New Ideas Festival 2017: 12 days to script submission deadline

Twelve days from now – on September 5 – the window closes for writers considering submitting their short stage plays to Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival 2017.


That’s writers from anywhere in the world, and short scripts (max 40 mins) on any subject/style, as long as they have NOT been previously produced (the festival is called “New Ideas” – see?).  And there is no submission fee.


Check out the July 5 blog post  for full guidelines, or click on the OPPORTUNITIES tab on our website:


Don‘t let that window close!

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Audition notice for FireWorks 2016

Alumnae Theatre Company is holding auditions Sept 6 – 10 for the three full-length plays in this year’s FireWorks series.  Rehearsals begin October 3.  Each play runs for one week in November:

Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

The Creases in my Sari, by Sindhuri Nandhakumar.  Directed by Kimberley Radmacher :  Nov 9 – 13;

Inked Heart, by D.J. Sylvis. Directed by Pam Redfern: Nov 16 – 20;

Motherland, by Kristine Greenaway.  Directed by Andreja Kovac: Nov 23 – 27.

To request an audition, please email:


THE CREASES IN MY SARI, by Sindhuri Nandhakumar.  Directed by Kimberley Radmacher.  Nov 9 – 13

Two young Sri Lankan immigrants from warring factions want to marry.  Will they find their place – and their love – in the midst of the political turmoil that threatens to drive them apart, even in Toronto?  A perceptive and poetic light on Toronto’s Sri Lankan community.


Maheshwari (Mahesh) – F, early 20s.  South Asian (Tamil,) born in Sri Lanka, grew up in West Toronto. Self-confident, well-spoken and educated. Close to her single mother (Rani) who raised her alone, but at odds with her mother over cultural memory. Mahesh is coming of age and searching for her roots.


Rani – F, mid-40s.  Mahesh’s mother.  South Asian (Tamil), left Sri Lanka with her infant daughter for a new life in Canada. Determined and strong-willed, she insists that she and her daughter assimilate to Canadian culture. Still she hasn’t let go of her past quite so much as she would have Mahesh believe. She holds a deep secret.


Chanaka – M, mid-20s.  South Asian (Sinhalese) newly arrived from Sri Lanka. Holds a post-doctoral fellowship at U of T. A bit bewildered by North American culture, he is well-spoken and romantic. Though somewhat oblivious to his privileged position in Sri Lanka, he is sensitive and devoted to Mahesh.


Praveen – M, early 20s.  South Asian (Tamil). A longtime friend of Mahesh and a master’s student, He has the energy and dedication of the new activist, and sees the world in black-and-white. Charismatic and passionate, potentially a powerful political leader.

Actors may be asked to do a movement/mime sequence, so please wear comfortable clothes and shoes.


INKED HEART, by D.J. Sylvis.  Directed by Pam Redfern. Nov 16 – 20

Ed, a tattoo artist who aspires to greatness as a painter, struggles with the breakup of his marriage, spars with his sassy goth-girl apprentice, who has her own story.  Will he be able to create his art for his upcoming gallery show surrounded by the complicated folk who bring their own secret agendas to hang out at his tattoo parlour?


Ed – M, 40s.  Owner of a tattoo parlour, heavily inked himself.  A tough exterior, sharp tongue and ready wit mask his sensitivity and the pain of his disintegrating marriage.  Aspires to be a painter.


Josie – F, 20s.  Ed’s apprentice, smart, sassy.  A blunt, take-no-prisoners sharpness and wit hide her longing for connection and affirmation.


Bette – F, 60s.  Fit, intellectually and emotionally youthful.  Josie calls her a “hippie grandma”.  Has her own reasons for hanging out in the tattoo parlour.


Angela – F, 30s.  Assistant at the art gallery where Ed’s work is to be shown.  Needs the show to                be a success, for Ed and for herself.  Shy, but with a sense of style with which she masks and defies her demons.


Guy – M, 20s.  College student, has won a tattoo on a bet.  Awkward, entitled, tends to blunder into situations of which he’s completely oblivious.



MOTHERLAND, by Kristine Greenaway.  Directed by Andreja Kovac. Nov 23 – 27

A young Armenian actor-musician struggles to make a life for himself as an artist.  Will the free-spirited young French woman who believes in him give him the strength to break free from the mother who desperately plots to keep him tied to her?


