A Note From Our Artistic Executive Director at the Start of Our 10th Season

On Saturday November 26, 2022, we opened our first production of our 10th season, The Birds, at Hart House Theatre. As my speech was somewhat improvised and a little scattered and emotional, I wanted to share a cleaner version of it now – there’s a reason I’m usually the one behind the camera/stage, and writing this out is sure to be a better way to ensure I share all I want to say.

As you likely know if you are reading this, my name is Emily Dix and I am the Artistic Executive Director of Bygone Theatre, a company I founded in October 2012 along with Matt McGrath and Tom Beattie. Both of them have since moved on, but I’m happy to say that many of the wonderful people I work with today have been with the company in some capacity or another for years, and I hope that continues to be the case. In 2015 we became a non-profit and formed our first Board of Directors: Elizabeth Stuart Morris was Chair, Leete Stetson was Vice Chair, Elizabeth Rose Morriss was Secretary and Conor Fitzgerald was Treasurer. While our Chair and Vice Chair were only with us for a season, Conor has gone on to become Bygone Chair and Elizabeth, who has worked with Bygone in various capacities since the very beginning, is still our Secretary. We have since added to our board Dr. Mark Terry as President, and Vinay Sagar as a member. This team has provided guidance and support in countless ways, and because of them we were able to become a registered charity in the summer of 2022. I would like to extend my thanks to all who have helped in the formation of this company – it isn’t as glamourous a role as some of the creatives, but it is essential, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Through the years Bygone has produced numerous one-night-only performances in addition to our mainstage shows. These include many “Finn and Friend” productions, staring the incomparable Tom Finn and his hilarious brother, Kevin Finn, as well as a series of retro game shows hosted by the one and only Bob Burnhart (aka actor and dialect coach, John Fleming). We have also produced over a dozen “Retro Radio Hour” shows that feature the talents of dozens of lovely singers and actors, both those who have been featured in mainstage shows and those who joined us for a one-off performance. These smaller performances still require a tremendous amount of talent, planning and work, and many have been mounted as fundraisers, meaning those involved have donated their time to help grow the company. To everyone who has been involved in one of these events of which there really are too many to count, thank you.

Our last major production was The Rear Window, performed at Theatre Passe Muraille back in March of 2019. It had been our biggest show to-date, and while a major financial risk, it was one that we felt we needed to take. The show was a success with great reviews and a total of 11 Broadway World Toronto nominations, four of which led to wins: Best Direction of an Equity Play – Emily Dix; Best Original Lighting Design – Wesley Babcock; Best Leading Actor – Tristan Claxton; and Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Kate McArthur. Unfortunately, what we had hoped would be a big jump forward in the growth of our company was quickly stalled in 2020, at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, we had to press pause, and went for over 2 years without producing a live show.

During our production hiatus, we shifted focus to develop the other aspects of our company. We always knew we wanted to work towards charitable status, and so we put all our time and effort into building our Sustainability and Diversity & Accessibility Mandates, and our education program. With the help of Dr.Mark Terry, we partnered with the Youth Climate Report, and became the first theatre company to publicly commit to following all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. When the YCR was awarded an honourable mention at the 2020 UN SDG Action Awards, we were given the opportunity to share a video that outlined our commitments. Since then, we have further narrowed and focused our mandate into three main areas: Mend & Make Do; Vintage Aesthetics, Not Values; and Indie Unite. We reaffirmed our commitment to accessibility, and committed to providing clearer breakdowns in all casting and production calls, highlighting specific skills, abilities, potential challenges and possible solutions. We majorly expanded our commitment to diversity, and instituted quantifiable goals such as reserving 50% of auditions slots for BIPOC performers, and providing free admission to all Bygone shows and events for anyone who identifies as being of Indigenous descent. We also provide free advertising space to Indigenous-led organizations, and are seeking funding to be able to hire an Indigenous artist as a consultant as we continue to expand this mandate.

In 2021, we were awarded the Toronto Star Readers’ Choice Award for Best Live Theatre, and were runner-up for NOW Magazine’s Best Small Theatre – if you like the work we do, voting is currently open for the Broadway World Toronto Awards, and while we did not produce anything last season we are nominated for Best Local Theatre in both the Professional and Non-Professional categories – you can cast your vote here.

