Bygone Theatre Holiday Auction

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

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

 

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Kill Sister, Kill! – Cast Spotlight – Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams is starring as the punk low-life, Dagger, in the upcoming production of Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

 

My name is Aaron Williams. I am an actor and vocalist from Mississauga. I studied Philosophy, Religion and Music History at the University of Toronto before starting my journey as an actor. I think has given me a the tools necessary to deal with the multiple existential crisis’ that I’m sure will arise from choosing this career path.

 

How did you first hear about the production?
I first heard of the production through a Facebook forum and sent an email and never heard anything back. I assumed that they had cast everyone. I forgot about the production until one day I received a message from Tea the associate producer who had seen me playing Judas in Hart House Theatre’s Jesus Christ Superstar and asked me to come down for an audition and was lucky enough to be brought on board.
What has been your favourite moment of the rehearsal process so far?
I have no one favourite moment, though the fundraiser was a great time. Generally rehearsals have been very enriching, being so close to the creation of a show like this with such hard working people has been a highlight. It has given me an opportunity to play a wild, outlandish character who’s evil as all sin, which honestly is the funnest part about acting, creating those dynamics.
Tell us about your character – what has been fun or challenging in playing this role?
Dagger is most definitely a sadist. He takes pleasure in the pain of others, even those close to him. He has absolutely no regard or respect for other humans, whatsoever, and is a villainous junkie fiend. What I like about him is that he’s completely void from concern. He does not give shit, which I can appreciate. Some of the difficulties is bringing myself to simulate some of the actions Dagger has to carry out in the script.
Why should people come see the show?
People should come see the show because it will definitely be one which will keep peoples mouths ajar, while at the same time being comedic and vile yet very very tense. Not to mention how raw and raunchy it is.
You can check out Aaron’s performance August 26-30th at Theatre 80 in NYC. For tickets, go online.

To Cast, With Love – Director’s Notes from “Dial M For Murder”

There’s never enough space in the tiny little programs to say all that I want to about a show, and about all the amazing people who’ve helped to make it happen. I’ve considered doing what some directors do, and making a speech at the end of closing night, but that always felt more like a selfish statement than a good time to thank everyone; no one wants to see the boring old director after seeing the awesome show, and I don’t want to keep the cast and crew from getting out and celebrating. So in an effort to say all my thank-yous, but keep our program from becoming a full length novel, I’ve decided to write here the “director’s cut” version of my notes on “Dial M For Murder”:

First off, to my fellow producer and co-founder of Bygone Theatre; Matt McGrath. Matty is my best friend and my go-to for just about everything in life. When we started this company, he was mostly interested in being involved as an actor, but as the company has grown he has stepped up and taken on some major production roles, most of which he had no prior knowledge of. Matt does everything from scraping together the funds for the show, to working on the set, to going out and putting up hundreds of posters. He essentially functions as an assistant director and I often go to him for advice on scenes or moments in the play, be it just for reassurance or for actual help should I ever find myself stuck. He is an invaluable part of this company, this production, and my life. So many thanks, and a thousand hugs and kisses go to him.

My stage manager Jayden Hsueh has not only take on the dreaded SM tasks like booking rehearsal spaces and working out scheduling issues, but he has stepped up to help with finding props and building sets as well. Jayden is always a happy, positive influence in the room, and his smile (and the cookies and doughnuts he often brings to rehearsals) helps to keep everyone’s energy up. Jayden is motivated and reliable, and I can’t wait to work on another production with him.

Alexis Budd, our fight director, is a great guy to work with. He is smart, funny, and always patient when teaching actors the choreography. He has a creative mind and is great with thinking on the spot, but is always open to suggestions from actors or myself as well. His acting experience helps him not just give tips on how to safely move and fake things like slaps, but on how to really sell it as well. If I ever find myself needing another fight director, he’ll be my first call.

Jackie McClelland is our props master and one of our set designers for this show. I was thrilled to get her, as Jackie is working with increasingly bigger companies and productions, and I worry one day she’ll go off and leave us behind! Jackie is clever and a great problem solver, and has worked out all our props issues. She has a great eye, and is a fun and positive person to work with; I hope we’ll get the chance to do another show together again soon.