Davit – M, 25-35.  Gifted Armenian actor-musician, lives with his mother to whom he’s tied economically and emotionally.  He earns a precarious living by juggling a string of small jobs – voice-over artist, usher, composer, actor.  He longs for his own home and freedom to be a man.  (NOTE: Actors auditioning for this role must be able to sing.  Ability to play an instrument is an asset)


Ana – F, 45-60.  Davit’s mother, clever, charming, needy.  A librarian who lost her job because of her outspokenness and demands for respect. She now sits at home and smokes. Her life revolves around Davit. She fears being left alone and will stop at nothing to keep her son with her.


Line – F, 25-30.  French, colourful, free-spirited, ambitious.  A business-school dropout, she’s an aspiring project manager at a film bureau.  When she meets Davit, she falls for him both romantically and as an actor whose career she wants to manage.


Arman – M, 20-30.  Perceptive, sardonic, dismissive of traditional values. A business school student and            Line’s friend, he’s outspoken about his gayness.


 AUDITIONS will be held September 6 – 10 at Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley Street (at Adelaide), Toronto.

CALLBACKS (conducted separately for each play):  September 12 – 17.

The scripts are available at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 5th floor, Performance Desk.



Be sure to include your RESUME, HEADSHOT, AGE RANGE and PHONE NUMBER, and indicate which play/character you wish to audition for.  Candidates chosen to audition will be asked to prepare a 2 – 3 minute contemporary monologue.  Directors from more than one play may be present at the audition.

This is a non-paying, non-union engagement.

For more info on the plays, check out the April 22 post, Directors Call for FireWorks:

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New Ideas Festival 2017: script submission deadline in one month!

Yo, writers!  One month from today – that would be September 5, 2016! – is the deadline to submit your short script for consideration in Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF).  Founded in 1988, the festival is a very popular annual event: 3 weeks of never-before-produced short plays selected by a jury, each week featuring a different lineup.  New Ideas Festival 2017 will run from March 8 – 26, 2017.


Unlike the Fringe Festivals or Toronto’s SummerWorks (which consist of independent, individually-ticketed plays), the New Ideas Festival is part of our

New Ideas Festival 2017. Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

New Ideas Festival 2017.
Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

company’s season, and is treated as such. Audience members pay one ticket price ($15) to see a program of four or five short plays.


To submit a script (remember:  it must not have been previously produced!), please see the July 5 blog post  for full guidelines, or check out the OPPORTUNITIES tab on our website:

NOTE:  Alumnae Theatre Company is located in Toronto (Canada), but writers from anywhere in the world are welcome to submit scripts, as long as they are available (Skype is an option) to meet potential directors on Nov 5, and if their script is selected, for one of the ‘Cold Reads’ dates (Dec 6 – 9, 2016).  No submission fee.


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Hamilton Fringe preview (ish): Sinners & saints in Sister Annunciata’s Secret

Nonnie Griffin in Sister Annunciata’s Secret at Hamilton Fringe, July 14 – 24, 2016.

life with more cowbell

sister a's secretDuring Toronto Fringe this past week, I bumped into Nonnie Griffin at the Tarragon, where I learned that she’s taking her solo show Sister Annunciata’s Secret (which premiered almost six years ago at The Annex Theatre) to Hamilton Fringe for a run at the Staircase Café Theatre Main Space. The Hamilton Fringe show is produced by Baby Gumm Productions and directed by Darren Stewart-Jones.

I attended a performance during Griffin’s Annex Theatre run, and covered the show for Alumnae Theatre’s blog. Griffin gave a compelling and powerful performance, and the show has been tweaked since its original production for running time.

Hamilton Fringe runs July 14-24 and Sister Annunciata’s Secret runs July 15-24 (see the show page for various dates/times). Highly recommended. Check out the trailer:

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New Ideas Festival 2017: Call for Scripts is now!

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) is an annual, three-week juried festival of new plays, works-in-progress and experimental theatre. Each week features a different program of up to four plays, as well as a workshopped reading on Saturday at noon. The 2017 festival, NIF’s 29th season, will run from March 8 to 26, 2017.

