Cast Spotlight: Ashlie White

529520_10153462184710023_1936804906_nAshlie White is playing down-on-her-luck Mollie Malloy in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this will be her first Bygone Theatre production.

Bio: Ashlie originally hails from Alberta, where she received her diploma in Theatre Arts from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. Some of her favorite credits include: Martha (The Secret Garden), Clairee (Steel Magnolias) Penelope Pennywise (Urinetown), Lucy (You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown), as well as spending 4 seasons with the Edmonton Opera Chorus. Ashlie has been active with The Confidential Musical Theatre Project appearing in their productions of Nine (Toronto), and Kiss Me Kate (Port Perry). Ashlie is thrilled to be making her ByGone Theatre debut in His Girl Friday.

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I had seen several postings on Facebook about Bygone Theatre and had been intrigued by their Retro Radio Hour radio plays. It immediately looked like something I wanted to be involved with.

What made you want to be involved? What do you love about the story?

I have always loved classic films. When I first saw the posting I had heard of His Girl Friday but never actually seen it. Once I read the script I fell in love with the fast paced writing farce like plot.

What’s your favourite old movie?

I’d have to say Singing’ In the Rain. I love old MGM musicals

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

I co-produced and acted in a production of The Attic The Pearls and 3 Fine Girls this November. In February I am playing Blanche in Plain Stage Theatre’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Why should people come and see the show?

This show has everything! Drama, comedy, crime, romance and classic 1940’s style.

You can see Ashlie onstage March 2-5, 2017, at the Aki Studio, Daniel’s Spectrum. Tickets on sale now at www.nativeearth.ca/hisgirlfriday.

His Girl Friday Costume Designs: Finding Vintage Fabric

As any of you who have seen one of our past shows knows, I care a lot about having costumes that are as authentic looking as possible. I’ve done past posts on how to fake a vintage style with more recent clothes or patterns, and on what types of fabric were common to a certain era – but where do you go to find that fabric? As I’ve been scouring the web looking for answers to that very question, I thought I’d share my best finds here.

Reproduction Fabrics

Don’t be dissuaded by their dated looking website, reproductionfabrics.com is an amazing resource if you’re looking for vintage or antique styled patterned fabric. From the late 1700s through to the 1950s, they have a selection of fabric that covers nearly every style and colour, and for very reasonable prices. Some are actual reproductions of old patterns and some appear to be “in the style of”, either way, this should be one of your first stops if you need vintage, patterned, fabric.

American Folk and Fabric

Another good source for reproduction designs in americanfolkandfabric.com. I found they had “frillier” fabrics than Reproduction Fabrics – lots of florals in pink, that sort of thing – so depending on what you’re looking for this could be perfect, or may miss the boat.

Antique Fabric

Depending on the project, you may prefer actual vintage or antique fabric to a reproduction. In this case, you’re likely going to find smaller amounts and a higher price, and remember, the condition won’t compare to what you get from a reproduction. While for costumes I’d always opt for a modern-made fabric, I certainly see the appeal of the real thing. If you’re looking for variety, check out antiquefabric.com. Well indexed and with a wide-variety of fabrics from periods ranging from the 1800 through to the 1960s, you’re very likely to find something you’ll want. Sadly, most of the pieces I found drool-worthy were not big enough to make what I’d like. But if you want some authentic pillows or accessories, even a blouse that takes only a yard or two, this is your spot.

Spoonflower

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you can try creating your own design and printing it through spoonflower.com. This site allows you to upload designs that you can print for yourself on a number of types of fabric (plus wallpaper and wrapping paper), and has the additional option of allowing you to sell your designs to others through the site (you get a commission). Try searching through what others have made, or upload your own!

Most quilting sites also offer a selection of vintage & antique styles, though I’ve found it isn’t necessarily as accurate as some of these other sites. But if you know what you’re looking for and have a particular style in mind, Equilter and Hancocks-Paducah can be great resources.

Happy searching!

-E.

His Girl Friday – Tickets Now On Sale

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Tickets are now on sale for our upcoming production of His Girl Friday!

