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!

Cast Spotlight: Sean Jacklin

sean-jacklinSean Jacklin plays hardboiled newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant in the film) in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this is Sean’s first production with Bygone Theatre.

Bio: Sean is a graduate of both George Brown College and the University of Guelph’s theatre training programs. While not acting, Sean also fancies himself a playwright, theatre technician, director and musician. Sean will be appearing shortly alongside Epigraph Collective in their show Don’t Look Back and as part of the Mercury Song series in Bright Lights, City Nights. Recent credits include: Deputy Governor Danforth in The Crucible (Kindling Collective), Eric Birling in An Inspector Calls and Harry Pepper in Barefoot in the Park (The Classic Theatre Festival), The Inspector in The Enchanted, Foigard in The Beaux’ Stratagem, Aristarch in The Suicide, and Augustus Lorton in Lady Windermere’s Fan (George Brown College)

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

I actually heard about Bygone theatre last year when they were putting up Wait Until Dark. I had finished a run of that show the summer before and knew someone in it as well. This production (His Girl Friday) I learned about from Alex Clay. He messaged me saying the show needed another actor and I remember thoroughly enjoying the movie (and always loved Cary Grant) so I joined up!

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

The show is so witty and quick that I had to jump on the opportunity to play Burns. So much of the humour is influenced by the old vaudevillians (The Marx Bros., The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy etc.) and I was practically raised on that so it felt pretty natural to say yes to the show. 

What’s your favourite old movie?


Duck Soup. Hands down the best Marx Bros. film and one that leaves me in stitches every time I watch it. It’s also interesting to note when it was made. 1933, the same year a certain sad wannabe dictator was made chancellor of Germany. The whole movie is a send up of militarism and idiotic diplomacy. A movie well suited to our times as well I’d say (sadly).

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

I’ve worked with the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth, ON for the past 8 years or so on and of, both on stage and off and their mandate is to do the golden hits of Broadway and the West End so there is some overlap between their shows and Bygone theatre’s show. Most recently with them I played Eric in An Inspector Calls and Harry Pepper in Barefoot in the Park. More locally I played Deputy Governor Danforth in The Kindling Collective’s production of The Crucible  back in October and graduated from George Brown College’s theatre program last April, where I performed in Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Suicide, The Beaux’ Stratagem, and The Enchanted.

Why should people come and see the show?

If you love comedy, come to the show. If you want to see a show that stands out above some of its contemporaries when it comes to gender dynamics it is also an interesting piece. Most of all it’s gonna be a fast paced barrel of fun, and nobody should miss out on that.

Anything else you want us to know?

If you are looking for something completely different come to the Mercury Cafe on Queen E. March 10 and 11 for Bright Lights, City Nights. It’s a song series/play that myself and some of my George Brown colleagues have crafted about life in the city and all that entails. It’s a low-key but fun kinda thing. Alternatively I am also working with Epigraph Collective on Don’t Look Back, a verbatim theatre piece centred on the millennial generation and it’s struggles with life, love, and the baby boomers. It’s been incredibly eye opening interviewing different people to get material for the show and seeing how many different perspectives there are on certain issues and also how many similarities in opinions there are.

Tickets are on sale now for His Girl Friday – buy before Feb. 15th to take advantage of our Earlybird Discount.

Cast Spotlight: Ryan Kotack

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You may remember Ryan Kotack from past Retro Radio Hours, or from his role as a Policeman in Wait Until Dark.

Bio: Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ryan Christopher Kotack studied professional theatre at University of Guelph to then pursue a film/ TV career in Toronto. You may have seen him in shows such as the medieval drama REIGN & science fiction thriller DEFIANCE. His selected film credits include; IN THE HOUSE OF FLIES, ANTISOCIAL 2 & AGAPE. He stars as ASIM in the award-winning short film BOSNIAK, currently screened by AIR CANADA.

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

After enduring many auditions of mine, Emily finally caved in last spring and offered me a small role in Bygone Theatre’s WAIT UNTIL DARK. Clearly, she does not learn from her mistakes. Here I am once again.

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Ryan Kotack in Wait Until Dark

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

The pace. The comedy. The characters!

