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

Indie Unite – A Place To Post About Local Theatre

With the Toronto Fringe just around the corner, many are likely lamenting the recent loss of Mooney on Theatre, and the major cuts made to papers like NOW Magazine, as it means even fewer opportunities to get reviewers out to see indie shows.

I make a habit of reviewing nearly every show I see, and while I don’t kid myself that my reviews are going to make or break any production, I have seen the quotes used by smaller shows that have not managed to get any other reviewers out: we all know the importance of a good pull quote, and so with that in mind, we started the Indie Unite part of this blog.

Indie Unite is a place to share reviews of local (GTA) indie theatre. Simple as that. If there is enough interest shown we may one day expand into a blog of its own, but for now Bygone is dedicating a page to posting reviews from anyone who wants to review.

We do not have the money or ability to run a fully-fledged review site, so this is where you all come in. If you saw a show and want to post a review, send it to us and we’ll get it up there. If you have a show you want a reviewer for, we’ll post a call. We just ask for a few basic things to make sure this goes smoothly:

FOR REVIEWERS SUBMITTING REVIEWS:
For your review to be accepted, it must include the following:
  1. Title: Must be formatted in the following manner:
    A Play by John Doe/Theatre Company at The Theatre.
    That is, write the title, the author and/or producer and the location the show is being performed at.
  2. Photo: Must include a minimum of 1 high-res photo, ideally of the show, could be a poster if none are available, and be sure to supply any needed credits.
  3. Show Info: there must be at least 1 more performance occurring more than 24 hours after you submit this review (always send as early as possible so we have time to post), and you must list the remaining performances, the theatre location with address, and a link to learn more about the production and/or buy tickets.
  4. Your Info: you must include your name and a brief bio (even if only a sentence) that situates you as a reviewer – why are we interested in your review? Are you an actor? A theatre lover? Whatever it is, give the reader a bit of context. You’re encouraged to supply a headshot as well and may link to a personal website if you wish.

Reviews should be 3-5 paragraphs long, and while I will give a quick glance to edit for spelling and grammar, I ask that you take the time to do so yourself as well. I encourage you to write at least one sentence that is purely positive, even if you hated the show – I’ve seen some bad theatre in my time but there’s always something good you can say and having that quote can really help a struggling production out. That said, please be honest in your review, even if that means saying it wasn’t very good.

FOR PRODUCTIONS REQUESTING REVIEWERS :
If you would like to have us post a call for a reviewer, send us the following:
  1. Basic Show Info: the title, producer, author, time and place – all the basics
  2. A Brief Synopsis: 1-2 sentences about what the show is
  3. How Many Reviewers You Will Allow: anyone can review your show anytime, but if you are comping reviewers let us know how many you are willing to do that for
  4. Special Notes: are there any trigger warnings? Accessibility issues? Are you looking for a reviewer with a particular background or knowledge?
  5. Contact Info: we are not organizing this for you, just sharing your info. So please provide a way for potential reviewers to contact you to arrange tickets

So let’s see how this goes! Hopefully we can get some more people out seeing indie theatre, and we can share the word about the great shows we see. To submit reviews or requests please email info@bygonetheatre.com with the subject line: Review for SHOW – Date of Performance.

-E.D.

Crash Course in Indie Theatre & Fringe Festival Producing

Join us for another free workshop, a crash-course in indie theatre & Fringe Festival producing!

Artistic Executive Director Emily Dix & Bygone Chair Conor Fitzgerald run this condensed version of their popular Producing 101 workshop, with a special focus on producing for Fringe shows.

Learn about scheduling, creating budgets, fundraising, marketing, and more in this interactive workshop that invites participants to come with their own show-specific questions.

Open to all, aimed towards artists working in the Greater Toronto Area.

Participation is free, but donations towards our 2022/23 season would be appreciated.

ACCESSIBILITY:

The workshop is being delivered in English with visual aids and automatically generated captions. If you require specific accommodation, please email us in advance (info@bygonetheatre.com) and we will do our best to provide you the full experience.

