Retro Radio Hour – Creature Feature

Kicking off our 2016/17 season is Retro Radio Hour – Creature Feature! Join us for an evening of vintage radio plays, oldies music, magic AND our season announcement – learn how you can get involved in our mainstage productions.

Show is on Monday October 24th at the Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. Doors open at 8pm, and as always tickets are only $5. Check out our Facebook event for more details.

Hope to see you there!

What It Really Costs To Be An Actor (and to put on a show)

I came across an interesting Business Insider article today on the costs associated with working as an actor; even as someone who is well aware of the small return on a huge investment (of both time and money) I was shocked by some of the numbers.

Consider the cost of training and promotional materials, for one;

School: some go the 4 year BA route, which will cost about $20 000 in total, but even if you are forgoing traditional education for workshops or conservatory programs, expect to spend thousands here.

Headshots: these are essential for any actor and can cost a pretty penny. Expect $500+ to have them shot, plus the cost of printing. It isn’t unusual to spend close to $1000 for good quality headshots, and then of course they need to be updated whenever you change your look.

Personal Website: while free avenues like facebook and wordpress are frequently used, a lot of people choose to have a custom domain name as well; add another $100 or more a year for this.

Then of course there is the cost of any additional training you do along the way, things like haircuts, makeup etc. to keep you looking pretty, expensive dance shoes – you get the idea. It’s not cheap. And there is really no guarantee of a return.

It was the author’s salaries in the article though that really caught me by surprise; even at the high end, performing at Madison Square Garden in a multi-million dollar performance, the author was only making $527/week. $527/week for 52 weeks in a year is a whopping $27 404 annual salary; not exactly a celebrity lifestyle. Plus, consider the fact that not only do most actors not get big gigs like that, but the majority of actor’s contracts are not for a full year. So even if you’re raking in big dough for the duration of your contract, you may need to stretch 2 months of pay over an entire year.

The author was only making $527/week. $527/week for 52 weeks in a year is a whopping $27 404 annual salary; not exactly a celebrity lifestyle

Our upcoming production of Rope is certainly small budget compared to the shows mentioned above, but it’s still a considerable amount of money for those of us who are funding it while working minimum wage jobs. Our overall budget is $4500.00, and that does not include paying the actors. You can see a detailed breakdown of our budget on our FWYC campaign page.  As someone who is certainly used to working for no pay (I put hundreds of volunteer hours over 6 years into theatre work on campus before finally getting a paid, part-time position this year) I went into this knowing I likely couldn’t pay anyone involved, but still feeling really guilty about it. So that’s why we started a Fund What You Can Campaign.

Our goal is to raise the entire cost of our production – $4500.00 – so that any money we make on the show itself can be split among the cast and crew. Of course there is no guarantee of ticket sales, but if we were to sell out all of our shows we could potentially be paying everyone about $380; not a Broadway level salary, but it’s a start. To put that further into perspective, all of actors are putting in about 14 hours of performance time plus 40-60 hours of rehearsal time. So let’s say that they are working a conservative 54 hours and make at the very most $380; that’s still only $7/hour. Considerably below minimum wage.

Our goal is to raise the entire cost of our production – $4500.00 – so that any money we make on the show itself can be split among the cast and crew…that’s still only $7/hour. Considerably below minimum wage.

As a producer it is important to me to put on a successful show and to compensate those involved. As an artist and student myself, I do not have the money to do that on my own. That’s where you come in. By making a donation to Rope you will be helping to further the careers of 8 talented actors, our wonderful stage manager and Bygone Theatre itself. Every little bit counts and gets us one step closer to realizing our dreams while earning a decent wage.

Check out our Fund What You Can Campaign for Rope to make a donation to the production.


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.

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 with the subject line, Rope Production Crew: (Position Applying For).

