A Note from Our Artistic Executive Director

A message from Artistic  Executive Director Emily Dix regarding Bygone Theatre’s commitment to diversity and accessibility;

When I started Bygone Theatre back in 2012 my main goal was to produce engaging, character-driven theatre from the early 20th century – there were stories I wanted to see onstage that were only available at big companies, like Soulpepper, Stratford or Shaw, and I wanted something similar but on a smaller, more accessible scale. I set about making theatre with whomever I could find, and focused more on the work than those involved. Now, as Bygone Theatre enters our 9th season, it is clear we need to expand our focus and work harder to prioritize our commitments to diversity and accessibility; simply saying “all are welcome” and using wheelchair accessible spaces is not enough. We need to make concrete, measurable changes in order to better serve our community and our work.

As a company that produces “vintage theatre”, we are in a unique position when it comes to diversity. We have the opportunity to re-examine stories through a more authentic lens, looking at them not from the perspective of turn-of-the-century, primarily white audience members, but through one of historical insight, that acknowledges that the world has always contained diverse communities with fascinating stories, even if they weren’t being published or produced.

Plays from the 1920s-60s often feature racist stereotypes, that or they completely white-wash the story and show no diversity at all. When re-staging these stories it can be easy to fall into the trap of eliminating the overt racism while still maintaining the subvert – colourblind casting, 2-dimensional characters, or tokenism. Does that mean these stories are no longer relevant, or not worth retelling? No. But they do need to be redone. And that needs to be done with care.

While diversity and accessibility have always been important to us, we have admittedly existed in a bit of a bubble. Attempts to engage communities outside of my own have rarely been met with much success, and to be honest, the difficulty in doing this lead to me not making it a top priority. I do the majority of the work for Bygone on my own, and I did not know how to engage people past simply putting the message out there, and I never had time to really learn how.

Then COVID-19 happened.

After the initial upset of coming to terms with the uncertain year ahead of us, we at Bygone came to the realization that this “break” in the regular programming is exactly what we need. We are taking this time to learn and improve, not just as artists, but as people, and a part of the Toronto theatre community. We are listening to the voices speaking out against discrimination in the arts (the #InTheDressingRoom thread on Twitter was eye-opening and deeply upsetting). We are listening to the voices telling us how to be better allies. And we are taking time to make important changes and commitments, and to share that with you now as a commitment to change and accountability. This is not a final comment, it is a series of first steps. As we continue to learn and grow we will readdress these commitments, make more, and do more. I will make these a priority, and am working on learning how to do more. The following statements come from myself, and the Bygone Theatre Board of Directors:

Bygone Theatre believes Black Lives Matter.

Bygone Theatre sees the racism faced by BIPOC communities, believes their stories and stands with them in solidarity.

Bygone Theatre sees the homophobia and prejudice members of the LGBTQ2+ community faces, believes their stories and stands with them in solidarity.

Bygone Theatre sees the women who face sexism and discrimination, the members of the #MeToo movement, believes their stories and stands with them in solidarity.

Bygone Theatre sees the challenges and discrimination faced by Mad/Disabled communities, believes their stories and stands with them in solidarity.

We are making a commitment to support all these communities, prioritize their members and stories in our work, and to continue to work to become better allies. The following is our Commitment to Diversity and Accessibility, as of June 30, 2020.

BYGONE THEATRE DIVERSITY & ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENTS

OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY

Auditions & Casting

  • 50% of all audition slots will be reserved for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour)

  • Our Diversity & Accessibility statements will be included on all audition postings

  • We will begin our casting process earlier than we have in the past in order to make time to submit postings to diverse communities currently outside of our network

  • We will continue to provide character breakdowns that do not include physical attributes or race (unless essential to the story) and will promote colour-conscious casting

  • Casting will prioritize actors that have the shared experience of the character ​​

Rehearsal Process​

  • The first day of rehearsal will include a talk about equity, diversity and inclusion​

  • All cast members will be required to sign a contract that includes a code of conduct which addresses equity, anti-racism and sexual harassment – this will include a clear structure breakdown for a complaint and resolution process

