Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Upcoming opportunities for theatre artists from Theatre Ontario, from our members, and from other arts service organizations

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

"Ask an Agent" workshop with Alicia Jeffery, part of our
"Take Control of Your Career" boot camp
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Great Canadian Theatre Company’s next “The Hive @ GCTC” workshop for students is on “Lighting Design” today in Ottawa.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation “Capital Grants” program is October 25.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Submissions are now open for the Ellen Ross Stuart Award, for playwrights 21-30 with some production credits who have graduated from post-secondary training or outgrown other programs that nurture young artists. The deadline is December 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

Monday, 16 October 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of October 16

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Bello at Young People's Theatre
Morgan Yamada, Gabriel Gagnon, Nicole St. Martin
Production Design by Patrick Beagan
Photo by Ali Sultani.
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Central Ontario

Oct. 20, Sugar Road at Theatre Orangeville [with a preview on Oct. 19]
Oct. 20, The 39 Steps at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)

In Eastern Ontario

Oct. 19, On Golden Pond at Domino Theatre (Kingston)
Oct. 20, Fight the Moonlight at Tweed & Company Theatre

In South Central Ontario

Oct. 19, Death of a Salesman at Theatre Aurora
Oct. 20, South Pacific at Etobicoke Musical Productions (Mississauga)

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Gondoliers at Guelph Little Theatre
Ben Wallace, Arthur Harkins
Photo by Dean Palmer

In Southwestern Ontario

Oct. 20, Once at The Grand Theatre (London) [with previews from Oct. 17]
Oct. 20, Outside Mullingar at Aylmer Community Theatre [with a preview on Oct. 19]
Oct. 20, Death of a Salesman at Drayton Entertainment: St. Jacobs Country Playhouse [with previews from Oct. 18]
Oct. 20, The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Theatre Sarnia

In Toronto

Oct. 16, Huff at Soulpepper Theatre
Oct. 19, Other Side of the Game at Cahoots Theatre [currently in previews]
Oct. 20, Thirteen Hands at Alumnae Theatre Company
Oct. 20, The Valley at East Side Players


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

Friday, 13 October 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

Lighthouse Festival Theatre is giving away seats

Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Stories from the Summer Theatre Intensive: Sharpening Your Actor’s Tool Kit

by Michelle Cho

As a newbie, I was nervous about registering for “Sharpening Your Actor’s Tool Kit.” It was a course pitched to experienced actors and frankly, I had no ‘tool kit’ so nothing to sharpen. But after some back and forth with the lovely Rachel Kennedy, she convinced me that Tom Diamond was well-equipped to work with actors of varying levels. I was still a bit skeptical but when I learned it was going to be a small class, I decided to stick to my guns and just go for it. I'm so glad I did.

Tom asked his participants to come prepared to do a couple monologues. I admit, when I stood up to do mine I really had no clue what I was doing. I was shaking in my boots. I spewed out lines that I memorized. I didn’t know where to look…the wall, the audience? I never really thought about whom I was talking to.  What fourth wall?

By the end of Day 1, I learned that acting isn’t about memorizing lines. It’s about ideas, notions and investigating them. Asking questions like: Who am I? Where am I? What’s going on? What do I want? Or what’s my intention?

"Sharpening Your Actor's Tool Kit"
Over the course of the week, Tom helped the six of us explore those ideas through scene study work, improvisation, script analysis and working and re-working our monologues. Of course an honest day’s work didn’t begin without a good game of Twizzle (another great reason to take Tom’s course!)

It's now been more than a month since taking Tom’s workshop and I want to say that everything I learned in his class stuck with me, but I’d be lying. 

Do I always remember to act as though everything’s happening right now? No. Will I remember what I said that had my classmates laughing in an improv scene? Probably not. How ever did I pull off that southern accent while playing Mrs. Wire in Tennessee Williams’ The Lady of Larkspur Lotion? Dunno.