Mike Bazzocchi is an amazing builder. He has a unique background that includes engineering and acting, so he not only knows the practical elements required in making a set, he knows what will look good and what the actors will need as well. He’s quick on his feet, positive, and great at explaining things to those of us with no design knowledge. I hope to be able to give him a more creative set to design one day, as I know he is capable of coming up with really original ideas as well as making something that looks like an authentic 1950s living room. He makes me laugh, and I always feel confident any task left to him will be done, and done well. Thank you for that.

My mother Karen Henderson made not just our lovely pinch pleat curtains, but all of Margot’s dresses as well, which not only saved us a lot of money (and me a lot of time), but meant that we could have authentic 1950s dresses that fit our actor perfectly. She is a life-saver as her sewing expertise means I can pick out virtually any pattern and fabric, for any actor, and leave her to do all the hard work of actually making the thing! Every time we do a show and I pile more and more costumes on, she swears it’ll be the last time, but hopefully it doesn’t actually come to that as her costumes are a big part of what makes our shows look great.

Reg Matson is our technical director (and Inspector Hubbard, but I’ll get to that), and has helped me to solve problems from how to run sound from strange spots onstage, to what should be done with the lights. Reg not only has vast theatre knowledge, he has a great artistic mind. He never tells someone what they should do, but asks them questions and helps them to figure out what it is they really want to achieve. He’s been an amazing positive influence in so many ways these past few months, and I know we’ll continue to work together in the future.

Nicole Byblow chose all the lovely period music for the show. Nicole and I first met when doing “Retro Radio Hour”, and I’m so glad to have found not just a talented performer, but a fellow Judy lover as well! Nicole has a great ear and a real understanding of the period, so she’s certainly someone I will work with again. She’s a fun and sweet person, and great at everything she does.

Janice Li is our high school production assistant, and has helped with everything from sitting in on auditions, to making the bricks for the exterior wall, to doing random tasks like coffee runs and sweeping the stage. She’s always up to any task we give her, and I think she will do well as she goes off to focus in production design. I hope she’s managed to learn someone along the way, or at the very least had some fun – we’ve certainly needed all her help!

There have been dozens of people who have helped out with things along the way, and I hope I can remember them all here, so thank you to;

My aunt, Heather Henderson, who donated all our concession items and helped to make the cast t-shirts.

My sister, Rebecca Dix, who worked on the display boards, the concessions, and running Front of House.

My father, Kevin Dix, who shuttled around props, costumes, and concessions, driving up from Waterloo to do so.

Our former producer, Tom Beattie, who donated funds, supplies, and his time to this show.

Brian and Margaret McGrath, Matt’s parents, who donated both money to the show, and allowed us to use their garage to build the set, while putting up with not just the noisy actors and the mess, but with feeding all of us as well!

Danielle Son who took lovely photos of the show.

Kyle Pearson, K. Nolan, and Chris Ross who all came to help out with the load-in.

UC Follies, who helped with both cross-promotions, and who leant us space and props for the show.

Orphaned Egret Productions
, Newborn Theatre, BeMused, and Hart House Theatre, who all helped to promote the show.

Jesse Watts, who was the first to make a donation to “Dial M For Murder”.

Noa Katz and Deb Lim who are assisting backstage.

The staff at the Robert Gill Theatre; the late Lou Massey who helped with our initial set-up, Paul Stoesser who helped in running tech week, Teo Balcu who took the lead in our lighting design, and Vanita Butrsingkorn who assisted in all sorts of backstage and technical elements during tech week.

TAPA, TO Tix, and The Robert Gill Theatre for all the help and support.

Insomnia Restaurant and Lounge for sponsoring our opening night after party.

And, last but not least, my fabulous cast.

I’m so happy to have met Leete Stetson. He is a talented actor and a wonderful friend, and I thank him for all his support and advice on and offstage. We became friends while acting together in Hart House’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and quickly discovered a mutual love of musicals, and a lot of similar tastes. While he and I may disagree on some fundamental theatre things (like bare walls versus a full set), the debates are always friendly and useful. I know I will work with him again, and can’t wait to see what amazing character he does next.

Rebekah has been a total joy to work with. Every note I give her she takes and acts on immediately; she started out as Margot looking and sounding great, but the progression I’ve seen her make through the rehearsal process has really been astounding. She’s turned what could have been a 2-dimensional, typical 1950s housewife into a complex and compelling character, and she makes these changes with such ease that it’s clear she’s one to watch out for. On top of her talent onstage, Rebekah has helped with things like hemming pants, and has offered to pick up the slack wherever it’s needed. I hope we will work together again as she is a lady of many talents, and a very sweet girl to boot.

