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New Ideas Festival 2015 - Week 1

March 11 – 15, 2015

​New Ideas Festival 2015 · March 11 - 15, 2015
Week 1 Plays:

​Inheritance • The Indigo Forest • Lost Connection • Devices • Surrender Dorothy (Reading)

​New Ideas Festival 2015 - Week 1

INHERITANCE by Tabitha Keast

Inheritance is a very short comedy about history – the personal history that each of us carries about ourselves, and the ways
in which we edit our story to secure a place in the world.

Director: Matthew Hines
Stage Manager: Stephanie Hummel
Cast: Kalman P. Nagy, Lavetta Griffin, Kenny Hayes, Nicole Belfer

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

Tabitha is a member of Alumnae Theatre. Producing: February, The Trojan Women, After Mrs. Rochester, GuineaPigging, NIF 2009 and 2006 (Alumnae). Acting: After Mrs. Rochester, You Are Here, Closer, The Memory of WaterHomeward Bound (Alumnae); Twelfth Night (Alchemy Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Driftwood Theatre). Media: The Kennedys, Book Club, and The Tenant, and more commercials than can fit in this
bio. Her next play, The Ugly, will be performed at the InspiraTO Festival, May 28-June 6.

Matthew is a Maritimer currently residing in Toronto. Previous directing credits include The Love Game (North of Maine), The Saga of Ginny, Tug Of War (InspiraTO), The Heel vs. Screwjob, That Boob Show (Code White Theatre), Time Flies and More Ives (Theatre Saint Thomas), The Fifth Wall (Notable Acts Theatre Festival). As assistant director: Rifles (Praxis Theatre), Sexy Laundry (The Charlottetown Theatre Festival), The Secret Garden (Theatre New Brunswick Theatre School).

Steph is a graduate of Humber College. She has worked as a scenic painter and a props assistant and was the stage manager for Alumnae Theatre’s production of February, written by Lisa Moore and directed by Michelle Alexander.



Kalman is thrilled to be in the Alumnae Theatre show. He is a professional actor, director, and drama teacher from Hungary. He has more than 50 film, 70 theatre, and 20 directing credits under his belt. Having moved to Toronto almost 3 years ago, he fell in love with improv at Second City. A huge thanks to fellow comrades, the beautiful people in the show, and to our great director Matthew. Special love to my beautiful wife Reka and my darling daughter Izabella.

Lavetta is delighted to be back where it all began <span “mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:=”” “calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”=””>– the New Ideas Festival 2013 in Our Eliza by Meg Coles. Most recently, Lavetta played the role of Nancy in EN(LIVE)N Productions’ mounting of Frozen by Bryony Lavery. Thank you to director Matthew Hines for the opportunity to play again and to the lovely and talented Tabitha Keast for the terrific script. And thank you to all the folks at Alumnae Theatre. You create such a warm and safe space in which to spread one’s wings.

Kenny has been on the stage since he was five years old. He has appeared in productions such as AnnieBatboy! The MusicalClue: The MusicalSkin Flick (received Ottawa Little Theatre President’s Medal for acting), 9 to 5: The Musical, and A Flea in her Ear, a farce for which he composed the original score and received a Capital Critics’ Circle Award nomination for Best Actor. Hailing from the friendly city of Belleville, and having recently moved from Ottawa, Kenny is overjoyed to be welcomed to Toronto with his role as Brad in Inheritance!

Nicole is a recent graduate of Randolph Academy and delighted to be a part of the New Ideas Festival in Inheritence. Previous highlights include Perceval in Lord of the Flies, directed by Rosanna Saracino, Jennifer in Adelaide Express, and performing in Nuit Blanc for the Cascades Project under Brandy Leary.


Chris is an artist who has hired Nick, a young art student, to help her paint a house she needs to sell. But their conversation about the impact of art takes an unsettling turn when Nick reveals an uncanny personal connection with Chris’s work and with her past.

Director: Sandra Banman
Stage Manager: Lily Chan
Cast: Sarah Naomi Campbell, Adam Malcolm

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

BRIDGET ERIN, Playwright
Bridget is a playwright, director, performer and puppeteer. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College. Recent credits include New Orleans Fringe Festival, Southern Rep Theatre’s 6×6, Chameleon Theatre Circle’s New Play Festival, and Arts Center Stage’s 10 by 10 in the Triangle. She is a member of the New Orleans-based playwriting collective GenerateINK. Bridget lives in Louisiana with her husband and son.

