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Posts tagged ‘The Storefront Theatre’

“The Actor’s Process, the Future of The Storefront & Working with Canadian Theatre Legends on George F. Walker’s THE CHANCE” In Conversation with Claire Burns

Interview by Brittany Kay

I got to sit down with one of Indie theatre’s fiercest ladies, Claire Burns, and chat about her role in George F. Walker’s The Chance on stage now at The Assembly Theatre. We spoke about working with Canadian theatre legends, her processes on and off the stage, and the future of The Storefront Theatre.

Brittany Kay: What has been your journey to where you are now?

Claire Burns: I had a really good teacher in Elementary school who did big musicals so I got involved at the early age of ten. One of my first roles was Fagin in Oliver!, pretty mature role for a ten-year-old. I then did musicals all through high school. From there, I went to UofT and got my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History, but at the same time I was in the UC Follies. That drama club led me to projects at Hart House with people I still know and work with. And then I went to George Brown for classical theatre training.

BK: You caught the acting bug?

CB: I started to get really jealous of all my friends who were in theatre. I had to give it a go or else I was going to live with regrets. No regrets, right? After George Brown, I’ve just been working. I did a couple professional gigs at the Blyth Festival and the Grand Theatre. Since then I’ve been playwriting and acting in a lot of independent stuff, including projects at The Storefront, which I was running for the last three years. In the last year and a half/two years I’ve gotten more into directing.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

BK: How did you get involved in this show?

CB: I met Anne van​ ​Leeuwen, who is the head producer for Leroy Street Theatre and the Artistic Director of The Assembly Theatre, through the Indie scene with the shows she did at Unit 102 and at The Storefront. She’s a wonderful person and I totally support everything they’re doing with The Assembly Theatre.

George F. Walker and Wes Berger (our director) work together a lot. George wrote this new play and wanted Wes to direct it. Wes contacts Anne to be in the show and she asks who’s producing it. He said “I dunno” so she’s like “I will!” The other casting happened. Wes and I worked on a project together called The River You Step In, which is an independent film that will be coming out later this year with Astrid Van Wieren and Wes asked me to audition for this show from that.

BK: Can you tell me a little bit about the show and the character you play?

CB: My character’s name is Jo and my mother Marcy, played by Fiona Reid, are down on our luck. Marcy owes a lot of money and I’m potentially going to jail. She finds a cheque for $300,000 made out to cash in our couch left there by a guy I slept with. Comedy ensues. What could we possibly do with this cheque? Opportunity-comes-knocking type of thing.

It’s a very well written play. My character has a lot of angst. She’s living with her mom. She lost custody of her daughter, who’s six because she has a drug problem. She’s a bit quick to anger, but her mom is insane. It’s a very cool role. Deep but fun.

BK: Why this story right now?

CB: I think it’s really relevant that it’s in Parkdale, with all the MetCap buildings and the rental control issues. People are getting kicked out of their spaces because they can’t afford basic living expenses because of minimum wage. I think it’s very current. This play is part of a larger series that George has written that takes places in one of those apartments (if you think of the apartments on Jameson). The fact that it’s about that demographic and being done in a storefront space that is within that neighborhood, I just think that there are so many levels of relevancy.

BK: What draws you to the play?

CB: I love that it is only three women on stage.

BK: YAS!

Photo Credit: John Gundy

CB: You just don’t see that kind of representation on stage very often. What drew me to it was the comedy of it, the quick turns of the script, the fact that it’s George F. Walker! I was just like oh my god. The fact that I studied him in theatre school and now I’m meeting him and I get to ask him questions about acting. I think it’s been an amazing process to be working with Fiona Reid, as well.

BK: What is it like working with those legends of Canadian theatre?

CB: George has written such a fast-paced script and I love the way he works because sometimes I’ll improv or I’ll paraphrase my lines, (which I’m not proud of because I was taught to in fact learn them) but sometimes with lines it just comes out of my mouth better, you know? Because it’s so contemporary, he’s not precious about his script. He’s like, “No, no if that feels better, change that.” It’s a really live rehearsal process. He likes when we add things in. He’s got such funny, great ideas. That’s been awesome.

I really like Wes. I really like working with Wes. Wes always says it’s like jazz. We know it really well, but then we get within it, we can kind of play little notes within the play. I really like that too, because as an actor, I never like to do everything the exact same way every night. There are always little nuances. Each night can feel different. He gives us the permission to walk on that tightrope and just really commit to the moment, the moment, the moment. The play is also in real-time, which is really fun.

Fiona Reid is a goddess. She is generous. She is so kind and welcoming and humble and talented. She really asked questions about the script that I think I would have been embarrassed to say. I would have not asked because I would’ve felt like I was holding up the process or maybe I should have figured that out in my homework. Having her in the room really empowered me. We were able to figure out details and plot specifics together. I like to work that way.

We can build the moments together and took the time to do so. She’s fantastic and so specific. She’s really fun in the dressing room. She knows how to dance!

BK: Why do Indie audiences need a voice like George F. Walker’s?

CB: I don’t think George is writing his plays for the upper middle class. I think he’s really writing plays that speak to a more economically disadvantaged audience. Indie is that. It doesn’t have the same kind of restraints. I think it’s great that Indie theatre can have such an established playwright play to their crowds. I hope Indie audiences come out to this play. It’s hard not to think about the producing side of things while being in a show too.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

BK: Which leads to my next question…you wear so many different hats all of the time. How do you juggle and stay sane?

