Alumnae Theatre Company’s all-Canadian 2014-2015 Season

Alumnae bldg pinkFROM THE MEDIA RELEASE:
Alumnae Theatre Company proudly announces our completely Canadian 2014-2015 season featuring Escape From Happiness by George F. Walker; the return of last year’s explosively successful FireWorks Festival premiering two original full-length plays; Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock; the 27th annual New Ideas Festival; and the WORLD PREMIERE of Shirley Barrie’s I Am Marguerite.

Escape From Happiness posterWe launch the season on the Mainstage with Escape From Happiness by George F. Walker, directed by Andrea Wasserman (September 26-October 11, 2014). A bizarre event in a dysfunctional family prompts an incident of brutality in this intensely dark Canadian comedy. Part of Walker’s East End Trilogy, this play explores the most tender moments at the most violent times.

Up in the Studio Theatre, two original full-length plays will be runningFireWorks 2014 image in repertory as part of the FireWorks Festival (November 12-30, 2014). After last year’s explosive success, FireWorks is back with two plays written by members and developed at Alumnae Theatre: Burying Toni by Catherine Frid and You Have To Earn It by Ramona Baillie and Maria Popoff. A festival of creativity, FireWorks will also feature discussion panels, playwright talkbacks, and we’re delighted to announce that Maja Ardal, renowned Canadian playwright and director, will spearhead the Playwrights’ Intensive Workshop series to run for the duration of the Festival.
Burying Toni explores the complexities within Emma Jung as she grapples with her history, real and imagined, after 50 years of marriage to psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Emma conjures up her husband, Sigmund Freud, and others as she struggles to understand the truth about her past.
You Have To Earn It is a madcap roller-coaster ride that pays homage to the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s. A philandering boss, a scheming new employee and a wacky mail room clerk, to name just a few, all with hidden agendas. Can the unassuming Betty survive the intrigue of the corporate world?

Bllod Relations imageOur “Countdown to 100” Retrospective Choice originally produced in the Alumnae Theatre Company’s 1994/95 season is Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock, directed by Barbara Larose (January 23-February 7, 2015). In this Governor General’s Award–winning play, Sharon Pollock’s original perspective takes us on a psychological journey, bringing the past to life in a search for a possible answer, a motive. The only suspect, the real Lizzie Borden, was acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother, but in Blood Relations, the chilling question still repeats.

In its 27th season, New Ideas Festival 2015 (March 11-29, 2015) is New Ideas 2015 imagea three-week, juried celebration of new writing, works-in-progress and experimental theatre, with a different program of plays each week and staged readings on Saturdays at noon. New Ideas is a crucible for original plays, some of which have gone on to full productions elsewhere. As such, they are must-sees for avant-garde Toronto theatre-goers. Writers from all over Canada and beyond submit original short plays which have never before been produced, so every play in the festival is a world premiere.

I Am Marguerite imageWe are thrilled to close the season with the world premiere of I Am Marguerite by Shirley Barrie, directed by Molly Thom (April 10-25, 2015). Written by one of our members, the script has “grown up” at the Alumnae through various dramaturgical changes and we’re excited to now present this play based on a true story in Canadian history. For choosing love over duty, Marguerite de Roberval was banished to the Isle of Demons off the north coast of Newfoundland. After two years on the desolate island and driven half mad by loneliness, hardship and memories, she now has a chance of rescue.

MAIN STAGE SHOWTIMES: Wed – Sat at 8:00 pm; Sunday matinees at 2pm. TICKETS: Wed 2-for-1; Thurs-Sat $20; PWYC Sundays.
FIREWORKS SHOWTIMES: Wed – Sat at 8pm; Sat & Sun matinees at 2pm. TICKETS:  $15; Sunday Matinees PWYC; Festival Pass $25.
Wed – Sat at 8pm; Sat & Sun matinees 2:30, Noon PWYC reading on Saturdays. TICKETS: $15; Festival Pass $40.
Advance Tickets and season passes available online at
For more information & media kits, contact Chloe Whitehorn at


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Workshop: There Is No Such Thing As Writer’s Block, Alumnae Theatre


Participate in November writing workshops with award-winning playwright Maja Arda, part of Alumnae Theatre Company’s FireWorks series.