The show runs March 2-5, 2017 at the Aki Studio, Daniel’s Spectrum (the new Native Earth facility). Tickets are available for purchase online or in the Aki Studio box office; follow this link for more details, or to make your purchase.

Bygone Theatre Holiday Auction

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Bygone Theatre’s Holiday Auction is just around the corner! We’ve got something for everyone, with some bids starting as low as $5. Wide range of items including theatre tickets to shows produced by Buddies in Bad Times, Scarborough Music Theatre, Hart House Theatre, Crow’s Theatre and Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre; vintage items from Tucked Away Antiques like signed photos of classic Hollywood stars and vintage movie posters; charming themed gift baskets; getaway packages to New York, Tuscany and Sonoma, and much more!

Proceeds go towards our upcoming production of His Girl Friday, running March 2-5, 2017. This is a big show with a big cast – 18 actors! – and so we have a lot of work to do. Help support local theatre while doing  your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home! Auction runs online from 9:00am Thursday December 8th to 2pm on Saturday December 10th – bid at bygonetheatre2016.eflea.ca.

 

AUDITIONS – His Girl Friday

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Bygone Theatre is holding auditions for its March production of HIS GIRL FRIDAY, running March 2-5, 2017. Directed by Emily Dix.

This is a non-union, profit-share production.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY
Screenplay by Charles Lederer
Based on the play “The Front Page” by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
Adapted for the stage & additional dialogue by Craig Dix

VENUE
Aki Studio, Daniel Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. E., Toronto
Wheelchair Accessible | General Admission

SYNOPSIS
This iconic screwball comedy tells the tale of Walter Burns, a hard-boiled newspaper editor who learns that his ex-wife, “newspaper man” Hildy Johnson, is going to give-up reporting to marry a bland insurance salesman from Albany. Determined to sabotage these plans and keep Hildy with the paper (and himself), Burns convinces her to cover one last story; the execution of cop-killer Earl Williams. Things quickly spiral out of control and Burns and Hildy find themselves tangled up in the case, and each other’s lives. A hilarious look at the struggle to balance life and love.

AUDITIONS
Bygone Theatre is holding auditions December 2 & 4, 2016. To request an audition slot, please send your headshot and artistic resume to director Emily Dix (emily@bygonetheatre). Those selected for an audition will be given a chance to sign up for a slot. Please note that this is a non-union, profit-share performance.

CHARACTERS
We are casting for the following characters; please note, we encourage submissions from actors of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Some smaller roles may be doubled, as indicated.

Hildy Johnson: female, age 27 – 35
Walter Burns: male, age 30 – 37
Bruce Baldwin: male, age 27 – 35
Maisie/Jeanie: female, age 20 – 25
Diamond Louie: male, age 25 – 40
Duffy/Dr. Eglehoffer: male, age 35 – 60
Pete Davis/Doctor/Deputy: male, age 30 – 60
Murphy: male, aged 25 – 40
Bensinger: male, aged 25 – 40
Endicott: male, aged 25 – 40
McCue: male, age 25 – 40
Warden Cooley /Lieutenant/Policeman: male, aged 25 – 40
Earl Williams: male, age 35 -60
Mollie Malloy: female, age 20 – 30
Sheriff Hartwell: male, age 35 – 60
Mayor: male, age 35 – 60
Joe Pettibone: male, age 35-60
Gertrude Baldwin: female, age 25 – 35

Please visit the show page on our website to download a copy of the script.

Toronto’s Top 10 Lost Vaudeville Theatres

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In planning for Vaudeville Revue we’ve learned a lot about Toronto’s former Vaudeville theatres that have disappeared over the years. Whether they were converted into something for a new use or demolished altogether, the are very few Vaudeville palaces still standing in our city today.

Here’s a look at some of the greats that have been lost over the past century.

1. Shea’s Hippodrome

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Shea’s Hippodrome – 440 Bay St., Toronto

When Shea’s Hippodrome opened in 1914 it was Vaudeville theatre in Canada was was quickly deemed one of the top 4 in North America. Sadly, this colossal beauty had a short life;  the Hippodrome was demolished in 1957. For an interesting story about its very unique and very expensive Wurlitzer Organ, check this out.