CB: I don’t know… I tend to work on projects when people ask me. As it turns out, a lot of those projects end up being generated by me and by the people who I’ve worked with at Storefront and collaborators that I know. How do I stay sane? I stopped drinking, which is really helpful for me. It allowed me to understand that sleep is really important.

I still party and stay up late, but sleep and regular sleep has kept me saner. It’s interesting that you ask about staying sane. Running Storefront was always, always on the go and now that we don’t have a space, I’m able to breathe a bit more. I’ve had time to write. I’ve gone through some recent life things that have also been able to propel me to write more. With acting, friends will ask. Directing wise, I’m trying to figure out how to climb the ladder of that career. Producing is another bag and I’m trying to get better at how to raise money. And then there’s what I actually do to make money, which has now been more community outreach. Unlike the bar or restaurant industry, it allows me to work from home.

BK: What is the future of Storefront?

CB: I really think there’s going to be a backlash on digital technology and people are going to be seeking a space where you can go to experience something particular. So I think storefront theatres are going to be needed in the country. The future is getting the business model down. We can’t rely on government funding in a way that Tarragon, TPM, and Factory did in the 80s. We have to figure out a new model. We can take the model from the Chicago Storefront Theatre movement where they’re all nightclubs with theatres in the back. The model we want to adopt are spaces that can become party spaces at night. We’re not looking for a space because you have to have money before you even get the space. I am looking for people to join our board. People like Jen Agg from the Black Hoof, her views on feminism in the restaurant industry are super relevant to the theatre industry. There needs to be subsidization on a municipal level. The city needs to give some sort of incentive to landlords to rent to artists for less, give them a tax break or something because the real estate in this city is crazy if you’re not for profit. It’s definitely not dead. We’re also producing. We’re producing a co-pro with Factory and Blood Pact Theatre called After Wrestling. Then we’re doing a Feminist Fuck It Festival in April, which will feature female identified performers and writers.

BK: Yessss. What an amazing name. I want to come!

CB: Right! FUCK IT.

(Laughter)

And we just got funding from the Canadian Heritage to present work in 2018/2019. The presenting and the producing will keep happening, while working towards finding a space.

BK: Any other upcoming projects for you?

CB: We are working on a new adaptation of I Love You Baby Blue with Paul Thompson and Clare Preuss. We want to honour TPM’s 50th Anniversary since it was first done there. I’ve been working on a play called Teeswater. It’s a town near Blyth, Ontario. It’s where my family moved to in the 1700s from Scotland. It’s a trilogy, but the one I want to focus on is about my great-aunt Margaret, who was a lesbian and lived with a woman. I want to explore what a queer relationship was in the 1940s/50s.

BK: Do you have advice for emerging artists?

CB: Diversify your skills now! If you’re an actor and you want to be an actor 80% of the time, learn about production management or lighting design. Stay relevant. You’ll meet so many different people doing different kinds of jobs. Then you’re just already networking.

BK: Sound advice. What do you want audiences walking with?

CB: I just want them to think that it is so much fun. This play, anyone can enjoy it.

Rapid Fire Question Round

What music are you listening to? Tom Petty

Favourite movie? The Wizard of Oz

Favourite book? I’ve read 33 books this year and they’re all of my favourites. I just read a book called A Little Life. I read all the time. You’d have to pick a genre and we’d go from there.

What are you watching on Netflix? Mindhunters

Last Play you saw in Toronto? Lukumi by d’bi.young anitafrika at Tarragon.

Favourite Musical? Rocky Horror Picture Show

Food? Mannings or Sour Cream

Best place in Toronto? Kensington Market, Parkdale, Gladstone Hotel and The Beaver

Best advice given to you/mantra? My mantra today is don’t be a low priority to somebody. For this industry, is don’t take anything personally and don’t be jealous, it’s not worth it.

THE​ ​CHANCE

Who:
Written by​ ​George​ ​F.​ ​Walker
Directed​ ​by​ ​Wes​ ​Berger

Where:
THE​ ​ASSEMBLY​ ​THEATRE-​ ​1479​ ​Queen​ ​St.​ ​W

When:
October​ ​14-28th,​ ​Tuesday-Saturday​ ​8pm

Tickets​:
brownpapertickets.com

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“Community. Creativity. Craft.” In Conversation with Scott Garland on Sing For Your Supper at the Storefront Theatre

Interview by Brittany Kay

Scott Garland has announced his departure from Storefront Theatre‘s Sing for Your Supper (SFYS). Before his final show on January 2nd, we had the chance to sit down with him and discuss what this event actually is, how it helps to foster our community’s sense of togetherness and why events like these are so important in our theatre community

Brittany Kay: What is Sing for Your Supper?

Scott Garland: SFYS is a monthly cold read series held at the Storefront Theatre, in which new writers submit incomplete, unpublished works that are then read by first-come-first-served performers who show up on the night. They get the script an hour beforehand and we then perform them on the Storefront stage that night.

BK: How do the scripts get chosen for that night?

SG: For the month prior to the night, I send out a call for scripts on social media and anyone who will hear me: We need scripts, 12 pages max to be read. They send them to me at our email address singforyoursupper.sf@gmail.com. I set a deadline, which is usually the Friday before the event, and I read everything that is submitted to us – that’s our promise. We will always read every script and then we whittle it down to about 5 or 6 scripts and that’s what gets presented.

BK: How many scripts would you say you get in a month of submissions?

