Monday, 21 August 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of August 21

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Breathing Hole at Stratford Festival
Bruce Hunter, Jani Lauzon
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Aug. 23, Party Today, Panic Tomorrow at The Second City

In Central Ontario

Aug. 23, Halfway There at Globus Theatre (Bobcaygeon)

In Eastern Ontario

Aug. 26, The Comedy of Errors at Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque) [with a preview on Aug. 25]

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
The History of Drinking in Cavan at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook)
Robert Winslow, Shelley Simester and the cast
Photo by Wayne Eardley

In Southwestern Ontario

Aug. 24, Five Alarm at Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover) [with a preview from Aug. 23]

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, 18 August 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

Summer Theatre Intensive Speaker Series with Cameron Porteous
Photo by Bill Chan Photography 

In Case You Missed It


Thursday, 17 August 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 five 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: Erin Gerofsky

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

Erin Gerofsky trained in set and costume design with Judith Bowden

(July 19, 2017) At long last, my rambling journey through Design for theatre with Judith Bowden through the Professional Theatre Training Program has come to close. Over the past seven months I have had the great fortune to go fabric shopping in NYC, observe the differences of American theatre in Washington D.C., collaborate with Judith as Associate designer on The Emancipation of Miss Lovely—the first show I have worked on to be nominated for a Dora award, return “home” to the Shaw Festival for tests on a tech heavy production of Saint Joan, and have my first experience backstage at the Stratford Festival to tech The Changeling. Each of these experiences gave me a particularly useful tool to carry with me through my career, two of which stand out as having equipped me with skills I have already had the chance to put into practice in my design work, leading to more successful completed pieces as a direct result of my experience with the PTTP.

Fabric shopping in NYC was incredibly informative and helped me to get a handle on the tools I needed in order to stay organized in the face of great, great, GREAT variety. Keeping clear notes and organizing swatches with a clear system will help differentiate two similar fabrics when you are sorting through the options and have to make a decision based on budget and availability. Notes like these should stay accessible throughout the build process, as you never know when you will need to source a fabric at a late stage, and having this information already available saves you valuable time. I was able to put such skills into practice when shopping for The Penelopiad, for which I designed the costumes at George Brown Theatre School this spring. The Penelopiad was the first show I ever had built from scratch, and as such, fabric shopping was particularly important to the success of the project. Walking into Affordable Textiles on my first day of swatching, equipped with my binder ring of manila tags and stapler, I felt confident in my ability to shop for what we needed, make smart choices based on budget, and gather enough information to present to my head of wardrobe to put her at ease as I was a first time designer with the company. Thanks to those three days of shopping in NYC I was in a position to exceed their expectations, and was invited to design a show in their next season as a result.

The Emancipation of Ms Lovely was an unexpected addition to our “curriculum”; a one woman (plus two musician) show being given a more production-heavy treatment after a couple of more “bare bones” runs in previous years. Judith was asked to design the set with a tight timeline, and an already rather full plate, so she asked me to take on some more of the conceptual responsibilities than normally asked of an assistant, and associate or co-design the set with her. This meant I was in on the design conversation from nearly the complete beginning, allowing me to contribute more fully to the vision and be of more use to fill in the gaps without supervision as we pieced it all together in the space. This also means when there wasn't the money to hire a scenic artist, Judith and Zack and I all rolled up our sleeves and painted the set ourselves (simple flat or glossy black only, thankfully).Two of my main concerns with the set were making our seat count while maintaining fire code standards and drafting the set and communicating with the builders at McWood. Having never heard the word “egress” or hired an outside build team before, the learning curve on much of that was immediate, but I was glad to have had Judith and the rest of the team to get me up to speed. This experience was particularly useful in preparing me for my first opera this June. Having some idea of what percentage of my budget I should be allocating to different elements helped me keep the show on track throughout a long build process, and my previous experience with McWood made me feel confident in working with them on the build for the opera. Plus, when we were worried about meeting the fire code standards with our ginormous orchestra, I had a few suggestions ready. Without the experience of working on Ms Lovely, and seeing the incredible extent of teamwork that accomplishes a project of that scope in such a short amount of time, I think I'd have torn my hair out for the stress of the sheer size of the opera; instead, once again, I was in a position to exceed the company's expectations, and was able to turn a boat load of work into a really fun and fulfilling experience.

