Life Upon The Wicked Stage

I am very #grateful and #blessed to have booked a few commercials this past year. It gave me a cushion to be able to take some time off my joe-jobs so I could dedicate my nights to theatre – aka The Wicked Stage
I auditioned for and got parts in not one but two short theatre festivals which are happening this month. March 16-18 I’ll be in a comedic play as part of the Brave New Play Rites Festival at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. Then the following week, March 21-24, I’ll be in a more dramatic piece in the Pull Festival at Little Mountain. I’m so, so excited to be a part of these shows. I had a blast at The Chair Series and it reminded me of how much I love being on stage playing a character. So go get your tickets before they sell out!
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Brave New Play Rites
Students from UBC’s creative writing program (MFA and BFA) have written short plays and I get to act in one of them. I’m playing Jane, a housewife in the 1960s, in a play called The Blank Page which is about gender roles and comic books.
It’s in Program 4.
Performances:
Fri Mar 16th, 2018 7:30pm
Sat Mar 17th, 2018 2:00pm
Sun Mar 18th, 2018 7:30pmStudio 1398, Granville Island

Facebook event
Tickets

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Pull Festival VII
SpeakEasy Theatre presents the Seventh Annual Pull Festival! Vancouver’s 10-Minute Play Festival running March 21 – 24th at Little Mountain Gallery (195 E26th Ave).The Pull Festival is an annual play Festival featuring a repertoire of seven ten-minute plays. Pull seeks out original, un-produced plays from Vancouver based playwrights and along with its artistic team, produces, develops, dramaturges and supports the presentation of these new works.

I’m in this show:
Real Company by Jessica Harvey
When human relationships are commodified, is it possible to truly connect?

GET YOUR TIX NOW. THIS FEST IS ALREADY HALF SOLD OUT!

Advance Tickets
Facebook event

 

Chillin’ and Illin’

It’s been over a day since the GVPTA Making a Scene – Devoted and Disgruntled conference ended and I’m still feeling inspired. I started the conference not sure if I was still interested in theatre but leaving it I know I’m very interested in the theatre community and creating something with them.

Day two was filled with lots of talk about food, creating community, and having fun. At least that’s what was being discussed at the sessions I went to.

The first topic that drew me in was about fundraisers. These were the points I jotted down.

  • People will dish out more money if there is food involved. Vancouver is a very foodie city.
  • Asking for donations before/ after a show. Before- Fringe Festival’s fund-raising this year. After – Pi Theatre’s John and Beatrice at PAL was a success.
  • Have special events/ nights for sponsors.
  • People need to create relationships with their sponsors. Having 500 small donors means more bums in seats than having one philanthropist.
  • Ideas for interesting events: cocktails in unique buildings, dinner in people’s homes, poker night.
  • “If you ask someone for money they will give you advice. If you ask someone for advice they will give you money.”

Putting the Play back in … was the topic of the second session I attended. People came from various backgrounds for this one. Some people were arts administrators and wanted to know how to make their jobs of writing grants and dealing with office life more fun. Some people were artists and felt that rehearsals/ shows were sometimes treated like a captial J Job by their peers. Others wanted to know how to make going to the theatre a more joyous experience.

These were some of the suggested ideas/ thoughts/ tangents.

  • The burlesque community makes their shows start at the door. Their box office staff are dressed up, the music is pumping and there is a party atmosphere from the moment you enter the building. Can theatres decorate their lobbies more? Have interesting displays in the lobby? Performers can interact with the audience pre show?
  • Have dance breaks during boring office hours to get the blood flowing, add silly back in to life and avoid using food as a pick-you-up.
  • How can auditions be more fun? Add more games, play and have other actors in the room supporting each other.
  • About grants: someone suggested that they discuss what they wanted to say for weeks before they got around to actually writing their grant. That way the application was in their own words and not in ‘grant speak’. Jane Heyman said that from her experience on juries she prefers applications that use a unique voice. (Also make sure your grants have artistic costs at the main focus of your budget.)
  • Re: Budgets. The budget is the statement of the philosophy of your company.
  • Sit on a jury – you will change the way you write your grants.

During my lunch break I butterflied around chatting with many people and got a wonderful massage from Jacques Lalonde.

After the break I couldn’t decide where I should go next. I was having a lovely casual talk with Jeremy from Nanaimo and Jen Hill. Part of me felt that I should be attending a session but after floating from group to group I felt like the right place for me was with Jen and Jeremy. We spent the better part of the next hour getting to know each other, our theatre histories, our connections and our goals for the future. Kellee from Rumble joined us and I dubbed our session “Chillin’ and Illin’.” It was the highlight of the conference for me.  What came out of it was the desire to create a social club and I will be contacting a few venues in town to see if we can take this to the next level.

