Thursday, 31 May 2018

Welcome to Our New Board Members

New Board members Matthew Willson, Andre Newell, Tim
Dawdy, and Ron Dodson. Not pictured are Raeburn Ferguson
(who was busy at our Introduction to Adjudication course) and
Farzeen Foda (who was unable to attend the AGM in person)
We welcome our newly elected Board members for the 2018 to 2020 two-year terms on our Board of Directors.

Mary Jane Boon was elected to her third term; Annie MacKay and Brenda Worsnop (who were appointees to the Board during the past year) were elected to the balance of their first term (ending in 2019); and we welcome new Board members Tim Dawdy, Ron Dodson, Raeburn Ferguson, Farzeen Foda, Andre Newell, and Matthew Willson who were elected to their first terms.


They join Bodene Corbitt, Vera N. Held, Eyal Katz, Gil Katz, and Carri Johnson who were elected to two-year terms in 2017.


We also thanked Elley-Ray of Toronto, who had reached her term limit as a member of our Board of Directors; Linda Lloyd-McKenzie and Neil Wiancko who were finishing their two-year terms; and Leah Dietrich who was stepping down from the Board.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

Scarborough Theatre Guild's production of The Cemetery Club
They are seeking artistic staff for the 2018/19 season
  • Deadline for submissions for Nightwood Theatre’s “Write from the Hip” program for emerging women playwrights is May 31.
  • Deadline for submissions for Canadian Stage's Territorial Tales for storytellers 14-21 has been extended to June 1.
  • Deadline for applications for artistic staff for the 2018/19 season at Scarborough Theatre Guild community theatre is June 7.

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, 29 May 2018

YAC: Thoughts from the Youth Advisory Committee

Summer Kick-Off Reading list

Summer is finally here (we hope), and with that, comes beaches, road trips, camping, and summer reading lists! We’re here to help. If you’re hoping to develop a new understanding for the industry, relate to theatre professionals, or simply to get inspired, here are a few books you might want to check out.

New Understanding

Audition by Michael Shurtleff
Audition outlines 12 guideposts; how to make a lasting impression, create a good character in a small amount of time, how to interpret a script quickly, to name a few. Essentially, this book has everything you need to know to successfully audition. Great for actors, directors, writers, technicians, and creative artists.

Actions: The Actor’s Thesaurus by Marina Calderone
The Actor’s Thesaurus is a great book that breaks down “action-ing” (a technique for analyzing scripts). It gives examples on how to action out a script and then gives a thesaurus of verbs that leads the artist to be even more specific in the breaking down of a scene. 

Empty Space by Peter Brook
This book takes different theatrical styles, and develops them into four modes, or points of view on theatre; Deadly, Holy, Rough, and Immediate. A great read for anyone interested in exploring issues facing any theatrical performance.

The Artists’ Compass: A Complete Guide to Building a Life and Living in the Performing Arts by Rachel Moore
Written by the president and CEO of The Music Centre in Los Angeles, Rachel Moore writes about how to make your life as a performer more successful, secure and sustainable. Insight on how to launch your career, and a focus on strong women in leadership.

Getting inspired

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This book may help you get through some feelings of doubt and artist block on a regular basis. Basically, it is a 12-week course designed to bring out your inner creativity. It allows you to connect to your past, and open yourself up to possibility. Ideal for anyone who wants to feel more fulfilled creatively, whether or not you work in a traditionally ‘creative’ career.

Drama by Raina Telgameier
A fun summer read! This graphic novel is about a girl navigating her life while also set designing her very first show.

Awakening your Ikigai by Ken Mogi
This book illustrates the japanese concept of Ikigai, which basically means “a reason for being.” Ken Mogi explains the concept and talks about waking up every day with happiness and hope. Mogi focuses on five pillars; starting small, releasing yourself, harmony and sustainability, the joy of little things, and being in the here and now.

Other must-reads

Lady Parts by Andrea Martin
This book is a riot. If you like to laugh, like to read fun stories about the early days of SCTV, and if you’ve ever wondered if Andrea Martin is Canadian, this book is for you. 

Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theatre by Eddie Shapiro
If you love musical theatre, you need to read this book. Eddie Shapiro interviews twenty of Broadway’s leading women. Laura Benanti, Chita Rivera, Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, and Sutton Foster are just some of the performers interviewed. This book is funny, interesting, motivational, and inspiring. Check it out!

This is just a short list of some amazing books out there! We hope this will kick off some summer reading, and inspire you to find some great reads on your own! Have any more book ideas? Leave a comment below!

Until next time!

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

P.S. Here are a couple links to more reading resources!

