Keeping Busy – Rope Wraps Up & I Start a New Job with the Social Capital Theatre!

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Rope wrapped up a couple weeks ago and I’m very pleased with how it all went; sold out 5 of our 7 performances, the actors were great and we got some positive reviews. I was even mentioned in a couple, which was a nice surprise! Check it out:

“The story’s best known in its film adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock, but there’s some point in seeing the theatrical original, especially in Bygone Theatre’s site-specific staging at North York’s Gibson House Museum…Under director and costume designer Emily Dix, the visual details, including millinery by David Dunkley, are generally understated but impressive. She’s also given the action a local flavour with mentions of Upper Canada College, Yonge Street and Rosedale. Most importantly, she generally keeps the tension taut: will someone discover what’s in the trunk?”
– Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine

“…where this company dug up such marvellous and contrasting costumes is beyond me.”
– Mike Anderson, Mooney on Theatre

Took a while to wrap up everything on the producing side, but I’ve got a handle on it all now, and am happy to say we made a (very slight) profit on the show. Let’s hear it for not losing money! woot woot! I also took the time to organize and catalog all of our props and costumes, and now have a very organized basement with a lovely excel worksheet to match.

Now on to the next project!

I have just been hired as the PR Manager for the Social Capital Theatre and am pumped to get started on their marketing & promotions. They’re the awesome comedy bar that is on the 2nd floor of the Black Swan Tavern, the location for Bygone’s Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! back in October and for our next show, Retro Radio Hour – Romance coming up February 2015.

logo-socapThey’ve got a few cool events coming up this month, including their holiday party this coming Monday;SoCap Improv Karaoke Pizza Holiday Party Drinking Time. Cheap drinks, great comedy & karaoke – not to be missed.

Learn more about the Social Capital Theatre by checking out their facebook page; I’ll be posting regular updates.

All for now,
E.

Opening Weekend – 3 Sold-Out Shows!

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We just wrapped up the opening weekend of Rope, and I must say this was the smoothest opening I’ve ever had. I don’t know if I am actually getting better at this whole “producing” thing or if the theatre gods were smiling that day, but we managed to get through 3 shows in a site-specific venue that was not without its difficulties, braving the sudden snow (you’d think Canadians would be used to it by now, but no, they can’t figure out how to drive in it) all without any accidents, incidents or missed cues. I am happy.

Jamieson Child watches Chelsey MacLean tie a "jolly good parcel". Photo by Danielle Son.

Matt McGrath and Jamieson Child watch Chelsey MacLean tie a “jolly good parcel”. Photo by Danielle Son.

It’s always exciting to see the show finally come together; don’t get me wrong, it’s been in a good place for weeks now, but the energy of the audience always kicks the actors up into high-gear. Even with those who I’d worked with many times before, I was thrilled to see new levels emerge, and actually found myself jumping at falls I’d seen a dozen times, getting teary-eyed at speeches that I know by heart. That’s always an amazing feeling.

Leete Stetson and Jamieson Child. Photo by Danielle Son.

Leete Stetson and Jamieson Child. Photo by Danielle Son.

As a director, I was proud to see the actors all perform at their absolute best. All the little notes and nuances that had occasionally appeared during rehearsals were remembered and performed to perfection. I was thrilled with each and every one of them.

Matt McGrath, Chelsey MacLean and Nicholas Arnold. Photo by Danielle Son.

Matt McGrath, Chelsey MacLean, Nicholas Arnold and Leete Stetson. Photo by Danielle Son.

As a producer, I was ecstatic to have 3 sold-out performances in a weekend, something that has never happened before for a show I’ve produced. Having a packed audience helps the cast and it helps Bygone’s budget as well.

"You suspect what, did you say?" Jamieson Child confronts Leete Stetson. Photo by Danielle Son.

“You suspect what, did you say?” Jamieson Child confronts Leete Stetson. Photo by Danielle Son.

As a designer I was relieved to see none of the costumes fell apart, and that they looked good together onstage. The lighting worked, the sound cues were effective (even if they weren’t what I initially had in mind), and thankfully I had a stage manager (Devon Potter) who was keeping everything running smoothly.

As anyone who works in theatre knows, a general rule is that, if it can go wrong, at some point, it will. And usually that’s what happens during the tech & dress (if you’re lucky, everything falls into place for opening). I’m knocking on SO much wood as I write this, but really, this time, nothing has gone wrong. I’ve said before that I think my greatest strength as a director is with my casting. I don’t claim to be doing anything new or groundbreaking, I choose plays with a clear plot and don’t try to change the audience’s view on anything. I just want to entertain them with a great show performed by talented actors. It’s happened again here. I have a brilliant cast and crew who I couldn’t be more pleased with. Everyone has come through to not only perform their best onstage, but off as well; this is a group I can trust and rely on, and for that I am so grateful.

We’ve still got four performances to go, with a few days in between here for us to all take a breath and finally exhale. I can’t wait for next weekend, I’m sure they’ll all blow me away again.

My beautiful cast. Photo by Danielle Son.

My beautiful cast. Photo by Danielle Son.

My beautiful cast. Photo by Danielle Son.

My beautiful cast. Photo by Danielle Son.

Haven’t gotten your tickets to Rope yet? Get them online now through TO Tix.

Want to see more production stills? Check out our facebook page. Photos by the talented Danielle Son.

Bygone’s “Retro Radio Hour – Suspense!” Was a Hit!

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Last night was Bygone Theatre’s third show in the retro radio hour series; Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! The show was great and everyone had a swell time. All in all a good night.

