Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Welcome Marie Beath Badian and Kat Sandler as Playwrights-in-Person at our Summer Theatre Intensive

Marie Beath Badian
We are excited to welcome two Canadian playwrights to this year’s Theatre Ontario Summer Theatre Intensive as our Playwrights-in-Person.

Marie Beath Badian Lazarus will join us in Week One on Monday, August 6th at 7pm and Kat Sandler will join us in Week Two on Monday, August 13th at 7pm.

Location: 
Stratford Perth Museum
4275 Huron Street, Stratford, ON N5A 6S6

Admission:
This will be a FREE EVENT open to participants of Theatre Ontario and Off The Wall’s summer courses, as well as the public.
Kat Sandler

Learn more about Playwright-in-Person at our Summer Theatre Intensive

Registrations are still being accepted until July 20

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

Monday, 16 July 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of July 16

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Plaza Suite at Orillia Opera House
Liam Collins, Viviana Zarrillo
Photo by Cole Bennett
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In South Central Ontario

Jul. 22, Pine Grove Plots: History to Die For at Theatre on the Ridge (Port Perry)

In Southwestern Ontario

Jul. 19, Disney's The Little Mermaid at Drayton Entertainment: St. Jacobs Country Playhouse [with previews from Jul. 18]
Jul. 20, Come Down from Up the River at The Foster Festival (St. Catharines) [with previews from Jul. 18]
Jul. 22, Henry V at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [in previews]

In Central Ontario

Jul. 16, Cliffhanger at Highlands Summer Festival (Haliburton)
Jul. 18, The World Goes 'Round at Gravenhurst Opera House
Jul. 20, Northern Lights at Theatre by the Bay (Barrie) [with previews from Jul. 18]
ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Crow Hill: The Telephone Play at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook)
Photo by Wayne Eardley, Brookside Studio

In Eastern Ontario

Jul. 21, Mrs. Warren's Profession at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth) [with a preview on Jul. 20]


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

Friday, 13 July 2018

Ontario Off Stage

Port Stanley Festival Theatre from Ontario Summer Theatre
Buying the Farm
Shannon McCracken, Jeff Culbert, Matthew Gorman
Photo by Phil Bell, Shutter Studios
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Calling All Bowlers, Supporters and Sponsors!

We invite you to take part in our 3rd annual Bowl-a-Thon in support of Theatre Ontario on Saturday, September 15, 2018 (4pm–6pm). 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 $5,000 fundraising goal!

Be a Sponsor. Provide an In-Kind donation or contribution. Bowl with us!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

Spaces are still available in some of our Summer Theatre Intensive courses in Stratford:
Watch John P. Kelly talk about his directing course:


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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • The MT Space's free dance and movement workshop with Vanguardia Dance Projects runs July 12 and 13 in Kitchener-Waterloo.
  • Shaw Festival’s “Learn Bollywood Dance” workshop with Krystal Kiran is on July 14 in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
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 July 2018

Save the Date: Theatre Ontario’s Youth Advisory Committee Pairs with the Siminovitch Prize

Speed Ideating from the Theatre Ontario Youth
Advisory Commitee's Emergence event in 2017
Our Youth Advisory Committee has paired up with the Siminovitch Prize’s Finalist Celebration, for Emergence 2.0 on Monday, October 15, 2018. The event will take place at the Hart House Theatre in Toronto and will include workshops, panels and mentorship led by youth, for youth in theatre.

The Youth Advisory Committee is excited to launch an afternoon of theatre discussion and workshops for youth. The afternoon component will be directed to young theatre artists working in all disciplines, including: actors, directors, producers, playwrights, designers, theatre administration, and others who want to learn or who are emerging as a theatre artist. We welcome all levels of experience to learn from one another. The afternoon festivities will then be followed by a dinner, the Siminovitch Finalist’s panel discussion and then a reception to end off the evening.

Keep your eyes peeled for our finalized programming, speakers, workshop leaders and mentors that will be involved! To stay up to date, like the Youth Advisory Committee on Facebook and join Theatre Ontario’s mailing list.

See you October 15!

