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Posts tagged ‘Theatre Lab’

“Mixing Sketch Comedy, Disney and Broadway, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SHADOW Will Take You Down the Rabbit Hole, With a Little Help from These Hilarious Friends” In Conversation with Creator/Performer Christian Smith

Interview by Hallie Seline

After hearing the buzz about its first short run last spring, it was a pleasure to chat with creator/performer Christian Smith about the return of The Adventures of Tom Shadow, this time at the Factory Studio Theatre. We spoke about where the idea for the show came from, how this impressive group of performers came together to create it and then we delved deep into some childhood nostalgia… as you do.

Don’t miss your chance to catch The Adventures of Tom Shadow, on stage from October 11th to 22nd.

HS: Tell me a little bit about the show The Adventures of Tom Shadow.

CS: Think Disney for Adults. We’re combining the traditions of a sketch comedy show under the guise of a musical. It’s funny, but we’ve added a hefty dose of heart.

HS: Where did the idea for the show come from?

CS: One of our cast mates, Mark [Little], used to be in a sketch troupe and he had come up with a premise a while back called Tom Shadow. I won’t spoil what that sketch was about (that would spoil our show too!) but when we were meeting to discuss the show we wanted to create, that idea sort of stuck. It has evolved a lot from the original premise but, at its core, we take you down a rabbit hole in The Adventures of Tom Shadow the same way Mark originally intended with his premise. You’ll see what I mean.

HS: Can you speak to me a bit about how it was created?

CS: All five cast members (Kevin Vidal, Natalie Metcalfe, Lisa Gilroy, Mark Little & Myself) all started coming up with a story. We then broke the show down into beats, went away and wrote our own separate scenes and brought it to the group so we can then re-work the scenes as a group. Once we knew where we wanted the story to go, there was a lot of improvising through muddy parts of the script on its feet, then subsequent re-writes. It was a ton of work. Luckily all of us are improvisers and writers so we just had to find a way to meld our individual styles to suit the creation of the show.

HS: Amazing! And it’s also a musical?! Tell me a bit about the music in the show.

CS: Lisa, Natalie and Mark are exceptional song writers. We just started writing music that was both funny to us and told the story. We took a lot of inspiration from Disney and Broadway musicals, breaking down why they were so successful. We brought on a musical director (originally Nicola Dempsey, now Jordan Armstrong) and they’ve created the original music. Both M.Ds are the absolute best and crucial to the success of the show.

HS: Talk to me about the people involved: How did you come together? Have you worked together before? What has it been like working with this group?

CS: We all wanted to work with each other so we just met for coffee and decided we were going to put up a show! What came out of it was a surprise to us!

All of us have worked together in some capacity except for our director Peter Stevens. Peter is a writer/performer in the sketch comedy troupe Elephant Empire and his work is soooo very good. We all agreed he’d be the director to steer this ship and we couldn’t be happier. The cast members have all worked together before in many capacities. Natalie, Lisa, Kevin and myself have worked with Second City, as well as our M.D. Jordan Armstrong and our Lighting Designer, Meg Maguire.

We knew our Stage Manager/Sound Engineer through the Toronto comedy scene, Bad Dog Theatre Company and his group Sex T-Rex. This industry feels small sometimes, where everyone can seem to get a chance to work together. This group of people also so happen to be some of my best friends.

HS: If you could be any character from a children’s story, who would it be and why?

CS: Great question. What constitutes children’s story? I love Simba from The Lion King because he’s mischievous and can SING SO WELL! If we’re thinking younger… Sam from Green Eggs & Ham.

Rapid Fire Question Round

Favourite movie growing up: Independence Day

Favourite childhood snack: Dill Pickle Chips

If you could choose one song that represents your childhood or yourself as a kid, what would it be? Ugh. Tough. Simpsons Theme Song? A lotta theme songs. Doug. Rugrats! For sure theme songs.

What advice would you give yourself as a kid before, as you mention for Tom Shadow, “real life comes flooding in”? Read more.

If you could have an adventure anywhere (real or made up), where would it be and what would you do? Oh man. Tokyo or the deep woods. I want to have an extended adventure (live in Japan) or try to fend for myself in the woods. That last adventure is a pipe dream. I’ll have to get better at… many things.

Describe the show in 5-10 words: We’ll make you laugh a lot and maybe cry maybe

The Adventures of Tom Shadow

Presented by Theatre Lab
Written and Performed by Lisa Gilroy, Mark Little, Natalie Metcalfe, Christian Smith, and Kevin Vidal
Directed by Peter Stevens
Music Direction by Jordan Armstrong
Sound Design / Stage Management by Seann Murray
Lighting Design by Meg Maguire

Written and performed by Toronto’s top comedians, The Adventures of Tom Shadow is a hysterically-funny yet heart-wrenching comedic musical that follows the whimsical character Tom Shadow as he travels through the magical Cloud Kingdom! But what begins as a typical children’s story is immediately derailed as real life comes flooding in to destroy the magic. Think Peter Pan meets Taken…but with music!

Factory, Studio Theatre
125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON

October 11–22, 2017

In the spirit of accessible theatre, Theatre Lab will be offering tickets at three price-points to allow patrons to pick the price that fits their budget: $23, $33, $43 + HST. Patrons are encouraged to pay what they can afford. All tickets are General Admission.

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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




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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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:


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