Posts tagged ‘Theatre’

March 27, 2012

It’s World Theatre Day

I wish we did more to celebrate it in Toronto, outside of our industry, other than seemingly posting it on Facebook and awkwardly saying it to each other.

I wish it  were valued enough that it was a stat holiday, like Family Day and you could spend the day seeing theatre with your loved ones, free theatre, theatre at a discount, specially planned event, that everyone would be talking about what they did for World Theatre Day at the water coolers tomorrow and the morning talk/news shows would be asking people to tweet in what they did for World Theatre Day to win prize packages with the hashtag #WTD.

We’ll keep working on it. Meantime,  here’s a great presentation about the message from John Malkovich for the 50th Anniversary of ITI.  Definitely worth a watch.

Happy World Theatre Day.



February 23, 2012

Some of My Best Friends are Equity Members, Vol. 2

Message in my in-box last night from the fne foks over at Convergence Theatre, and said I`d share with you.


Hello Fellow CAEA Members!

So, the time has come for us to rally the troops once again…

After more than three years, Equity is finally taking steps towards creating new policies for indie agreements, as reflected by members’ feedback in the ITRC survey.

While it would be easy for us to sit back and watch Equity go about their business, we need to keep up the pressure and make sure our voices are heard, and that they stay on their timeline.  To this extent, Ed Roy is putting forth a motion to ensure that Equity understands the degree of importance and urgency with which members would like to see action be taken.

It is vital that we have the numbers and voices to support this motion!

The motion reads as follows:

WHEREAS Equity Member/Creators have demanded action on indie theatre issues for the last three years, expressed in the form of member resolutions at previous National AGMs, which resolutions passed 96-1 in February 2009, and 42-4 in October 2009;


AND WHEREAS the Independent Theatre Review Committee (ITRC) was formed in response to the demand for action on indie theatre issues and completed its work in September 2011;


AND WHEREAS the suggested policy changes resulting from the ITRC’s work on indie theatre issues have been debated and will soon be put in place by Council;


BE IT RESOLVED that Council require the Executive Director to deliver a plan that will directly address indie issues to CAEA members that will finally address indie theatre issues no later than October 31, 2012.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that should the Executive Director fail to deliver a new indie plan to CAEA members by October 31 2012, then until such time as this new indie plan is delivered, that Council enact policy to enable members to work under any currently existing CAEA agreement, policy or guideline (with the exception of engagements governed by a negotiated agreement) as such individual member deems appropriate including the Festival Policy, the Guest Artist Policy, the “Indie” Policy, the Small Scale Theatre Addendum or Co-op Guidelines, without CAEA staff approval and without CAEA penalty or repercussion.

As a concerned and invested CAEA member, we kindly ask that you do the following:

1.  Invite 3 people you know, who are members of Equity.  Tell them what’s been going on, and that their support on this motion is needed.  Ask them to be there on:

Date: February 27, 2012

Time: 7:00-10:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Venue: Gladstone Hotel (Ballroom)
Location: 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

Food & Booze!

2.  Ask them to invite 3 Equity people they know and repeat.

If we all ask 3 people, that would be grand.  If you have time to send out a mass e-mail, that would be even grander.

Looking forward to seeing you at the AGM!

Tags: ,
February 3, 2012

Linky Friday

Still more things I’d bookmarked and forgotten to tell you about. They’re good for a Friday, pictures and a TED video, which are always good.

75 Abandoned Theatres From Around the USA – I would prefer it if this was not the fate of our city-owned theatres. Beautiful buildings.

Canadian Stage has announced its 2012/13 season it looks fantastic and you KNOW which production  I cannot wait to see.

I’ve created a new page called Panels+Workshops so you can see which one’s I’m doing when. It is in progress.

And here you go: Use art to turn the world inside out. And have a good Friday.

January 26, 2012

Should Art Really Be For Its Own Sake?

Gotta love the Guardian.

You often hear it said that “museums of art are our new churches”: in other words, in a secularising world, art has replaced religion as a touchstone of our reverence and devotion. It’s an intriguing idea, part of the broader ambition that culture should replace scripture, but in practice art museums often abdicate much of their potential to function as new churches (places of consolation, meaning, sanctuary, redemption) through the way they handle the collections entrusted to them. While exposing us to objects of genuine importance, they nevertheless seem unable to frame them in a way that links them powerfully to our inner needs. Read more…

Yesterday was a double barreled day of theatre – The Golden Dragon at Tarragon, then Cruel and Tender at Canadian Stage.