Learn more about Theatre Ontario’s Youth Advisory Committee Initiatives

Monday, 9 July 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of July 9

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
Wrong for Each Other at The Foster Festival (St. Catharines)
Julia Porter, Daniel Briere
Photo by David Vivian
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Northwestern Ontario

Jul. 12, Back in ’59 at Magnus Theatre (Thunder Bay)

In South Central Ontario

Jul. 11, Peter Pan at Theatre on the Ridge (Port Perry)

In Southwestern Ontario

Jul. 11, Cruisin' Classics at Drayton Entertainment: Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge [with a matinee preview]
Jul. 12, Canada 151: Better Late than Sorry at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend) [with a matinee preview]
Jul. 14, Oh What a Lovely War at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [in previews]

In Toronto

Jul. 11, Orlando at Soulpepper Theatre [currently in previews]

On Tour

Jul. 14, Rosalynde (or, As You Like It) at Driftwood Theatre Company [with a preview on Jul. 13]

In Central Ontario

Jul. 10, The 39 Steps at Cameco Capitol Arts Centre (Port Hope)
Jul. 11, Not Quite Sherlock at Highlands Summer Festival (Haliburton)
ONstage Now Playing in South Central Ontario
The Melville Boys at Theatre on the Ridge (Port Perry)

In Eastern Ontario

Jul. 11, The Unexpected Guest at Ottawa Little Theatre
Jul. 12, Songbook: Steven Page with the Art of Time Ensemble at Festival Players of Prince Edward County (Picton)


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

Friday, 6 July 2018

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

From Theatre Ontario

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for the wonderful news that they are increasing their financial support to Theatre Ontario as we continue to nurture community, create opportunities to benefit the community, and strive to be agents of change.

Conversation Starters

Mary Pitt and Clive Walton in Gravenhurst Opera House's
production of Souvenir - part of Ontario Summer Theatre 2018
Photo by Larry Carroll

In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Save the Date for the Theatre Ontario Adjudicators Symposium

Annette G. Procunier leading a Detailed
Adjudication at Theatre Ontario Festival 2017
Mark your calendars!  We've booked the date for our next Theatre Ontario Adjudicators Symposium – it will be Saturday, September 22, 2018, from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Theatre Ontario office in Toronto.

The Symposium is one of Theatre Ontario’s professional development and networking events for adjudicators of all experience levels. Adjudicators discuss techniques, approaches and strategies for public and detailed adjudications; and their adjudication experiences during the past year. This year’s Symposium will feature a “Meet the Engagers” panel with representatives from community theatre festivals.

Registration will open in late July.

Wednesday, 4 July 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 Summer Theatre Intensive
Spaces are still available in some of our Summer Theatre Intensive courses in Stratford:

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council’s Compass grants is today.
  • Deadline for applications to direct The Land Grabber at Toronto Irish Players community theatre is July 6.
  • Deadline for submissions from producers for undercurrents 2019 in Ottawa is July 6.
  • Deadline for applications for George F. Walker’s Acting Workshop in Toronto is July 9.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Stratford Festival invites submissions for the Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction.
  • Festival Players of Prince Edward County invite submissions for their Fall Artist Residency Program.

Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions, Job Postings and Discount Ticket Offers on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of July 3

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Souvenir at Gravenhurst Opera House
Mary Pitt, Clive Walton
Photo by Larry Carroll
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Eastern Ontario

Jul. 5, The Lonely Ghosts Walk at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth)
Jul. 7, Knickers! at Upper Canada Playhouse (Morrisburg) [with previews from Jul. 5]
Jul. 7, Harvest at Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque) [with a preview on Jul. 6]

In South Central Ontario

Jul. 5, The Melville Boys at Theatre on the Ridge (Port Perry)

In Southwestern Ontario

Jul. 5, Buying the Farm at Port Stanley Festival Theatre [with previews from Jul. 4]
Jul. 6, As You Like It at Elora Community Theatre (Fergus)
Jul. 8, Cinderella: The Panto at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend) [with previews from Jul. 5]

