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Posts tagged ‘Andrew Gaboury’

NAKED LADIES: Critiques & Assumptions, Post-Show Conversations, and How It Doesn’t Get Easier – In Conversation with writer/performer Thea Fitz-James

by Bailey Green

Thea Fitz-James came into contact with naked art in university when she read Rebecca Schneider’s The Explicit Body in Performance. She created an explicit body piece and performed it for her class. When Fitz-James told her mother (over the phone, drunkenly, in Halifax, on Valentine’s Day) that she was doing this kind of art. Her mother without missing a beat said that women take their clothes off to forget about their fathers. “That assumption really stuck with me, this daddy issues assumption,” says Fitz-James. “That all women who choose to get naked are somehow doing it for an absent male in the room. So Naked Ladies is a combination of personal and academic.”

“The people who are mean to naked ladies are afraid for them,” Fitz-James says. “In the show, I talk about my mother and her criticisms [of Naked Ladies] which are totally valid and come from love. We’re in a really good place now.”

NakedLadies- 5

Naked Ladies began in December of 2014 as a 30 minute piece, part of a double bill at hub14 with theatre creator Andrew Gaboury who performed his piece totem. When Fitz-James was accepted to the 2015 Edmonton Fringe, she reached out to director Zoë Erwin-Longstaff who was immediately on board with the project. “We spent a lot of time tearing the script apart and writing new stuff, and though it is my writing, the development process was very collaborative,” Fitz-James says.

Naked Ladies has travelled to Edmonton Fringe, Cucalorus Film Festival, Adelaide Fringe and most recently to the Montreal Fringe this past June. When asked about the differences between each experience Fitz-James says, “Edmonton was very raw… there was a fresh-off-the-press kind of energy. In Adelaide I had to work harder to find my audience. It’s not just come see Naked Ladies, it’s come see my feminist solo show where I challenge your concepts about the way we imagine women.”

Naked Ladies 2 (1)

In Montreal, Fitz-James got to bring her piece home. “Naked Ladies is about the systematic abuse of women, it’s about the way we treat naked ladies — either putting them on pedestals and calling them goddesses or throwing them on the ground and calling them whores,” Fitz-James says. “So what was magical about being in Montreal was that was the site of so many of my young female abuses, things that I am now comfortable to call sexual assaults. And Montreal really picked up what I was putting down in a way no other Fringe has.”


After a year of shows, getting naked in front of an audience hasn’t gotten easier, Fitz-James says, it has gotten harder. “There’s assumptions about this show — that it’s sexy, that it’s therapy on stage, that’s it’s some sort of personal healing for me. That somehow it is easy to do this because I am a pretty white female,” Fitz-James says. “I address some of that in the show, that I’m white, and how this show would be an entirely different show if I was a black woman. But I’m not going to tell that show because it isn’t mine to tell. I would absolutely support that show. I would dramaturge it for free.”

Fitz-James emphasizes that though the show is about women it is important for men to bear witness as well, “If you’re worried about being that creepy guy who comes to see my show, don’t be! It’s very accessible.” Naked Ladies can be for anyone who has felt outside of their own body.

Production Image 3

It is the visceral response from audiences that has been the greatest gift for Fitz-James and it is what inspires her to continue performing the piece. “The way the play lives on has been in conversations with women, and men, after the show,” Fitz-James says. “And it isn’t always men, but it is mostly men who want to give me their comments, criticisms, change me, curate me […] I had a man tell me my pubic hair was an easy way out because it hides my labia. My experience is certainly not isolated, I think it is just heightened. I think any woman doing a solo female show experiences men trying to direct them. It’s heightened when you’re naked because all of those questions of representations are already there.”

SummerWorks may be the last bash for Naked Ladies, so you don’t want to miss it!


Directed by Zoë Erwin-Longstaff; Written and Performed by Thea Fitz-James; Projection and Lighting design by Remington North; Outside Eye by Arlen Aguayo Stewart; Stage Managed by Stephanie Taylor.

A layered history of naked female bodies in performance, NAKED LADIES asks tough questions around the nature of the female body and tries to understand its contested position between stigma and celebration. It brings together personal anecdotes – both traumatic and silly – alongside art history, feminist theory, and performance art, as the performer attempts a queer reckoning the/her own body. Between the naked and the nude, between forgetting fathers and remembering mothers, past sexual stigma and personal secrets, NAKED LADIES asks why women get naked on stage. Why, where, and for whom?

