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Week Two Talkback (March 18) – New Ideas Festival 2017

Bloggergal took in the Week Two lineup at the Saturday matinee performance, March 18, which was followed by a Talkback with playwrights and directors – bonus!

The plays in Week Two are:

Aleksandra Maslennikova in “The Red Lacquered Box” by Burke Campbell. Photo: Bruce Peters

The Red Lacquered Box, written by Burke Campbell; directed by Lynn Weintraub.

Parallax, written by Michelle Glennie; directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson.

Y, written by Rosemary Doyle; directed by Sandra Cardinal.

Professionally Ethnic, written by Bobby Del Rio; directed by Rouvan Silogix.

One of the New Ideas Festival’s Artistic Directors, Carolyn Zapf, fielded questions at the Talkback, and primed the audience by asking the playwrights to talk about the genesis or inspiration for their plays.

Michelle Glennie (who made the trip to

Rock (Duncan Rowe) and Marie Soleil (Melanie Leon) as astronauts in “Parallax” by Michelle Glennie. Photo: Bruce Peters

Toronto from Montreal) shared that her funny time-travel piece Parallax grew out of her fascination for “Les filles du roi” (‘the daughters of the king”: young French women sponsored by their government to come to Canada, starting in the 1660s), and for the more recent lottery for astronauts to colonize Mars!  The 30-minute version of Parallax presented at New Ideas is cut down from a full-length play, which Michelle has plans to revise, based on changes that came out of the rehearsal process here.


The Festival producers called on the prolific Rosemary Doyle to replace a selected play that had dropped out of New Ideas.

Taylor Bogaert and Alison Parovel in “Y” by Rosemary Doyle.

She got the call on a Wednesday, talked to director Sandra Cardinal about the already-cast actors, and came up with a delightful twisty-turny plot – Y – on Thursday.  The actors were rehearsing the play by Friday.  When asked the question “where do you want to take it?”, Rosemary told us that she’s polled the cast, to get their ideas about what happens to their characters, or if there’s anything they think needs to be explained in a more fleshed-out version!  Y currently runs about 15 minutes.


Burke Campbell admits to hearing the voices of his characters, and screening “an ongoing movie in my head”.  He wrote his solo period piece The Red Lacquered Box “some time ago, and I don’t recall my state of mind at the time!”  His director Lynn Weintraub notes that the original script was more like a piece of literature (Ed. Note: some really beautiful turns of phrase remain) than a play , so she and dramaturge Rosemary Doyle (yes, again!) worked with actor Aleksandra Maslennikova to make it more active and theatrical.  The director has a background in dance, and it showed subtly in Aleksandra’s graceful performance.


Chantel McDonald and Ronak Singh in Bobby Del Rio​’s “Professionally Ethnic”. Photo: Bruce Peters​

The playwright of Professionally Ethnic, Bobby Del Rio, could not make the Talkback, but director Rouvan Silogix guessed that the subject matter was inspired by real life.  On directing it, he concentrated on working fine details of the physical comedy to make the script even funnier.  I’m guessing there were many rehearsals with Rob Candy as pompous theatre company figurehead Gerrard, condescending mightily to “ethnic” actor William (Ronak Singh), as well as with Chantel McDonald as William’s girlfriend Tracey, and Simon Bennett as his basketball-playing friend Kyle.


The final week of New Ideas Festival runs Wednesday to Sunday, March 22-26, and it’s a whole different lineup of short plays.  More info here:  http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/2017-week-3.html  Performances are Wed – Sat at 8pm, plus matinees Sat & Sun at 2:30pm.  Saturday’s matinee is followed by a Talkback.  Tickets are $15, and admit you to all 4 plays.  Purchase online (https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=atc13), or reserve in advance (phone 416-364-4170 Box 1 / e-mail reservations@alumnaetheatre.com) and pay cash* at the door.

There is also a one-time staged reading of a longer play, Thistlepatch by Catherine Frid, at noon on Saturday March 25.  The reading is PWYC, no reservations required.


*Box Office does not accept credit or debit cards for in-person sales.

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New Ideas Festival: Attraction, secrets & brave new worlds in eclectic, insightful Week Two program

Review of the Week Two lineup in New Ideas Festival 2017.  Week Two continues to Sun March 19 – a different lineup starts Wed March 22, and wraps up the festival on March 26.