  • Should we produce a show that centres around a character or story about a diverse community, we will hire a consultant or creative team member from that community to address any issues both in the play and the rehearsal room

Production Process​

  • We will prioritize the hiring of female, LGBTQ2+, Mad/Disabled and BIPOC production artists*​

  • We will prioritize businesses run by women, LGBTQ2+, Mad/Disabled and BIPOC folks when purchasing items for our company or productions

  • We will research the companies that we patronize to ensure they have values consistent with our own

*At the time of writing Bygone Theatre is without any consistent funding, and so our productions rely heavily on the support of volunteers. When we achieve a status that allows us regular operating funding we will re-address this and make a more concrete commitment to diversity numbers, but at the moment many roles are filled by our Artistic Executive Director (who often produces, directs and designs our shows) and whomever chooses to volunteer.

OUR COMMITMENT TO ACCESSIBILITY

Auditions & Casting

  • We will provide accessible auditions by prioritizing accessible spaces, and, when not available, allowing self-tapes or other opportunities for audition submission

  • We will clearly state the accessibility issues with any space we use, and will provide accommodation whenever necessary

  • We will clearly state all accessibility issues and potential solutions on all casting and production calls – for example, roles that can be fulfilled from home or that can be completed on a flexible schedule​ will be stated clearly so as to encourage those with accessibility issues to apply

  • We will continue to hold rehearsals in spaces that are accessible by the TTC

  • We will continue to create flexible rehearsal schedules that value actor’s time

Rehearsal & Production Process​

  • We will continue to encourage open communication especially around issues of accessibility, and will provide accommodation as necessary

  • We will continue to provide a judgement-free zone and will consult with cast and crew privately to ensure all of their needs are being met

  • We will provide all cast and crew with a clear breakdown of roles, responsibilities and hierarchy in order to ensure clear communication, and will include protocols for submitting concerns or complaints

Audience & Community

  • We will continue to prioritize accessible performance spaces and advertise possible accommodations

  • We will continue to provide ticket discounts to disadvantaged groups

  • We will continue to offer Relaxed Performances (dependent on show)

Bygone Theatre Competing in Shakesbeers Showdown

Bygone Theatre is thrilled to announce we’ll be joining the roster of this year’s competitors for Spur of the Moment Shakespeare’s Shakesbeers Showdown! The event takes place on Saturday May 2, 2020, and is a fundraiser for SOTMSC Shakespeare In Hospitals program.

Tickets are on sale now, and proceeds go to support a great cause. Come on out to support Bygone, Spur, and all the wonderful indie theatre groups involved!

More details to come.

2020 FUNDrive!

Do you have the post-Christmas blues? Wish that giving season came back? Want to support a great cause AND get rid of everything you just replaced with gifts? Donate your used clothing and small household items and help independent theatre thrive. Bygone Theatre has partnered with Value Village to help you help us. Every pound you donate translates to dollars on the stage. Your donation will help us put on the quality, historically accurate shows you love – but will also help us house our large vintage and antique prop and costume warehouse AND allow us to give back to the arts community. Get an early start on spring cleaning and come to any one of our community partners today!

Event Dates: December 20 – February 1, 2020

Collection location during drive:
38 Cross St, Toronto, ON M9N 2B9

Gigi’s House of Frills, 731 Dovercourt Road, TORONTO, ON M6H 2W7

Pickups available – email conor@bygonetheatre.com

Visit our site for more details and to make a pledge!

Broadway World Award Winners

The Broadway World Toronto Award Winners have been announced! Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, including;

EMILY DIX – Best Director, The Rear Window

Emily Dix

TRISTAN CLAXTON – Best Performance by a Leading Actor, The Rear Window

TRW_Tristan Claxton

KATE MCARTHUR – Best Performance by a Featured Actress, The Rear Window

TRW_Lena Cute

WESLEY BABCOCK – Best Original Lighting Design, The Rear Window

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THOMAS FINN – Best Cabaret Performance, A Rat Packed Christmas

Thomas Finn Headshot

See the complete list of winners here.