“This is a bold and brilliant one-woman show — filled with more questions than answers” ★★★★★ -Edmonton Journal

“Porn, porn porn porn, men want to f you, or any person they see naked, or did you miss that class in grade ten biology?” – Doreen Savoie, concerned citizen

“Maybe that’s what you are trying to do: reach through shame to seek worthiness? belonging? love? But why can’t you do one show that I can see?” – Thea’s mom

Curator’s Note
“Nekked. Oh yeah.
Bodies. They’ve been around all this time and we still don’t know what to do with them. Why do they still trouble us? Why do they still mean so much, and in so many ways! Smart. Honest. And funny.” – Guillermo Verdecchia

The Drake Underground
1150 Queen Street West

Thursday August 4th 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Friday August 5th 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Sunday August 7th 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM
Monday August 8th 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Thursday August 11th 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM
Friday August 12th 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

More Show Info:


web –
twitter – @theafitz


2014 Fringe Preview – Love’s Labour’s Lost – Shakespeare BASH’d

Interview by Bailey Green

As I entered the rehearsal hall for Love’s Labour’s Lost (presented by Shakespeare BASH’d) I was struck by the amount of people in the room. With no role double cast, the cast of 16 generated such an exuberant atmosphere that I couldn’t believe they had just finished a run. Their attitude as an ensemble reflected the youthful energy of the play.

In Love’s Labour’s Lost, the King of Navarre and his three men swear an oath to remain celibate so that they can focus on academic pursuits. Unfortunately the day after the men swear this oath, the Princess of France and her three ladies—a group of fierce, grounded, intelligent women—arrive on a political mission. Passion, poetry and chaos ensue. I sat down with the four—that’s right, four—pairs of lovers to chat about their character’s relationships, their own quirks and the upcoming Fringe production.

Love's Labour's Lost - Hallie Seline & Jesse Nerenburg - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Hallie Seline & Jesse Nerenberg – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Princess of France (Hallie Seline) and the King of Navarre (Jesse Nerenberg)

Hallie’s Pet Peeve: Slow walkers.
Jesse’s Fave Rehearsal Snack: The vietnamese steamed buns from Banh Mi Boyz
Post-Show Drink of Choice: “Wine wine wine” (Hallie), Hawaiian Pale Ale (Jesse).
Describe your characters’ relationship:
Hallie: We’re both people in power. We like to outwit each other, top each other. We don’t want to admit that we’re into each other but we are. We totally are.
Jesse: We’re both the leaders of our kingdoms so that definitely plays a part. But why I’m attracted to her is because she’s not afraid to push back. I don’t see her for many pages after the first meeting, but when I do, I am really in love with her. I’ve written all of these poems about her. Once you’re in, you’re in.

Love's Labour's Lost - Suzette McCanny and Jeff Hanson - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Suzette McCanny and Jeff Hanson – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Rosaline (Suzette McCanny) and Berowne (Jeff Hanson)

Suzette’s Pet Peeve: Bus windshield wipers.
Jeff’s Favourite Rehearsal Snack: Chocolate chip cookies.
Post show drink of choice: Apricot beer (Suzette), “Any drink anyone will buy for me” (Jeff)
Describe your character’s relationship:
Suzette: They have such a love/hate relationship, as in they love to get the best of one another. Rosaline would like to pretend she doesn’t love him or that she’s better than that. But she’s very intrigued by his wit. She thinks he’s smart and he can hold his own next to her. She also sees his cons and can be open about that. She can be herself with him.
Jeff: They had met before at the same party [as Longaville and Maria] and for Berowne he doubts the oath the men all swear to right from the beginning. He doesn’t really think it is going to work. Berowne’s always had control over his emotions and has never fallen madly in love. When they first meet, what Rosaline says to him, how she uses her wit and beats him at his own game, it really intrigues him. He doesn’t really get it, being in love, he’s taken aback. He almost goes through the seven stages of grief, but more like the seven stages of love. He doesn’t understand why but he does truly love her.