Monday, 28 May 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of May 28

This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
Across the Pond at Port Stanley Festival Theatre

In Southwestern Ontario

May 28, The Tempest at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
May 29, The Music Man at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
May 30, Long Day's Journey into Night at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
May 31, An Ideal Husband at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
May 31, O'Flaherty V.C. at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [in previews] 
May 31, She Kills Monsters at Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
May 31, The Birds and the Bees at Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover) [with previews from May 30]
Jun. 1, The Comedy of Errors at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Jun. 1, The Pigeon King at Blyth Festival [with previews from May 30]
Jun. 2, The Rocky Horror Show at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]
Jun. 2, To Kill a Mockingbird at Stratford Festival [currently in previews]

In Toronto

May 29, La Bete at Soulpepper Theatre [currently in previews]
Jun. 1, I Hate Hamlet at Scarborough Players
Jun. 2, 7th Cousins at Nightwood Theatre

In Central Ontario

May 29, Fiddler on the Roof at Cameco Capitol Arts Centre (Port Hope)
May 31, Four Play: A Showcase of Play Readings at South Simcoe Theatre (Cookstown)
May 31, Rabbit Hole at Owen Sound Little Theatre
Jun. 1, An Evening of One Acts at Northumberland Players (Cobourg)
ONstage Now Playing in Southwestern Ontario
The House of Blue Leaves at Guelph Little Theatre

In Eastern Ontario

May 31, Annie Get Your Gun at Belleville Theatre Guild [with a preview on May 29]
Jun. 1, Mamma Mia! at Orpheus Musical Theatre Society (Ottawa)

In Northeastern Ontario

May 30, The Intruder at Gateway Theatre Guild (North Bay)


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

Friday, 25 May 2018

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

  • Kevin Loring, Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre, gave the keynote address at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatre’s 2018 conference, asking the question “Whose reality are we reflecting in our theatres? (video)”

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


TO Toasts

En Lai Mah and Elizabeth Wong accepting for Jiv Parasram

In Case You Missed It


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

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Celebrating Community Theatre Learning Opportunities at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Theatre Ontario Festival features a variety of educational events for the passionate, dedicated community theatre artists. This past year’s highlights included:
Plus, catch-up on all of the social conversation from Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 on Twitter Moments
 
Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Highlights of the Detailed Adjudication of “Dead Accounts” at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Ottawa Little Theatre's production of Dead Accounts
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Highlights of the detailed adjudication by Maja Ardal of Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of Dead Accounts by Theresa Rebeck (representing EODL, the Eastern Ontario Drama League.)

As always, this is my best effort to record the conversation at the Detailed Adjudication, with apology for any misrepresentations of the ideas of the members of the company and the adjudicator. Corrections and clarifications are always welcome in the comments.
  • This text moves from high energized comedy to deadly serious text: that collision makes for good theatre
  • Set features an intense naturalism: a rich, detailed set; impression of a convex mirror with everything stretched; actors skin colour blended with the wall colour; company acknowledged lighting needed tweaking, walls should have been brighter
  • Fit precisely: stage dimensions were similar to Ottawa Little Theatre; they have a wrap-around cyc at home which they used to fully surround the set
  • Music needs to have a presence: it must match both the high energy of the play and the crispness of the performances
  • Because they needed blackouts, they must be earned because we are seeing nothing: How do you “reward” the audience in a blackout? Suggestion was louder music that matched the play’s energy (sound tended to be cloudy and unclear)
  • Opening scene: Jack is frantic; raises the concern: is this the level we will see all show? Instead, used to establish urgency for character
  • Jack demonstrated incredibly physical expression; director’s job was to edit the actor who gave more and more; this is expected: actor will work on impulse and director must edit that
  • What is driving the frantic-ness: Is it a guilty conscience? The adrenaline from doing a terrible thing? Drugs?  The most interesting choice is the one driven by circumstance
  • On the surface text can seem shallow, but the production found depths in it
  • Lorna carries the theme of the play (e.g. planted a stick and had to wait for it… a metaphor for her relationship with Phil); also embodies the middle-class, the mid-west, tough economic times (living at home)
  • Applauded the company for not getting sentimental
  • Barbara represents the generation before (e.g. keeping religion central, etc.)
  • The company earned the quieter scenes by playing comedy
  • Finale describes “splitting the kitchen apart”; could not figure out how to drive the execution of that; chose the lighting gobo effect to suggest the trees
  • What makes Jack come home?  Text is unclear (in a positive way) giving opportunity to play—he’s a casualty and a winner; some remarkable writing for this character
  • Did the play need a natural set? Designer felt you needed to recognize a 1950s home and a safe place for Jack; set also gave the feel of a space for a live-studio-audience sitcom (reflecting some of the tone of the play); details that show Lorna’s influence (e.g. the Keurig machine); working appliances to help the audience experience the kitchen feel (smell the coffee, the toast, etc.)
  • The sequence when the father is going to the hospital: showed passage of time through a series of blackouts and images of Jenny in the house—challenging to do
  • Transitions between scenes took a long time; new stage manager for this performance and her first time calling the show
  • Barbara talking over Lorna on the telephone—well-executed; most of the content itself is not critical (necessary information which was well-communicated), and Barbara dealing with various props helped us connect with what was going on
  • Phil’s performance demonstrated someone trying to use all his senses to gather information
  • Use of real food helped with the sensual experience (working freezer, real ice cream, etc.)
  • Also very Cincinatti-specific—recognizable and authentic (cast member had Ohio in-laws that helped supply props).
  • Text also has a love of the mid-west that tends to be lookerd down up on from the urban, financial world
  • Jenny is a challenging character: described so terribly, how do you find the qualities that Jack could love
Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Highlights of the Detailed Adjudication of “Tempting Providence” at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