A Very Vintage Christmas with the Revue Cinema

The Revue Film Society presents a Free Community Screening of Elf on Saturday December 21st and of A Christmas Story on Sunday December 22nd, in support of the Parkdale Community Food Bank. The Revue will be collecting donations for the Parkdale Community Food Bank!

Pre-show stage performance: A Very Vintage Christmas presented by Bygone Theatre! On Saturday enjoy the song stylings of Elizabeth Rose Morriss, and on Sunday the crooning and comedy of Thomas and Kevin Finn.

Special thanks to the supporters of The Revue Cinema‘s annual Holiday Community Screenings: Reunion Coffee Roasters | Pollock’s Home Hardware | Master Mechanic High Park | Dollfactory by Damzels | Scout | The Mercantile | Sweetpea’s | Meridian Credit Union | Bill Mohan Sutton Real Estate | The DuHamel Family

Please note that since this Revue Film Society event is free, it is our policy to overbook to ensure capacity. We will begin releasing unclaimed seats to the rush line 5 minutes before the start of the event. In case of a full house, your reservation may not guarantee admission. Please note that only 2 tickets can be reserved per order. We recommend you arrive early! Visit their website to book your tickets.

Broadway World Toronto Award Nominations

We’re thrilled to have a total of 14 nominations for the Broadway World Toronto Awards, 11 of which are for people involved in our March 2019 production of The Rear Window.

TRW_Tristan Claxton

Tristan Claxton as Jeff in The Rear Window.

Congratulations and best of luck to all those who are nominated, voting only takes a couple of minutes and can be done here. Bygone is honoured to be recognized in the following categories;

Best Community Theatre – Bygone Theatre
Best Direction of a Play (Equity) – Emily Dix (The Rear Window)
Best Play (Equity) – The Rear Window
Best Independent Theatre ProductionThe Rear Window
Best Leading Actor (Play, Equity) – Tristan Claxton (The Rear Window)
Best Leading Actress (Play, Equity) – Kate McArthur (The Rear Window)
Best Original Costume Design – Emily Dix (The Rear Window)
Best Original Set Design – Emily Dix (The Rear Window)
Best Original Lighting Design – Wes Babcock (The Rear Window)
Best Performance by a Female in a Featured Role (Play, Equity) – Kate McArthur (The Rear Window)
Best Performance by a Male in a Featured Role (Play, Equity) – Tristan Claxton, Alex Clay (The Rear Window)
Best Cabaret Performance – Thomas Finn, A Rat-Packed Christmas, Crooning Comics and A Night With Frank & Judy
Thank you to all the talented and lovely people who we’ve worked with this past year, here’s to many more!

Something For The Buoys

The first show of our 2019/20 season is just around the corner! October 9-20 join us at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Toronto for Eli Pasic’s Something For The Buoys!

This parody of 1930s nautical musicals is being presented by Larry Silverberg and is produced by Sapling Productions in association with Bygone Theatre. Sapling is taking the creative lead while we here at Bygone help behind the scenes to mount the world premiere of this ambitious new musical comedy.

Listen to the recent Stageworthy Podcast for some insights into the creative process.

Tickets are on sale now, use the code BTVIP at checkout to save 25% off general admission!

SYNOPSIS: A starry-eyed sailor named Jimmy feels lonely and wants nothing more than to find his true love. Accompanied by Larry, his womanizing best pal, he sneaks ashore and enters the wonderful world of New York City. Of course, Jimmy immediately stumbles upon his true love. But between a big-time Broadway offer and a cranky captain with an Alka-Seltzer addiction, will Jimmy sail into the sun and live happily ever after before the final curtain? Who Knows!

FEATURING
Rob Sapienza as Jimmy
Tom Finn as Larry
Alison Beckwith as Sarah
Jacquie Martin as Betty
Kathleen Doerkson as Doris
Anthony Botelho as Captain
Justan Myers and Robert Popoli as Sailor #1 and Sailor #2

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Eli Pasic
MUSIC DIRECTION BY Jackson Seib
CHOREOGRAPHY BY Alayna Kellett
SET & PROP DESIGN BY Emily Dix
LIGHTING DESIGN BY Wesley Babcock
SOUND DESIGN BY Shaun McPherson
HAIR & MAKEUP BY Sinéad Plunkett-Blazi
PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT BY Bryan Kling
STAGE MANAGEMENT BY Kaitlind Gorman
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGEMENT BY Kathleen-Sonja Mooney-Childs

PRODUCED BY Bryan Kling and Rob Sapienza of Sapling, Emily Dix and Conor Fitzgerald of Bygone Theatre. Executive Producer Larry Silverberg.