Love's Labour's Lost - Catherine Rainville & Joshua Browne - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Catherine Rainville & Joshua Browne – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Katherine (Catherine Rainville) and Dumaine (Joshua Browne)

Catherine’s Pet Peeve: People chatting in the background while she’s rehearsing a scene
Josh’s Rehearsal Snack: Cigarettes. If he could eat ’em, he would.
Post show drink of choice: A glass of Scotch (both).
Describe your character’s relationship:
Catherine: It’s so instantaneous for everyone, but Dumaine and Katherine have moments of looking at each other and trying to figure each other out. It’s really playful. I get to be aggressive which is fun. We all tease the boys, which for Katherine is her way of playing hard to get. But she’s so obvious when she’s around him.
Joshua: We don’t have a lot of text together, or any really. But we have built this aspect of Katherine being the aggressor. I catch her checking me out at the beginning and I’m a bit more timid. I’m sort of shocked she likes me. Similarly [to the Princess and the King] we have many pages where we don’t see each other at all yet I’m madly in love and have written horrible poetry about her. She’s also pretty sassy. I like that.


Love’s Labour’s Lost – Andrew Gaboury & Sheelagh Darling – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Maria (Sheelagh Darling) and Longaville (Andrew Gaboury)

Sheelagh’s Pet Peeve: People who stand really close to you for no reason. Also, toe shoes.
Andrew’s Favourite Rehearsal Snack: Nuts, specifically almonds.
Post show drink of choice: Oatmeal Stout (Andrew), St. Ambroise Apricot Beer (Sheelagh)
Describe your character’s relationship:
Sheelagh: We really like each other right from the beginning. There’s no qualms, we know we’re going to get together. I play along with the Princess but whenever Longaville’s around I’m just making googly eyes and waving. Even when the rest of the girls are berating and chiding the boys, I’m just still waving at Longaville.
Andrew: We kind of met before, it seems we were at the same party. I’m the most serious in terms of the oath the men swear [to stay away from women]. And then I see Maria and I throw it all away. It’s funny watching how I try to logically get around the oath in my poetry.

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Bailey: What makes this production stand out? What will an audience member experience coming to see your show at the Fringe?

Jesse (King): Love’s Labour’s Lost is a very youthful play, it’s one of Shakespeare’s earlier work and it has a rhyming structure which is really unique. The women hold their own. And it’s not a play that is done very often. People are going to be coming out to see a show where they can have a beer and experience a classic that they may have never seen on stage before.

Josh (Dumaine): It’s zany. The men are writing really bad poetry and dressing up as “Russians”. The show is going to be fast, snappy, fun and silly, but it also has vulnerable moments. It’s really relatable.

Hallie (Princess): James [Wallis], our director, said at the beginning that the best way into this story is through yourself. These characters come alive through the energy of the people doing them. And in this cast you have a bunch of really interesting, funny, weird and smart people who come out through the words of these characters. That’s what makes it fun. I hope that will stand out to our audiences.

Suzette (Rosaline): The characters play the whole time! Let’s play this game, let’s play that game. Whenever I see a BASH’d show I feel like I’m part of the team as an audience member, that I’m part of how the story unfolds. Each time we run the show there’s new surprises. And it’s so refreshing to be in a play where my character doesn’t have to be a lost puppy who only cares about being in love. It’s a love story, for sure, but there’s an edge. My goal in life is not just “to be loved by another person.” I still feel that’s very rare.

Jeff (Berowne): People will get a sense of [director] James’ respect for the text, but there’s also a joy and a sense of ensemble and the fun that this rehearsal room has been that I feel will be evident for anyone watching. The audience hopefully should go through the journey with us.

Andrew (Longaville): There’s a real sense of great respect for the text, but also using it as a blueprint. There’s a balance of not bulldozing the words, but really using them and at the same time using yourself in the text.

Hallie (Princess): All pomp is taken out of it with a BASH’d show. It has that “Fringe” energy. You go to the Victory Cafe just a step away from the tents and everything that’s going on in the Mirvish alley. You can sit down and have a beer and listen to a classic tale that is so clear and fresh and fun and full of energy. It’s enjoyable, which is sometimes exactly how you want to spend your time. There’s also wonderful dance that happens that I cannot WAIT for each audience to experience.