With the help of a generous donation last season from Jane Aster Roe of Aster Roe Productions, we were able to start two new initiatives; a revival of our Retro Radio Hour series, now to be in podcast form; and the expansion of our Youth Production Assistant program. As with all of our new programs and initiatives, our top priority is with providing payment and support to artists, who have been disproportionately affected during the past few years of the pandemic. With that goal in mind, our first charitable campaign was the creation of our Artist Fund, which gave 100% of funds raised directly to our artists. It is our goal to re-fill this fund with the ticket sales from each show, as well as through fundraising campaigns, so that we can work towards always providing industry standard rates to all the artists we engage. This year, we raised over $12,000 which went directly to the cast of The Birds – thank you to everyone who donated, and if you would still like to give your support, donations can be made via our Canada Helps page.

Throughout the pandemic we provided a series of free webinars on topics ranging from producing to vintage design – these will become a regular part of our programming. This season, thanks to a major donation from IG Financial, we are launching a new program: Empower Your Tomorrow: Financial and Business Literacy for the Arts – stay tuned for details. We are also thrilled to be providing a series of workshops through our venue partnerships with Hart House Theatre.

Finally, this season will include two more mainstage productions: The Yellow Wallpaper, a mix of ambulatory theatre and digital projection being presented at Campbell House Museum, March 2023; and Wayne & Shuster, Live! which will bring Canadian comedy legends Wayne & Shuster back to the stage with the support of their children, Michael and Brian Wayne and Rosie Shuster, thanks to sponsorship from Alterna Savings and a venue partnership with Hart House Theatre, May 2023.

Now that we’re all caught up on the craziness that is the last few years, it’s time to say thanks to those who have helped create what is not only our first show of our 10th season, but the first back since our COVID-19 hiatus, AND our first show as a registered charity: The Birds.

First, to the staff of Hart House Theatre. To Doug Floyd, who took a chance on a small company and let us come into a space we simply could not have afforded on our own – thank you for the encouragement and support, and for giving us a chance to show what we can do. This literally wouldn’t be happening without you. To Gillian Lewis, who is actually the HHT Education & Production Coordinator, but who seems to do basically every job there is. Thank you for helping with everything from organizing workshops to finding props and for the constantly positive attitude and excellent hugs. To Brian Campbell for his guidance and support as we get used to being back in a theatre, and a union house at that – thank you for your patience. To Lindsey Middleton for all the last-minute help when my computer decided to die THE WEEK of opening – thank you for being on-the-ball, keeping a cool head, and finishing the program I should have had done 3 weeks prior. To Parker Nowlan, for being an absolute superstar. I don’t even know where to start. Parker has done everything from set building to programming the lights and has been there to save the day numerous times through this process (starting with emergency printing at our callbacks). Thank you for all your help, and most of all, for doing it with a smile and the patience of a saint. To Brendan (oh my god how do I not know your last name??), who programmed our sound and took my rambling, very non-technical notes and requests and made it all work – thank you for also being super patient, and for making last-minute adjustments more times than I’d like to count. And to all the front of house staff, the Hart House volunteers, and the cleaning staff who’ve dealt with our cluttered backstage – it takes a huge group of talented and dedicated people to run something like Hart House Theatre, and I am thankful to all of you.

Warning – this is where I may start to get sappy.

To our cast and crew, starting with our team of production assistants. Thank you to Ainsley Munro for late-night flat painting, to Sarah Allen who shadowed Wes and helped with odd set and prop tasks that ranged from dressing to running to Rotblotts for more tape. To Kiana Josette, who is working with us in various producing capacities and who took stunning production photos and all the pictures of our opening night gala. To assistant/apprentice director Julia Edda Pape, who attended nearly every rehearsal and provided great vision and insight, as well as helping in a variety of PA roles, and who was a part of the workshopping of the script. Thank you for being consistent, reliable, hardworking and talented – you are going to go far. To our ASM/Associate Producer Jane Aster Roe, who has worked with us in some capacity since 2016 – thank you for doing everything from raising funds to selling tickets, setting props and doing coffee runs – your willingness to do whatever needs to be done has been invaluable and is very much appreciated. To my mother, Karen Henderson, who sewed the lovely dress you see on Daphne at the top of the show and to Tegan Ridge, who came in last-minute with some hair & makeup suggestions – thank you. A major part of Bygone’s image is our historically accurate aesthetic, and that couldn’t have been achieved without you.