SG: We’re averaging about 10 incomplete scripts every month.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

BK: Where did this event first begin?

SG: Well this is actually a tradition that started with Red One Theatre a long time ago and it was done in a few pubs. It started with Ben Blais, Brenhan McKibbon and Tyrone Savage. That was less of a show and more of people getting together with scripts and reading them. It’s had various versions and then finally about 3 years ago when Red One Theatre occupied what is now the Storefront Theatre, they wanted to bring it back. It’s changed hands a couple of times. Danny Pagett hosted it for a while, then Ben Blais and Brenhan McKibbon. I had just started going because I was performing in Rarely Pure’s production of As You Like It with Ben Blais at the Storefront. He and I got along and he liked my cold reads so he asked if I’d be interested in organizing it or taking it on. I said, “You betcha Ben,” and so I did.

BK: What was your take on the night? How did you change or tweak it to make SFYS what it is today? 

SG: I started creating a bit of a variety night out of it. SFYS has become more of an open mic night for actors. Actors don’t get a lot of chances to do cold reads of new work. This is an opportunity for people to get together with no stress, no pressure, to just mess around with some text and their craft and also for writers to possibly experiment with their stuff. In the spirit of trying to give it a little flourish, I started bringing people in. Kat Letwin, who’s a very talented performer, a wonderful comedian and a great sketch writer in her own right, covered for me for a month while I was unavailable. She’s a first-class performer so, unsurprisingly, she did very well and so I said, “What if you stuck around and we co-hosted it together?” She actually just celebrated her 2-year anniversary co-hosting and we’ve been really happy to keep her. We’ve also been very fortunate to have a local magician, Leigh Beadon, who actually premiered some magic at an earlier rendition of SFYS. He’s our halfway point at intermission. He’ll try out some feats of mentalism on the crowd. They’re always consistently mind-blowing. They make you believe. They really do.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

BK: Why is it so important for the Toronto theatre community to have an event like this? 

SG: One of the metaphors I’ve kind of used for SFYS is that it’s a bit of an elevator lobby to the indie theatre scene. We get people from all areas of the community; people who are both indoctrinated in the community or have never been to the Storefront, or people who know nothing about theatre and just show up. It’s a hub. It’s really a crossover space where members of the community come together and create art together.

For me, it’s a seed-planting and grass-nourishing event. It’s free, no one’s getting paid. All are welcome. It’s free to submit. It’s a pretty equal opportunity event because it’s first-come-first-served for readers. We do try to ensure that new readers get first priority. The best way new and interesting art can happen is if you get as many different people in a room together, creating together. It’s an opportunity for writers, actors and the un-indoctrinated to kind of experiment with the theatre community in a low stakes environment.

It’s also a dramaturgical tool for writers, which can be invaluable. You have a room full of artists with a stack of scripts and a tickle trunk full of various props and costume pieces, so let’s make some work.

BK: This is quite the meet and greet, a place where people can connect. 

SG: Yeah, exactly. Part of what we do for SFYS is that if you have any projects, workshops, shows, classes or auditions coming up that you want to spread the word on, you get 30 seconds to say your piece.

BK: What’s the turn out usually like?

SG: We never have less than 30 people. It’s cabaret style so people can come and go.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

BK: Why are you leaving?

SG: Because I’m just not that good at it. No. No. I kid. I kid.

I’m very proud of what I have done and what the event has become under my time, but I feel in order for the event to grow beyond what it currently is, it deserves fresh eyes and a new artist with a greater reach in terms of the community. Cameron Wyllie who is a very funny guy from the comedy community, is taking over my hosting duties. He is a sketch writer and performer and he produced Toronto Sketch Fest earlier this year. I feel he has much more experience producing events than I do, so I feel the event will be in very good hands.

Marissa Heintzman is taking over most of the administrative duties. She has her Masters from the University of Glasgow and has expressed much more interest in administrative handling and has actually written a thesis on the effects of modern drama and modern theatrical writing on the current generation. I feel that she will bring so much insight in terms of the sociological implications that an event like SFYS can provide to a community. Kat Letwin is staying on board. She has been, and continues to be, an irreplaceable part of SFYS.

BK: What do you hope the future is for this event?

SG: SFYS under my guidance has been an equal opportunity for female readers. One of the strongest causes I am passionate about is equality for female writers and actresses’ voices on stage. I’m a big fan of HERstory Counts, who actually previewed at SFYS last year. My biggest failing has been in outreach and diversity of communities. Art benefits from diversity. The event is only 3 years old and hopefully this will reach into as many communities as it can. SFYS can introduce people from various communities to each other, if nothing else, to foster greater community building.

BK: That’s lovely.

SG: It’s truly a platform, it’s a stage, it says, “Come one, come all.” I’m hoping more groups will approach SFYS looking for partnership on certain projects. That would be nice. Again there’s no money or funding involved in SFYS. The only real currency in this event is each other, the talents we have and the work we make. I’m hoping that an artistic bunz trading zone can happen at SFYS.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

BK: Anything else we need to know about SFYS?

SG: It’s the first Monday of every month. Really come one, come all. If you’re reader sign up starts at 7pm, but some people have been showing up at 6:30pm.

I will also say that I’m consistently overwhelmed by the talent we have at this event. There’s something admirable in people trying something for the first time and it working out spectacularly. That truly is the virtue of live theatre. The amazement of a cold read is that if it happens once, even if the script goes on to publication, you really encountered the spark of something truly new and wonderful.

BK: 3 words that describe SFYS?