I`m still thinking about Golden Dragon. I loved it. I love when a play raises questions and makes me think.  From Mooney on Theatre“You will never forget that you’re watching a play. If the cross-gender, cross-age and cross-ethnicity (is that a term?) characters doesn’t pull you out of the experience enough, then the spoken stage directions and occasional ‘nudge-nudge-wink-wink’ type of action to the audience will.”

It’s true. It’s thought-provoking and at the same time, the speed at which you accept all of the above and begin to embrace it is uncanny. I was lucky enough to go for dinner after with a group of theatre friends – I love that. I love that when we love a play we flip it over and eviscerate it, tear it apart, try to find the meaning, try to go deeper:  “did he purposely do that?” “what if that wasn’t intentional?”  “That was a really important line – was it deliberately treated as a throwaway?” Anyone listening would think we hated it, save the occasional, “I LOVED IT!” that punctuates the conversation. That is how we show our love.

Cruel and Tender has its roots in Sophocles The Trachiniae and so we have a Greek Tragedy modernized. And modernized really well – it`s a dense piece, it`s heavy, it`s worth it. Classical theatre  manages to resonate to a modern audience – the themes, the message, the questions it raises. A tiring night in a good cathartic kind of way. And Daniel Kash in his final scene has him chewing up the scenery and spitting it back in your face. Wonderful stuff.

Again – these aren’t reviews. They’re what I think about what I did yesterday. I love that I had a two play day yesterday.

Last week I posted a theory about the ability to do a twelve-hour art marathon in this city and cover all genres. I’m doing it next month. Stay tuned for details – I got it all planned out in my head.  AND I’m doing it on a budget.

December 4, 2011

Sunday Roundup – December 4

It’s DECEMBER. Weird.

Last week of Entrepreneuse School this week, the end of one chapter  is hurtling towards us with the beginning of a new one of the very next page.

This week was art nd politics and art and politics and trying to figure out the best way to explain to some the important of the former to the latter. How did we do?

a tale as old as time, a 30′s style salon and our national anthem – the 1164 Cabaret was born at Pentimento Gallery and needs to become a regular thing in my opinion.

Cool contest with Angelwalk Theatre – it is. Break out the FlipCam and off you go.

A Message From Friends of the Arts Re: 2012 Toronto City Budget Recommendations – ten percent cuts across the board  – culture division, the majors, grants you name it – nothing is sacred. If you read no other post here today, read this one and its companion piece.

About Red – playing at the Bluma, courtesy Canadian Stage. Go and see it.Pieces like Red are part of he reason the posts above and below it are so important.

How To Make a Deputation: A Message from the Toronto Arts Foundation – part two. If the post about the cuts worked you up enough to go and say something, here’s a handy primer from the TAF on how to say it well.

In other quick news – Saw VideoCab’s The Life and Times of Mackenzie King yesterday afternoon – they are the perfect part of an awesome Saturday. Go and see it, if for no other reason that to try to figure out who RB Bennett reminds you of.

Have a good Sunday – those clouds look suspiciously determined so I’ll sit tight here and finish my deputation and business plan.




November 14, 2011

Some of my best friends are Equity members

I am not an Equity member.

I mostly deal with Equity by fax or by phone about shows I am working on and the artists and technical staff involved. But I am getting the impression that the upcoming AGM is an important one for its members, so I thought I’d send you to a blog I frequently read to learn more about it from their perspective. Enter Praxis Theatre.

About a year and a half ago, Michael Wheeler wrote this post:

Why Canadian Actors’ Equity Association is important and why it has to change

In many of the circles I run in “Equity” is a dirty word. It is often uttered derisively, and under one’s breath. Something to be avoided at all costs, and dealt with only when absolutely necessary. For Canadian theatre artists trying to create their own work – dealing with this hostile force is one of, if not the biggest, obstacles to pursuing their craft. It is frequently uttered in conjunction with other dirty words.

I think this is a darn shame. Read more…

Tandem followup post this week by  Michael  & Aislinn Rose:

Why Sunday’s RAGM is a big moment for Canadian Theatre and why it’s got nothing to do with raising dues

A-year-and-a-half ago we published “Why Actors’ Equity Association Is Important and Why it Has to Change” which at the time became one of the most read posts in the history of

The piece concludes with 5 core points about why CAEA needs to reform its policies with regard to independent theatre that still remain true, valid, and urgent to this day: Read more…

So there you go – read on.