To Wes Babcock, our set designer who eventually came on as lighting designer as well, and had to work with tight deadlines and an even tighter budget – thank you for not only doing your job wonderfully well, but for helping with all the dozens of things that were decidedly not your job, like helping with sound cues and InDesign files – I know you weren’t the production manager, but you were definitely a production manager. More importantly than that, you’ve been an amazing friend, as you always have been, and I appreciate you lending an ear not only to my worries and questions about the show, but to my complaints about life in general. I’m so happy to have known Wes for many, many years, and hope to have him in my life for many more to come – I promise every time we will pay you more than the last.

To our wonderful stage manager, Kate McArthur, who is one of the most beautiful people I know. I am so proud of you and all your work on this, jumping into a role you hadn’t filled in years, you’ve done an amazing job and shown you really can do anything. Thank you for being a constant support in every way, you’re one of my closest friends and I could not have maintained my sanity this past month without you. I look forward to spending this entire year creating things with you.

To my fantastic cast – Anna Douglas, who I have not known for long, but who I could immediately see was the perfect Daphne. Anna approaches her work with a focus and dedication that is truly admirable, and while I rarely have time to point it out in rehearsals, I see new details and nuances every time she runs a scene, and those are noticed and appreciated. Her commitment to the show and determination to make it a success has been clear since day one. Thank you, Anna, for the attention-to-detail, thoughtfulness and thoroughness in all that you do.

To Alex Clay, another one of my closest friends, and someone who I have been lucky to work with several times before. Alex read the very earliest versions of this script and has been a sounding board throughout the entire process. Thank you for the lunch-time phone calls to go over ideas, and for coming to each rehearsal focused and ready and full of incredibly lame jokes that always make me laugh. I’m so happy to see you in a role that allows you to show such range, and excited for everyone to see what a talented and capable actor you are. I’m so happy to have you in my life.

To Oliver Georgiou, who I knew was “Mitch” about 5 seconds into his audition. Oliver is wonderful onstage and off – not only is he a talented and engaging actor, he is a thoughtful and supportive team member who has done everything from running warm-ups to bringing me allergy medicine the day after I complained about a dusty theatre. Oliver’s additions to the script have been essential, and the ending is what it is thanks to him. Thank you for supporting and elevating all my ideas, and for being a great listener and a wonderful person to be around.

To Kiera Publicover, who is one of the most wonderfully laid-back actors I’ve ever had a chance to work with, thank you for being a constantly positive and calming presence – much needed in a show as intense as this. Kiera took what could have easily been a small, two-dimensional part and built it into a fully-formed, engaging and endearing character that is exciting to watch. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you go on to do. Thank you as well for your assistance with editing the Land Acknowledgement, and for the suggestions of Indigenous organizations to support.

To Chad Allen, who I had worked with briefly before years ago when he swooped in last minute to save the day by playing several small roles in His Girl Friday. Chad is a true pro, and has excellent taste in coffee. Thank you for always bringing focus and dedication to all you do, and for being such a positive and guiding presence in rehearsals – I look up to you, and not just because you’re a giant and an “old man”. Chad has also taken a small role and turned it into a character worthy of a spin-off. Thank you for always going above and beyond.

Last, but certainly not least, to Conor Fitzgerald, Bygone’s Chair, my fellow Producer, and my partner in every aspect of life. Thank you for creating business plans and spreadsheets, for driving ridiculously far away for obscure auction pick-ups, for keeping me supplied in Diet Coke, and for supporting me during every stage and mood and thing. It sounds so cheesy to say he is my other half, but it really is true, and I could not do any of the things I do without him.

To all who have helped Bygone become what it is today, and to all who have supported The Birds in anyway, thank you. I hope you enjoy our show and our season, and all the big things to come.

  • Emily Dix
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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.

The Rear Window

The world premiere of The Rear Window runs March 8-17, 2019 at Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto.

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

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.

Bygone Theatre’s Top 5 Toronto Fringe Picks 2017

Bygone Theatre’s Top 5 Picks for the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival.

As always, here’s our round-up of the Top 5 2017 Toronto Fringe shows we think you should see – we know they’re gonna be great because they feature past Bygone artists! Check it out:

32 Short Sketches About Bees (Shannon Lahaie)

32 Short Sketches About Bees - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: It started out as a bet: could this team put together a sketch comedy show with thirty two sketches about bees – any kind of bees, from honey bees to the letter B to Bea Arthur (if we can get the impression right) – in sixty minutes? Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Let’s find out!

