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FireWorks Festival 2019

Grief Circus


Produced by Molly Thom and Liz Best
Directed by Paige Foskett ​

November 13 - 17, 2019

​in the Studio Theatre

​About Grief Circus:

A multimedia play about overcoming tragedy in the age of social media.

Leah is a young woman trying to cope with the death of her sister Jessie, but she finds it hard to grieve with the constant internet attention bombarding her and her family.

​Grieving is a private act, but in today’s world of Twitter and Instagram, nothing is really private anymore.

Opening Night Parties!

​Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019

Join us in the Lobby after the show to celebrate the Opening Night of Grief Circus.
​Tasty treats will be served!

Post-Matinee show Talkbacks!

Saturday Nov. 16, 2019

​Join us for a 'Talkback' with the Director/Cast/Playwright, after the Saturday Matinee performance.


Alumnae Theatre’s Berkeley Street entrance and the Mainstage Theatre are wheelchair accessible. ​There is a wheelchair accessible restroom on the ground floor.

Grief Circus


“…moving, razor-sharp, thought-provoking…”

“Dickson gives a stand-out performance as the whip-smart, introverted, wry-witted Leah…”

“MacMaster gives an energetic, luminous performance as the bubbly extrovert Jesse…”


Watch the Video Trailer!
Click on the white arrow to view

Trailer by Nicholas Porteous

Crystal Wood, Playwright
Crystal Wood is a Toronto-based writer working in television, film and theatre. For the stage, Crystal has had her scripts presented at the New Ideas Festival, InspiraTO, the Lab Cab Festival, and Plays in Cafes in Toronto, and FemFest in Winnipeg. She was also the recipient of the inaugural Screenwriter Mentorship Award at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. In 2019, her play “Nephew” was presented at the Festival of New Works in Bath, Maine.

Paige Foskett, Director
Paige is a director, choreographer and performer, with a BA from Ryerson University. She has directed a number of plays, films, and dance works. Previous directing credits include The Officiant and Teach Her My Name (New Ideas Festival), Contagious (Toronto Fringe), Memories (InspiraTO). Paige has also worked on a number of films, commercials, and dance pieces. Aside from directing and choreographing, she is also a performer, so you can catch her work on stage and off!


Alison Dickson, Leah
Alison is a recent graduate from Randolph College for the Performing Arts. She’s been singing since forever, but only decided to combine that skill with acting in high school, where she started taking part in musicals and improv club. In her free time, she occasionally does medieval reenactment with the SCA, which her mother got her into as a baby. She’s been told that she is “a little odd quote” but “a pleasure to have in class”.

Jack Everett, Reporter
Jack is a Toronto-based actor and graduate of George Brown Theatre School. Since graduating he has performed in a number of indie theatre productions in Toronto as well as the Ottawa Fringe. His past credits include; Nick in The Inch of Your Life Trilogy (The Theatre Circuit), Rick in The Heavyweight (Ottawa Fringe), Bowman in Vectors of Their Interest (Toronto Fringe), Jack Hunter in The Rose Tattoo and Mr Harcourt in The Country Wife (George Brown Theatre School).

Bronson Lake, Charlie
Bronson is returning to Alumnae for the first time since playing Memphis in SBM’s production of Cy Coleman’s musical The Life in 2017. His acting career began after receiving an associate degree in Communications and Economics from Muscatine College, Iowa. When not on stage, Bronson works toward breaking into Toronto’s film and television industry, while training voice and text with Classical Soprano Galina Basmanova.

Claire MacMaster, Jessie
Recent theatre credits: Laura, The Glass Menagerie (The Village Players) Viola, Twelfth Night (The Festival Players), Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bard in The Park). Claire is a 2019 graduate of Ryerson’s BFA Acting Programme. Selected credits for Ryerson: Equinox, This is How We Live (a partnership with Frantic Assembly), The Penelopiad, The Women, Clown, Julius Caesar.

Bernadette Medhurst,  Carol
Bernadette has been a principal actor working in film and television in the GTA over the last five years and is returning to her roots of theatre in Grief Circus. She has done several docudramas for television, feature and short films, and several commercials in this time. Bernadette cherishes the vast range of characters she has portrayed, the variety of stories she has been able to tell, and the amazing people she’s met and had the privilege of working with. ​​


Lauren Griffiths, Assistant Producer
Lauren Griffiths is a Toronto-trained actor and comedian, recently expanding her horizons by studying directing at Tarragon Theatre, Baby Clown and Mask in Manitoulin Island, and coaching Vanier’s Improv Company at York University. She first worked with Alumnae early this year when she directed a show for their New ideas Festival, and just recently wrapped her second show with them, The Heidi Chronicles, where she tried her hand at stage managing! Now to attempt producing…

Kendra Jones, Dramaturge
Kendra is a Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based director and dramaturge. She graduated with Distinction from the MA Text and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and also holds a BA (Hons) in Theatre Performance from the University of Winnipeg. Recent credits include I, Malvolio at Toronto Fringe, and Sweet Mama and the Salty Muffins at Alumnae and Whiskey Ginger Collective. Upcoming: Directing Watching Glory Die for Love2Theatre Company.

