Category Archives: 2015/16 season

Antigone: Sept 18 – Oct 3, 2015
FireWorks (Divine Wrecks / Radical / Cottage Radio): Nov 4 – 22, 2015
Stepping Out (retrospectve): Jan 22 – Feb 6, 2016
28th annual New Ideas Festival: March 9 – 27, 2016
August: Osage County: April 8 – 29, 2016.

Big Ideas 2016: Free readings of full-length plays, May 9-15

Yes, 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.  Big Ideas image & wordsFrom Monday May 9 – Sunday May 15, head up to the 3rd floor Studio to see readings of 10 full-length plays-in-progress.  All FREE (but donations much appreciated).

Give your feedback on these developing works, and you may see these titles show up in New Ideas Festival (March) or FireWorks (November) in a year or two!
Here’s the lineup of Big Ideas 2016 – please note the different start times:

DATE TIME PLAY TITLE WRITER
Mon May 9 8:00 pm Bargains in the New World

In New France, the colonists make bargains with God, the devil and each other to fit into or escape the king.

Donna Langevin
Tue  May 10 8:00 pm Shattered Dreams on St. Helena

Napoleon feared one person, and now she has come to haunt his dreams in exile as he dictates his memoir.

Kristine Greenaway
Wed May 11 8:00 pm Into The Abyss

A drama based on historical figures in Niagara Falls, including daredevils, circus showmen and female impersonators.

Nina Kaye
Thu May 12 8:00 pm *A Very Different Place

“You can’t go home again,” so said Thomas Wolfe.  But if you chance it, what you’ll find – is a very different place.

Carol Libman
Fri May 13 8:00 pm The River Flows Both Ways

Margaret Laurence, faced with yet another move, packs up mementos from her lifelong search for acceptance and belonging – a “tribe” and a home.

Jane Carnwath
Sat May 14 2:00 pm Where The Heart Is

Irish matriarch Mairead confounds, confronts and comforts her family.

Mary Barnes Amoroso
Sat May 14 3:15 pm They All Get Off The Bus

Unexpected happenings on a family farm in the 1970s.

Anne MacMillan
Sat May 14 8:00 pm **Yeats in Love

The love story of W.B. Yeats & Maud Gonne: a poet and a firebrand.  He is obsessed with her. She is obsessed with Irish freedom.

Anne Tait
Sun May 15 2:00 pm Run, Father, Run

The collision of a priest who can’t allow himself to be human, and a woman who can’t allow herself to be loved.

Lynda Martens
Sun May 15 7:00 pm A Little Happiness

Madness, murder and medical ethics are all themes of this complex and compelling drama.

Ramona Baillie

 

*a short version appeared in New Ideas Festival 2010

**a short version appeared in New Ideas Festival 2016 – video trailer by Nicholas Porteous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8PrSod97-k&feature=youtu.be

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Casual cruelty & family secrets in ferociously funny, devastatingly poignant August: Osage County

Review of “August” – running to April 23.

life with more cowbell

_DSC5303 Marie Carriere Gleason (foreground), with Paul Cotton, Kelly-Marie Murtha, Melinda Jordan, Pearl Ho & Andrew Batten – photos by Bruce Peters

Alumnae Theatre Company cordially invites you to attend a family gathering at the home of Beverly and Violet Weston in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Alumnae opened its production of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County on the mainstage last night. Directed by Victoria Shepherd and featuring a talented ensemble, this is family dysfunction at its grittiest, no holds barred best.

When the Weston family patriarch (Thomas Gough) goes missing, middle daughter Ivy (Andrea Lyons) – the only child who stayed in town – rallies the family around her ailing mother Violet (Marie Carriere Gleason). Violet’s sister Mattie Fae (Carol McLennan) and husband Charlie (Rob Candy) are the first to arrive, and we get a sense of the estrangement that underpins the family dynamic. The Weston’s oldest daughter Barbara (Kelly-Marie Murtha) is the…

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Community, conflict & discovery in New Ideas funny & poignant Week 3 program

Review of the Week Three lineup.

life with more cowbell

NIF 2016It’s the final week of Alumnae Theatre’sNew Ideas Festival (NIF),  and the Week 3 program features an extra bonus show: a lobby play. So get to the theatre early (around 7:30 p.m. to get a good spot in the lobby near the staircase to the mainstage) for this extra NIF treat.