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


Do you find yourself singing along with Matthew Broderick every time he sings out, “I wanna be a producer! and see my name (YOUR NAME HERE) in lights!”? Then have we got a job for you! Bygone Theatre is looking to add a Producer to the team, not just for a specific show but for the company in general; check out all the details below and email us with any questions (PLEASE NOTE: Bygone cannot guarantee that you will get your name in lights, but we would be happy to write your name on a sparkly piece of paper so you can put it on your wall :-P)

Position: Producer

Application Deadline: Monday September 30, 5:00pm

Salary: Non-paying

Location: Toronto (mostly downtown)

Organization Description:

Bygone Theatre was formed in November of 2012 and is run by Artistic Director/Producer Emily Dix and Producer Matt McGrath. The company is in the process of becoming an official non-profit organization, and produces non-union, non-paying, established 20th century shows. Past credits for Bygone include Doubt: A Parable (University College East Hall, January 2013), Retro Radio Hour (Winchester Kitchen, May 2013) and Dial M For Murder (Robert Gill Theatre, 2013). Check out our website at for photos and more information.

Job Description:

Bygone Theatre is looking for a dedicated producer to help launch the company to the next level. The ideal candidate will have a passion for theatre, and will understand the pressures and fast-paced nature of theatre. This is a non-paying position, as it is a fledging company with limited funds; neither of the current members receive any sort of salary, and invest their own money into the company. Bygone needs help with raising money for future shows, and for general company expenses like the legal fees associated with incorporating, and with things like marketing costs. While experience as a theatre producer is not required, experience with maintaining financial accounts, and in raising funds is. A sense of humour, positive attitude, and willingness to dedicate oneself fully to the position, despite there being no monetary gain, is a must! Great opportunity for anyone looking to gain producing experience, and hopefully in time the company will be established well enough to have salaries for all those involved.


–       A passion for theatre

–       Knowledge of not-for-profit practises

–       A degree or experience in arts management or business

–       Proficiency with software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint

–       A pleasant and out-going personality

–       Experience raising funds and securing sponsors or grants

–       Excellent written and oral communication skills

–       Strong presentation skills

–       A positive attitude and good work ethic

–       A hardworking and dedicated personality, with the ability to prioritize and multi-task effectively, and to work well under pressure and with tight deadlines

How to Apply:

Send a cover letter and resume, along with three references (name, email and phone number) to with the subject line Producer Application.

Contact Info:

Artistic Director, Emily Dix, Producer, Matt McGrath, both at

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Janice Li

Janice Li is our Production Intern and helping out behind-the-scenes on “Dial M For Murder”.

Production Assistant Janice Li.
Production Assistant Janice Li.


Janice graduated high school this year, and is going to Sheridan College in the fall. She hopes to work as a production designer  for film one day. She spends her spare time doodling and re-watching the X-Men trilogy.

1. How did you get started with production assisting?

With Bygone Theatre, to be honest. This is my first time working as a production assistant.

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

Whatever part involves hands-on stuff.

3. What are some challenges you face working as a production assistant?

Working on a theatre production for the first time, and learning the ropes!

4. Any advice for other people looking to pursue production assisting?

Google is your best friend. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way.

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

All of it.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Grace Semedo Mendes

Check out our interview with one of the “Dial M” team – Grace Semedo Mendes!

Grace Semedo Mendes
Grace Semedo Mendes

1. How did you get started volunteering for theatres?

I’m passionate about theatre and as my day job is far from anything related to this area, I needed a little more creativity in my life. Three years ago, 2 friends of mine decided to create a non-profit theatre company in order to raise money to help children in hospitals (mainly by financing some equipment) and help with medical researches on rare diseases (by donating money). I offered my help and ended up acting in the shows, helping with stage management, with grant writing and doing the administrative work.

  1. What is your favourite part of volunteering in theatre?

What I like about volunteering for theatre companies is to be around people that share the same passion for theatre as me. I also like the fact that there is so much to do that you can get involved in a lot of different positions.

  1. Any advice for other people looking to volunteer in this field ?

« Just do it » 🙂

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

I can’t wait to work for this show and see the actual results. That would be my first time volunteering in Toronto so I am excited about every aspects of the show as everything is new to me!

We here at Bygone are thrilled to have Grace on board for “Dial M For Murder”! Stay tuned for more cast and crew spotlights!