Featuring: Created by Andrew Bushell (Bad Dog), Leigh Cameron (Second City), Claire Farmer (Dame Judy Dench), Jessica Greco (Dame Judy Dench), Shannon Lahaie (Dame Judy Dench), Chris Leveille (Dame Judy Dench), and Cameron Wyllie (O Dat Dum), and directed by Paul Bates (Second City).

Shannon Lahaie: You may remember Shannon as Susy in Wait Until Dark. While she did a stunning job as a young, blind housewife in this suspense drama, Shannon’s greatest strength is in comedy. I saw her last year in Everything Else Is Sold Our and it was absolutely brilliant. With many of the same faces onstage this year, I know this show will be a hit.

 

Caitlin & Eric Are Broken Up (Caitlin Robson, Eric Miinch)

Caitlin And Eric Are Broken Up - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: Newly-Singles Caitlin and Eric walk into a bedroom… and go on a painfully funny rebound to look back on their past relationships.

Featuring: Misery loves company! At a story-telling event in 2015, Eric Miinch (Fratwurst Comedy, Behold the Barfly Fringe 2016) told the audience a funny story from his personal heartache, and Caitlin Robson (Karenin’s Anna, Fringe 2014) countered with one from hers. Realizing what they had, they teamed up with Director Jess Beaulieu (Crimson Wave Comedy & Podcast), and through some improv, roleplay and imagination, they devised this candid, laugh-til-you-cry dialogue about love lost, and the art of moving on.
#CEBrokenUp

Caitlin Robson: You may remember Caitlin from her role as Miss Jeffries in our 2015 production of Rope. While this was another drama, Caitlin showed off her comedic timing at our Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! fundraiser, and I can’t wait to see her in this original show.

Eric Miinch: Eric played the sinister Mr.Roat in last year’s production of Wait Until Dark. While he made for an excellent villain, it was very against his character, and almost felt like a waste not giving him a chance to show off his comedic improv skills. Eric shines in comedy, I can’t wait to see him in this.

Confidential Musical Theatre Project (June 9 – Elizabeth Rose Morriss)

Confidential Musical Theatre Project - 2017 Toronto Fringe

SynopsisOur casts are given their scripts and scores and asked to familiarize themselves with their roles – but not to reveal the show title or their role in it to anyone. With no rehearsals, the cast and crew meet for the first time one hour before the performance begins. The audience shows up with no knowledge of what show they’re about to see. The only rule: don’t stop. No matter what.

Featuring: It varies, but we recommend the June 9th performance as it features the lovely Elizabeth Rose Morriss!

Elizabeth Rose Morriss: Liz has been a Bygone staple from the beginning. You may remember her from her role as Miss Kentley in RopeGertrude Baldwin in His Girl Friday, her performances at our Vaudeville Revue, or from one of our many Retro Radio Hour shows. CMTP is an ambitious project at any time, but doing them for a Fringe sounds incredibly challenging. Liz is a wonderful actor and a beautiful singer, so you know that, regardless of what the show is, the June 9th performance is going to be great.

On The Inside (Ryan Kotack)

On The Inside - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: On The Inside is a docutheatre production inspired by Ashley Smith, a young female inmate from New Brunswick. Convicted of a minor infraction, Ashley later spent nearly three years in solitary confinement. This piece takes a close look at the effects of solitary on a young person and the hunger for relationships. Shame and vulnerability reveal themselves at different moments in the lives of an inmate, nurse and two prison guards. Each character journeys through the contrast between a harsh penal system and the reality of our universal desperation to be felt, heard and seen.

Featuring: Harry Lavigne, Ryan Christopher Kotack, Marnie Wohl Bennett, Kelechi Ofoha.

Ryan Kotack: Ryan was recently seen as Murphy in His Girl Friday, and before that as a cop in Wait Until Dark. In both of these roles, as well as others I’ve seen him in, he plays a gritty, disillusioned tough guy, and with the sound of this show I think he’s well cast and will be right at home – can’t wait.

Grey (Kenton Blythe)

Grey - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: Twelve years ago Richard Buttle killed Jayden Alexander. Today is the day of his parole hearing. Jumping through time, the circumstances that lead to the crime begin to unravel. Who is really to blame? Not everything is as black and white as one would like to perceive.

Featuring: Kenton Blythe, Andrea Carter, Kion Flatts, Mandy Roveda, Asante Tracey and Veshone Cunningham.

