Giving Tuesday – Topping Up Our Artist Fund

For our first ever Giving Tuesday, we are expanding our focus on our Artists’ Fund. You have all done so much for our artists, but we still have a chance to make a huge impact for those artists who are currently on stage for The Birds.

These artists, including our lovely cast (Anna Douglas, Alex Clay, Oliver Georgiou, Kiera Publicover, and Chad Allen), our set and lighting designer (Wes Babcock), and our Stage Manager (Kate McArthur) were all hit hard by the pandemic. For most, this is their first time back on stage in over two years.

This Giving Tuesday, give directly to artists. 100% of these funds will go to paying these lovely people, who you can see on stage until December 10 at Hart House Theatre.

Click here to donate now.

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A Note From Our Artistic Executive Director at the Start of Our 10th Season

On Saturday November 26, 2022, we opened our first production of our 10th season, The Birds, at Hart House Theatre. As my speech was somewhat improvised and a little scattered and emotional, I wanted to share a cleaner version of it now – there’s a reason I’m usually the one behind the camera/stage, and writing this out is sure to be a better way to ensure I share all I want to say.

As you likely know if you are reading this, my name is Emily Dix and I am the Artistic Executive Director of Bygone Theatre, a company I founded in October 2012 along with Matt McGrath and Tom Beattie. Both of them have since moved on, but I’m happy to say that many of the wonderful people I work with today have been with the company in some capacity or another for years, and I hope that continues to be the case. In 2015 we became a non-profit and formed our first Board of Directors: Elizabeth Stuart Morris was Chair, Leete Stetson was Vice Chair, Elizabeth Rose Morriss was Secretary and Conor Fitzgerald was Treasurer. While our Chair and Vice Chair were only with us for a season, Conor has gone on to become Bygone Chair and Elizabeth, who has worked with Bygone in various capacities since the very beginning, is still our Secretary. We have since added to our board Dr. Mark Terry as President, and Vinay Sagar as a member. This team has provided guidance and support in countless ways, and because of them we were able to become a registered charity in the summer of 2022. I would like to extend my thanks to all who have helped in the formation of this company – it isn’t as glamourous a role as some of the creatives, but it is essential, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Through the years Bygone has produced numerous one-night-only performances in addition to our mainstage shows. These include many “Finn and Friend” productions, staring the incomparable Tom Finn and his hilarious brother, Kevin Finn, as well as a series of retro game shows hosted by the one and only Bob Burnhart (aka actor and dialect coach, John Fleming). We have also produced over a dozen “Retro Radio Hour” shows that feature the talents of dozens of lovely singers and actors, both those who have been featured in mainstage shows and those who joined us for a one-off performance. These smaller performances still require a tremendous amount of talent, planning and work, and many have been mounted as fundraisers, meaning those involved have donated their time to help grow the company. To everyone who has been involved in one of these events of which there really are too many to count, thank you.

Our last major production was The Rear Window, performed at Theatre Passe Muraille back in March of 2019. It had been our biggest show to-date, and while a major financial risk, it was one that we felt we needed to take. The show was a success with great reviews and a total of 11 Broadway World Toronto nominations, four of which led to wins: Best Direction of an Equity Play – Emily Dix; Best Original Lighting Design – Wesley Babcock; Best Leading Actor – Tristan Claxton; and Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Kate McArthur. Unfortunately, what we had hoped would be a big jump forward in the growth of our company was quickly stalled in 2020, at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, we had to press pause, and went for over 2 years without producing a live show.

During our production hiatus, we shifted focus to develop the other aspects of our company. We always knew we wanted to work towards charitable status, and so we put all our time and effort into building our Sustainability and Diversity & Accessibility Mandates, and our education program. With the help of Dr.Mark Terry, we partnered with the Youth Climate Report, and became the first theatre company to publicly commit to following all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. When the YCR was awarded an honourable mention at the 2020 UN SDG Action Awards, we were given the opportunity to share a video that outlined our commitments. Since then, we have further narrowed and focused our mandate into three main areas: Mend & Make Do; Vintage Aesthetics, Not Values; and Indie Unite. We reaffirmed our commitment to accessibility, and committed to providing clearer breakdowns in all casting and production calls, highlighting specific skills, abilities, potential challenges and possible solutions. We majorly expanded our commitment to diversity, and instituted quantifiable goals such as reserving 50% of auditions slots for BIPOC performers, and providing free admission to all Bygone shows and events for anyone who identifies as being of Indigenous descent. We also provide free advertising space to Indigenous-led organizations, and are seeking funding to be able to hire an Indigenous artist as a consultant as we continue to expand this mandate.