What has stuck and is something I find incredibly useful—not just in acting but in my every day life—is the ability to re-frame the idea of nervousness. Tom encouraged us to learn to embrace our ‘butterflies’, putting a positive spin on it. He calls this ‘life force’ and told us to make it work for you. Don't try to run from it or get rid of it. Use it. Become acquainted with that energy. Be its friend. That 'life force' can be so vibrant and alive.

The other day I could feel the butterflies starting to well up in my belly before an audition. I looked down at my stomach and said, “Oh, there you are” and smiled.

Related Reading

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Upcoming opportunities for theatre artists from us, from our members, and from other arts service organizations

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Work In Culture’s “Take the Lead: Principles for Administrative Leadership in the Arts” is on October 12 and 13 in Toronto.
  • “From Schtick to Script: Original Sitcom Pilot Writing Intensive” with Daniela Saioni begins on October 14 in Toronto.
  • Shaw Festival’s “Grown Up Theatre Club” for adults begins October 15 in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
  • Deadline for Ontario Arts Council “Multi and Inter-Arts Projects” and “Skills and Career Development: Indigenous Arts Professionals and Arts Professionals of Colour” is October 17.
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company’s next “The Hive @ GCTC” workshop for students is on “Lighting Design” on October 18 in Ottawa.
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, 10 October 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of October 10

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Life After at The Musical Stage Company / Canadian Stage
Ellen Denny, Dan Chameroy, Trish Lindström,
Barbara Fulton, Neema Bickersteth, Anika Johnson.
Photo by Michael Cooper
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Oct. 10, Bello at Young People's Theatre
Oct. 14, Other Side of the Game at Cahoots Theatre [in previews]

In Central Ontario

Oct. 13, August: Osage County at Port Hope Festival Theatre

In Eastern Ontario

Oct. 10, Full of Beans at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg)
Oct. 12, Our Town at Belleville Theatre Guild [with a preview on Oct. 10]
Oct. 13, Who Dunit? at Smiths Falls Community Theatre

In Southwestern Ontario

Oct. 13, Rock of Ages at Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge [with previews from Oct. 11]
Oct. 13, Dracula – the Musical? at Theatre Woodstock
Oct. 13, The Gondoliers at Guelph Little Theatre


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

Friday, 6 October 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

The Veil at Toronto Irish Players

Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Bowl-A-Thon... Final Results Are In!

We would like to thank all of the participants and supporters to this year’s annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraising event, which took place on Saturday, September 16th.

You most certainly "raised" to the challenge and made our event a total success.

We raised a total of $4,350.00 - 97% of our goal - in support of the operation of our core programs and services. A very special thanks to the event’s main organizersLeah Dietrich and Rachel Kennedy.

A super special thanks to everyone who came out to play and/or cheer all of the teams!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Upcoming opportunities for theatre artists from us, from our members, and from other arts service organizations

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

Diego Matamoros and Oliver Dennis in Waiting for Godot
at Soulpepper Theatre. Their deadline for applications for
their Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for
Theatre is October 6. (Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)
  • Deadline to register to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Capital Grants is October 4 (for the October 25 deadline.)
  • Ontario Arts Council grant deadlines for “Deaf and Disability Arts Projects”, “Jets de théâtre – projets” and “Touring Projects” is October 5.
  • Deadline for directors to apply for Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival 2018 (non-paying) is October 5.
  • Deadline for submissions for Soulpepper’s Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators is October 6.
  • Deadline for RSVPs for PAONE Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education AGM in Mississauga is October 9.
  • Work In Culture’s “Take the Lead: Principles for Administrative Leadership in the Arts” is on October 12 and 13 in Toronto.
  • “From Schtick to Script: Original Sitcom Pilot Writing Intensive” with Daniela Saioni begins on October 14 in Toronto.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • South Simcoe Theatre invites playwrights to submit to their “Four Play: A Showcase of Play Readings.” The deadline is November 30.

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, 3 October 2017

Honouring Legendary Contribution to Community Theatre in Western Ontario

Do you know someone whose sustained contribution, generosity of spirit, involvement, and commitment has helped community theatre flourish?

