Friends of Bygone – The Storefront Theatre

Bygone Theatre has reached out to some local theatre’s in preparation for our Retro Radio Hour – Suspense!

We’ve been very lucky to have gotten a lot of positive feedback and to have received donations from several companies for our raffle. Up first, a pair of tickets to “The Skriker”; here are all the deets:

THE SKRIKER Oct 23rd - Nov 9 @ The Storefront Theatre Photo by ZAIDEN

Oct 23rd – Nov 9 @ The Storefront Theatre
Photo by ZAIDEN

September 9th, 2014 ­This October, two of Toronto’s hottest indie theatre companies

The Red One Theatre Collective and Theatre Brouhaha team up to bring you Caryl Churchill’s “Impossible” play THE SKRIKER.

In his directorial debut, Daniel Pagett helms a cast of Toronto’s hottest Indie talents: Claire Armstrong (Dora award winner­After Miss Julie, Rock), Perrie Olthuis, Suzette McCanny (Shakespeare Bash’d), Claire Burns (Hatched, Human Furniture, Shrew), Sam Coyle, Elise Bauman, Karen Knox (Sam and Kate are not Breaking Up, Shrew), Tim Walker (NOW Magazines 2012 “Artists to watch”, Punch Up, Help Yourself, Sam and Kate are Not Breaking Up), Jeff Hanson (Shrew, Classical Theatre Project), Luke Marty (A Midsummer Night’s Dream…A Puppet Epic!, Theatre 20 collective ensemble, The Cocksure Lads), John Fleming (Shrew), Andy Trithardt (Delicacy, Rock, Sucker) and two time Dora nominee Jakob Ehman (Cockfight, Donors, Minotaur).

Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker is often described as her ‘impossible play’, due to the magical nature of the show, the shattered language with which the narrator speaks, and the sheer scope of the faerie underworld that it weaves in and out of. This unique theatrical experience will invite the audience into The Storefront Theatre, transformed into a portal to the faeries’ home by our critically acclaimed design team: makeup wizard Angela McQueen (Classical Theatre Project, ROTC, Brouhaha), costume design by Kendra Terpenning (wardrobe After Miss Julie), set design by Holly Lloyd (Stratford Festival, ROTC, Brouhaha) and lighting by Indie veteran Melissa Joakim (Cockfight, Punch Up). Incorporating physical theatre, mask, dance and a world premiere score composed by Andy Trithardt, The Skriker provides a completely immersive experience in this dark and twisted world.


by Caryl Churchill

October 23rd – November 9th, 2014


The Storefront Theatre

955 Bloor Street West

OCT 23­26 $20.00 / OCT 29­NOV 2 $15.00 / NOV 5­9 $25.00

Advance tickets available @


Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special – Performer Spotlight – Olivia Lloyd

Olivia first worked with Bygone back in May 2013 as a singer in our first “Retro Radio Hour”. We’re thrilled to have her and her beautiful voice join the team again!

Olivia Lloyd

Olivia Lloyd

What made you want to be a part of Bygone Theatre’s “Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special”?
The Retro Radio show in May was such a great time, spent with lovely and talented people. The Venue is great too. Everyone loves to sing Christmas songs!

What is your favourite holiday song, movie and tv special?
Song – Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree – the Brenda Lee version, or any Burl Ives Movie/special – Classic version of Rudolph (also with Burl Ives as a snowman!)

What is your fondest holiday memory?
A white Christmas and hot chocolate by the fire
What is your most embarrassing holiday memory?
One of my only, and definitely FINAL skiing experiences…
What are you most excited for in regards to “Retro Radio Hour”? Why should everyone come to see it?
What a great era to bring back in to play! We should always appreciate this genre of music 🙂 Come and experience some wonderful talent!

Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special – Performer Spotlight – Emily Dix

Emily Dix is one of the founding members and the Artistic Director/Producer of Bygone Theatre. She has directed all of their shows and is the main driving force behind all artistic decisions and fundraising efforts. It was her love of oldies radio plays that inspired the idea for the Retro Radio Hour series, and she is thrilled to be organizing the Holiday Special, as well as revisiting her role of Baby Snooks in the Baby Snooks and Daddy play, “The Christmas Skates”! Be sure to check out her online portfolio and connect with her on Linkedin! 

Emily Dix

Emily Dix

What inspired you to create Bygone Theatre’s “Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special”?
The first “Retro Radio Hour” was a big success; we got a surprisingly large turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Plus, it’s a fairly easy show to put together, and a cheap way to get a large number of our talented friends involved at once, so it’s a really fun show to do. Plus, I think people like to get into the holiday spirit by watching Christmas specials, singing carols, sipping hot chocolate – why not add a holiday radio show to the mix?

What is your favourite holiday tv special?
I love watching kids Christmas specials on tv. I think the “Muppets Christmas Special” is probably the best, but it isn’t really Christmas without “The Grinch”, “Rudolph” and “Frosty”. I’ve tried watching some of the newer Christmas specials as well but I think they got it right in the 60s – those stop motion shows are always the best and I can’t imagine the holidays without them.

What is your fondest holiday memory?
When I was a kid I used to always come to Toronto to see my Grandparents for Christmas. I especially loved being at the Dix’s because it was usually the only time of year I got to see my cousins from Ottawa. I have lots of happy memories of crawling around in the crawl space, playing with our new toys and eating those delicious arrowroot squares my Grandma used to make every year. I can’t think of any bad moments about those early Christmases.

What is your most embarrassing holiday memory?
Thankfully I don’t have many of those! All I can really think of is getting underwear for Christmas from my Grandma, when I was still young enough that the mere mention of the word would make me blush. All my cousins are around me frantically tearing the paper off of video games, trucks and action figures, and suddenly I’m holding frilly pink underwear. Mortifying for a 5 year old.