While those previous two examples offer neatly packaged examples of a direct cause-effect benefit due to this mentorship, there have been countless moments that have strengthened my approach to collaboration, simply by way of observing how these shows have been put together. Dozens of anecdotes that have helped to begin filling the gaps between the work I am doing and the work I would like to be doing. Not all of it is yet within my grasp, but I feel started on a path with a newly refreshed sense of purpose.

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: Valerie Hawkins

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

Valerie Hawkins trained in direction with Jillian Keiley at the the Stratford Festival

(June 27, 2017) Where does one begin when one is at the end? It's been three months of exciting process on every front. I wasn't sure if being a directing shadow might frustrate me. Before we began I had worries. Would I feel like more than just a silent partner? Would I feel like I had made a contribution? What could I learn from being in the constant sidelines? Those doubts were quickly put to bed early on. In their place came real revelations about just how much I would come away with...and I have....come away with so much from this enormous and gratifying project. Thank you Theatre Ontario for making it possible!

The final couple of weeks were especially challenging given the nature of scheduling at the Stratford Festival. A 10-out-of-12 followed by two days of no Bakkhai rehearsal as the actors were needed for their other repertory shows as they too made their way towards first preview. My admiration for these actors goes deep. So much focus, so much work is required of them, and they're juggling so many hats. The first tech dress was May 19th—first time in costume and wigs—still working out some very technical use of props, paint, and lighting etc... Jill asked me to try and watch the show with a critical eye—to try and flag any moments that I didn't understand or that didn't make sense to me. I did. It's amazing how personal self-doubt can creep into my experience—I was faced with my monkey mind asking me "What do you have to say?" "How do your thoughts and opinions have relevance?" We truly are our own worst critics! Jill was treating me as a director—with valid comments to make! To say the least—I felt honoured—and she even said my notes were smart. Amazing how words of encouragement from one I respect so much can positively resonate to the core.

The second dress happened May 24. Incredible to witness the lift, the arc, the advancement both for the cast and tech. Then another leap into the first preview May 27.

Then it was all about the fine tuning and tweaking and opening night, June 16, was upon us. It was nothing short of electric and I felt incredibly proud of everyone involved in making this extraordinary production come to life.

Bakkhai at the Stratford Festival
Lucy Peacock (centre) with members of the company.
Photography by Cylla von Tiedemann.
It's clear to me that I know more about being a good director than I thought I knew before this shadowing experience. When to give an actor space, when to reign them in, helping to hone a performance and the collaborative nature of making that happen are skills I realize were in my tool box already. However, there is also the question of what I didn't know I didn't know. Much of that for me was found in discovering the immense research, preparation and work that had gone on in pre-production. Jill had been thinking about the story she wanted to tell with Bakkhai a year before rehearsals started. Seeing the amount of digging and thought she had put into the project over that period was a huge eye opener for me. It has given me great pause and an even greater respect for her as a director and for the job of a director in general.

Jill asked me some great questions around directing too. What did I want to direct? What stories did I want to tell? What is important to me or for me to say? I'm not sure I have full blown answers to these questions as yet but I'm much closer to answering and that's a very exciting realization.

Just as the Bakkhai "shed their looms" and essentially their lives to go live free on the mountain—so I have the desire to explore new possibilities for how to inhabit our precarious world.

I believe now more than ever that theatre has the magic and power to portray or suggest massive shifts in present paradigms and thereby hopefully influencing the way people think and live. To a very important extent the director's vision and pursuits end up being the primal force in that expression and I take that very seriously.

As for me personally, these past few months shadowing have been a much needed distraction from my cancer treatment and as I now enter a period of chemo free months I will be able to devote myself to these questions and expect to explore the stories I want to tell.