SG: Community. Creativity. Craft.

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Sing For Your Supper

About:
All are welcome to participate. FREE ADMISSION

Script submissions will be selected by our
incomparable hosts Kat Letwin, Scott Garland, and Cam Wyllie,
alongside indie theatre instigators.

SEND SCRIPT SUBMISSIONS TO:
singforyoursupper.sf@gmail.com

The scripts will then receive a live workshop by Toronto talent on a first come first serve basis.

SIGN UP FOR PERFORMANCE OPENS AT 7pm
CURTAIN AT 8:00

Where:
Storefront Theatre, 955 Bloor Street West

When:
January 2, 2017

Find Out More: storefronttheatre.com/sing-for-your-supper/

In Conversation with Miranda Calderon, performer/producer of Taking Care of Baby

by Bailey Green

Taking Care of Baby is a verbatim/documentary style play focusing on the story of Donna McAuliffe—a woman accused of murdering her two infants. The play uses testimony from those closest to McAuliffe to dig deeper in search of the truth. There’s just one catch—Donna doesn’t exist. It’s all fake.

Miranda Calderon takes on the role of Donna at the Storefront Theatre in Taking Care of Baby, a fake documentary play written by Dennis Kelly. Director Birgit Schreyer Duarte read the script years ago and shared it with Calderon as part of another project they were collaborating on at the time that focused on the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. “Birgit and I worked together for the first time years ago when we did a SummerWorks show that was an adaptation of a novel,” Calderon recalls. “We both found that we really enjoyed the collaborative process of working together. In the years since, she has had so much more experience directing shows, assisting at Stratford and Canadian Stage where she works as a dramaturge and translator. We’ve both grown, and of course we benefit from being close friends. It’s a treat, and we feel incredibly lucky to be working on this project. And everyone involved is so incredibly wonderful and professional.”

Photo of Dylan Trowbridge by John Gundy.

Photo of Dylan Trowbridge by John Gundy.

By the time we meet Donna McAuliffe, she has already endured a brutal life. She lost two babies and suspicion surrounded the circumstances of their death. She was convicted of murder, sentenced to life and then eventually exonerated with the help of her mother. And now, estranged from her husband, childless, and reeling from 14 months in prison, Donna is living at home trying to put her fractured life back together.

Photo of Miranda Calderon & Astrid Van Wieren by John Gundy.

Photo of Miranda Calderon & Astrid Van Wieren by John Gundy.

Calderon approached the role with a desire to understand the intense experiences her character has been through. She researched prison life and reached out to a friend who works as a defence attorney to better understand the process of a murder trial. Calderon also has a very personal tie to the subject matter of the play. “I’m pregnant for the first time, so when I found out [about the baby] this summer and then when the project was selected by Storefront for their season, I was just wow-ed by the odd timing,” Calderon says. “I wondered whether it was a good idea to put myself in this world while I’m pregnant. But at the same time there was something so exciting and interesting about that coincidence. It’s only added to the process.”

McAuliffe is surrounded by a varied cast of characters, all with their own opinions about whether she did or did not murder her children. The actors often play multiple roles, some of which include: Donna’s mother the politician (Astrid Van Wieren), the estranged husband (Dylan Trowbridge) and more. Donna’s defence hangs on a new diagnosis by a psychologist named Dr. Millard (played by Richard Clarkin). Millard has diagnosed Donna with Leeman-Keatley Syndrome (a fictional disease) where a mother is so overwhelmed by the empathy she feels for the world’s suffering that she turns on the source of her pain, namely her children.

Photo of Richard Clarkin by John Gundy

Photo of Richard Clarkin by John Gundy

“A big part of this process has been the struggle to determine what’s true, what’s not true, who can I trust […] it’s part of what the audience is going through at the same time,” Calderon says when asked about how the style and format of the play affect the story. “When we realize that we were wrong about people, it can be so unsettling. It happens with people we are intimate with, with colleagues, and then public figures as well. The characters in the play operate on all three of those levels and so the audience goes through this questioning with us.”

Taking Care of Baby

Presented by The Care Takers at The Storefront Theatre

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Who:
Featuring: Miranda Calderon, Richard Clarkin, Caroline Gillis, Craig Lauzon, Dylan Trowbridge, Astrid Van Wieren
Written By: Dennis Kelly
Directed By: Birgit Schreyer Duarte
Set Design: Michelle Tracey
Lighting Design: Steve Lucas
Costume Design: Amanda Wong
Sound Design: Matthew Pencer
Video Design: Remington North
Producers: Miranda Calderon & Adam Paolozza

When: January 29th to February 14th, Wednesday through Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday Matinee @ 2pm

Where: The Storefront Theatre – 955 Bloor St. W, Toronto

Tickets: $20-$25, Advance tickets available here.

Connect: http://thestorefronttheatre.com/events/taking-care-of-baby/

‪#‎INDIEUNITE‬ ‪#‎BabySFT‬

#TheresMoreThanOneTruth #BabySFT

“Start, Stop, Continue” for 2014: A Conversation Starter for the Theatre Arts Community of Toronto

Our feature initiative “Start, Stop, Continue for 2014: A Conversation Starter for the Theatre Arts Community” is back featuring the following voices: D. Jeremy Smith of Driftwood Theatre, Tina Rasmussen of World Stage, Holger Schott Syme of dispositio.net, Claire Armstrong of Red One Theatre Collective, Nina Kaye of Unspoken Theatre and Drew O’Hara & Jade Douris of Everybody to the Theatre Company. Read more in our features!

