Category Archives: New Ideas Festival

28th annual.
March 9 – 27, 2016

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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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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