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!
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!
Strong English language skills
Experience in theatre production
Experience using social media for marketing and promotion
Strong organizational skills
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:
Hair and Makeup
Business or Management
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 email@example.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.
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?)
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:
The workshop is being delivered in English with visual aids and automatically generated captions. If you require specific accommodation, please email us in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will do our best to provide you the full experience.
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.
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.
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
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.
Kanata Trade Co. is an Indigenous run Canadian organization that sells products design by Indigenous artists, and donates profits to help support the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
Likely, when most of us hear the word “sustainable” we picture solar panels and wind turbines, keeping plastic out of the ocean and other sorts of “green” practises: all of these are important, but sustainability is about so much more.
The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are targets made to lead our world towards peace and prosperity for all, and while that may feel like a colossal task no one person could take on, it’s actually really simple for all of us to take small steps that can help lead our community down the right path. Today we’re going to focus on the community aspect of the SDGs, but you can see our entire commitment laid out on our website.
Kanata Trade Co. is an Indigenous run Canadian organization that sells products designed by a range of Indigenous artists. On their site, it reads;
Indigenous communities in Canada are a central part of our history. At this unprecedented time they are uniquely effected by Covid-19. Our community wants to help everyone. Our proposition is simple; buying a mask keeps you safe and the profits support Indigenous communities.
Not only does this mean Indigenous artists are getting royalties for their work, but the profits are going towards Indspire, a registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Kanata Trade Co.’s founders write:
We are twin Inuit sisters both attending Queen’s Univeristy. Our journey has been made possible thanks to the help of Indspire.
Like many indigenous students, Indspire supported us through their bursary program and also through their mentorship. We were able to have a much fulfilled college experience as a result of their assistance.
Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.
All profits from the sale of the masks will be going to Indspire (www.indspire.ca). Our supplier will also pay royalties to the artists for the use of their artwork on the masks.
Please purchase an indigenous art face mask and share this site with your colleagues, friends and families so that we can together support indigenous students together.
Quality education is a key to a sustainable community, and that’s what charities like Indspire, and the groups that support them, like Kanata Trading Co. are helping to provide.
When we support the artists in our community we give them the opportunity to expand and grow, and that in turn feeds back into the community they came from. So if you’re looking to treat yourself to a new book or accessory, or you’re starting to think about holiday shopping, be sure to check out Kanata Trade Co. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook – be sure to give them a follow & a like, help spread the word and support your community for #SustainableSunday!
t’s a sad fact that all of us producers/creators have had to ask for “free” labor at some point in our creative careers. In a country that is sadly lacking in financial support for artists, it is often necessary to start off with an energy share model and have artists work on a project together with no guarantee of pay. So how do you do that and remain fair and equitable? Here are the key things to consider.
It’s a sad fact that all of us producers/creators have had to ask for “free” labor at some point in our creative careers. In a country that is sadly lacking in financial support for artists, it is often necessary to start off with an energy share model and have artists work on a project together with no guarantee of pay.
So how do you do that and remain fair and equitable? Here are the key things to consider.
1. Be Transparent
There are more shows I’ve done for little-to-no money than ones I’ve done for a fair wage (or really any at all). But there was one key thing they all had in common: transparency. When I am asked to work for an honourarium or profit share the first thing I request is to see the budget. Sometimes this is met with, “oh, well we don’t have a budget, really, it just needs to be cheap as possible”. ALWAYS a bad warning sign. If a producer hasn’t worked out their budget before approaching you (unless it’s just to ask, what would you want to be paid for something like this?) then they may not be accurately valuing their artists. Would I work on an interesting show, that has a budget of $1000, a venue that costs $700, and is asking me to work as a stage manager for a profit share? Probably. Would I do the same on a show with a budget of $10 000? Definitely not. Now, it’s not like there’s some magic number – that’s why a budget is important. A $500 show that has no venue cost and has budgeted to give the lead actor $400 and have the rest of the cast and crew work for free is not reasonable (to most of us). Likewise, there could potentially be some majorly exciting but expensive thing planned for that $10K show that really leaves no room for wages, but could provide an opportunity to work with an exciting new medium, or to be in a show likely to make lots back in ticket sales. And that’s the other thing any good budget should include – profit projections. If your “budget” shows you magically selling out a 500 seat venue for six weeks for your new work by an unknown author, I have some bad news for you. We could do an entire post on proper profit projections, but in short, if you’re a new group without the name power of a big star or popular show, you’re best to plan for 30% of your venue being filled for each show. Of course, in a 20 seat venue, that’s likely higher, but in a 500 seat one probably far lower. I like 100-200 seat theatres myself: good size for indie and generally safe to assume 30% capacity.