2. The Standard (The Strand, The Victory, Victory Burlesque)

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The Standard – Corner of Spadina & Dundas, Toronto

The Standard opened in 1921 as a Yiddish theatre and remained a centre of Toronto’s Jewish community until it was converted to a cinema in 1934 and renamed The Strand. In 1941 it was rebranded again, this time as The Victory, part of the Twentieth Century Theatre chain. In 1961 it became the Victory Burlesque, one of only 3 burlesque houses in the city. While the building still remains, the theatre closed its doors permanently in 1975.

3. Shea’s Victoria

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Shea’s Victoria – 83 Victoria St., Toronto

 

The Shea Brothers opened their second theatre, Shea’s Victoria, on the corner of Richmond and Victoria in 1910. This 1800 seat theatre included a projector so that films could be screened in addition to live theatre performances.

4. The Uptown

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The Uptown Theatre – Corner of Yonge & Bloor

Loew’s Uptown Theatre opened in 1920, a 3000 seat sister theatre to The Pantages (currently the Ed Mirvish Theatre). This one as well was created for both cinema and Vaudeville. In 2001, new regulations required the theatre to become wheelchair accessible, something that would have cost about $700 000. Despite community outcries, the theatre was demolished in 2003. Sadly, the ill-advised removal of a structural beam lead to its accidental collapse and resulted in the death of a 27 year old man.

5. The Belsize (Regent, Crest)

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The Belsize – 551 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto

The Belsize Theatre opened in 1927, another venue for theatre and film. Unlike many on this list, The Belsize didn’t turn from live theatre to film, but the other way around. In the 1950s the only theatre of note showing live theatre was The Royal Alexandra (who showed primarily American shows and tours) and many felt that a place was needed to showcase Canadian theatre. In 1953 the venue ceased showing films and was renovated and reopened as The Crest, a live theatre venue. In 1971 films began showing again and in 1988 it was again renovated and reopened, this time as The Regent, a movie theatre that still stands today.

6. The Runneymede

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The Runnymede – 2225 Bloor St. West, Toronto

The Runnymede Theatre opened in 1927 as an “atmospheric Vaudeville”house, the first of its kind in Toronto. The venue was meant to make you feel as though you were transported to somewhere magical and exotic; the ceiling was painted blue and bulbs were lit up like stars, silver and blue lights were projected to give the feeling of clouds. By 1999, the theatre was no longer profitable, even as a 2-screen cinema. The building was purchased by a Chapters Bookstore, and in the conversion they kept and maintained much of the interior. Today, it is the location of a Shoppers Drug Mart, and while it still features much of the original trim and interior facade, there’s something very sad looking about its current appearance.

7. Capitol Theatre

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The Capitol Theatre – 2492 Yonge St., Toronto

The Capitol opened in 1918 and showed Vaudeville acts and silent films. By 1933, the theatre was converted to show only films. The theatre closed its doors in 1998 and remained empty for several years, before finally being purchased, undergoing major renovations and reopening as The Capitol Event Theatre. While the seats were removed and a bar installed, much of the original ornate interior remains, much like it does at the Runnymede.

8. Academy Theatre

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The Academy – 1286 Bloor St. W, Toronto

The Academy opened in 1914, a smaller venue than most on the list with only 410 seats. It’s not known when exactly the theatre stopped showing Vaudeville acts, or when it stopped operating as a cinema, but it is likely to have occurred sometime after the 1960s. The venue still stands, though has not operated as a theatre in years.

9. Variety (Arcadian) Theatre

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The Arcadian (formerly Variety) Theatre – 8-10 Queen St. East

I have significantly less information on this theatre, but it housed in a building built in the late 1880s, and was likely built before the 1920s. In the late 1920s its name was changed to The Arcadian, and it seems that by the 30s it was a cinema and no longer live venue. The theatre closed in 1954 and for some time had a retail show that used the old sign. However, it has since been demolished.

