Crew Spotlight: Emily Dix

25.pngEmily Dix is the Artistic Executive Director of Bygone Theatre, and is directing, stage managing, designing and producing His Girl Friday. Emily has produced all of Bygone’s shows and directed 5 of the 6, with this now being her 7th.

Bio: Emily Dix is a Toronto based theatre artist, a “jack of all trades” who has worked as a director, producer, stage manager, set & costume designer and performer. In 2008 she moved to the city to attend UofT and quickly became involved with companies on campus, like Victoria College Drama, the UC Follies, St. Mike’s Drama and Hart House Theatre. In 2012, she founded Bygone Theatre, a company which she still runs today as the Artistic Executive Director. Emily has worked as a producer for Theatre 20 and as the assistant producer at Tarragon Theatre, as well as a production assistant for Poculi Ludique Societas, the PR Manager for the Social Capital Theatre, and numerous other freelance positions. In addition to her work in theatre, Emily is a vintage lover and avid collector. She owns an Etsy shop, Tucked Away Antiques, that specializes in small vintage items and digital downloads. Emily has also dabbled in design, making web sites and posters for local artists. For past credits and more information, visit her website, www.emilydix.com.

What made you want to mount His Girl Friday?

While not a conscious decision, I realized that all of the shows Bygone had mounted so far were either dramas, or at the very least rather dark comedies. I never intended for us to stick to style like that so when I was planning our 2016/17 season I knew I wanted a comedy. I had a list of several that had caught my eye, but one day I stumbled across a list of films that were currently in the public domain, and couldn’t believe His Girl Friday was one of them! I was going to write the adaptation myself, but my uncle, Craig Dix, had recently sent me a radio of script of his he’d done, so I asked him if he’d like to do it, and the answer was an enthusiastic “yes”. It’s a great story, with a large and diverse cast, strong female lead AND in the public domain – how could I not want to put it on?

What do you love about the show?

It really is very funny. I love the fast-paced dialogue and the opportunity for cheesy, over-the-top humour. While there are certainly complications with having such a large cast, I did want to be able to include a lot of people, so the size of it appeals to me as well. Plus, I love stories that include a great romance, without it being the central part of the story. It keeps things endearing but not sappy, and makes for a plot everyone can enjoy.

Which role – director, producer, designer, stage manger – have you found most challenging? Why?

I think with this one, I’d have to say director, simply because of the size of the cast. While I did the first round of auditions very early December, it took a very long time to get everything cast; I’m glad I held out for the right actors, but it has been stressful not having the whole group. As producer, it’s always stressful because there is a lot of money on the line, but I feel like I’ve done it enough by now that I have a pretty solid idea of what it takes, and just look at past show reports to calm myself when I start worrying about whether we’ll be able to make rent.

What has been the most rewarding part of the process so far?

Seeing the advances the cast has made. Like I said, big show, lots of fast-talking dialogue, it’s not an easy play. It’s exhausting, especially for the leads. But I’ve got an amazingly talented cast, and every rehearsal they’re leaps and bounds above where they were before, so it’s super fun and rewarding to see them get comfortable in their roles and play with a lot of the silliness that is there in the script. It’s going to be a funny show.

Why should people come and see the show?

It’s so much fun. Fast-paced, goofy, it’ll have you laughing and on the edge of your seat. Not to mention we’ve got a huge cast, so if you’re in the local theatre scene, chances are you know someone involved! Come out and support Toronto Theatre.

Anything else we should know?

Sadly, it’s a very limited engagement, just one weekend. So there are only 5 chances for the public to come and see the show; Thursday March 2, 8:00pm; Friday March 3, 8:00pm; Saturday March 4, 2:00pm and 8:00pm; Sunday March 5, 2:00pm. We encourage you to buy your tickets in advance, which can be done through the Native Earth box office, at www.nativeearth.ca/hisgirlfriday. Hope to see you there!

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CREW CALL – Assistant & Volunteer Positions

Bygone Theatre is currently looking to fill several paid and volunteer positions for our upcoming productions. We have roles available for both experienced arts workers and for those interested in getting their feet wet; high school students may apply for some of these. Check out the details below, and contact Executive Director Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com with any questions.

Want to get involved but don’t see something that quite fits? Give us a shout, we are always happy to meet with new people and find ways to involve those who are interested.

