Tag Archives: Alumnae Theatre Company

The irrepressible Marie Dressler’s life, love & career in Alumnae Theatre’s delightful, entertaining Queen Marie

life with more cowbell

Naomi Peltz, Katherine Cappallacci, Siena Dolinski & Seira Saeki. Photo by Bruce Peters.

Alumnae Theatre Company closes its 100th anniversary season—with heart, moxie and rip roaring good fun— with Queen Marie, a musical by Shirley Barrie, directed by Rosemary Doyle, with music direction by Paul Comeau and choreography by Adam Martino.

Queen Marie is a biographical musical about Canadian-born 1930s Hollywood star actress/comedienne Marie Dressler. Director Doyle takes us to the vaudeville stage, complete with proscenium arch, a live band on one side and stall seating on the other. Using minimal set pieces, projected images up centre present show posters and images of various locations as we travel through Dressler’s storied life and career.

queen marie little marieCatherine Ratusny & Tess Keery. Photo by Bruce Peters.

Born Leila Koerber in Cobourg, Ontario, we witness Dressler being bitten by the acting bug at the age of five (Tess Keery), performing in…

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New Ideas: The chaotic metaphysics of life, love & monsters in the water in the funny, moving, poetic Week 3 program

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company continues its 30th annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works, opening the Week Three program last night. It’s the final week of the festival, running up in the Alumnae Studio.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Natalie Frijia, directed by Kay Brattan. In 1882 Toronto, 39 people have mysteriously drowned in Lake Ontario—and rumour has it there’s a monster beneath the slate blue water. Rookie reporter Marjorie May (Emma Tse) is determined to get the story, visiting Mary-Anne’s (Stella Kulagowski) pub down by the docks to gather some information. Things get real when they’re joined by the terrified Captain O’Connell (Shawn Lall), who’s barely escaped with his life. As the incoming storm batters the pub, there’s something else out there in the night. Is the creature coming after the Captain to finish what it started?

Nice work from the cast building the intrigue…

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New Ideas 2018: Alternate perceptions, unexplained events & magical connections in the haunting, hilarious, heartfelt Week 2 program

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company opened its 30th annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works last week; the three-week festival presents a different program of plays each week, plus staged readings on Saturdays at noon. I caught the Week Two program up in the Studio last night.

Sweet Mama and the Salty Muffins by Ciarán Myers, directed by Kendra Jones. Haunted by a catchy Appalachian folk song that sends her back to the moment her three-year-old daughter disappeared at an outdoor concert, a mother (Lisa Lenihan) tries to make us see the sense of her account of the inexplicable aftermath of the event. Do we believe her? Is it all in her mind?

Lenihan is quirky and heartbreakingly lonely as the mother in this 15-minute solo piece. Desperate for someone to believe her and neurotically self-conscious of sounding mentally ill, the mother is confident in what she saw. And she…

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Questions for Madeleine Jullian: directing GASH

Interview with Madeleine Jullian about directing GASH – in the final week of Alumnae Theatre Company’s FireWorks series (Nov 8-26, 2017).
https://www.alumnaetheatre.com/fireworks/

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Madeleine Jullian has worked as an actor, writer, and director in Berlin, London, and Toronto.  She produced and directed Nick Dipchand’s solo show The Nature of a Bullet as part of the Toronto Fringe in 2013 and produced a double bill of Sheldon Rosen’s one-act plays, New Order and The Grand Hysteric, at Ryerson University’s Abrams Theatre in 2015.

Madeleine’s written works include Prize Horse, performed at the 2012 New Voices Festival, as well as bagged, created with the 2013 InspiraTO Playwriting Academy.  She also won Pat the Dog’s 24-Hour Playwriting Contest with her play Bunk*R in 2014.  Other directing credits include Caitie Graham’s earlier work Paradise Comics (2014), Positive I.D by Peter Dickinson (2012), and Laurie Campbell’s Just to See You Smile (2012).

Madeleine directs Caitie Graham’s GASH that opens Nov 22nd at Alumnae Theatre.  Let’s find out more: about Madeleine and GASH.

1) Are you…

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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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