Category Archives: NPD readings

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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Filed under 2016/17 season, NPD readings

Write Now! 2016 – Oct 23: the plays + writers + directors

As mentioned in the post dated Sept 23, Write Now! is an annual writing challenge spearheaded by Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Play Development group (NPD).  Company members who accept the challenge must write a 10-minute play over a specific weekend, having been sent the “challenge ingredients” on Friday evening.

write-now-2016-imageThis year, the event’s producer Anne MacMillan, a playwright and actor, devised the challenge: to write a detective story based on this poem (the famous first line was penned William Wordsworth in 1802; the rest is by Annie!):

A DETECTIVE STORY

In Prose or in Verse

+++++++++++++++++

I wandered lonely as a cloud

Spouting ancient poetry aloud

When all at once I saw a sight

which filled me with a sense of fright

An old trunk by the river’s edge

Floating by a single shoe

A glove with blood tipped fingers

Lying half covered on the ground

All under a weeping willow tree

No one else around to see

When a smiling stranger appeared

from behind a high earthen mound

Upon seeing me, frowned.

 

Annie shares that one of her favorite romantic poets is Wordsworth, and especially his “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, which reminds her of her father – a photographer – and a photo he took of daffodils under the oak trees in the beautiful Botanical Gardens in  Glasgow.  “When I was a schoolgirl I would sometimes walk home through the Botanical Gardens after school,” she said.  “You could hear the Kelvin River rushing, there were weeping willow trees – their fronds in the river… It was, and still is, a magical place.”

So those memories of the willow tree by the river wound up in the poem, combined with Wordsworth, and became the Write Now! Challenge.

16 writers accepted the challenge on Friday, October 14, and 13 submitted their scripts by the Sunday noon deadline on Oct 16.  These plays will be presented as staged readings; actors (some not yet cast!) have not memorized the scripts, and will only have one or two rehearsals.  Here are the writers / plays / directors – note that this list is in alpha order; not in performance sequence:

Teresa Bottaro – No objects from the past are allowed to stay directed by Laurie Williams.

Barbara Brown /Rhona Bennett – Finding Amy in four scenes directed by Nina Kaye.

Norma Crawford – L & D                        directed by David Suszek.

Judith Fiori – Poetic Justice                  directed by Stacy Halloran.

Connie Guccione –  Road Less Travelled  directed by Aleksandra Maslennikova.

Stacy Halloran – If you come to a fork in the road directed by Kat Horzempa.

Krystyna Hunt – Out of the Past            directed by Rebecca Grace.

Nina Kaye – The Magician                     directed by Jennifer McKinley.

Donna Langevin – Dear Professor         directed by “Present Conductor”.

Carol Libman – At Peace by the River   directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.

Tina McCulloch – The Last of Tuesday  directed by Sandra Burley.

Jennifer McKinley – Dark and Deep        directed by Carina Cojeen.

Morna Wales – Worthy Words              directed by Pat McCarthy.

 

Write Now! Staged readings take place 2 – 4:30 pm on Sunday, Oct 23 in the Studio at Alumnae Theatre.  There will be an intermission, with refreshments available.  PWYC admission; no reservations required.

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Filed under 2016/17 season, NPD readings

Write Now! is coming Oct 23… Stay tuned.

Write Now! is coming!  The annual challenge spearheaded by Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Play Development group (NPD) sees company members take on a weekend project: to write a 10-minute play based on a subject or prompt that they only receive on the Friday evening.  The finished scripts must be electronically submitted by noon on the Sunday.

A week later, the plays (having been assigned directors and actors) are presented as free staged readings before an audience.

This year, the challenge/subject/prompt will be revealed to participating writers  on Oct 14, and they must  turn in their scripts by Oct 16.

The *free* readings will be in the Studio on Sunday, October 23 beginning at 2 p.m.

Stay tuned!

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Filed under 2016/17 season, NPD readings

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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Filed under 2015/16 season, NPD readings

Write Now! – 2pm on Sunday Oct 26

The 11 short plays that resulted from a Friday evening – Sunday noon Write Now! writing challenge with the theme AWAKENING will be presented for an audience at 2pm on Sunday Oct 26 in the Studio at Alumnae Theatre.

This is the (final) running order:

A Fairy Tale Ending by Jean Shepherd / Director: Jennifer McKinley.

