Alumnae Theatre in Doors Open Toronto 2017

Alumnae Theatre in 2013.

In 2017, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, and Alumnae Theatre Company turns 100 years young next February!

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

Come take a peek inside 70 Berkeley Street during Doors Open Toronto this weekend.

Firemen (with horse-drawn and mechanical fire engines) outside 70 Berkeley Street, circa 1915.

You’ll see photos and a video of the building throughout the years – the present configuration was constructed around 1905, as well as books about architect Ron Thom (who converted the slated-for-demolition building from a firehall to a theatre in 1971-72), and the Toronto Fire Department.

Members of Alumnae Theatre Company will be available to answer questions (ask them if they’ve had contact with our resident ghosts!) and conduct tours to the Studio.

 

Due to rehearsals in the space – hey, it’s a theatre!  InspiraTO Festival opens June 1 – some areas will be off limits (Main auditorium, second floor, Tech booth).  InspiraTO is also using the 3rd floor Studio, but tours will be accommodated at 2:00 and 4:00om on both Saturday and Sunday.

 

Dorothy Clark McClure illustration of Alumnae Theatre, circa 1973.

We encourage visitors to take photos of the architectural features of the building, but please do *not* photograph InspiraTO cast and crew.  When you post your photos on social media, we’d love it if you would tag your photos @alumnaetheatre and @Doors_OpenTO, and use the hashtag #DOT17.

 

Pick up a brochure of our 100th season lineup for 2017/18, and tour the building that’s been our home for 45 years.

We’re open 10am – 5pm on Saturday May 27, and 1 – 5pm on Sunday 28th.

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=42eafa2cd4a64410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

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Artist Profile: Ali Joy Richardson, Director

Ali Joy Richardson and Laura Jabalee Johnston (plus lighting designer Steph Raposo) went straight from working on Sarah Ruhl’s dark-ish comedy The Clean House (closed April 22) for Alumnae Theatre Company to this new project: Sophia Fabiilli’s delightful modern farce, Liars At A Funeral.     Running to May 14 at St. Vladimir Theatre  (620 Spadina Ave., Toronto).

https://truthnliestheatre.com/

 

inthegreenroom

Interview by Hallie Seline

We’re all about hard-working #bossbabes being at the helm of the theatre we see, so it was such a joy to catch up with Ali Joy Richardson to discuss her latest directing project, Liars at a Funeral, why her directing mentors have been instrumental in assembling her own director’s utility belt, and the top three pieces of advice she’s living by right now. 

HS: Tell me a bit about your current directing project, Liars at a Funeral, and what caught your interest when deciding to direct it.

Ali Joy Richardson:Liars at a Funeral is set in a funeral home in Northern Ontario where a grandmother has faked her own death in order to get her family back together for Christmas. It’s a farce: 4 doors, 5 actors playing 9 characters, and a family curse of female twins who hate one another…but without the stale sexism…

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Big Ideas 2017: FREE readings of full-length plays, May 11-1

The “official” season of Alumnae Theatre Company is over, but the playwrights of Alumnae’s New Play Development group (the NPD) have a bonus treat for you:  this year’s edition of Big Ideas.  Over the course of a week, Thursday May 11 – Thursday May 18, head up to the 3rd floor Studio in Alumnae Theatre to see staged readings of 5 full-length plays-in-progress that are being dramaturged in the group.

These readings are FREE (but donations much appreciated!); no reservations required.  Give your feedback on these developing works, and you may see these titles show up in the company’s New Ideas Festival (March) or FireWorks (November) in a year or two.

Here’s the lineup of Big Ideas 2017 – all events start at 8pm in the Studio.   Enter via the front door (70 Berkeley Street) as usual.

Thursday, May 11:     THE BAY, by Liz Best, directed by Ramona Baillie.

Synopsis: Two high school students spend a few months at a seniors’ residence to complete their community service hours.

CAST:

Kathleen Allamby – Claire

Lucy Brennan – Tessie

Razie Brownstone – Hannah

Daryn Dewalt  – Pat

Seanna Kennedy – Felice

Carol McLennan – Barbara

Ian Orr – Morris

Robert Ouellette – Jed

Steven Pereira – Daniel

Kate Shroder – Emilia

Susan Q Wilson – Helen

 

Friday, May 12:         VERITAS, by Lynda Martens, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.

Synopsis:  The dramatic true story of a Father’s quest for the truth after his son died under mysterious circumstances at the Royal Military College of Canada in 2003.  With an ensemble cast of nine actors playing over thirty characters, the play features actual text from a public inquest into the death.

CAST:

Adam Bonney

Chris Coculuzzi

Roxanne Deans

Nick Eddie

Melinda Jordan

Amy Meyers

Steven Pereira

Rob Prince

Mike Vitorovich

 

Saturday, May 13:     KILL WOMAN, by Judith Fiore, directed by Pat McCarthy.

Synopsis:  On a beautiful Spring afternoon, a professor of poetry and English literature is out for a walk. She is facing a serious and life-threatening situation, and she happens to come upon an unkempt woman who is also dealing with a terrible problem. With humour and compassion, they explore what their lives have amounted to.

CAST:

Lisa Lenihan – Unkempt Woman

Clara Matheson – Professor

 

Wednesday, May 17:    I AM AWAKE, by Anne MacMillan, directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson.