When I first met Kenton I hoped that he would be as talented as he was sweet and charming, because after 30 seconds of talking to him you know he’s someone you want to work with. Lucky for me, he was. Kenton takes initiative not just with learning and running lines, but with running warm-ups with the group as well. He has amazing stage presence, and is a total joy to watch. A man of many talents, I know he will go far, and I just hope that before he gets too big I have another chance to work with him! All that energy he has is bound to come in handy as he is one who I think will find himself constantly working.

As an actor, Reg is thoughtful and deliberate. He has a very analytical approach to acting, and often pauses to talk through the motivations of all the characters onstage. He is clever and committed, and I love to watch him go through his process as it often brings out new and interesting moments in the show.

Jason  has been a total joy to work with, because he is a kind, thoughtful and genuine human being as well as being a talented actor. Despite having a relatively short amount of time onstage, Jason has been at nearly every rehearsal and has helped with things like being on book, or reading for someone who wasn’t there. He’s always quick to offer assistance with anything, and is always in a positive mood. He takes notes to heart, and has created in Lesgate a truly disturbing character that is so far from his real self that it is a testament to how good an actor he really is.

Despite being onstage for only about a minute in this show, Ian has shown up to all the rehearsals and stayed attentive, offering suggestions, advice and questions throughout the process. He has truly taken the “there are no small parts, only small actors” motto to heart and has created several distinct characters for his brief phone conversations. He has been helpful by being on book and keeping track of actors blocking while he’s not onstage, and has always been a positive influence in the room. And with a voice like his, there’s no doubt he’ll find himself more work in theatre, or radio!

To everyone who helped in anyway, be it by working on the show directly or just being someone to talk to when the stress levels got high, thank you. And to everyone who came out to see all our hard work, thank you – none of this could happen without you.

-Emily Dix
Artistic Director
Bygone Theatre

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Alexis Budd

Alexis is the fight director for “Dial M For Murder”. He has worked previously with director Emily Dix, but this is his first show with Bygone Theatre.

Fight Director Alexis Budd

Fight Director Alexis Budd

Bio: Alexis Budd is a Toronto based theatre artist. He has done fight direction on shows such as “We Are The Bomb” and “The Unseen Hand” (Theatre Brouhaha), and “Romeo & Juliet” (Hart House Theatre). He has also performed as a musician/foley artist in such shows as “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” and “The Unseen Hand” (Brouhaha) and “We Walk Among You” (Artichoke Heart Collective) which recently returned from the Montreal Fringe Festival. He is pleased to be working with the wonderful and talented people at Bygone Theatre.

Dial M For Murder – Actor Spotlight – Kenton Blythe

Kenton plays Max Halliday in “Dial M For Murder”, his first production with Bygone Theatre.

Kenton Blythe aka Max Halliday

Bio:

Kenton was born in Edmonton, Alberta and is from a small town to the south of it called Beaumont. For the Footloose fans: that is where the hell it is. He has been practicing theatre for a number of years and had spent 2 years at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton in their Young Musical Company before making the trek to Toronto to study at the Randolph Academy for the preforming arts. He graduated last August. Since graduating Kenton has appeared as Brad in the Rocky Horror Show (Fallen Rock Productions) and more recently Len in Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy (Hart House). He would like to dedicate this performance to his girlfriend, whose constant love and support are ever present in his life (assuming she has not left him by the time the show goes up.) Love you honey.

1. How did you get started in theatre?

I got started in the theatre when I was thirteen. I was cast as a demon in a Terry Pratchett play. A character with a really long name with no vowels. I remember it sounding like Wix Hertle Jewel Pickles.  Which sounds a bit like a law firm from Oz.

2. What is your favourite part of the creative process?

Performance, naturally.

3. What are some challenges you face as an actor?

Maintaining spontaneity with every line. Sometimes it becomes muscle memory, and there can be only so much magic in that.

4. Any advice you want to give to others pursuing acting?

Know what you want in every scene, know enough about the business side to know when you are being misled and know enough about yourself to not be afraid of what you work on.