Theatre Ontario is now inviting nominations for the 2018 Michael Spence Award for Contribution to Community Theatre. The award is presented annually to someone from the region that is hosting the Theatre Ontario Festival—which in 2018 is Western Ontario—and will be presented at the Awards Brunch.

2017 Michael Spence
Award recipient David Parry
Past recipients of the award are Joan McRae, Anne Wilson, Lillian Sievanen, Sharon Sproule, Betty Coates, Arlene Watson, Vince Mathewson, David Glover, Harry Houston, Hans Warmenhoven, Beth McMaster, Val Hadley, Maureen Lukie, Ken Stephen, Gabe Ferrazzo, Margaret Shearman, Lawrie Bonanno, Jo-anne Spitzer, Walter Maskel, Joe O’Brien, Bev Dietrich, John Storey, and Murray Finn. The 2017 award was presented to David Parry of Perth.

The 2018 award will be presented to an individual from the Western Ontario community theatre region, which includes Bruce County, Grey County, Wellington County, Waterloo Region, the City of Burlington, the City of Hamilton, Niagara Region, and all other municipalities southward and westward to the U.S. border.

The award was established in 1997 by Theatre Ontario on the occasion of Theatre Ontario's 25th Anniversary. Multiple awards were presented on the quinquennial anniversaries of Theatre Ontario until 2012, when it became an annual award. The award is named in honour of Michael Spence, the founding President of Theatre Ontario. Michael was active in community theatre at Hart House Theatre, London Little Theatre, and the University Alumnae Dramatic Club (now known as Alumnae Theatre.) He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Dominion Drama Festival, a past President of Arts Etobicoke, and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of Theatre Ontario.

The nomination deadline is January 31, 2018.

Monday, 2 October 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of October 2

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
A Few Good Men at Theatre Aquarius
Photo by BankoMedia
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Oct. 6, Unapologetically Me: Sharon's Cabaret for Kids at Young People's Theatre [with previews from Oct. 2]
Oct. 6, Riverboat Coffee House: The Yorkville Scene at Soulpepper Theatre
Oct. 6, Wait Until Dark at Scarborough Theatre Guild
Oct. 7, Asking for It at Nightwood Theatre [with a preview on Oct. 6]

ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
The Tomorrow Box at Studio Theatre Perth
Tracy Noonan, Courtney Mason

In Eastern Ontario

Oct. 5, Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa) [with previews from Oct. 3]


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

Friday, 29 September 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

401 Richmond Update

The Province of Ontario announced this week that they will work with the City of Toronto to create a new property tax category for non-profit arts and culture properties, like our home in 401 Richmond.
Thank you to all of our supporters who helped make this possible!

Bruce Hunter and Jani Lauzon in The Breathing Hole
at The Stratford Festival. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Stories from the Summer Theatre Intensive: Creating “Character”

by Linda Pagnotta

This was my very first Theatre Ontario Summer Intensive experience… and it won’t be my last. My expectations were not only met, but were exceeded. I attended “Who the Heck are YOU?! Creating ‘Character'” with Liza Balkan.

First of all, the woman was amazing. She incorporated movement, exercises, even animal noises, which I hear the classes above us (Directors and Playwrights) greatly appreciated. Thanks for allowing us to play! Liza was full of energy, and delivered a thoughtful approach to learning. She challenged me to re-think the monologue I had prepared ahead of time, and think beyond the intended plan. That particular exercise did more for me than if I had just read aloud the monologue I had been preparing for a month. I was able to incorporate some of what I learned at the course immediately. The many exercises were beneficial for exploring, discovering and identifying what is important to me as an actor.

The space at Factory 163 was great! We had a huge space on the bottom floor which consisted of four quadrants. That’s how I looked at the space. The first space was used for warm up, voice and exercises. I had brought my workout gear and yoga mat to keep up at the hotel, but didn’t need it, thanks Liza! The second space was used for sharing monologues and for character development exercises. The third space was for movement, and the fourth space was a round table for some reflection of the day. At times, all four ‘quadrants’ were used simultaneously. I also enjoyed the common areas where I sat with participants from the other courses. We discussed and learned from one another about the various perspectives and viewpoints within the industry.