The strongest message I saw coming out of Devoted and Disgruntled was that the Vancouver Theatre scene desperately desires more community events, more opportunities for us to get together to talk, to laugh, to play and to create. It’s not just about getting bums in seats or subscribers on your list, it’s about finding a community that cares about what we do and visa versa. We want to break bread, raise our glasses and get back to the origins of theatre; sharing stories and coming together.

I’m very happy that I attended this conference and I look forward to seeing what comes out of it.

My only critiques of this weekend would be:

  • Why weren’t more Artistic Directors/ Directors/ Actors/ Audience members in attendance? I was surprised to see so few graduates of my alma matter, Studio 58, there. Come on people, represent and get involved in your community!
  • The bathrooms in W2 need to be attended to more often. I mean, 10 a.m. and there are no paper towels? Really?

Thank you to the Greater Vancouver Theatre Alliance for sponsoring me as a blogger so that I could attend this event.

Making a Scene

I arrived at W2 Storeum a little late this morning, luckily the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance’s (GVPTA) 2010 conference hadn’t started yet.  But it didn’t matter; as I later learned, ‘Whenever it starts is the right time.’

Walking into a room of theatre artists is always a little intimidating for me. I don’t feel like a theatre artist anymore. The last time I was in a play was when I was in London and did a show at the Greenwich Playhouse with a group called Open Stage with some students at Goldsmith’s University. Sure, I trained as an actor and I audition every now and then but would people in this community call me an actor? I’m not sure.

Regardless, I’m interested in theatre. Or interested in finding out if I’m still interested in theatre. This is why I was compelled to attend this conference. As well as comparing this D and D to the one I went to in London.

Devoted and Disgruntled runs using Open Space Technology. Phelim McDermott from Improbable Theatre started the day by saying that “Open Space is what happens in life.” There are four princples to it:

  1. Who ever shows up are the right people.
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time.
  4. When it’s over it’s over.

There is also one law: the law of two feet or mobility. It means if you’re not engaged with the conversation then use your feet (or mobility) to take you somewhere that might engage you. We were also told to be prepared to be surprised.

These principles, laws and thoughts were posted all over the room. As were drawings of butterflies and bumblebees. Bumblebees travel from group to group and cross pollinate ideas. Butterflies are people who ‘do what they do’ – they may be the people hanging out by the coffee table gossiping or sitting by themselves. Which is okay because, as Phelim reminded us, every original idea comes out of silence.

All of these rules and images led me to feel comfortable in the space, knowing that whatever happens is what’s meant to happen.

As the day began people came up to the centre to write their discussion topic in a short pithy title on a piece of paper then assign it a session and location for later.

So it began…

A passionate discussion about Arts Management with Jane Heyman speaking her two cents.

The first session I went to was “Super Social Media” spearheaded by the lovely social media maven Angela Crocker.  There we discussed:

  • Using social media to create community/ build audiences.
  • Reasons to use social media.
  • The challenges larger companies have approving social media and the problems with being ‘silent’ on Twitter or in between productions.
  • Issues around Equity and allowing photos to be released online.
  • Creating community between theatre companies online.

Session 2 – What Do People Want to See More/ Less of On Stage

This was a lively discussion with artistic directors, playrights, actors, audience members, arts administrators and more. We disussed:

  • Producing challenging vs entertaining theatre. Can both be done? Of course!
  • Creating long term relationships with your audience and being able to program more challenging work once you’ve established a relationship. ie) Bard on the Beach doing Titus Andronicus and other lesser known plays recently.
  • Programming driven by Artistic Director’s vision.

Session 3 -Ah…

Confession: I was a butterfly for most of this period.

I stood by the coffee table and spoke with Adriene Wong from NeWorld Theatre, Cindy Reid with the VECC and Nita Bowerman – that multi-talent goddess – discussing everything under the sun.

What I really enjoy about Open Space Technology is how effective it is in creating dialogue and community.

They say the best part fof conferences happen during the coffee breaks and Devoted and Disgruntled is like one long break.

Thus far in comparison to London this D and D has less younger people, more artistic directors of well established companies (Can you believe it? Kevin Spacey the AD of The Old Vic wasn’t at D and D in London), and a tighter sense of community, which makes sense considering how much smaller this city is.

Relationships are being formed and there is strong passion for theatre. As for me, I’m enjoying being a butterfly and looking forward to what comes out of the silence.