Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Funding Youth Theatre Training Projects

Does your organization want to undertake a unique youth training project, led by professional theatre artists?

We are now inviting applications for the March 16, 2017 deadline for our Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP).

YTTP offers financial support to programs anywhere in Ontario, led by professional theatre artists, which deliver accessible training to young people (age 14 to 21) in theatrical skills such as:
  • Technical production and design
  • Theatre administration and producing
  • Performance skills and play creation

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

Monday, 30 January 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of January 30

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
Willow Quartet at Theatre Sarnia
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

Feb. 3, On a First Name Basis at Aylmer Community Theatre, with a preview on Feb. 2
Feb. 3, It's Only a Play at Players' Guild of Hamilton
Feb. 3, Outlaw at Elmira Theatre Company

In Toronto

Jan. 30, Confidential Musical Theatre Project at Marion Abbott Productions
Feb. 2, Rumpelstiltskin at NAGs Players
Feb. 2, Sense and Sensibility at Amicus Productions

In Central Ontario

Feb. 2, Blithe Spirit at South Simcoe Theatre (Cookstown)
Feb. 2, Having Hope at Home at Owen Sound Little Theatre
Feb. 3, Wingfield's Progress at Theatre Orangeville, with a preview on Feb. 2
Feb. 3, The Aberhart Summer at Huronia Players (Midland)

In Eastern Ontario

Feb. 2, Double-Double: My Narrator / The Death of Me at Belleville Theatre Guild, with a preview on Jan. 31

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Passing Strange at Acting Up Stage Company
Vanessa Sears, David Lopez, Divine Brown, Jahlen Barnes,
Peter Fernandes, Sabryn Rock, Beau Dixon.
Racheal McCaig Photography

In South Central Ontario

Feb. 2, A Man for All Seasons at Oshawa Little Theatre
Feb. 3, Papers at Theatre Burlington


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

Friday, 27 January 2017

Ontario Off Stage


by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

The audience at Hamilton's Frost Bites festival.
Photo by Dave Pijuan-Nomura from Intermission

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 26 January 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 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: Lisa Van Oorschot

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

Lisa Van Oorschot will train in lighting design with Kimberly Purtell

(January 4, 2017) Kimberly Purtell is an award-winning lighting and set designer, working in theatre, opera and dance. I first met Kim in 2015, when I shadowed her while attending Humber's Theatre Production program (although I had long admired her work from afar). I was only with Kim for a short time, but I was so impressed by her unique design choices, her professionalism, and her generosity as a mentor—she made sure to fill me in on each step of the process and answer all of my questions (even though she clearly had a very busy job to do!) So when I heard of Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training program, I jumped at the chance to spend more time learning from her.

As part of this program, I will have the opportunity to train with Kim for ten weeks. We will be working on three very different productions, at different stages of the process: The Wedding Party (Crow's Theatre), My Night with Reg (Studio 180), and Butcher (Why Not Theatre). First up is The Wedding Party, written by Kristen Thomson and directed by Chris Abraham. I was able to visit Crow's last week, meet some of the lovely production team and check out the brand new space. On this first official week of the program, I'll be jumping right in to the focus and levels, which I am very excited about—although I've been on the technician side a number of times, I am looking forward to being able to stay on the ground and see things from the perspective of the designer (and hopefully pick up some useful tips!) 

As an emerging designer, Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program is an invaluable opportunity for me to get hands-on experience and training from an experienced mentor (and to ask all the questions I want!) There are so many things I'm hoping to accomplish in the next few months, including a better understanding of plotting, focusing and cueing, and a chance to improve my software skills on some practical projects—but mostly, I am looking forward to the chance to observe Kim's process and everything she does to contribute to bringing a play to life. I am so grateful to Theatre Ontario for this opportunity, and am greatly looking forward to all that this experience will bring.   

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: Jennifer Stewart

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

Jennifer Stewart is training in directing classical theatre with Jeannette Lambermont-Morey at Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie

(December 26, 2016) The Libertine – Weeks One and Two of Rehearsals

“There is no right or wrong but what conduces to or hinders pleasure.” Don Juan, The Libertine, by Thomas Shadwell, London, England (and Talk Is Free Theatre, Barrie, ON).

Our first morning of rehearsal began with the standard meet-and-greet of cast and creative team. Jeannette shared her vision for a contemporary adaptation and production of this extremely dated and misogynistic play. She particularly stressed the importance of the ending. In this version of the play, Don Juan spends his life brutally using, abusing and murdering both women and men, without ever being caught or punished for his crimes.

Therefore, Jeannette decided she wanted the audience to decide his fate. Without relying on divine retribution she wanted to create an ending that was both satisfying and appropriate for all involved. She compared Don Juan to men living in our time: Jian Ghomeshi and Donald Trump to be exact. Two narcissists who desire power and fame, without realizing their actions have a price, which is usually paid by other people.