Bygone Theatre’s Top 10 2019 Fringe Picks!

Well here we are again, Fringe time! With over 150 shows in less than 2 weeks it can be hard to narrow down what you want to see, so we’ve put together a list for all you Bygone lovers – shows featuring artists we’ve worked with or those we hope to. Enjoy!

1. Friend of Bygone Jada Rifkin

Jada has performed as Bob Burnhart’s lovely assistant in The Couples’ Game, as well as a fabulous version of the Grinch in our co-pro with Thomas Finn, The Cab(aret) Before Christmas. This Fringe, see her in two shows; Clitoria: A Sex-Positive Superhero! and Every Silver Lining.

CLITORIA: A SEX-POSITIVE SUPERHERO!

A sexually repressed high school science teacher accidentally turns herself into a sex-positive Vixen of Kink through a science experiment gone wrong. As the sex ed curriculum is scrapped in Ontario, Clitoria’s transformation wreaks havoc on her square life and her square fiancé. Musical comedy unfolds in hot, steamy, and unexpected ways!

EVERY SILVER LINING

Every Silver Lining is an original, dramedic, coming-of-age musical about illness and the perseverance of life; juxtaposing the joyful naiveté of youth, and the crushing discovery of mortality.

2. Friends of Bygone Sean Jacklin and Kevin Forster

Fringe’s Cyrano de Bergerac features 2 Bygone buddies; Sean Jacklin who played Walter Burns in His Girl Friday and Kevin Forster who played Hal in Loot.

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

Cyrano, Christina, and the Comte de Guiche vie for the affection of Roxanne, one using their wit, another their beauty, and the third . . . well any trick in the book. In the tradition of street theatre of the past, The Leslieville Players invite you to lay back on a patch of grass and watch us barrel through this new family friendly adaptation of a beloved classic. Sure Shaw and St. Lawrence are doing the show too, but we’re more fun! (and cheaper.)

3. Friends of Bygone Wesley Babcock & Whitney Hewitt

Wes Babcock was our fabulous lighting designer for our most recent production, The Rear Window. It’s hard to find a photo that does his work justice, but he managed to create chilling, dynamic lighting for a series of apartments in this thrilling suspense. Whitney Hewitt also worked on our show as our invincible stage manager! She is getting in the SM booth again for Deep End.

DEEP END

Carina’s turning 18 and is hosting the Birthday POOL Party of the year! Everyone’s invited, even Lilly. When do adults intervene in harmless harassment? What happens when life throws you into the deep end? This site specific show that happens in and around a Swimming Pool asks when does “kids will be kids,” go to far?

Please note that as this is a site specific Production the Audience will be required to remove their shoes and enter the pool deck where they will be seated on benches for the duration of the production!

4. Friend of Bygone Sarah Marchand

Sarah played The Dancing Girl in The Rear Window, but this Fringe she is working behind-the-scenes as the producer of Drink of Choice.

DRINK OF CHOICE

You walk into a bar, someone comes to take your order, and what happens next is your choice. Join us at the bar for a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure storytelling experience where the drink you order leads to personal tales about sexuality, romance, and total loss of reality. A hilarious solo show about what it means to be asexual as you navigate dating and seeking connection.

5. Friend of Bygone Nicole Byblow

Nicole was a regular staple of our Retro Radio Hour series and also performed in our Vaudeville Revue. She is doing music direction for Friendly Fire at this year’s Fringe.

FRIENDLY FIRE: THE ART AND EXECUTION OF FRIENDSHIP

Friends are great, aren’t they? Wait, are they? They must be. Otherwise we wouldn’t try so hard to make them. Or keep them. Or avoid them. Until we can cut them out… hmm. Sketch revues are great, aren’t they? This one is! Grab some pals and join us for a romp amongst the minefields of friendship. Or, come alone. We’re easy.