3. What’s your favourite old movie?

King Kong. One of the greatest love stories ever told about a monkey.

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

I love period pieces. I minored in history in University. My fourth year graduating theatre class produced a war-era collective creation called Sincerely Yours. The story focused on broken relationships in Hollywood, during the United States involvement in WWII, while propaganda movies began to shape America.

Recently, I played a Scottish Military Advisor to the Regent of Scotland in the television show REIGN. They gave me a sword, we had an amazing dialect coach on set. It was such a privilege and I loved it all.   

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Ryan Kotack (far left) in Reign.

5. Why should people come and see the show?

You get a chance to travel to the era of Cary Grant and it is a guaranteed laugh! On a more serious note, the show is very relevant in portraying the power of the press. How does the media shape our reality? Have we progressed or regressed from WWII? 

6. Anything else you want us to know?

I am currently studying the Advanced Meisner Technique under Adrian Griffins. This man studied at the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York City with Sanford Meisner. 

Help support Bygone Theatre by making a donation through our FWYC campaign – all proceeds go towards this great show with a large & talented cast!

Crew Spotlight – Fight Director Siobhan Richardson

Siobhan Richardson is the Fight Director for Wait Until Dark.

BIO: Siobhan Richardson is a fight director and actor/fighter/singer/dancer. Fight Direction credits includeThe Trial of Judith K (Thought For Food Productions), A Christmas Story and The Hobbit (The Grand Theatre, London), White Biting Dog (Soulpepper), Such Creatures (Nightswimming and Theatre Passe Muraille), Death of a Chief (Native Earth), James and the Giant Peach and To Kill a Mockingbird (Young Peoples’ Theatre) and Frankenstein’s Boy (Eldritch Theatre). She has taught stage combat across Canada and Europe, including London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Munich, Brittany, Norway, Finland, Estonia, and Sweden, and will be teaching at the upcoming World Stage Combat Conference. Acting credits include And Then The Lights Went Out (Stage West, Calgary), Mo and Jess Kill Susie (Harley Dog Productions), and Hogtown. For further acting credits, please go to www.SiobhanRichardson.com/actor. When not pursuing her performance career, she and her partner run Burning Mountain, dedicated to the growth and development of stage combat for the art form and for the artists.

Check out the upcoming workshop on Intimacy For The Stage:  www.BurningMountain.ca/connect/StageIntimacy

Cast Spotlight – Andrew Lorimer

Andrew Lorimer plays photographer & ex-marine Sam Hendricks in Wait Until Dark 
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?
-WUD is my first real experience being on stage in this city. About three years ago I decided to leave home (Sault Ste. Marie) and begin seriously training for this career. I could go on and on about the events that led to this decision or why I eventually went to theatre school (wait, why did I do that?) but I’ll spare you that topic for now.
When I’m not rehearsing for the show, I watch a lot of baseball. No, I’m not a Blue Jays fan….and we’ll just leave it at that. I also watch Netflix, listen to podcasts, fantasize about owning a dog, read, and cook (I am half Italian you know, so it’s in the blood).
2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?
-I heard about this show through social media and knew I had to get involved once I read the script. To me, this script has the feeling of a Hitchcock film. When you combine that with the 1960s New York setting, it’s too good to pass up.
I am also a huge Bruce Springsteen fan (I’ve been to almost 15 of his concerts) and the text mentions the city of Asbury Park, NJ several times. This city is essentially a place of worship for his fans (his very first album is “Greetings From Asbury Park”). The playwright could have picked any city in Jersey and chose Asbury Park. It was a sign for me to audition.
3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?
-A few weeks ago we held a “Retro Radio Hour” fundraiser. The actors in the show (including myself) had a chance to read radio plays from the 50’s in front of an audience. What can be greater than that?! Oh, right. Add in the fact that these actors were doing this at a bar.
4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Sam? Have you done a similar role in the past?
-I’ve always felt a connection to the city of New York, especially during the 1960s. A large amount of the art I absorb has some connection to that city and time. In theatre school, we performed a children’s show set in both. It’s one of the most wonderful memories I have from that point in my life. I remember listening to ALOT of Hendrix, Motown, etc during that time to capture the “spirit of the 60s”.
5. Why should everyone come see the show?
-Like I said earlier, if you like the tension of Hitchcock’s films you’ll love this production.
6. Anything else you want to add?
– Next up for me is “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (Bard in the Park) followed by “Hairspray” (YES Theatre).
I wouldn’t be here today without the support, mentorship and love from the following people that I would like to thank (since this is my first show in Toronto): Theatre SMC, Jack W, Anna M, Mom/Dad, the 6CP and, most of all, Kelsey.
Catch Andrew onstage April 14-16th at Tarragon Theatre. Tickets selling fast, buy yours today at waituntildarkto.bpt.me.

