities.  The show, Beneath Us, was both scripted and improvised and derived from an oral story from the West Coast belonging to Salish people. In Nipissing, the youths performed Beneath Us at the Capitol Centre in North Bay in the Dream Big Conference. It re-adapted for outdoor performance and presented at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre in Scarborough as well as Art of the Americas and Train of Thought Toronto. Community Arts Guild and Aanmitaagzi truly made a difference in the lives of youths through this project: 
“Many of our youth expressed an interest in taking a more active role in our workshops and art making in the community, some even saying that they see a career for themselves in the arts.”
IN COMMON GROUND provided a landscape for the creation of art through the sharing of culture and experiences between participants of different communities. Without this program, these youths would not have had a chance to connect with each other. The developing of these new relationships was repeatedly noted as a point of excitement for the young artists. Participants from Scarborough were thrilled to learn in-person about indigenous culture from indigenous people. It was great to see the enrichment of art that arises from diversity of those involved in the process.

People of different cultures, nationalities, and generations came together through the process of art-making. Intergenerational creation was used to unite youth with established Community Arts Guild and Aaanmitaagzi artists. Additionally, the program’s reach extended beyond geographical barriers and included participants who were new to Canada and whose first experiences of the country became the open space for free creation established by the Community Arts Guild and Aanmitaagzi. 

Theatre Ontario’s YTTP is proud to have supported this initiative and was delighted to see so many creators come together…IN COMMON GROUND!

The next application deadline for the Youth Theatre Training Program is March 15, 2017.

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

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Launching Your Career workshop at Theatre Ontario
  • Running away from a blank page? Learn how to get past writer’s block. Join us at our free PGC Writer’s Block webinar with Marcia Johnson in partnership with Playwrights Guild of Canada on November 3 in Toronto.
  • Keep your team safe and your show running smoothly—join us at our Health and Safety for Independent and Community Theatres workshop with Janet Sellery on November 5 in Toronto.
  • Learn the techniques and the language to stage human sexuality in a way that is professional, dynamic and focused on storytelling at our Intimacy for the Stage weekend intensive with Tonia Sina in partnership with Burning Mountain on November 12 and 13 in Toronto.
  • Build and maintain a solid career that industry professionals and audiences will trust in our Building Your Brand as an Artist workshop with Edward Power on November 14 in Toronto.
  • Answers to your FAQ’s about the business of acting! Join us at our Launching Your Career workshop with Rachel Kennedy and guest Claire Armstrong, in partnership with Artscape Launchpad on November 22 in Toronto. 
  • Preparing an OAC application? Get the inside scoop at our Grant Writing Information pre-recorded webinar, with Pat Bradley of the Ontario Arts Council, available on November 22.
  • Want to know the secrets to a successful voice acting career? Join us at our Voice Over workshop with Elley-Ray on November 26 in Toronto.
  • Members save 50% on E-learning courses from WorkInCulture. One of the six courses available is Marketing—Find and grow your audience! How do you make the leap from "Sounds like a great show" to "Two tickets, please"? This course will take you through that process, developing and enhancing your marketing skills along the way.
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • SPARC – the Symposium for Performing Arts in Rural Communities opens October 27 in Haliburton.
  • The Playwright’s Guild of Canada’s Tom Hendry Awards are October 30 in Toronto.
  • Deadline to apply for Canada Council’s “New Chapter: Arts Program to Mark the 150th Anniversary of Confederation” grants is October 31.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Arts Council’s Theatre Organizations—Summer Theatre and Compass grants is November 1.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Theatre InspiraTO is hosting a workshop on writing engaging ten-minute plays on November 26 in Toronto.
  • The MT Space invites applications for their Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators Reserve. Funding priorities include collectives and work on non-script-based physical forms. The application deadline is December 9.
  • Nominations are now open for Gina’s Prize, the Gina Wilkinson Prize which recognized an experienced female theatre artist transitioning from one theatre discipline to the discipline of theatre direction.  The nomination deadline is December 15.
  • The Singing Studio of Douglas Rice is hosting a “Stage Deportment, Poise and Performance Enhancement” workshop on January 15 in Toronto.

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, 25 October 2016

The YAC's 2nd Event of 2016: Play Date!

We at the YAC were so excited to see so many new and eager faces out at our May event "Now What: An Emerging Artist's Guide to the Theatre Universe" that we couldn't wait to follow it up! "Now What" was all about helping young theatre artists navigate a professional community that was new to them. We had lots of recent and soon-to-be theatre school grads in attendance, many from our event venue, the Randolph Academy. We started thinking about what that first September out of school was like for each of us. The answer? Hard; but made so much easier by keeping busy. "Play Date" was born out of the desire to help emerging artists feel situated in their larger theatre community even as they no longer have a school program to anchor them.