Originally posted on The TAPA Blog:

A series of playwriting workshops with playwright Maja Ardal

The Alumnae Theatre invites beginning and experienced playwrights to submit their work for a Playwrights’ Intensive led by renowned Canadian playwright Maja Ardal as part of the FireWorks Festival.

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Alumnae Theatre Company launches 2014-2015 Season with George F. Walker’s “Escape From Happiness”


Alumnae Theatre Company launches its 2014-2015 season with George F. Walker’s Escape From Happiness, September 26 – October 11, 2014.

A bizarre event in a dysfunctional family prompts an incident of brutality in this intensely dark Canadian comedy. Part of Walker’s East End Trilogy, this play explores the most tender moments at the most violent times.

Escape From Happiness posterNora Quinn (Heli Kivilaht) is the head of an eccentric, working-class family fighting alcohol, drugs, corruption and organized crime in their dangerous, impoverished neighborhood while trying to manage the turmoil in her own house. Eldest daughter and protector Elizabeth (Andrea Brown), middle child Mary Ann (Lesley Robertson) whose sunny disposition is maintained through constant cooking, youngest daughter, and new mother, Gail (Renée Haché) desperately trying to help her family mend their past, Gail’s husband Junior (Maxwell King) who has “bad luck following him like a best friend”, and their recently returned father Tom (David Cairns) who may or may not be the abusive, uncontrolled ex-cop he once was round out this unruly family. Throw in ambitious ladder climbing police officer (Joanne Sarazen), her reluctant partner (Ryan Seeley), and father and son criminals (Robert Skanes and Colin MacDonald) and anarchy prevails.

Director Andrea Wasserman has assembled an extremely talented cast and production team to bring this very dark, very funny slice-of-life comedy to the Alumnae Theatre MainStage. Under Wasserman’s direction we can see how everyone’s insane behavior seems perfectly rational to them. “I was drawn to this play because of the story it explores,” Wasserman says. “What happens when people are pushed to the edge of circumstance with no tools to cope.”

The New York Times raved “Mr. Walker takes once radical techniques right to the edge, to the very risky brink, but stops short of despair. If Escape From Happiness — telling, terrific title – does not care about how the truth can ruin your day, it’s because the play is concerned with more important things, like changing our lives.”

Escape From Happiness features a design and artistic team that includes Brandon Kleiman (set designer), Sara Brzozowski (costume designer), Paul Hardy (lighting designer), Jeremy Hutton (fight director), Jackie McClelland (properties), Lindsey Alston (stage manager) and Susan Bond (assistant director).


Advance tickets are available online at, Alternatively, to reserve a seat and pay in person at the Box Office (no credit card sales via phone/e-mail), please leave a message 416-364-4170 (press 1) or e-mail


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LAST CALL for New Ideas Festival script submissions!

 NIF2015 Call for ScriptsThe deadline to submit a short script (10-40 mins running time) for consideration in Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival 2015 is only a few days away.  September 5, people!

The Festival (our 27th annual) runs  March 11-29, 2015.   Scripts are selected by a jury, and playwrights receive dramaturgical support, free rehearsal space, publicity, and sold-out houses.

Playwrights are encouraged to participate in the whole production process, from choosing a director and cast to attending rehearsals (geography permitting!) and revising their work as it comes off the page.

There is NO FEE to submit, and no remuneration to any participants.  The purpose of New Ideas is script development, and every play must be a world premiere.  Only plays which have never been produced before are eligible.

Go to  and read the instructions carefully.  Good luck!



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FireWorks 2014 audition notices

FireWorks 2014 imageFor the second year, Alumnae Theatre Company is presenting the FireWorks series in November, to showcase full-length plays which have been dramaturged by the company’s New Play Development group of playwrights (the NPD).