Cast Spotlight: Dave Walpole

Dave Walpole plays the thick-headed con man, Carlino, in Wait Until Dark.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?

I’m a commuter. Coming from Hamilton, Ontario, and outside of rehearsing for Wait Until Dark, I am a host on several Youtube shows called on Informoverload, FTD Facts and my own show called The Ivy Show, really funny check it out. I come to work in Toronto every day. I work in the industry, and act. I’m spending time at the gym prepping for a role with Livingston Studios for a film called The Weekend. Other then that I’m a humble dude, waiting for my brother to return from teaching English in China in order to party. Outside of this industry I write working on two screen plays. And besides working kicking back and playing a good online xbox game is always fun.

2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?

I heard about the show through a casting website called Mandy. I wanted to do this because I’m a fan of the film, and my mom once told me she saw a play version of it and it scared her to death, even after seeing the film. So I just wanted to be apart of that same magic my mom experienced. And I like the classical stuff, or retro what ever we would call a play form the 60’s. Always had a desire to do Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, or Shot in the Dark.

3. What has been your most rewarding moment in rehearsal so far?

My most rewarding part of rehearsing has been playing a character I didn’t initially see myself playing, but that’s the industry and you work with it. Carlino is a fun character, and getting into the way he thinks is fun. I’m enjoying my cast they are all really talented and cool people. And seeing Abby who is playing Gloria throwing pans around the rehearsal set. Also hearing Shannon say “Mike, Sam, Gloria” is hilarious. But over all love working with Emily, she’s a good director that is very constructive and gives great suggestions and actions to expand our scene work.

4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Carlino?

How do I prepare for Carlino. Well first know your lines, but don’t just know them study them. It is a big challenge with the amount of work I am doing at the same time of prepping for this play. But when it comes to studying lines I ask myself, “why do I, as Carlino, basically do and say what I say, how do I feel, why do I walk over in this direction?” You have to think a bit about that to understand the character and then feel the character. Carlino is an interesting character as in he’s a bit childish, with muscle. He’s impulsive and not to bright. He uses his words to keep people way from him ever having to use his brass knuckles cause the truth is he’s never used them. He’s lying to himself and I love it, because Carlino has to believe his own lies.

5. Why should everyone come see the show?

Well first of all it’s a classic or like I said Retro. Great time out. Bygone is fun indie theatre, where it’s a little more intimate, and down to earth then your bigger productions. The cast is fantastic, and the story is great. The ending is one that you will definitely remember. We have some amazing actors, and even some great young talent.

6. Anything else you want to add?

Follow me on my Youtube channel and tune in to the Ivy show. It’s a show that features me and a foul mouth long haired Chihuahua named Ivy.

Catch Dave onstage from April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall of Tarragon Theatre. Tickets available online.

New Ticket Discount for High School Students

We’re excited to announce that we have added a new ticket discount for high school students. Students who come to our Friday April 15th 1:00pm matinee (conveniently held on a PA Day) can purchase tickets for only $15 – 40% off the regular price!

Tickets available online at waituntildarkto.bpt.me, limited numbers may be available at the door. Must show valid student id at the door to take advantage of the offer.

Cast Spotlight: Abby Strachan

1.Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?

I recently turned fifteen and am in grade nine. At my high school I major in Drama as well as taking Advanced Placement courses in order to challenge myself academically. I love to read and write poems and stories. I’ve been dancing since I was 4 and that’s when I really found my love of performing. I’ve also been teaching dance to younger dancers since I was twelve and I love babysitting and working with kids.

2.How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?