New Ideas Festival 2017. Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

New Ideas Festival 2017.
Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

NIF offers dramaturgical support, rehearsal and production space, technical support, access to Alumnae Theatre’s costume and props collections, publicity and sold-out houses.

When to Submit:

Send them now!  The deadline for submissions is September 5, 2016 (September 15 for members of Alumnae Theatre Company). Preference will be given to Canadian scripts and scripts with challenging roles for women of all ages. NIF welcomes voices from diverse communities.

  • Scripts must be original works that have not been previously performed outside of a workshop;
  • Scripts may be in any genre or style, but preference given to Canadian writers and scripts with good roles for women;
  • There are no geographical restrictions to submissions, but please see THINGS TO NOTE re: playwright availability & involvement;
  • Maximum running time 40 minutes. One act of a full-length play may also be accepted for production.  Submissions longer than 40 minutes will be considered for a one-time staged reading to showcase the script development accomplished during the rehearsal period;
  • Each playwright may submit a maximum of two scripts;
  • Scripts or proposals should be submitted electronically in PDF or Word format to Submissions are read ‘blind’, so there must NOT be any identifying information on the script pages;
  • Please include a cover page providing: play title; • list and description of characters (including age); • short play synopsis.
  • Send a separate contact page with the play title, playwright’s name and contact information, and a short bio (75 words or less).
  • Scripts which do not conform to these guidelines will not be considered.


  • There is no fee to submit to or participate in New Ideas Festival. Playwrights will not be paid a royalty or any share of Box Office receipts.
  • NIF does not provide feedback on submissions.
  • Expect confirmation of receipt of your script within 2 weeks.
  • The lineup of New Ideas Festival 2017 will be announced in early November 2016.
  • ‘Creative Exchange’ (think Speed Dating for chosen playwrights and potential directors!) on Nov 5.
  • Cold readings of all the chosen plays, Dec 6-9.
  • Playwrights must be available (Skype is an option) for the Creative Exchange and for at least one of the December cold reads dates.
  • Playwrights help choose the director for their script, and may be as involved as they wish in casting and rehearsal process.
  • Performances and most rehearsals will take place at Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St.) in Toronto.
  • Future productions must include a program note: “First performed at Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival, 2017”.


See our website at for more info.


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Audition notice for “THIS” (June 20, 22, 23)

‘Tis true, summer has barely begun, but just in time for Summer Solstice, comes the auditions for the first production in Alumnae Theatre Company’s 2016/17 season, This by Melissa James Gibson.    The production will be directed by Rebecca Ballarin, who directed a staged reading of Kristen Shepherd’s play Curved in Alumnae’s New Ideas Festival back in March.  She has also directed new works for InspiraTO, New Voices (Ryerson), the Edmonton Fringe, and U of T Drama Fest, and is the co-creator and director of Toronto-based drag queen Pearle Harbour.  Rebecca “likes to explore the complexities and contradictions that define the human experience”.

Poster by Suzanne Courtney

Poster by Suzanne Courtney

Canadian-born/New York-based playwright Melissa James Gibson is also a prolific TV writer – for the popular Netflix series House of Cards, and the award-winning series The Americans.  Her play This is described as an “un-romantic comedy”.  It opened off-Broadway in 2009, and had its Canadian premiere in 2011.


By Melissa James Gibson

Directed by Rebecca Ballarin
Performance dates:  Sept 16 – Oct 1, 2016

“…why are you sitting in the almost dark?’

‘It’s the human condition Jane in case you haven’t noticed’…”


A raw, unapologetic glimpse into the lives of five friends approaching middle-age and grappling with where they’ve found themselves and what could, or should, come next. Absurd and honest, Gibson’s script sits on the edge between comedic and deeply painful, revealing the grit underneath the surface of her characters and their relationships, and lying bare the imperfections and insecurities that make them (and us) human.
Jane – (F) Caucasian, 38 years old. Widowed one year ago, mother to a nine-year-old daughter, poet and teacher, met Marrell, Tom, and Alan in college; she is struggling with how to grieve, and how to reconcile how she is perceived by her friends and how she sees herself and her actions.

Marrell – (F) African-American, 38 years old. Married to Tom, new mother, jazz singer/songwriter, met Jane, Tom and Alan in college; particular, a Type-A personality, she idealizes Jane’s past marriage and has mixed feelings about her own. *Please note that actors auditioning for this role must be able to sing. Ability to play piano is an asset.*

Tom – (M) Caucasian, early 40s. Married to Marrell, new father, woodworker/craftsman with a “close-but-never-a-cigar business”, worked at the college that Jane, Marrell, and Alan attended; impulsive, laidback, stubborn, he is grasping at straws.

Alan – (M) Caucasian, Jewish, 40. A mnemonist, met Jane, Marrell and Tom in college; astute, blunt, and cynical – the most outwardly self-aware of the friend group, he feels stuck and wants more.

Jean-Pierre – (M) French (France), late 30s, performers of any ethnicity are encouraged to audition. An acquaintance of Marrell’s, a ‘doctor without borders’ who is in America for a brief stint before returning to work in Africa; progressive, worldly, alluring. *Please note that this role will require a French (France) accent.*

Mon June 20; Wed June 22; Thu June 23  (2-5pm and 6-9pm)

CALLBACKS:      Saturday, June 25 (1 – 5pm)


To request an audition, please send your headshot and resume to by Sunday, June 19.

Please indicate whether you are a member of Alumnae Theatre Company.  All members will be seen.  Those selected to audition will be contacted.

Rehearsals will be evenings and weekends beginning in July


Alumnae Theatre Company encourages diversity in its membership and casting.

Please note this is a non-union and non-paying engagement.

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Audition notice for “Outside Mullingar” (Toronto Irish Players)

Toronto Irish Players logoThe Toronto Irish Players are holding auditions in late June for their fall production, which will be on the Main Stage of Alumnae Theatre.  Outside Mullingar, described as “an Irish Moonstruck”, was nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Tony Awards.



By John Patrick Shanley

Directed by Harvey Levkoe

Produced by Susan McQueen

 AUDITIONS: SUNDAY, June 26 (1-6pm) and MONDAY, June 27 (7-10pm), 2016


REHEARSALS: Start SUNDAY, August 28, 2016 – TUESDAY/ THURSDAY/ SUNDAY schedule, with some table work in August

PERFORMANCES: OCTOBER 20 – November 5, 2016 at The Alumnae Theatre, Toronto

 OUTSIDE MULLINGAR is a compassionate, delightful work about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love. Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40. They have spent their entire lives on cattle farms in rural Ireland. Rosemary lives right next door to Anthony and is determined to have him, while watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father, Tony, threatening to disinherit him and, a land feud simmering between their families, and Aoife, her mother as mediator, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe. But then in this very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground. Their journey is heartbreaking, funny and ultimately, deeply moving.


CHARACTERS & AGES TO BE PLAYED (Accents are not needed at auditions):

TONY, 75 Bullying, tough-love father to Anthony. Easily provoked to anger & stubborn. Lives with a great deal of resentment and bitterness.


AOIFE, 70 (Eo-fuh) Nurturing and protective mother to Rosemary and surrogate mother to Anthony. Plays the role of mediator between Anthony and Tony.


ROSEMARY, 39 Anthony’s powerful, feisty neighbour with a clarity of vision. She knows what she wants but getting it is complicated. Inherited her father’s stubbornness. Determined to have Anthony, she fluctuates between despair and hope.


ANTHONY, 42 Painfully shy, a joyless farmer who is torn about staying, while listening to the voice that tells him to “go.” He has stopped noticing anything outside himself and lives with the fear of rejection and failure.


TO BOOK AN AUDITION – Contact Judith Levkoe at and indicate your preferred audition date, time and the character for whom you wish to audition. Attach your resume with contact number & a recent head shot. Alternately, call Judith at 416-214-4770 and provide the above info as well as your email address.

 LOCATION – Auditions and rehearsals will be held at Kimbourne Park United Church, 200 Wolverleigh Blvd, one black north of the Coxwell Subway Station exit, and east of Coxwell.


PREPARATION – If the Director does not know your work, prepare a 2-minute monologue. Read the play before your audition as there will be readings from the script.

SCRIPT- A copy of OUTSIDE MULLINGAR will be available upon request.

 PLEASE NOTE: Toronto Irish Players (TIP) is a non-profit, non-Equity community theatre group. Participants are not paid, and union members (ACTRA/Equity) cannot be used. If cast, it is required that you join the Toronto Irish Players group.

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