REQUIREMENTS:

Access to a computer with internet connection. Participants are encouraged to turn on their cameras to ask questions or make comments, but this is not required. Questions may be submitted via text as well.

No experience necessary, but will be most beneficial to those with at least a cursory knowledge of Toronto and the indie theatre community.

Please register here if you plan to attend.

EDIT: Thank You! | Help Us Raise $500 for ProEnglish Theatre, Ukraine

Help us raise $500 by participating in our matching campaign to raise money for the ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Donate

EDIT: We did it! Thank you to all who donated. Together, we sent $500 to the ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Recently we received an email from Alex Borovenskiy, the Artistic Director of ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

While it would have been completely understandable to be reaching out for money, he was actually asking for something even easier to give: support from fellow artists in helping to share the word about what is happening in Ukraine, and about the show they are producing from inside a bomb shelter. One that they are also being forced to live in while the city continues to be ruthlessly attacked by Russia.

Bygone Theatre is hoping to raise a total of $500 CAD to send directly to the ProEnglish Theatre, for them to use as they see fit. We are starting a matching campaign and can contribute up to $250. That means, that for every dollar you donate, Bygone Theatre will donate a dollar as well, up to a total of $250 (making for a $500 donation overall). Our Artistic Director and Chair have committed to covering any associated fees, so 100% of your donation will go directly to ProEnglish Theatre.

Every little bit helps. A donation of $1 is still $1 that will go towards helping artists, cats (they are sheltering them in the bomb shelter as well) and civilians living in Kyiv, Ukraine. Please consider making a contribution, and share this with friends, family, co-workers – whoever you can think of.

Join us in showing that as artists, Canadians, and human beings, we support the people of Ukraine and hope for a quick, peaceful end to what has so far been over a month of horror for thousands of innocent people.

To donate, simply click the link at the top of this post.

-E.D.

ProEnglish Theatre

Help support our friends ProEnglish Theatre in Ukraine.

Supporting our fellow artists as they continue to create and support their community during the war in Ukraine.

Recently we received an email from Alex Borovenskiy, the Artistic Director of ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv, Ukraine. While it would have been completely understandable to be reaching out for money, he was actually asking for something even easier to give: support from fellow artists in helping to share the word about what is happening in Ukraine, and about the show they are producing from inside a bomb shelter. One that they are also being forced to live in while the city continues to be ruthlessly attacked by Russia.

This is a message direct from ProEnglish Theatre:

Hello, we’re ProEnglish Theatre, an independent theatre in English from Kyiv, Ukraine. We’re creating theatre performances in English, introducing Ukrainians to the Art in English on one hand and introducing Theatre created in Ukraine to world community – on the other.

Right now we are the Art Shelter in Kyiv, theatre turned into the bomb shelter housing local elderly people, parents with kids and 8 cats) We also share our personal experiences in different languages with the world. Our experience of Ukraine being attacked by russian invaders and Kyiv being shelled. Art will stand. Ukraine will stand. Stand with Ukraine

We invite you to stand with us

ProEnglish Theatre

Their show, The Book of Sirens, is a new performance by ProEnglish Theatre of Ukraine, staged and performed from the bomb shelter//theatre in Kyiv: directed by Alex Borovenskiy and performed by Anabell Ramirez.

It has already premiered on Facebook, and can be watched at any time via this link. If you would like to help support the artists and their work, both as creators and as Ukrainians who are helping deliver medicine to their fellow citizens, you can do so by visiting their Patreon. We are currently looking into the best way to collect/direct one-time donations for those who cannot currently commit to a recurring donation.

If you cannot make a donation at this time, we still encourage you to watch the show, and share the link via your channels. Plenty of incredible art has come about because of tragic or horrific circumstances, but often it is done after the fact and cannot directly help those whose suffering was the inspiration or catalyst for its creation. This is a chance to help those who need it, now.

Please join us in showing that as artists, Canadians, and human beings, we support the people of Ukraine and hope for a quick, peaceful end to what has so far been over a month of horror for thousands of innocent people.

  • Emily Dix, Artistic Executive Director, Bygone Theatre