The following positions are open for those looking to gain experience working in theatre, or for those who just like to be involved. Potential roles include;

  • Assistant stage manager
  • Assistant set designer
  • Production assistant
  • Marketing & social media assistant

These roles are open to those with little to no previous experience, including high school students. Students may fulfill their requisite 40 volunteer hours with these positions. Children under 18 will need to provide a signed parent permission form.

How to Apply:
Send a one-page cover letter to Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com, outlining any relevant skills or experience and describing how you would like to be involved, and what you would like to gain from the position.

 

Deadline for crew calls is February 1, 2016 at 5:00pm. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and an appropriate candidate may be accepted before the deadline; early applications are encouraged.

CREW CALL – Wait Until Dark

Bygone Theatre is currently looking to fill several paid and volunteer positions for our upcoming productions. We have roles available for both experienced arts workers and for those interested in getting their feet wet; high school students may apply for some of these. Check out the details below, and contact Executive Director Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com with any questions.

Want to get involved but don’t see something that quite fits? Give us a shout, we are always happy to meet with new people and find ways to involve those who are interested.

WAIT UNTIL DARK – MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION, APRIL 2016

We are currently accepting applications for crew members for our upcoming production of Wait Until Dark. We are looking for the following;

Stage Manager: 
Duties & Responsibilities:

  • In charge of booking rehearsal space & coordinating with cast & crew for all meetings & rehearsals
  • In charge of creating a detailed prompt book and coordinating with the designers and director to ensure all necessary items are purchased and accounted for
  • Assisting the director in rehearsals, taking notes as needed
  • Calling the show
  • Other tasks as required

Skills & Requirements:

  • Excellent attention-to-detail & multitasking skills
  • Reliable access to a method of communication, be it email or phone, and able to provide prompt replies
  • A firm but patient & polite demeanour
  • Previous stage management experience is necessary, experience in a site-specific location is preferred

Tech Director
Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Creating & programming sound and lighting design for the show
  • Working with the director to achieve her vision, while offering creative input and feedback
  • Securing any required technical elements (eg. renting equipment, ensuring there are enough extension cords, securing sound effects, etc.)
  • Coordinating with the stage manager for tech and performances

Skills & Requirements:

  • Creative individual willing to work together with the director in the creation of all technical elements
  • Strong knowledge of technical requirements and programs
  • Preference given to those who are able to assist in running the tech, as well as doing the design and set-up

Set Designer
Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Creating detailed technical designs and orchestrating the creation & load-in/set-up
  • Working with the director to achieve her vision, while offering creative input and feedback
  • Assisting the director & producer with creating a detailed budget for the set that stays within the overall show budget
  • Coordinating with the stage manager and technical designer for the build, load-in and tech, as required

Skills & Requirements:

  • Previous set-design and construction experience
  • Strong knowledge of various building supplies and techniques
  • Able to creatively design and construct a product that fits both the creative design and stays within budget
  • Must be available to build the set and assist with the load-in and strike

To apply, send a brief cover letter and resume to director Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com.

This is a non-union, profit-share production. Lead positions  also include an honourarium; email for more details.

Deadline for crew calls is February 1, 2016 at 5:00pm. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and an appropriate candidate may be accepted before the deadline; early applications are encouraged.

Check out our other blog post for assistant & volunteer positions.

 

Kill Sister, Kill! Crew Spotlight – Producer Emily Dix

How did you first get involved with KSK?

I met Jamieson Child back in late summer/early fall of 2014, when he auditioned for Rope. We hit it off in rehearsals right away, and at some point KSK came up in conversation. I remembered hearing about it when it was in Fringe a few years ago, and as I was looking for something to take to the NYC Fringe in the summer of 2015, I wanted to learn more. He had me read the script in October and I knew right away I wanted to help expand the show and bring it to New York.

What drew you to the project?

A few things. For one, it fit with Bygone’s style & mandate; a period piece, kinda dark & funny, and it was very closely tied to film as it’s inspired by vintage exploitation cinema. As well, I LOVE musicals, and really wanted to be involved in one again. Then of course there is my twisted love of cult & exploitation cinema, and I was excited by the fact that there were these 2 talented & crazy brothers who were just as into that stuff as I was, and who had taken that passion for the genre and put it towards building a really unique play. We hit it off early on and I thought we all had great complimentary skills. It just seemed like a good fit all around.

