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Andrea Irwin in “Toronto, Mississippi” at The Box, Oct 20 – Nov 6 (Panfish Productions)

Alumnae Theatre Company member (and newsletter editor!) Andrea Irwin  is performing in Panfish Productions’ presentation of award-winning Canadian playwright Joan MacLeod’s drama Toronto, Mississippi.  It will be staged October 20 – November 6, 2016 at The Box (89 Niagara Street, Toronto), directed by Kitty Laki.

Panfish Productions present Joan MacLeod's "Toronto, Mississippi" (Oct 20 - Nov 6, 2016)

Panfish Productions present Joan MacLeod’s “Toronto, Mississippi” (Oct 20 – Nov 6, 2016)

Bloggergal asked Andrea a few questions…

Q:  How did you get involved with this show and Panfish Productions?

A:  Quite simply, I saw the posting on the CAEA [Canadian Actors Equity Association] e-drive and submitted right away. A strong role for a woman over 30? I’m on it! The show also spoke to me as it deals in part with an individual who is developmentally delayed. I have a family member who happens to be developmentally delayed and can relate to many of the challenges and rewards faced by the characters in the show.


Q:  Tell me about the character you play in Toronto, Mississippi.

A:  Maddie is real. She purports to being solid as a rock; she has to be as a working single mom to a teenager with special needs, BUT she’s inextricably drawn to King…yes, her boozing, womanizing, Peter-Pan of an ex-husband. At the same time, she’s best friends with her boarder, Bill; ostensibly the “perfect” match for Maddie and a dedicated father-figure to Jhana. I think she’s at her wit’s end with her life as she knows it…it’s a helluva challenge being the Responsible Adult and it has worn her down.


Q:  Who are your co-stars and their characters?

A:  Peter Nelson plays King, Maddie’s ex-husband, father of Jhana.  A touring Elvis impersonator…he loves the ladies and they love him. He’s a part-time dad, but he truly does love his daughter.

Kayla Whalen plays Jhana, 18-year-old daughter of King and Maddie, struggling to be an independent young woman (establishing a work-life and love-life) but with the added challenge of achieving independence with special needs.

Yehuda Fisher plays Bill, boarder in Maddie and Jhana’s home. He connects with Jhana in ways that Maddie can’t. He’s become family…but he doesn’t want to “play” Dad, he wants to be dad to Jhana and a romantic partner to Maddie.


Thanks, Andrea!

For some background info, here’s a link to playwright Joan MacLeod’s website: http://www.joanmacleod.com/index.html


And this is the link to Facebook event for Panfish Productions’  presentation of Toronto, Mississippi at The Box:


Tickets: $25 reg (Tue – Sun); $20 students/seniors/artsworkers.
Monday tickets: PWYC.  Purchase tickets via Panfish Productions website http://www.panfishproductions.ca/

Showtimes:  Oct 20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 31, Nov 3, 4, 5 @ 8:00pm.
Sundays – Oct 23, 30, Nov 6 @ 2:00pm.

FYI – This is a full 2-act play – running time approximately 1.5 hrs including a 15-minute intermission.  The Box (89 Niagara St.) is a small venue with limited seating.


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Filed under 2016/17 season, News

Treading the Boards with “Blood Relations”

From the Alumnae Theatre Company members’ newsletter:
Blood Relations posterRehearsals for Blood Relations, Alumnae’s next production (Mainstage, January 23 – February 7, 2015) are in full (axe)swing! Here’s a peek into the latest goings-on from director Barbara Larose.

We have moved onto the mainstage and are just about to start set construction. It’s an exciting time when all the design ideas start to become “real” and we explore the space of our play.  Set Designer Ed Rosing and Master Carpenter Sandy Thorburn are embarking on their busiest time.

The cast is amazing and includes three Alumnae Theatre members – Andrea Brown, Kathleen Allamby and Sheila Russell.  Rounding out the cast are Marisa King, Thomas Gough, Rob Candy and Steven Burley.  They are working hard at the moment getting “off book”  and prepping for our Stumblethrough before the holiday break.

Recent rehearsals have included an evening of stage combat with movement specialist, Paul Babiak; a wonderful period dance review with our consultant Rick Jones (who is also our Sound Designer), while our fabulous Stage Manager Margot Devlin, tried valiantly to record every, step, hop, kick and turn; and a thrilling Laban and movement workshop for the cast conducted by Alumnae member Ginette Mohr.   Several cast members are also busily working away outside rehearsal with our Irish dialogue coach Michael Armstrong.  The wonderful Ellen Green is the Assistant Director – she doesn’t let me miss anything and provides so much valued insight and assistance in working with cast and design.  As the Director, it seems I need to be several places at one time and Ellen’s assistance makes that possible!!

Alumnae design star Margaret Spence, who we are so lucky to have as our Costume Designer, has fitted everyone for their period costumes and the women are all rehearsing in their corsets and rehearsal skirts.  On props, we have the indomitable and lovely Razie Brownstone.   She is out there right now looking for just the right hatchet for the job, among a myriad of other period props  [Ed. note: Sharon Pollock’s award-winning play is set in 1902 – 10 years after Lizzie Borden’s infamous acquittal for the axe murders of her father and stepmother ].

On December 20, we are conducting a test of some of the material we are using on the set  – with Ed and our Lighting Designer, Gabriel Cropley.   And I’m looking forward to finding out how the concept will translate and what it will actually look like under the lights!

The Producing Team is working behind the scenes making sure everything happens that is supposed to happen and coordinating the activities and expenditures of all the departments.  The Team is led by our Executive Producer Brenda Darling and includes Krystyna Hunt, Carina Cojeen and Sandra Burley.  Our Marketing Director Chloe Whitehorn is handling the press and marketing materials that will bring in an audience to enjoy the results of our work.

Blood Relations opens January 23. Part drama, part mystery, all compelling.

To purchase tickets online, please visit


You may also e-mail (reservations@alumnaetheatre.com) or phone in (416-364-4170, box 1) your reservations, and pay cash on arrival.

Tickets are 2-for-1 on Wed at 8pm; $20 Thu/Fri/Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm is PWYC.

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, Blood Relations