A Note from Editor in Chief – Hallie Seline:

2013 was an exciting year and 2014 has started with no shortage of encouraging moments for the Toronto theatre/arts community. We saw small venues develop and prosper across the city with national recognition from the Globe and Mail, and we saw the community come together showing support and strength in numbers, whether it was to stand behind Buddies in Bad Times Theatredemanding more questions when their Rhubarb Festival was suddenly denied funding, or by getting down and dirty to help get indie venue The Storefront Theatre back on its feet after amajor flood. Amongst these exciting moments, there is no shortage of challenges we are also knocking up against. Be it funding, debating the relevance of theatre on CBC Radio, or the concern that with the growing number of independent theatre companies that we may be spreading ourselves too thin, thus generating the every person for themselves attitude, we believe that there is a lot of discussion to be had about where we stand as a theatre arts community and where we should hope to go next.

I feel like this is an exciting pivotal time in the Toronto theatre arts scene and after having received immense feedback from our first instalment, my hope is to continue to develop this dialogue with another group of theatre artists (from different theatrical backgrounds, emerging to more established etc.) about their thoughts on the state of theatre in Canada, specifically Toronto, right now.

This is a discussion starter in which our participants identify what they think the Toronto theatre scene should Start, Stop and Continue to help theatre in Toronto prosper. This is just the beginning of the conversation. Help us to make this conversation grow to involve as many diverse voices across our community as possible and hopefully this will help us all move forward in 2014 in a supportive and productive way.


Hallie Seline
Co-founder & Editor in Chief

On Our Radar TO: Fall in Love with Toronto Theatre this Month

 

Whether it’s with your family, friends, lover, significant-other or you’re treatin’ yo self, we’ve listed our different date suggestions for these lusted-after February shows plus some February events we’re swooning over! These shows are On Our Radar, Toronto, and we think you should Fall in Love With Theatre all over again this February! 

Genesis & Other Stories

Written by Rosamund Small, presented by Aim for the Tangent Theatre

Genesis 2014 Promo Photo #1

Did the nudie promo pictures convince you yet? If you didn’t catch Genesis & Other Stories in their sold-out run in last summer’s Fringe Festival, lucky for you they have brought it back for a February re-mount in the Red Sandcastle Theatre after a revised run in the Hamilton Fringe. If you did catch it, you know you’ll want to see it again! Laugh-out-loud funny, thought-provoking and feel-good family fun… well… It’ll get you talking!

This is our On the Laugh-track to Love date recommendation.

Check out our interview we did with playwright Rosamund Small to find out more about the show. https://inthegreenroom.ca/2013/06/25/we-chat-with-rosamund-small-writer-of-genesis-other-stories/

“After his father’s death, Christopher, a theology student, leads a misfit cast of amateur actors in a production of his late father’s play: a hyper-sexed version of Adam and Eve set in 1960’s USA.  Slapstick, satire, and meta-theatre frame a surprisingly complex story about lonely people trying to fill roles that do not suit us. Christopher tries to convince everyone including himself that he is committed to his religion and its strict views on sexuality, and capable of directing and producing his father’s bizarre script. Despite everyone’s best intentions, a break up, forgotten lines, and a crisis of faith conspire to sabotage the production. The primary focus of Genesis is on laughter, but the show is only funny because of the pain and struggle of Chris and the other characters. A hilarious romp that is sure to get you thinking, whether you’re religious, theatrical, or somewhere in between.”

Genesis Promo Photo #2

“Comically disastrous… very funny. Things could only go worse if the theatre collapsed.” – Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine

Where: RED Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen Street East)
When: February 5th-15th Wednesday-Friday 8pm, Saturdays 7pm & 9pm
Tickets: $15 at the Door, $10 in Advance at www.totix.ca or call (416) 845-9411
For more information, visit: www.aimforthetangent.com

Shrew

Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, presented by Red One Theatre Collective

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Killer cast, intriguing promotional poster, “puppetry & Vaudeville charm” set in the Klondike? After being big fans of After Miss Julie, we’re excited to see what Red One Theatre brings us next and Shrew seems to be just the ticket.

This is our Rowdy Buddies at the Shakespeare Show date recommendation.

“The beautiful and gentle Bianca has no shortage of admirers, but her mother insists that she will not marry until her older sister, Katharina, is betrothed. The only problem is that Katharina is the wildest, loudest, maddest shrew in the Klondike. It’s a low-down showdown with honky-tonk, puppetry, slapstick, and Vaudeville charm, and one of these gunslingers will either go broke or strike gold.

In his directorial debut, rising Stratford Festival star and RedOne Theatre veteran Tyrone Savage gathers together Toronto’s premier emerging talents for the first time in this one-of-a-kind production.”

Where: The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West)
When: February 15th – March 2nd, 2014 8pm (Sunday PWYC Matinees – 2pm)
Tickets: $19.99 Advance tickets available @ www.secureaseat.com

The Way Back to Thursday

Written by Rob Kempson, presented by Theatre Passe Muraille

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Call your Grandma, call your mother… Hell, call EVERYONE and take them to the theatre this month. Rob Kempson has written a charming, funny and moving musical about unconditional love that will have you beaming one minute and reaching for a box of tissues the next.

This is our Reconnecting With Family date recommendation.

“Inspired by the traditional song cycle form, The Way Back to Thursday is a musical about unconditional love that crosses generations, genders and lifetimes.