Here’s a few photo highlights, including pics from our mugshot wall:

To see more check out the Bygone Theatre facebook page or our youtube channel; all the videos should be up by the end of the week.Now time to kick Rope into high-gear!
-E.

Theatre Audition Tips

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I’ve been getting dozens upon dozens of audition applications for Rope this week, and while a lot of the auditioning process is fun, over time there are some poor choices I see actors making again and again, something that leads to frustration for me, and ultimately missed opportunities for them. So here are a few quick audition tips, for those of you applying for Rope or any other show. Hopefully they help.

Headshots
Your headshot is the first glimpse the director or casting director gets of you, so it’s important to have a good one. Colour photos are the norm these days and they should be clear, close-up (shoulders up) and accurately reflect what you look like. That one’s important, so I’ll say it again; your headshot should look like you; a cleaned up version yes, but not a glamourous or fake one. This is not a modelling shot, so don’t send in a photo of you with beautifully styled hair, perfect makeup and fancy clothes if you’re going to show up to the audition in sweats and a ponytail. It won’t help you get the part; if anything, it’ll make it less likely. Your headshot is meant to be a reminder of who you were so if you don’t look anything like it, you’ll end up forgotten.

Artistic Resume
Along with your headshot you will need to submit an artistic resume that outlines your experiences. The most important thing on your resume is your contact info; list your name, email, and a phone number at which you can easily be contacted, right at the top of the resume. You should also list any union affiliations and agent contact info at the top. Generally you will also want to list your height, weight, hair colour, eye colour and ethnicity. Next, list whatever you have the most experience in; if you are right out of school and have a lot of training, but minimal experience, start with the training. If you have done more film than theatre, list those first. List projects in reverse chronological order, and don’t include dates. Follow this format;

  • Theatre: Title of Show, Role, Theatre Company, Director
  • Film & Television: Title of Show/Film, Category of Role (ie. Principle, Supporting), Producer/Network, Director

Generally you don’t include extra work in your main film/television category, or specific commercials; these can be provided on a separate form if requested. An important note about your theatre listings; be sure to list the theatre company you worked with, not just the venue. Sometimes outside companies rent a space from a major theatre, and listing that space as your company is essentially lying on your resume; directors notice, and we don’t like it.

For example, say Bygone Theatre produced a show and we rented out Factory Theatre, the format should look like this;

Rope, Brandon, Bygone Theatre, Emily Dix

NOT like this;

Rope, Brandon, Factory Theatre, Emily Dix

The second example would imply it was produced by Factory Theatre, which is incorrect.

Cover Letter
Unless requested, you don’t need to include a cover letter, but if you do, make sure it’s well written. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors look unprofessional and can get you tossed out before you even have a chance to audition. As well, be sure that your cover letter is specific and tailored to the role; it is easy to tell when something is copied and pasted, and things like referring to a play as a “film” can also see you rejected. Take the time to show you are interested and committed to the project if you want the director to take the time to see you in an audition.

In the Audition
Make sure you arrive on time for your audition; often they are scheduled back-to-back and being even a couple minutes late can throw things off and lose you your spot. Be dressed appropriately; this means wearing something that looks good on you and suits the style of the show. Unless you are auditioning for a character that would do so, don’t show up in sweats. Make sure you are cleaned up and that you look like your headshot.

If you need to warm-up before your audition, do that outside. Th director shouldn’t see you doing this; don’t waste time inside the audition room. When you come in, be cheery and polite; don’t complain about your day or make excuses for being late or ill-prepared (sounds obvious but I’ve seen this a LOT). Be friendly but not too chatty, you’re there to audition, not make friends. Try to avoid asking too many questions. Come in having done your homework and be ready to start immediately.

Choosing a Monologue
If a monologue isn’t provided, choose one that suits the style of the piece you are auditioning for. Think about  whether it is a comedy or a drama, what the period is, and what type of character you are auditioning for. Avoid monologues that have a lot of sexuality or profanity; this rarely comes across as shocking or interesting and is more likely to make the whole room feel uncomfortable (fun story – when casting for Doubt I had several women auditioning to be nuns do monologues that involved excessive amounts of swearing; needless to say, they didn’t receive callbacks) . Try to show some emotional range but don’t feel like you need to choose something that involves screaming or crying; play to your strengths.

Remember, as awful as this may sound, when you are auditioning for something you are putting yourself out there to be judged; put your best foot forward and do what you can to impress your audience. Talent is important but being polite and professional matters just as much. An actor who isn’t right for the role but impresses a director with their preparedness and manners is much more likely to be asked back to audition for another piece than one who is talented but rude and unprepared.

If you find you have trouble at auditions, the best way to improve is to do as many of them as you can. Each time you will be more relaxed and will pick up new tips. To those of you out there auditioning, break a leg!

-E.

Spoken.ly – The Easiest Way To Create Pretty Quote Graphics, Fast

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I came across an awesome new site the other day, spoken.ly. It’s a very simple concept; type out a quote, choose a pretty background and a font style/layout, and ta-da! Pretty little quote graphic, like so:

53d2a21ae3e3349607ae90df

53d2a4aee3e3349607ae90e153d1cd8fe3e3349607ae9012

53d31331e3e3349607ae91b0A lot of people are using them for song lyrics, inspirational quotes etc., but I think it’s a great way to throw out some show quotes when trying to advertise a play. So far I’ve made a couple for “No Visible Scars” and one for the upcoming Bygone Theatre production of “Rope”. Many more to come I’m sure.

So check it out if you want to make something pretty for your show (or anything else) but don’t have the time/patience/talent for trying it in photoshop.

-E.