ELATE's production of Tempting Providence
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Highlights of the detailed adjudication by Maja Ardal of Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble’s production of Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe (representing QUONTA, the northeastern Ontario community theatre association.)

As always, this is my best effort to record the conversation at the Detailed Adjudication, with apology for any misrepresentations of the ideas of the members of the company and the adjudicator. Corrections and clarifications are always welcome in the comments.
  • Strong opening: no pre-show music, lighting at half for the play`s beginning, the nurse came in as if from abroad
  • Quickly established the convention that the style will be the transformation of objects into set pieces
  • Minimalism can make you creative (e.g. particularly liked two chairs with a blanket spread overtop to make the shape of a cradle)
  • Actors then embody the script
  • Off the top, the actors seemed unsettled and nervous—breathing exercises are encouraged to help manage that
  • Costumes were neutral; inspired by images they had seen of other productions: always take the best of what we can find
  • Goal of actors is to live inside the story, and bring it alive fully
  • Who is the audience and why are you compelled to tell the story?
  • For Myra, it was internal – that “other self” you can tell your worst things to
  • For Angus, an amazing story that his pals need to hear; he clearly had the most fun, adding a twinkle his eye to demonstrate his enjoyment
  • For Man and Woman, it was the gossipy community
  • In a moment, actors need to see it, feel it, smell it—experience it; the performers’ nervousness meant that they were “selling it” before “experiencing it”
  • For example, one quality of Newfoundland is that vigorous, robust smell
  • Myra states she has no time for emotion; her journey is admitting to her emotion, so she can’t start with emotion
  • Also, emotion is a by-product of your objective—be careful of trying to show the emotion or letting the emotion be the driver; if you “over deliver” the emotion, it doesn’t give the audience space to appreciate the story
  • This is a community of denial, and Woman is our first example of that as someone from the community; we saw too much of her breakdown rather than the denial of her breakdown, never let go of your objective and focus on one thing at a time
  • Woman as Mrs. House: She is testing Myra, putting her through an examination as well, finds out that she’s tough enough (she passes!)
  • In every scene, always identify who am I here with this person in this moment
  • Text is lyrical, and Myra brings the lyricism
  • Angus’ delivery tended to finish a sentence and come to a stop; became a pattern of delivery that the performer needs to be aware of
  • Be rigorous with your pace: first act was supposed to run 70 minutes, but it actually ran closer to 90 minutes; for example when Man as Alex comes with the news about the baby coming, Myra needs to be rushing (rather than going back to her baking); moving into a tableau could show us the rushing
  • Pace DOESN’T mean rushing: keep the objective alive, breathe
  • For actress playing Myra, this was her first major role; she brought presence and charisma, encouraged to keep focusing on what will bring a character alive
  • Yawning is always another good warm-up technique to wake up the body
  • When playing a character, voice and face are the last elements: Begin with the spine and pelvic base and think about questions of the body (How long have I worked? Where is my head? Etc)
  • Actors were seniors, but young people can struggle with physicality just as much
  • “Our bodies tell the truth when our language doesn’t”
  • Opening of play: trying to solve challenge of how to bring on the live musician, he came onto the stage as a mummer (part of Newfoundland culture)
  • Musician responded to actor’s feelings, music was gentle; other option for a live musician is to escalate the tension—music can move forward rather than reflect back
  • The end of Act One was “divine” (pulling the tooth, selling the marriage proposal)
  • When miming, consider doing a workshop: sometimes the objects seemed to disappear rather than always be there throughout
  • Company brought desire and commitment, and will continue to develop craft over time
Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Highlights of the Detailed Adjudication of “Little Gem” at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Toronto Irish Players' production of Little Gem
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Highlights of the detailed adjudication by Maja Ardal of Toronto Irish Players’ production of Little Gem by Elaine Murphy (representing ACT-CO, the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario.)