Bailey: Well I for one can’t wait for the dance number.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

by William Shakespeare, presented by Shakespeare BASH’d

Love's Labour's Lost - Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Directed by James Wallis

Where? The Victory Cafe, 581 Markham St.
When? Thursday, July 3 @7:00pm
Friday, July 4 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, July 5 @9:00pm
Sunday, July 6 @5:00pm
Tuesday, July 8 @7:00pm
Thursday, July 10 @7:00pm
Friday July, 11 @7:00pm
Saturday, July 12 @7:00pm
Sunday, July 13 @5:00pm
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased via the Toronto Fringe website:


Follow this wild bunch on Twitter:

Shakespeare Bash’d@ShakesBASHd
Hallie Seline (Princess) – @HallieSeline
Joshua Browne@joshu_ashua
Andrew Gaboury (Longaville) – @afieldofcrowns
Jeff Hanson (Berowne) – @The_Hanman
Suzette McCanny (Rosaline) – @suzettemccanny

In the Greenroom Writer Bailey Green: @_baileygreen

** Want In the Greenroom to catch your Fringe show or have an interesting idea for an interview? Email us at! **

Theatre Caravel presents Sea Change – An Event to Gather the Community and Celebrate Work in Development Over the Baked Goods Table

Interview by: Hallie Seline

I sat down with Eric Double and Julia Nish-Lapidus of Theatre Caravel to discuss their upcoming 15th edition of Sea Change: a night of new performance going on this Saturday October 12th. We talked about community in the arts, the draw of baked goods and audience participation and the importance of providing a relaxed venue for artists to present and develop their work and for audiences to witness and interact with the work in development of local artist.

HS: Let’s begin with you telling me a little bit about Sea Change.

ED: Sure! Well Sea Change, a night of new performance is the event that we, Theatre Caravel, run as part of our company initiatives. It’s a quarterly event where we invite artists of all different types, be it visual artist, musicians, poets, playwrights, mask performers, clowns etcetera, we’ve had it all, and we invite them to show fifteen minutes of new work that they are working on in front of a pretty diverse audience, to sort of inspire the artists to continue working on their pieces and giving the audience a chance to see work in development in a very supportive, creativity conducive environment.

JNL: It’s also about the meeting of all of the different artistic mediums. The whole idea behind Sea Change was that we didn’t want to be a theatre company just for theatre people. We love music and visual art and all of these different mediums, so we thought why don’t we invite these amazing people we know who are doing other artistic things to come be part of our theatre company through this event with the hope that connections would be made between the musician and the spoken word artist and so on. We’ve actually had a lot of Sea Change performers meet at the event and hook up to do shows together afterwards, inspired to mix their two mediums. That was one of the ideas behind the event – to say it’s not about the theatre community only, it can be about the artistic community as a whole.

HS: So would you say that was your main inspiration – to create this sort of artistic event in the city which people can feel part of?

ED: Well, yeah! It actually stemmed from this idea that was inspired by Julia’s parents, who had been going to these events called House Concerts. We thought it was a really novel idea that local musicians like the Wainwrights would put on these tiny concerts for maybe maximum fifty people in someone’s house, in a relatively laid-back performance.

JNL: They were my parents’ neighbours who were doing these concerts for maybe thirty-five to fifty people. They would get really great musicians and put on a show in their house. They would do it maybe six times a year and it would completely sell out! It started off with just their friends but then their friends would tell people and so on and by the time my parents moved in next door, they had to buy their whole year’s subscription to these House Concerts in advance because it would sell out like crazy. People just loved being there. They would serve food and it had a super relaxed vibe while providing this amazing musical experience.
So originally Sea Change was supposed to take place in one of our houses… that was the plan! (They both laugh). Then we just realized that we didn’t have houses that could fit all of the performers and more than fifty people at once.

ED: The idea was to incorporate the laid back spirit of these events, because up until that point, I don’t think I had ever been to anything that wasn’t just theatre focused and was really that relaxed, basically. I think we were kind of hungry to explore our inspirations behind our own artistic practice, and hopefully do that for other people too.

Nicole Ratjen as Princess Penelope

Nicole Ratjen as Princess Penelope

JNL: And supplying free food was a big part of it for us. As much as that seems like an afterthought of ‘Oh yeah, there are free baked goods’, for us that was also a big part of creating the community feel at Sea Change of really bringing everyone together on multiple levels. Though we couldn’t do it in a home, our focus was still on making it feel ‘home-y’.

