Tag Archives: playwright

PREPARING FOR SPRING

Playwright Burke Campbell (New Ideas Festival 2017 – Week Two) gives his impression of the pre-audition Cold Reads in December.  Auditions finished on Sunday Jan 8; the Festival runs March 8-26.

Burke Campbell

burke-campbell-017-alumnae Alumnae Theatre, Toronto, Canada. Photo by Burke Campbell

My short play, The Red Lacquered Box, is one of 16 short works that will go on in March 2017 at the New Ideas Festival. Broken into groups, the various plays will be performed over a three week period at the Alumnae Theatre. Cold readings went on this past week, so the playrights and directors could hear the works spoken. Casting will take place later.

burke-campbell-024-new-ideas-festival

The 16 works  were picked from over 200 submissions, from Canada and the United States. The Alumnae staff has worked tirelessly to introduce playwrights to directors, and have sent out a call for actors to participate in the upcoming auditions.

burke-campbell-025-our-leader

The New Ideas Festival is an incredibly complex enterprise. For me, it’s an opportunity to meet a huge number of theatre artists and also have a lot of fun.

burke-campbell-019-actor-bwThe Alumnae Theatre is a gorgeous theatre…

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Filed under 2016/17 season, New Ideas Festival 2017

Playwright’s Note: “The Creases in My Sari’ (FireWorks 2016)

The Creases in My Sari playwright Sindhuri Nandhakumar couldn’t make it to her own premiere last night, as she is working in India and Sri Lanka.  But she promised to wear a sari to mark the occasion!  She wrote to Alumnae Theatre Company’s FireWorks series producer Molly Thom:  “My soul will be in Toronto with you and everybody else who has been working so hard on this play.”

"The Creases in My Sari" playwright Sindhuri Nandhakumar

“The Creases in My Sari” playwright Sindhuri Nandhakumar

This is Sindhu’s playwright’s note:

Born to an Indian-Tamil family in the Sri Lankan Central Province of Kandy, I grew up firmly steeped in the periphery of a conflict. Ealam and the war zone were far away from me. My family, while sympathetic to the plights of fellow Tamils in the North and East, were largely apolitical and strove to continue running their small businesses without attracting too much attention from either the military or the Tamil Tigers – money is what had brought them from India to Sri Lanka, after all. Large numbers of my relatives had fled to India after the 1983 pogroms, but there was a certain stoicism about the war. The mentality was that even if we were affected, it wasn’t our battle.

In 2009, two months after the war ended, my family migrated to Canada. The move wasn’t politically motivated – it was economic. We moved in to an apartment in Scarborough, and for the first time in my life, I experienced a sense of Sri Lankanness that I had never seen before – there was an obvious display of pride in Tamil culture, and that too a uniquely Sri Lankan Tamil culture. I have seen more signage in Tamil in Scarborough than I have seen in Sri Lanka. I have learned more about Jaffna cuisine in Toronto than I did in Kandy or Colombo. Not being able to travel to the former war zone until recently, Toronto was the first place where I learned more about the “other” Sri Lanka.

I also learned that people in Toronto had displayed their anger about the war more vocally than most Sri Lankans had. People in Sri Lanka either didn’t or couldn’t protest with such vigour, probably because they feared for their lives at a time when the President and his outfit ran the country with an iron fist and an unforgiving attitude. Canada, on the other hand, provided a platform for these grievances to be aired, and provided a home for many of Sri Lanka’s Tamil refugees to express themselves and their identity.

I felt both a part of this world and excluded from it. Yes, I grew up in a war torn country, but much like Chanaka [played by Suchiththa Wickremesooriya in The Creases in My Sari; his father is a military man], I grew up in privilege. I wanted to write about these tensions within my own identity, and that is what gave birth to this play. I hope you go on a journey with these characters and feel the battle between the political and the personal as much as I did – as much as I still do.