This year there are two plays – the drama Burying Toni by Catherine Frid, and the comedy You Have To Earn It by Ramona Baillie & Maria Popoff.

FireWorks runs November 12 – 30, 2014.  Auditions for Burying Toni will be held August 11 & 12;  and auditions for You Have To Earn It will be held between August 18 – 22.  Please visit our website  for details.

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Auditions in August for “Bookworms” (Toronto Irish Players)

The Toronto Irish Players rent the Mainstage at Alumnae Theatre for two productions per season. Here’s the audition notice for the first of 2014/15:  Bookworms, a comedy by Bernard Farrell. It will be directed by Alan Hunt.

SHOW DATES: October 23 – November 8, 2014
SYNOPSIS: In this post-Celtic Tiger Ireland comedy of manners, the bankrupt middle classes cling to the civility of social rituals like to book clubs. Formerly the last bastion of female exclusivity, husbands are invited to participate in a social experiment which goes disastrously wrong. In this satire the surface veneer of normality is penetrated by resentment, adultery, repression and violence. By the end of the evening civility has been tenuously re-established and relationships somewhat restored, but it is unlikely that the men will ever be invited to another meeting of the Bookworms.


AUDITION DATES: Tuesday August 12 (7.30 – 10pm) and Thursday August 14 (7.30 – 10.00pm)
CALLBACKS: Tuesday August 19 (7.30 – 10pm)
ANN (playing age 40)-Homemaker. Attractive, insecure, determined, repressed.
LARRY (playing age 50)-Builder. Gruff, down-to-earth, pleasant.
AISLING (playing age 18) – Student. Spoiled gap-year backpacker. All appearances are via Skype.
DOROTHY (playing age 60)-Widow. Refined, nervous and obsessed by Virginia Woolf.
ROBERT (playing age 45)-Banker. Alpha male, assured, aggressive.
JENNIFER (playing age 30s)-Teacher. Confident, controlling, energetic.
VINCENT (playing age 50s)-Recluse. Timid, but with a terrible inner rage.


1. Please contact producer Jim Ivers by email ( or phone 416-624-3379

to book an audition.
2. Please forward a recent performance resume & headshot.
3. If the director is not familiar with your work, please prepare a monologue (maximum 2 minutes), preferably comic.
4. Please be prepared to present a cold read from the script.
Auditions & Rehearsals will be held at Kimbourne Church, 200 Wolverleigh Boulevard, Toronto (a short walk northeast of the Coxwell subway station at Danforth & Coxwell).


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Accessibility renos, Phase II

Yep, they’re underway!  Our historic building at 70 Berkeley  is closed to outside visitors and renters for the summer.  The renos are tentatively scheduled to be complete just after Labour Day, in time for our September 26 season opener, George F. Walker‘s Escape From Happiness, directed by Andrea Wasserman.

This photo (snapped by Director of Marketing Chloe Whitehorn) was taken from outside the building.  She was on the sidewalk looking through the window closest to where the stairs would have been.  The Box Office is gone – it would be where the scaffolding is, on the right.  The wall separating Box Office and Main Stage is also gone.

Accessibility renovations at Alumnae Theatre - upper lobby.   Photo by Chloe Whitehorn, July 1, 2014.

Accessibility renovations underway at Alumnae Theatre – upper lobby. Photo by Chloe Whitehorn, July 1, 2014.

The goal of Phase II is for patrons with mobility issues to be able to use the front entrance without having to climb  stairs.  To accomplish that, the main entrance is being revised, and the whole upper lobby will be lowered to the ground, eliminating the storage space underneath.

Last summer’s Phase I of the renovations used up some backstage real estate to create a new accessible washroom, revise the two existing washrooms, and punch a doorway in the wall between auditorium and lower lobby.  Patrons who could not use the stairs at the main entrance were always welcome to use the existing ground-level side entrance.

Come back and check us out in late September!

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