As always, this is my best effort to record the conversation at the Detailed Adjudication, with apology for any misrepresentations of the ideas of the members of the company and the adjudicator. Corrections and clarifications are always welcome in the comments.
  • Elaine Murphy’s script is the authentic voices of working class women, love her ear and how she powered the voices into her work
  • In Ireland, monologue is an art form—in the pub, over coffee
  • This production was taken from an intimate environment (the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto) to a spacious environment (the Palace Theatre in London)
  • Entirely direct address, which means you need to answer the question: Who are they talking to?
  • Lovely set, felt airy, includes sketches of the unseen men from the play
  • Three defined areas for each women
  • Pre-show music was gently playing: Irish fusion soundscape; sound designer took play’s tag line of “birth, death and salsa” and sought out Celtic salsa
  • The music playing quietly invited us in: created the expectation of an experience of intimacy
  • Cyc created opportunities for colour
  • Actors need to not feel rushed: establish the atmosphere in the opening moments
  • The play functions as 3 one-person shows: fundamentals in a one-person show are the clear journey, take time to digest… how much did they break down the text?
  • Also provides opportunities to create other characters
  • All three start in a place of desperation (e.g. Kay has “an itch”)
  • Challenging to act someone else’s stream of consciousness, with its digressions and the dilemmas that pop up in the text
  • Amber’s opening monologue is challenging: mentions 15 characters; don’t always depend on just the text to find the characters, body language can help us find them too
  • Lorraine’s journey is compelling, and the more of a freaked out mess she is at the beginning, the more we will enjoy it—opportunities are to let us hear the voices of the other characters (e.g. the customer, the HR person, etc.)
  • The clarity of the text helped us immerse ourselves in the Irish culture, slang, etc.
  • Irish are brilliant at “trouble” and making it funny
  • Difficulty in one-person play is the characters have things done to themselves, they are not affecting each other in the moment
  • Physical moments like the salsa dancing helped us to see what another character was like
  • Plays has been seen both with and without an intermission; text doesn’t define it either way
  • How do we feel closer to this work: follow the play by seeing every detail, the brightness of the lighting presented challenges (e.g. didn’t see the pregnancy test scene on the toilet), the dramatics and the colour can create a perfect mood
  • The D.S. area had blue tips side-lighting, but 50% of the dimensional lighting did not work; it was a technical problem that the designer could not overcome while trying to adapt from the original space to this theatre; the set was set back because the U.S. top lights worked successfully
  • Always take the risk of stopping the play and living the moment; Murphy goes off on tangents, so always explore every full stop, every period
  • The stories are also filled with subtle details (e.g. how Kay stole Gem)
  • Amber’s story has so many voices, hardest to connect (she also has the fewest people in the audience her age), the writing of her character is frantic
  • Who are they talking to in their direct address?  The fourth wall changes throughout the play: sometimes stream of consciousness, talking to themselves, replaying a moment in the present tense; director focus on the flow so it wouldn’t look like stand-up, with movement to keep the play flowing
  • Identify if the person being address is a friend or enemy; someone intimate or someone like a social worker you are explaining things to; that person may change—even in mid-monologue
  • This venue had superior cyc lighting than previous venue; gave them the opportunity to make the visuals of the dance club far more significant, and to try and coordinate with the beats in the music
  • Fundamentally, we felt these three women
Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Highlights of the Detailed Adjudication of “On a First Name Basis” at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Elmira Theatre Company's production of On a First Name Basis
by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Highlights of the detailed adjudication by Maja Ardal of Elmira Theatre Company’s production of On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster (representing WODL, the Western Ontario Drama League.)