6. Friend of Bygone Cass Van Wyck

Cass played Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday and this summer is in another show by popular playwright Michael Ross Albert (so buy in advance!).

THE HUNS

The morning after a break-in at a tech company, three co-workers assemble for a conference call to discuss the burglary. What starts as a civilized, professional meeting swiftly devolves into a brutal showdown that puts everyone’s careers– and their hopes for future happiness– in jeopardy.

Written by Dora-nominated playwright Michael Ross Albert (“Anywhere,” Best of Fringe 2018/Patron’s Pick) and directed by Marie Farsi (associate artistic director, Crow’s Theatre), “The Huns” is a new, menacing workplace comedy about millennial anxieties, minor revolutions, and modern-day barbarians.

7. Friend of Bygone The Vintage Taps

Tapping trip The Vintage Taps performed in our Vaudeville Revue, see them in an extended show with a bigger cast in The Laundry List at this year’s Fringe.

THE LAUNDRY LIST

It’s 1919, and Frankie’s Laundry is gunning to be the number one bootlegger in Toronto. His competition thinks otherwise, and a group of chorus girls find themselves in a showdown of guns…..and tap shoes. The Laundry List will whisk you back to the golden age of jazz, flappers and gangsters. With live music, singing, and tap dancing, this cast of 12 will leave you with a song in your heart and a skip in your step.

8. Friend of Bygone Rob Sapienza

We’ve just started working with Rob Sapienza as he is one half of Sapling theatre, the company we have teamed up with (along with Larry Silverberg) to produce Something For The Buoys this October. He is directing Tales of a Cocktail at the Fringe.

TALES OF A COCKTAIL

The classic story of an innocent man wrongly, but deliberately sent to his demise and his brilliant strategy for revenge against those who betrayed him. Dashing young mobster Edward is a guileless and honest young man whose plans to marry the beautiful Mercedes and live a better life are abruptly shattered when his best friend who wants Mercedes for himself, deceives him. Told through a Chicago 1920s lens this dance adaptation brings to life the tale of The Count Of Monte Cristo.

9. A Quirky Victorian Comedy

This one caught our eye, and although Bygone hasn’t worked with David DiFrancesco before, our AD Emily Dix has, and is sure this will be hilarious.

THREE MEN ON A BIKE

From the company that brought you the award-winning Toronto Fringe smash hit Three Men in a Boat. Based upon the further writings of Victorian author Jerome K. Jerome. Pea Green Theatre Group proudly presents Three Men on a Bike! (Being the further adventures of three Victorian gentlemen as they embark upon a disastrous bicycling trip to the continent.) Not to be missed!

10. A New Look at Reefer Madness

Being a company that produces 20th century shows that are often closely linked to cinema, Reefer Madness the musical is of course on our to-do list. We’re intrigued by this new look at a story many of us know from the stage and screen.

REEFER MADNESS: ORIGINS

During the Depression, a time when hope and prosperity is far from the American mind, a common enemy is created: the Mexican weed with roots in hell, marijuana. Known as hemp and cannabis and used industrially and medically across the globe, “marijuana” is promoted as the cause of moral depravity among young people and societal decay. With the support of powerful allies with various interests, economic or otherwise, the Federal Commissioner of Narcotics Harry Anslinger will stop at nothing to warp the image of cannabis into what will shape international drug scheduling for generations to come.

Click on any of the show titles in this list for more info like show dates & times. Be sure to check out the Fringe website for a complete list of this season’s shows.

 

Crooning Comics

CrooningComics

Bygone Theatre, in association with Godfrey & Finns, presents

Crooning Comics

The creators of the BroadwayWorld.com ‘Best Cabaret, Toronto, 2018’
are back at the LOT!

TORONTO, ON (Friday April 26, 2019): Bygone Theatre has once again teamed up with the talented fellas behind past Finn & Friends productions such as A Night With Frank & Judy, A Rat-Packed Christmas and The Cab(aret) Before Christmas Godfrey & Finns. The trio consists of comedians James Godfrey (the Disney Channel, Dangerously Safe Comedy) and Kevin Finn (Colin Mochrie Improv Award winner) and classic crooner Thomas Finn (Hairspray, SPAMalot, Anything Goes).