HS: Of course! Well, people connect and come together over food, art, music…

JNL: Exactly! Well I bake, my mom bakes, and this woman who was best friends with my grandmother, who is pretty much like a grandmother figure to me, she bakes too! It’s like family baking for everyone at Sea Change, which I think makes it a little more special. And people always enjoy being able to go over and talk to the little old lady who baked those brownies that they love.

ED: Yeah, I baked once…

HS: Oh? And how did that go?

ED: Really good, actually! It was from a box. It was our birthday cake but still, I baked it. It’s as far as my baking contributions have gone though so far.

HS: So how long have you been doing this event? Was it 2009 when you had your first Sea Change?

ED: We launched in May of 2009 and the one coming up on October 12th will be our fifteenth!

HS: Wow! How have you seen Sea Change develop over these four years?

ED: Well, I mean you get better at running an event after you’ve done it for a couple of years, so that’s kind of nice. We’ve gone from having three-hour meetings about it to planning it over text messages sometimes… (they both laugh). It’s kind of nice that it’s taken on a life of its own. I think how we’ve seen it develop is that, as Julia was mentioning the community aspect of it, we’ve not only seen performers come back to be part of our audience but performers have come back, and we often invite them to come back when they have a different medium they want to work in. One notable example is our friend Shawn (Jurek), who’s going to be performing at this next one. He originally started as this backing musician for one of our other artists who came to perform…

JNL: He did that twice.

ED: Yeah! And then he said, “You know, I also do photography. Can I put up some photos at the next one?” And we were like “Of course!” And now he’s going to be performing his own music! He, like many of us including Julia and myself, are a little more multidisciplinary, as I think you kind of are in the theatre community just naturally. If you’re producing your own work you’re going to be doing more than just acting or producing. Many of these artists do this, as well. We’ve seen more and more artists come back in different ways and collaborate with one another as well. So yeah, I guess it’s really grown into this community of collaborative artists and invested audience members over the past four years.

Adam Paolozza performing The Double

Adam Paolozza performing The Double

JNL: We have a lot of regulars who we just know will show up every time who have been there from the beginning and it’s been interesting to see new people come on and in turn become regulars as well. Most of our performers tend to, if they are new to us, after performing once, chances are we’ll see them at another one as at least an audience member. Because of this, our audience has grown even through just having new performers. I mean each performer usually brings their own audience and we’ve seen through this that people come back again and again because it’s just a great experience. It’s just very cool to see that audience base develop in such a contagious way.

Most of our audience are not, actually, theatre people too! They vary in age… really a whole gamut of ages. We get people who are, for the most part, interested in the arts in general. They go to theatre and to concerts and then they find Sea Change and think this is something where they can kind of see it all and feel like they are even a part of it. I’ve had a lot of people who are not in the arts say that this makes them feel like they are a part of the community versus going somewhere else where they are just sitting in the audience and feeling more like a separate spectator. It’s developed that way in which the community is building, not just with performers, but everyone in that room becomes a part of the event.

HS: To what level is Sea Change participatory or is it just by the nature of how it is, the audience feels part of the event?

JNL: We’ll we encourage audience involvement and it also just sort of happened that our performers started getting the audience involved in their work. We have a lot of musicians who do call and response stuff with the audience and people always come to us timidly saying, you know “I was thinking of doing this thing and it would involve having the audience do something with me?” and we’re always like, “Yes!” This is the type of audience that feeds off of that type of thing. They are going to get involved and we love it! We had a performance once of a play reading and she needed people to throw ping pong balls as pellets of ice getting thrown at the actors throughout their scene, and the audience loved it to the point where people would hold on to balls and throw them at performers later on during the night because they thought it would be fun. We’ve had times where a musician needs to re-tune during the set and one time someone started telling a joke and when they still weren’t done tuning one of the audience members stood up and shared one of their jokes and now it’s a thing that sometimes happens throughout the event. It’s an opportunity where the audience gets to participate and talk to the performers and everyone gets to share a little something. It’s great watching aspects like that develop.