I heard about the show through mandy.com and I wanted to be involved because I love theatre and I think that the concept of Wait Until Dark is so cool because the main character is a blind woman who saves herself.

3.What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?

For me this show’s been great because I’ve learned so much from the people around me. Everyone is very talented and I’ve learned a lot about acting and the industry.

4.How do you prepare for playing a role like Gloria?

In order to prepare for Gloria, I really just spent a lot of time trying to understand her choices and her thought process. Gloria as a character is pretty sad because she has such a tough home life and even though she acts really tough (and mean sometimes) she’s really just a little kid.

5.Why should everyone come see the show?

Everyone should come see Wait Until Dark because it’s very unique considering the time it was written in. In this day in age everyone’s talking more and more about female empowerment, and I believe that this play demonstrates a strong female lead. It’s also a really fun thriller!

6. Anything else you want to add? 

Thanks to my family especially my mom for getting me to and from rehearsals and to my friends in drama at school for being so supportive.

Are you a high school student interested in theatre? Take advantage of our PA Day Discount and see Abby onstage Friday April 15th at 1pm – tickets only $15 for students with valid id, buy them online now.

Cast Spotlight: Eric Miinch

Eric Miinch plays the sinister Roat in our upcoming production of Wait Until Dark.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?

I am a professional improviser and sketch comedian. I can be seen with my comedy troupe, Fratwurst.

I am writing my first one man show. It’s about being too good at lying.

I am training myself to lucid dream.

I read everything.

I brew beer and am pursuing a side career as a brewmeister.

2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved? 

Justin Haigh of Soupcan Theatre informed me of the show. He is a beautiful man.

I always love playing a villain. Roat is a fascinating character with onion like layers. Robert Duvall played him in a very distinct way, but the ambiguity in the character description and the odd demeanour allows an actor to play Roat in a million different ways. And that is bloody fun.

 3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?

Fight rehearsal and choreography was great. Specifically when I practiced punching with Abby. Being fake punched by a 14 year old girl and fake punching her back is a great way to spend an evening.

4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Roat? 

I think my sketch and improv background help me to make quick choices and to play Roat. He appears briefly several times throughout the script and it’s important to make an impression immediately! I also draw inspiration from an uncle of mine who also stole dolls and murdered people.

5. Why should everyone come see the show?

Damn good cast and director. Great production team. It’s thriller and it’s a lot of fun! It will be an intimate space which will serve to heighten the text.

6. Anything else you want to add?

I want to thank Daria, Rudolph, Evan and Josh for all their support and patience during rehearsals! Couldn’t do it without you!

I am writing and directing my first play which will premiere at the Toronto Fringe Festival in July. It is a modern telling of the epic poem, Dante’s Inferno.

More info at http://www.fratwurst.com.

See Eric’s sinister side on stage April 14-16th, tickets on sale now.

Cast Spotlight – Mark Nocent

Mark Nocent plays the con man Mike in our upcoming production of Wait Until Dark. Mark and director Emily Dix had first worked together back in 2012 on a short play titled Noble Savages for the Newborn Theatre Odds & Ends Festival.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?

I hold a position with an escape game company, which runs games out of Casa Loma. I’ve been performing within games for a number of rewarding months, and recently became a puzzle fabricator for their newest game, Station M, a spy themed game set in the tunnels of the castle. I’m building a board game currently, and just generally enjoying life!

2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?

Emily reached out to me, and I had wanted to work with her again after doing a short one act a number of years ago. She sent me the script for WUD and I loved it, so I had to audition.

3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?

Jeeeze, so many. Cynical life lessons for Abby, terrific Italian accents, 1950’s radio shows, discussions about dead bodies. Plus the process itself is a pleasure with such a great group of humans.

4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Mike? 

Mike is certainly in my wheelshouse, but there’s a lot of tension going on in every scene, and prepping for it has involved combing the scenes looking for moments to de-stress, and how Mike can do that.

5. Why should everyone come see the show?

This show is fun. The audience is immediately let in on the plan, and gets to watch it unfold, and watch the characters sweat when things go wrong. It’s a thriller, who wouldn’t want to see it?

See Mark in this captivating thriller April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall at Tarragon Theatre. Tickets on sale now.