Kenton Blythe : You may remember Kenton from way back in 2013, when we mounted our second ever production, Dial M For Murder. Kenton played loveable crime-writer Max. Since then he’s gone on to perform in a tour of Evil Dead; The Musical and to do a season at the Shaw Festival. Can’t wait to see him onstage here at home!

 

The Toronto Fringe Festival has an amazing 160 ticketed events, as well as over 50 free, drop-in events – so get out there and get Fringing!

-E.

Cast Spotlight: Elizabeth Rose Morris

Elizabeth Rose Morriss plays Gertrude Baldwin in the classic screwball comedy, His Girl Friday, March 2-5, 2017.

elizabeth-rose-morriss-headshotElizabeth Rose Morriss plays uptight Gertrude Baldwin in His Girl Friday. You may remember Liz from her role as Miss Kentley in Rope and as a performer in our Vaudeville Revue, as well as numerous Retro Radio Hours. She is also currently on the Bygone Theatre Board of Directors.

Bio: Elizabeth Rose Morriss most recently performed as Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), as Adella in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and as Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Plain Stage Theatre Company). Previous Bygone Theatre roles include Miss Kentley in Rope, singer in the Vaudeville Revue, and a regular performer in their Retro Radio Hour shows.
She has degrees in Music Theatre (Acadia University) and Education (Nipissing University), is currently on the Board of Directors of Bygone Theatre, and does Marketing for the Toronto Confidential Musical Theatre Project. Keep up with Elizabeth online: Twitter and Instagram @lizrosemorriss, and facebook.com/elizabethrosemorriss.

screenshot-2016-06-23-23-41-49

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

Emily Dix directed a play I was in with Newborn Theatre, and I’ve been happy to be involved since the beginning of Bygone Theatre! I’m currently on the Board of Directors, and was intrigued from the first time Emily announced His Girl Friday as the next mainstage play.

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

I love the snappy, very stylized 1940s dialogue. The whole script is so witty and fast-paced, it’s a lot of fun!

What’s your favourite old movie?

I love a lot of old movies, mostly musicals, but my favourite has to be Singin’ in the Rain.

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

10815586_10152361847452583_1848336034_o
Ian McGarret as Mr. Kentley and Elizabeth Rose Morriss as Miss Kentley in Rope, 2014.

In 2014, I played Miss Kentley in Bygone Theatre’s production of Rope—different decade and not a comedy, but also a period piece, and also a play with a classic movie version. Most recently I played Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), Adella in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and was a singer in Bygone’s Vaudeville Revue.

Why should people come and see the show?

For fun, entertaining vintage comedy!

See Liz live onstage this March in His Girl Friday – tickets available online.

Rope: Opening Weekend

On Friday Rope opened to a packed audience; our Opening Night Gala was a hit and the show was a smashing success. I’m so proud of all those who have been involved and it was wonderful to finally see everything fall into place onstage. This Saturday November 22nd we have two performances; a 2:00pm matinee, which as of late Friday night is 78% sold out and a 7:30pm evening show, which is currently 93% sold out. It’s great to have such full houses and we open the show is received well!

If you would like to get tickets to this weekend’s performance, check out TOtix.ca. Tickets can be purchased online up to 2 hours before the event. After that, tickets can only be purchased at the door; cash only, please.

If you are unable to join us for opening weekend, not to fear! Next Friday November 28th we have a 2:00pm PWYC matinee for Arts Workers and a 7:30pm performance. On Saturday November 29th we have a 2:00pm matinee and we close that evening at 7:30pm.

All photos courtesy of the talented Danielle Son; check out her website here: http://www.logosphotography.org/.

To see the rest of the production stills check out our facebook page.

More updates coming soon!
-E

“Rope” Opens in One Week!

On September 15, 2014, the cast of Rope met for our first read-through. After a single reading, I knew I had made the right casting choices. We had an incredibly talented group of actors, and thankfully, everyone got along from the start.

First read-through, September 15, 2014
First read-through, September 15, 2014

We got into rehearsals right away, and quickly started making interesting discoveries about the text. The onstage chemistry grew fast, and offstage new friendships started to form.

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We put together an awesome fundraiser, Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! and got to see everyone’s comic side.

Jamieson Child, Nicholas Arnold, Emily Dix & Caitlin Robson
Jamieson Child, Nicholas Arnold, Emily Dix & Caitlin Robson

And a glamourous side as well.

