Friday, 12 October 2018

Ontario Off Stage

Raeburn Ferguson
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

From Theatre Ontario

Conversation Starters

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres

  • Orpheus Musical Theatre’s production of The Last Five Years lost several performances due to the long power outages many in Ottawa suffered following the tornado on September 21. Thanks to the Gladstone who graciously offered their space, the production will go on three more times.


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Stories from the Summer Theatre Intensive: Plot – It Builds Character

by Jackie Mahoney

For a week this August, I had the privilege of attending the Creation Lab as a part of Theatre Ontario’s Summer Theatre Intensive. Before taking the course, I had been feeling a little disillusioned with my writing, but having five days to escape from the hubbub of everyday life was exactly what I needed, both as a writer and a person!

When I arrived at Factory 163, everyone (the majority of whom had never met before) was mingling, laughing and getting to know their peers for the next week. When the Creation Lab group went upstairs to our delightfully creepy room (Factory 163 was an office furniture warehouse built in 1903 that is said to be VERY HAUNTED! Ooo, that sounds like the start of a great play, I’ll be right back...) and had some alone time, I was so excited to get to work.

The Creation Lab at Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive
Our instructor, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, was unlike any teacher I had ever encountered in theatre school, in the best ways possible. I have never felt as encouraged or supported as she made us feel. She was a phenomenal facilitator in that she managed to perfectly balance time spent teaching, writing, sharing and giving feedback. She is a wealth of knowledge, both in terms of writing and life experience in general. In addition to learning about play creation, our group really bonded through sharing our personal stories with each other. She encouraged us all to, “Just write it!” and see what comes out, then place editing/necessary judgement on it later.

Our group consisted of possibly the loveliest collection of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning with. We each brought our own unique interests, writing styles, goals for the week, perspectives and life experiences, but it was these differences that made our group so strong. I will never forget the fun we had ‘reading each other’s tea leaves’ after drawing out our ideas for a play we were working on. Donna-Michelle gave all of us so many useful tools for writing, including an incredible collection of writing prompts and ways to get ‘unstuck’, which I’m sure we will all use for the rest of our writing careers.

Playwright-in-Person with Kat Sandler
at Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive
We were also lucky enough to attend a play reading by Kat Sandler, which was one of the highlights of my week. Sitting in the Stratford Perth Museum, listening to a playwright who had met with success and who seemed to have a similar sense of humor was unreal. It felt like confirmation that yes, I could write my bad puns and dad jokes into a show and people might actually come see it and find it funny. Maybe.

My favourite exercise that we did involved going out into the community of Stratford, finding an intriguing looking individual and creating a character profile and scene based on our observations. The first time I tried to do this exercise I failed miserably: I was bored of my character two lines into writing my scene. However, on the very last night of the course I was parking my car in Waterloo when a gentleman who looked like he had just walked off the set of a 70's buddy cop film, carrying two XL Tim Horton’s coffees and a half-eaten birthday cake went into the back door of The Love Shop. I have never been so excited to write a character-driven scene in my life. I put all of my week’s learning together (2 prompts from Donna-Michelle, my classmates’ feedback, the affirmation of my comedy style courtesy of Kat Sandler etc.) and created a 15 minute play that I am quite proud of which is currently called Walter Wall Carpet.

So many wonderful people worked so hard to make this week unforgettable for everyone. Thank you Rachel, Emily, Donna-Michelle, Camille, Mackenzie, Tim, Shelley and everyone else who had a hand in the Summer Theatre Intensive. And don’t forget, if anyone ever questions your style of creation, just tell them, “It’s all a part of my process.”

Related Reading

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

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

Upcoming opportunities from Theatre Ontario, from our members, and from other arts service organizations.

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Theatre Ontario's "Voice Over" workshop with Elley-Ray
Check out all of our upcoming Career Stream and Creator Stream workshops.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council grants include Deaf and Disability Arts projects (October 11), Touring projects (October 16), Multi and Inter-Arts Projects and Skills and Career Development: Indigenous Arts Professionals and Arts Professionals of Colour (Oct 17)
  • Deadline for nominations for the WorkInCulture Bob Johnston Award is October 12.
  • Deadline for applications for Thousand Islands Playhouse’s Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators is October 15.
  • Deadline to register to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Transform Grants is October 17.
  • Shaw Festival’s next Teachers Day workshop is October 19.
  • George F. Walker’s next Acting Workshop series begins on October 22.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Jumblies Theatre invites submissions for their Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators. Their funding priority is community-engaged art.
  • Nightswimming is inviting submissions for their next 5x25 commissions of new work by artists born in 1995.

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, 9 October 2018

ONstage Openings for the weeks of October 8 and October 15

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Mary's Wedding at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Eastern Ontario

Oct. 11, A Murder Is Announced at Belleville Theatre Guild
Oct. 11, Queen Milli of Galt at Studio Theatre Perth
Oct. 11, Dean and Jerry: What Might Have Been at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg)
Oct. 12, A Murder Is Announced at Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Oct. 14, Leader of the Pack: The Ellie Greenwich Musical at Rural Root Theatre Company (Constance Bay)
Oct. 17, Cliffhanger at Ottawa Little Theatre
Oct. 18, The Mouse House at Domino Theatre (Kingston)
Oct. 19, Silence at National Arts Centre—English Theatre (Ottawa) [with previews from Oct. 17]
Oct. 20, The Glass Menagerie at Prince Edward Community Theatre (Milford)

In South Central Ontario

Oct. 19, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Etobicoke Musical Productions (Mississauga)

In Southwestern Ontario

Oct. 11, Ordinary People at Guelph Little Theatre
Oct. 11, An Undiscovered Shakespeare at The Grand Theatre (London)
Oct. 12, Man of La Mancha at Drayton Entertainment: Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge [with previews from Oct. 10]
Oct. 12, I'll Be Back Before Midnight at Theatre Woodstock

In Toronto

Oct. 10, What If Romeo and Juliet... at Young People's Theatre
Oct. 12, Pearle Harbour's Chautauqua at Theatre Passe Muraille [with a preview on Oct. 11]
Oct. 18, The Royale at Soulpepper Theatre [with previews from Oct. 12]
Oct. 18, Now You See Her from Nightwood Theatre at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre [with previews from Oct. 16]
Oct. 19, Dancing at Lughnasa at Toronto Irish Players [with a preview on Oct. 18]
ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Noises Off at Scarborough Players
Photo by Thomas Kowal

In Central Ontario

Oct. 12, Lunenburg at Theatre Orangeville [with a preview on Oct. 11]
Oct. 16, The Shadow Walk of Millbrook at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook)
Oct. 18, Last Day, Last Hour at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
Oct. 18, Wait Until Dark at Cameco Capitol Arts Centre (Port Hope)
Oct. 19, Sexy Laundry at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)

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

Friday, 5 October 2018

Ontario Off Stage

Mikaela Davies and Elissa Horscroft in conversation with
Keira Loughran at foldA from the Stratford Festival.
Photo by Michael Wheeler
Image from
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts

In Case You Missed It