Following Jeannette’s speech and a design presentation by our costume, set and props designer Cathy Elliot, we sat down for a full read-through of the play with our fabulous cast. Jakob Ehman plays Don Juan, with Tim Walker as Jacomo, Ben Blais as Don Antonio, Ted Charette as Don Lopez, Theresa Tova as Ernesta, Mikaela Davies as Leonora, Ruby Joy as Maria and Tiffany Martin as Flora and Clara.


We spent most of the first week on text analysis and choreographing the sword fights because Simon Fon (our fight captain extraordinaire) was only available during this time. As a theatre artist I do not have a lot of experience in stage combat, let alone sword-fighting, and watching Simon and the cast develop these fights was invaluable. We have two rehearsal spaces so I spent most of my time with Jeannette as she discussed each section of the play with the all actors involved in the scene, while Simon continued working on the fights in the other room.

Before rehearsals started Jeannette divided the play into smaller scenes or “blocks” as they are called. Each day we would work our way through the play, block by block, breaking down the text, discussing character development, relationships between characters, before getting the scene on its feet and staging it. Our goal was to have a rough shape of the entire play for the following Friday afternoon, when we would stagger through everything for our lighting designer Jareth Li.

Due to the fact that this story is dated, and the play itself is not very well written, Jeannette has decided to add other elements such as sword fighting, music and rhythm to our interpretation. She also wanted to include flamenco into the mix for one of the dream like sequences between Don Juan and all of his various “brides” or “women.” I have a dance background so she asked me if I wouldn’t mind helping with the flamenco choreography. In this way my mentorship has evolved to include minimal choreography as well as assistant directing. I do not mind, because I am sure there will be times in my career as a director, where I will be called upon to direct as well as choreograph or create movements pieces within my shows.

Since the Don Juan story takes place in Seville, Spain I decided to use the very famous and popular Sevillanas flamenco dance as the base for the choreography of this play. I taught the cast the basic steps and we have thus far incorporated this dance into our “Brides” scene. After our stagger through this past Friday Jeannette had more ideas to incorporate into the dance, which would help to clarify the story of these tragic women. We will incorporate these ideas into the scene during our remaining rehearsal time.

We have another week of rehearsal in Toronto before we move the show to the Mady Centre in Barrie. First, we are going to start at the beginning of the play and detail the work or make changes when specific scenes or moments are not quite working. Second, I will be given an hour a day to rehearse and continue to build the dance sequence. And third, I will assist, support and take notes for Jeannette during the scene work and eventual run through of the play at the end of the coming week.

Thus far, my mentorship with Jeannette has been fabulous. I have learned so much from watching her work. Not only in all the ways I was hoping to learn from this work on the production of a classical play, but in the way she commands the room, gives positive yet constructive notes to the actors as well as from her incredible skills with time management. Her rehearsal schedules are meticulous and we are always moving forward with the work. If we don’t get to something scheduled by the end of our day, she works it into the process for the following day.

Her knowledge of the play, the text and her vision is always clear and concise. When she talks about an idea I can always picture what she is suggesting in my head, because she knows how to use words in a precise way, to express what she wants on the stage. This may sound simple enough, but it is of the utmost importance for a director to speak concisely and clearly to everyone involved on a production, for the success of the director’s vision and process to appear before an audience on opening night.

All of the pieces of our Libertine puzzle are coming together, slowly but surely, step-by-step, and I look forward to getting into tech next week to add the elements of sound, lights, costumes, props and set to this ambitious production.

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: 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 trained in artistic direction with David Nairn at Theatre Orangeville

(December 22, 2016)  I am so incredibly grateful to Theatre Ontario and David Nairn for this phenomenal opportunity. I have a new understanding and appreciation for what it takes to make possible five professional productions a year, run a thriving education program, as well as nurture new play development initiatives. I have always known theatre is a collaborative art form but for the first time I have a true sense of how many people contribute to make it all possible. To bring their vision to fruition requires an Artistic Director with the ability to inspire and empower this team. To be a successful AD one needs to be creative, exceptionally good with people and have an astute business sense. Mr. Nairn embodies these qualities and seems to work ceaselessly in his position with great joy and passion. While shadowing him on one ordinary day I attended a staff meeting before rehearsal, then a full-day rehearsal, then a committee meeting for the fundraiser, ending with a public engagement. I expected a busy schedule but his weekly agenda surpassed my expectations.