Cameron and his Grandmother have a special tradition – movie nights every Thursday.  Together they escape into the glamour and romance of the Golden Age of film.  But as Cameron grows, so does the distance between them.”

stage-wayback-0130_large

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson)
When: Now to February 8th
Tickets: Pwyc-$32.50. 416-504-7529

The Ugly One

Written by Marius von Mayenburg, translated by Maja Zade. Co-production by Theatre Smash and Tarragon Theatre

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Sharp, odd, hilarious and the tightest staging, design and performances that we’ve seen in one show in a while – The Ugly One is a must-see before it closes mid-February. We can’t and we won’t stop chatting about it. Theatre Isn’t Dead said it perfectly: “Non-theatre folks will dig it too. I can almost promise that.” –Blog Theatre Isn’t Dead.

We deem this our Theatrical Rejuvenation date aka. Win-over-that-friend-who-is-too-cool-for-theatre-with-the-cool-theatre-show date recommendation.

“You can’t sell anything with that face.” A razor sharp satire about getting ahead in the world. With mesmerizing speed, this award-winning work by one of Germany’s hottest playwrights catapults us into a narcissistic world obsessed with beauty, image and plastic surgery.”

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Where: Tarragon Theatre Extra Space
When: Now until February 16th
Tickets: http://tarragontheatre.com/season/1314/the-ugly-one/

Of Mice and Morro and Jasp

Created and performed by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee, presented by U.N.I.T. Productions and Factory Theatre

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U.N.I.T. Productions is excited to announce the remount of Of Mice and Morro and Jasp!

Morro and Jasp feel the pinch of the recent economic downturn and decide to try to make ends meet by staging John Steinbeck’s classic tale Of Mice and Men. Can the clown sisters stick to the story? Will they both make it out alive? This winter, find out for yourself!

This is our Friends Until The End date recommendation.

Where: Factory Studio Theatre
When: Jan 28 to Feb 8, Tue-Sat 8PM, Thur 1PM, Sat 2PM
Tickets: $25 Regular Price / $20 Student, Senior, Arts Worker PWYC Preview Jan 28 www.factorytheatre.ca 416-504-9971

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Read our latest interview with Co-creators & performers Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee here: https://inthegreenroom.ca/2014/01/29/of-mice-and-morro-and-jasp/

Idiot’s Delight

Written by Robert E. Sherwood, presented by Soulpepper Theatre

Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster, Hailey Gillis, Gregory Prest & Dan Chameroy. Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann

Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Hailey Gillis, Gregory Prest & Dan Chameroy. Photo Credit: Cylla von Tiedemann

With 1920’s flair, song, dance and love amongst wartime, this is our Indulging in Delights date recommendation.

“A cast of wonderfully eccentric and international guests – countesses, arms dealers, showgirls, revolutionaries, charlatans and lovers – spend a fateful weekend in a resort hotel in the Italian Alps. While songs are sung and dances danced and loves rekindled, the dark clouds of war come rolling in.”

Where: Young Centre for the Performing Arts
When: January 29th – March 1st
Tickets: http://soulpepper.ca/performances/14_season/Idiot’s_Delight.aspx

Read our latest Artist Profile with Paolo Santalucia & Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster “From Academy to Company in Soulpepper’s “Idiot’s Delight” here: https://inthegreenroom.ca/artist-profiles/

the dreamer examines his pillow

By John Patrick Shanley, presented by JR Theatre Company

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the dreamer examines his pillow is a surreal, intimate look at the beautiful and dark forces of love. The play explores the aftermath of love, whether it’s after an explosive affair between two lovers, or the dwindling, harsh lack of love from a widowed father to his daughter. Poetic, lyrical and rough – the dreamer examines his pillow is one of contemporary theatre’s finest looks at intimacy and need. It sounds to us like the perfect antithesis to Hallmark’s version of Valentine’s Day!

This is our Dark Surrealist Valentine’s Day date recommendation.

Where: The Box Toronto (89 Niagara Street)
When: February 7th-16th Fridays & Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 2pm
Tickets: dreamer.brownpapertickets.com 

LABOUR

Written by Eric Welch and Ryan Welch. Based on the original short story by Ryan Welch with further realization by The Coyote Collective Company, presented by Coyote Collective

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LABOUR looks at the Sisyphean life of factory day-workers, who see no choices but to go to work every day, and have resigned themselves to a life of the same. For these four characters, commodification has completely changed the way they think about life, love, and happiness.

This is our Socially Conscious date recommendation.

Where: Theatre Passe-Muraille Backspace
When: February 5th to the 9th. 5th-7th 7:30pm, 8th 2pm & 7:30pm, 9th 2pm
Tickets: $20, Student/Senior $15, PWYC: Saturday, February 8th 2:00pm, Opening and Media Night: Wednesday, February 5th
Tickets available for purchase at artsboxoffice.ca or at the door. 

Events We’re Crushin’ On:

The 35th Rhubarb Festival

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Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents their 35th annual festival of new works in contemporary theatre, performance art, dance, and music. For two weeks artists transform the Buddies neighbourhood into a hotbed of experimentation, sharing new works in contemporary theatre, performance art, dance, and music with adventure-loving audiences.

New to the festival this year is a new series of Open Space Projects will animate unexpected spaces around the Buddies neighbourhood and make new artistic connections between five historic queer institutions here in Toronto.