2. Be Flexible
When you’re paying your actors union wages it’s reasonable to ask them to follow a typical schedule – be there all day for rehearsal, not miss a day for an audition or any non-emergency reason – but when people are accommodating your budget it’s important you accommodate their schedule. That not only means working out a schedule that doesn’t interfere with their work or other commitments, it also means being approachable and flexible enough that they feel they can come to you to request a change or time off to go to an audition, or accept a one-off paid gig. My general rule of thumb is that each of my shows need about 80 hours of rehearsal. Since I can’t pay people enough to take 2 full weeks off to focus solely on a show, I spread those hours out over 2 months (up to 2 and a half if there are major holiday breaks in there, like over Christmas & New Years), and give them the entire schedule by the first rehearsal so that they can fit their other things in around it.
3. Be Thoughtful
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are just thoughtless or selfish, especially when you’re the one doing a favour. Of course we all feel our shows are important, maybe they’re the greatest thing to come out since Hamlet, but if you are not paying your cast or crew a full wage, you are not doing them a favour – they are doing you one. Let me say that again: a profit-share or small honourarium is not the same as a wage, and if you talk to your cast or crew like they owe you something you’re going to have some very unhappy people, and likely some subpar work because of it. Too many times I have been offered a $50-$100 honourarium for what is upwards of 60 hours of work, and yet if I insist (or even request!) on taking a day off in my schedule to do something else, I’m met with furious emails about how I’m “being paid to do a job”. No, I’m not. I’m being asked to work for free with an agreed upon “thank you” that works out to about $1.60/hr. When I’m the one producing I make sure to remind myself of this, even if there are times when your worker is making things very difficult, because again, at the end of the day, it’s a group of people agreeing to put in time and effort with no real compensation all because the group feels it’s something worth doing. To keep up that kind of energy do things like bringing snacks to rehearsal (I’ve never met an actor who will turn down food), buy everyone a coffee, any little pick-me-up that you can fit into the budget, do it. And you know what goes a long way and is totally free? A thank you. Say it earnestly and say it regularly, and at the end of the show write out a card that lets them know how much you’ve enjoyed working with them, and that you appreciate all they’ve done.
4. Be Improving
Not as catchy sounding but I wasn’t sure how else to phrase it – what I mean is, recognize what you could be improving on and each time you do a show make sure you are doing better in at least one of those ways. For this list we’re talking primarily about budget, so think to yourself, ok, I couldn’t pay everyone this time and I tried a profit-share – did that work? Whether it “worked” is of course subjective, but try these as benchmarks: 1. did you make what you projected and what you told your cast & crew you were aiming for? 2. if not, did you make enough to give the actors the equivalent of at least minimum wage for at least the time spent performing each show? If not, I’d say no, it didn’t work. There are certainly shows where everyone is happy if they get $100 at the end of it, because they are going into it not expecting anything and are ok with that, but even if your cast seems content this show you want to be doing better for the next one, because that’s why you asked this group to make a sacrifice: so you can mount something ambitious that will help you do something even better next time (and that “better” needs to include better pay if that’s something you’ve negotiated here).
5. Be Honest
Similar to being transparent, make sure you’re being honest, both in the lead-up and run of the show and in the reconciliation afterwards. When you’re showing your cast and crew the budget and profit-projections, be honest about where that information is coming from – did you make it up with numbers that sounded right? Is it based off your past shows? Off someone else’s? A best case scenario, or worst one? As you go through the show and work on things like fundraising and selling tickets let your cast and crew in on how that’s going, and how they could help. Don’t go over budget, BUT if somehow you think you absolutely HAVE to, talk to all involved in the profit-share first, and get their consent: they have agreed to a certain budget and you as producer no longer have total control over that as long as their pay is somehow dependent on how that budget changes. Plus, in indie theatre, we’re all used to asking favours, and that great deal that you had on a set piece that has now fallen through? tell your team! They may know how you can get an even better one. Ticket sales during the run of the show are a little tricky – some people want daily updates so they can worry along with the producers and some want to focus on their own roles. I always tell the team that I won’t be announcing it, but they are free to ask me and I will share all numbers, provided they keep that to themselves until the end of the run. It can be tempting after a good selling show to go and announce you’re well on your way, but be sure not to do that unless you know you’ve met your goals for the whole run, because ticket sales can be varied. Likewise, chances are your team knows if the audiences are small and the show is going to lose money, but that isn’t a worry to share with them. Keep morale up, tell them you as producer have things under control, but know that it is your responsibility to answer them honestly with any questions about things like their profit-share.
This should go without saying, but the same is true after a show: let everyone know the money situation even if you think it’s obvious to them. I was once hired to stage manage something and offered either a small up-front honourarium or a profit-share that, with a sell-out run could have been higher. I chose the later not because I thought there was a chance of a sell-out, but because I know how hard it is to get funds up front, and thought it was likely I could get close to the same amount with a share. Ticket sales weren’t great, but this was one my earlier shows and I didn’t bother to ask for a detailed budget up-front, and to me it didn’t seem like a very expensive show, so it was hard to judge. The run finished, I heard them saying in passing sales weren’t what they hoped, and then that was is. No follow-up, no final reporting with an apology that there were no shares but a note that they were happy with what we’d achieved, nothing. That became a team I decided not to work with again. I once had to write to my cast and admit that their profit-share amounts were going to be something like $7.85 per person – seems trivial, but, for one, they were owed that, and two, there have been times where that money would have been significant to me because it could feed me for a day. Thankfully that cast was not as desperate for money, and I believe they all offered to donate it back to the company, but had they requested it I would have been writing out several very small cheques, because that was what was agreed to, and you need to be honest about that.
I don’t agree with the people who say you should never ask artists to work for low or no wages, because I think there is more you can get out of art than just money, and because nearly every one of us has had to start out with nothing to try and build something to get enough attention to help us make something bigger. It’s a sad necessity of theatre in Canada. However, there are right and wrong ways to do this, and as an artist the last thing you want to do is contribute to the idea that somehow artists don’t deserve pay, or to the fact that most of us are continuously precariously employed (at best). To keep theatre sustainable we need to sustain our artists, and recognize that if they can’t continue to make their art, no other part of theatre sustainability really matters. The next time you decide to mount a show, first ask yourself, what is the least I can use to get this across? By doing that, can I pay everyone well? If you still can’t and you still think the art is worth making, be sure to follow these steps to ensure everyone you involve feels the same way and understands the same things – be a part of the sustainable solution, not the problem.
You may have seen versions of Dante’s Inferno before, but I doubt you’ve seen one with a talking toilet, and while we’ve all seen plays about the regrets we have at the end of life, chances are you haven’t seen one as strangely funny and sincerely touching as Dan’s Inferno, playing now as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe.
The show comes from the minds of Toronto’s Fratwurst comedy troupe, and features the talents of Eric Miinch (Fratwurst), Josh Murray (Fratwurst, Second City Education Company), Evan Arppe (Fratwurst, Host of The Watchllist on CHCH), Natalie Metcalfe (2 Humans, CBC-True Dating Stories), Lance Byrd (The Weaker Vessels), Peyton LeBarr, (Twelfe Night- Ale House Theatre) and Chris Murray (Chaisse Gallerie- Red One Collective). It’s a story about Dan (Miinch), a young man who wasted his life on Earth but finds purpose in what comes after. Sound typical? A bit. But the twisted collection of characters (trolls…
If you’re looking for nudity, strobe lights and God himself, check out Spoon Vs Hammer’s Behold, The Barfly!playing now at the Monarch Tavern as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe. Written and directed by the very funny Justin Haigh, this laugh-out-loud sketch show features the talents of Elizabeth Anacleto (Mark Purvis Award winner, Toronto Festival of Clowns), Jeff Hanson (Edmund, Storefront Theatre), Steve Hobbs (writer for Second City, CBC Punchline), Marsha Mason (Second City National Touring Company), Kevin MacPherson (Sex T-Rex, Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy), Eric Miinch (sketch troupe Fratwurst, Bygone Theatre’s Wait Until Dark), Ned Petrie (CBC Radio, Second City, Teletoon’s Night Sweats) and Sarah Thorpe (Heretic, Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell); with a cast like that you know you’re in for a good time.
Every year at the Fringe those of us in the theatre community get very excited & very overwhelmed; it’s a chance to see everyone (many describe it as “Christmas for actors”) but also a time when you try frantically to fit into your schedule all the shows you feel you “must” see. I know there’s already a lot of “must see” lists out there but, hell, why not throw one more into the mix? These are 5 that I know will rock because of the fantastic people involved.