In Toronto

Jul. 5, Plays in Cafes: The Musical Edition at Shadowpath Theatre Productions
Jul. 6, The Importance of Being Earnest at Scarborough Theatre Guild
Jul. 6, Orlando at Soulpepper Theatre [in previews]
Jul. 7, The Secret Chord: A Leonard Cohen Experience at Soulpepper Theatre
ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
There's Always Juliet at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth)
Scott Clarkson, Victoria Houser
Photo by Jean-Denis Labelle

In Central Ontario

Jul. 5, Crow Hill: The Telephone Play at 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook) [with previews from Jul. 3]
Jul. 5, Out of Order at Drayton Entertainment: King's Wharf Theatre (Penetanguishene) [with previews from Jul. 4]
Jul. 5, Plaza Suite at Orillia Opera House [with previews from Jul. 4]
Jul. 6, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune at Peterborough Theatre Guild


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

Friday, 29 June 2018

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

From Theatre Ontario

  • We are excited to welcome Tamara Kebuladze (Education Coordinator) and Yulimar Manzano (Stakeholder Coordinator) who joined our staff this past month, and Emily Acton who is returning for the summer (Education Assistant.)
  • Our Double Your Donation campaign wraps up on June 30—support our Summer Theatre Intensive Youth Scholarship with your donation.
  • Beginning today (Friday, June 30th), and continuing through to Friday, August 31st, the Theatre Ontario office will be closed at 1pm on Fridays. On Mondays to Thursdays, we will be open for our usual office hours of 9am to 5pm.

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Congratulations to Our Summer Theatre Intensive Scholarship Recipients

Theatre Ontario is delighted to announce the recipients of our Summer Theatre Intensive Scholarships for 2018.

Camille Intson was awarded the Youth Scholarship, and will be attending the Creation Lab, with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.

Angel Glady and Dorian Shine were awarded the Parsai Immigration Scholarship, and will both be attending the Voice Bootcamp, with Elley-Ray.

Breton Lalama was awarded the New Talent Scholarship, and will be attending Stage Combat, with Daniel Levinson.

Learn more about Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive Scholarship Recipients for 2018 and watch their videos


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

  • Spaces are still available in some of our Summer Theatre Intensive courses:
    Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council’s Touring Projects grants is June 28 and Compass grants is July 4.
  • Deadline for nominations for Buddies in Bad Times’ Queer Emerging Artist Award is June 29.
Check out these items, and other postings from our members.
Theatre Ontario individual members can also access Auditions, Job Postings and Discount Ticket Offers on our Theatre Ontario Individual Member Resources on our website

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program

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

Today we feature four stories:
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 1, 2018.

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: Sabah Haque

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

Sabah Haque training in artistic producing with Tom Arthur Davis and Jivesh Parasram at Pandemic Theatre in Toronto, Vancouver BC, and Victoria BC

(June 4, 2018)  Our tour to the Coast Salish territories was like a classic family adventure movie. It was fun, scary, and sort of unpredictable.

The Pandemic Theatre crew, made up of the incredible Tom Arthur Davis and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, toured to Intrepid Theatre’s UNOFest, a festival of solo shows on the traditional and unceded territory of the Lekwungen People, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations (known to settlers as Victoria, British Columbia) to present The Only Good Indian with local artist Justine Shore—who is generous, hilarious, and exquisite. We took a beautiful and windy ferry ride to meet up with Jiv Parasram on the traditional and unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil Waututh Peoples (known to settlers as Vancouver) to present the show at Up In The Air Theatre’s rEvolver Festival with local artist Adele Noronha – who is a wonderfully charming, clever, and brave.

Here are some of my accomplishments: I climbed a ladder 4-6 times a day for four days (with incredible amounts of encouragement from technician Carolyn Moon); I climbed rocks to get closer to the Pacific Ocean (all by myself with lots of squealing); I ran several shows on Q-Lab (which mostly involved pressing space bar), I rode a bike on the road and in a park (under heavy supervision—Tom thought I crashed at one point); and I managed to convince people to like me by the powers of sass. Huzzah!

That last part wasn’t that hard. Folks at Intrepid Theatre and Up In The Air Theatre are some of the kindest theatre pros I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. With some heathy encouragement from my mentors Jiv, Tom, and Kristina Lemieux from Generator, I broadened my artistic network—and made new Facebook-official friends. I’m really excited by the prospect of collaborating with artists across Canada. We are pretty talented.