As always, this is my best effort to record the conversation at the Detailed Adjudication, with apology for any misrepresentations of the ideas of the members of the company and the adjudicator. Corrections and clarifications are always welcome in the comments.
  • Norm Foster pours ideas, warmth, humour, heart onto the page; writes ordinary people in a way that is relatable
  • There is so much to mine in a text like this which is literally about two people discovering each other
  • Interesting d├ęcor choices to reflect his sophistication, his travel; particularly taken with the windows suggesting a world beyond this room
  • Swing doors can be extremely fun on a set
  • Atmosphere: Used classical pre-show music to set the mood; intention was to set the tone of David and the illusion of the world he has created for himself; classical music brings particular contexts with them—other choices could have been heavier and busier music, or evening bird song, or nothing at all
  • The two actors demonstrated a familiarity with each other (as actors)
  • The first act is harder than the second act: the mystery that neither character knows what is going to come from the other person—how does what they say affect me?: always break down the text beat to beat
  • Lucy seemed to be the character who invited the audience in as the person through whom we access the play; this was not necessarily intentional by the director, David is egotistical and that works for him
  • David is a character who speaks and then thinks about what he had said; with characters like this, find ways to push past the point of propriety: there are wounds, injuries, bruises between these characters; as well as what will hover in their relationship after the play is over
  • The tone of irony that Lucy demonstrates: Is this always how she deals with him, or is it a new tactic she’s using for the first time?  If it’s not a new tactic, is David discovering (noticing) this for the first time?
  • When interpreting any text, look for “the ticking clock” that keeps the audience excited, on the edge of their seats
  • Alcohol, and its influence on characters, is a plot element that audiences will respond to: what does the text say about how they drink (e.g. Lucy can hold her alcohol); how do you show the journey of the alcohol’s increasing influence; what are the moments where tongues have been loosened because of the alcohol
  • Examine the impact of characters on each other: How do Lucy and David change each other throughout the play?
  • Physical moves—were they always moving on impulse? Sometimes the intention behind the movement didn’t always read, and how that physical space had changed because of the movement
  • Some lovely moments of staging—such as Lucy ending up in David’s chair for a climactic revelation
  • Production’s evolution since previous performance: a feeling that they found the truths more
  • David’s dance: pure communication of character through body language; when music came on, hips started moving right away
  • Actors finding the balance between “taking the moment” and feeling like they are long pauses, silences: the audience will fill those moments based on how we read what is going on between them
  • Challenge of play: two people having a conversations; finding “what makes it dangerous” in the conversation will be what keep the audience hooked in
  • Finding lovability in David: an unsympathetic character can be compelling; overtly lacks kindness on the surface; he is the walking wounded and has not dealt with his emotional truth
  • There are explosions of anger in Act 2—these are opportunities in a text to take the characters to the brink
  • When breaking down the beats: Why did you say that—think about if it’s coming from the belly? The head?
Maja also remarked on the audience’s festive atmosphere in the theatre—the audience didn’t want to be anywhere else but in there.

Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

Driftwood Theatre's "Shakespeare Fusion" workshop
Photo by Dahlia Katz
  • The SPARC Symposium – Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities – opens May 24.
  • Deadline to register for Driftwood Theatre’s “ShakespeareFusion” workshop with Jeremy Smith and Ahmed Moneka is May 25 (discount for Theatre Ontario members.)
  • Shadowpath Theatre’s “Into the Woods We Write” workshop for writers 14 to 18 is on May 26 in Richmond Hill.
  • Deadline for submissions for Nightwood Theatre’s “Write from the Hip” program for emerging women playwrights is May 31.
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, 22 May 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of May 22

ONstage Now Playing in Eastern Ontario
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Kanata Theatre
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In South Central Ontario

May 25, Calendar Girls at The Curtain Club (Richmond Hill) [with a preview on May 24]

In Southwestern Ontario

May 22, Across the Pond: The British Invasion at Port Stanley Festival Theatre
May 24, The Birds and the Bees at Drayton Entertainment: Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge [with previews from May 23]
May 24, Mythos: A Trilogy at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [in previews]
May 25, Stage Kiss at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews]
May 25, Grease at Theatre Woodstock
May 25, The House of Blue Leaves at Guelph Little Theatre
May 25, Too Many Cooks at Century Church Theatre (Hillsburgh)
May 26, Grand Hotel at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews]
May 26, Of Marriage and Men: A Comedy Double-Bill at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews]
May 27, The Magician's Nephew at Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) [currently in previews]

In Toronto

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Soulpepper Theatre
Alana Bridgewater
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
May 24, Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott at Soulpepper Theatre [currently in previews]
May 25, God of Carnage at East Side Players

In Central Ontario

May 25, Mary of Shanty Bay at Theatre By The Bay (Barrie) [with previews from May 23]

In Eastern Ontario

May 24, Sister Act at Studio Theatre Perth
May 25, 2 Pianos 4 Hands at Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque) [with a preview on May 24]

ICYMI: Check out last week’s openings

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

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Ottawa Little Theatre Awarded the Elsie for Outstanding Production at Festival 2018

Ottawa Little Theatre's production of
Dead Accounts by Theresa Rebeck
Congratulations to Ottawa Little Theatre, whose production of Dead Accounts by Theresa Rebeck was awarded the Elsie as Outstanding Production at Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 in London. They represented the Eastern Ontario Drama League. This is their first Elsie Award. Altogether, the production received six awards from adjudicator Maja Ardal.

Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble represented QUONTA (the northeastern Ontario community theatre association), presenting Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe, and received three awards. The production also received the award for Outstanding Coordinated Production, chosen by the Festival Stage Managers.

Elmira Theatre Company represented the Western Ontario Drama League, presenting On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster, and received two awards.

Toronto Irish Players represented the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario, presenting Little Gem by Elaine Murphy, and received two awards.

The annual Theatre Ontario Festival is a showcase of outstanding community theatre productions, a symposium for passionate, dedicated community theatre artists, a celebration of excellence in community theatre, and a destination bringing together theatre lovers from across the province.

Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 was hosted by London Community Players, in partnership with Theatre Ontario and the Western Ontario Drama League.

