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!
We recently did a production of His Girl Friday, which meant acquiring a LARGE volume of vintage office furniture and supplies; here’s some of the furniture pieces we now have available to rent.
- Vintage Wood Office Chairs: see individual pictures for details
Rental Price: $20.00 each/wk
- Burgundy Faux Leather Executive Chair: see individual picture for details
Rental Price: $30.00/wk
- Small Telephone Desk: see individual picture for details
Rental Price: $15.00/wk
- Wood Arts & Crafts and Mid Century Modern Desks: see individual pictures for details
Rental Price: $40.00 each/wk
- Metal Cabinet: see individual picture for details
Rental Price: $15.00/wk
The styles we have available would be suitable for someone looking for something from the 1920s-60s, or something modern day with a vintage twist. Discounts available when renting multiple pieces at once, prices listed are for a single item, before HST.
Stay tuned to see some of the smaller set dressing items we have as well.
Bygone Theatre has finally gotten our storage space sorted, which means we are ready to start renting out some of our great vintage pieces! Take a look at some of our larger items here; all prices listed are before HST. Please note that we are able to negotiate payment structures, and that discounts are available when renting multiple items at once. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, or to place an order; we require a minimum of 3 days notice for all prop rentals.
- Vintage Fridge: used in Wait Until Dark, gorgeous late 50s/early 60s white fridge with dusty rose interior. Inside latch has been modified to make for easier opening. Rental Price: $75.00/wk
2. Vintage Stove: used in Wait Until Dark, charming late 1940s white stove with oven.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk
3. Vintage 1950s Ringer Washer: used in Wait Until Dark, white General Electric washing machine with wringer, mid-50s, excellent condition.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk
4. Vintage 1950s Red Mini Fridge: Late 1940s/1950s, bright red mini fridge with chrome handle. Great for a photoshoot, or for a cafe/soda shop look.
Rental Price: $75/week
Stay tuned for much more, including vintage office supplies, props & costumes.
While we are based in Toronto, our talented friends go all over to perform. You recently saw our Top 5 Toronto Fringe Festival list, now it’s time for our Top Fringe Picks that are outside of Toronto, again, all feature a “Friend of Bygone”. Why not take a mini road-trip and check these out? We plan to!
Turtleneck – Storefront Fringe Festival, Kingston, ON (Sean Jacklin)
Synopsis: Vick is a recovering sex addict on a road to recovery. Along the way she befriends Darcy, a rehabilitation worker. Things seem to be going well for her until she accidentally meets Darcy’s volatile sex-obsessed older brother. What follows is a spiralling chain of events that threatens her new life and the lives of everyone around her. Turtleneck is a dark comedy about sex addiction, pornography, gender roles and the exploration of human limitations.
Featuring: Sean Jacklin, Annie Tuma, Karen Scobie, Bryce Fletch, Steven Vlahos
Sean Jacklin: Recently played hard-boiled newspaper editor Walter Burns in our production of His Girl Friday. Sean is a natural onstage, easily switching between comedy and drama, he can steal the show in any scene he’s in. Definitely worth the drive to Kingston.
Showtimes: Time is running out on this one! All that remains are;
Friday June 30, 10:30pm
Saturday July 1, 2:00pm
Some Of Us Pretend – Hamilton Fringe Festival (Alex Clay)
Synopsis: A chance encounter between a painter and a writer plants a seed that promises to blossom, that is, until the death of a stranger. What can one do when all they feel is blame? Is it selfish to use art to help heal that pain? Some of us Pretend is a new play by Bricks n’Sticks Productions, the company that brought you Scribe! at the 2015 Hamilton Fringe Festival.
Featuring: Alex Clay, Brittany Cope and Melinda Jordan
Alex Clay: Alex recently performed as McCue in His Girl Friday, and has also been involved in our Retro Radio Hour performances. He’s a talented and versatile performer, and a super great guy – go see his show. You’ll be glad you did.
July 21 @ 6:00pm
July 22 @ 9:30pm
July 23 @ 8:00pm
July 25 @ 7:30pm
July 27 @ 9:30pm
July 28 @ 5:00pm
July 29 @ 4:00pm
The Blue Bird – Hamilton Fringe Festival (Eric Lehmann)
Synopsis: Human beings are very odd! Since the death of the Fairies, they see nothing at all and they never suspect it! With the help of a magical diamond, Mytyl is able to finally see the souls of all the things around her. As she embarks on a perilous and exciting journey in search for the mysterious Blue Bird of Happiness, she discovers exactly how much she has been missing. But does she find the Blue Bird?
Featuring: Monique Stinchcombe, Constantine Karzis, Kelly McAllister, Kasha Pinel, Tanisha Sinclair, Marisa McDonald, Eric Lehmann, Jared Doke, Anjali Rai, Holly Pace and Alyssa Blasak.
Eric Lehmann: You may remember Eric from one of our Retro Radio Hour shows, or from his performances at our Vaudeville Revue. Don’t believe there’s any singing in this one, but we’re excited to see what he’s up to!
Fri July 21: 8:30pm
Sun July 23: 3:00pm
Mon July 24: 6:00pm
Wed July 26: 8:00pm
Fri July 28: 6:00pm
Sat July 29: 9:00pm
Sun July 30: 3:30pm
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
Aki Studio, Daniel Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. E., Toronto
Wheelchair Accessible | General Admission
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.