Networking has always been a challenging aspect of my work. I feel pretty socially daft, and don’t like the feeling of being kind to someone for the sake of my career. Networking isn’t about making people like you. It’s about finding people who jive with you, who you want to work with, who you want to learn from, who you can and can’t stand with. I’ve realized it’s an important part of the self-care aspect of working.

Audience engagement is full of wonderful and horrifying surprises. After showing of The Only Good Indian, we invite the audience to a long table discussion (I live tweeted every single one) to discuss the show. Facilitating conversations about colonization, genocide, and occupation isn’t easy. I watched Donna-Michelle, Tom, and Jiv do it with grace. In the same way that they mentor, they create a positive, and safe environment for folks to share their thoughts. They offer people time, and opportunity. They offer a few jokes (jokes are really important). I wasn’t brave enough to co-facilitate one this time around. Maybe next time.

I also saw some cool theatre! Christine Quintana’s Good Things to Do at rEvolver Festival made me cry; I saw Yolanda Bonnell’s bug at rEvolver Festival—Yolanda is such a beautiful performer.

I also had privilege of sitting in on a rehearsal of Victim Impact, which Jiv is directing. It was really lovely to meet more artists from the South Asian diaspora.

Over the last year, I have learned a lot about what mentorship means to me, and what makes it work. Mentoring with Pandemic Theatre and Generator means I get to laugh while I work, that I’m free to ask for anything at any time, and I get to learn through my mistakes with guidance from artists in the room.

I’ve been lucky to have mentorship throughout my career as an emerging artist. It’s brave work to put yourself out there. I’m really glad I did. Jiv, Tom, Donna-Michelle, and Kristina are the most generous artists I have ever met. Their support of my career is unwavering. And boy, are they ever funny.

Here are some memorable conversations from my trip:
“What about you, Sabah? I heard you’re glamourous.”

Me: I wish I was a male peacock.
“Sabah, you are a male peacock.”
Me: Yaaaas.

“You are the most outrageous intern ever.”

“Swiffer that floor, gurl!” (Directed at Eureka when she lip-synced for her life.)
“What kind of bird is that?”
Me: Like, a normal bird.

I did miss you, Toronto. Hot garbage never smelt better. Now that we’re back, we move into the final phase of my PTTP training—touring grant + festival application writing. That touring life was pretty sweet. I would like to do it again. Maybe I’ll write my own version of The Only Good Indian to tour beyond Canada. Maybe… #sabahtudefortheworld

Until next time~

Sabah

Related Reading:

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 1, 2018.

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: Andrea Scott

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 Scott trained in producing with David Auster at the Stratford Festival

(May 31, 2018)  David Auster was my mentor at the Stratford Festival for three months. I called him up one day in early March of 2017 and asked him if he’d like to be my mentor and, without thinking about it, he said yes. He could have said no since he’d only met me a couple of times at various Stratford functions. I was pleased at the possibility of learning more about producing in an environment like the Stratford Festival as my only experience had been working on my own plays with budgets not larger than $15,000. I was going to be allowed to look at budgets with several more zeros attached; it was exhilarating!

It’s been a week since I left Stratford on May 19 and what I remember most is the mentoring ‘lessons’ often accompanied food. Specifically, David eating. I made a point of taking a scheduled lunch at 12 every single day but, like most of the executive level individuals at the Festival, David ate at his desk and continued to work. A father to two young daughters, he made a point of leaving every day at 5pm in order to get home at a reasonable hour for supper.

It started with goldfish crackers handed to me on my first day as a wink to the goldfish dream I'd had before arriving. An orange was peeled and consumed as he explained the intricacies and difficulty of producing an original musical in Canada to me and Carson Nattrass. A 2-hour drive to Toronto to attend Musical Stage Company’s Fun Home was a tab-by-tab walk-through of the exhaustive spreadsheets for the Festival. He stopped talking long enough to eat his dinner, a chocolate bar from a vending machine. He took me out for lunch at Mercer’s Inn to say goodbye but he used to opportunity to explain the hiccups that inevitably occur when a large production hits a snag (creative, financial, or otherwise.) David used every chance he could to educate me on some aspect of producing theatre at an elevated level.