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company continues its 2017 edition of the New Ideas Festival (NIF) with an eclectic Week Two program. The annual festival includes three weeks of short new plays and full-length readings, including four plays and one reading each week, running in the Studio space.

The Red Lacquered Box by Burke Campbell, directed by Lynn Weintraub. In this one-woman period drama, secretary Madame Gilles (Aleksandra Maslennikova) relates what she knows about the events leading up to the scandalous tragedy involving her employer Madame Tullée. Maslennikova’s Mme Gilles is a fastidious, bright-eyed charmer; a fine performance as she shifts between characters, including the dramatic, effervescent Mme Tullée and her suave, sophisticated lover Derek. What is the significance of that red lacquered box?

Parallax by Michelle Glennie, directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson. Brave new worlds collide in this hilarious, sharp tale of two pairs of friends/colleagues boldly going. Physicist/surgeon Marie Soleil (Melanie…

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New Ideas Festival: Connection, reflection & living with illness in thoughtful, funny Week One program

Catch Week One lineup of the 2017 New Ideas Festival just until Sunday March 12. There’ll be different lineups in Weeks Two and Three, running to March 26. Tickets only $15 per week, plus PWYC for Saturday readings.
See http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2017.html for details.

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company opened the 29thNew Ideas Festival (NIF) with a strong Week One program in its Studio space last night. The annual juried festival includes three weeks of short new plays and full-length readings, including four plays and one reading each week.

Call by Rosemary Doyle, directed by Rebecca Ostroff. A hilarious look at the never-ending hum of talking without communicating, set in a busy office environment where chatterbox Millennial receptionist Sandra (Jennifer-Beth Hanchar) is constantly in conversation with a friend in between fielding business calls. Frazzled HR Manager Laura (Shalyn McFaul) is unplugged on a meditation retreat, struggling to maintain silence and stay off electronic devices. Meanwhile, her skeezy colleague Mark (Andrew Batten, who also wrote a play, included in this week’s program) is covering for her at work, wreaking havoc in her absence with a laissez faire attitude and inappropriate remarks, including a hysterical comedy…

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Audition notice for New Ideas Festival 2017

new-ideas-2017-imageStarting December 10, Alumnae Theatre Company invites non-union actors of all ages (18+) and ethnicities to book an audition for our 29th annual New Ideas Festival, a three-week juried festival of 15 new works, running March 8 – 26, 2017.  A different program of 4 short plays will be presented Wednesday to Sunday each week, with a staged reading of a longer play at noon on each Saturday.

General auditions for all the plays in Festival:
January 4, 5,  6 (Wed – Fri) – evenings
January 7 & 8 (Sat & Sun) – daytime
Callbacks will be held for individual plays in mid-January.
Actors must be available for rehearsals beginning January 30.

NOTE: Auditions will be booked according to age and gender, so actors should keep ALL the audition dates free until their slot is confirmed.

  • two-minute monologue (actor’s choice);
  • a side from one of the plays. Please print** and bring to audition.  (Members of Alumnae Theatre Company have the option to skip the monologue and read two sides);
  • headshot and résumé.

**Sides will be available on the Alumnae website (http://www.alumnaetheatre.com) at the end of December.

See blog post dated Dec 8 for the Festival lineup – play titles, writers, and directors.

To book an audition, email: NIFauditions@gmail.com after December 10.

Give your name, gender, acting age range, email address, phone number, and identify if you are an Alumnae member.

Auditions (and the performances) will be held in the 3rd floor Studio at Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley Street, Toronto.

Note that all directors and many playwrights attend the general auditions, so be prepared for a full house.

Alumnae Theatre Company is a non-union organization, and this is a non-paying engagement.


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New Ideas Festival 2017 lineup

Alumnae Theatre Company ‘s 29th annual New Ideas Festival (March 8 – 26, 2017) is a three-week juried festival of new short plays, works-in-progress, and experimental theatre with a different program each week.