The plays I attended were not what I would normally select for myself, but I am glad that I had the opportunity to see something different and expand my horizons. I also liked hearing other participants’ impressions. The lunch time guest speaker series was also beneficial because it gave us the opportunity to hear from industry professionals.

The playwright reading with Kristen Da Silva and her cast members was great! They did an excellent job reading the first act from her play, The Book Club. I wish I could have heard the rest to see how it ends. The dynamic of the actors and how they were seated really lent itself to the atmosphere of the read. I enjoyed speaking with the actors and Kristen after the reading. 

My classmates were wonderful people. I won’t name any names, because you know who you are, and how much of a positive impact you had on me. Thanks for your sharing, listening and encouragement. I wish each of you much success going forward and I hope that our paths do cross again someday. 

Linda has recently retired LKP Consulting, her training company after twenty-five years. She looks forward to pursuing her first love for acting and the theatre. Her hometown stage is the Kincardine Theatre Guild where she has been a member since 2006, both on and off stage.

Related Reading

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

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

Hive @ GCTC workshops
Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age is on September 27
  • Shaw Festival’s “Play by Play” audience experience starts September 27.
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company’s Hive @ GCTC workshop for high school and university students on “Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age” is on September 27 in Ottawa.
  • The MT Space’s #SURVIVE_RESIST_CREATE conference in Kitchener begins September 28; their Youth Conference begins October 1.
  • Deadline for submissions for Canada Council for the Arts’ John Hirsch Prize for new and developing theatre directors is October 2.
  • Deadline to apply for Paprika Festival's youth training programs is October 3.
  • Deadline to register to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Capital Grants is October 4 (for the October 25 deadline.)
  • Ontario Arts Council grant deadlines for “Deaf and Disability Arts Projects”, “Jets de théâtre – projets” and “Touring Projects” is October 5.
  • Deadline for directors to apply for Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival 2018 (non-paying) is October 5.
  • Deadline for submissions for Soulpepper’s Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators is October 6.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Great Canadian Theatre Company invites submissions for their Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators Program. Funding priorities are playwrights and collectives based in, or who originate from, Ottawa and the National Capital Region, and work that “provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world.” The deadline is December 1.

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, 26 September 2017

Welcome Maja Ardal as Festival 2018 Adjudicator

Theatre Ontario welcomes Maja Ardal as adjudicator for Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 in London. Maja most recently adjudicated the QUONTA Festival (northeastern Ontario) in 2015 in Sault Ste. Marie, and the London One-Act Play Festival in 2016. This will be her first time adjudicating Theatre Ontario Festival.

Maja has been working in theatre for forty-seven years. She is a director, playwright, actor, and theatre trainer. Her musical play, The Hero of Hunter Street, was produced by 4th Line Theatre in 2016. She researched and created One Thing Leads to Another, Theatre for Babies, produced by Young People’s Theatre, receiving two Dora Awards in 2015. It will tour Ontario in 2018, and she is developing the sequel, You and I.

“I am honoured to be invited to this festival,” said Maja. “My role as adjudicator is both challenging and delightful, and ultimately involves the moral responsibility of sharing my views in a way that enriches the communities' craft and passion for playmaking.”


Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 will be held in London from May 16 to 20, 2018 and is co-hosted by Theatre Ontario, London Community Players, and the Western Ontario Drama League.