In 2021, we were awarded the Toronto Star Readers’ Choice Award for Best Live Theatre, and were runner-up for NOW Magazine’s Best Small Theatre – if you like the work we do, voting is currently open for the Broadway World Toronto Awards, and while we did not produce anything last season we are nominated for Best Local Theatre in both the Professional and Non-Professional categories – you can cast your vote here.

With the help of a generous donation last season from Jane Aster Roe of Aster Roe Productions, we were able to start two new initiatives; a revival of our Retro Radio Hour series, now to be in podcast form; and the expansion of our Youth Production Assistant program. As with all of our new programs and initiatives, our top priority is with providing payment and support to artists, who have been disproportionately affected during the past few years of the pandemic. With that goal in mind, our first charitable campaign was the creation of our Artist Fund, which gave 100% of funds raised directly to our artists. It is our goal to re-fill this fund with the ticket sales from each show, as well as through fundraising campaigns, so that we can work towards always providing industry standard rates to all the artists we engage. This year, we raised over $12,000 which went directly to the cast of The Birds – thank you to everyone who donated, and if you would still like to give your support, donations can be made via our Canada Helps page.

Throughout the pandemic we provided a series of free webinars on topics ranging from producing to vintage design – these will become a regular part of our programming. This season, thanks to a major donation from IG Financial, we are launching a new program: Empower Your Tomorrow: Financial and Business Literacy for the Arts – stay tuned for details. We are also thrilled to be providing a series of workshops through our venue partnerships with Hart House Theatre.

Finally, this season will include two more mainstage productions: The Yellow Wallpaper, a mix of ambulatory theatre and digital projection being presented at Campbell House Museum, March 2023; and Wayne & Shuster, Live! which will bring Canadian comedy legends Wayne & Shuster back to the stage with the support of their children, Michael and Brian Wayne and Rosie Shuster, thanks to sponsorship from Alterna Savings and a venue partnership with Hart House Theatre, May 2023.

Now that we’re all caught up on the craziness that is the last few years, it’s time to say thanks to those who have helped create what is not only our first show of our 10th season, but the first back since our COVID-19 hiatus, AND our first show as a registered charity: The Birds.

First, to the staff of Hart House Theatre. To Doug Floyd, who took a chance on a small company and let us come into a space we simply could not have afforded on our own – thank you for the encouragement and support, and for giving us a chance to show what we can do. This literally wouldn’t be happening without you. To Gillian Lewis, who is actually the HHT Education & Production Coordinator, but who seems to do basically every job there is. Thank you for helping with everything from organizing workshops to finding props and for the constantly positive attitude and excellent hugs. To Brian Campbell for his guidance and support as we get used to being back in a theatre, and a union house at that – thank you for your patience. To Lindsey Middleton for all the last-minute help when my computer decided to die THE WEEK of opening – thank you for being on-the-ball, keeping a cool head, and finishing the program I should have had done 3 weeks prior. To Parker Nowlan, for being an absolute superstar. I don’t even know where to start. Parker has done everything from set building to programming the lights and has been there to save the day numerous times through this process (starting with emergency printing at our callbacks). Thank you for all your help, and most of all, for doing it with a smile and the patience of a saint. To Brendan (oh my god how do I not know your last name??), who programmed our sound and took my rambling, very non-technical notes and requests and made it all work – thank you for also being super patient, and for making last-minute adjustments more times than I’d like to count. And to all the front of house staff, the Hart House volunteers, and the cleaning staff who’ve dealt with our cluttered backstage – it takes a huge group of talented and dedicated people to run something like Hart House Theatre, and I am thankful to all of you.

Warning – this is where I may start to get sappy.

To our cast and crew, starting with our team of production assistants. Thank you to Ainsley Munro for late-night flat painting, to Sarah Allen who shadowed Wes and helped with odd set and prop tasks that ranged from dressing to running to Rotblotts for more tape. To Kiana Josette, who is working with us in various producing capacities and who took stunning production photos and all the pictures of our opening night gala. To assistant/apprentice director Julia Edda Pape, who attended nearly every rehearsal and provided great vision and insight, as well as helping in a variety of PA roles, and who was a part of the workshopping of the script. Thank you for being consistent, reliable, hardworking and talented – you are going to go far. To our ASM/Associate Producer Jane Aster Roe, who has worked with us in some capacity since 2016 – thank you for doing everything from raising funds to selling tickets, setting props and doing coffee runs – your willingness to do whatever needs to be done has been invaluable and is very much appreciated. To my mother, Karen Henderson, who sewed the lovely dress you see on Daphne at the top of the show and to Tegan Ridge, who came in last-minute with some hair & makeup suggestions – thank you. A major part of Bygone’s image is our historically accurate aesthetic, and that couldn’t have been achieved without you.