It was especially important that not only did I get the producing education I craved from the Stratford Festival, but I was welcomed into meeting rooms as not only an observer but as a participant. If you happened to be at the Festival Theatre or the Avon you might have seen me trailing behind David, walking as fast as I could, clutching a pink ‘Classy & Fabulous’ notebook where I recorded notes on everything. He always introduced me as an award-winning playwright who produced her own shows; I always appreciated that little boost.

He checked in on me frequently to make sure that I wasn’t bored, lonely, or, after I rhapsodized over a slice of chocolate chip banana bread, stress-eating. He took me grocery shopping and made sure I got to an emergency eye appointment in the middle of the day. This was a pretty lovely and productive mentor/mentee partnership and even though he wished he could have done and taught me more I feel like I am ready and armed to produce a large scale production while being a fair leader who truly listens.

The three-month mentorship was an invaluable experience supported by the Ontario Arts Council and Theatre Ontario that would never have happened without the support and encouragement of Bruce Pitkin, Rachel Kennedy, Pat Bradley, Kristina Lemieux, Katie Leamen, Michael Wheeler, and Esther Jun. On the Stratford Festival side of things I can’t say enough to thank Antoni, Anita, Susan, Jason, Bob, Bonnie, Franklin, Joy, Marion, and Beth who made me feel like a part of the Director’s Office team.  I’m used to working alone to get projects completed but this experience required many hands and hearts for me to succeed.  I cannot thank all of these people enough for their generosity, warmth, and kindness.  I jumped at the sun and all of you helped me fly. Thank you.

Related Reading:

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 1, 2018.

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: Taryn Jorgenson

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

Taryn Jorgenson begins training in directing with Richard Rose at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto


Image of Brain I brought to design discussion
(May 31, 2018) I have just come back from my first official design meeting with the team working on The Message at the Tarragon. I walked into the room with a bit of butterflies and ample anticipation to meet the faces of the team for which I would be working with for the next half year. The names I have known through the industry and their work I have come to be galvanized by. I have worked as a director on a few productions on various levels, with various sizes of teams and budgets nonetheless! But it is the first time I have walked into a room with such prestigious and monstrously experienced artists. The room glowed with discussions about feelings, images, and conceptual interpretations about the play—all humble, thoughtful and dynamic. I knew at that moment that this experience was going to be like no other.

I am doing this mentorship under the wing of Richard Rose. I was taken aback by Richard when I first met him in a directorial class that he teaches seasonally at the Tarragon. The wealth of experience gathered around him like a fog. He is able to analyze works quickly and interpret them creatively with ease. "A play is action in time and space." Putting it simply into these words took the big task of directing a show and narrowing it down to its simplest form - allowing me to settle in the thoughts - "I can do that" or “just tell the story as it is.” It was this time that I knew I wanted to dive deeper into his thought process and learn his way of working. As a director, someone who has mostly worked on naturalistic styles with somewhat factual elements, I am itching to learn the art of working with a style that moves through time and space with a non-linear approach. How can I tell a story in a different way that produces a unique experience?

I was able to get a taste of this in my last play I directed for the SummerWorks Festival. It was called This Is Where We Live—an expressionistic, poetic, character-driven tango-dance-of-a-play that made me begin pulsing my muscles in this type of storytelling. I became drawn to working with the “non-natural” or the “imaginative” part of storytelling. Richard has worked in this way for many years on various projects—Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad is one I remember specifically. The ability to produce a concept that the audience not only sees and hears but is felt all around them. How can we create a piece that is expressionistic while laying the pathway through the story and continuously pulsing at what is at the heart of it? Jason Sherman's The Message is a perfect play to explore this.

The Message is a play about the last moments of Marshall McLuhan's life. The renowned U of T professor who dazzled the world in the 60's with his theories on media and communication (specifically how our media affects us), suffered a debilitating stroke which brought about severe aphasia. A lover and ambassador of language, he was left with his mind fully intact, with the only ability to say words like "wah" “uh” and "oh boy." I can only imagine the storm of subtext that went behind those words in his last year!