Monday, 25 September 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of September 25

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
The Veil at Toronto Irish Players
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In South Central Ontario

Sep. 28, Calendar Girls at Burl-Oak Theatre Group (Oakville)

In Southwestern Ontario

Sep. 26, IMPACT 17 at The MT Space (Waterloo)

In Toronto

Sep. 26, The 32nd Annual Groundswell Festival at Nightwood Theatre
Sep. 28, Life After at Canadian Stage / The Musical Stage Company [currently in previews]
Sep. 28, The Deep Blue Sea at Stage Centre Productions

In Eastern Ontario

Sep. 28, The Tomorrow Box at Studio Theatre Perth
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Melville Boys at London Community Players

In Northeastern Ontario

Sep. 29, Million Dollar Quartet at Sudbury Theatre Centre [with a preview on Sep. 28]


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

Thursday, 21 September 2017

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 four stories:
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 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: Andrea Runge

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

Andrea Runge trained in directing with Ashlie Corcoran at Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque


(July 30, 2017) Once again I found myself in unfamiliar territory being part of the audience at the first performance rather than backstage. I had the anticipation and excitement similar to other openings I have experienced, but had to put my energy into a very different role! Once the show began I was interested in how the audience was reacting to the play, how the actors were dealing with the audience, and how all of the technical aspects were timed and working together. I was seeing and hearing the play for the first time again.

I have gained much knowledge in many areas throughout this process. Tech week was immensely useful and shed light on what I knew the least about. Observing the relationship between the director, the designers and the technicians offered a lot of clarity in how to efficiently get the show up in the theatre and quickly add in all the remaining technical elements. I appreciate how clear a vision Ashlie had of what she wanted on stage, but also trusted the designers to bring their expertise and vision to it as well, making this stage of the process as successfully collaborative as the rehearsal hall. I really admire Ashlie’s trust in those she works with: she has a huge respect for others’ contributions, with the focus always on what is best for the show. 

Anand Rajaram and Andrew Kushnir in Leading Ladies
at Thousand Islands Playhouse. Photo by Rob Whelan 
Although I wasn’t involved with the show during casting or hiring of the production team, I learned a lot about it while watching what was accomplished in this three-week period. The cast not only carried the essence and heart of each character in a wonderfully unique and imaginative way, but they were also able to work quickly and brought a plethora of ideas and much creativity to each rehearsal which helped with the efficiency of getting the show up on its feet in so short a time. The designers were often present throughout rehearsal, and had a great sense of the play and the overall tone so that their ideas truly enhanced the play. This again made for an efficient tech week as everyone was on the same page. 

Ashlie gave me an opportunity to get some hands on experience by asking me to choreograph a transition, which was a great way to put into practice what I had been learning so far in the process. It was fun to solve the logistics while adding story and character so as to continue the action of the play. The execution of it was educational as well—my goal being to communicate as clearly and efficiently as possible to the actors, designers and stage management. I had made choices while at the same time remained open to what the actors and designers had to offer. It was fun to see something I imagined come to life onstage.

Leading Ladies at Thousand Islands Playhouse
Set & Costume Design by Drew Facey
Lighting Design by Michelle Ramsay
I now have a deeper understanding of the role and responsibilities of the director, including the level of organization needed, the foresight, ability to problem solve and to think on one’s feet. To find the sweet spot of being well prepared, knowing the play extremely well, having clear ideas of what the production will look like, and also being open to change and evolution. There is strength in trusting your team, and great things can come from this trust. I hope to mentor other directors who work in this manner, and I will put many of the skills I learned from Ashlie into my own directing and teaching work. Having gone through the whole process from beginning to end has given me more confidence and inspiration to move forward in this field.

Related Reading:


The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 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: Kelly Wolf

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

Kelly Wolf began training in creation/dramaturgy with Richard Greenblatt at Tapesty Opera in Toronto


(May 8, 2017) As I continue to evolve as a theatre artist, I have become more interested in becoming the instigator of a theatre process, rather than simply responding to the project as a designer.  I am looking forward to getting started with Richard Greenblatt as I pursue a greater understanding of project creation and dramaturgy as a collaborative creator.