Rob Faust of Faustwork Mask Theatre

Rob Faust of Faustwork Mask Theatre

ED: I think that’s also partly because of the venue that we do it in, which is called CineCycle (behind 129 Spadina Ave.). It’s a bike shop that is converted at night into some sort of performance venue, often times for film screenings. If you go there during the day you would never believe it’s actually a venue. It’s a bike shop and there’s just bike stuff everywhere, but then Martin, the guy who runs it carts all of the stuff out and transforms it into a performance space by night. I think when people come into the venue for the first time they are a little taken aback at how personal it feels. It’s not like a traditional venue. It has a lot of character to it, so immediately when you’re sitting there and you’re watching a performance piece going on in an unusual setting, it kind of breaks down a barrier. The audience is kind of on top of the performers in a way that there really is very little fourth wall. This allows those barriers to break down, causing the event to be a little more immersive.

JNL: Going off that, my mom is selling the tickets at the front, so she’s the first one who’s going to greet you as she’s sitting there, proud and excited about the event. It’s very cute. We’re also walking around saying hi to everyone, the performers don’t hide backstage, they have seats in the audience and watch the rest of the show until they get up and do their thing. And there is always a crowd of people hanging around the baked goods table just chatting and meeting new people. The energy is meant to be very warm and welcoming. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on that.

We’ve also kept it at a seven-dollar price point if you book in advance and ten dollars at the door for the past four years, with no intention of making it higher and I think that goes into the idea of community. We’re not trying to make money off of this event. We cover the costs to have the event because having it and providing that space for everyone is the most important part of it all. We don’t want it to be the kind of thing that anyone has to think twice to come to. We hope that seven dollars makes the event accessible enough and the goal is to make the whole thing as easy to be a part of for anyone and everyone.

ED: Yeah, I’ve had lots of friends say that we could make it more expensive, partly as a compliment because they thought that the value was worth it and the product was worth it, which was nice to hear but again, as Julia was saying, it goes into our mandate of how we run Theatre Caravel as a company. It holds the same sort of ideals that we like to run our show with. One: they’re about community, Two: they’re also about new work and taking risks, Three: they’re about kind of expanding your horizons, I guess you could say, in the collaboration with artists, working in a multi-disciplinary format, etcetera. So the seven dollar thing kind of plays into that as well,

JNL: It’s just fun having people come up to me and try to pay for the baked goods and I tell them not to, that it’s all part of it. For seven dollars, it’s all of the performances, the whole evening and all of the food there. Half the time the night ends with me sending someone home with a whole cake or batch of left over cookies.

HS: Putting on an event like this for four years, you clearly have seen some merit in providing this kind of event for the Toronto arts community. Why do you think events like this, where you say the venue feels a little more personal and people feel a part of both the event and its development, are so important to provide for the arts community?

ED: That’s a great question and I mean I’ve seen other events crop up around the same time that we started doing this, like Crapshoot with Theatre Passe Muraille, which I think is pretty notable for providing an event for many artists who are starting their pieces, and I think that these events have this sort of laid-back atmosphere which I think has a lot to do with their success. In terms of why that’s important to the theatre scene, I think it’s partly because in our generation of theatre creators there’s a lot of us, basically, who want to have a voice and there aren’t enough avenues for us to get it out there in, maybe, the traditional sense. These kind of low-key events give an opportunity for artists just to try something out. It’s an opportunity to fail and succeed on their own dime, sort of thing.
I think Sea Change has been successful, partly, because the artists feel comfortable just putting themselves out there. That’s why it’s so endearing, that’s why the audience gets on board so easily, because these artists are doing it for the love of doing it, not because there’s any type of pressure on them to either get a job or to meet a certain expectation. People just want to see the performers do really interesting work and take risks. I think that this format is popular because people, audience members and artists alike, want to feel like they are part of a community that supports them.

Chelsea Manders performs her brand of Music Comedy

Chelsea Manders performs her brand of Music Comedy

JNL: And I think it’s important from the audience perspective too in that it kind of makes the whole arts world more accessible to everyone. It lets everyone be a part of a special little event where new theatrical work is being created and it’s an opportunity to invite anyone and everyone to come and be a part of its creation. Haley McGee (Toronto-based playwright/performer – Oh My Irma) has workshopped sections from a couple of her plays at Sea Change. I’ve had a lot of people say to me, “I saw it at another place and it was so great because I had seen it in earlier stages here at Sea Change before. I remember being a part of it and talking to her about the piece and answering questions she had about it while she was still writing”. I think that kind of accessibility to new local work is important to the audience and their investment in the arts community and it’s important to the artist to be able to show their work at these stages to an audience that they don’t completely personally know. It’s a real integration of audience and performer, I think, which is really crucial to developing continued support and attendance of the arts outside of events like these in the city.