This is Sandra’s second season directing in the New Ideas Festival. Last year, she created and directed a short documentary based on her mother’s journey from Ukraine to Canada during World War II. She recently completed an intensive director’s course, Adventurous Approaches to Performance, with John P. Kelly in Waterloo. She’s studied acting at Toronto’s Cindy Tanas Acting Studio. Sandra is grateful for the opportunity to direct again this year. A special thanks to Rob Bertola for Sound Design/Composing and Claire Bonenfant for Artistic Design.

LILY CHAN, Stage Manager
Lily is thrilled to be a part of this year’s New Ideas Festival. She is currently attending Ryerson Theatre School, where she is furthering her training in pursuit of enhancing the world’s experience in the magic of theatre. Select past works include …Now You Don’t (Stage Manager), La Ronde (Assistant Audio Technician), Cinderella (Production Assistant), and Cerulean Blue (Production Assistant).


Sarah is very happy to be a part of The Indigo Forest in this year’s New Ideas Festival. She has just returned to Toronto after completing the Academy at Black Box Acting in Chicago, where she had the pleasure of performing lead roles in Henry V; The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?; Hedda Gabler; and The Kid Thing. Selected Toronto credits include Elisa’s Skin (Black Heart Bitches Collective), Wit (Alumnae Theatre), Hamlet (Driftwood Theatre), and The Whole Dip (Theatre12).

Adam is very excited to be making his Alumnae Theatre debut with this year’s New Ideas Festival! Past credits include Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson), Follies (Young Buddy), Kiss Me, Kate! (Bill/Lucentio), and Fiddler on the Roof (Motel). He would like to thank Sarah and Bryan for their guidance and teaching, as well as his mother Helen for her love and support.

LOST CONNECTION by Lindsay Finnie

Ruby and Maggie don’t know each other. The only thing they have in common is a phone number. Finding a connection is hard, but dealing with a lost one is even harder.

Director: Zita Nyarady
Stage Manager: Rebecca Grace
Cast: Alina Kouvchinova, Wendy Fox, Jada Rifkin, Shannon Junkin

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

Lindsay is a Toronto-based playwright with a BA in Theatre Studies. Her most recent work, Grey Ground, premiered at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival. Her other works include A Single Unity (2010), A Lesson in Beauty (2010), and Spilled Coffee and Broken Walls (2011), all of which premiered in Guelph. Lindsay’s work focuses on cognitive study. She has a keen interest in delving into the primal needs and wants of the human body.

Zita (B.Phil, BA, MES, PTP) is a Canadian independent dance-theatre-circus artist and PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. Zita has worked on projects with Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Anandam Dance Theatre, David Suzuki Foundation, Jane’s Walks, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Clay & Paper Theatre, among others. Her interdisciplinary performance creations have appeared across Canada, the United States, Jamaica, Scotland, Denmark and Sweden. Zita is also directing Bike Circus’s one women theatre/trapeze show Susannah Bird, which will appear at the 2015 Rhubarb Festival and the 2015 Edmonton and Winnipeg Fringes.

Rebecca is a community playwright, actor, and director. Her latest play, The Lion Whisperer, is currently being workshopped. Most recently, she competed in the CBC Comedy Coup on the project Slice of Crime and is working on a half hour comedy about a family of ghosts. As an actor, Rebecca has performed with many local theatres across the city. She is looking forward to returning to this year’s New Ideas Festival as a stage manager on Lost Connections. ross the city. She is looking forward to returning to this year’s New Ideas Festival as a stage manager on Lost Connections


Alina is a recent graduate of George Brown Theatre School. She is a dancer and choreographer in Create Move Connect, and a facilitator of Authentic Movement and Contact Improvisation. Select credits include Geraldine Capulet in Ring Round the Moon, Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife, Annie in The Gut Girls, Marlow in A Beautiful View, Lady Teazle in School for Scandal, Nina in The Seagull, and Isabella in Measure for Measure.