My background is primarily as a designer.  I am increasingly interested in creating a piece of theatre in response to a space. It is a fantastic way to allow another kind of narrative to emerge. Typically, I am responding to a set of givens, I am hoping that this mentorship project will encourage me to expand my personal creative practice. Traditional spaces already have an expectation built into them as far as the kind of theatre you can expect to see. I want to create theatre that expands your notion of what theatre is and should be by taking theatre out of the traditional venues. I am interested in collaborating with other artists—from all disciplines—in order to fuse and blur the lines between them in search of new approaches.  I have created site specific works of theatre in the past. I want to continue to make this kind of work but feel I need more development in order to move forward. What I feel I am lacking is confidence in structure and dramaturgy.

I approached Richard Greenblatt, someone with whom I already have a collaborative relationship, to share with me some of his insights into project creation. Richard Greenblatt is a director, playwright, actor, dramaturg who has created many original pieces of theatre for adults and young audiences. We have worked together in the past on projects that are script based as well as creation based. He has two projects on the go that I will observe and participate within; a new opera Selfie by Julie Tepperman for Tapestry Opera and The Missing Pages by Tom Allen. I am about to enter into the project at the very early stages; as they are dramaturging the piece, following it through the drafts, then eventually a workshop. What intrigues me about Selfie in particular is that is that Richard is interested in redefining the form of opera with this piece. This opportunity to follow the project from its early stages of development to finding the right collaborators, to developing the work is what I am most curious about. Following this exploration, I will be creating my own piece of theatre. I am producing a new work, Normal Shmormal at the Hamilton Fringe Festival Gallery Mini Series.  This would be an excellent opportunity to take what I have observed and turn it into action.

Richard and I both have a genuine interest in seeing the art of theatre connect with the audiences.  I am looking forward to our debriefing sessions where we will just talk about the process of making theatre.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 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: Naomi Duvall

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

Naomi Duvall began training in puppet design, building and manipulation with Brad Brackenridge at the Nervous System in Peterborough


(April 28, 2017) In the week before I start my mentorship I find myself brimming with excitement and energy. The first time I set eyes on Brad Brackenridge he was eating copious amounts of deviled eggs. I suppose I should clarify that he was in character as a celebrity judge (in a deviled egg contest) to support a fundraiser for a local theatre company. My first impression was that he was a joyous, hilarious, generous and warm person. I had not yet seen any of his work and I was already drawn in. When I did get a chance to experience it, my imagination was captured. His original ideas, execution, and attention to detail were what I aspired to in my own work. I was given the chance to serve as a type of Usher, guiding each audience member to their private show for his portable puppet piece VERTEP. The piece took place in a confessional-type booth, so that each audience member had an individual experience of a magical, disturbing, powerful journey through death, mourning, and transformation. It was awesome to be able to witness their unique responses to the images/sounds/objects presented. The audience members were all enchanted, deeply moved, and transformed. I was in love and I already wanted to work with him again.

Marionettes created by Brad Brackenridge 
My background is mainly in the performing arts. I graduated from a three-year actors training program in 2012 and have since been finding ways to hone my craft and stay sharp through workshops and sporadic work in theatre/commercials. At the end of this mentorship I hope to have the tools to be able to originate my own work. My plan is to participate in the design, build and manipulation of puppets for Precarious: The Peterborough ArtsWORK Festival from conception to completion with Brad as my guide.

I am intensely curious about marionettes; it’s a realm of puppetry that is magnetic to me but that requires considerable know-how to attempt. I am lacking in wood sculpting/joining/carpentry experience and the mechanical understanding of puppet motion and it is a skill I hope to focus on.

I’ve never been trained in puppetry, all ventures have been self-taught or relied upon experimentation. I’ve always loved working with my hands and have developed a lot of dexterity from years of kitchen work and manual labour. It is a pleasure to be able to use that strength in the service of something that gives me such fulfillment. The satisfaction of literally holding an idea in your hand and shaping it is immense. The possibilities and power that a puppet can have onstage is a definite draw for me. Also, it takes a huge amount of problem solving and ingenuity to figure out how to give an otherwise inanimate object life. It is a special kind of theatre magic created by a well-designed, built and manipulated puppet. I want to be able to provide an audience with that experience using my bare hands, allow them the kind of rapt emotional involvement and belief that I feel when watching one of Brad's pieces.