Read the full list of Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 Award Winners and Nominees on the Theatre Ontario website

Saturday, 19 May 2018

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Ottawa Little Theatre

Ottawa Little Theatre's production of Dead Accounts
Theatre Ontario Festival’s closing production is presented by last year’s host theatre, as Ottawa Little Theatre represent the Eastern Ontario Drama League with their production of Dead Accounts by Theresa Rebeck. This is OLT's first appearance at Theatre Ontario Festival since 2005.

Professional in style, traditional in tone, Ottawa Little Theatre (OLT) has been a vital part of Ottawa’s art community since 1913. Ottawa Little Theatre is a charitable not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization and is financially dependent upon ticket sales, donations and sponsors for its operation and maintenance. All directors, actors, artists, and technical assistants are volunteers—all work for the love of the theatre. Along with a history of the high quality of Ottawa Little Theatre’s productions, OLT is also a landmark leader in theatre education. For decades, students of theatre-craft, both young and old, have grown and thrived with the help of OLT’s affordable drama camps and workshops. With a legacy spanning over 100 years, Ottawa Little Theatre has also established itself as a vital part of the City of Ottawa’s cultural fabric. Today OLT maintains the tradition of presenting an inspiring and entertaining season of 9 live theatre productions each year.

When Jack makes a sudden return from Wall Street to his Midwest family home, his sister Lorna demands answers. Is he coming home or running away? What happened to the wife everyone hates? And where did he get all that money? This dark comedy by one of America’s leading contemporary writers (NYPD Blue, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Smash, and Mauritius) tackles the timeless issues of corporate greed, small town values, and whether or not your family will always welcome you back…with no questions asked.

At EODL’s Full-Length Play Festival for 2018, Ottawa Little Theatre won the Leslie M. Frost Award for Best Production, Best Actress in a Major Role (Venetia Lawless as Lorna), Outstanding Ensemble, and Set Design (Tom Pidgeon), with nominations for Best Director (Geoff Gruson), Best Actor in a Major Role (Phillip Merriman), Best Actress in a Major Role (Jane Morris), Acting Excellence (Jane Morris, Josh Sparks), Best Use of Speech (Jane Morris, Josh Sparks), Best Costuming, and Adjudicator’s Awards for backstage teamwork, “festival hero” (director Geoff Gruson), “the inseparables” (Phillip Merriman and Venetia Lawless).

Learn more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2018

Friday, 18 May 2018

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble

ELATE's production of Tempting Providence
The representative from QUONTA—the northeastern Ontario community theatre region—is making their Theatre Ontario Festival debut.  Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble (ELATE) represents the province’s north with their production of Tempting Providence by Robert Chafe.

Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble (ELATE) was formed in the late 1990s. The uranium mines in Elliot Lake were closing and to survive, the community was re-purposing itself as a retirement community. A group of young retirees brought new energy to the community; a group of seasoned locals were just waiting. Since then, ELATE has become a group of dedicated to presenting live theatre as a form of recreation and entertainment for the community. Participation in QUONTA has spurred the company to achieve even greater goals. ELATE operates in the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre which is maintained by the City of Elliot Lake as a cultural centre. We share a storage/rehearsal space with another group that presents lip-sync presentations and a group of printmakers. The centre has a comfortable 300-seat theatre having a 40-foot  stage. It regularly hosts travelling professional musicians and performers, and 2018 was the fourth time it has hosted the QUONTA Festival.

Tempting Providence tells the story of Nurse Myra Bennett. Myra came in the early 1920s to serve as district nurse for out port communities along the west coast of Newfoundland. She was hired for two years. When that was done, she married and stayed. For the next 40 years, she for the most part did the job for free. The community of Daniel’s Harbour holds Myra in high esteem. The Nurse Myra Bennett Foundation maintains her home as a museum. They continue to raise funds to support young people entering the medical profession and they commissioned this play, written by Robert Chafe. The play has toured Newfoundland and across Canada. It is performed regularly in nearby Cow’s Head as a tourist attraction. ELATE is proud to honour Myra and nurses like her who contribute so much to our communities.

At QUONTA Festival 2018 in Elliot Lake, ELATE won Outstanding Production, Outstanding Director (Murray Finn), Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role (Kim Arnold as Myra), Outstanding Technical Achievement (Doug Robinson for Lighting Design), and an Adjudicator’s Award for Outstanding Original Composition (Ponto Paparo), with nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role (Jim Graham as Angus), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Fran Perkins as Woman), Outstanding Supporting Actor (David Black as Man), and Outstanding Visual Presentation (Murray Finn for innovative staging).

