Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Listening to the Changing Conversation

by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

I’ve once described the role of arts service organizations in the theatrical ecosystem as listening to artists, acting collectively, and then listening again.  Last year, Theatre Ontario extended an open invitation to participate in a comprehensive survey—our first in eight years.  It was time to take advantage of our expanded Communications Centre to listen again on a broad range of topics.  The response was positive: a useful mix of praise and constructive criticism that helped us develop our new Strategic Plan, introduced at our 2011 Annual Meeting.

Our online resources were found to be both the most used and the most useful of our programs—a good thing to hear since “providing information and developing resources” was identified as our most important role.  One of the opportunities we identified was how we articulate the value of what we do.  Respondents said they didn’t always feel well-informed about the significant impact that Theatre Ontario’s members and donors have for theatre artists in Ontario.  Raising our profile to improve that recognition is one of the Core Strategies in the new Plan.

We received responses from both the professional and community theatre sectors.  Both sectors expressed satisfaction with the programs we provide, and so another Core Strategy of our Plan focuses on ensuring that our programs continue to remain relevant and exciting.  We will continue to use social media to identify needs and gather specific feedback of priorities and improvements—our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed are open for comments and conversations—and we’re also considering more surveys this year focused on specific program areas.

Finally, we recognized that achieving our ambitions depends on generating revenue, strengthening our Board governance, and ensuring available human resources.  Already, we’ve introduced Position Descriptions for our Board of Directors, and with the help of municipal grants, we’ve hired new part-time contract staff to help us better realize our goals.

The questions of who we are and what we are doing will always be changing, as the theatre sector in Ontario itself changes.  By participating in the conversation, you take on a vital role in helping us serve you better.

Monday, 27 February 2012

ONstage Openings for the week of February 27

In Northwestern Ontario
Mar. 1, 400 Kilometres at Magnus Theatre (Thunder Bay)

In Southwestern Ontario
Mar. 1, My Little Butterball at Windsor Feminist Theatre
Mar. 3, Hamlet (solo) at Essential Collective Theatre (St. Catharines)

In Toronto
Feb. 27, Sex T-Rex at Bad Dog Theatre Company
Feb. 27, The Neverending Story at Young People's Theatre
Feb. 28, Dark Matters at Canadian Stage
Feb. 29, Can I Really Date A Guy Who Wears A Yarmulke? at TEATRON Toronto Jewish Theatre
Feb. 29, The Small Room At The Top Of The Stairs at Tarragon Theatre in previews
Mar. 1, free as injuns at Native Earth Performing Arts / Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Company with previews from Feb. 28
Mar. 2, The Night Of The Iguana at Hart House Theatre

For all the theatre currently playing across Ontario, and information for theatres on how to add/update your listing, visit the ONstage theatre listings on the Theatre Ontario website.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I’ve Written A Play, Tell Me What You Think

By Cornelia Persich, Education Coordinator

In the past Theatre Ontario has put out three different calls for scripts that were collected into anthologies and published by Playwrights Canada Press.  For each call we received so many scripts that our readers were kept busy for days.   Afterwards, we discussed the plays that didn’t make it and how there might be a need for a mechanism whereby someone could have their script assessed by a professional playwright and receive feedback.  Hence our Script Assessment Program was born—and is now available through Theatre Ontario.

The way it works is, playwrights send us a script together with the application, and the script is sent to one of our available assessors.  The assessor is chosen based on what type of script it is (e.g. historical, comedy, musical, etc.)  The assessor is given up to four weeks to read through and complete a questionnaire with specific feedback questions about the script. The script is evaluated under a double-blind situation whereby the playwright and the assessor do not know the identity of either.

One participant told us that they had been looking for just such a service.  Another participant had been through this kind of assessment before, but this program gave her new insights into her script, though it didn’t offer suggestions as to how to fix the problems; it did clarify for her that what she was really after was dramaturgy, rather than script assessment.

After the assessment, another participant took on a dramaturge/director and had rewritten the screenplay for the stage.  It is now in production for a performance in New York at the FRIGID Festival for a six-performance run.  He was also successful entering the Toronto Fringe Festival lottery, and is wait-listed for the Edmonton & Winnipeg Fringe.

As the Script Assessment program is relatively new, we are always looking at ways to make it better.  Feedback helps to do this.  If you are interested in this program, read more about it on our website to find out how to apply.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

ONstage Openings for the week of February 21

In Central Ontario
Feb. 24, Theatre Newfoundland Labrador's production of Tempting Providence at Theatre Orangeville with a preview on Feb. 23
Feb. 24, The Mouse House at Peterborough Theatre Guild
Feb. 24, Cabaret at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)

In Eastern Ontario
Feb. 24, Pirates Of Penzance Jr. at Mississippi Mudds of Carleton Place

In Northeastern Ontario
Feb. 22, The Sugar Bean Sisters at Sault Theatre Workshop (Sault Ste. Marie)

In Southwestern Ontario
Feb. 23, Alien Guest (staged reading) at Lost & Found Theatre (Kitchener)

In Toronto
Feb. 21, High Life at Soulpepper Theatre
Feb. 21, Bad Dog Academy Tuesdays at Bad Dog Theatre Company
Feb. 21, Bad Dog Academy Sock Hop at Bad Dog Theatre Company
Feb. 22, Bad Dog Presents at Bad Dog Theatre Company
Feb. 23, Long Day's Journey Into Night at Soulpepper Theatre
Feb. 23, A Funny Thing Happened... at ACT II Studio Theatre
Feb. 23, Rapture at East Side Players
Feb. 24, And The King Dances (Versailles Variations) at Humber Theatre
Feb. 25, El Apartamiento (staged reading) at Aluna Theatre

For all the theatre currently playing across Ontario, and information for theatres on how to add/update your listing, visit the ONstage theatre listings on the Theatre Ontario website.

Browsing The Bulletin Board

New on The Bulletin Board
  • It’s that time of year when theatre ASOs are honouring outstanding theatre legacies in Ontario (our Maggie Bassett Award), Toronto (the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts’ legacy awards including The Silver Ticket, the Barbara Hamilton Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts, the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Theatre, and the Leonard McHardy & John Harvey Award for Arts Administrators - deadlines of April 2), and Canada (PACT’s Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award - deadline of March 23)
Check out all the latest postings of workshops, calls for submission, and opportunities for recognition on Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ontario Off Stage

We’re pleased to welcome Zainab Amadhay and Janiece McIntosh to our staff at Theatre Ontario.  Zainab will be our Community Outreach Coordinator and will work with Anne Mooney on our outreach and liaising with community theatre organizations and individual artists.  Janiece will be our Fundraising Coordinator and will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing our fundraising campaigns.

We also have some sad news to share: Dusty Miller, the former Mayor of Thunder Bay and a founding member of Theatre Ontario died on February 14.  Apparently, she chose to run for council in 1974 when she realized “the city’s government lacked expertise in arts and culture.”

From The Wire
Remember, you can also receive our news every month by email.  Our archives are online and the February issue is now available.

Assembled by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Theatre Ontario Schedules Next Self-Start Workshops For Producers

Are you interested in self-producing?  Theatre Ontario’s Self-Start workshop is for you.  If you want to do a show but have never produced professionally before, and if you want to know what questions to ask first, register for our next “Self-Start” workshop on April 4 at 2pm.

Self-Start is a practical seminar facilitated by Tim Chapman, our Professional Theatre Coordinator.  This workshop is designed for individuals thinking of producing a show or starting a theatre company, and gives you the opportunity to ask questions and try out ideas, discover the questions you need to ask and answer, learn to organize your thinking and planning, work on scheduling and budget considerations, and find out about available resources and services.

Self-Start has no registration fee for Theatre Ontario members, and is $30 for non-members.  There is a $5 charge per participant for photocopies of the materials distributed at the workshop.  For more information, including how to register, please visit Self-Start: The Basics Of Producing on the TheatreOntario website.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Deadline For The 2012 Maggie Bassett Award Approaching

Who do you think has made a sustained and significant contribution to the development of theatre in Ontario?  In recent years, leaders like Diana Belshaw, Don Fleckser, Alex Mustakas, Yvette Nolan and Kim Renders have been recognized by Theatre Ontario for their legacies in Ontario theatre.  Who should join that list in 2012?

We are now inviting nominations for Theatre Ontario’s 2012 Maggie Bassett Award, honouring such contributors for their unselfish involvement.  The award is named after Maggie Bassett, our first employee who helped launch programs like the Professional Theatre Training Program and the Summer Courses.

The nomination deadline is February 29, 2012.  Full award criteria, history, and nomination guidelines can be found on our website.  For more information, please contact Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator at Theatre Ontario, at or 416.408.4556 x.15.

Monday, 13 February 2012

ONstage Openings for the week of February 13

In Toronto
Feb. 13, High Life at Soulpepper Theatre in previews
Feb. 13, Toronto Secrets at Bad Dog Theatre Company
Feb. 14, Long Day's Journey Into Night at Soulpepper Theatre in previews
Feb. 17, Beckett: Feck It! at Canadian Stage
Feb. 18, Dani Girl at Talk Is Free Theatre with previews from Feb. 16

In Eastern Ontario
Feb. 14, Translations at Ottawa Little Theatre

In Northeastern Ontario
Feb. 16, Wingfield Lost And Found at Sudbury Theatre Centre

In Southwestern Ontario
Feb. 14, The Great Gatsby at The Grand Theatre (London)
Feb. 17, Self-Help at Elora Community Theatre (Fergus)

For all the theatre currently playing across Ontario, and information for theatres on how to add/update your listing, visit the ONstage theatre listings on the Theatre Ontario website.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Theatre Ontario Schedules Next Getting Started For Actors Workshop Announced

Our next “Getting Started” workshop will be held on March 21 at 2pm.

Theatre Ontario's Getting Started sessions are for actors beginning their professional careers. In this two-hour workshop, Tim Chapman, Professional Theatre Coordinator answers the most frequently asked questions about the business of acting. Find out about the realities of showbiz, pictures and resumes, Equity and ACTRA, agents and casting directors, auditioning do’s and don’ts, and maintaining and improving your acting skills.  Getting Started has no registration fee, and is available to members of Theatre Ontario only.  There is now a $5 charge per participant for photocopies of the materials distributed at the workshop.  For more information, including how to register, please visit Getting Started For Actors on the Theatre Ontario website.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Call For Applications for the Youth Theatre Training Program

Theatre Ontario is now inviting applications for the March 15, 2012 deadline for the Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP), funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

The YTTP provides training dollars to fund accessible theatre programs involving youth aged 14 to 21. YTTP assists Ontario organizations that wish to undertake projects providing training to youth in various theatrical skills and disciplines, lead by professional theatre artists.

Read all about the Youth Theatre Training Program on the Theatre Ontario website. After reading the YTTP guidelines, applicants are encouraged to contact Tim Chapman, Professional Theatre Coordinator ( or 416.408.4556 x.12) regarding your application.  You can also read about the most recent youth training (Fall 2011) funded by this program.

Attention Returning YTTP applicants: Please note that there are new requirements regarding Vulnerable Sector Screening under “Requirements For The Grant” in the YTTP Guidelines.

Monday, 6 February 2012

ONstage Openings for the week of February 6

In Southwestern Ontario
Feb. 9, Arsenic And Old Lace at Theatre Tillsonburg
Feb. 10, Valentine Love Notes at Theatre Ancaster (Hamilton)
Feb. 10, The Memory Of Water at Players' Guild of Hamilton
Feb. 10, Bare Bear Bones at Elmira Theatre Company

In Toronto
Feb. 6, The Great Mountain at Young People's Theatre
Feb. 7, The Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Feb. 8, The Man Of Mode at George Brown Theatre School
Feb. 9, Nunsense at Scarborough Music Theatre

In Eastern Ontario
Feb. 7, Pack Of Lies at Kanata Theatre (Ottawa)
Feb. 8, undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream at Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa)

In South Central Ontario
Feb. 9, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Whitby Courthouse Theatre
Feb. 9, All Shook Up at Stage West Theatre (Mississauga)

For all the theatre currently playing across Ontario, and information for theatres on how to add/update your listing, visit the ONstage theatre listings on the Theatre Ontario website.