To Wes Babcock, our set designer who eventually came on as lighting designer as well, and had to work with tight deadlines and an even tighter budget – thank you for not only doing your job wonderfully well, but for helping with all the dozens of things that were decidedly not your job, like helping with sound cues and InDesign files – I know you weren’t the production manager, but you were definitely a production manager. More importantly than that, you’ve been an amazing friend, as you always have been, and I appreciate you lending an ear not only to my worries and questions about the show, but to my complaints about life in general. I’m so happy to have known Wes for many, many years, and hope to have him in my life for many more to come – I promise every time we will pay you more than the last.

To our wonderful stage manager, Kate McArthur, who is one of the most beautiful people I know. I am so proud of you and all your work on this, jumping into a role you hadn’t filled in years, you’ve done an amazing job and shown you really can do anything. Thank you for being a constant support in every way, you’re one of my closest friends and I could not have maintained my sanity this past month without you. I look forward to spending this entire year creating things with you.

To my fantastic cast – Anna Douglas, who I have not known for long, but who I could immediately see was the perfect Daphne. Anna approaches her work with a focus and dedication that is truly admirable, and while I rarely have time to point it out in rehearsals, I see new details and nuances every time she runs a scene, and those are noticed and appreciated. Her commitment to the show and determination to make it a success has been clear since day one. Thank you, Anna, for the attention-to-detail, thoughtfulness and thoroughness in all that you do.

To Alex Clay, another one of my closest friends, and someone who I have been lucky to work with several times before. Alex read the very earliest versions of this script and has been a sounding board throughout the entire process. Thank you for the lunch-time phone calls to go over ideas, and for coming to each rehearsal focused and ready and full of incredibly lame jokes that always make me laugh. I’m so happy to see you in a role that allows you to show such range, and excited for everyone to see what a talented and capable actor you are. I’m so happy to have you in my life.

To Oliver Georgiou, who I knew was “Mitch” about 5 seconds into his audition. Oliver is wonderful onstage and off – not only is he a talented and engaging actor, he is a thoughtful and supportive team member who has done everything from running warm-ups to bringing me allergy medicine the day after I complained about a dusty theatre. Oliver’s additions to the script have been essential, and the ending is what it is thanks to him. Thank you for supporting and elevating all my ideas, and for being a great listener and a wonderful person to be around.

To Kiera Publicover, who is one of the most wonderfully laid-back actors I’ve ever had a chance to work with, thank you for being a constantly positive and calming presence – much needed in a show as intense as this. Kiera took what could have easily been a small, two-dimensional part and built it into a fully-formed, engaging and endearing character that is exciting to watch. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you go on to do. Thank you as well for your assistance with editing the Land Acknowledgement, and for the suggestions of Indigenous organizations to support.

To Chad Allen, who I had worked with briefly before years ago when he swooped in last minute to save the day by playing several small roles in His Girl Friday. Chad is a true pro, and has excellent taste in coffee. Thank you for always bringing focus and dedication to all you do, and for being such a positive and guiding presence in rehearsals – I look up to you, and not just because you’re a giant and an “old man”. Chad has also taken a small role and turned it into a character worthy of a spin-off. Thank you for always going above and beyond.

Last, but certainly not least, to Conor Fitzgerald, Bygone’s Chair, my fellow Producer, and my partner in every aspect of life. Thank you for creating business plans and spreadsheets, for driving ridiculously far away for obscure auction pick-ups, for keeping me supplied in Diet Coke, and for supporting me during every stage and mood and thing. It sounds so cheesy to say he is my other half, but it really is true, and I could not do any of the things I do without him.

To all who have helped Bygone become what it is today, and to all who have supported The Birds in anyway, thank you. I hope you enjoy our show and our season, and all the big things to come.

  • Emily Dix

The Birds Are Here!

Thank you to everyone who made our opening night a success – you can see The Birds onstage at Hart House Theatre from now until December 10, 2022. Visit Hart House Theatre or Bygone Theatre for tickets and more information.

Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels and Alex Clay as her brother David Harper. Photo by Kiana Josette.
“It isn’t for me, David, it’s for you!”. Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels and Alex Clay as David Harper.
Oliver Georgiou as Mitch Brenner.
Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels.
Kiera Publicover as Annie Hawthorne and Oliver Georgiou as Mitch Brenner.
Chad Allen as Hank and Anna Douglas as Daphne Daniels.

PRESS RELEASE – Bygone Theatre Presents THE BIRDS

Bygone Theatre brings a thrilling new drama to the historic Hart House Theatre

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TORONTO, ON (Tuesday October 4, 2022), this November, see Bygone Theatre’s return to live theatre with the opening of a classic story wholly reimagined for the stage and our times. Written and directed by Emily Dix (BWT Best Director of an Equity Play, The Rear Window), THE BIRDS is a new psychological thriller inspired by the Daphne DuMaurier short story and Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.

New York socialite Daphne Daniels is headed to an old family cottage for a weekend of R&R with her brother and husband, but when her husband is unexpectedly delayed and their neighbours turn out to be Daphne’s old flame and his new girl, tensions run high. Things take a bizarre turn when reports of violent bird attacks start flooding the airwaves and the sudden crisis brings out everyone’s deepest fears and darkest convictions. Inspired by the toll isolation and political propaganda took on many during the past few years of the global COVID-19 pandemic, The Birds examines what happens when the line between truth and paranoia becomes dangerously blurred.

Starring Anna Douglas (Mrs. America, FX) as Daphne Daniels and Alex Clay (The Rear Window) as her brother, David Harper; Oliver Georgiou (Sweet Action Theatre) as her ex-boyfriend, Mitch Brenner; Kiera Publicover (Arrowwood Theatre) as his new gal, Annie Hawthorne; and Chad Allen (The Expanse) as the gruff but helpful caretaker, Hank. Made possible through a partnership with Hart House Theatre as venue sponsor.

SHOW INFO:
BYGONE THEATRE Toronto’s Best Live Theatre (Toronto Star Readers’ Choice Awards)
VENUE SPONSOR Hart House Theatre
PERFORMING AT Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto
SHOW DATES November 25 – Dec. 10 | Wednesdays – Saturdays, Saturday matinees
PREVIEW Friday Nov. 25, 8pm | OPENING NIGHT AND GALA Sat. Nov. 26, 8pm, 10pm Gala
TICKETS | www.bygonetheatre.com/tickets | https://harthouse.ca/theatre/show/the-birds
RECOMMENDED FOR Ages 13+ | Mature themes, simulated violence, use of stage blood

MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Dix
Artistic Executive Director
647-343-5965 | emily@bygonetheatre.com

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Meet The Cast of The Birds

Meet the cast of Bygone Theatre’s upcoming production, THE BIRDS. Nov. 25 – Dec. 10 at Hart House Theatre.

ANNA DOUGLAS – Daphne Daniels

BIO: Film, television, and stage actor Anna Douglas was born in Toronto, raised in Nashville, schooled in Indiana (BFA from U. of Evansville), then finally returned to her hometown from a stint in Los Angeles almost 10 years ago. She is best known for her role in FX’s hit series Mrs. America playing LGBTQ activist Jean O’Leary. Her award-winning performance as Lucy Van Pelt in Ted Lasso-star Brendan Hunt’s LA and NYC hit play, Absolutely Filthy, is another highlight of a 27-year career that includes appearances on Working Moms, Saving Hope, and Ransom, and stage credits at the Soho Playhouse (NYC), South Coast Repertory (CA), and The Kennedy Center (DC). She is thrilled to return to the stage for the first time since the pandemic began, and extends her profound thanks to Bygone Theatre for the opportunity.

ALEX CLAY – David Harper

BIO: Alex is a stage and screen actor from Dundas, ON. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.A in History and Theatre and an M.A in History. He then received his B.Ed. from UofT, but chose to buckle down into a safe and sensible career as an actor. Alex co-founded the Toronto-centric theatre company, The Theatre Circuit and their inaugural season consisted of The Inch of Your Life Trilogy in which Alex portrayed the character of Luke Richmond. Some of Alex’s other recent theatre credits include Owen in Girl in the Machine (Seven Siblings Theatre), Clayton Perry/Mike in The Cenotaph Project (Theatre by the Bay), Victor in Private Lives (Pure Carbon Theatre), Markus in Some of us Pretend (Bricks n’ Sticks productions), Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (Paper-Knife Theatre), Richard Loeb in Dialogues of Leopold & Loeb (Labyrinthus Mundi Productions), and Pat Lor/the Demon in Interview with a Demon (B. Smart Productions). Alex is incredibly excited to be back on stage, and with Bygone Theatre no less! With Bygone, he previously played McCue in His Girl Friday and Charles Thomas in The Rear Window. Alex would like to extend his thanks to Bygone Theatre for this opportunity to play on the historic Hart House stage.