Thursday, 17 May 2018

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Toronto Irish Players

Toronto Irish Players' production of Little Gem
For the fourth consecutive year, last year’s Festival Elsie Award winner for Outstanding Production returns as their region's representative. The Toronto Irish Players—who won last year’s Festival with their performance of Outside Mullingar—represents the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario (ACT-CO) with their production of Elaine Murphy’s Little Gem.

In 1975 a group or recent Irish immigrants presented a production of William Butler Yeats’ one-act Kathleen ni Houlihan at the Shannon Pavilion at Toronto International Caravan, with its talkative patrons and their hyperactive kids. The Toronto Irish Players was born. Lacking in polish but full of energy and love of Irish theatre, the early TIPsters presented classics by writers such as Sean O’Casey and John Millington Synge on a poorly-equipped high school stage. The repertoire quickly expanded. Theatre festivals like ACT-CO were discovered and enthusiastically supported. No more bare stage, the Alumnae Theatre has now been the TIP home for almost 20 years. And somewhere along the way, the polish emerged. TIP is a small group and still has its core group of Irish immigrants who are now surrounded by multi-generational Irish. Passports are not required and the original enthusiasm and love for the theatrical aspect of Irish culture has been embraced by both non-Irish actors and audience alike.

Toronto Irish Players are proud to bring Little Gem, the debut script from Dublin’s Elaine Murphy, to the 2018 Theatre Ontario Festival. Little Gem debuted at the 2008 Dublin Fringe Festival before winning “Best in Edinburgh” at the Edinburg Fringe in 2009. Loosely based on stories gleaned from the playwright’s time working at a women’s health organization, Little Gem tells the story of a year in the lives of three women of three generations in the same family. At times hilarious and at times poignant, Amber, Lorraine and Kay speak in a series of interwoven monologues revealing their lively north Dublin personalities and the cycle of challenges that they face. Like any other nineteen-year-old, the sassy, impetuous Amber loves to party but is not so big on communication, especially with Mum. Lorraine worries about her daughter’s silence, has changed the locks on the doors, and is anxious, very anxious. Salsa lessons seem to help. Grandmother Kay, “on the wrong side of sixty, not dead”, is concerned about her family and misses the intimacies which she can no longer share with her stroke-stricken husband. Amber, Lorraine and Kay meet their age appropriate situations with courage, humour, growing family strength and salty language.

At ACT-CO Festival 2017-2018, Toronto Irish Players won Best Presentation of a Comedy, Best Direction (Cliona Kenny), and Best Performance by a Female in a Leading Role (Billy Jean Shannon as Amber), with nominations for Best Stage Management (Kristin Chan), Best Performance by a Female in a Leading Role (both Rebecca De La Cour as Lorraine and Barbara Taylor as Kay), Best Lighting Design (Mary Jane Boon), Best Costume Design (Bernadette Hunt), and Best Sound Design (Dan Schaumann).

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Elmira Theatre Company

Elmira Theatre Company's production of On a First Name Basis
Elmira Theatre Company returns to Theatre Ontario Festival for the first time in 25 years—and bringing a play written by the same playwright as their last appearance at Theatre Ontario Festival.  This year they will be presenting On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster, representing the Western Ontario Drama League.

Elmira and Woolwich Theatre Company was founded in 1981 by a small group of local community members eager to bring the theatre experience to their town. In 2002, they changed their name to Elmira Theatre Company and have become well known in local theatre circles for their quality productions, especially comedies. In the earlier years, the company performed at local community halls until enough funds were raised to build their own theatre space in 2006. Today 109 members help to stage three performances annually, with a unique dinner theatre experience offered in the fall. Elmira is located in southwestern Ontario and members come from all over Waterloo Region, the County of Wellington and nearby towns and cities. The theatre is located at 76 Howard Avenue and has a seating capacity of 126. ETC has been an active member of Western Ontario Drama League since 1984. Over the years they have won numerous awards and have been nominated for many more at WODL Festivals. Their production of Norm Foster’s Opening Night was the winner of the Outstanding Festival Production award back in 1993.

In On a First Name Basis, David—a successful and wealthy spy novelist with writer’s block—has received some devastating news. Lucy, his dedicated housekeeper of twenty-eight years, has her own secret that she’s afraid to admit. As Lucy is getting ready to end her shift, David invites her to stay and have a drink. He realizes he knows nothing about his maid of twenty-eight years. She, on the other hand, knows absolutely everything about him. He is curious about the woman who’s been tending to his house all these years. But as the night sets in and the drinks start to flow, the revelations that reveal themselves are surprising, funny and extremely moving. Their journey is full of laughter and surprises. This is a love story and a social commentary wrapped up in witty dialogue and vivid imagery.