Miracle on 34th Street at Theatre Orangeville
Hanubae Carlos, Walter Learning
Photo by Pete Paterson
Being a leader puts you in a position where your words can have a lot of impact. I was reminded of this during the youth auditions for Miracle on 34th Street. Time is a valuable commodity in a schedule this full but Mr. Nairn made the time to invest in every young actor that came out. Regardless if they were right for the part, he used the opportunity to build their confidence and make it a positive experience. I know first-hand what a difference, professionally and personally, this kind of investment can make.

I really enjoyed assisting on Miracle. It was so informative working with such a brilliant design team as they took their ideas from conception to reality, making adjustments where needed during rehearsal. The cast was superb and reached their full potential under Mr. Nairn’s gentle guidance, always steering in the direction of the heart, integrity and magic of the piece. He would generously give me opportunities to take the reins and contribute ideas. It was wonderful to get the chance to put into practice some of what I had been learning. 

This Professional Theatre Training Program has been an incredible opportunity, giving me new tools, changing my process and enhancing my skills as a director. I am infinitely thankful for the time Mr. Nairn has invested in me to help build my foundation as an Artistic Director and I am eager and excited to begin the next phase of my development. I know I have a lot more to learn and I feel so very fortunate that he has offered to continue this mentorship. Thank you Theatre Ontario for helping me open this door.

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: Michael O’Brien

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

Michael O’Brien is training in digital media creation and directing with Sarah Garton Stanley at SpiderWebShow

(January 16, 2017) Hello and Happy New Year! I hope all at Theatre Ontario had a great holiday season. I, in fact, had quite a busy season through the holidays. But that’s fine with me—it’s been such fun!

The month of November into December, I began as an assistant creator with the SpiderWebShow team. My first steps were tutorials with Digital Production Manager Camila Diaz-Varela (formerly a Theatre Ontario PTTP trainee!) who showed me around SpiderWebShow’s various online platforms. I was given passwords and added to the “administrators” lists: I had an insider’s view and was given permission to call myself a team member and “web creator.” I continued by going deep into the archives of CdnTimes (SpiderWebShow’s online “magazine”), reading hundreds of columns, and “tagging” them for easier access by our audience. I now had an authoritative grasp of SpiderWebShow’s purpose and vision. 

But the big event/leap of the season (for all of us!) was December 2, Kingston Ontario. There, I spent a marathon day meeting/working/creating with the entire team at Queen’s University, assisting with and observing, a “beta test” of CdnStudio: SpiderWebShow’s “virtual rehearsal hall.”

What does all that mean? Well, this past year, Artistic Director Sarah Garton Stanley and Associate Director Michael Wheeler have been working with Queen’s University theatre students. With the assistance of Resident Technologist Joel Adria, they’ve been doing amazing pioneering work with web performance technology, developing a means by which various “performers” in different locations (in front of green screens) can be put together on camera in a single “virtual space”! There, they can rehearse and perform live together!—opening vast new possibilities for performing artists.

The first part of that day, I was “crew”, following instructions, setting up CdnStudio. We set up one green screen and camera in the Isabel Bader Centre Studio where our audience would be; we set up a second green screen and camera in a small room down the hall, and a third in a classroom two flights up. I quickly learned much about the equipment involved. Then, through most of the day, we tested the setup and worked to get ready for the event. We tried a few “virtual rehearsals” (myself and others on camera.) I reminded myself that the Wright Brothers had plenty of crashes before that historic flight at Kitty Hawk. So yes, we had a few crashes; but by late afternoon, we were satisfied, hopeful and ready to fly!

That night, for an audience of about forty, we launched the “beta test” event: “meta friction.” This was, in effect, a cutting-edge live and new-media variety show unlike anything previously attempted, anywhere! As the central feature of the evening, students “virtually” performed together in self-written 5-min pieces: one performer live in the room, another down the hall, another upstairs. Appearing together in “virtual settings” on a big projection screen in the big studio, they performed: a sci-fi mini-drama, a romantic psychodrama, an old-school comedy and a new-school meta-comedy! It worked like magic (except when it didn’t, but that was magic too, because we could stop, fix things and start again!) All this was interspersed with segments from our CdnElder project: big-screen projected web interviews with esteemed senior theatre artists with insights and memories going back decades. We also had two live student emcees who kept the tone interactive and fun, and a dark empty side-room full of audio “thoughts.” So. It was a trippy mix of past, present and future, dark and light, lowbrow and highbrow. It was basically SpiderWebShow’s “Kitty Hawk”! By late that evening, we were wiped, but happy! We flew! And, late, late that night, we gathered and began thinking/dreaming—Where next in 2017?