HS: What do you hope for the future of Sea Change?

ED: Well, that’s a great question and one we’ve been talking about a lot now that we’ve done four years of Sea Change successfully. We’ve talked about a few different things… I mean ideally having something like a residence program would be really nice to have – Sea Change, not necessarily on a larger scale, but maybe over a longer term. We’ve been looking into potential grants for artists and maybe even multidisciplinary collaboration between artists, which seems to be happening a lot more these days, to create more of a long-term opportunity and have Sea Change be a place where they can show what they’ve been working on.
I’ve also thought about doing a young company of sorts, starting from the ground up, having them either just be there or workshop some stuff. So yeah, there are a couple ideas on the table right now for the future of Sea Change.

JNL: We’ve talked about wanting to do kind of a larger scale festival sort of event, either running a longer period over an entire day or the course of a whole weekend, bringing in a lot of both past performers and new performers. I feel like that might be an anniversary celebration sometime. Our anniversaries keep sneaking up on us so we keep missing it, but it’d be great to do just a really big Sea ChangeSea Change on steroids! We also want t-shirts! We have buttons and magnets so I feel like t-shirts are the next step up.

Dennis Hayes Reads Poetry

Dennis Hayes Reads Poetry

ED: Yeah, we’ve had over a hundred twenty performers now so there’s a pretty good well to draw from to welcome a lot of people back. We’ve had quite a few returning performers throughout these years and they seem to really love returning. I mean one of our performers is coming back from Zurich, moving back two days before Sea Change, and she already has her tickets! It’d be great to get all of these people back in a room together to sort of celebrate this community, which has sprung up around it, thankfully. I mean we were never sure if it would catch on and people seem to really love it! I think it may have something to do with the baked goods… (laughs). It’s all about the brownies!

HS: It’s always about the brownies. Tell me a bit about what you have planned for your upcoming Sea Change.

ED: Well our Sea Change coming up is jam-packed, as always! We have a playwright named Claire Acott, who has done a Toronto Fringe show in the past and is currently working on a new show, so she’ll be doing a part of that. We also have another Fringe veteran, Laura Anne Harris, who instead of doing a one-person show, she’s going to be trying out a four hander for the first time. Again, one of our greatest joys is watching artists try out new things. We have Shawn Jurek who is our musician. He’ll be doing a lovely acoustic set. Then we also have a new sort of music/theatre piece with Andrew Gaboury, who’s a playwright and has also done stuff with us in the past, and a couple of his fellow artists (Kira Hall and Rob Schuyler) who are making a new music/theatre play. Not a musical, per say, but the mix of music and theatre into a new piece. Then we have one of our, I like to call them, our Sea Change stars, like our greatest hits, an artist coming back named Teodoro Dragonieri and he’ll be showing some of his world-class visual art. I’m not kidding… it is incredible work! It belongs in a museum… or somebody’s house if you want to buy it, you can at Sea Change! So we are really lucky to have his work, and the work of the rest of these artists, which will make for another jam-packed night.

JNL: I was also thinking of looking up new cookie recipes… I’m thinking chocolate but I’m still undecided.

HS: I was going to ask, what’s new on the baking front but I guess they’ll just have to go to find out!

ED: Exactly! Well, thanks so much and we look forward to seeing you all around the baked goods table on Saturday.

Theatre Caravel presents Sea Change: a night of new performance.

What: 15th edition of Sea Change: a night of new performance. Brilliant new performers, and a couple favourite past performers, all trying out some incredible new work you won’t see anywhere else. Come to see new work, stay to chat with the artists, and then stay later to finish off the complimentary baked goods!


Claire Acott – Playwright
Andrew Gaboury, Kira Hall and Rob Schuyler
- New Music Theatre
Laura Anne Harris
- Playwright
Shawn Jurek
- Musician
Teodoro Dragonieri
- Visual Art

When: Saturday October 12th, 2013

Doors – 7:30pm, Show – 8pm

Where: CineCycle (behind 129 Spadina Avenue)

Tickets: Admission is ONLY $7 but seating is limited and spaces fill up quickly, so RESERVE YOUR TICKETS NOW by e-mailing For more info check out the Sea Change page on Theare Caravel’s website: