“Stepping Out” opens on Friday Jan 22!

When Stepping Out opens on Friday, the Main Stage of Alumnae Theatre is transformed into a London church basement.

 (L - R) Felicia Simone, Mish Tam, Kay Randewich , Jessica Westermann, Alyssa Quart Cartlidge, Rebecca Grenier, Scott Turner, Lisa Kovac in STEPPING OUT at Alumnae Theatre, Jan 22 - Feb 6, 2016. Photo: Bruce Peters.

(L – R)
Felicia Simone, Mish Tam, Kay Randewich, Jessica Westermann, Alyssa Quart Cartlidge, Rebecca Grenier, Scott Turner, Lisa Kovac in STEPPING OUT at Alumnae Theatre, Jan 22 – Feb 6, 2016.
Photo: Bruce Peters.

The award-winning script was penned in 1984 by British writer Richard Harris (no, not the actor!), inspired by a dance class that his wife, dancer-turned-actress Hilary Crane, suggested he check out.

Brenda Darling directs Alumnae Theatre Company’s production, which is choreographed by Alyssa Martin.

The production is this season’s Retrospective Choice: during the lead-up to our 100th birthday in February 2018, Alumnae Theatre Company will remount a play which was previously produced here. Stepping Out originally appeared in our 1989/90 season, directed then by Mavis Hayman. Check out the lobby display, which includes photos and the program from that show!

The story is set in the 80s, so prepare to be dazzled by bright tights, shiny catsuits, and leg warmers. Former professional dancer Mavis (Jessica Westermann*) and her grumpy piano accompanist Mrs. Fraser (Jeanette Dagger*) lead seven quirky women (Alyssa Quart Cartlidge, Linette Doherty*, Rebecca Grenier, Lisa Kovack, Kay Randewich, Felicia Simone, Mish Tam) and one brave man (Scott Turner) with varying levels of competence in a weekly community tap dance class.

For cast bios and ticket info, please visit the Stepping Out page on our website: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/stepping-out.html


*Appearing by permission of CAEA

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Call for Directors for 2016/17 season

Alumnae logoCalling experienced non-union directors! Alumnae Theatre Company invites you to submit a proposal to direct one of these three plays in our 2016/17 season:

 THIS by Melissa James Gibson

September 16 – October 1, 2016

The Gut Girls by Sarah Daniels

(retrospective choice, first presented in Alumnae’s 1997/98 season)

January 20 – February 4, 2017


The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

April 7 – 22, 2017


Application deadline is Thursday, Feb 11, but early submissions are encouraged!

Interviews will be scheduled between Feb 16 – 25 (actual dates TBA) at Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St., Toronto).

Reading copies of the plays are available at the Performing Arts Desk in Toronto Reference Library, 5th floor.


To apply: Please send your CV and a brief (max. 6 sentence) letter that summarizes both your directing experience and your interest in one of the programmed plays to Program Committee Chair Joanne Williams at theorytheplay@gmail.com no later than February 11 at 11:59pm.

*SUBJECT LINE of e-mail must include your name and the play title you are interested in pitching to direct.*

Previous experience with Alumnae is not required.


Directors selected for an interview will be asked to prepare a proposal outlining your ideas for a full production. (A template detailing what the proposal should include will be provided.) Your written proposal will be due no later than February 14.


Please note that Alumnae Theatre Company is a non-union house (volunteer-run and non-profit), and this is a non-paying engagement. We love our Equity and ACTRA friends, but have no budget to pay your fees!

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Audition notice for “August: Osage County” (Jan 17-19)

Anyone fancy a little play reading over the holidays? You might want to slot that in, because auditions for the final production in Alumnae Theatre Company’s season, August: Osage County, take place January 17 – 19!

August Osage County imageRemember the 2013 film version?  It starred Meryl Streep as Violet, Julia Roberts as Barbara (both received Oscar nominations), and some English dude named Benedict Cumberbatch as Little Charles… http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3037715456/tt1322269?ref_=tt_ov_i

The play earned playwright Tracy Letts the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and won five Tony awards (Best Play, Best Direction – Anna D. Shapiro, Best Scenic Design, Leading Actress -Deanna Dunagan, Featured Actress – Rondi Reed as Mattie Fae) for the original Broadway production.

Alumnae Theatre Company’s production (April 8 – 23, 2016) will be directed by Victoria Shepherd, who has helmed many shorts in Alumnae’s Big Ideas and New Ideas, as well as Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke on the mainstage. Other favourite directing credits are the Titanic-themed drama Scotland Road (for Amicus Productions) and the charming, based-on-a-true-Canadian-story Queen Mili of Galt (for Village Playhouse).


August: Osage County
By Tracy Letts
Directed by Victoria Shepherd
Performance dates: April 8 – 23, 2016

When the family patriarch vanishes, the Westons return to rural Oklahoma to care for their afflicted, manipulative mother.  Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, Tracy Letts’ darkly comic drama is a harrowing epic that puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional”.

Beverly Weston:   The father of the Weston family, 69  –  (age range 60 – 75)
Violet Weston:   The mother of the Weston family, 65 –  (age range 60 – 70)
Barbara Fordham:   The oldest daughter of the Weston family, 46  – (age range 40 – 50ish)
Ivy Weston:   The middle daughter of the Weston family, 44 – (range late 30’s – late 40’s)
Karen Weston:   The youngest daughter in the Weston family, 40 –  (age range 30’s – 45)
Bill Fordham:   Barbara’s estranged husband and Jean’s father, 49 – (age range 40’s – 55)
Jean Fordham:   Bill and Barbara’s smart-tongued teenage daughter – (age range 14-19)
Steve Heidebrecht:   Karen’s fiancé, 50 – (age range mid 40’s to mid 50”s)
Mattie Fae Aiken:    Violet’s sister, 57 –  (age range 50 – 65)
Charlie Aiken:   Husband of Mattie Fae & presumed father of Little Charles, 60 – (range 55-65)
“Little Charles” Aiken:   Son of Mattie Fae and Beverly, 37 – (age range 30-45)
Johnna Monevata**:   Young, empathic Cheyenne woman who works as housekeeper to the Weston family and is the silent witness to the family dysfunction, 26 (range 20’s-30’s)
Sheriff Deon Gilbeau:   High-school classmate & former boyfriend of Barbara’s, 47 (range 40-50ish)
**Alumnae Theatre Company is auditioning First Nations, Metis or Inuit actors for the role of Johnna

Sunday January 17, 2016 from noon – 6:00pm
Monday January 18, 2016  from 6:00 – 10:00pm
Tuesday January 19, 2016 from 6:00 – 10:00 pm

CALLBACKS: evenings of January 25 & (if required) January 26.

Please prepare a short (2-3 min.) contemporary monologue.
Please read the play before auditioning. Reading copies are available at the Toronto Reference Library, 5th floor – Performing Arts desk.
Please submit or bring your photo and résumé.

Please e-mail augustauditionsATC@gmail.com or leave a message on the audition line at 416-364-4170 ext 3.
Auditions will be held at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley Street (SW corner of Berkeley and Adelaide)

The Alumnae Theatre Company encourages diversity in its membership and casting. Please note this is a non-paying engagement.

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Call for Stage Managers for New Ideas Festival 2016

So you know about the New Ideas Festival, right? A longtime highlight of Alumnae Theatre Company’s season, the 2016 Festival (running March 9-27) is the 28th annual! Each year, the Festival producers solicit submissions of short plays which have never before been staged – hence the name “New Ideas”. They can be any genre or style, and submissions come from all over the world. Scripts generally range from 10-40 minutes running time, and only 15 plays are selected. See December 4 blog post for this season’s lineup.


Would you like to get involved in New Ideas Festival and join the fun this year? NIF needs stage managers for many of the 15 short plays. We will provide training if you don’t have experience. Rehearsals start February 1.

Important dates:
• Thurs., Jan. 21:  Production meeting & stage manager orientation 7–9 pm
• Tues., Jan. 26: Special workshop for stage managers
• Mon., Feb. 1:  Rehearsals begin
• Wed., Feb. 17: Production meeting and lighting demo 7–9 pm
• Thurs., Feb. 25 – Sat., March 6: Tech days by week
• Wed., March 9 – Sun., March 27: New Ideas Festival performances.
Each show runs one week (6 performances), and the readings have one performance each at noon on the three festival Saturdays.
If you are interested in stage managing a play in the New Ideas Festival, please email newideasfestival@gmail.com and put Stage Manager in the subject line.

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

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Announcing lineup for New Ideas Festival 2016

Last week’s post was the audition notice – auditions for New Ideas Festival 2016 take place January 6-10. Where do the plays come from? 250 scripts were submitted to the Festival this year, and from this, the 15 below were selected. These are the short plays that actors will be auditioning for. [Names in bold are members of Alumnae Theatre Company]  New Ideas 2016 image

Week 1  (March 9-13, 2016)

Stuck by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson

Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran

The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz

This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady

Reading (Sat March 12 at noon)

A Better Place by Ramona Baillie, directed by Chelsea Dab Hilke


Week 2  (March 15-20, 2016)

Housekeeping by Jean Koppen, directed by Ingryd Pleitez

Pose Ball by Caitie Graham, directed by Emily Nixon

War and Peace: A Family Story by Krystyna Hunt, directed by Rebecca Grace

Yeats in Love by Anne Tait, directed by Jane Carnwath

Reading   (Sat March 19 at noon)

Curved by Kristen Shepherd, directed by Rebecca Ballarin


Week 3  (March 23-27, 2016)

Provenance by Linda McCready, directed by Pam Redfern

Trying by Norma Crawford, directed by Juliet Paperny

Sick Kids Wanna Talk to You by Carolyn Bennett, directed by Jennifer McKinley

Four Hours by Joan Burrows, directed by Helen Munroe

Reading   (Sat March 26 at noon)

Omission by Alice Abracen, directed by Michela Sisti


The 250 scripts received were almost an even split between writers from Canada and international writers (mostly from USA; a few from UK and Ireland).

The chosen playwrights hail from Ontario – Toronto, Hamilton (Andrew Lee), London (Deanna Kruger), North Bay (Kristen Shepherd) and Quebec – Montreal (Alice Abracen); and the USA is represented by Jean Koppen from Alexandria, Virginia.

Once the reading committee had chosen the scripts, New Ideas Festival held its Creative Exchange on November 14, to match up writers and directors. The Creative Exchange is a bit like speed dating:  each applicant to direct meets for 10 minutes with each of the writers, after which both writers and directors submit their top three choices to the NIF producers. After some juggling, the producers match up the NIF creative teams, and schedule the weekly program of plays for the Festival.

So polish up that monologue, and book your audition!

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New Ideas Festival 2016 Audition Notice

New Ideas 2016 imageNew Ideas is a three-week juried festival of 15 new works.  A program of 4 short plays (changing each week) runs Wednesday to Sunday, and additionally the staged reading of a longer script is presented at noon on each Saturday.

Script submissions (solicited back in July) have been waded through by the reading committee. 15 scripts have been selected and programmed. Directors have been interviewed and selected. And now, Alumnae Theatre Company’s 28th annual New Ideas Festival (March 9 – 27, 2016) seeks actors!

Non-union actors of all ages (18+) and ethnicities are invited to apply for auditions.

General Auditions (all New Ideas directors and many playwrights in attendance) will be held:

Wed – Fri: January 6, 7 & 8 evenings

Sat & Sun: January 9 & 10 daytime

Callbacks:  the second/third week of January

 Actors must be available for rehearsals beginning February 1.

 NOTE: Auditions will be booked according to age and gender, so actors should keep all the audition dates free until they receive an audition time.

Actors will perform a two-minute monologue of their choice and
a side* from one of the plays. (Alumnae members have the choice of reading two sides rather than presenting a prepared monologue.)

*Sides will be available on Alumnae website (http://www.alumnaetheatre.com) after Dec 20.

Please print an appropriate side and bring it to the audition, along with your résumé and headshot.


To book an audition, please email: NIFauditions@gmail.com

Give your name, gender, acting age range, email address, phone number,
and say whether you are a member of Alumnae Theatre Company.

No emails between December 20 and 27 please.

 Auditions will be held in the Studio at Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street, Toronto).

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“A Play on Passion”: staged reading Nov 20 & 21

This weekend only!!

A Play on Passion:  An actress, a writer, some love stories…and a life change!

Patricia Delves and Gabriel DiFabio in "A Play on Passion".

Patricia Delves and Gabriel DiFabio in
“A Play on Passion”.

An actress and writer come together rather reluctantly.  He’s forced to ghost-write an autobiography that she feels she can manage just fine on her own.  Will they find they have more in common than they thought, as her enchanting recollections of past loves weave their spell on him?


Patricia Delves, a member of Alumnae Theatre Company for more than 30 years, stars in the staged reading of A Play on Passion.  Patricia also co-wrote A Play on Passion with Greg Corkum (who has acted in New Ideas), and she performs in it with Gabriel DiFabio (Write Now!) .

The staged reading is produced and directed by Danielle Capretti (The Queens; New Ideas; Write Now!).


Q: Danielle – how did you come to be involved?  At what stage of the process?

A (director Danielle Capretti): I had the privilege to be cast in Patricia’s magnificent production of Hay Fever at Village Playhouse in 2009.  Since then, we have worked on several projects together, including Dialogues of the Gods (No Sweetheart Required/Cabbagetown Theatre, 2012) and Domestic Manners of the Americans (Albanian tour, 2013).  A Play on Passion is a project that [co-writer] Greg Corkum, Patricia and I started talking about in May 2012.  I felt that the richness of Patricia’s life and experiences were more than enough to inspire a play.


Q: How did you find Patricia’s co-star in A Play on Passion, Gabriel DiFabio?

A: Gabriel, Greg and I met when cast in Hay Fever.  We have also been involved in several projects together since then, including a staged reading of Conspiracy by Loring Mandel (2014).  Most recently, Gabriel was an actor in Write Now 2015 at Alumnae Theatre, in a play that I directed (Starshine by Linda McCready).


Q: Patricia, you’ve been concentrating on directing recently, mainly at Village Playhouse.

A: Yes, I’ve performed at Alumnae in several New Ideas Festivals and Write Now events over the years, but not recently.  The last New Ideas show I did was a solo piece called Just Reward, in 2003.  Frankly, this is a performance in which I take pride!


Q: Is this the first play you’ve written?

A: I’ve written short stories, but this is the first time I have written for the stage.  It started life as a very short piece for a Valentine’s show, which then got cancelled before we had barely started to write.  At Danielle’s urging, Greg and I picked it up again around May of this year and re-wrote and expanded it.  I have known Greg for many years, and have directed him both in a full-length play – Hay Fever (together with Danielle and Gabriel) – and with Danielle in several Valentine’s shows.


A Play on Passion

VENUE: Blake Thorne Studio, 720 Bathurst (south of Bloor), Suite 401.

PERFORMANCES: Fri Nov 20 at 8pm and Sat Nov 21 at 2.30pm.

INFO/RESERVATIONS: 416-762-4364. Admission is PWYW (pay what you want).

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