CAST:   Sandra Banman, Pat Hawk,  Rick Jones.

Does Anybody Hear Me by Marianne Fedunkiw / Director: Molly Thom.

CAST:    Lynne Patterson,  Chris Reid, Morna Wales, Susan Q Wilson .

Last Chance by Carol Libman / Director: Jane Carnwath.

CAST:  Christopher Kelk, Sheila Russell.

But A Brief Dream by Morna Wales / Director: Anne Harper.

CAST: Charles Hayter,  Jennifer McKinley, Jennifer Merchant, Joanne Williams.

The Walker by Norma Crawford / Director: Joanne Williams.

CAST: Brenda Darling, Chris Reid, Brenda Somers.

Graveyard Shift by Sandra Cardinal / Director: Nina Kaye.

CAST:  Charles Hayter, Tina McCulloch, Morna Wales.

### INTERMISSION ###

Somnolence by Nina Kaye / Director: Julia Haist.                                         CAST:  Heather Brown, Scott Clarkson, John Illingworth, Rick Jones.

War And Peace – A Family Story by Krystyna Hunt / Director: Danielle Capretti.

CAST:  Danielle Capretti, Greg Corkum, Tina McCulloch, Kayla Whelan.

When Is A Table Not A Table by Reva Nelson / Director: Pat McCarthy.  CAST:  Razie Brownstone,  Charles Hayter,  Patty Jarvis.

Coming Round by Mairy Beam / Director: Stacy Halloran.

CAST:       Danielle Capretti, Seema Lakhani, Tina McCulloch.

The Tower by Jenny Prior / Director: Brenda Darling.

CAST:  Kaitlyn Riordan, Jennifer Merchant,  Jean Sheppard.

 

The plays are  max. 10 mins each, and will be performed as staged readings. No reservations necessary, and admission is FREE, but donations are gratefully accepted.  Drop on by!  *** Please note that the lobby may be a bit crowded:  the matinee of Toronto Irish Players’ production Bookworms is on the Main Stage at 2pm also. ***

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, NPD readings

“Awakening” – Write Now! plays presented Oct 26

Did you know that Alumnae Theatre Company, in addition to staging plays, also has a group of playwright-members  – the New Play Development group (NPD) – who like to challenge themselves?   The annual fall challenge is called Write Now!  The writers receive a challenge theme or “ingredients” on a Friday afternoon, and have just a weekend to write their 10-minute play.  Then the scripts are matched up with a pool of volunteer directors and actors, and presented as staged readings on the following Sunday.

This year’s theme – devised by Annie MacMillan, who usually writes or directs – was AWAKENING.

These are the plays that resulted (listed alphabetically by writer), and their directors.

Coming Round by Mairy Beam – Director: Stacy Halloran

Graveyard Shift by Sandy Cardinal – Director: Nina Kaye

The Walker by Norma Crawford – Director: Joanne Williams

 Does Anybody Hear Me by Marianne Fedunkiw – Director: Molly Thom

War And Peace – A Family Story by Krystyna Hunt – Director: Danielle Capretti

Somnolence by Nina Kaye – Director: Julia Haist

Last Chance by Carol Libman – Director: Jane Carnwath

When Is A Table Not A Table by Reva Nelson – Director: Pat McCarthy

The Tower by Jenny Prior – Director: Brenda Darling

A Fairy Tale Ending by Jean Shepherd – Director: Jennifer McKinley

But A Brief Dream by Morna Wales – Director: Anne Harper

You can see the short plays (max. 10 mins each) performed as staged readings on Sunday Oct 26, starting at 2pm in the 3rd floor Studio at Alumnae Theatre.  No reservations necessary, and admission is FREE, but donations are gratefully accepted.  Drop on by!

*** Please note that the Toronto Irish Players will be presenting a matinee of Bernard Farrell’s Bookworms on the Main Stage at the same time. ***

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, NPD readings

Big Ideas 2013, May 8-12 : the casts & synopses

Starting  on Wednesday May 8, the Studio at Alumnae Theatre will be a hotbed of activity. If you are interested in seeing a play from its first reading, and giving feedback to the writers, this is for you.  Admission is FREE!

Big Ideas is a series of staged reading:  works-in-progress from the award-winning writers of Alumnae Theatre’s New Play Development group.  There will be short plays as well as full-length plays; check the lineup for schedule & synopses.