Into December: Back home in Toronto, with the holiday season coming, I began our next agreed-on plan. I continued my deep exploration of CdnTimes web archives, and now began working to aggressively increase SpiderWebShow’s presence on social media. We created a daily plan of promoting past and present CdnTimes posts on Facebook and Twitter (I’m still figuring out Instagram!), working to broaden awareness of this company’s contribution to Canadian Culture/Performance/Progress/Thought. As a newcomer, my FB posts took on a loud, lively tone of “discovery.” This work will continue throughout my mentorship. As well as this, Sarah Garton Stanley and I researched and experimented with web advertising to reach beyond our immediate community/sphere. I look forward to exploring this further in 2017.

During the holiday season, SpiderWebShow went into three-weeks hiatus: but I kept working, part-time. I created/posted web interview/profiles of the company’s three newest members, including myself.

And, at the very end of the year (Dec 29), I sat down with mentor Sarah Garton Stanley and we reviewed my/our progress, with satisfaction. Then, Sarah proposed an additional initiative for me—which is what I hoped for! This is very exciting and will be a growing focus for me in the second half of my mentorship. 

Sarah proposed that I should create my own weekly “stage/column” as part of SpiderWebShow’s social media. There, I could expand my reporting on SpiderWebShow’s news/progress, but also cultivate my own first-person voice/vision in the new-media performance format of blogging. I’ve been very eager to explore new forms of expression lately, and a multimedia “performance space” appeals to me as a place to convey my thoughts/observations/feelings beyond the limits of physical space or the written word. This opportunity is a great gift, and I mean to make the most of it. So, the result—SPIDERWIRE—my own blog/column, every Wednesday on SpiderWebShow’s Facebook/Twitter. My themes will be much the same as SpiderWebShow’s: Progress, Performance, Media, Transformation, Change. My pilot post was January 11th. I expressed thoughts about my mixed feelings re: the power/potential of mere words. I did this by “performing” with a mix of words and images, reaching for a “new voice”. This first post achieved/posted, I feel emboldened to do/say much more! So, I’m now getting busy creating posts 2, 3, 4, and so on. I hope, with each post, to speak/leap more boldly into places (and of things) unknown!

Meanwhile: CdnTimes has launched its first 2017 Edition. The new theme: KEEPING THE FAITH. An urgent/timely theme, as anxiety/dread spreads in our community, the world shifts, and many certainties now seem uncertain. I know I’ll have much to say/add on my platform. Can I voice hope?

Also new in Jan 2017: a structural/company shift at SpiderWebShow. Sarah Garton Stanley’s role is now shifted to “creative consultant” and Michael Wheeler is now full time “Artistic Director.” I look forward very much to working more closely with Michael as well as Sarah in the coming weeks. I’ve enjoyed meeting and working with them both so much, in real time/space, in the late weeks of last year. 

So you’ll see a lot more of me online in coming weeks: “acting up” on social media, using my/our “stage” to enhance SpiderWebShow’s presence/significance in Canada and beyond. Also, SpiderWebShow will begin stepping up their CdnElder project: I can’t wait to see what they’re planning; I aim to offer all possible assistance/contribution. But at this moment, my focus is next post (#2) on SPIDERWIRE. What shall I say/show/perform next? How I can I add to the carnival/hurricane/wilderness of the internet with something fun, unique, positive, insightful and fascinating? I’d better get to it

Thank you, SpiderWebShow; thank you Sarah and the whole team. Thank you, Theatre Ontario for giving me this opportunity to explore and expand my potential as a voice/force/artist/citizen. I look forward very much to posting in this space again, in a few weeks—with more news, progress and surprises!

--Michael O’Brien

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, 25 January 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


  • Shadowpath Theatre is hosting The Femme Operative, a forum for female creative leaders, today in Vaughan.
  • Deadline for directing proposals for Glenvale Players is January 31.
  • Register for Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed Grants by January 31 to apply for the February 22 deadline.
  • Deadlines for expressions of interest to attend the Canadian Arts Summit by Next Gen Arts and Culture Leaders is January 31.
  • Deadline to apply for ArtReach’s Youth Arts Project grants is February 1.
  • Deadline to apply for Great Canadian Theatre Company’s Shannon Reynolds Memorial Endowment Fund Internship for female artists in the National Capital Region interning in directing is February 3.

New on The Bulletin Board


  • Oshawa Little Theatre invites applications for Artistic Teams for their 2017/18 season. Applications are due on February 3.
  • Scarborough Theatre Guild invites applications for directors for their 2017/18 season. Applications are due on February 28.
  • The Laidlaw Foundation invites submissions for their Youth-led Community Change Program. The application deadline is March 6.
  • The Toronto Arts Council invites applications for two new funding programs: Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship Program (for individual newcomer and refugee professional artists) and the Newcomer and Refugee Arts Engagement Program (for organizations and collectives working with newcomers and refugees through the arts.) The application deadline is May 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, 24 January 2017

Taking the Stage at Next Generation Showcase 2017

by Rachel Kennedy, Professional Theatre and Education Manager

Over the past few months I have been working alongside the rest of the staff here at Theatre Ontario to organize and prepare for the 2017 Next Generation Showcase. This event is a big one—with nearly 250 early-career performers making their audition debut for an audience of experienced directors, producers, agents, casting directors and artistic directors. Needless to say, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts was buzzing with excitement for the entire two-day event. 

From January 15-16th, nearly 200 industry professionals took their seats in the Michael Young Theatre and had the pleasure of meeting the bright-eyed, talented performers in this year’s Showcase. The featured actors came from schools and training programs all across Ontario, as well as groups from Quebec, Alberta and even London, UK. 

Staff preparing packages for industry audience
On Sunday morning at 9:30am, George Brown Theatre School kicked off the performances, followed by Sheridan College/University of Toronto Mississauga, National Theatre School, York University’s MFA and BFA programs, University of Windsor, Humber College, Ryerson University and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Needless to say, our first day was packed with talent and the excitement was palpable! 

As our industry guests filed out of the Michael Young Theatre they were greeted with a cocktail reception and had the opportunity to meet many of the students whom they had seen audition throughout the day, as well as those who were yet to take the stage on Monday. Our networking event had begun! After a bit of mixing and mingling Derek Boyes, Resident Artist at Soulpepper Theatre Company, and Bruce Pitkin, Executive Director here at Theatre Ontario, made brief speeches thanking the volunteers, industry guests, and of course the sponsor of the night, Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. In addition to cocktails and chats in the Atrium, Soulpepper had also arranged a “Trade Show” in the TD Studio where students could chat about opportunities for early-career actors with representatives from the Stratford Festival, Theatre By The Bay, Factory Theatre, Toronto Association of Acting Studios, Howland Theatre and Pleiades Theatre.
Attendees at the networking event

At 7:30, the crowd worked their way back into the Michael Young Theatre for a panel discussion about “The Business of Casting” moderated by Elley-Ray. Joining Elley-Ray on stage were panelists Natalie Ackers, David Connolly, Emma Laird, Marjorie Chan and Millie Tom. I was lucky enough to catch the entire discussion, which featured stories about their most memorable auditions, what work they find inspiring, and the need to ensure that diverse stories and voices are being heard across the industry. There was an overarching message of support, assuring the emerging actors that the people they audition for are on their side, or as Elley-Ray so eloquently summed it up, “We want you to win. We need you to win.” Natalie Ackers even quipped, “I am the silent cheerleader—I love watching people audition!” The discussion was honest, candid, and from the heart. I cannot think of a better way to have ended our first day of auditions. To hear more about this fantastic event, I encourage you to check out our blog post by Haley Dwolinsky, Showcase participant and recent graduate from Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts (see link below.)

Students warming-up for their Showcase auditions
Day #2 started at 9:30am on Monday morning as industry professionals began rolling in—including a few of the panelists who had stayed late the previous night to answer additional audience questions! Amid all the early-morning excitement, our New Faces group took the stage at 10:00am, including the University of Toronto, Thorneloe University/Laurentian University, and Independent Artists. As the day continued, we saw Canadore College, University of Alberta, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, St. Clair College, St. Lawrence College, Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and Sheridan College. Once again, the final school of the day was followed by a networking event which invited industry guests to mix with participants from the auditions, this time sponsored by Sheridan College. The Atrium filled once more with excitement as people milled about, introducing themselves and listening to each other’s experiences from the previous two days. Once again it became clear how supportive the theatre community is in this province, and how rewarding it is to be a part of events like this which introduce newcomers to industry pros. After a quick clean-up and a thank-you to the Young Centre staff, Bruce and I packed up his car and headed back to the office to drop off any remaining materials. When I got home, I took a deep breath, poured a glass of wine and thought… “Let’s do it all again!” 

COMMENTS FROM ATTENDEES:
"The talk back after the audition was great! I loved that you took the time to answer our questions and give more insight to the industry." - Participant
"The opportunity to see so many young actors in a single day is the most valuable aspect of the showcase. As an Artistic Director whose company is based outside of the GTA, the Next Generation Showcase is a great tool to assist with casting and to learn about the quality of emerging theatre artists who are graduating from training programs." - Industry Attendee

Related Reading




If you missed the 2017 Next Generation Showcase but want to get involved next year, please contact Rachel Kennedy at programs@theatreontario.org

We Are the Next Generation

by Haley Dwolinsky

Possibilities sat in front of me last Sunday evening. That first step through the door of the Young Centre. The nervous glances when you were choosing which important people to start conversations with. Never did I think I would have made it this far.