When: February 12th-23rd
Where: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre & around the neighbourhood
Tickets: Open Space Projects & Artist Talks – Free
Young Creators Unit – PWYC
Week One Mainstage Projects – $10
Week Two Evening Passes – $20

Roar

Written & performed by Spencer Charles Smith, presented by Straight Camp

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“Roar – a solo play about beefy, burly, brawny love”

SYNOPSIS – A boy’s campy quest for furry love, Spencer will explore his unapologetic desire for ‘bearish’ men, critique the problematic spectrum of identities within the Bear community (Bear, Cub, Otter, Panda, Muscle-Bear, etc.) and hopefully deconstruct notions of hegemonic masculinity.

Above all, it’s a love letter.

This is a staged-reading of Spencer’s latest draft of Roar and he is eager to hear your feedback. A talk-back will follow the presentation. And drinks. Featuring a special pre-show presentation: “Kid: A Queer Fable”, written, illustrated and performed by Katie Sly

Where: Videofag (187 Augusta Ave)
When: Wednesday February 5th 8pm, Thursday February 6th 8pm
Tickets: PWYC (at the door)

Theatre on a Theme: Love

Conceived and Directed by Drew O’Hara, presented by Everybody to the Theatre Company

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“Six actors, 18 theatre pieces that vary in length from 10 minutes to 10 seconds. What do you get? A hilarious, heart-wrenching, fast-paced, occasionally musical, exciting night at the theatre. Following the success of Theatre on a Theme: FAILURE, the Everybody to the Theatre Company gang will bring you Theatre on a Theme: LOVE, just in time for Valentine’s Day.”

Where: Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street)
When: Sunday February 23rd 2pm & 8pm
Tickets: http://www.eventbrite.ca/o/everybody-to-the-theatre-company-4737180757?s=20682528

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope”

Written by Ian Doescher, presented by Red One Theatre Collective and Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl

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A one-night only staged reading of the classic sci-fi epic told in the Bard’s style.

“This sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The Saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.” This is the play you are looking for. Lightsaber fights included! Themed drinks/food/entertainment too – say whaaat!

Where: The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West)
When: February 7th Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm
Tickets
: $10 in advance online www.secureaseat.com or $15 at the door. 

The Howland Company Reading Group – February:

February 9th Charles Mee’s “Big Love”, February 23rd Jez Butterworth’s “Jerusalem”

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“Bi-weekly, The Howland Company hosts an open event called The Reading Group, where artists are encouraged to gather, meet, reconnect and work with fellow members of the Toronto theatre community and ultimately read a play together.

The readings are a laid-back, social way to work with peers and continue to develop our craft. Scripts are provided and parts are assigned and exchanged on the fly. All are welcome to participate in reading or sit back and listen.”

Check out the history of The Reading Group, including all plays past and future, at: http://howlandcompanytheatre.com/the-reading-group/.

For event updates: https://www.facebook.com/TheHowlandCompanyTheatre

When: Sunday February 9th & Sunday February 23rd 7:30pm
Where: Location is posted on the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHowlandCompanyTheatre
Tickets: Free

Rarely Pure Theatre’s “As You Like It” at The Storefront Theatre until January 26th

Interview by Ryan Quinn

I had breakfast with three of the wonderful collaborators of Rarely Pure Theatre, all three of whom are working on the current mount of As You Like It being shown at The Storefront Theatre. I spoke with Spencer Robson, who is playing Orlando; Christina Bryson, playing Rosalind; and Monique Renaud, one of the company’s Artistic Directors. All three are also involved in the production of the show.

When deciding on a show after the success of their previous productions of The Pillowman, We’re Lovers, and Until Our Paths Cross Again, they decided to focus on doing classical text. “We’ve wanted to do a Shakespeare for a while, because a lot of us have worked together with this text and we had access to a lot of great resources and actors for Shakespeare”, Robson said. Bryson explained why As You Like It was the perfect choice for them commenting that “It’s a fun, high-paced show. And you need a light comedy in the middle of January”. Though, it’s not just out of love for the show itself, but it was also a matter of feasibility, explained Renaud: “Part of it is, as a non-union company, we couldn’t get any older, union actors, so this youthful show is one of the best Shakespeare plays to go for.”

There is also a kind of magic in the lack of magical elements in this Shakespeare show. For one of the light summer comedies, there are no ethereal forces at work in As You Like It. “Some of the characters are pretty extreme and big, but it’s still real. There are no faeries, or magic. It’s focused on these human beings and what they want. It’s not the forest that changes them, it’s their experiences. It’s about driving your own narrative, which is very similar to what we’re focusing on as a company.”

Christina Bryson and Katie Ribout in "As You Like It" Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

Christina Bryson and Katie Ribout in “As You Like It” Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

As far as concept, the team decided to keep it fairly simple, while flipping the usual setting of the show to make it take place in the winter. “There are actually more references to winter than summer. We added some of the songs back in. There are a lot of winter references in those especially”, Bryson explained, while Robson added: “We thought it would be a nice subtle thing we could do without it being overbearing. Also, it’s really supported by the text. A lot of the pivotal moments of character realization are described in kind of wintery terms. I mean, we’re not going to have snow falling on the audience or anything like that. It was more of a subtle atmosphere choice.”

The show is being directed by Rosanna Saracino, an experienced director who has worked with young casts many times. “It was also important for us to get an established director on board, someone to help guide us. I still feel like we’re learning a lot, but I don’t feel spoken down to”, Bryson told me. “She works with young actors all the time, so she knows about a lot of the struggles we have,” Robson elaborated. In fact, Rarely Pure populated their production with people who specialize in those different areas of production instead of letting friends and acquaintances handle offstage duties, as many young companies tend to do. “There’s a reason people have different jobs, because they’re good at it”.