Browsing The Bulletin Board

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board
  • PACT’s Strategic Planning For Your Career workshop is next Monday, February 13 in Guelph
New on The Bulletin Board
  • Arts Consultants Canada is holding a “Leadership Skills for a Digital Age” workshop on February 17 in Toronto
Check out all the latest postings from Theatre Ontario’s Bulletin Board on our website

Friday, 3 February 2012

Ontario Off Stage

TO Toasts
  • First, a good blog post round-up from Praxis Theatre—Sky Gilbert is blogging; Mark McGrinder of Studio 180 proposes positive spin-off for the arts from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weight loss challenge; and much more
  • David Nairn, Artistic Director of Theatre Orangeville, attended our annual Showcase, and reflected on what he saw; especially a couple of graduating students with roots in youth training programs in Orangeville
  • From J. Kelly Nestruck in the Globe and Mail: In “the Toronto vs. Chicago theatre war,” Illinois is introducing tax credits for prestigious, big-budget productions to lure away the War Horses and Priscillas: Queen Of The Desert
  • Playwrights Guild of Canada is launching a campaign called “Scripted For Schools” to encourage the use of plays in the classroom.  A lot of good articulate arguments in the launch video—and there’s cute kids too
  • From 2AM Theatre, Travis Bedard is a noted and vocal advocate for shaking the “minor league” pejoratives away from regional theatre—something with which every theatre artist working outside of Toronto can relate, I’m sure.  He makes an argument for vertical integration based on an American model that I think is just as applicable for us north of the border
  • Also on 2AM, Eric Ziegenhagen proposed a new way to think about how to approach audience talkbacks and The Conversation After The Show
From The Wire
Assembled by Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Announcing Courses for our 2012 Summer Theatre Intensive

We are thrilled to announce an exciting line-up of courses for our 2012 Summer Theatre Intensive.  Indulge your passion for theatre and experience a week away from all distractions as you immerse yourself in a unique theatrical learning experience.  You will learn new skills, meet passionate theatre people, and flex your creative muscle!

This year we have two returning favourites for actors:
  • Everything You Wanted To Know About Acting, with Tom Diamond—suitable for absolute beginners or more-experienced actors who want to get back to the basics
  • Hot Scenes—Scene Study for the Evolving Actor, with Brenda Kamino— learn, rehearse, and perform exciting short scenes from the repertoire of Canadian and world theatre in an intense, creative, and exciting week
This year, there are two directing courses, depending on your skill level:
  • Introduction To Directing: Covering All The Bases, with Stewart Arnott--for anyone who has always wanted to direct—or has already tried it once or twice—dive into this exciting craft by learning and developing important directing skills
  • Advanced Directing: Dramaturgy For Directors, with Virginia Reh—for experienced directors looking to take their skills to the next level, learn how to explore scripts to find your own approach to production
Finally, for those interested in a specialized actor training experience:
  • Physical Theatre And The Text, with Jim Warren—learn how action, gesture and rhythm inform text analysis and improve your performance
For over thirty years, Theatre Ontario’s Summer Theatre Intensive has brought together theatre people from all over the province for a week-long rigorous educational experience.  Our courses have earned praise from drama teachers, theatre schools, community and professional theatres, agents, and actors getting started in the business.

This year’s courses run from August 12 to 18 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.  Read more about our 2012 Summer Theatre Intensive

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Theatre Ontario Seeks Board Members For 2012-2013

Theatre Ontario is seeking individuals to serve on the Theatre Ontario Board of Directors who are committed to assisting Theatre Ontario in developing and supporting theatre practitioners across the province, by providing resources, networking, training, and advocacy.

The Board also acts as an advocate with the provincial government and the municipalities for issues affecting theatre and the arts.  Board members are expected to participate in Board meetings (usually held four times a year at our Head Office in Toronto), to participate in at least one Board committee (minimum of four meetings a year, not necessarily in person), and to engage in generating revenue (from fundraising, sponsorships, and memberships) on behalf of the organization.

Ten of the fifteen positions on the Board are elected “to reflect the mandate to ensure regional representation and representation from the professional and educational theatre sectors, as well as any special expertise the Board may require from time to time.”

The nomination deadline is March 28, 2012 at 5pm.

Read more about  the nomination process for the Theatre Ontario Board of Directors