What are you most excited for in regards to “Retro Radio Hour”? Why should everyone come to see it?
The last couple shows we’ve done have been rather dark and serious, which is funny because I usually consider myself to be more of a fan of comedy. I love doing “Retro Radio Hour” because it’s just silly, harmless fun. There’s no deep messages or questions, nothing haunting or frightening, it’s just a chance to sit back, relax and laugh; and you will. We have an amazing cast and some hilarious plays, including ones originally performed by everyone’s favourite redhead, Lucille Ball, and the “funny girl” herself, Fanny Brice. What’s not to love?

Be sure to join us on Saturday November 30th, 8:00pm at the Winchester Kitchen. Tickets are only $5. Check out our event page for all the details.

Friends of Bygone – Photographer Danielle Son

One of the most valuable friends a theatre company can have is a good photographer! So much time, money, and effort goes into a show, but by it’s nature theatre’s fleeting; every performance is different, and can never be perfectly recreated. And when the run is over, all that is left are some photos to keep the memory alive, which is why we’re so happy to have the talented Danielle Son working with us once again so that our show can be preserved and remembered!

Danielle first worked with us in January 2013 on “Doubt: A Parable”, taking phenomenal pictures like this:

Anne Shepher as Sister Aloysius and Jordan Gray as Father Flynn, 2

Anne Shepherd and Jordan Gray in “Doubt: A Parable” – photo by Danielle Son

When we did our fundraiser in May, “Retro Radio Hour”, Danielle stopped by to get some great live event photos like this one:

Rebecca Russell and Leete Stetson in "Retro Radio Hour" - photo by Danielle Son

Rebecca Russell and Leete Stetson in “Retro Radio Hour” – photo by Danielle Son

Yesterday she swung by rehearsal and snatched some amazing photos like this chilling shot from the “Dial M For Murder” fight scene:

Rebekah and Jason Manella in rehearsal for "Dial M For Murder" - photo by Danielle Son

Rebekah and Jason Manella in rehearsal for “Dial M For Murder” – photo by Danielle Son

You can check out all her “Dial M for Murder” rehearsal stills here on our facebook page.

And be sure to check out her website for some of her other work!

The Rehearsal Process – Retro Radio Hour

Every show brings its own challenges, and with the plays collected for our upcoming Retro Radio Hour I encountered some that were new to me.

When working on larger scale shows like Doubt, Hairspray or Arsenic and Old Lace, I often found I didn’t have time to do all I wanted to do. Character exercises were neglected, and warm-ups abandoned in favour of instead focusing on blocking, or a specific moment that was troublesome to an actor. I had hundreds of ideas that had to be narrowed down to dozens, and even then rarely explored fully. The biggest creative challenge was knowing when to not bring up something that might have lead to an interesting discussion, simply because we needed to focus our energy elsewhere.

This wasn’t quite the same for some of the smaller one acts, like Plasterface, Pigeons In Love or Bucket. Here, timing seemed more important than character because everything was just a snippet of a larger picture, tiny vignettes that were sometimes more visually interesting than thought-provoking. Here we spent significant time discussing what we wanted to come across, and then working to find ways to make that read onstage, in simple, clear terms. It may sound less creative, but it was actually a very helpful process, and something I keep in mind now when working on larger projects as well – it’s all well and good to have grand ideas and intention, but the audience needs to understand where that’s all coming from too.

Other short plays like Noble Savages and Children Don’t Cry provided different challenges, like simply understanding what the hell the writer intended. We spent countless rehearsals just talking about possible scenarios, and in the end decided we need to just pick one and stick to it. Thankfully, it worked.

But now, working on 5 very different scripts at once (not to mention rehearsing the songs, worrying about schedules, marketing the show and trying to keep costs down so we can actually PROFIT from this – a rare thing in theatre) I have problems I’ve never faced before. The main one being, how do I get across to my actors the sound and style I’m looking for, without simply making them mimic?

I’ve tried very hard in the last couple years to eliminate “do this” from my directing vocabulary. While it’s sometimes very hard to step back and watch someone do something one way, when you know (or so you think) they’d be better if they’d “just do it more like this”, I’ve found that ultimately, letting my actors find things themselves makes for much happier people and much better results. I’ve tried to keep all my directing to asking questions (even if they are rather pointed, like, “are you thinking of something right now? or just trying to look like you’re thinking of something?”, you know who you are :-P) and suggesting scenarios, often playing devil’s advocate for the sake of conversation. However, in this limited time frame, and with scripts that are little more than soap operas (funny ones, it’s true, but still simplistic), I’ve found I need a new method of directing.

At first, I felt a little useless at rehearsals; as there was no real character work being done (aside from deciding on the kind of voice someone would be doing), I didn’t have much to contribute past, “good job” or “we need to tighten that up”. As someone who likes to really get into the text I found that rather frustrating. However, as time has gone on, I’ve found it’s actually really interesting to watch a group of people collectively form a play. By taking a step back as a director, my actors, more than ever, were left to explore things on their own. While this is something I always encourage, here the tight time frame meant that there wasn’t any real discussion about it, they just each adjusted themselves slightly with each reading. What’s really amazing is, they seem to all sense the same thing, and each one gets better, and moves more towards the same unified piece on their own, without even discussing it! While it may minimize my role, it’s been great to see confirmed the thing I’ve suspected for a few years now; the best thing I can do as a director is to cast amazing actors and let them do their thing. My shows have turned out great because my actors are always great, and I can’t wait to watch them rock these shows again, come May 11.