4 short plays are presented Wed – Sat at 8pm, with matinees on Saturday & Sunday at 2:30pm.  Saturday’s matinee is followed by a Talkback.  In addition, there’s a staged reading of one longer play (approx. 60 mins) each Saturday at noon, also followed by a Talkback.

new-ideas-2017-wk-one-fb-imageWEEK ONE LINEUP (March 8 – 12):

“Call”  by Rosemary Doyle ; directed by Rebecca Ostroff.
Or Not to Be”  by Andrew Batten; directed by Julia Haist,
Teach Her My Name”  by Michael Kras; directed by Paige Foskett.
D-Cup”  by Alicia Payne; directed by Eilish Waller
      Reading (March 11 only):
“Riverkeeper “  by Katherine Koller ; directed by Rebecca Grace.


new-ideas-2017-wk-two-fb-imageWEEK TWO LINEUP (March 15 – 19):

“The Red Lacquered Box”  by  Burke Campbell; directed by Lynn Weintraub*
“Parallax”   by Michelle Glennie; directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson.
I Am Awake”  by Anne MacMillan; directed by Sandra Cardinal.
Professionally Ethnic”  by Bobby Del Rio; directed by Rouvan Silogix.
      Reading (March 18 only):
“Who You Callin Black, Eh?”  by Rita Shelton Deverell; directed by Donald Molnar.

* With the permission of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association


WEEK THREE LINEUP (March 22 – 26):

Beat” by Dale Sheldrake; directed by Josh Downing.
The Ballad of Sadie Wong”  by Andrew Lee; directed by Cassidy Sadler.
Who Knocks?”  by Connie Guccione; directed by Chantel Martin.
“The Hungriest Woman in the World” by Shannon Bramer; directed by Claren Grosz.

      Reading (March 25 only): 
“Thistlepatch “  by Catherine Frid; directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.


Tickets for the Festival are $15 per week.  Purchase online at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html, or reserve seats by phone (416-364-4170 box 1) and pay cash on arrival.

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New Ideas Festival 2017: Call for Directors

Never-before-produced short scripts have been submitted, and 15 selected for Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival in March.  new-ideas-2017-imageNow it’s time for interested directors to apply!  Once you’ve submitted your application (and the deadline is next Friday, Oct 14), you’ll be given access to read the scripts.

Here’s the official notice:


Alumnae Theatre Company invites non-union directors to apply to direct one of the 15 plays (running time 10 to 40 minutes) for New Ideas Festival (NIF) 2017, our 29th annual three-week juried festival of new plays, works-in-progress, and experimental theatre to be held from March 8 to 26, 2017.


Important dates:

  • Oct. 14, 2016: Deadline to apply to direct one of the New Ideas Festival plays
  • Nov. 5, 2016: (MANDATORY) Creative Exchange: directors meet playwrights
  • 6, 7, 8, or 9, 2016: (MANDATORY) Attend your play’s cold reading on one of these dates
  • Jan 4-8, 2017: (MANDATORY) Attend Festival auditions according to casting needs
  • , Jan. 30, 2017: Rehearsals begin
  • March 8 – Sun. March 26, 2017: New Ideas Festival. Each show runs one week.


NIF provides the following:

  • Stage managers, technical crew, and front of house staff
  • Festival auditions presenting a large pool of actors
  • Rehearsal space, performance space
  • Promotional materials and publicity
  • Access to Alumnae Theatre’s wardrobe, props, and sets
  • A collaborative process with the playwright to continue developing a new work with actors and a dramaturge (if requested)
  • A supportive place for directors to experiment and hone their skills
  • Production guidelines and mentorship that get all the plays and dozens of performers successfully from audition to rehearsal to stage.


New Ideas Festival does not pay fees, royalties, or a box office share to participants.

Alumnae Theatre Company retains creative discretion over the festival as a whole. The focus of the festival is script development, so technical requirements for the plays are kept to a minimum. NIF is an exciting opportunity to work one-on-one with a playwright to develop a new work.


If you are interested in directing a play in the New Ideas Festival, email newideasfestival@gmail.com by Oct 14, 2016.  Please make the subject line “Director Application (your name)” and provide a directing CV or paragraph description of your experience. You will receive further details once you have submitted your application.


As our industry has far fewer female directors, women directors are especially encouraged to apply.

Alumnae Theatre Company ▪ 70 Berkeley Street ▪ Toronto, ON ▪ M5A 2W6


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New Ideas Festival 2017: 12 days to script submission deadline

Twelve days from now – on September 5 – the window closes for writers considering submitting their short stage plays to Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival 2017.


That’s writers from anywhere in the world, and short scripts (max 40 mins) on any subject/style, as long as they have NOT been previously produced (the festival is called “New Ideas” – see?).  And there is no submission fee.


Check out the July 5 blog post https://alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/new-ideas-festival-2017-call-for-scripts-is-now/  for full guidelines, or click on the OPPORTUNITIES tab on our website: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/submission-calls.html


Don‘t let that window close!

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