WENDY FOX, Text Ruby
Wendy is excited to be a part of the New Ideas Festival! Select credits: Kafka/Dawn/Waitress in All in
the Timing (Toronto Fringe 2014), Carol in Adrift (InspiraTO Festival 2014); Angelina/Princess/Phyllis
in A One Night Stand with Shaw (Never Wrestle with Pigs); Wendy would like to thank the cast and crew, her friends, and her family for their continuing love and support. Twitter: @thewendyfox.

Jada is thrilled to be part of the New Ideas Festival. She is a Toronto-based actor, singer, and dancer. Favourite recent theatre credits include: Pinkalicious U/S in Pinkalicious: The Musical (Vital Theatre/Lower Ossington Theatre), Muse in Busyness (Little Red Theatre), and Donna in the dreamer examines his pillow (JR Theatre). Currently, Jada is collaborating with Final Spark Pictures in a YouTube series and just finished shooting a documentary for Discovery Channel. Thanks to the family, friends, teachers, and artists for the support!

After ten years of community theatre with the Peterborough Theatre Guild, Shannon is making her debut into the Toronto theatre community. Some of her more notable pieces include roles in Marion Bridge and Play On!, both of which went on to win several awards at the Eastern Ontario Drama League Festival. In her day to day life, she is a Quality Analyst for a software company and shares her apartment with an old cat named Panda.

DEVICES by Meredith Taylor-Parry

It is the near future and our addiction to technology continues to permeate our lives. Anna is happy and successful – then she meets Joseph. Her world suddenly feels empty as she looks at it through his eyes.

Director: Ingryd Pleitez
Assistant Director / Stage Manager: Nolan Molfetta
Cast: Shalyn McFaul, John Marcucci, Kevin Kashani

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

Meredith is a playwright based in Calgary. Her play Survival Skills won the New Works of Merit Playwriting Festival in 2013 and was produced by the 13 Street Repertory Company, NYC, in April 2014. Her play Book Club was presented in the Suncor Energy Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary last June. She is thrilled to be taking part in the New Ideas Festival.

Ingryd is excited to be working on the New Ideas Festival again this year. Selected directing credits: Dead French Philosophers and What We Mean When We Talk about Love (New Ideas Festival – AD/SM), Seen and Unseen (Inspirato Festival), A Belated Reunion (Inspirato Festival), The Fever (SummerWorks Festival – AD/SM), Amy, Reine des Morts (Zone Homa – AD/SM).

NOLAN MOLFETTA, Assistant Director / Stage Manager
Nolan feels lucky to be making his debut as an ADSM in an environment as stimulating and welcoming as New Ideas Festival. He graduated from Humber College’s Acting for Theatre program in April and has since been having a blast trying on many different hats, often at the same time. Nolan is also an aspiring playwright and fledging producer, two roles he gets to play in this year’s Hamilton Fringe Festival, running from July 16-26. Outside of theatre, Nolan thinks about his next foray into theatre – and wouldn’t have it any other way.


Shalyn, a recent transplant to Toronto, is a bit of a North American nomad, having lived in southern California, NYC, and Vancouver before arriving here, completing her giant zig-zag across the continent. Shalyn trained with a BA in Theatre from Trinity Western University in BC and worked with a number of wonderful companies in Vancouver (Pacific Theatre: The Disappearing, Godspell, The Last Five Years, You Still Can’t, Remnants: A Fable; Gateway Theatre: The Sound of Music; Seven Tyrants Theatre: The Beggar’s Opera).

Coming from an academic film background (U of T’s cinema studies program) and having unwittingly entered therapy as an infant with his psychoanalyst mother, John is interested in questioning the legitimacy of boundaries and taboos. He recently graduated from the Canadian Film Centre’s writer’s lab and is currently developing a romantic drama centred on an intersex individual and shooting short films. He was seen in Alumni Theatre’s 2014 New Ideas Festival in Brockfest.

Kevin is an actor, director, and drama instructor. He completed his BA at the University of Toronto, double majoring in English and Drama. Aside from acting in Devices, Kevin is currently working on directing the new show Once You’ve Found It for both the Victoria and Island Fringe Festivals. He also works part-time in Richmond Hill as a drama coach for children and teenagers. Selected acting credits include: The…Musician (Theatrus/Toronto Laboratory Theatre), Far Away (Bad Dress Productions), Rhyme, Reason or Otherwise (Hart House Players), Us and Them (UC Drama Program), Actor (Odds and Ends Festival 2012).