The CAEA Ontario RAGM is Sunday, November 20th at 7pm at the Wychwood Barns, located at 601 Christie Street. All members in good standing are welcome, and it’s recommended you bring your membership cards with you.

Tags: ,
November 6, 2011

Sunday Roundup – November 6

A lot of things happening this week, let’s get to what happened, and then I’ll let you in on what’s gonna happen.

I hate nickel and diming   – a sort of guest post from a chat with a friend on the fact that sometimes spending a few dollars on your event is better than spending too much time.

Holiday Shopping in Movember – link to the beginning of shows by local artisans  – buy local art and get the satisfaction of one of a kind gifts coupled with the idea that the holiday season is not owned by corporations.

Libraries and Bikes and Theatres – a library survey, a have you had your bike stolen survey and a notice about public consultations regarding the three city-owned theatres.

Artful Management and are you and Innie or an Outie? – post from Creative Trust on how your org’s admin should reflect the artistic product, and a great infographic on inbound and outbound marketing.

Saturday Bonus – CDAP – the TD Bank is supporting the Toronto Fringe’s latest endeavour – the Culturally Diverse Artists Project.

Busy week. What’s coming up?

By the time you read this, Little Pea’s Revolution will be ready to take a trip to the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York.

And Stratical Theatre will be in the thick of rehearsals for its inaugural production – a workshop of Pinter’s The Dumbwaiter.

And Control over Destiny Jewelry Design will be prepping for its annual Holiday Show and Sale.

And I will be working with them all and ever-so-pleased to be doing so. Have a great Sunday!


September 30, 2011

a Weekend of Culture

Many,many, many things going on this weekend – too many to list. I shall send you straight to the sources. Go, participate, learn, laugh, experience – BE. These are the things that help make this a great city. Be part of it.

For one sleepless night experience the city transformed by hundreds of artists for Toronto’s sixth annual sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art.  Discover art in galleries, museums and unexpected places. From a streetcar, alleyways and storefronts to churches, ponds and parks, choose from more than 130 destinations and chart your own path.

         Zone A        Zone B      Zone C






Culture Days is a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.  Annual, Canada-wide Culture Days events feature free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind the scenes,” to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in their community.  Activities by Region

And finally…

On Saturday, October 1st, beginning at 8PM (doors at 7:30PM) Stratirical Theatre Company is hosting a fundraiser for their inaugural production, “A Workshop Presentation of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter”.

South London Crime Boss WILSON has cordially invited you to his home for an invitation-only soiree, celebrating the Family’s victory over the war with the McCormick Family – the Irish Mafia. This will be followed by a cruise around the islands on his yacht, The Dumb Waiter,  outfitted with a casino and burlesque parlour.
But before anyone has finished their third drink, mayhem ensues! IT’S MURDER! It’s up to you as loyal friends and family of the Family to figure out WHODUNNIT. The year is 1960. Dress appropriately. But only if you want to...

**RSVP to or this event page … OR you could just show up and hope that you’re in WILSON’S good graces enough to crash the party…but you know how Wilson hates crashers!

Have a good, safe, cultural, thought-provoking arts filled weekend!

September 26, 2011

Everything Stops for Tea

I will confess I am battling a cold that is straight out of central casting for a cold meds commercial, so I am taking a Benelyn Day or a Nyquil evening or what have you so today is a quick link from Robert Cushman:

On Theatre No One Should Take Opinion as Gospel, Not Even Our Critics

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that it’s core services review day at City Hall – the Globe and Mail is live tweeting the proceedings, as is the Star and torontoist has a handy cheat sheet of what’s on the table.

And this. Have a smile and a cuppa and a listen. Do you good. I’m off to take my Benelyn Day.

July 4, 2011

Fringe Plays I Apparently Should Not Have Bothered Seeing

Bizarre article in the Star/ on how to avoid seeing bad plays at the Fringe. Apparently there are ten things to avoid so you can only see good shows. I posted this note on Facebook last night, and got some good comments back, comments that made me think.

” Isn’t the entire point of the Fringe that you can’t apply rules to theatre? That’s called “formulaic” and is generally considered bad.”

“He misses the essential point(s) of the fringe and what we grapple with post-fringe in order to make our work. I think (my) company has broken all the rules and played to sold out houses and high praise even from his newspaper.”