Synopsis:  A gothic paranormal story in early mid-19th century of a young Irish girl who has to escape her traumatic first employment as a lady’s maid through a forest with wolves, is thrown out by her parents who feel disgraced, saved by her grandmother and the nuns, is sent to Canada for a new beginning again as a lady’s maid, only to run into an evil other-worldly master, a helpful ghost who tries to save her and a young man who is keen to take her fishing…

CAST:

Lucy Brennan – Grannie

Michael-David Blostein – Elgin

Sheila Charleton – Apparition Mary

Claire Keating – Mary

Emmet Leahy – Harry

Frans Robinow – Wagoner

Ronak Singh – Gatekeeper

Morna Wales – Nun

 

Thursday, May 18:     WHERE TRUTH LIES, by Carol Libman, directed by Claren Grosz.

Synopsis:  What happens when a long-held family secret is secret no longer?  Does anyone really know where truth lies?

CAST:

Kathleen Allamby – Martha

Martha Breen – Cathy

Paquito Hernaci – John

Jamie Johnson – Peter

Tina McCulloch – Karen

Mike Vitorovich – Andre.

 

Check out Alumnae Theatre Company’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AlumnaeTheatre/, and also our website at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/  for news of our upcoming 100th season starting in October!

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Director Call for “Queen Marie” (interviews start May 22)

The 2017/18 season is Alumnae Theatre Company’s 100th – if you can believe it – and in recognition of our history, the season will feature Canadian plays written by women and directed by women.

For the last production of the season, we proudly present Queen Marie (running April 13-28, 2018), by award-winning playwright (and company member) Shirley Barrie.

 

To direct this large-cast, humorous play with music, song and dance, we are seeking an experienced director – either union or non-union.

 

Queen Marie features the traumas and triumphs of Marie Dressler (1868?–1934), a tenacious, flamboyant actor and comedienne from rural Cobourg, Ontario who became internationally famous.  She had a long and checkered career starting at age 14 – performing in roadshows, vaudeville, Broadway, and films including a 1914 silent with Charlie Chaplin, a 1932 “talkie” with Greta Garbo (Anna Christie), and earning a Best Actress Oscar in 1930 for her dramatic role in the film Min and Bill.

 

In a quote attributed to her, she said:  “I’m too homely for a prima donna and too ugly for a soubrette.”

Unlucky in love, she inspired lifelong loyalty in her friends, and was fearless in taking on injustice.

http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/marie-dressler/

Queen Marie was first produced by 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook, Ont.) in 2012.

http://www.shirleybarrie.ca/writing/plays-for-adults/queen-marie

Applications to direct the play for Alumnae Theatre Company are being currently accepted:

Both non-union and union directors are welcome to apply. CAEA directors will be considered under Amateur Policy Contract. Cast is non-union.

We are also seeking a non-union Music Director and Choreographer.

 

Please submit your résumé with a 2-3 sentence statement explaining why you wish to direct Queen Marie to:  queenmarieATC@gmail.com with subject heading: QM Director Call

 

If chosen for an interview, you will be given access to the script and asked to prepare an outline of your vision for the production.

 Interviews begin May 22 and continue as necessary.

http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/directors.html

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Tributes to theatre reviewer Jon Kaplan

Toronto theatre reviewer Jon Kaplan died on Friday, April 28.

He was a well-known fixture at many local theatres, large and small, and his reviews were very balanced – if he hated a production, the review usually contained some constructive criticism.  NOW magazine, where he worked for 35 years, has been “flooded with tributes, memories and love” in his honour.  Many theatres published photos of a seat with a “Reserved for Jon Kaplan” sign on it over the weekend. 

https://nowtoronto.com/stage/dim-the-lights-of-every-toronto-theatre-jon-kaplan/?utm_content=buffer664e4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

NOW’s Senior Entertainment Editor Susan G. Cole published a touching tribute to her longtime friend and co-worker on April 28:  https://nowtoronto.com/stage/theatre/in-memoriam-jon-kaplan-1947-2017/

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Lynn Himmelman’s ‘Laughing Workshop’, April 20 (a pre-show event re: “The Clean House”

Sarah Ruhl’s play The Clean House addresses the topics of love, betrayal, and loss; and shows – as one review put it – “the funny world of love and relationships”.  One of the themes running through the play is laughter: the character of reluctant housecleaner Matilde (Marina Moreira) is an aspiring comedian, constantly trying to come up with the perfect joke.

Producer Laura Jabalee Johnston and assistant director Nevada Banks got ‘laughter coach’ Lynn Himmelman to do a one-hour session for The Clean House audience, pre-show on Thursday evening (April 20).

Lynn, who said she used to be an opera singer, shared with the group an incident showing how laughter helped her overcome the loss of her father.  She had everyone do exercises like the Knee Slapper, laughing while pretending to read a credit card bill, and laughing continuously for 60 seconds.

Several people commented on the unexpected workout that laughing gave their ab muscles, and one was heard to mutter, “No more sit-ups, ever again!”

At the end of the session, one participant remarked that “Everyone seems better-looking now!”

Lynn agreed:  “Everyone’s light is shining.”

 

Teresa Bottaro, Alumnae Theatre Company’s Director of Marketing, shot some video of Lynn leading the group in the Knee Slapper exercise.

And I bet the ‘Laughter’ workshop was the reason that this audience had the most vocal response to The Clean House that I’ve seen during the show’s run.

Check out Lynn Himmelman’s website for more info: http://lynn.sites.toronto.com/

The last two performances of The Clean House are at 8pm on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22.

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