Brad carving a puppet for a Shaw Festival show
This mentorship means direct contact with the quality of work I myself want to be doing and a person whose work and character I thoroughly admire.  I can’t think of anything better for my career than that and look forward to contributing my enthusiasm, creativity and talent to this project! Next week I will be delving into some puppet history and different styles of puppetry as well as taking a look at some puppets Brad is building for the Shaw Festival. Can’t wait!!

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 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: Sarah Thorpe

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

Sarah Thorpe trained in directing with Alan Dilworth at Soup Can Theatre in Toronto


(August 12, 2017) The final weeks of this mentorship ran the gamut of directing techniques and discussions.

I continued to workshop scenes from Bond’s Lear with the actors in Soup Can Theatre’s upcoming production, and Alan encouraged me to focus on how I can take what I discovered from doing the character analysis work, as described in Katie Mitchell’s book, and translate that into a physical life with the actors and play from there. It was a great lesson in the importance of still doing focused, detailed work, and learning how to play from that work and think on your feet. The actors and I made some great discoveries about their characters and relationships which we can’t wait to delve further into once the show is in production. 

Following the workshops, Alan and I turned our focus to directing for site-specific theatre. We visited St Luke’s Church at Carlton and Sherbourne, which has been the home of such other site-specific pieces as Litmus Theatre’s Birth of Frankenstein. I’m looking at this space for an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s most well-known poems and stories to be staged promenade-style, titled Tell-Tale at this time. Prior to our walk-through, I identified the three rooms in the church and the six Poe works that I think would be best suited to the piece. Alan brought up that using Viewpoints—composition techniques developed by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau—would be a great lens to view site-specific space and how it would affect story, character, themes, and audience. Keeping Viewpoints in mind during our walk-through, and considering which works would be in which room, I was flooded with staging ideas and specific Viewpoints to focus on with each piece and each room. Using Viewpoints as the main technique to create Tell-Tale will help me ensure that the storytelling is clear and effective, animating both the stories and the space.

We ended the mentorship with discussions about how Lear and Tell-Tale would fit into Toronto’s current theatre climate, and how I could make the move from directing in the independent community to more established companies. For Tell-Tale, Alan recommended that I think about the overall experience people will have in comparison to the experiences offered by other site-specific works. Site-specific theatre is very popular in Toronto, so what can we do to make this production stand out. For Lear, it’s a very intense and longer piece that wouldn’t suit the tastes of all Toronto theatre-goers. Alan recommended considering how audiences can sit through long and extreme works, targeting specific communities through a social context, reaching out to theatre schools as potential places to produce such a work due to the sheer number of characters and complicated subject matter that students wouldn’t be afraid to jump into, and look into multidisciplinary arts festivals, as we intent to combine projection work and fight choreography into this piece. 

As for career advancement, Alan recommended applying to different directing internships and training programs, constantly make my own work, build relationships with companies and artists, work on smaller projects to counterbalance the larger works I want to direct, pitch lower-risk projects to established and venued companies, and self-promote. Obviously there’s no quick and easy way to do any sort of career advancement, and I never believed that there would be, but it was very heartening to know that I’m already doing some of the suggestions Alan made. And of course, I need to be solid in the work; that comes first, ahead of pitches and self-promotion and everything. 

Looking back on this mentorship process, I feel have a stronger technical foundation that I can build on in a creative capacity, particularly in terms of approaching scripts and creating a fully-realized world of a play. Being specific in the script work must come first and can then be expanded on, creating a much stronger piece overall, and I’ll use that to inform all of my directing work from now on. I now have new ideas for how to expand on my body work. Alan is a wonderful and supportive artist and resource, and someone I can still go to for advice and discussions. I’m very grateful for his time and dedication in helping me become a stronger director, and to Theatre Ontario and the Ontario Arts Council for this opportunity.

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The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 2017.


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