“Is the author involved aware of the rules involved in staging a show at the Fringe? Is the author aware that it would be a tad difficult to store the set for Miss Saigon in a 3’x6′ space backstage at Tarragon Backspace? I saw Ian McKellen do “Acting Shakespeare” but I guess it was a dud, because it violated Rules# 3 and 6…Ditto Julia Sweeney in “Letting Go of God” and Tracey Erin Smith-Alter in “The Burning Bush” but I guess only that last one counts because it was a Fringe show…”

and from another post on said article from the amazing Sharron Matthews“It is like the writer is encouraging patrons and audience members to NOT come to the theatre…to not be adventurous or have independent thought when choosing a play or musical to see at the festival…to only go to pieces that are endorsed by critics…to not take a chance on something different…to basically go against the whole spirit of what the festival is.”

Maybe it was tongue in cheek. But what about the readers who believe it, who are hitting print and tucking it into their Fringe programs? The more I thought about it the article, the more I realized that some of the shows I’ve seen over the years clearly WERE duds according to the 10 reasons listed in the article. I didn’t know I was seeing duds at the time – I know better now. Some highlights/duds I saw are listed below – I hope you weren’t fooled as well. If you were and I’ve missed one, please let me know. We only have each other to rely on.

The NOAM CHOMSKY LECTURES breaks rule 7. (A variation of No. 6). Two names everywhere.  I don’t care if those names are Daniel Brooks and Guillermo Verdecchia it’s only two names and there needs to be more.

THIS IS A PLAY violates #6, and #4. “A play about a play about a play about itself. Deconstructivist hilarity.” Too ambitious based on the tag line and Daniel MacIvor all over it.

THIS HOTEL # 2. Really?  The Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse? How am I supposed to find a theatre when there’s a bloody TENT in front of it, and these people dressed in shirts that say Fringe Volunteer are selling tickets and yelling “tip the fringe!!” all over the place?

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE Don’t get me started. #1, #4, #6, #7 everywhere. Did this show even go anywhere after the Fringe?

DA KINK IN MY HAIR – same as above. And same question – no idea if this piece had any shelf life.

ROMEO AND JULIET REMIXED – #4 with a bullet – the description says toss in glitter, glow sticks and throbbing house music. Add a club kid named Romeo, and a raver named Juliet. Mix in a DJ, a dance floor, and you’ve got Toronto’s most innovative environmental production ever! YOU WILL DANCE! content, language, gunshots, strobe lights, audience members may get wet! Too much! Too, too much!

OSCAR REMEMBERED  – I saw this, I don`t quite remember,  but I bet it broke Rule 1.Avoid dramaturgy. And that`s coupled with 2. Crappy Venue. If you didn’t, I apologize for my accusation. Still – crappy venue.Thank God Bruce liked it.
(Recommended)Factory Studio Theatre, 125 Bathurst St.
   Working from the excellent script by Montreal playwright Maxim Mazumdar, Denis Couillard ably performs this one-man show tracing the tragic downfall of Oscar Wilde from the perspective of the man who brought him down, Lord Alfred Douglas. Historically speaking, it was young Lord Douglas, nicknamed Bosie, who goaded Wilde into suing his own father for calling the flamboyant playwright and famous wit a “sodomite.” The subsequent trials led to Wilde’s imprisonment, disgrace and an ignominious and impoverished exile. But instead of exposing Bosie as the true villain he is, Couillard’s fey and affected portrayal, while unsympathetic, doesn’t generate the outrage in the audience that it should. – Bruce DeMara

PHONEY-   # 2 and “one woman mixed media” clearly violates #4. Again – thank God Bruce liked it.
(Recommended) Factory Studio Theatre, 125 Bathurst St.  A late bloomer to the comedy scene, Shelley Marshall presents herself in a one-woman mixed-media show filled with pathos and humour that doesn’t fully satisfy. At 30 minutes, it’s just long enough to give us a sense of Marshall’s comic talents, mostly seen on the screen behind her, which replays slices of her tragicomic earlier life. In fact, too much of the funniest stuff is on the screen, in the form of her acid-tongued old nanny, a man-hungry mother and Marshall as a young child with a mannish hairstyle and oversized glasses that cause everyone to mistake her for a boy. Starting out in frumpy pyjamas and fuzzy slippers, she eventually emerges from her chrysalis as a strong and happy adult through one of the most side-splitting onstage costume changes ever to grace the stage. Then all too soon, it’s over. A little longer and stronger and Marshall could become a real comic gem. –  Bruce DeMara

My point being besides poking fun at the article is  – go. See what you like. See what looks promising to you. Take a risk. It’s at the most an hour and a half and ten bucks. Stretch yourself. Use your imagination. Fringe.

%d bloggers like this: