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FireWorks Festival 2022


by Catherine Frid

Director: Zoe Marin
Assistant Director: Glory
Associate Producer: Anne Martin

November 16-20, 2022
in the Studio Theatre

A child psychologist and an investigative reporter struggle to piece together the tragedy of a 14-year-old girl’s suicide in a juvenile prison. Thistlepatch is based on the true story of Dr. Flora Danziger, the whistleblower who, with Globe and Mail reporter Victor Malarek, effected the complete overhaul of Ontario’s child welfare services in the 1970s.

Trigger Warning: This play contains depictions of youth suicide and self-harm that may be disturbing and upsetting. There is also the usage of ableist and homophobic language.


CATHERINE FRID’s produced plays include Spend Your Kids’ Inheritance (Toronto Fringe – Patron’s Pick), What I Gave I Have (Guelph Museums), Half Full (Mixed Company Theatre school tours), Burying Toni (Alumnae), The Bold Canadian (Arts and Letters Club), Homegrown (SummerWorks and others), GuineaPigging (Alumnae), and Dead Cat Bounce (Toronto Fringe and others). Catherine also co-creates community-engaged works, including Living Below the Line, AfterWhys, and Our Voices: Senior Selfies. Catherine is Artistic Director of Watercourse Theatre, and she teaches dramaturgy at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Chang School.

Catherine Frid talks about Thistlepatch ...

What was the inspiration for the story?

What do you hope audiences will take away with them?



Joan has been a member of the Alumnae Theatre for many years and directed *Surrender Dorothy*, Fireworks 2017. She has won several ACT-CO and Theatre Ontario Awards for Direction, Stage Management, and Writing. Her plays published by Playwrights Canada Press include *Staff Room*, *Willow Quartet*, and *Gloria’s Guy*. Joan is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and her musical version of *Willow Quartet* was nominated for the Tom Hendry Award in 2019. She so enjoyed working on Cate Frid’s *Thistlepatch* as she fondly remembers Flora Danzinger as a fellow writer with the NPD group here at the Alumnae.


Zoe Marin is an Argentine-American director, writer, and performer. She is a recent graduate of the Theatre program at York University where she was involved with the playGround Festival, V-Day @ York, the Devised Theatre Festival, and Theatre@York. Other recent credits include Kinda You, Kinda Me (que(e)ries..? Festival), Swallow This Skin (Toronto Fringe), Wet (Hamilton Fringe), and 1184 (Phoenix Arts Productions).  As the director of Thistlepatch, Zoe is honoured to be able to bring this important true story to life!


Hayley Crowder (she/they) is a recent graduate from York University’s Visual Arts and Art History program. Throughout her time at university, Hayley discovered a passion for theatre and the performing arts. They have been involved in various creative projects, most recently as Stage Manager for Cicadian’s Fruits of Labour, part of the fourth-year Devised Theatre Festival at YorkU, and as Assistant Director for Let’s Get Wet Productions’ WET at the 2022 Hamilton Fringe Festival. Hayley is so grateful to be a part of the FireWorks Festival and to be taking yet another step into the world of theatre. She hopes you enjoy Thistlepatch and the rest of the festival! 


Glory is a budding screenwriter and director who is passionate about telling stories in a variety of media. As a member of Alumnae Theatre, she is involved in the New Play Development group, the Directors group, and the Watch and Talk group. Glory has previously taken part in The New Ideas Festival’s Zoom Theatre Labs and the production of Joule’s Odyssey. She is also currently working on an original script. Glory is thrilled to participate in Fireworks Festival 2022 and to be collaborating with a very creative group of individuals.


Anne is grateful to be part of the Thistlepatch production team, taking on the role of Associate Producer. She is delighted to assist the play’s producers and support the cast and crew to help bring this important play to life. Anne is a member of Alumnae Theatre’s New Play Development group. Anne’s first play, Family Portrait, was part of Alumnae Theatre’s 2021 Big Ideas Festival. Anne’s second play, Fallen Angel, will be part of the Next Stage Reading Series in March, 2023.


​Bianca Garcia is a creative researcher and writer studying Filipino fashion, from the colonial history of Philippine national clothing to the abundant weaving traditions preserved by Indigenous Peoples throughout the archipelago. Bianca has organized fashion shows and worked as a vintage fashion stylist. She recently participated in Carlos Bulosan Theatre’s HASA Initiative, exploring interdisciplinary collective creation about the Marcos dictatorship and the 2022 Philippine presidential election. As an emerging costume designer, Bianca believes fashion can be a creative means of political resistance and world building. Bianca holds an MA in Fashion from Toronto Metropolitan University. 


As a conductor, Gary Martin has studied with Victor Feldbrill, Rodney Whitaker, and Terrell Stafford. He has been a guest conductor with groups in Tokyo and Moscow. Gary has conducted Blood Brothers, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Threepenny Opera. As a performer, Gary has worked with Moe Koffman, Don Menza, Peter Appleyard, Rob McConnell, Terrell Stafford, Dave Pell, and Pat Labarbera. Gary has composed music for film, theatre, video games, jazz ensembles, and ballets. His movie scores have premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. He has also written music for the Canadian visit of the Duchess of Kent.


Amy Reuben has an extensive career in technical and production theatre in Ontario and Louisiana. She has been freelancing since 1982 as a Lighting Electrician and Designer, Lighting Director, Technical Director, Assistant Stage Manager, and Stage Manager for theatre, dance, literary and theatre festivals, lIve music and opera. Amy has been a self-producing playwright since1991, founding District Productions NOLA. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her plays can be found on NPX.  As a new member of the Alumnae Theatre, Amy is glad to support the FireWorks Festival.  



Hailing from the merry old land of OZ, Natalie is excited to be treading the boards with the Alumnae Theatre Company. Recent credits include Gloria’s Guy (Gloria), The Rover  (Florinda), and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Genie).


​Kira Wilson is 12 years old and in the 7th grade. She loves performing and dreams of being either a radiologist or an actor on the big screen or on a Broadway stage! This is Kira’s first role in a theatrical production outside of her elementary school experiences. She loves dogs, travelling, trying new things, and making people laugh! Kira prides herself on being an advocate for herself and others and believes that kindness is the key to making the world a better place for everyone. 


​Yash Betgeri is an actor, screenwriter, and director currently based in Toronto. He has a knack for stage and film alike, with a love for the craft like no other! (It didn’t help that it was the only thing he was actually any good at in school…) He is, however, a fresh off-the-block Seneca College graduate with a diploma in acting! So… yeah… take that, Hollywood. He’s excited to bring works of fiction to life in any way he can, whatever it takes. This is his first appearance at an Alumnae Theatre festival, but the energy he brings is electric! (and hopefully only SLIGHTLY annoying).


Abby is a Grade 9 student of All Saints Arts & Media Program (drama stream), as well as a member of OLT youth group. Abby began acting and singing at the age of 4 when she joined Wavestage Theatre Co. Select credits include Seussical (OLT), Homework Eats Dog & Other Woeful Tales (AMP), Annie (OLT), and Into The Woods and Willy Wonka (Wavestage Theatre Co.). She is thrilled to be a part of the Thistlepatch cast and thanks Alumnae Theatre for this opportunity. Abby also thanks her amazing friends, family, and coaches who are always there to support her.


Anne is a psychiatrist and actor at the Alumnae Theatre and Village Players. She is a psychotherapist, has three adult sons, and sings in the Toronto Physicians Choir. She acts in music videos, as an aging hippie in Detonator and a desert queen in Context. She does frail and dementing but loves to play a witch or zombie. Last year, she filmed The Next Stop as a retired teacher and The Trunk as a creature. This fall, she played a conniving art dealer, a racist old lady, and a manipulative music manager in 3 different short films. 


Huxley Winn-Beale began acting at the age of nine, attending Claude Watson School for the Arts. She was involved in many shows, including Skid Marks: A Driving PlayThe TempestHairball, and Macbeth. Other credits include In This World and Elephant Graveyard (Rosedale Heights School of the Arts) and One Small Step (Toronto Fringe Festival). Huxley currently studies Musical Theatre at Etobicoke School of the Arts, where she can be seen assistant-directing their rendition of Company next spring. She is beyond excited and grateful to be a part of this amazing production.


Kristina Garritano is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be playing Jean Brighton in this production of Thistlepatch. She is a recent graduate of York University’s Theatre program. Since graduating, she has kept busy working for IATSE 873, helping with a variety of film and TV productions in Toronto. However, she misses performing and is so happy to be back doing it with Alumnae Theatre for her first show here. 


Jenna is ecstatic to be back on stage, and especially to be a part of this talented cast. Jenna’s past theatre roles include Marta in Tomo Suru Players’ production of Spring Awakening, Maria in Now! Theatre’s School for Scandal, and Dest in Or Theatre’s Abattoir Morning. She was born in Calgary and then moved to Vancouver where she earned her Theatre degree from UBC. She hopes you enjoy the show.


Drea is thrilled to be back at the old firehall, after fun turns in F*CK L*VE (New Ideas Festival) and The McIntosh Fighters (Open House 2019). She has trained at the National Voice Intensive, New School of Drama, and Equity Showcase Theatre. Favourite roles include Paulina in The Winter’s Tale (Dandelion Theatre), Toinette in The Imaginary Invalid (Whitby Courthouse Theatre), and Breast Woman in indie feature Most Guys Today. An avid swing dancer, Drea looks forward to re-opening her 1950s rock’n’roll dance studio, Black Cat Boogie, in the spring.


The Festival is held in Alumnae Theatre’s 3rd floor walk-up studio, which is not currently wheelchair accessible.


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