Related Reading:


The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 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: Victoria Stacey

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

Victoria Stacey began training in directing with Thomas Morgan Jones at Theatre New Brunswick in Fredericton NB

(June 26, 2017) Since receiving the good news from Rachel Kennedy and Theatre Ontario that I would get to pursue training in directing with Thomas Morgan Jones at Theatre New Brunswick I have been reading, reading, reading, reading, watching, listening, reading, reading, reading. Thom was kind enough to provide me with a whole list of sources that he has found useful throughout his career and even with the amount of reading I have been doing, I have barely scratched the surface. I am doing my best to become a sponge and soak up everything around me. Not just academic theatre texts but plays, novels, interviews, videos, radio, paintings, music, and on and on and on. There is so much to take in and so much to learn. Though my training has barely begun I feel like this is an important lesson/reminder. Directing is about much more than being a leader or the guiding voice in the room; directing is about intense observation and listening. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

I want to share with you now something that I frantically typed into the notes app on my phone while devouring the script Fortune of Wolves for the first time. 
It feels personally transformative to go through an entire year with this main character, Lowell, as he processes his grief and tries to heal himself. I feel as though I am healing with him. Travelling as part of a personal journey is so indicative of the Canadian experience. 
Here’s some context: The main character in the play I will be assisting on encounters great loss and a period of depression before making the decision to journey across the country beginning in Nova Scotia and hoping to make it all the way to Tofino, British Columbia. Along the way, Lowell writes and he listens to the stories of the people around him. I feel so connected to this character because I am about to travel from Toronto to New Brunswick, about to travel a significant distance by myself for the first time in my life, take a plane alone for the first time in my life hoping to find inspiration, contribute to an artistic process, and have my own personal journey.

As I continue to dig into Ryan Griffith’s play Fortune of Wolves, I will map out all of the places that Lowell travels to and research each tiny town, or bustling city centre that he stops in along his journey. I want to find out what makes each place unique. I want to find out how the characters he meets are distinctly different because of the way their landscape has imprinted on them. With 51 different locations and even more characters I have my work cut out for me. I cannot wait to see Thom tackle staging a play with this many different settings, characters, transitions, and monologues.

Before rehearsals begin I will be participating in Viewpoints and Suzuki Training alongside Thom and many other artists. This training, led by Ellen Lauren of New York City’s SITI Company, begins in one week! I am really looking forward to expanding my vocabulary, brushing up my creation skills, and getting back into my body. At the same time, the things I am most excited about are also the things I am most nervous about. I have always been a very physical artist and creator but this February I suffered a pretty serious ankle fracture which left me fairly immobile for months and my body is only now beginning to get back to where it was before the injury. Things that were second nature before are now difficult. Things like: balance, finding my centre, feeling the floor, running, jumping, and staying grounded. I have less confidence in my body as an instrument for creation. So, I suppose my job will be to listen to where my body is at each day and start from there. Use the limitations as fuel or creative challenges, which just like when working on a show, end up leading us towards some of the strongest choices or most interesting moments.

I am extremely proud of the decision Thom and I made to participate in this physical training together. Through our shared experience in the workshop I hope we can develop a shorthand or shared language that we can draw upon during the rehearsal process in the fall. Thom has been studying these disciplines for six years, and so there is a lot I hope to learn from how he incorporates them into his directing practice. 

Finally, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to Theatre Ontario, the Ontario Arts Council, Thomas Morgan Jones, and Theatre New Brunswick for saying yes and providing an opportunity for me to learn and grow. Without the Professional Theatre Training Program, focused mentorships like the one I am about to begin wouldn’t be possible. 

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 training in directing with Ashlie Corcoran at Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque

The other side of the table

(June 23, 2017) As an actor, before rehearsals begin, I experience an excited anticipation as I work on the script, looking forward to a world as yet undiscovered.  I work on plotting the story and charting my character’s function within it: breaking down the scenes, clarifying my character’s point of view. 