Networking is a word that gets thrown around a lot across all fields, and for many people (myself included, I'll admit) it's a scary word that connotes strategic conversations, studying names ahead of time, and something of an agenda. In other words: cold and calculating. But networking is what happens when your friend introduces you to someone they went to school with and you realize you both saw the same show at Fringe; it doesn't have to be scary at all. With "Play Date," we wanted to demystify networking, make it seem less intimating, and encourage young theatre lovers and creators to think beyond meeting, say, the artistic director of their dream company; we feel that it is equally valuable to get to know one another: your peers are your future collaborators, cast-mates, and—not the least—friends, even if they look just as uncomfortable in an unfamiliar room as you do. We didn't want to create a "networking for the sake of networking" atmosphere, rather we hoped to demonstrate that meeting new people and forging connections is something that can happen (perhaps inadvertently) while you're having fun! "Play Date" was structured around that thing that we all love so dearly in the theatre: the play. After all, what's easier to talk about than your favourite play?

On Monday, September 12th, our guests started arriving at our venue, the Central in Toronto's annex, at 8 PM. They wrote the name of their favourite play (a challenge for many, we were told - who has just one?) on name tags and received their copy of Human Bingo, an activity we loved as an icebreaker at Paprika's Intersection in March and adapted to go with our play theme. Everyone had to find someone to match a description in each box, with examples including "Has read Judith Thompson's The Crackwalker," "Saw a show at Summerworks," and "Has seen Kinky Boots more than once."

Toronto photographer Philip Zave was on hand to snap photos for us and mingled right along with everyone else. Philip excepted, our 20+ guests were exclusively female! This was unexpected but ultimately, we felt, helped create an instant sense of community. Everyone was kind and open and spent lots of time talking to new people. Many guests were one year out of theatre school or identified this as their very first September without a school to go back to. We also met several people who had just moved to Toronto—some from as far away as Wales and as recently as three weeks ago!

Our play exchange proved a great success—a large number of people brought plays to contribute to the exchange, and the plays that we had ready upon arrival, supplied by Theatre Ontario and our own libraries, were great conversation starters as people milled about and found them set out on patio tables. We were pretty excited about the main game of the night: it was a mix of Balderdash and Apples to Apples but it was all about PLAYS, so how could we not be? The way it worked was we split into two groups and everyone took turns reading the title and author of a play from a piece of paper and each person had to invent a two-sentence synopsis for the play, even if they recognized it. The best (or wildest) synopsis won each round, and then everyone got to hear the actual summary of the play! Many of these plays were there to be exchanged, and hearing what they were about helped spark interest in them and ensured they were scooped up by the end of the night. Mission: expose people to new plays, accomplished. This game brought out the best in our incredibly innovative (and hilarious) guests. As our photographer Philip put it, "there is so much creativity in this room!" I, for one, would definitely read a version of Ibsen's The Wild Duck featuring "Paul," who "has an identity crisis and is convinced that he is a duck; attempts to exist solely on crackers." We loved the way everyone dove into this game, and we had so much fun! (Play lovers, feel free to snag this idea—you won't regret it.)

In what felt like no time at all, our fruit and veggie platters (generously provided by Sobeys on DuPont and Shaw) dwindled and the cheesy aromas of Panago Pizza wafted in from the other room. We were so lucky to have "Play Date" fuelled by Panago's #RandomActsOfPizza, and we can assure you that none of it went to waste! Guests mingled over slices and we announced the raffle winners of a brand new copy of Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9 and a free Theatre Ontario workshop: Building Your Brand As An Artist with Edward Power, coming up in November. We had thought the night would end there, but no! Our lovely and effusive Play Daters stayed chatting for another hour and a half! On their way out the door there were many calls of "Don't forget to email me" and "Thanks for the Life Chats!" Needless to say, our hearts were warmed. We love connecting people and helping them feel welcome in the theatre community—and based on the feedback we got from our guests, we accomplished just that! 

Stay up to date with the YAC by liking our Facebook page! As always, we welcome questions and feedback at youth@theatreontario.org. We also invite you to learn more about "Now What: The Care Package" on the Theatre Ontario website

The 2016 Youth Advisory Committee is Annie MacKay and Jocelyn MacNeil. For this event we had tremendous help from volunteer (and recent Randolph grad) Sarah Bransfield. We would also like to acknowledge the support of Claudia, Brandon, and Bruce at Theatre Ontario, our photographer Philip Zave, Brittany Townsend at Snapd Toronto, Sobeys at DuPont and Shaw, Panago Pizza for fueling this event, and the Central for generously offering a free space! We truly appreciate everyone who came out to "Play Date" and we are so grateful for their pay-what-you-can donations, which help us continue to create these opportunities for Ontario youth involved in theatre.