I grew up training in dance full time and singing as much as possible in a little town called Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, BC. Once I graduated high school, I made the biggest decision of my life thus far, and moved to Toronto to attend the Randolph Academy. It felt like the place I belonged and it was where I became the artist and person I am today. That school has also brought me so many new and exciting opportunities such as the Theatre Ontario Showcase. This showcase is an opportunity for young emerging artists to perform in front of many casting directors and agents who can help us find where we belong in this industry. We also have the chance to speak to them one on one over the next two days at networking parties. This way we all get to know who we may potentially work with in the years to come. One specific event that I really wanted to attend was the panel discussion. This is where five important and influential people who work in various aspects of casting, would sit down on stage and share advice, stories and insights with us.

I entered the theatre and saw the stage where I would be performing the next day, and looked up at the incredible people who sat on it at that very moment. So many “what ifs” were flying through my head at once and the trepidation was almost unbearable. And then they spoke to us...

The Next Generation Showcase Panel
Suddenly, the fear of the “what if's” and the unknown possibilities vanished and we sat in awe. You could feel how the room sank into a state of wonderment as each of the very talented individuals on the stage poured their hearts out to us. Their stories of all the wonderful experiences they've had and the people they've met that they have never forgotten. I wanted to be one of those people. But the thought of being in that position seemed much too far-fetched for me.

Over the time we spent in that room, the goal to become a part of this group became more attainable in my mind. It was comforting to discover that all of these people were in my shoes at one point in time. You tend to feel like you're very alone in this lifestyle and already, five months out of college, I had that feeling. Then I realized that many of the people around me felt it as well. How do you juggle jobs outside theatre and your career? Such a hard question for all of us to tackle, but their answer was simple...stop separating the two. Make all of it your life. What about the battle for equality? Stop thinking of it as a battle and it won't be. What if they don't want me? Then too bad for them! Go find someone else who wants you because there are plenty of people in this city alone who would love the chance to work with you!

Now, I'm not saying any of these thoughts and answers are easy to accept and to deal with. But they are something to strive for. We must strive to believe that we are enough. To constantly remember that we possess so much talent and having the confidence to share it with the world is already a huge achievement. We are the ones who cannot let the art of truly listening die. The ones who will continue to let an audience revel in their true emotions and face their fears with us. We are the next generation.

And before I left, someone shared with me some words and insight that I will never forget. At the bottom of it all, the message was clear. 

You have to keep your heart in it.

Monday, 23 January 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of January 23

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Now Playing in South Central Ontario
The Little Mermaid at Theatre Unlimited (Mississauga)

In South Central Ontario

Jan. 26, Buying the Moose at Burl-Oak Theatre Group (Oakville)
Jan. 26, Hedda Gabler at Theatre Erindale (Mississauga)
Jan. 27, Molly's Veil at The Curtain Club (Richmond Hill), with a preview on Jan. 26

In Southwestern Ontario

Jan. 26, Lion in the Streets at Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
Jan. 27, Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton), with previews from Jan. 25
Jan. 27, Albertine in Five Times at Cambridge Community Players
Jan. 27, The Perfect Murder at Guelph Little Theatre
Jan. 27, Willow Quartet at Theatre Sarnia
Jan. 28, Tick at Carousel Players (St. Catharines)

ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
Trudeau Stories at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa)
Brooke Johnson
Photo by Kelly Clipperton

In Toronto

Jan. 24, The Last Wife at Soulpepper Theatre, currently in previews
Jan. 26, M├ętis Mutt at Native Earth Performing Arts, with a preview on Jan. 25
Jan. 26, Strictly Murder at Stage Centre Productions
Jan. 27, Passing Strange at Acting Up Stage Theatre Company, with previews from Jan. 24
Jan. 29, Confidential Theatre Project at Marion Abbott Productions

In Eastern Ontario

Jan. 27, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa), with previews from Jan. 25

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, 20 January 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


In Case You Missed It

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

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Funding Professional Theatre Mentorships

Do you need financial support for professional development or a "change of direction" in your career? We are now inviting applications for the March 1, 2017 deadline for our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP).

PTTP offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.) You can apply for professional development in your own discipline, or a "change of direction" in a career.


Please contact Rachel Kennedy, Professional Theatre and Education Manager with any follow-up questions, especially if you are a first time applicant.