Describe your work as dramaturg, what does that entail?

It’s basically a fancy word for saying that I have to be aware of every creative aspect of the show, and that I am there sort of over-seeing the creative process. I met with Jamie & Drac a lot in the early stages and we worked out script stuff, expanding the story, breaking down beats, talking about music styles etc. Then, as we got into producing, I had to have a knowledge of the inspiration for the show to make sure that it was coming across in the marketing & overall production; being aware of the time period, the filmic references, all of that. Now, in the rehearsal stage, it’s being there to help support J with providing extra info for the actors. Being able to give period references to help fill out some gaps, to give them a strong background so they have something to build their characters off of. It’s about as broad and all encompassing as producing is, but for the other side of things.

What do you do as producer?

Everything. There are roles that are specifically mine, but at the end of the day the number one thing is making sure that everyone else is doing their job too, and stepping in to do it myself if they aren’t. As for my regular stuff? I’ve written up contracts, coordinated with the Fringe and the venue, assisted in casting & hiring, written up budgets, organized fundraisers & funding campaigns, made some posters, designed a website, worked on promoting, scheduled production meetings – you name it, I’ve done some part of it. And then I’m stage managing as well, so there’s some cross over. With that I get to be in rehearsals working closely with J the director and the cast. Really all the roles I’ve taken on just require a lot of overseeing and organizing, so while it’s an INSANE amount of stuff to get done, it actually gets a bit simpler the more I take on, because there is a lot of overlap.

What are some challenges that you’ve had to overcome?

When you’re working with artists there’s always a lot of passion & energy brought to every conversation, which is almost always good. It can make for some loud fights and big clashes though, now and then. Plus, this is a big show for a lot of us. Taking something out of city adds so many additional challenges (and costs) that it makes for a lot more stress than a usual show, and that can put a strain on relationships. I’m used to being the one directing Bygone shows as well, and so it’s a new process having to step back from that while still managing all the other stuff – not bad, but very different.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

Working with incredible people. I know, it sounds like a cheesy answer but it’s really true. I knew very early on that Jamieson was someone I wanted to keep working with, and he’s been a great co-worker & friend, so that’s been great. And everyone we have brought on along the way has not only been really talented but a lot of fun too. While some have gotten tense, a lot of production meetings have been filled with laughs and good times, and I’m sure as everything falls into place we’ll see more of that. I’ve always said of any show I’ve directed that I think what’s made it is having a great cast, not just in regards to talent but personality too, and I’m very happy that the same result has happened here.

Any good rehearsal anecdotes to share?

When you spend a lot of time around a small group of people, you naturally begin to let your guard down, and when you’re an artist that usually means you start to get a little weird… I couldn’t tell you how exactly it started, but for the longest time our 2nd act opening number was called “The Timbit Song” (now “Fear City”). It came about somehow when we were discussing the potential issues of a Canadian show in a US venue, and I know that we had the music down but not the lyrics. Jamieson started improvising about what the character Ronnie could sing and (brilliantly) came up with “What’s a timbit? I want a timbit! Have a timbit, what’s a fucking timbit?” and for whatever ridiculous reason that stuck so long that we now have many very formal, serious looking correspondence talking about the “Timbit Song”.

Why should people come and see the show?

This really is a unique production. The show itself is unlike any other musical I’ve seen, and it’s a lot of fun to watch. We’ve got a really talented cast & crew of young Canadian artists, and our band is made up of some very experienced (Broadway-level) NYC musicians.

How can people help support the project?

If you’re in NYC August 26th-30th, come see the show! Tickets can be purchased online. And if you can’t make it out to see it live, you can still help support the show by making a donation – every little bit helps!

Rope – Crew Spotlight – Devon Potter

Our next crew spotlight is with stage manager Devon Potter! The lovely lady who keeps us all organized and running on time!
1. What first attracted you to Bygone Theatre and this production of Rope?
The idea of doing a site-specific show was what initially attracted to me to this production; it’s one thing I haven’t had the opportunity to do in my theatre career and have always wanted to do.  It’s proving to be a very different sort of beast, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works once we move into the venue.

2. What challenges have you faced & what is your favourite part of working on a site-specific play that runs in real time?