Monday, 24 October 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of October 24

ONstage Opening in Toronto
Piya Behruiya (Twelfth Night) at Soulpepper Theatre
Mansi Multani, Geetanjali Kulkarni
Photo by The Company Theatre
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Oct. 27, Piya Behrupiya (Twelfth Night) at Soulpepper Theatre
Oct. 29, acquiesce at fu-GEN Theatre Company, in previews

In Central Ontario

Oct. 28, Gloria’s Guy at Blackhorse Village Players (Tottenham), with a preview on Oct. 26

In South Central Ontario

Oct. 28, The Haunted Library at Shadowpath Theatre Productions (Newmarket)

In Southwestern Ontario

ONstage Opening in Southwestern Ontario
Steel Magnolias at St. Marys Community Players
Oct. 28, The Nether at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton), with previews from Oct. 26
Oct. 28, La Ronde at London Community Players, with a preview on Oct. 27
Oct. 28, Steel Magnolias at St. Marys Community Players, with a preview on Oct. 27 
Oct. 28, Rabbit Hole at Dundas Little Theatre (Hamilton)


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

Friday, 21 October 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

  • Alex Colle, a fourth-year Theatre major at York University wrote about what he has been learning as a playwriting student.
  • Cautionary example of how NOT to market your immersive theatre experience, and why you should always reflect on your audience’s experience, from Cindy Marie Jenkins.
  • Centennial College is currently in the process of developing a new post-graduate program called Arts in Community Education. They are seeking feedback from prospective students of this program for arts education and community development activities. At this phase, this is a confidential investigation in order to better inform the team working on the new program. The survey is active until the end of the month and the developers would be very grateful for any and all participation. Help shape the future of arts education training in Canada.

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

Andy Trasuk

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 October issue is now available.

Thursday, 20 October 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 March 1, 2017.


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: Jane Spence

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

Jane Spence will train in artistic direction with David Nairn at Theatre Orangeville.


(September 7, 2016) In just one short week I officially begin training to be an Artistic Director under the mentorship of David Nairn at Theatre Orangeville. I met Mr. Nairn six years ago when I first performed for Theatre Orangeville. Immediately I felt there was something special about this theatre. Mr. Nairn is a humble, generous man whose passion for theatre is infectious. People love working for him and he has created a sense of pride in the Theatre throughout the Orangeville community. The audience members are so invested in the company that they thank the actors for coming to “their” theatre.  I witnessed the impact this Theatre has had on its community and it inspired me to explore that relationship in every theatre I have worked for since. It’s through these experiences that I have expanded the vision for my career.  I am so very grateful Mr. Nairn is taking me under his wing. I have enormous respect and admiration for how he operates Theatre Orangeville and its mission statement encapsulates all that I desire to achieve in theatre.
Theatre Orangeville Mission Statement:
To enrich the community with high quality, professional theatre experience, that showcases the development of new Canadian works. To provide youth with unique opportunities to transform their lives through the performing arts. To provide vibrant, engaging and creative opportunities that grow the cultural experience through community partnerships.

There is so much to learn from someone with Mr. Nairn’s passion and vision.  Under his leadership, Theatre Orangeville has become a successful regional theatre that creates high quality professional productions of new Canadian work. As well as the education programing that enriches more than three hundred students every year, they have created unprecedented programs and partnerships. Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS) offers intellectually challenged adults an opportunity to perform original plays that celebrate the abilities of every participant and Theatre Orangeville Exceptional Players (TOEP) providing a performing arts program for special needs children. I was so moved as an audience member watching a CPOS production, realizing the potential theatre has to truly change and improve people’s lives.

Mr. Nairn has brought together an excellent staff who he values and empowers. As a result he has created a very dedicated company who enjoy what they do and constantly strive to exceed expectations. While he appreciates and recognizes his team’s successes, he is always seeking avenues for growth and improvement on what Theatre Orangeville can accomplish. He is the kind of leader I aspire to be.