The scripts will be read by actors who have had only a few rehearsals with a director.  For many writers, this will be the first time they’ve heard the script aloud.

Big Ideas logo
The Lineup:

(Wed May 8 @ 8pm) I AM MARGUERITE by Shirley Barrie, directed by Molly Thom.

1542: Marguerite de Roberval is abandoned by her brother on a deserted island in the Strait of Belle Isle for daring to choose love over duty. Two and a half years later, haunted by the phantoms of those who have abandoned her, half-starved and half-mad, she sees a ship anchoring off the island. Rescue is possible, but…. is the prospect of returning to France more terrifying than another cold winter alone in the New World?

CAST: Paul Babiak, Dorothy Kelleher, Carys Lewis, Wendy Springate, Laura Vincent, Mike Vitorovich.

(Thu May 9 @ 8pm) FORGIVENESS by Mairy Beam, directed by Victoria Shepherd.

Lara struggles with a deep-seated anger towards her mother who suffers from schizophrenia. When she returns home, armed with a PhD in Biomedical Science, she disrupts the carefully orchestrated life her sister Chelsea and her mother have built together. The sisters have very different ideas of how best to help their mother, and each other. Their mother has her own ideas. Forgiveness and anger strive for the upper hand.

CAST: Lionel Boodlal, Andrea Brown, Tina McCulloch, Cathy McKim, Carol McLennan, Jeff Orchard.

(Fri May 10 @ 8pm) YOU HAVE TO EARN IT  by Ramona Baillie, directed by Jane Carnwath.

Will Betty ever earn her long overdue promotion? Her reach for the top is frustrated by a philandering boss, a scheming new employee, a wacky mail room clerk and a friend with a hidden agenda—a madcap roller-coaster of a play paying homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930s.
CAST: Matt Brioux, Andrea Brown, Chantale Groulx, Seema Lakhani, Joshua Mott, Lara Mrkoci, Derek Perks, Laura Vincent, Mike Vitorovich.

(Sat May 11 @ 2pm) IN A TIME OF WAR by Anne MacMillan, directed by Marianne Fedunkiw.

World War II. The bombing raids up the Clyde have begun. A Glasgow family manages to live their lives after a near hit with a bomb and dreadful loss of life nearby. Amidst the darkness of war, two young girls find much to occupy them, making secret spy plans with Grandpa. The realities of war intrude.

CAST: Scott Dermody, Karina Rammell, Olivia Reid, Frank Robinow, Marisa Ship,Tara Wosik.

(Sat May 11 @ 2pm) WAITING FOR KATRINA by Donna Langevin, directed by Pat McCarthy.

New Orleans August 2005. Hurricane Katrina is gathering strength and threatens to engulf the city. To stay or to go? Charlotte is determined to remain in her home at all costs while Dora, her estranged daughter from Toronto, has a crucial agenda of her own. Time is running out as the battle of wills escalates.

CAST: Kwaku Adu-Poku, Elisabeth Feltaous, Kerri Henman, Aileen Taylor-Smith.

(Sat May 11 @ 2pm) BROCKFEST by Joan Burrows, directed by Maria Popoff.

All Kitty wants to do is not be an American anymore! But her July 4th celebration is hampered by a sword- wielding husband dressed as Isaac Brock, her annoying younger brother and his partner who just happen to drop by, and the arrival of her sister, a cloistered nun who has taken a vow of silence. Who knew patriotism could cause such havoc?

CAST: Liz Best, Daryn Dewalt, Chris Irving, Mary Joseph, Brandon Moore.

(Sun May 12 @ 2pm) THE YEAR MY FATHER BECAME A SAINT by Linda McCready, directed by Brenda Darling.
Bernie is an alcoholic who has embarked on a journey to become a better man. When he opens a butcher shop in the mid-1970s at a time of high inflation, he hires his two teenage children to work in the store. Customers come and sometimes go, as Bernie struggles to connect with his children, make a go of the shop, and slay his own particular demons.

CAST: Paul Babiak, Jamieson Child, Scott Clarkson, Marianne Fedunkiw, Roselyn Kelada-Sedra, Lisa Polivka, Michael Sherman, David Suszek.

May 8 – 12, 2013 • Alumnae Theatre, 3rd floor Studio • FREE admission

For more information visit our website

www.alumnaetheatre.com/npd.html

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Filed under 2012/13 Season, NPD readings