The Nurse (lobby playby Francine Dick, directed by Mandy Roveda and featuring actor Margaret Rose Keery). A delightful short solo piece, and very meta as actor Keery plays an actor reluctantly preparing for a callback for Romeo and Juliet. She starts out being certain she’s not right for the part, but as enlists assistance from the audience to read with her as she prepares – against her will – she learns something about the part and possibly about herself. Strong, engaging work from Keery.

Provenance (by Linda McCready, directed by Pam Redfern). Disillusioned chef…

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Passion, perception & revolution in New Ideas thoughtful Week 2 program

Review of New Ideas Festival’s Week Two lineup. Playing to Sun March 20.
A different lineup runs March 23-27 for Week Three!
http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2016.html

life with more cowbell

NIF 2016Alumnae Theatre continues its 2016 programming for its annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works with an engaging Week 2 program in the Studio space this week. Here’s what’s happening this week:

Housekeeping (by Jean Koppen, directed by Anne MacMillan). Three cleaners find something unexpected in a wealthy client’s home and their everyday routine is thrown into disarray as they debate the moral and ethical implications of their discover and what to do about it. At times darkly funny, the play highlights the stark realities of class, precarious work and distrust of a justice system that treats the rich differently from the rest of society. Really nice work from the cast: Morna Wales is tough, but fair and circumspect as Arlene, the veteran on the team; Aleksandra Maslennikova’s Jo is sharp, wary and cunningly resourceful; and Behiwot Degefu does a great job with the wide-eyed, irreverent and strong-willed…

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New Ideas Festival – Week One & Daylight Saving reminder

Alumnae Theatre Company’s annual New Ideas Festival is wrapping up its first week tomorrow.  Week Two begins Wednesday March 16, and Week Three begins Wednesday March 23.  Each week features a completely different slate of brand-new short plays, and audiences pay $15 for an evening (or matinee) of entertainment.   The 4 short plays programmed each week have a total running time of 90 – 120 mins, plus a 15-minute intermission.  Even if you come to see one particular play, audience members are expected to stay for the whole program.

Performances of the weekly lineup are Wed – Sat at 8pm, with 2:30 matinees on both Saturday and Sunday.  Each Saturday’s matinee is followed by a Talkback with writers and directors of that week.

New Ideas Festival also includes Saturday staged readings at noon: a longer play (approx. 50 minutes) followed by a Talkback with writer and director.  Admission to the readings is PWYC; no reservations necessary. Week Two reading (March 19) is Curved by Kristin Shepherd, directed by Rebecca Ballarin.  Week Three reading (March 26) is Omission by Alice Abracen, directed by Michela Sisti.

Here’s a sample of the plays and performers from Week One:

Cathie Nichols and Glenda Romano in Stuck by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.  New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

Cathie Nichols and Glenda Romano in Stuck by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

Lindsey Middleton and Anne Shepherd in Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran.  New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

Lindsey Middleton and Anne Shepherd in Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J. Todd Colley, Adam Bonney, Martha Breen, Amanda Jane Smith, Barbara Salsberg, and Nora Jane Williams in The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

J. Todd Colley, Adam Bonney, Martha Breen, Amanda Jane Smith, Barbara Salsberg, and Nora Jane Williams in The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Iseman, Laura Piccinin, and Laura Meadows in This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady.  New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

Stacey Iseman, Laura Piccinin, and Laura Meadows in This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a review of the Week One shows from the most excellent Life With More Cowbell:  https://lifewithmorecowbell.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/connection-dissension-and-endurance-in-new-ideas-compelling-week-1-program/

You’ve heard of “How To Fringe”?  Well, here’s How To New Ideas:  Hold seats and pay cash ($15 each) on arrival by e-mailing  reservations@alumnaetheatre.com or by phoning 416-364-4170 Box 1 .  OR purchase your tickets online at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=atc13 for a small service charge.

Remember, if you’re planning to attend tomorrow’s 2:30 matinee, the clocks SPRING FORWARD one hour tonight.

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New Ideas Festival 2016 opens next week! Plus some etiquette notes…

Week One of the New Ideas Festival opens in the Studio next Wednesday, March 9. It will feature the world premieres of short plays submitted by writers from just about everywhere, runs for 3 weeks, and each week there’s a totally different lineup.    New Ideas 2016 postcard

Unlike the Fringe Festival or SummerWorks, the New Ideas Festival is part of a company’s season of productions – it’s been a highlight of Alumnae Theatre Company’s seasons for 28 years now.

And also unlike Fringe or SummerWorks, which consist of individually-ticketed plays, the New Ideas audiences pay ONE ticket price ($15), and see four short plays.

Poster image for This Will Be My Last Transmission – last show in Week One lineup.