Image of Marshall McLuhan at the Ryerson Institute
of Technology, Toronto, ca. 1967.
Photo: Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images
Even before I received notice I was getting the PTTP grant, I nose-dived into the writings and videos of McLuhan. This tall, starchy figure, with a particular nuance to his voice harangued of such unique thoughts for the time, which brought about much controversy and criticism. His voice is now echoing in our world more than ever as his ideas and concepts have quickly turned into today’s truth. "Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness (all-at-once-ness). ‘Time’ has ceased, ‘Space’ has vanished. We now live in a global village…a simultaneous happening.” he stated well before the internet, cell phones, Facebook or Twitter. “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” 

I am thrilled to be delving into the mind of McLuhan with the work of such a wonderful playwright as Jason Sherman. He has captured the essence of McLuhan's ideas not only in his character, but also in the entire sculpture of the piece. There is a type of simultaneousness that is evoked. The beginning and ends of scenes are blurred creating this cosmic vortex that McLuhan tumbles through as he struggles to go to back to the moment where he can communicate his final Message to the world.

Although I never knew of McLuhan before this mentorship, I am definitely a consumer of his theories. I think we have all become consumers to what he predicted, feeding on it, expanding on it—just as he predicted! He must be shaking in his angel boots!

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 1, 2018.

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: Aaron Jan

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

Aaron Jan training in dramaturgy with Marjorie Chan at Cahoots Theatre in Toronto


(May 4, 2018)

So what happens if your show doesn't happen?

This is something that came up during a strategic planning for Cahoots a few weeks ago.

If your company and work just vanishes, what happens? In a week? In a month? In a year? In five years?

Does anything really change? Who did you empower when you had a company? Does the city lose anything if your company vanishes off the face of the earth?

My tenure with Cahoots has me thinking of permanence versus impermanence, specifically in what it means to have space and take up space by putting work out there. We can't stop taking up space. It's in our nature as humans. We're not ghosts. We consume resources in real time, we create waste, we occupy physical space.

So if we are to take up space, how do we make sure that our work helps as many people as possible? How do we make sure that our work is able to reach as many people as possible, that our company is of the community on land that doesn't belong to us, that if we take up space with the size, effort and waste of our productions, we do it so it is inclusive of the physical territory that others have taken up for years?

Is it in the way we word things? Is it in the way our website is organized, the way we meet with people, the photos we take? Is it how we curate our company profile, how we do our outreach, how we make ourselves available to others? Is it in our programming, our casting, how we assemble our teams? Is it in how we conduct ourselves online, how we brand ourselves, of who we choose to co-pro, our desire to call out versus call in the public or private spheres?

If you're on a stage (or whatever performance space you choose), if you have funding, it means that someone else did not. It means that someone else lost funding, someone else didn't get the rental, someone else's story or experience isn't told. This could be joe from around the block who puts up a new play every month, or this could be someone (an individual or a person) who never gets programmed, or has never been, or maybe doesn't see themselves in the theatre. We all take up space, it's our responsibility to see how we can share it – how we can use all of our resources to invite as many folks as possible into the square of land we call our show.

On Dramaturgy

When I direct, I take up space. I have a vision. I drive the ship forward. I unite the group with a vision. While I try to be equitable in the room, the fact remains that we are sharing one united space. The space is curated so it suits us, but our footprint is unified.

As a new dramaturg, I think I'm starting to understand it as a negotiation of space. The playwright comes in with their own space, I come in with mine. If I impose my space on theirs, does the space still belong to them? If I have observations about a work, I need to make sure that it's not infringing upon the artist's vision of their space. It's a tricky negotiation that I'm starting to get better at, as often it's a question of form – letting the artist articulate the space and form they are trying to create with the work so they lead the conversation and my input addresses their questions in realizing the container they have articulated. I am obsessed with product as a director, about getting it right and working things through. With dramaturgy, it's a different conversation, one at a different pace and led by a different person.