OLIVER GEORGIOU – Mitch Brenner

BIO: Oliver Georgiou is an actor, comedian, and clown. He was recently featured as a festival headliner at Detroit Improv Festival while simultaneously filming the lead role in the 1950s horror-comedy homage Vampire Zombies… From Space! across the border. He is the producer and host of Dodo Dome at Sweet Action Theatre where he runs weekly workshops for actors and clowns to stay in practice.

Oliver absolutely loves devised theatre. His first attempt was the critically-acclaimed Me With You at Toronto Fringe 2015. He then produced SODA Theatre and SODA Underground in 2017, each with a subsequently riskier approach to devising a quality improvised play. Oliver is a Second City House Co. alum and was a series regular on Caverns & Comedians which won Outstanding Gaming Series in the 2018 Canadian Podcast Awards. He is ecstatic to be back in a theatre space with such a fantastic company, cast, and script. 

KIERA PUBLICOVER – Annie Hawthorne

BIO: Kiera Publicover (she/they) is a Queer multidisciplinary artist, theatre creator and actor. Originally from Toronto, Kiera is a recent graduate of the University of Windsor’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program. In 2018, Kiera co-founded Arrowwood Theatre Company which she has been co-Artistic Director of since. Kiera’s creative interests live in exploring themes of family, femininity and the ways in which society performs gender. Her work revolves around experimentation with alternative forms of theatre creation, such as physical devising, collective creation, verbatim theatre and more.
Previous: Agnes at the Weston: Then & Now Festival (Shakespeare in Action/Arrowwood Theatre Co.), herself in Contactless (Soulpepper/Arrowwood Theatre Co.), herself in Canada’s Next Chopped Model Minority (2021 Paprika Festival), #8 in The Wolves (University Players), and more. Currently, Kiera is the Playwright in Residence at House+Body Theatre, working on an original theatre piece, Talking to Dead Cats in the Night, generously funded by the Canada Arts Council.

CHAD ALLEN – Hank

BIO: Chad Allen is thrilled to be working with Bygone Theatre again in their production of The Birds. Since last appearing on stage at The Newmarket 10-minute Play festival, Chad created Bistro Boys Productions with whom he wrote and acted in two award winning short films, The Blind Date and The Procedure. He has also appeared in popular tv shows The Boys and What We Do in The Shadows as well as The Expanse with David Strathairn. Chad lives in Toronto where he continues to help tell thought provoking stories that inspire and entertain be it in film or on stage, acting, writing, directing or teaching. Chad can be found on Instagram or Twitter under ChadAllenCreating or at his website http://chadallencreating.com. 

Our First Ever Charitable Campaign

Bygone Theatre is now a registered charity, and our first ever campaign is promising 100% of funds raised directly to artists.

Bygone Theatre’s last show was in 2019. Throughout the pandemic, we pressed pause on producing live theatre so that we could develop our company and strengthen our values, preparing to come back bigger and better than ever.

We developed a diversity & accessibility mandate to promote equity. We committed to the United Nations SDG Action Plan to ensure we are contributing to a sustainable world. And we became a registered charity to ensure that we had the structures in place to grow and support our community.

Now, as we prepare for our next season, we are looking for your help to create a sustainable Fund that will allow us to guarantee our artists fair wages all season long.

Over the past ten years, we have created outstanding theatre working with phenomenal actors who joined our productions in a profit-share format. We were voted Toronto’s Best Live Theatre (Toronto Star Readers’ Choice, 2021), were runner-up for NOW Magazine’s Best Small Theatre (2021), and our last production, The Rear Window, was nominated for 10 Broadway World Toronto awards, and won 4: we have done a lot with a little. This fund will allow us to hire our actors at Equity DOT rates – whether they are union members or not.

We are a small company – we have no operational funding and no salaries, the majority of our admin and production work is done by our Artistic Executive Director and Chair; we have learned over 10 years how to generate marketing, press, and create fantastic scenic design for cents on the dollar. But now it’s time to move into the next chapter, and we want to put artists first.