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

Wednesday, 18 January 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

The New Ideas Festival at Alumnae Theatre
is seeking volunteer stage managers.
  • Deadline to register for Sudbury Theatre Centre’s “Introduction to Improvisation” course with Scott Florence is January 20, with the classes beginning January 23.
  • Deadline to register for Young People’s Theatre’s “Artist Educators” training is January 20, for the workshop running February 2 and 3.
  • ArtsBuild Ontario has extended their application deadline for the Arts Facilities Mentoring Network to January 20.
  • Anne Marie Scheffler’s One Person Show workshop is on January 21 and 22, One Person Show masterclass starts January 23.
  • Alumnae Theatre is seeking volunteer stage managers for the New Ideas Festival, with the first production meeting coming up on January 24.
  • Shadowpath Theatre is hosting The Femme Operative, a forum for female creative leaders, on January 25 in Vaughan.
  • ArtsBuild Ontario’s Energy Efficient Lighting for Performing Arts Facilities workshop is on January 25.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Native Earth Performing Arts invites submissions for the Mskomini Giizis Residency for Indigenous performing artist collectives. The application deadline is March 1.
  • Theatre Auorora invites submissions for artistic teams (directors, musical directors, and choreographers) for their 2017-2018 season. The submission deadline is March 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, 17 January 2017

Meet Our Youth Advisory Committee for 2017

Our Youth Advisory Committee is focused on creating greater accessibility to youth interested in a career in theatre.

The goal is to achieve a greater connection with youth already engaged in theatre across the province, to examine ways to engage more youth in the province in theatre, and to help foster the next generation of theatre practitioners, professionals, and patrons across the province.

We’re pleased to welcome the members of our 2017 Youth Advisory Committee:
  • Jason Carlos
  • Lara De Vries
  • Julia Hunter
  • Davinder Malhi
  • Sophie Mercer
  • Norah Paton
  • Laura Philipps (Co-Chair)
  • Alex Rand (Co-Chair)

Monday, 16 January 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of January 16

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
Jenny's House of Joy at London Community Players

In South Central Ontario

Jan. 19, Much Ado About Nothing at Theatre Aurora
Jan. 20, Disney's The Little Mermaid at Theatre Unlimited (Mississauga)
Jan. 20, Good People at Durham Shoestring Performers (Oshawa)

In Southwestern Ontario

Jan. 20, James and the Giant Peach Jr. at Theatre Ancaster (Hamilton)
Jan. 20, Laburnum Grove at Dundas Little Theatre (Hamilton)

In Toronto

Jan. 17, Alien Creature: a visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen at Theatre Passe Muraille, currently in previews
Jan. 18, Unholy from Nightwood Theatre at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, currently in previews
Jan. 20, Carrie: the musical at Hart House Theatre
Jan. 20, The Gut Girls at Alumnae Theatre Company
Jan. 20, The Last Wife at Soulpepper Theatre, in previews
ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Cake-Walk at The Village Players, Bloor West
Ida Jagaric, Anne Mcdougall
Photo by Robert Rayfield

In Central Ontario

Jan. 20, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
Jan. 20, The Gin Game at Peterborough Theatre Guild

In Eastern Ontario

Jan. 19, The Perils of Persephone at Domino Theatre (Kingston)

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, 13 January 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Business of Casting

Theatre Ontario is hosting a panel discussion on "The Business of Casting" for participants in Next Generation Showcase, featuring esteemed professionals all working in theatre, film or television.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Elley-Ray Hennessey. Natalie Ackers, Marjorie Chan, David Connolly, and Sandie Newton will join us as panelists. The panel follows the networking party on Sunday, January 15 at 7:30pm.

Our panelists will discuss their artistic journeys; the challenges that exist in the industry, and tips for navigating the ever-evolving world of early-career acting. Bring your most burning questions!

Learn more about Theatre Ontario’s The Business of Casting panel at Next Generation Showcase

Wednesday, 11 January 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

Artist-Educator training at Young People's Theatre
  • Deadline for applications for Sudbury Theatre Centre’s OAC Theatre Creators reserve is January 13.
  • The MT Space’s “The Imaginative Body” workshop with Lucy Rupert runs January 16 to 19 in Kitchener.
  • Deadline to register for Sudbury Theatre Centre’s “Introduction to Improvisation” course with Scott Florence is January 20, with the classes beginning January 23.
  • Deadline to register for Young People’s Theatre’s “Artist Educators” training is January 20, for the workshop running February 2 and 3.
  • ArtsBuild Ontario has extended their application deadline for the Arts Facilities Mentoring Network to January 20.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa invites submissions for the Shannon Reynolds Memorial Endowment Fund Internship from female artists in the National Capitol Region interested in a directing internship.
  • Glenvale Players in Toronto invites proposals from directors for their 2017/18 stage productions.
  • The Curtain Club in Richmond Hill invites applications from prospective directors for their 2017/2018 season.

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 January 2017

Join Us at Theatre Ontario Festival 2017

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation at Theatre Ontario Festival in Ottawa. Tickets and accommodations are now on sale for Festival 2017.