5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M For Murder”

I’m excited to solve a murder every night.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Matt McGrath

Matthew McGrath is one of the Producers for “Dial M For Murder” and is a founding member of Bygone Theatre. He produced “Doubt: A Parable” and performed in “Retro Radio Hour”.

Producer Matt McGrath

Producer Matt McGrath

Bio:

Matt Mcgrath has been acting on stage for over a decade. He attended Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts for their drama program, and graduated from U of T with a degree in Cinema Studies and English.

​Selected stage credits; “Excuse You!” (Theatre On A Thought/Toronto Fringe); “Young Frankenstein” (Alexander Showcase Theatre); “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (Hart House Theatre); “Absolute Alice” (Stratford Factory Productions/Toronto Fringe); “Hairspray” (St. Michael’s College); “Pigeons In Love” (InspiraTO Festival); “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Victoria College Drama).

1. How did you get started with Producing?
I started a company and gave myself a fancy sounding title.

2. What is your favourite part of the creative process?
Watching the actors grow into their characters.

3. What are some challenges you face working as a Producer?
Finding a boat load of money so we can put on the best show we possibly can.

4. Any advice for other people looking to pursue Producing?
Find several wealthy benefactors asap.

5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M For Murder”?
Getting to see a talented group of actors perform in front of a beautiful set at the lovely Robert Gill Theatre. Don’t get much better than that.

Dial M For Murder – Actor Spotlight – Leete Stetson

Leete is starring in “Dial M For Murder” as the deviously charming Tony Wendice. Leete has previously worked with Bygone Theatre, both as the music director for “Doubt: A Parable”, and as a performer in their “Retro Radio Hour” fundraiser.

Leete Stetson aka Tony Wendice

Leete Stetson aka Tony Wendice

Bio: Leete Stetson is an alum of the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Dalhousie University, graduating in 2009 with a BA with combined honours in music and theatre. In Toronto, he has worked with Hart House, Alumae Theatre, Charcoal Sketch Productions, Cilantro Dream Theatre and Bygone Theatre, though this is his first time acting in a Bygone show.

1. How did you get started in theatre?
I started acting in highschool, more as a lark than anything, to complement my training as a singer. Throughout highschool, I found more and more that I liked it and wanted to pursue it as a career.

2. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?
Rehearsing. Delving into the script and finding connections with the other actors.

3. What are some challenges you face as an actor?
The fact that I’m just not that talented.

4. Any advice you want to give to others pursuing acting?
Anything anybody is willing to teach you, learn that.

5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M for Murder”?
It’s an incredibly fun and funny group of people that I look forward to getting to know better. And also the material is a lot of fun, and I’m excited about finding all those little moments that can be enhanced with looks, gestures and unexpected profanity.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Jackie McClelland

Jackie McClelland is our props master and one of our set designers for “Dial M For Murder”!

Jackie McClellandBio: Jackie is a set and prop designer specializing in period work for both film and stage. Selected credits include: Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy, Romeo and Juliet, Bent (Hart House Theatre); Twelfth Night (Canopy Theatre Company); Into the Woods (Bravo Academy); Little Women (First Act Productions); A Ladylike Murder, City of Angels (Victoria College Drama Society); Sundance (Two Wolves Theatre, Toronto Fringe Festival).

1. How did you get started with set design?

I started out studying film, actually, but got involved in theatre in my spare time. I played a few small roles in school shows – chorus parts, mostly – before making the transition backstage.

 2. What is your favourite part of the creative process?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing — I love brainstorming and doing tons of research right off the bat, but it’s just as satisfying to put my hands to use building, painting, and decorating.

3. What are some challenges you face working as a set designer?

There are almost always limitations in terms of budget and time. In a perfect world, I would have limitless money and hours to spend crafting a perfect set and filling out all the little details that draw in the audience. Getting around these hurdles, though, is part of what makes this job great. I love when someone is impressed by something that I “MacGyver’d” for practically no money!

4. Any advice for other people looking to pursue set design?

I honed my skills building props before moving up to set design and dressing. It gives you the opportunity to work directly with the set designer and learn a lot from their experience – I definitely recommend it.

5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M For Murder”?

I’m a big Hitchcock fan, but I’ve always felt that Dial M for Murder is a story that belongs more on stage than it does on screen. There’s the potential to create a lot of tension through staging and I hope to enhance that as much as possible with the set. I also love working on period pieces and have a special soft spot for Mid-Century Modern design. It’s gonna be great!