Carolyn Zapf, the dramaturg of this play, is probably the sole reason why this play exists. With her encyclopedic knowledge and kind attitude, she did not let me forget about the play until it went through the many revisions that it did. I owe her all my gratitude. Thank you Carolyn.

 

The Creases in My Sari runs to Sunday Nov 13 in the Studio at Alumnae Theatre.  Showtimes:  Wed – Sat at 8pm, plus 2pm matinees on Sat & Sun.  Tickets:  $15.  Purchase online (http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html)  or reserve at 416-364-4170 Box 1 and pay cash at Box Office .  No credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales.

 

BONUS EVENTS

7pm on Friday Nov 11 – Pre-show panel discussion (in lobby) with author Koom Kankesan; former Tamil refugee and current PhD candidate Thursica Kovinthan; and Sri Lankans Without Borders member Amra Ghouse.
Saturday Nov 12 – post-matinee Talk Back: Writer and director discuss their artistic process and answer audience questions about the play and the production.

https://www.facebook.com/events/982210198574332/

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Filed under 2016/17 season, FireWorks 2016

New Ideas Festival 2017: Call for Scripts is now!

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) is an annual, three-week juried festival of new plays, works-in-progress and experimental theatre. Each week features a different program of up to four plays, as well as a workshopped reading on Saturday at noon. The 2017 festival, NIF’s 29th season, will run from March 8 to 26, 2017.

New Ideas Festival 2017. Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

New Ideas Festival 2017.
Image/design by Suzanne Courtney.

NIF offers dramaturgical support, rehearsal and production space, technical support, access to Alumnae Theatre’s costume and props collections, publicity and sold-out houses.

When to Submit:

Send them now!  The deadline for submissions is September 5, 2016 (September 15 for members of Alumnae Theatre Company). Preference will be given to Canadian scripts and scripts with challenging roles for women of all ages. NIF welcomes voices from diverse communities.
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Scripts must be original works that have not been previously performed outside of a workshop;
  • Scripts may be in any genre or style, but preference given to Canadian writers and scripts with good roles for women;
  • There are no geographical restrictions to submissions, but please see THINGS TO NOTE re: playwright availability & involvement;
  • Maximum running time 40 minutes. One act of a full-length play may also be accepted for production.  Submissions longer than 40 minutes will be considered for a one-time staged reading to showcase the script development accomplished during the rehearsal period;
  • Each playwright may submit a maximum of two scripts;
  • Scripts or proposals should be submitted electronically in PDF or Word format to NIFscripts@gmail.com. Submissions are read ‘blind’, so there must NOT be any identifying information on the script pages;
  • Please include a cover page providing: play title; • list and description of characters (including age); • short play synopsis.
  • Send a separate contact page with the play title, playwright’s name and contact information, and a short bio (75 words or less).
  • Scripts which do not conform to these guidelines will not be considered.

THINGS TO NOTE:

  • There is no fee to submit to or participate in New Ideas Festival. Playwrights will not be paid a royalty or any share of Box Office receipts.
  • NIF does not provide feedback on submissions.
  • Expect confirmation of receipt of your script within 2 weeks.
  • The lineup of New Ideas Festival 2017 will be announced in early November 2016.
  • ‘Creative Exchange’ (think Speed Dating for chosen playwrights and potential directors!) on Nov 5.
  • Cold readings of all the chosen plays, Dec 6-9.
  • Playwrights must be available (Skype is an option) for the Creative Exchange and for at least one of the December cold reads dates.
  • Playwrights help choose the director for their script, and may be as involved as they wish in casting and rehearsal process.
  • Performances and most rehearsals will take place at Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St.) in Toronto.
  • Future productions must include a program note: “First performed at Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival, 2017”.

 

See our website at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/submission-calls.html for more info.

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Filed under 2016/17 season, New Ideas Festival 2017

Decorating the lobby with “I Am Marguerite” costumes

When the run of a show ends, the theatre lingo for dismantling the set, putting away the lights, props and costumes, cleaning the dressing rooms, etc. is “the strike”. If you’re lucky, it can turn into a “strike party”.