Fifty-year-old Ally has met someone … online! If she’s happy, why can’t her friends be as well? A play about taking risks and learning how to live again, even after your heart has been broken.

Director: Eric Benson
Dramaturge: Joan Burrows
Assistant Director / Stage Manager: Stephanie Williams
Cast: Bodene Corbitt, Anne Shepherd, Colleen Simm, Andrea Lyons, Susan Fischer​

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

LIZ BEST, Playwright
Liz appeared in the Canadian première of the Dora Award–nominated show A Man of No Importance at Acting Up Stage and in the original production of Muhammed of Yorkville at SummerWorks. She was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Female Performance in a TV series for her work on Meet the Family, Season One. Writing has been always been a private passion of Liz’s. Surrender Dorothy is her first play.

Before moving to Toronto from Halifax in 2013, Eric was Associate Director for DaPoPo Theatre. He attended the directors’ mentorship program at the Stratford Festival, where he worked under Weyni Mengesha (Hosanna) and Des McAnuff (Henry V). Last year, Eric directed Brockfest in the New Ideas Festival. Other directing credits: the award-winning Eating French in the InspiraTO festival and the Toronto première of Berni Stapleton’s Offensive to Some. In early 2015, he’ll be working on two productions with Solar Stage.

Active in the New Play Development program at Alumnae, Joan began her playwriting as she was approaching retirement from a teaching career. Her four plays include: Staff Room (Theatre Ontario Winner, 2004); The Photograph (ACT-CO Winner 2008); Willow Quartet, (Playwrights of Spring Winner, 2009/ Equity Production 2011); Gloria’s Guy, (Alumnae Theatre’s Fireworks, 2013). Staff Room and Willow Quartet are published by Canada Playwrights Press and received productions in 2014. Her next project is to complete Brockfest, the first part of which was performed at NIF 2014.

STEPHANIE WILLIAMS, Assistant Director/Stage Manager
For Alumnae: You Have To Earn It, Violin for Sale, Simprov, Gloria’s Guy, My Friend’s Best Friend’s Boyfriend. Stephanie is an actor, director, and sometimes stage manager but only for people she loves. She has learned much from Liz and Eric, including that there are worse things than a man who wants to suck your feet. Stephanie is a proud graduate of the Fanshawe College Theatre Program.


This is Bodene’s first time with the New Ideas Festival. She acts, stage manages, and sound designs for The Curtain Club in Richmond Hill and for Scarborough Players. She sits on the Theatre Scarborough and Scarborough Players’ Boards. Some of her favourite roles include Scarborough Players’ Misery and Harvey; The Curtain Club’s Bag Babies, Sylvia, The Glass Menagerie, and Walking on Water; and East Side Players’ Waiting for the Parade and Dinner with Friends.

ANNE SHEPHERD, Anne played an aging opera singer last month in Quartet at the Village Playhouse and was forced to hold off on the Botox temporarily. At the Alumnae, she wept in The Trojan Women, danced in The Killdeer, and bitched in The Glass Cage. Too often she is type-cast as a strict authoritarian figure with no sense of humour, so it will be a pleasure to kick back and talk about men and sex in Surrender Dorothy.

Colleen is pleased to be part of New Ideas Festival. She has had the opportunity to be involved with a number of York Region Community Theatres projects, such as The Lamarie ProjectTwelve Angry WomenLes Belle SoeursWaiting for the ParadeAlbertine in Five Times, and Blithe Spirit, to name a few. Colleen would like to thank her generous partner Stephen for all his patience.

Andrea is happy to be back at New Ideas, having been in last year’s Brockfest. For 10-going-on-11 seasons, she has been the voice of Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective, in the podcast series Black Jack Justice and various, often evil, characters in The Red Panda series with the award-winning Decoder Ring Theatre. For more fun and merriment, check out

Susan is a Toronto comedian who has performed on stages all over town, including Buddies in Bad Times. As her alter ego – good-time gal Evelyn Reese – she has appeared in films like Evelyn Reese: Near the Red Carpet, which premiered at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. Evelyn’s popular one-woman shows have toured the Fringe and other festivals across Canada. She turned heads on downtown streets when Evelyn Reese’s Walking Tour hit the Toronto Fringe.


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