A somewhat self-centered preparation is required of the actor—the study of one character, with only one set of eyes through which to see the world of the play, and the other characters in it.

It’s very interesting now to work on the script of Leading Ladies from a director’s perspective instead of an actor’s. Now all 8 characters are equally important. The given circumstances must be seen through 8 pairs of eyes as opposed to only one. There are 8 journeys to track, 8 super-objectives to investigate, and countless conflicts, arcs, and obstacles to clarify. Then there is the weaving in of the designs (very fun to get to see the costume renderings and set models before rehearsals begin!) and the technical elements—every light and sound cue, set changes, quick changes, props—all needing to be considered. Reading the play with all of these elements in mind is like unravelling an intricate web, which will eventually come together as one cohesive piece in the rehearsal hall, to then be clearly communicated and shared with the audience.

I am really looking forward to exploring this play from the other side of the table, particularly alongside Ashlie and her fantastic team of artists. To see the whole picture, and to watch the entirety of the piece be put together day by day, choice by choice. Looking at all elements technical and artistic is daunting in the most exciting way, as is using my knowledge of the theatre as I look at this play through a new and different lens. 

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: Thom Marriott

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

Thomas Marriott is training in artistic direction with Andorlie Hillstrom at Yellow Door Theatre Project in Virgil

(July 19, 2017) It’s amazing how fast the time is flying by in my PTTP internship!  It seems like just yesterday that our group of Theatre Ontario interns were sharing our excitement through stories and plans, and now those plans are in full swing.

It has been a busy time for me at Yellow Door Theatre. With our major annual production happening in December, there is so much to do in June. The audition call went out, updates to our social media and website, and our marketing campaign needed to be finalized and put into action.

Andorlie, our Artistic Director, and I discussed the approach to announcing and holding auditions for our production of Wind in the Willows. The major brainstorming centred around how to entice new artists to apply. The kids involved with our previous productions were eager to take part again, but it is vital to constantly encourage new children to join the program, so Yellow Door can continue to grow. We contacted the schools and had flyers sent home with the students, as well as newspaper ads and social media updates to spread the word. It worked. We had over sixty young people between the ages of 8 and 18 audition over two days, with some incredible talent shining through.  My task was to keep the days running smoothly—making sure we keep on time (and to keep the stage moms and stage dads calm in the waiting room.)

Auditions at Yellow Door Theatre
Once that was done, we quickly turned our attention to our summer camp program. Two sessions, each two weeks long, were fast approaching. (As I write this, one session has just finished, and the other starts in a week.) Lining up coaches, organizing materials and teaching aids, and keeping on top of communication with campers was part of my job, as well as designing the program for our end of camp production, Willy Wonka Kids. All in all, a very busy time! But the kids (and the parents who came to see the show) had an amazing experience. We’re looking forward to round two!

Between camp weeks, Andorlie took the opportunity to take a mini-break and head to New York to see Come from Away, so it left me here to hold down the fort (or at least my corner of it). Marketing continues for Wind in the Willows as we team up with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (our performance venue) to piggyback on their marketing program. As well, I am giving our website a minor overhaul to better showcase our show and upcoming events. Plus, I need to add a new page: Friends of the Yellow Door donation page!

After two years of applications and much effort from our board and artistic team, Yellow Door Theatre Project was granted charitable status by the CRA. This is fantastic news, and allows us to move forward on two fronts—a general build of a friendship campaign to create a community of annual support, as well as a capital campaign to improve our studios and provide a safe and fun environment for our young artists to grow. It’s an exciting time for the company, and a busy time for all involved.

As we continue forward, the company is preparing for our annual charity gala on August 27th. It’s a chance to have a fun night, raise some money and build some momentum heading into the fall programming. Sponsors are being wooed, invitations sent out, and silent auction items are being rounded up. It should be a fun night, and I get to emcee! Time to see if my tux still fits...