Michael Hogan, Gaby Grice, Scott Garland in "As You Like It". Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

Michael Hogan, Gaby Grice, Scott Garland in “As You Like It”. Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

The company isn’t content to just get lost in the shuffle, though, as they’re looking to help unite some of the disparate parts of the culture in Toronto. Robson told me that he “was talking to Caleb McMullen from Mnemonic Theatre, and he said that there are a lot of small upstart companies right now, and if we could just pool our resources and work together, we’d make some amazing work. This is kind of proof that we’re all on the same level. If you’re putting something on and people are showing up, and you’re proud of it, that puts you on even ground with the whole community. You’re all contributing to the same cause. Nobody is above each other, we’re all just doing different shows.”

For the new year, Rarely Pure is taking a bit of a paradoxical move, by both zeroing in on what they’re best at, while also expanding the scope of what the company is capable of. While still maintaining a bit of the company’s original motive that “if you have a good idea, and you want to execute it, we can help you get it off the ground,” the company is also looking into new and innovative ways to experiment with performance and theatre: “We have a Fringe spot, and a playwright to write for us, which is great. I’m hoping to start Rarely Pure Productions to do things with webseries and short films, so we’re really doing some exciting things.” Renaud asserted that while this many seem like the company is going off on a few tangents, they’re not going to lose their focus: “When we started, our mandate was a lot looser, but now we’re finding exactly what we can bring to an audience. So, next year, as a company, we’re going to be more specific and organized in our focus. We have to be more picky with what we put on because there is a lot of theatre in this city and nobody wants to see crap.”

Christina Bryson, Spencer Robson and Katie Ribout in "As You Like It". Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

Christina Bryson, Spencer Robson and Katie Ribout in “As You Like It”. Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare, presented by Rarely Pure Theatre

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When: Thursday-Sunday January 9th-26th

Where: The Storefront Theatre, 955 Bloor Street West

Tickets$20 General Admission / $15 (students/arts workers/seniors 55+) / PWYC Saturday Matinee www.secureaseat.com

Specific times can be found on Rarely Pure Theatre‘s page on Facebook.

Toronto’s Favourite Cost-Effective Rehearsal Spaces

by Ryan Quinn & Hallie Seline

We asked Toronto theatre artists what their favourite cost-effective rehearsal spaces were:

b current’s studio theatre

Located within the beautiful Artscape Wychwood Barns at St. Clair and Bathurst, b current performing art’s new 700-foot studio theatre is perfect for rehearsals, workshops, intimate theatre events, meetings, and community gatherings!

Features include: 50 seat capacity, wheelchair accessible, with elevator access, dressing room/backstage area, lighting and sound system to be installed by end of May 2017, charming vintage Edison bulb string lights for general non-theatre events, Hardwood floor, wireless internet access, 50+ chairs for your use, dry bar and front of house area for concessions by donation, gender neutral washroom, air conditioning, high vaulted ceilings and is steps away from public transportation.

Rate: $15/hour and all monies earned go towards b current performing arts’ programming and community building initiatives, which uplift the voices of racialized theatre artists from the page to the stage.

To book, please contact Artistic Director, Catherine Hernandez at catherine@bcurrent.ca

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The Attic

1200sft open concept unit is a beautiful space for rehearsals of all kinds. The space features a private bathroom, ceilings which range from 6′ to 14′, and it is not attached to any residential units. The space is available to book from 8am to 12am. theatticartshub.com

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The Box

The Box is a large, multipurpose rehearsal space located at 103-89 Niagara Street that often holds open movement classes and other events. It’s a 600 square foot space with beautiful exposed-brick walls (we love that stuff) that also includes a greenroom, kitchen, and bathroom. http://www.theboxtoronto.com

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Collective Studio (Theatre Lab and Pandemic Theatre)

Collective Studio is run by Theatre Lab and Pandemic Theatre, and is located near Lansdowne station. It is a newly-renovated 500 square foot adaptable studio for things like rehearsals, readings and workshops! http://theatrelab.ca/space/

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FuGEN Theatre

FuGEN Theatre at 157 Carlton Street is a 430 square foot studio space equipped with dance floors and mirrors, which could be very useful for those of you working on physical theatre or perhaps for those who just like to watch themselves act… It also has free Wi-Fi, a stereo system, air conditioning and a full kitchen. http://fu-gen.org/about-us/fu-gen-rental-space/

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lemonTree Creations

The lemonTree Creations Studio is a large space that regularly holds classes for those looking to hone their craft. They will also soon be instituting a residency program, which is a great opportunity for dedicated artists to have a regular rehearsal home. This space also comes equipped with a kitchenette and Wi-Fi.  http://www.lemontreecreations.ca/

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Aluna Theatre’s Studio Space

Located at 1 Wiltshire Ave. Unit 124, in Toronto, Aluna’s Studio is a beautiful 750 sq. foot studio with sprung floors and two-piece washroom. Equipped with a fridge, coffee maker, microwave, tables, chairs, and mats.  Sound and lighting equipment available for an additional charge. Read more about prices and availability here: http://www.alunatheatre.ca/studio/

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**Are we missing your favourite Toronto Cost-Effective Rehearsal Space?
E-mail us at inthegreenroom.ca@gmail.com and we will add it to our list!**