The next few months promise to be a busy and exciting time. I will be enhancing my skills as a director by assisting on two productions, Miracle on 34th Street with Mr. Nairn and Ghost Island Light with Derek Ritschel, another Artistic Director for whom I have great respect.  I will be afforded the opportunity to participate in casting sessions, production meetings, board meetings, classes and workshops of new plays. I will strengthen my ability to support the creation of new work by examining how the New Play Development Program and the education programs are structured. I will also witness plenary sessions, funding and budgeting meetings. I anticipate learning an immense amount observing these various processes and Mr. Nairn has made me feel my input and contributions are welcome. I look forward to testing and honing my skills with the responsibilities given to me. I have even been assigned the fabulous task of helping create a new play festival of sorts (details to be revealed later). I am thrilled to be a part of this project and am eager to meet with organizers, to learn the process and logistics necessary behind producing a festival.

I feel so fortunate to have this career changing opportunity and the guidance of this amazing mentor.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.

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: Gilda Monreal

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

Gilda Monreal trained in playwriting with Rosa Laborde at Criminal Theatre in Toronto.

Gilda Monreal
Photo by Jeremie Triplet
(September 30, 2016) My mentorship with Rosa Laborde at Criminal Theatre has been a wonderful experience with a profound learning curve. An experience which I will process and refer to throughout my journey as a writer and storyteller, I am sure. It was truly a powerful mentorship that I am profoundly greatly for. This final segment of my mentorship involved creating structure, developing action around this structure, and followed by the writing of dialogue. This experience was also accompanied by the analysis of the readings done in the earlier phase of my training with Rosa. Everything we had discussed since the beginning of my mentorship came into play in these last weeks, and I was able to apply these theories, readings and discussions in practical terms. Rosa’s guidance allowed me to analyze my own process of storytelling and challenged me to learn more about the art of action driven poetry.

In this final phase of my playwriting mentorship I was given the challenge to review the storyline structure I had originally created for my script Ayelen and to further develop this structure by applying what I had learned up to date. We then exercised a series of sessions where my new structure was analyzed and re-worked by keeping in mind what had been discussed. This exercise helped me to understand the balance between action, exposition, and magical realism. Because my work quite often uses magical realism, this was an important part of my mentorship as it challenged me to understand how to ground “facts and information” within a surreal context. This structure exercise also allowed me to explore the essence of the story I am wanting to tell, and which choices were better to make in achieving the telling of this story. 

Once I arrived at a structure I was content with, we began the process of actioning. This actioning was broken down into sections, and filled the script with interactions between characters. Again, this process was done on my own and then analyzed with Rosa, where I was able to review the choices I had made. Were these choices justified, efficient, clear, and contributing to the essence of my story? Here we also analyzed the readings I had done in the beginning of my mentorship, and reviewed the complexity and/or simplicity of choices other writers had made. The layering of multiple storylines and their actions, within the overall story, was also analyzed and re-worked. 

And lastly, I got to explore dialogue. With the work done up to this point, the parameters of dialogue became very clear. The structure and actioning allowed me to make dialogue choices that were concise and action driven. This allowed me to play with poetic expression as well as magical realism in a way I had not experienced in my prior work. It was a structured and liberating experience all at once. Rosa was extremely supportive in my individual creative process, and was also informative in giving me tools that would help me develop my skills as a storyteller. 

In the follow up to this mentorship experience I plan to have a public reading of my script Ayelen. I had originally planned to do this independent follow up to my mentorship a week or two after concluding the training, but because I have learned so much, I feel it is important not to rush into this next phase. I have decided to sit with these new teachings for a little while longer, as I loved this experience and will now take the time to process for myself everything I have learned. Along with Rosa Laborde’s Criminal Theatre company, my script Ayelen will have a public reading in the weeks to come, which I will proudly invite Theatre Ontario and the general public to come to. I am so grateful for this mentorship, it has been a turning point for me as a writer. Thank you!

Related Reading:

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.


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 - "Challenge Accepted"

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.

(September 28 2016) With September signalling the end of SummerWorks and an intense August working on two theatre festivals, I can now sit down to reflect on all I’ve learned from Laura Nanni and my SummerWorks experience.

First off, everything that Laura does she does with grace, generosity and complete and utter dedication to details. It has been a pleasure working with someone who is genuinely grateful to her staff. The world of artistic direction and curation could be likened to asking someone to alternate standing on one leg while singing and juggling at the same time—so an incredible team is very important and Laura is keenly aware of that. What became crystal clear is artistic direction and curation comes down to really hard work, long hours and continuous obstacles and challenges that you must meet with grace and ingenuity. It is not glamorous but it is always in service to something greater and you have to have a profound love for the art form and the people whose work you are producing.

In this year of transition I witnessed discussions about what SummerWorks has been doing, what that means for 2016 and conversations about deepening existing programming and re-assessing the value of other programs. With new leadership it was great to hear these conversations and although many of the wheels were already in motion by the time Laura began as Artistic and Managing Director, I watched her build her critical path and figure out what to prioritize leading up to the Festival.