The learning curve on this project has been immense. So much to plan and prepare in order to keep a company running and ahead of the game, and I would not have been able to do any of this without the help of Theatre Ontario and the Professional Theatre Training Program. I am very thankful, and I look forward to the second half of my training.

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.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

"Launching Your Career" workshop at Theatre Ontario

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for submissions to apply for the National Theatre School’s “Artistic Leadership Residencies” is August 18.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • The MT Space presents #SURVIVE_RESIST_CREATE at IMPACT17 in Kitchener-Waterloo, a conference with industry professionals, creators, and allies, on September 28 to 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

Monday, 14 August 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of August 14

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Port Hope Festival Theatre

In Southwestern Ontario

Aug. 17, Tartuffe at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Aug. 17, Midnight Madness at Port Stanley Festival Theatre [with previews from Aug. 16]
Aug. 17, One for the Pot at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend) [with previews from Aug. 16]
Aug. 18, The Breathing Hole at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Aug. 18, The Madwoman of Chaillot at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Aug. 18, Ipperwash at Blyth Festival [with previews from Aug. 16]
Aug. 19, The Komagata Maru Incident at Stratford Festival

In Toronto

Aug. 17, The Secret Chord: a Leonard Cohen Experience at Soulpepper Theatre
Aug. 18, A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare In The Ruff [with previews from Aug. 15]

In Central Ontario

Aug. 17, Weekend Comedy at Orillia Opera House [with previews from Aug. 16]

ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
Leading Ladies at Thousand Islands Playhouse
Alison MacDonald, Andrew Kushnir
Photo by Rob Whelan

In Eastern Ontario

Aug. 18, Fort Hemlock at Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Aug. 19, I'll Be Back Before Midnight at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth) [with a preview on Aug. 18]

In Northeastern Ontario

Aug. 15, ON THE EDGE Fringe Festival (North Bay)


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

Friday, 11 August 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

Lunenberg at The Foster Festival

In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Apply to the Youth Theatre Training Program

Are you seeking financial support for programs that deliver accessible training to young people (age 14 to 21), led by professional theatre artists?

Submissions are now open for our Youth Theatre Training Program grants for the October 16th deadline.

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

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

  • Preparing an OAC application? Get the inside scoop at our “Grant Writing Information Session” pre-recorded webinar with Pat Bradley of the Ontario Arts Council available on September 5.
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • The Shaw Festival’s “Shaw Seminar” in-depth theatre experience starts August 10.
  • Deadline for submissions to apply for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Emerging Creators Unit is August 11.
  • Deadline for submissions to apply for The Musical Stage Company’s Syd and Shirley Banks Prize for Emerging Musical Theatre Artists is August 11.
  • Deadline for submissions to apply for the National Theatre School’s “Artistic Leadership Residencies” is August 18.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Young People’s Theatre is hosting Artist Educator Training in Toronto on September 14 and 15; application deadline is September 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, 8 August 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of August 8

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
Five Alarm at Port Stanley Festival Theatre
Written by Kristen Da Silva (Summer Theatre
Intensive Playwright-in-Person on Aug. 14)
Photo by Mark Girdauskas @ Spitzky Media

In Southwestern Ontario

Aug. 9, Million Dollar Quartet at Drayton Entertainment: Drayton Festival Theatre [with a matinee preview]
Aug. 10, Lucky Stiff at Drayton Entertainment: St. Jacobs Country Playhouse [with previews from Aug. 9]
Aug. 10, Godspell at The Registry Theatre (Kitchener)
Aug. 11, The Pigeon King at Blyth Festival [with previews from Aug. 9]
Aug. 13, Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend) [with previews from Aug. 10]

In Central Ontario

Aug. 8, Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Port Hope Festival Theatre
Aug. 8, The Fixer Upper at Globus Theatre (Bobcaygeon)
Aug. 9, The History of Drinking in Cavan at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook) [currently in previews]
Aug. 13, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Drayton Entertainment: King's Wharf Theatre (Penetanguishene) [with previews from Aug. 10]
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
An Octoroon at The Shaw Festival
The cast
Photo by David Cooper

In Eastern Ontario

Aug. 12, Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth at Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque) [with preview on Aug. 11]

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

Friday, 4 August 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

Driftwood Theatre's production of Othello
Christopher Darroch, Jordin Hall
Photo by Dahlia Katz

In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Calling All Bowlers, Supporters and Sponsors!