After I Am Marguerite closed on April 25, producer Ramona Baillie had the idea to re-dress the mannequins which stand atop old firemen’s lockers (you knew that Alumnae Theatre was a working firehall until 1971, right? Check it out: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/history.html ) in the lobby.

 

"I Am Marguerite" - Damienne costume (worn onstage by actor Heli Kivilaht), designed by Peter DeFreitas/Toni Hanson. On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show's run, April 10 - 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

“I Am Marguerite” – Damienne costume (worn onstage by actor Heli Kivilaht), designed by Peter DeFreitas/Toni Hanson. On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show’s run, April 10 – 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

The mannequins wear costumes from past productions – currently sporting gowns from Pride and Prejudice and Lady Windermere’s Fan, and a suit from The Love Of The Nightingale.

So I Am Marguerite costume designers Peter DeFreitas and Toni Hanson, assisted by Donna Langevin (whose son James Langevin was the production’s composer) re-dressed the mannequins in Marguerite costumes, and their antics – including clambering atop the 7-foot tall lockers – were captured by Marguerite playwright Shirley Barrie.  Enjoy!

"I Am Marguerite" costume designer Peter DeFreitas dresses a mannequin atop the old firemen's lockers in Alumnae Theatre lobby after the show run, April 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

“I Am Marguerite” costume designer Peter DeFreitas dresses a mannequin atop the old firemen’s lockers in Alumnae Theatre lobby after the show run, April 25, 2015.
Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

Costume designer Peter DeFreitas dresses a mannequin in Eugène costume from "I Am Marguerite" (worn onstage by actor Christopher Oszwald). On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show's run, April 10 - 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

Costume designer Peter DeFreitas dresses a mannequin in Eugène costume from “I Am Marguerite” (worn onstage by actor Christopher Oszwald). On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show’s run, April 10 – 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

"I Am Marguerite" - Queen of Navarre costume (worn onstage by actor Sara Price), designed by Peter DeFreitas. On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show's run, April 10 - 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

“I Am Marguerite” – Queen of Navarre costume (worn onstage by actor Sara Price), designed by Peter DeFreitas. On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show’s run, April 10 – 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

"I Am Marguerite" - Marguerite costume (worn onstage by actor Daniela Pagliarello), designed by Peter DeFreitas/Toni Hanson. On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show's run, April 10 - 25, 2015. The ladder in photo is temporary! Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

“I Am Marguerite” – Marguerite costume (worn onstage by actor Daniela Pagliarello), designed by Peter DeFreitas/Toni Hanson. On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show’s run, April 10 – 25, 2015. The ladder in photo is temporary! Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

"I Am Marguerite" costume designer Toni Hanson dresses a mannequin in the costume of Jean-François de Roberval (worn onstage by actor Chris Coculuzzi),  On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show's run, April 10 - 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

“I Am Marguerite” costume designer Toni Hanson dresses a mannequin in the costume of Jean-François de Roberval (worn onstage by actor Chris Coculuzzi), On display in lobby at Alumnae Theatre after the show’s run, April 10 – 25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie (the playwright)

 

Donna Langevin (mother of "I Am Marguerite" composer James Langevin) shakes a sleeve of mannequin dressed in the costume of Jean-François de Roberval (worn onstage by actor Chris Coculuzzi).  Lobby of Alumnae Theatre, after the show's run, April 10-25, 2015.  Photo:  Shirley Barrie

Donna Langevin (mother of “I Am Marguerite” composer James Langevin) shakes a sleeve of mannequin dressed in the costume of Jean-François de Roberval (worn onstage by actor Chris Coculuzzi). Lobby of Alumnae Theatre, after the show’s run, April 10-25, 2015. Photo: Shirley Barrie

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, I Am Marguerite