So yes:  even if you really only came to see your cousin’s brother-in-law’s stage debut, please stay for the WHOLE evening (or matinee) – it’s only polite to the other performers, writers, and directors.  And nobody wants to piss off the stage manager!  Plus, it might be a wee bit hazardous trying to exit during the dim scene-change lighting between plays.

During the show, please turn off all electronic devices that emit noise or light, and refrain from texting or e-mailing. Taking photos or audio/video recording is prohibited.

 

Here’s the Week One lineup (Wed March 9 – Sun March 13):

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.
Performances of this lineup are 8pm Wed – Sat, with 2:30 matinees on Sat and Sunday. There is a Talkback following the Saturday matinee.

Each week also includes a staged reading of one longer play (approx. 60 mins) followed by a Talkback. The staged readings are on Saturdays at noon – no reservations necessary; admission is PWYC. The Week One reading is A Better Place by Ramona Baillie, directed by Chelsea Dab Hilke.

 

This year’s Festival also features what the producers have dubbed “a lobby play” – a short piece to entertain audiences pre-show and during intermission. It will be hard to top Brenda Somers’ innuendo-filled turn in 2014’s lobby play Polish Your Pole: she played a cleaning lady responsible for all the poles in firehalls (“This is Kevin. He’s my favourite,” she would croon, caressing the pole opposite the Box Office!) This year’s lobby play is The Nurse  by Francine Dick, directed by Mandy Roveda.

See the full Festival lineup at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2016.html, and click on individual weeks to see photos and bios of the participants.

Tickets can be purchased by the week ($15 each) or a 6-ticket Flex Pass ($75) can be used for two people to attend all 3 weeks of the Festival. http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html

If not purchasing tickets online, reservations are STRONGLY recommended! Phone or e-mail to hold seats, and pay cash on arrival – no credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales. 416-364-4170 Box 1 or reservations@alumnaetheatre.com

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At a rehearsal for New Ideas Festival play “Four Hours”

Bloggergal is a late addition to the cast of Four Hours, written by Alumnae Theatre Company member Joan Burrows. This short play – around 30 minutes – appears in Week Three of the New Ideas Festival.

Structurally and thematically unlike most of Joan Burrows’ previous scripts (which tend to be comedies), Four Hours is a tense drama that follows the reaction of a tight-knit neighbourhood when a local child is abducted.

Last night was Bloggergal’s first rehearsal – meeting director Helen Monroe and stage manager Erin Maxfield, as well as three cast members.     Chris Peterson plays Joe, who runs the local convenience store, and is married to Mary (played by Bloggergal). We rehearsed our one scene together, and then Nikki Chohan arrived to rehearse our scene. Chohan plays Farah, whose family are relative newcomers to the neighbourhood. Farah has a powerful monologue (“well, now you know”) at the end of our scene, and even at this very early stage it was possible to see the potential.

"Four Hours" director Helen Munroe [back to camera] confers with actors Nikki Chohan [L] and Armand Antony [R] in rehearsal.  Photo taken Feb 10, 2016 by  stage manager Erin Maxfield

Four Hours director Helen Monroe [back to camera] confers with actors Nikki Chohan [L] and Armand Antony [R] in rehearsal.  Photo taken Feb 10, 2016 by stage manager Erin Maxfield.

Bloggergal stuck around to watch Nikki and Armand Antony (who plays Farah’s husband Faiz) rehearse their scene together, which happens near the end of the play. Again, some powerful stuff in embryo – will be exciting to watch it develop!

 

 

 

 

 

New Ideas Festival runs March 9-27, with a different lineup each week – see http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2016.html

Performances are Wed – Sat at 8pm, and Sat & Sun matinees at 2:30pm. The Saturday matinee is followed by a Talkback.   Four short plays will be staged at each performance – one ticket admits you to all of them!

In addition, a PWYC reading of a different play will be staged each Saturday at noon, followed by a Talkback.
Tickets can be purchased by the week ($15 each) or a 6-ticket Flex Pass ($75) can be used for two people to attend all 3 weeks of the Festival. http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html

If you prefer not to purchase online, reservations are strongly recommended. Phone or e-mail to hold seats, and pay cash on arrival – no credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales. 416-364-4170 Box 1 or reservations@alumnaetheatre.com

 

 

Bloggergal invites all New Ideas Festival participants to submit blog posts, rehearsal photos, or snippets of funny stuff that happened in rehearsal.

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“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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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”.

ROLES
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

AUDITION DATES & TIMES
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.

PREPARATION
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.

 
TO BOOK AN AUDITION TIME
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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