We invite you to take part in our 2nd Annual Bowl-a-Thon in support of Theatre Ontario on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

Our goal is to raise funds to support the operation of our core programs and services, which help theatre artists develop their talent and careers, while fostering healthy and vibrant theatre communities across the province. Show your support and join us to help meet our $4,500 fundraising goal!

Be a Sponsor. Provide an in-kind donation or contribution. Bowl with us!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline to apply for Stratford Festival’s Michael Langham workshop for Classical Direction is August 8.
  • The Shaw Festival’s “Shaw Seminar” premier adult education experience starts August 10.
  • Deadline to apply for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Emerging Creators Unit is August 11.
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, 1 August 2017

Save the Date for "Emergence" from the Theatre Ontario Youth Advisory Committee

Many of the members of Theatre
Ontario's Youth Advisory Committee
Theatre Ontario's Youth Advisory Committee is taking over the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto on Sunday, September 24 for Emergence: a training day for youth, led by youth.

With a focus on emerging artists and taking the next steps in their career, Emergence is a collection of forward-thinking workshops, discussions, and shared spaces to meet with fellow artists. There will be opportunities for actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and techies from all levels of experience to learn and share their knowledge.

Look out for more details on programming, guest speakers, and ticket deals in our September blog post - but to keep up to date with news please like the Youth Advisory Committee on Facebook or follow Theatre Ontario on Twitter!

See you on September 24!

Monday, 31 July 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of July 31

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
The Amorous Servant at Odyssey Theatre (Ottawa)

In Southwestern Ontario

Aug. 1, Tartuffe at Stratford Festival [in previews]
Aug. 3, The Madwoman of Chaillot at Stratford Festival [in previews]
Aug. 4, Lunenburg at The Foster Festival (St. Catharines) [with previews from Aug. 2] 
Aug. 4, Macbeth at Elora Community Theatre (Fergus)
Aug. 5, The Komagata Maru Incident at Stratford Festival [in previews]
Aug. 6, Dinner with Viola Desmond at Shadowpath Theatre Productions (Newmarket)

In Toronto

Jul. 31, Confidential Musical Theatre Project at Marion Abbott Productions
Aug. 3, The Drowsy Chaperone at Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Vimy at Soulpepper Theatre
Christine Horne, TJ Riley, Wesley French
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

In Central Ontario

Jul. 31, Hilda's Yard at Highlands Summer Festival (Haliburton)
Aug. 4, On a First Name Basis at Peterborough Theatre Guild
Aug. 5, Raising the Barn - Kid's Style at Globus Theatre (Bobcaygeon)
Aug. 6, Three Men in a Boat at Highlands Summer Festival (Haliburton)

In Eastern Ontario

Aug. 5, One Slight Hitch at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg) [with previews from Aug. 3]


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

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Adult theatre training at The Shaw

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • The Shaw’s Stage Skills for adults “Stage Combat” workshop is on July 28.
  • The Shaw’s Scene Study Sunday for adults is on July 31.
  • Deadline to apply for Laidlaw Foundation Resilience 150 grants for projects and events created and/or co-created by young people that celebrate Indigenous resilience and resistance on this land is July 31.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Arts Council’s Theatre Projects grants is August 1.
  • Deadline to apply to direct at East Side Players’ community theatre is August 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

Monday, 24 July 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of July 24

ONstage Now Playing on Tour
Othello from Driftwood Theatre
Christopher Darroch, Jordin Hall
Photo by Dahlia Katz
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

Jul. 27, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover) [with previews from Jul. 26]
Jul. 27, Five Alarm at Port Stanley Festival Theatre [with previews from Jul. 26]
Jul. 27, One for the Pot at Drayton Entertainment: Dunfield Theatre Cambridge [with previews from Jul. 26]
Jul. 30, The Breathing Hole at Stratford Festival [in previews]