At WODL Festival 2018 in Sarnia, Elmira Theatre Company won the D. Park Jamieson Memorial Award for Best Production in Festival, and awards for Outstanding Direction (Rita Huschka), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Major Role (Deb Deckert as Lucy Hopperstaad), and a Special Adjudicator’s Award of Merit to the set design, construction, painting and dressing team for “the creation of a space that provide the warmth and security necessary for two people to become friends for an evening”, with nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Major Role (Gord Cameron as David Kilbride) and Outstanding Visual Production.  In the WODL In and Out of Festival Awards, they won Best Production of a Canadian Play.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Arts Council’s Indigenous Culture Fund (ICF) Project Grants for Individuals, Groups and Collectives and for Organizations is May 16.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Grow Grants is May 16.
  • Deadline for script submissions to Aspiring Canadian Writers’ “Musical Theatre Play, Act One Critique” is May 18.
  • Daniela Saioni’s “Am I Covered? The Art of Visual Storytelling for Film and TV” runs May 19 in Toronto.
  • The SPARC Symposium – Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities – opens May 24 in Cobalt.
  • Deadline to register for Driftwood Theatre’s “ShakespeareFusion” workshop with Jeremy Smith and Ahmed Moneka is May 25 (discount for Theatre Ontario members.)

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Buddies in Bad Times Theatre invites nominations for their Queer Emerging Artist Award, due 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, 14 May 2018

ONstage Openings for the week of May 14

ONstage Now Playing in Toronto
Crazy for You at Scarborough Music Theatre
(Performance added on May 15!)
This week’s openings on Ontario’s stages

In Eastern Ontario

May 15, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Kanata Theatre (Ottawa)
May 18, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Seaway Valley Theatre Company (Cornwall)

In Southwestern Ontario

May 15, The Comedy of Errors at Stratford Festival [in previews]
May 16, Theatre Ontario Festival 2018 hosted by London Community Players
May 16, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at actOUT! Kitchener-Waterloo Children’s Drama Workshop
May 18, Holiday Inn at Drayton Entertainment: Drayton Festival Theatre [with previews from May 16]

In Toronto

May 14, 17th Paprika Festival (Toronto)
May 14, Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott at Soulpepper Theatre [in previews]
May 16, La Bete at Soulpepper Theatre [in previews]
May 17, See How They Run at Stage Centre Productions
ONstage Now Playing in Central Ontario
The Birds and the Bees at Theatre Orangeville

In Central Ontario

May 14, The Stars Come Out at Theatre By The Bay (Barrie)


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

Friday, 11 May 2018

Ontario Off Stage

by Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager

Conversation Starters

After the Blackout ensemble
Photo by Elias Campbell

Behind the Scenes at Ontario’s Theatres


In Case You Missed It

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Congratulations to the Youth Theatre Training Program Spring 2018 Grant Recipients

We are excited to announce the latest recipients of training grants through Theatre Ontario’s Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP). We thank all those who applied to the program.

$25,250 was awarded in total among the following recipients:
  • Blyth Festival – Young Company: H.C. Kid
  • Brant Theatre Workshop (Brantford) – Creation Story
  • ExpressARTE (Toronto) – Young Theatre Creators Project
  • Maadookii Seniors Group (Wiaraton / Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) – Puppetry and Stagecraft Workshop
  • MABELLEarts (Toronto) – Youth Project: Broadachres Park
  • Odyssey Theatre (Ottawa) – Youth Theatre Apprenticeship Program
Over $61,000 was requested during this application round. The next application deadline for this program is October 15, 2018.


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

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Browsing Our Bulletin Board

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

Coming Up from Theatre Ontario

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

Upcoming on The Bulletin Board

  • Deadline for director proposals for the 19/20 season at Scarborough Theatre Guild is May 15.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Arts Council’s Indigenous Culture Fund (ICF) Project Grants for Individuals, Groups and Collectives and for Organizations is May 16.
  • Deadline to apply for Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Grow Grants is May 16.
  • Deadline for script submissions to Aspiring Canadian Writers’ “Musical Theatre Play, Act One Critique” is May 18.

New on The Bulletin Board

  • Driftwood Theatre is providing a “ShakespeareFusion” workshop with Jeremy Smith and Ahmed Moneka—a multilingual exploration of Shakespeare in performance. The course runs June 11 to 15, with registrations due by May 25, and with a discount for Theatre Ontario members.
  • Nightwood Theatre invites submissions from women playwrights who are emerging in their careers for the 2018/19 Write from the Hip 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, 8 May 2018

Join Us at Our Annual General Meeting

The Theatre Ontario 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held Saturday, May 19 at 11:30am at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, 1150 Wellington Road South, London, Ontario.

The meeting is open to all, but only members in good standing can vote on business before the meeting. Please RSVP for the meeting to admin@theatreontario.org or call 416.408.4556 x.14 so we can plan for appropriate numbers.

Meeting procedures, background materials necessary for voting members to make an informed decision about resolutions on the agenda, and meeting forms can be found on the Theatre Ontario website.