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Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! cast

As the show progressed, and intensity grew, I started to get really pumped about the show. Despite seeing scenes over a dozen times, these guys were giving me chills. I knew we had something great.

In one week we will open at the Gibson House Museum. It has been 2 months of hard work but it has certainly been worth it. Don’t miss your chance to see this amazingly talented cast; Leete Stetson, Nicholas Arnold, Jamieson Child, Chelsey MacLean, Matt McGrath, Ian McGarrett, Elizabeth Rose Morriss and Caitlin Robson.

Join us for our opening night gala at 7:00pm on Friday November 21; show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance through TO Tix.

-E.

Rope – Cast Spotlight – Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Today’s cast spotlight is with Elizabeth Rose Morriss who plays the aloof Miss Susan Kentley in Rope. Elizabeth has previously worked with Bygone Theatre on their Retro Radio Hour shows.

1. What first attracted you to Bygone Theatre and this production of Rope?
I really enjoyed working with Emily on “Noble Savages,” which she directed for Newborn Theatre. When she started Bygone Theatre, I was eager for the chance to work on a play with her again! I admit, I wasn’t familiar with Rope when Emily announced that it would be Bygone’s next production, but as soon as I read it I was interested in being part of it.

2. What challenges have you faced/OR/ what is your favourite part of working on a site-specific play that runs in real time?
I have worked on a couple site-specific plays before—Brant Theatre Workshop’s recurring production of Dracula at Casa Loma, and SQUAT: A Super-Secret Back-Alley Musical at Cinecycle warehouse in the 2013 Fringe Festival. My favourite part of productions like these is having such an incredible backdrop for the production, to have a real castle, warehouse, or turn-of-the-century house to stage your play in is a rare treat, and adds a whole new dimension to the performance. The biggest challenge for me is staging the piece in rehearsal spaces, and then having to translate it to the actual site. It’s a lot easier to visualize entrances and exits and blocking for a traditional theatre space than for a non-theatre space which you haven’t seen.

3. What have you done to prepare for your role?
Susan Kentley is a smaller role, and being such a quiet, uncommunicative character means she has very few lines. That means there are a lot fewer obvious clues about her character, so I’ve had to look very closely at the script for the few lines and stage directions she does have, as well as anything any other character says about her, in order to figure her out. Then it’s a matter of looking at the time she does spend onstage with that in mind, and figuring out her reactions to things, and her reasons for saying—or not saying!—what she does.

4. What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process so far?
Watching each of the characters come to life, as each actor works through their own process. It’s fun to see people making discoveries and choices. And we always end up having some laughs along the way!

5. Why should everyone come and see Rope?
Great script, talented cast, cool venue—it should be an excellent show!

Rope – Cast Spotlight – Leete Stetson

Leete Stetson has worked on every Bygone show to date; he was music director and part of the choir in Doubt: A Parable, played Tony Wendice in Dial M For Murder and has performed in each of the Retro Radio Hour shows. Leete joins us again as the sinister Brandon Wyndham in Rope.

1. What first attracted you to  Bygone Theatre and this production of Rope?
The lovely and talented Emily Dix. To date, I think I’ve been involved in just about everything Bygone Theatre has done. Emily and I have many interests in common, one of which is Alfred Hitchcock who did a film adaptation of this play.

2. What challenges have you faced/OR/ what is your favourite part of working on a site-specific play that runs in real time?
My favorite part of working on play that runs in real time is that you don’t have to make up what happens to the character in between scenes. The biggest challenge of working on a play that runs in real time is that you don’t get to make up what happens to the character in between scenes.
3. What have you done to prepare for your role?
I’ve sat in the dark late at night and had deep conversations with the air about death and the futility of existence. Then, I’ve turned on the lights and read the script until I could say almost all of my lines in the right order.
4. What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process so far?
I like the parts where I’m waxing philosophic with Rupert/Jamieson Child. He’s a good listener. My second favourite part of the rehearsal process is yelling at Emily when I disagree with her.
5. Why should everyone come and see Rope?
It’s not very often that you get to see a play in as beautiful a location as the Gibson House museum. It’s not very often that you get to see a play whose scope is as pinpoint-focused as one room, one evening. It’s not very often that you get to see a play with as talented a group of actors as Nicholas Arnold, Jamieson Child, Caitlin Robson, Elizabeth Rose Morriss, Matt McGrath, Chelsey MacLean and Ian McGarrett

 

Want to see more of Leete? Get your tickets to Rope through TO Tix.