In Toronto

Jul. 24, Girl Crush at The Musical Stage Company
Jul. 28, An Octoroon at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Jul. 29, Dracula at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Jul. 30, Middletown at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

ONstage Now Playing in South Central Ontario
Mary's Wedding at Theatre 3x60 (Port Perry)

In Central Ontario

Jul. 26, Raising the Barn at Globus Theatre (Bobcaygeon)
Jul. 27, Bedtime Stories at Orillia Opera House [with previews from Jul. 26]


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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Join Us at the Adjudicators Symposium

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Our Adjudicators Symposium has been scheduled for Saturday, October 14 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Theatre Ontario office in Toronto. Registrations are now open.

As has become tradition, the Symposium will open with a discussion of “The Past Year of Adjudication.” Adjudicators who were engaged at community theatre festivals in 2016/17 are invited to share their experiences.

In the “Adjudication Techniques Roundtable”, we will discuss strategies for approaching areas of adjudication. Two suggestions have come forward already:
  • Adjudicator-Director conversations in adjudications
  • Adjudicating Intimacy
Further suggestions for topics are invited, as well.

We will also have breakout sessions to discuss “Broader Issues and Big Ideas in Adjudication.” So far, we have three conversation starters:
  • Articulating the Value of Adjudication and Why We Adjudicate
  • Connecting Adjudicators and Prospective Engagers
  • Adjudicator Membership and Involvement in Community Theatres and Productions
Again, suggestions for other topics is appreciated.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

  • We are still accepting registrations for our Summer Theatre Intensive for actors, directors, and playwrights. Spaces are available until July 21.
  • Want to know the secrets to a successful voice acting career? Join us at our Voice Over workshop with Elley-Ray on July 22 in Toronto.
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • The Shaw Festival “Shaw Conference” for academics and Shaw experts begins on July 21.
  • The Shaw’s Stage Skills for Adults “Stage Combat” workshop is on July 28.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Laidlaw Foundation invites submissions for their Resilience 150 grants for projects and events created and/or co-created by young people that celebrate Indigenous resilience and resistance on this land. The deadline is July 31.
  • The Stratford Festival invites submissions for the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction from emerging and mid-stage theatre directors. The application deadline is August 8.
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, 18 July 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 five 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: Jessie Fraser

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

Jessie Fraser is training in digital communications and archival processes with Adam Barrett at VideoCabaret in Toronto

(June 15, 2017)

It's very dark in here. Not quite the total darkness that will envelop the opening night house but close enough. Monitors glow from inside the house as designers and technicians make the thousands of tiny adjustments needed to make the intricate details of these shows seem effortless. The company on both sides of the knee-wall becoming an increasingly well-oiled machine moving seamlessly through razor-sharp lights and dizzying costume changes, barreling like a train—

"STOP!"  
"stop" "stop" "STOP" 
"...everybody ok?" 
"Yup, couldn't find my moustache, it was caught in Madame Gauthier's wig." Reset. Start again. 

Bob Nasmith came to the first preview, watched act one from the booth. "Marvellous, just marvellous!" Bob is one of the original Videocab actors and can remember playing many of the roles on stage right now. Paul Braunstein, assistant director, was once Laurier and even onstage actors play opposite characters they once embodied themselves. Such is the legacy of this company. 

I spent much of the early stage of this rehearsal process working in the sound department helping Richard Feren wrangle the vast musical resource that is the Brent Snyder library. Digging through boxes of A-tracks and reel-to-reel video searching for an elusive overture I am face-to-face with the reality of the importance of ongoing archival practice. I am one who believes that in order to support innovation and experimentation of form and invention we must be able to reference and access the innovations and experiments of our past.

