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.

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.

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

 

Bygone Theatre’s 2018 Toronto Fringe Picks

Bygone Theatre | 2018 Toronto Fringe

It’s almost that time again! The Toronto Fringe is running this summer from July 4-15th and we can’t wait to see some of our favourite actors up onstage. Here’s our must-see list (in no particular order) for the 2018 Toronto Fringe. Note: blurbs come from the productions themselves.

Final Exam.

 

Written by Eric Petersen, directed by Gillian Armstrong
The students of Mr. Miller’s class are troubled by the thought of their upcoming exams … while others are more worried their minds will soon be hooked up into a new group-mind by aliens.

The students debate the pros and cons of gaining instantaneous knowledge by suddenly having the ability to access anyone’s mind. Does privacy really matter? How do we maintain our identity? Will we still have to take exams?

See friend of Bygone Elizabeth Rose Morriss (Rope, His Girl Friday, Vaudeville Revue and many Retro Radio Hours) in this quirky site-specific play the Matty Eckler Recreation Centre. Get your tickets here.

Anywhere

 

Written by Michael Ross Albert
directed by David Lafontaine

A young businesswoman returns to her AirBnB to find that her host has been waiting up for her. What started as a cordial relationship between strangers begins to steadily escalate into a tense and unnerving battle for control.

In this new thriller by Dora-nominated playwright Michael Ross Albert, two women face off against each other in a struggle for meaning, connection, and power.

See friend of Bygone Cass Van Wyck (Hildy in His Girl Friday) in this startling new thriller at the Factory Theatre. Tickets available here.

 2018: A Sex Odyssey

 

Written & directed by Theresa Ramirez

2018: A Sex Odyssey re-imagines life in space, Big Brother style, as we careen towards a post-climate change future – focussing on sex, relationships and the interpersonal dramas of six twenty-somethings living together on a spaceship. It begins three months into a two year journey to populate the planet Mars, due to the near total destruction of planet Earth as a direct result of human caused climate change and the wars that ensued. Still, no one really cares about climate change.

Check out friend of Bygone Alex Clay (McCue in His Girl Friday) in this re-imagined comedy/sci-fi playing at St.Vladimir’s Institute – tickets available here.

A Kev ‘n Cal Mystery

 

Written by Allan Turner and Christopher L. Hedrick
Directed by Nigel Downer

Kev ‘n Cal are two mystery solving brothers, boy adventurers on the trail of trouble across dimensions ending up on the wrong side of reality. Danger! Foul play! Puberty! Whatever the risks, Kev ‘n Cal can always count on each other. Or can they?

See friend of Bygone Allan Turner (who performed as his alter-ego, Mullet in our Vaudeville Revue) in what’s sure to be a comedy riot. Tickets available here.

The Queen’s Eulogy

 

Written by Rachel Ganz
Directed by Tanua Rintoul 

Set in a garbage world. Performed in a garbage dump. A play about women who refuse to be trash. We are literally building a theatre in a garbage dump. You gotta check it out! Book. your ticket, share this event. Come get TRASHY.

Written by friend of Bygone Rachel Ganz (the brilliant playwright behind Joe, a play that has been being workshopped this season) this production is sure to be brilliant and outrageous. Get your tickets here.

The Girl in the Photograph

 

Written by Joel Pettigrew
Directed by Victoria Urquhart

“The Girl in the Photograph” is a play based on a true story set in Mexico, telling the story of Paula, who gets caught up in a forbidden first love amidst a whirlwind of emotion and drama. The play leads us by the hand as we witness the development of a teen relationship with intricate consequences that have on everyone it touches. More than the sum of its parts as a drama, there are also several themes and thought-provoking subjects being explored: how can love develop even when circumstances would forbid it? What is that strength that carries us through moments of manipulation, how does it activate, and how did it come to be in us? In addition to the story being set in Mexico, this show is a proudly latino production with a Hispanic cast, boasting the well-established actors and artists of Toronto and Canada.

Friend of Bygone David Chinchilla (who performed in our first ever Retro Radio Hour) is performing in this new drama. Get your tickets here.

Want to see what else is on at this year’s Fringe?
Check out the program guide on their website.

‘Twas the Cab(aret) Before Christmas

We’re excited to announce we’ve added another event to our 2017/18 season!

Silverberg & Finn, in Association with Bygone Theatre present…

‘TWAS THE CAB BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Friday December 1st, 2017
Doors Open: 7:00PM
Show Begins: 7:30PM
Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., Toronto
TIX: $17 online/ $20 @ door
($15 at door for performing arts workers)

A night of holiday themed music, comedy, dancing and new Christmas music with performances by…
Thomas James Finn
The Jingle Belles: Moulan Bourke, Amy Holden & Clea McCaffrey
Heather Motut
Jada Rifkin
Chris Benjamin
Kevin Finn
Sam Burns
Julia Carrer
Ashlyn Cowie

with Choreography by Kelsey Willmott and Music Direction by Michael Zahorak

***PLUS*** a HILARIOUS reimagining of “Its A Wonderful Life” performed by last years original cast of: Emma Ferrante, Hannah Gallant and Vince Deiulis

“Twas the Cab before Christmas, when all through Bad Times
All the people had gathered to enjoy festive rhymes.
The glasses were filled by the bar staff with care,
In hopes that Finn ‘n’ Friends soon would be there.

When up on the stage, will arise such a clatter
Of singing and dancing and humorous chatter.
Comics and crooners, all with a part
Thrice increasing the size even the Grinchiest heart.

So spring from your work, to a cab give a whistle,
Get over to Buddies like an eggnog-fuelled missile.
December 1st will be a festival of light
Merry Christmas to all, come join us that night!”
– Dillon Goldsmith

Stay tuned for Cast Spotlights!

Bygone Theatre’s 2017/18 Season Launch Party

This year marks our 6th season, and what we’ve got planned is bigger than ever. Join us on Sunday September 24, 8pm, at the Social Capital Theatre (154 Danforth Ave.) for our Season Launch Party; there’ll be music, comedy, magic, a vintage radio play, and our season announcement. Come share a few drinks and a lot of laughs and see what we’re up to this season – tickets are $10 (cash at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets). Hope to see you there!