Christine O’Halloran-Smith, Stage Manager
Christine has been a lifelong theatre aficionado and a one-time amateur actor, singer and stage manager, before abandoning her participation for the corporate world many years ago. When those ancient memories desert her, Christine’s project management experience and parenting skills, along with a robust sense of humour, all come in useful in her Stage Management role for Grief Circus.

Claudia Smith, Assistant Stage Manager
Claudia is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto where she studied architecture. She has joined us to develop her technical production skills in theatre.

Simon Fothergill, Composer
Simon has been making music for more than 35 years. In addition to creating songs and instrumental pieces, he also composes music for theatre and film. Examples include Murder with Love at the Metro Theatre in Vancouver,
Impressionism at Alumnae Theatre, and the short film Pumpkin Man by Anne Bryan. His album of short pieces for solo piano, Midweek, is available on most music streaming services and also on SoundCloud.

Elaine Freedman, Props
Elaine has been involved in community theatre for many years, spending the last 25 volunteering at the Village Playhouse, where she’s taken on many roles from Props Master to member of the play-reading committee. New to the Alumnae Theatre, Elaine was recently the Projection Designer for The Heidi Chronicles, and is an active member of the New Play Development group. She will be presenting her Alas, Poor Romeo in November, at a Next Stage reading.

Paige Foskett, Costume Design
Paige is a director, choreographer and performer, with a BA from Ryerson University. She has directed a number of plays, films, and dance works. Previous directing credits include The Officiant and Teach Her My Name (New Ideas Festival), Contagious (Toronto Fringe), Memories (InspiraTO). Paige has also worked on a number of films, commercials, and dance pieces. Aside from directing and choreographing, she is also a performer, so you can catch her work on stage and off!

FireWorks Team 2019

Molly Thom, Co-Producer
Toronto director, dramaturge, writer and sometime actor, she is best known as the author, director, and producer of The Bush-Ladies (NAC, Tarragon Theatre, Ontario tour, Artword Theatre). She has directed many plays for Alumnae, most recently Shirley Barrie’s I Am Marguerite in 2015, and last appeared on stage as Hecuba in The Trojan Women in 2012. She is the co-founder of Alumnae’s New Ideas Festival and the resident director of Shoestring Opera. This is the fourth year Molly has produced the FireWorks Festival.

Liz Best, Co-Producer
Liz is an actor, playwright, director and producer, last seen at Alumnae in The Pigeon, Fireworks 2018. Her own play, Surrender, Dorothy, was premiered at FireWorks 2017. “Fireworks is a team effort of 50+ people, with a passion for theatre and a desire to create. Producing these last two years, providing opportunities to actors just out of a theatre school, and working with young, female directors and playwrights has truly been joyous.” 


Teodoro Dragonieri, Set Design
A multi-disciplinary artist and educator who has developed acclaimed programs for all levels of education. He has led workshops, given lectures, performed and shown his artwork internationally. Teodoro is artistic director of Zanni Arte, a company dedicated to promoting inter-disciplinary arts and fostering the use of masks, in theatre and education. He is the recipient of the Theatre Ontario Michael Spence Award and The Harold Award (from Toronto’s Independent Theatre and Dance Communities). Stage Design for Alumnae Theatre: Antigone, Omission, Top Girls, Impressionism and The Heidi Chronicles.


Liam Stewart, Lighting Design
Liam is a Director with a Camera, a Lighting Designer in the Theatre and has a passion for creativity. Liam works in the Film industry as an Electrician, laying cable and powering lights. He learns from the best on set, bringing new insight to the stage. Constantly testing equipment to create new emotions and atmospheres with light. He also enjoys leisurely strolls through the park and writing short films.


Mona Zaidi, Marketing
Mona is an award-winning South Asian-Canadian writer/director. Her 2017 adaptation of Richard III was awarded top prize at  the 2017 Shakespeare Film Festival by five-time Academy Award nominee Sir Kenneth Branagh. Her 2018 short film The Table With 1000 Chairs was screened in Cineplex movie theatres across Canada and gained over 1 million views online. Mona’s most recent project is a series of film/stage productions adapted from masterworks of world literature.


Suzanne Courtney, Graphic Design
Suzanne loves creating art for the theatre. She also loves to act. Shows include; Pride and PrejudiceA Lie of the Mind and The Pear is Ripe for Alumnae, and to write plays in New Ideas, Inspirato and Nuit Blanche.


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