$25,000 will allow us to commit to industry standard rates all season – we will commit to reinvesting the profits of every show to top up this fund and provide fair wages for every show after.

In this way, you will help not just Artists today, but those we engage with on future productions.

Donations can be made directly through our Canada Helps page.

Thank you for your time and support.

  • The Bygone Theatre Team

Bygone Theatre’s Youth Production Assistant Program 

Now looking for high school students to join our Youth Production Assistant (YPA) program!

Bygone Theatre is excited to announce our newly expanded Youth Production Assistant (YPA) program. Since 2012, we have welcomed high school students to volunteer on productions, giving them the chance to gain hands-on experience while they earn their mandatory 40 volunteer hours. This year, thanks to sponsorship by Jane Aster Roe (an artist and former YPA), we have expanded this program into a fully-fledged training position which includes assessments, a certificate of completion, and a $400 honourarium to help offset travel costs or time taken away from other jobs or commitments. It is our hope that this training program will give students the chance to see what a career in the arts entails before they make the commitment of attending a post-secondary program or jumping into the workforce. We offer a supportive, encouraging environment which highlights the students interests and needs to create a position that is truly custom-tailored to them. 

This season we will be selecting 2 students for our YPA program. Those who are not selected will still have the ability to volunteer on the production if they so choose. 

Past participants have done things like: 

  • Design and build a key prop piece for a show 
  • Build and paint scenic flats 
  • Learn how to run the tech booth and call the show 
  • Learn how to create props and help track them through a show 
  • Attend rehearsals and shadow the director 
  • Create social media content 
  • Work backstage as an assistant stage manager 
  • Run the concessions or assist with front of house duties 
  • Learn how to create a stage manager’s prompt book 
  • Learn how to build a budget in excel, and how to track finances 

If there’s something you’re interested in that isn’t on that list, let us know! 

Requirements: 

  • Must be enrolled in high school in Ontario (preferably the GTA) 
  • Must be able to attend some rehearsals or events in Toronto (note: depending on the student’s interests, a large portion of this may be able to be completed remotely, however ability to attend some in-person sessions is required) 
  • Must be triple vaccinated against COVID-19 (this is a requirement for all of our cast and crew this season) 
  • Must be passionate about theatre and be considering pursuing a career in the arts  
  • Enthusiastic and willing and learn! 

Assets: 

  • Strong English language skills 
  • Experience in theatre production 
  • Experience using social media for marketing and promotion 
  • Strong organizational skills 
  • Creativity  

In addition to being interested in the typical theatre things (acting, directing, set design etc.) those with the following interests may find this position rewarding: 

  • Visual arts 
  • Fashion 
  • Hair and Makeup 
  • Writing 
  • Business or Management 
  • Mathematics 
  • Construction 
  • Graphic Design 
  • Social Media 
  • Video Production 
  • Crafts 
  • Teaching 

This position will be highly tailored towards the participants interests and skills, so applicants should be honest in their cover letter about what they can bring to the position and what they hope to learn – in-experience is not a drawback! The purpose of this program is to give students hands-on training in a supportive environment and to help them prepare for further training or a potential career in the arts. Students will be taught a wide range of things like how to create a prompt book, call a show, sell and market a show, direction techniques and more, but their own interests and abilities will be what focus the majority of their participation.  A series of short pass/fail assessments will be given to ensure the student has gained or advanced their skills, and they will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program. 

Diversity and Accessibility 

Bygone Theatre encourages students of all backgrounds, skills and experience to apply: the number one thing we are looking for is someone with an interest they want to pursue. Bygone is run by English-speaking artists, and so the ability to communicate in English is required, however, ESL students are encouraged to apply as we prioritize finding tasks that benefit all involved and many roles will not rely heavily on English language skills. Bygone Theatre prioritizes the selection of marginalized artists, and encourages those who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ and Mad/Disabled to apply: feel free to share in your cover letter any ways in which you identify, though this is completely optional. To learn more about our commitments to diversity and accessibility, visit our website, bygonetheatre.com/diversity-accessibility. If you will require us to provide any assistive devices for your participation, please let us know in your application.   

We understand that marginalized people sometimes feel as though systemic barriers, or those specific to their identity will prevent them from participating in programs such as these. We highly encourage all those who have an interest to apply, and if there is a concern you have that you worry may disqualify you, please let us know. We are very open to adapting and finding solutions to ensure participation. 