Opening May 17, and running until May 21, our annual Festival is a celebration of community theatre—featuring performances, adjudications, and workshops, and bringing together theatre lovers from across the province. Early-bird passes at a discounted rate are available until January 31.

Festival accommodations can be booked at the Festival Hotel, the University of Ottawa Rideau Residence, just around the corner from the theatre. Accommodations are available at a special Festival rate.

Related reading

Monday, 9 January 2017

ONstage Openings for the week of January 9

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Southwestern Ontario

Jan. 13, Jenny's House of Joy at London Community Players, with a preview on Jan. 12
Jan. 13, The Lion in Winter at The Grand Theatre (London), with previews from Jan. 10

In Toronto

Jan. 12, Alien Creature: a visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen at Theatre Passe Muraille, in previews
Jan. 13, Cake-Walk at The Village Players, Bloor West Village
Jan. 13, The Drawer Boy at Scarborough Players
Jan. 13, The Dining Room at Marion Abbott Productions
Jan. 15, Unholy from Nightwood Theatre at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, in previews

In Central Ontario

Jan. 13, Buying the Moose at Blackhorse Village Players (Tottenham), with previews from Jan. 11
Jan. 13, Art at Lindsay Little Theatre

In Eastern Ontario

Jan. 11, Other Desert Cities at Ottawa Little Theatre
Jan. 12, Trudeau Stories at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa), with previews from Jan. 10


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

Friday, 6 January 2017

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Just before Christmas, the Toronto Star reported on the property tax situation at 401 Richmond, the non-profit culture organization hub in Toronto where we make our home, along with our suite-mates the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and Playwrights Guild of Canada, other theatre organizations like SummerWorks, Necessary Angel, the Stratford Festival and Red Sky Performance, and numerous other individual artists and arts organizations.

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Stories from the Youth Theatre Training Program: CultureLink

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. 

CultureLink was supported for their Youth Summer Theatre Project that took place in Toronto during July-August 2015. 

CultureLink Youth Summer Theatre Project
CultureLink is a not-for-profit organization that welcomes families to Canada and assists them in adapting to life in a new country. In the summer of 2015, CultureLink turned to art in order to harness its capabilities of developing empowerment and confidence in youths. CultureLink’s Youth Summer Theatre Project ran for eight weeks between July 6th and August 21st. It provided newcomer youths to Canada with the opportunity to create a theatre piece and further develop skills pertinent to live performance that would be transferable to everyday life. Eight youths from the GTA participated in this intensive theatre training program with the goal of creating and performing a new play by the end of the term. While Michael Miller supervised the creation of this play, the work was very much driven by the young artists themselves - a quality that was reflected in the final product’s content.

The program was highly structured and had a deep focus on developing the youths as creative thinkers. The mornings were comprised of actor training including movement, physical explorations, and voice. In the afternoon, the art of storytelling was explored. The group navigated the structure of narrative in both a self and group context. They also received training in various fields from guest artists including Paula Wing for improvisation, Sebastien Heins for vocal masque, and Mercedes D’Ameida for African dance and movement. The youths engaged with hot topics in the world today in order to fuel their art, critically examining the issues and obstacles facing newcomers to Canada through an artistic lens.

The youths’ hard work accumulated in the production of a play entitled “Live for Hope.” The story was derived from the participants’ experiences of war and its effect on their families. They exchanged stories of their own and of their parents, and developed a tale that shone a light on the wedges that war drives into familial relationships. A participant explained how they found comfort in the sincerity of rehearsal:
"I really liked how openly we could talk about our personal experiences, and actually use it for the play."
It resulted in a piece that was incredibly honest, personal, and inspirational. In their journey to the final product, the youths enhanced much more than their theatre skills. The act of creating a performance provided the participants an opportunity to expand their language skills and further their confidence in performing in English. To do so required a team effort, and at each step of creation, the youth became closer to one another and learned the importance of working together and celebrating each other’s successes to create something beautiful. Participants noted: 
“The best thing I learned is how important teamwork is. If we did not work as a team, we [would not] have done the play.”
“It was fun!”
“It was quite the experience!”
“I enjoyed all of it: my favourite part of the training is working with [the] team.”
The importance of making social and personal connections with other youths was built into CultureLink’s program: each Friday, the group would engage in a fun outing that placed importance on getting to know each other as people. The change in surroundings, often to a nature setting, provided a fresh canvas and energy for the youth that was reflected in their artistry.

CultureLink is a fantastic example of how theatre and storytelling can be used to unite people of different backgrounds and to empower youth. CultureLink states:
“They will be more confident to take on more leadership roles in areas of interest them be it in school, in their cultural community, in community-based organizations such as CultureLink or in arts organizations.”
Theatre Ontario is amazed by this incredible opportunity!

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.