My sides still hurt from laughing! What a great show don’t miss these
three outstanding performers!

– Julie Morin, Theatre Professor

Come join the crooning comedic trio fresh off their Ontario-wide Christmas tour (A Rat-Packed Christmas Comedy Hour) and see them at their madcap and musical best! An evening of sketches, impressions and songs from the Golden Age of Music. Featuring the vocal stylings of Julia Carrer. On for one night only, Thursday May 16, 7:30pmtickets on sale now!

I sat in the sold-out Simcoe Street Theatre in Collingwood and laughed until my face hurt! I was in awe of the talent these three human beings possess!
– Sara Benjamin

Crooning Comics
Created by Thomas Finn
RECOMMENDED for ages 12+ | ADVISORY: adult subject matter.
SHOW DATES: Thursday May 16, 7:30pm
LOCATION: The Lower Ossington Theatre | 100 Ossington Ave., Toronto, ON
BOX OFFICE: ticketwise.com| ADMISSION: $25
Visit http://www.bygonetheatre.com | Twitter & Instagram @BygoneTheatre @GodfreyAndFinns

The Rear Window

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY JANUARY 28, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Dix | emily@bygonetheatre.com | 647-343-5965

The Rear Window Collective Presents the World Premiere of
THE REAR WINDOW
A Thrilling New Stage Adaptation of a Classic Tale

 TORONTO, ON (Monday January 28, 2019) – Bygone Theatre has partnered with the newly formed Rear Window Collective to support their upcoming production of the world premiere of The Rear Window, written and directed by Emily Dix. This Canadian Actor’s Equity Association production is being produced under the Artist’s Collective Policy, and runs March 8 – 17, 2019 at Theatre Passe Muraille, on their mainstage.

SYNOPSIS
Recuperating from a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jefferies (Tristan Claxton) spends his days cooped up in his NYC apartment, watching his neighbours through the rear window of his home. What starts out innocently enough quickly grows into a dangerous obsession, as Jefferies – hopped up on painkillers and too much alcohol – becomes convinced he’s witnessed one of his neighbours commit a brutal murder. Has Jefferies’ really solved a terrible crime? Or have his inner demons finally got the best of him?

Based on the short story It Had To Be Murder by Cornell Woolrich, the same tale that inspired the 1954 Hitchcock film, Rear Window (James Stewart, Grace Kelly), The Rear Window takes a new look at this classic tale of a peeping Tom who saw more than he wanted to see. Still set in the 1950s, the play’s relevancy to today is undeniable in a world where many of us waste away our hours “spying” on others through social media, making our own stories and assumptions based on these small glimpses of a person’s life. A gripping, psychological thriller that will leave you guessing until the final moments whether or not what we’re seeing can truly be believed.

Featuring: Tristan Claxton (Hamelt(s); The Dutchess of Malfi), Kate McArthur (Hamelt(s), My Entertainment World Outstanding Lead nomination; The Tom and Gertie Letters Project), Alex Clay (A Streetcar Named Desire; Inch Of Your Life), Elizabeth Rose Morriss (Tell Me On A Sunday; Harvest Moon Rising), Isaiah Kolundzic (Venus in Fur; The Boys In The Band;Six Stories Told At Night), Sarah Marchand (Umbrella Academy; God’s Plan B), Casey Romanin (Moving On), Gabriel Hamilton (Edmond; The Forest; His Girl Friday).

Created by The Rear Window Collective | Supported by Bygone Theatre
RECOMMENDED for ages 14+ | ADVISORY: Adult situations, violence
SHOW DATES March 8-17, 7:30pm evenings, 2:00pm weekend matinees
LOCATION Theatre Passe Muraille | 16 Ryerson Ave., Toronto
BOX OFFICE online via Arts Box Office | 416-504-7529
TICKETS $25-$30 | $20 Early Bird Discount tickets available until February 7

Visit www.bygonetheatre.com | Twitter & Instagram @BygoneTheatre, @The.Rear.Window