Going back to the strategic planning session, something I've found quite useful in my dramaturgy is identifying the core of a piece – that piece if you strip the entire play away, all of the characters, all of the themes, all of the plot, what is left in the play? What is the play really about? What fascinates the playwright about the story? What is the core idea that caused them to write the thing in the first place?

This of course, changes drastically when a show is scheduled for production, or if a company is interested in producing work. My current negotiation as a dramaturg is figuring out how to let the playwright discover the core without writing their play for them – but while also giving them exercises and having them feel like the support I provide is sufficient. Marjorie has said her primary job as a dramaturg is to get the playwright to write, so I've been adapting this into my own practices as I help develop a fringe play that I'm developing for the summer.

I've been able to sit in on numerous meeting Marjorie has with playwrights who were both awarded Cahoots' RGTC and were not. Even when she has no interest in programming an artist, she's still willing to meet with them and be a resource if they request it. I think that's something to take into my own dramaturgical practice. Even when Marjorie is invested in a playwright and is interested in programming them or giving them space, she lets them articulate their need and questions first. Based on that, she then adapts to their ask. It's a small gesture, but the fact that she never imposes on that container is something I take to heart for my own dramaturgical process. Marjorie is very clear with playwrights whether Cahoots is or is not interested in their work and she never sugar-coats her opinions, but she never let

These meetings occur inside Cahoots' studio. There's a fold out table, usually a plate of food (Cahoots always seems to be very good at having snacks), but the idea is that the artist is invited into the Cahoots space. No matter whether they are programmed or assisted by Cahoots in any way, the artist is made to feel at home in Cahoots. It's such a simple way that the company is able to share their space, but it creates this idea that the company is open to the artistic community. The website/season pamphlet is also a negotiation of space – where Cahoots put the artists of their playwriting unit on the front page.

Contrasting to this – and this might be a little soap box moment of mine – but  I think to a recent intermission article – specifically one about accepting open script submissions. While I strongly disagree with the notion that theatres are charities for artists that are opening their doors for the greater good (for myself, I recognize that theatres are indeed a business and if they are to look at unsolicited script submissions, dramaturgs/literary managers must be compensated for the overtime hours – which simply cannot be accounted for due to the limitless nature of unsolicited submissions)  the thing that sticks with me in the article is the image a company creates and maintains through how they approach the artists they're interested in.

In a way, the maintenance of the company image is a larger scale of curatorial dramaturgy, one that is of a growing interest to me in my own artistic life. How do we make sure our container (to use a directing term) is unified in vision from all positions and not just in the work we create?

I'm excited to continue the work with Cahoots and to continue to observe and participate in the development of Jani Lauzon's epic opera-play hybrid, I Call Myself Princess this summer.

Onwards and upwards!

ED: Aaron was also part of a panel at the Literary Manager and Dramaturgs of America conference on June 22, 2018 - the recording of the livestream can be viewed below. 




Related Reading:


The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 1, 2018.

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.

Monday, 25 June 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of June 25

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Cinderella: The Panto at Drayton Entertainment (Penetanguishene)
Chelsea Preston, Jamie McKnight
Director & Choreographer David Connolly, Music Director Joseph Tritt
Set Designer Jean Claude Olivier, Costume Designer Rachel Berchtold
Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser
Photographer: John Sharp
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Central Ontario

Jul. 2, Romeo and Juliet at Highlands Summer Festival (Haliburton)

In Eastern Ontario

Jun. 27, Perth Through the Ages at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth)

In Southwestern Ontario

Jun. 27, Cruisin' Classics at Drayton Entertainment: Huron Country Playhouse (Grand Bend) [with a matinee preview]
Jun. 29, Judith: Memories of a Lady Pig Farmer at Blyth Festival [with previews from Jun. 27]
Jun. 29, Wrong for Each Other at The Foster Festival (St. Catharines) [with previews from Jun. 27]

In Toronto

Jun. 28, Gruesome Playground Injuries at Theatre@Eastminster


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

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

  • Take your training to new heights at our Summer Theatre Intensive courses for performers, directors, teachers, and creators, running August 5 to 10, and August 12 to 17 in Stratford. Register by June 22.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council’s Artists in Communities and Schools Project grants is June 20 and Touring Projects grants is June 28.
  • The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America annual conference is being held in Toronto beginning June 21.
  • Deadline for applications for Prologue to the Performing Arts Roster of Artists is June 22.
  • Deadline for nominations for Native Women in the Arts’ Barbara Laronde Award is June 22.
  • Deadline for nominations for Buddies in Bad Times’ Queer Emerging Artist Award is June 29.
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, 18 June 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of June 18

ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
Fiddler on the Roof at Cameco Capitol Arts Centre (Port Hope)
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Toronto

Jun. 22, Night of Vintage Radio Plays at The Village Players, Bloor West Village

In Eastern Ontario

Jun. 23, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque) [with a preview on Jun. 22]
Jun. 23, There's Always Juliet at Classic Theatre Festival (Perth) [with a preview on Jun. 22]

In Southwestern Ontario

ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The Tempest at Stratford Festival
Martha Henry, Michael Blake
Photography by David Hou
Jun. 21, Brontë: The World Without at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Jun. 21, Canada 151: Better Late than Sorry at Drayton Entertainment: Drayton Festival Theatre [with previews from Jun. 20]
Jun. 21, Screwball Comedy at Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover) [with previews from Jun. 20]
Jun. 22, Coriolanus at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Jun. 22, The New Canadian Curling Club at Blyth Festival [with previews from Jun. 20]
Jun. 22, The Rainmaker at Drayton Entertainment: St. Jacobs Country Playhouse [with previews from Jun. 20]
Jun. 23, O'Flaherty V.C. at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews] 
Jun. 23, The Orchard (After Chekhov) at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews]
Jun. 24, The Baroness and the Pig at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews]


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

Friday, 15 June 2018

Ontario Off Stage

The 2018 Ontario Summer Theatre season is underway!
From The Shaw Festival
Stephen Fry in Mythos: A Trilogy - Gods. Heroes. Men.
Photo by David Cooper. 
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters


Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


Migrations


TO Toasts


In Case You Missed It


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Save the Date for Theatre Ontario Festival 2019 in Richmond Hill

Theatre Ontario Festival is an annual destination for theatre-lovers from across the province. Next year we travel to Richmond Hill for Theatre Ontario Festival 2019, running May 15 to 19, 2019. Festival will be hosted by The Curtain Club, in partnership with Theatre Ontario and the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario (ACT-CO). The Curtain Club previously hosted Festivals in Richmond Hill (2011) and Newmarket (1999).

Theatre Ontario Festival showcases outstanding community theatre productions from across the province, chosen from regional festivals that run from October 2018 to March 2019. Achievements in community theatre are celebrated with artistic awards, and with the Michael Spence Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Theatre.

Festival also features detailed adjudications open to all Festival attendees, workshops, and play readings that bring together Canadian playwrights and communities. Festival is one of the province’s premiere educational experiences for dedicated community theatre artists.

Wednesday, 13 June 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 Summer Theatre Intensive
  • We invite newcomers across the province to apply for our Summer Theatre Intensive Parsai Immigration Scholarship, sending two newcomer artists to train at one of our Summer Courses in Stratford free of charge. The application deadline is June 15.
  • We invite youth across the province to apply for our Summer Theatre Intensive New Talent Scholarship, aimed at sending a youth artist to train at one of our Summer Courses in Stratford free of charge. The application deadline is June 15.
  • Take your training to new heights at our Summer Theatre Intensive courses for performers, directors, teachers, and creators, running August 5 to 10, and August 12 to 17 in Stratford. Register by June 22.

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for applications from producers for the RISER Project in Toronto is June 15.
  • Deadline for applications for Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Arts Fellowship grants is June 19 and for Artists in Communities and Schools Project grants is June 20.
  • The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America annual conference is being held in Toronto beginning June 21.
  • Deadline for applications for Prologue to the Performing Arts Roster of Artists is June 22.
  • Deadline for nominations for Native Women in the Arts’ Barbara Laronde Award is June 22.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • George F. Walker is hosting his next weekly acting workshop beginning July 16 (with applications due on July 9).

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