Working on a site-specific show as a Stage Manager is quite different than doing a show at theatre – a lot of the tech elements are removed, which you might think would make the show seem simpler, but a whole lot of different challenges present themselves to make up for the simplicity of the technical side of things.  Things like figuring out how best to let the actors know when it’s show-time since they will be ‘on’ even before the audience enters the room, to the different vantage point from which I’ll be watching the show (if only historical museums came with their own booths!), to having no way of communicating with anyone backstage, since there really is no ‘backstage’ to speak of, are just a few of the challenges that I will face as SM.  It’s exciting though – I’m always up for new challenges, especially when it comes to theatre, and it will be fun to feel it out and work with the team to make sure all aspects of the production are as smooth as they can be.

3. What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process so far?
My favourite part of the process so far has been watching the actors come alive as their characters; it’s always fun to see how differently each performer prepares and works, and there have been some really neat things happening in rehearsals in terms of character choices and development.  It’s always tough to tell at a first read-through how characters are going to be portrayed, but it’s been great seeing the cast experiment and grow and solidify who they are as their respective characters.

4. Why should everyone come and see Rope?

Come and see ‘Rope’ because it’s a great, suspenseful show that isn’t done a lot and has something for everyone.  Suspense, mystery, sexual tension, deep discussions, sarcastic one-liners, odd, funny, dark and intense characters.  The cast is made up of an incredibly talented bunch of actors and you don’t want to miss seeing the work that they’ve created!

Crew Call! Bygone Theatre’s Next Production: “Rope”

It’s that time again! We are looking to put together our production team for our next major show, Rope. There will be a total of 7 performances held between November 21-29, 2014 (exact dates are still being confirmed) at the Gibson House Museum. We are looking for the following;

  1. Stage Manager:
    1. Do you love lists and schedules? Are you a master-multi-tasker? Do you have previous experience as a stage manager (or assistant stage manager on more than one occasion)? Then we want to hear from you. The SM will be in charge of organizing rehearsals, sending rehearsal reports, taking minutes at production meetings, hiring ASMs and calling the show. Expect to be at the majority of the rehearsals. Must be available for all show dates.
  2. Technical Designer:
    1. Are you a skilled technician with a flair for creativity? Are you comfortable working in a site-specific space that doesn’t include traditional sound and lighting equipment? Drop us a line. While there will likely be limited lighting design, we are looking for someone to help build a unique sound design. Ideally the designer will also be available to run the sound cues, but this may be flexible. Expect several meetings leading up to the show, as well as attendance at the dress and tech rehearsals.
  3. Promotions Assistants:
    1. Are you social media savvy? A marketing guru? Do you have a better understanding of Vine and Twitter than our AD does (chances are, most do)? Call us up. We are looking for people to assist with social media updates, blog posts, youtube videos and postering. Experience is not necessary, just a good understanding of the social media platforms.

Benefits:
Aside from working with the awesome people at Bygone Theatre, you will get a chance to work on a show that is being produced with the help of the City of Toronto; this means better publicity and a much farther reach than our previous shows. We cannot guarantee any pay at this point in the project, but we are hoping to raise enough funds to be able to provide all those involved with an honouraium. We are more than happy to help spread the word about any of your own projects and will write letters of recommendation if requested. For high school students looking to get their mandatory 40 hours of volunteer time, we can provide that for you, as well as serve as a teaching tool for those interested in getting involved in local theatre. This is a non-union performance.

If you are interested in being involved, send a cover letter and resume to Artistic Director Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com with the subject line, Rope Production Crew: (Position Applying For).

The application deadline is Monday September 1, 5:00pm.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Jayden Hsueh

Jayden has previously worked with Bygone Theatre as one of the altar boys in “Doubt: A Parable”, and assisted with front of house at our “Retro Radio Hour” fundraiser. He is stage managing “Dial M For Murder” and also assisting with set design.

Stage Manager Jayden Hsueh.

Stage Manager Jayden Hsueh.

Bio: Jayden graduated from the University of Waterloo and is currently pursuing a Master of Science at the University of Toronto.  During the last year, Jayden has been involved with the UC Follies as a head builder and was cast in Bygone’s production of “Doubt: as a choir boy.  After working with so many fantastic individuals, Jayden is excited to work on another show with Bygone Theatre.