In the first part of my internship I learned how to approach past sponsors, I took minutes for the All Artist Meeting and sat in on production meetings to see how they were run, all the while making notes about ideas that would relate back to my own festival. I learned how important it is to have a dedicated team member for a social media campaign and I came to appreciate how important it is to have a plan for how things roll out and what and how information is disseminated. I also worked on port of entry letters and letters of invitation for International artists travelling to the Festival; this alone took almost a full week of research and side coaching to finalize all the sensitive details.

When it came to the main event, the SummerWorks Performance Festival, it coincided with my own festival in Thunder Bay so I was only able to be at the Festival from August 10th - 14th. In those five days, I did whatever I could to be of service and to get a well-rounded perspective of the festival. I helped with Open Source SLIP set up, box office at the Pia Bowman, I did reconciliations at the bank, entered audience surveys into the database, tweeted out notes during one of the conversations called “Who cares? A think tank of wishful thinking…”, saw some shows and took part in morning production meetings.

There is no doubt in my mind that working on an event like SummerWorks takes a team of very special individuals!! This was the most incredible team!! They are super human beings and they are led by an incredibly generous leader. I enjoyed my experience and I look forward to continuing with Laura, informally throughout the Fall, but more rigorously throughout all of February 2017.

Related Reading:

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.


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: Sebastian Marziali

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

Sebastian Marziali is training in scenography with Trevor Schwellnus at Aluna Theatre in Toronto.

(September 28, 2016)  I am now halfway through my scenography residency with Trevor Schwellnus and already I am shifting the way I look and talk about the stage. I’m noticing new details in the work I see and making a different set of considerations when building new work. I feel humbled as I am challenged to learn to work in a new way with a new set of tools.

So far we’ve spent a great deal of time looking at/ discussing lights and how they interact with the actors and elements on stage. Exploring the balancing act required in building festival plots for RUTAS panamericanas, trying to meet the needs of multiple shows and events happening in three spaces simultaneously. The biggest challenge so far is facilitating two very tech and rigging heavy shows sharing the same space and performing  on the same night with only a couple of hours to completely switch over the space. Thankfully between Trevor and our super star PM Charissa Wilcox the festival and companies are in the most capable hands, their ability to find solutions the moment the problem arises is incredible. There is a tremendous amount of work that is put into satisfying the needs of established touring shows whilst finding effective ways of sharing equipment and space. There’s only so much room in the grid, for hanging both lights and rigging, and only so many fixtures available within a budget. It’s a game of visualising and interpreting intentions to be able to achieve the vision of each show and have the companies walk into a space that is ready to house that vision within a limited amount of time. 

I’m also coming to appreciate further the work that it takes to make technical adjustments. When an actor, writer or director wants to change the business on stage it is a matter of playing in the moment and finding a simple solution but when it comes to the space itself one has to have the forethought to build in contingencies where possible because you can only adjust so much once the tech actually comes in. This is especially true in indie theatre where we can’t always just pick up another light or spend another hour on hang and focus. We have to be more that much more prepared from the outset when we don’t have a grid full of moving lights and a massive budget. 

I am super thankful for the opportunity to be doing this work with Trevor and expanding my theatrical scope. I am understanding the stage in new ways and it is incredibly refreshing. With the festival only a week away I am super excited but also nervous as hell walking into a total trial by fire. We’ll see what more I will have learned when I come out the other side.

Related Reading:

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.


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

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 trained in choral conducting and music direction with Hilary Donaldson in Toronto.

From Singing to Conducting

(September 19, 2016) Over the Spring season I was privileged to be granted a period of mentorship in choral conducting with musicologist doctoral candidate Hilary Donaldson. Over nine weeks I soaked up her knowledge and experience. My aim, in learning the art of conducting, was to grasp one of the foundational skills of music theatre direction. In time, when I have exited stage left as a performer, I will transition into musical direction. All of this takes time to develop the skills, leadership capability and confidence. And so my study period with Hilary has activated my preliminary steps down that path.

My previous two reports included some of the finer details of how I grappled with and eventually became proficient in the specifics of conducting gestures. I also outlined how Hilary taught me to prepare for rehearsals, to study a piece in its entirety, and to anticipate potential problematic passages within the piece. All of those lessons have sunk into me, and are vital components in the nitty-gritty of conducting. Perhaps one could say that those aspects of being a good conductor are the visible portions of the iceberg.