How To Apply: 

Send a 1-page cover letter, resume, and the contact information for 1-2 references to emily@bygonetheatre.com. Your cover letter should focus on what you hope to gain from the program and what areas you are most interested in. Your resume can highlight experience and skills – don’t worry if it’s not robust, listing things like volunteer positions, personality traits (eg. Positive, focused) and any programs you know how to use (from Excel to TikTok!) is all helpful. References should be able to comment on your general attitude and commitment towards projects – teachers, coaches or bosses are appropriate, parents or friends are not. Please be sure to give a brief explanation as to what the relationship is and provide an email and phone number. 

Slots for the YPA are limited due to our limited funding, however volunteer positions are always available. Those who are not selected for the YPA may still choose to volunteer for their mandatory 40 volunteer hours required to graduate. 

DEADLINE IS FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 at 5:00PM. 

Now Accepting Audition Submissions for The Birds

Written and Directed by Emily Dix. Inspired by the Daphne DuMaurier short story and Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.

SHOW DATES:

November 25 – December 11 (minimum of 12 performances)

FEE STRUCTURE:

All artists will be given a flat $400 honourarium and will be engaged in a profit-share. If union members are cast the show will be produced under the Equity Collective Agreement.

HOW TO APPLY:

Submit resume and headshot to auditions(at)bygonetheatre.com with the subject “The Birds – Auditions”. Those selected will be asked to submit a self-tape: callbacks will take place in-person at a date and time TBA. All cast and crew must be triple vaccinated against COVID-19 – proof of vaccination will be required along with self-tape submission.

SYNOPSIS:

THE BIRDS is a Cold-War Era thriller that examines what happens when the line between truth and paranoia becomes dangerously blurred. New York Socialite Daphne Daniels is headed to an old family cottage with her brother and husband for a weekend of R&R, but when her husband is unexpectedly delayed and their neighbours turn out to be Daphne’s old flame and his new girl, tensions run high. Things take a bizarre turn when reports of violent bird attacks start flooding the airwaves and the sudden crisis brings out everyone’s deepest fears and darkest convictions.

CHARACTERS:

Daphne: Female, 25-30
A young, recently married NYC socialite who is trying to bring some excitement to her marriage, reconnect with her brother, and stop the boredom of married life from pushing her to do something reckless as she would have in her younger days. Opinionated and outspoken at times, she finds herself following the pack if it seems like it will mean positive attention from those she admires.

​David: Male, 25-35
Daphne’s brother. Sensitive, anxious, and unsure of his sexuality, he has difficulty fitting in. Recently spent some time in the hospital after a botched suicide attempt, which his family brushes off as more of a retreat stay than necessary medical treatment. Attempting to reconnect with his sister who he has not been close to in many years. Feels like he’s on a tipping point.

​Mitch: Male, 30-35
Daphne’s old flame, the picture perfect version of mid century masculinity. His good looks and charm just barely cover his misogyny. Likes to be the hero, but prioritizes his own interests.

​Annie: Female, 20-25
Mitch’s new girlfriend, young and seemingly naive, eager to please and often submissive. The prototypical “girl next door”, she is underestimated by those who first meet her, but is more observant and clever than people give her credit for.

​Hank: Male, 35-50
A rough-and-tumble older man who lives alone in a small cottage and works as caretaker for those who use the houses as summer homes. Initially seems like a “good ole’ boy”, but the years spent living alone make him stubborn and set in his ways in a sometimes disturbing fashion. Old fashioned, well-meaning, but not to be messed with.

Diversity & Accessibility Mandates:

As per our mandates, 50% of all audition slots will be reserved for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour). Please see our mandate in full on our website: https://www.bygonetheatre.com/diversity-accessibility

Megan Mooney’s Fringe Reviewers Round-Up

Guest post by Megan Mooney 

It’s here – the last weekend of the 2022 Toronto Fringe Festival. People are buzzing about shows, and reviews have been posted. You want to plan your weekend of Fringing, but where do you find the information?

That’s where this list comes in. It’ll help you connect with the buzz and find the publications publishing reviews.

Twitter is where it’s at this year

Twitter is the main information hub this year. Not just for general buzz, but reviews too. In some cases, it’s the only place people are publishing mini-reviews. (Still longer than those old Eye reviews, amirite?)

The quickest way to connect with the Toronto Fringe Festival on the Twitterverse is the hashtag #fringeTO.