10. Madison Theatre (The Midtown, The Capri, The Eden, Bloor Cinema, Hot Docs Cinema)

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The Madison Theatre – 506 Bloor St. W, Toronto

The Madison has had more renos and new names than most on this list. It originally opened in 1913, an early Picture Palace that also featured Vaudeville acts. In 1940 it was demolished and rebuilt as The Midtown, a cinema; all that remained of the original building were the two side walls. Movie attendance declined in the second half of the 20th century, and in the 1960s it was under the new management of the Famous Players chain and renamed the Capri. In 1973 it was again re-branded, this time as The Eden, and the theatre switched from playing mostly double-bills to a heavily censored “adult”films. Come 1979, Famous Players closed The Eden and re-opened it as The Bloor Cinema, now offering first-run, family-friendly entertainment. Soon the theatre introduced memberships and classic theatre runs, and eventually became a part of the Festival Theatre circuit. In the late 2000s the theatre had a bit of an uncertain future (read more here), but eventually it was bought, renovated, and re-opened as what it stands as today; The Hot Docs Cinema.

Think we missed some important former Vaudeville theatres? Tweet us your suggestions; @BygoneTheatre #VaudevilleRevue

Want to learn more about Toronto’s theatre history? Check out this amazing blog, where I sourced a lot of our material; Historic Toronto.

We may not have a Vaudeville house to perform in, but we’ll have historic acts on our stage and artifacts and more history like this in our lobby; join us for Vaudeville Revue, June 22-24th, Alumnae Theatre. Tickets on sale now.

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Vaudeville Revue – June 22-24, 2016

Friends of Vaudeville – HarbourKIDS Circus

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While prepping for our upcoming Vaudeville Revue we came across some similar events happening in TO in the upcoming months. First up is a great festival for families, the HarbourKIDS Circus, running from May 21-23 at the Harbourfront Centre.

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Keystone Theatre is featured in  A Bit of Business, a collection of comic shorts done in their signature silent film style. As a company that focuses on vintage & cinematic aesthetics ourselves, we think what Keystone does is pretty keen.

Another fun vintage-esq group is Spin Cycle, which you can see in the Sea to Sky Circus Show. Their blurb describes the acts as, “a unique combination of circus skills, infectious comedy and two-person variety routines the likes of which haven’t been seen since the golden age of vaudeville”, which certainly peaks our interest. More info can be found on their website.

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Vaudeville fans are sure to love a classic magic show, and it sounds like Magic With Mark Correia will fit that bill. Apparently his show “uses lots of audience involvement, along with mime, magic and mind-reading techniques” – sounds like a blast?

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And what’s the best thing about HarbourKIDS Circus? The whole event is free! Head on down to the Harbourfront Centre this Victoria Day weekend to get your kicks, and be sure to join us for Vaudeville Revue June 22-24th at the Alumnae Theatre. Tickets on sale now.

Crew Spotlight – Fight Director Siobhan Richardson

Siobhan Richardson

Siobhan Richardson is the Fight Director for Wait Until Dark.

BIO: Siobhan Richardson is a fight director and actor/fighter/singer/dancer. Fight Direction credits includeThe Trial of Judith K (Thought For Food Productions), A Christmas Story and The Hobbit (The Grand Theatre, London), White Biting Dog (Soulpepper), Such Creatures (Nightswimming and Theatre Passe Muraille), Death of a Chief (Native Earth), James and the Giant Peach and To Kill a Mockingbird (Young Peoples’ Theatre) and Frankenstein’s Boy (Eldritch Theatre). She has taught stage combat across Canada and Europe, including London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Munich, Brittany, Norway, Finland, Estonia, and Sweden, and will be teaching at the upcoming World Stage Combat Conference. Acting credits include And Then The Lights Went Out (Stage West, Calgary), Mo and Jess Kill Susie (Harley Dog Productions), and Hogtown. For further acting credits, please go to www.SiobhanRichardson.com/actor. When not pursuing her performance career, she and her partner run Burning Mountain, dedicated to the growth and development of stage combat for the art form and for the artists.

Check out the upcoming workshop on Intimacy For The Stage:  www.BurningMountain.ca/connect/StageIntimacy