It is now the submerged portion of the iceberg that I wish to address—for this less visible aspect of conducting plays a remarkable role in how a conductor comes across. And it was over the final four weeks of my mentorship with Hilary that I was able to really consider and apply what she taught me about the art—as opposed, perhaps to the science—of conducting.

I learned from Hilary how much physical space a conductor requires in order to not only be seen, but also to effectively bring one’s full presence to conducting a piece. This is less about physicality, I have come to realize, than it is about psychology. As a singer of umpteen decades my confidence is very strong. And an audience can see and hear that in my performance. As a very newbie conductor in the making, it’s remarkable the difference: Hilary videotaped me in several of our rehearsals so that I could “read” my body language. As a conductor I revealed far less confidence  -understandably – and I took up considerably less space. 

And this is what I mean about there being a psychological component to my learning in the final phase of this mentorship period. Underlying is the question, “How much space do I have the right to take up?” It’s a poignant question—and one that women, in particular, have been asking ever since writer Virginia Woolf declared that a woman needs a “room of her own.” Hilary’s appeal to “take up more space” was not the first time I had been given such feedback. Very early in my career as a budding performer an artistic director for whom I hold the greatest regard gave me the same direction. “Make your physical universe larger; take up more space.” I so learned to—as a performer, mind you. 

Somehow I had shrunk myself as a conductor in training. And I’m grateful that Hilary picked up on this and brought it to my attention. Such are ways of conveying confidence (or a lack of it) that I hadn’t considered prior to this point in my study with Hilary. Because she came from a theatre background that includes dance, she was very effective in helping me adopt a conductor’s confidence-inspiring and commanding posture.

As a frequent listener to music of all kinds, I found myself conducting everything I listened to on my iPod as I enjoyed my morning hikes. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Lady Gaga, Faith Hill…all of these and many more artists were all conducted by me on those walks. And I really got the feeling for taking up more space with my posture, rib cage and arms. I also practiced being ‘small’ in comparison. That felt timid and apologetic. And, judging by some of the videos I watched of myself, it looked it too. 

And so I realized that the bulk of my remaining mentorship period was to resist any inclinations towards self-consciousness. Anyone who thinks this should come naturally is perhaps gifted with an abundance of self-esteem. In my case, it took work—not just at a physical level, but at a mental and emotional level too. Playing small—whether one is aware that that is what they are doing or not—is a form of apology, I think. I overcame that mindset by focusing on the virtues of learning a new skill, of respecting myself for making this choice, and of enlarging the scope of my leadership and musical capabilities.

On the final day of my mentorship period with Hilary I conducted the Eastminster United Church Choir during Sunday worship, as they sang the anthem “A Song of Paul.” The piece is composed by Alfred V. Fedak. It’s in 6/8 time, and conducted in two. As I stated in my two previous reports, conducting in 2 proved to be the most challenging of time signatures for me, and so I deliberately chose this piece to overcome that challenge. Although there were some minor butterflies, I felt well prepared on the day. The choir sang with heart and beauty, and I didn’t faint.

The following week rehearsals commenced for Hogtown, an audience-immersive theatrical piece performed in Toronto over the course of the Summer. I was charged with providing the musical direction for a cast of over forty. I simply couldn’t have taken on such a task were it not for the wonderful mentorship that I received from Hilary. She provided her expertise not only in the technical aspects of conducting, but also in its more subtle aspects – which are more psychologically fathomed. To her I owe a debt of gratitude. I am also very grateful to the Eastminster United Church Choir for allowing me to use portions of their rehearsal time to apply what I learned from Hilary. Finally, my utmost thanks goes to Theatre Ontario for providing me with the means to take this time of study. As I continue to grow in my musical leadership I will forever reflect on this time as a crucial step towards my goal of becoming a music director.

Related Reading:

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.


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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Building Your Brand as an Artist workshop
  • Taking your new play from page to stage can seem impossible. Yet new plays are produced every season. How do they do it? Join us at our Playwright’s Guide to Getting Produced workshop with David S. Craig on October 24 in Toronto.
  • You’ve got the ideas, you’ve got the passion, you’ve got the drive—what you’re missing is the almighty dollar. Join us at our Crowdfunding: Essential Tips for Artists and Arts Organizations workshop with Nancy Kenny on November 2 in Toronto.
  • Running away from a blank page? Learn how to get past writer’s block. Join us at our Writer’s Block webinar with Marcia Johnson in partnership with Playwrights Guild of Canada on November 3 in Toronto.
  • Keep your team safe and your show running smoothly—join us at our Health and Safety for Independent and Community Theatres workshop with Janet Sellery on November 5 in Toronto.
  • Learn the techniques and the language to stage human sexuality in a way that is professional, dynamic and focused on storytelling at our Intimacy for the Stage workshop with Tonia Sina in partnership with Burning Mountain on November 12 and 13 in Toronto.
  • Build and maintain a solid career that industry professionals and audiences will trust in our Building Your Brand as an Artist workshop with Edward Power on November 14 in Toronto.
  • Members save 50% on E-learning courses from WorkInCulture. One of the six courses available is Marketing—Find and grow your audience! How do you make the leap from "Sounds like a great show" to "Two tickets, please"? This course will take you through that process, developing and enhancing your marketing skills along the way.
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is hosting a Granting 101: The Basics workshop in partnership with the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council on October 24.
  • SPARC – the Symposium for Performing Arts in Rural Communities opens October 27 in Haliburton.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Cahoots Theatre Company invites submissions for their Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators Reserve. Their funding priorities are artists of colour, deaf artists and artists with disabilities. The application deadline is December 1.

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

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Stories from the Summer Theatre Intensive: “A Week at Theatre Ontario” and Advanced Directing with John P. Kelly

By Valerie Bogan (Ottawa, Ontario)

As I walked into the classroom at Trent University on a hot August morning, John P. Kelly sat casually with a twinkle in his eye. He was waiting for his five eager students to arrive to begin his Advanced Directing Course. John had given us a list of playwrights to study and we arrived with paper in hand ready to start the day.

“Arrogance,” was the first thing he said. “To be a good director, you must have a certain degree of arrogance.” Then a wide smile spread across his face and I realized he was serious. Yikes! And so began one of the greatest learning experiences of my theatre career.

The 2016 Advanced Directing class
The students in the course all varied in experience. From Sergio and Carey with their large bodies of work in both musical and straight theatre, Bodene (our secretary and number one note taker) with a fair number of plays under her belt and readying herself for her next big production, and Mary Lynn a teacher preparing for, I believe, her first directing job outside of her yearly high school students, but with a whole bunch of stage management experience. I brought 28 years of experience in all aspects of theatre including directing three plays. We shared so many of our experiences and it was absolutely wonderful to be with this group of folks who all spoke the same language.

During our week we learned that although arrogance is an asset, there are many more qualities needed to be a good—or even great—director. I admit that I had at least one day where I thought to myself “I do not belong here.” John was quick to quiet that little crisis of self-confidence. We all very much belonged there and he proved it to us by the end of the week.

The course consisted of analysing scripts, working on pace, style and realism, creating effective acting spaces, interacting with actors, designers and directing staff, and so much more. We covered pretty much every genre of play possible. Having admitted to John that I was not a huge fan of farce, he assured me that by the end of the week I would be converted. I am!

"100 most important" plays ever written exercise
John is a very clever man who has read and directed a great number of plays. On the first day, he spoke often about putting together a list of the “100 most important” plays ever written. And so, the challenge began. These were not necessarily plays that we liked, had actually directed or had large commercial success. They were plays that over time had become important not only on stage but in literary circles. The plays, ranging from 405 BC to 2010, are a collection of classics from authors such as Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Wilde, Coward, Shaw, Miller, Beckett, Healey, Pinter, Mamet, Stoppard and many more.

In the evenings students from all four courses would gather in the common area on an empty floor (you can imagine the racket a bunch of theatre people can make) and talked theatre over a well-deserved libation. We were all pretty excited to share the insights from the day. Many folks knew each other, having either worked together on community projects or having met at previous courses. The out-of-classroom learning was often just as valuable. 

Birthday boy Mark Crawford reading at the Summer Courses
Another really exciting event was when guest playwright Mark Crawford came to read from his latest play, The Birds and the Bees which premiered at the Blyth Festival in June 2016. He also read from his two other plays, Stag and Doe and Bed and Breakfast. Mark is an extremely personable and massively funny man whose plays appeal to all. Despite it being his birthday (thanks for the birthday cake Rachel Kennedy), he stuck around answering questions and sharing his writing experiences with us. 

Our time in Peterborough was made complete with the wonderful programming offered by the staff of Theatre Ontario and Trent University. Our rooms were comfortable and clean, the food kept us fueled for the day, and people were very welcoming. Our dear Rachel Kennedy even spent time with us in class subbing in as an actor as we stumbled through scene work—a real trooper that one!

Theatre Ontario is a great place to learn, both from amazing course conductors and from each other. I wouldn’t change a thing, and look forward to another wonderful week to come!

Related Reading:

Monday, 17 October 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of October 17

ONstage Opening in Southwestern Ontario
Salt Baby at The MT Space
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

Oct. 20, Salt Baby at The MT Space (Waterloo)
Oct. 21, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Aylmer Community Theatre, with a preview on Oct. 20
Oct. 21, Joni Mitchell: River at The Grand Theatre (London), with previews from Oct. 18
Oct. 21, Rock of Ages at Theatre Sarnia
Oct. 21, The Rocky Horror Show at Oh Canada Eh? Productions (Niagara Falls)

In Toronto

Oct. 18, Spirit Horse at Young People's Theatre
Oct. 21, Outside Mullingar at Toronto Irish Players, with a preview on Oct. 20
Oct. 21, Joyful Noise at East Side Players
Oct. 22, Mouthpiece at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, with a preview on Oct. 21
Oct. 22, Quiver at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, with a preview on Oct. 21

In Central Ontario

Oct. 20, The Shadow Walk of Millbrook at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook)
Oct. 21, The Ghost Island Light at Theatre Orangeville, with previews from Oct. 20
Oct. 21, Jenny's House of Joy at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)

In Eastern Ontario

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Barefoot in the Park at Scarborough Players
Tamara Freeman, Will van der Zyl
Photo by Thomas Kowal
Oct. 18, Dean & Jerry: What Might Have Been at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg)
Oct. 19, Dial "M" for Murder at Ottawa Little Theatre
Oct. 21, 'da Kink in my Hair at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa), with previews from Oct. 19

In South Central Ontario

Oct. 21, Anything Goes at Etobicoke Musical Productions (Mississauga)


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

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

ONstage Openings for the week of October 11

ONstage Opening in Southwestern Ontario
Footloose at Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge
Colin Sheen and company
Photo by Darlene O'Rourke

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In South Central Ontario

Oct. 13, Don't Dress for Dinner at Theatre Aurora

In Southwestern Ontario

Oct. 14, Footloose at Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge, with previews from Oct. 12
Oct. 14, Opening Night at Guelph Little Theatre
Oct. 14, Sitting Pretty at Theatre Woodstock

In Eastern Ontario

Oct. 13, On Golden Pond at Belleville Theatre Guild, with a preview on Oct. 11
Oct. 14, Lend Me a Tenor at Seaway Valley Theatre Company (Cornwall)
Oct. 14, Out of Sight... Out of Murder at Smiths Falls Community Theatre

In Northeastern Ontario

Oct. 12, Over the River and Through the Woods at Sault Theatre Workshop

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Friday, 7 October 2016

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

I’m off next week, but Ontario Off Stage will return on October 21.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Thank You for your Support of Theatre Ontario’s Bowl-a-thon

Theatre Ontario Bowl-a-thon participants at the
Danforth Bowl on Saturday, September 17
The inaugural Theatre Ontario Bowl-a-thon was a huge success and we could not have done it without you!

Thanks to our supporters, participants, Longo’s on Elizabeth Street for the snacks and generous prize donations from businesses in our community. With your incredible support, we raised over $3000 (over 95% of our goal) towards the production costs of Next Generation Showcase and we will keep supporting emerging artists in our positive and vibrant theatre community in Ontario.

Thanks again for everyone involved and for those who missed out, we hope you join us next year!

Learn more about this year’s Theatre Ontario Bowl-a-thon, including the prize winners

Wednesday, 5 October 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


  • Deadline for applications for Paprika Festival’s 16/17 programming is October 7.
  • Deadline for applications for a tenancy at Artscape Youngplace is October 7.
  • Deadline for applications to direct Toronto Irish Players The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (non-paying community theatre production) is October 8.
  • Theatre 3x60 is hosting Open House Information Sessions on October 11 and 18 for their free youth theatre collective, for Durham youth 14 to 21.
  • Deadline for applications to direct for Alumnae Theatre Festival’s New Ideas Festival (non-paying) is October 14.
  • Deadline for proposals from producers for the Klondike Visitor Association’s entertainment contract is October 14.

New on The Bulletin Board


  • Native Earth Performing Arts invites applications for their OAC Theatre Creators’ Reserve. They are particularly encouraging submissions by Indigenous artists, artists-of-colour and women, multidisciplinary artists, and should work within the seven values that govern Native Earth. The application deadline is November 28.
  • Buddies in Bad Times Theatre invites applications for their OAC Theatre Creators’ Reserve. They support artists and works by voices that question sexual and cultural norms, built on the political and social principles of queer liberation. The application deadline is December 2.
  • Theatre Aquarius invites applications for their OAC Theatre Creators’ Reserve. Their funding allocation priority is for Hamilton and area (Halton and Niagara) based writers/creators. The application deadline is December 5.

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