But don’t just rely on the hashtag. It’s easy to forget to add it to a tweet, and some folks aren’t using it at all. If you have a Twitter account, follow the folks listed below. Then, periodically check the #fringeTO hashtag to see what others are saying.

Speaking of hashtags, keep an eye on #TheaTO for news and reviews of Toronto theatre the rest of the year.

Don’t have a Twitter account but still want to see the reviews? No problem. Unlike Facebook, Twitter lets anyone see tweets, account or not. Start with any of the accounts listed below, and you’ll be good to go.

A final thought: The landscape is full of amazing people busting their asses to get the word out. Many for without being paid. All the reviewers deserve support. But please be sure to click on articles from publications paying their writers.

It’s how we show them coverage is valuable and it’s important they continue to pay writers to provide it. As readers, clicks and shares don’t cost us anything, but they send the message to publications that we’re reading the content and it’s important to us.

Now for what you came here for,  check out the list of reviewers after the jump:

Continue reading “Megan Mooney’s Fringe Reviewers Round-Up”

The Stonewall Riots

Writer and communications specialist Max Mosher gives a quick and important rundown of the Stonewall Riots, which happened 53 years ago today.

Since the Stonewall Riots became legendary practically overnight, with the debris on Christopher Street barely swept away before accounts that played freely with fact and fiction entered history, let’s set some myths straight. 

The confrontation between the NYPD and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community that ignited in the early hours of June 28, 1969, was in no means the start of the gay rights movement. It wasn’t even the first time queer people fought back against police oppression: San Francisco’s Compton Cafeteria Riot occurred in 1966, and the riot at Cooper Do-nuts in LA, when drag queens and sex workers resisted arrest, happened way back in 1959. 

We do not know who threw the first brick, or if a thrown brick was really the first act of defiance. But we do know that Black trans women like Marsha P. Johnson courageously stood at the vanguard. And, although it pains me to say as a Judy Garland fan, there’s no evidence that grieving patrons were motivated by the singer’s funeral the day before, although who can say for certain what fed into the combustible mix of emotions that swirled in the heady summer air that night. 

What’s beyond dispute: the Stonewall Inn was a dump. Run by the mafia, as many gay bars were at the time, it had no fire exits or running water behind the bar – dirty glasses were rinsed off in buckets and immediately used again. It only stayed thanks to weekly payoffs to the cops. Police raids were frequent, with patrons deemed to be ‘cross-dressing’ receiving the brunt of harassment. 

Which is how it all started. At 1:20 am on June 28th, four plainclothes police officers entered the bar and announced a raid. But something was different this time. People refused to hand over their ID and go with police. Tensions were heightened when the officers began sexuall harassing lesbians present. Members of the community began congregating on the street and the crowd outside soon outnumbered those trapped within. After police started letting them exit the bar, patrons hung around outside, burelsguing for the growing crowd, egged on by shouts of “Gay Power!” The officers had not expected this. 

Violence broke out when the outnumbered police, trying to get control of the situation, began knocking people down. The crowd threw pennies at them, a witty reference to the pay-off tradition. Marsha P. Johnson was seen climbing up a lamppost and dropping heavy objects onto the hoods of police cars. Terrified, the police barricaded themselves in the bar as the crowd threw bottles, garbage cans and bricks, and even uprooted a parking meter to use as a battering ram on the door. 

Backup arrived and arrests continued, but a group of drag queens and trans folks formed an impromptu kick-line, a camp inversion of the phalanx of cops. They sang: “We are the Stonewall Girls/ We wear our hair in curls/ We don’t wear underwear/ We show our pubic hair!” 

The street was cleared by 4 am but witnesses said there was still electricity in the air. A lot of the protestors didn’t want the moment to end and returned the following night for a second night of riots. In contrast to earlier confrontations, Stonewall made the newspapers. The energy electrified the community, with activists founding groups with militant names like Gay Liberation Front. Queer people would now demand liberation, not request toleration. 

One year later, the Christopher Street Liberation Day assembly marked the world’s first Pride Parade, with corresponding marches in Los Angeles and Chicago. In the next few years, the number grew exponentially around the world. The Stonewall Riots proved to be the perfect unifying community moment and foundational origin story for a generation of LGBTQ2S+ folks who were ready to step out of the seedy shadows and never turn back.  

Max Mosher is a writer, communications specialist and the Old Hollywood Correspondent for The Town

Featured photo of trans woman Marsha P. Johnson.
Credit Diana Davies/New York Public Library