As the process continued I found myself drawn to find out more about Brad Harley, co-Artistic Director of Shadowland Theatre and designer of Videocabaret’s idiosyncratic props. Brad’s been working with the company since the early 80’s and staying focused while going through his props and set pieces in storage is a herculean act of self-control. The full list for parts one and two is a daunting two-page document, landscape-orientated, two columns, 10pt font, single spaced. Some props, like the crucified Christ on a cross or the cow, have been around for years (although, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Bessie has been able to be milked.) Props are modified and adapted to suit the current production while maps are constantly being adjusted as the size of the theatre changes the way we perceive the images.

What's next? Confederation Part I opens this coming Saturday and we have just begun the massive task of negotiating the company through the cue to cue for Part II. I will begin the second part of my time with Adam as we begin to explore the finer points of photo and video editing for online communications purposes. I'm excited, these are skills that I constantly find myself lacking in my own work and I have been fortunate enough to pair my time with Videocabaret with a residency at the east end bar, Farside, where I am going through the personal archives of my grandmother; a wonderful example of the larger themes that become the containers and questions supporting my professional and personal work.

Having the support of Theatre Ontario has afforded me the flexibility to do so much more than simply shadow and observe a mentor. It has given me the flexibility to invest time into both the process and history of an historic company throughout the course of an historic double bill production. As we turn the corner from rehearsal to performance and as Adam and I make the shift from archive to communication I am reminded to keep track of this experience with my own documentation, after all, what’s the point of saving it if I can’t find it later? 

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: 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 is training in directing with Alan Dilworth at Soup Can Theatre in Toronto

(June 12, 2017) It’s been a whirlwind month a half for me as this mentorship started and evolved.
It began with Alan advising me to read The Director’s Craft by British director Katie Mitchell, particularly the chapter on how to break down acts and scenes of a script into smaller chunks and identify the core focus and event of each scene and act for the purposes of rehearsals and working with actors. We’ve been using Act 1, Scene 1 of Edward Bond’s Lear as the template for these script analysis exercises, and it’s far more detailed than any other prep work I’ve done on a script as a director. Mitchell’s exercises help you simplify the script and text—which is very helpful and necessary with a dense and complex script as Bond’s—but in a way that doesn’t let you be general and broad in your analysis. It takes time, and you have to give yourself that time and space to go through the piece and this process properly. It’s a wonderful insight into Alan’s process and how this level of detail is so necessary in creating the fully realized world of the play. Alan is very patient and supportive as a mentor. He’s always interested in my thoughts on the piece and the process we’re working on, and asks me questions to ensure that I’m formulating my own answers and ideas.

I’ve done a couple of takes on the first scene with Alan’s guidance and feedback (in addition to us discussing Mitchell’s methods) as well as begun to apply this process to the rest of the script, and what I’ve also discovered is a pace and breath to the piece overall that I never noticed in my earlier readings of it. Getting that specific allowed me to see Lear in a light I hadn’t seen it in before, giving me a much better sense of its structure and pacing, and how to approach these things when it comes time for blocking and working with the actors. 

Speaking of which, at the time of writing this report, I have begun workshopping scenes from Lear with the actors in Soup Can Theatre’s upcoming production. Doing these text analysis exercises, along with the detailed character analysis exercises described in Mitchell’s book, has started to give me a new and more solid foundation on working with actors and make discoveries about the characters and circumstances. I’m developing a new sense of confidence when it comes to working with actors on such a difficult text as Bond’s.

In my original vision for this mentorship, the ideas and topics I wanted to tackle were more broad and general. With the work we’ve done so far, I see how being more detailed, taking time, and leaving yourself enough time to get the work done yields a better foundation for the work and understanding of every aspect of the script, the characters, and the piece overall. I’ve also discovered that getting more specific has answered some of the questions I originally had about the best way to give Lear a physical life. I plan to use more of Mitchell’s methods in my own practice in the future. 

The plan for the remainder of our mentorship will be focusing on directing site-specific pieces, how the pieces we’re working on contribute to Toronto’s theatre ecology, and making a plan for how I can begin to make the move from directing in the independent community to more established companies. 

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.