Close this search box.

New Ideas Festival 2015 - Week 2

March 11 – 15, 2015

​New Ideas Festival 2015 · March 18 - 22, 2015
Week 2 Plays:

(En)Lightning • Canis familiaris • Sandworms! •
You Can Ask Me How I’m Doing • Buy My House (Reading)

(EN)LIGHTNING by Catherine Frid

In this modern retelling of the Prometheus myth, a new kind of light is shared with the mortals, which provokes
the wrath of Zeus.

Director: Sandra Burley
Stage Manager: Liz Currie
Cast: Josh Morris, Maureen Murray, Kate Maguire, Joshua Clayton

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

Catherine is very excited to be premièring (En)Lightning at the New Ideas Festival. Her produced
plays include Our Voices: Senior Selfies (Eden Mills), Burying Toni (Alumnae Theatre), Over The Edge (New Ideas Festival and others), The Bold Canadian: Laura Secord and Her Legacy (Arts & Letters Club), Homegrown (SummerWorks and others), GuineaPigging (Alumnae Theatre), and Dead Cat Bounce (Toronto Fringe and others). Catherine is currently Playwright in Residence at Mixed Company Theatre.

Sandra began her childhood stage performances in the suburbs of Mississauga, tap dancing on the wooden floors of Clarke Hall, and, in later years, acting on stage with the Mississauga Players. Sandra attended Ryerson’s ACT II STUDIO, where she moved from the stage to assume the role of director. Recent directing productions: Closets and Cubicles (ACT II STUDIO Collective), Welcome to Nuit Blanche (50 Plus Festival, Ryerson), and Ghost Lite (Inspirato). She is delighted to be a part of the New Ideas Festival again this year.

LIZ CURRIE, Stage Manager
This is Liz’s first show with the New Ideas Festival, and she couldn’t be happier to be part of (En)Lightning.  Past credits include:  Stage Manager – Sabrina Fair (Amicus Productions), ASM – CabaretYoung FrankensteinAnnieJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Rocky Horror Show (Curtain Call Players). Although not seen on stage, she always feels a part of the show family,
and she wants to thank the entire cast and production staff for this wonderful opportunity! Thanks to all the friends and family who support me!


Josh has been in show business his whole life, starting from the time he did the Twist for his parents’ friends at 3, then as a stand-up comedian and actor, then later as a writer and TV producer. This is his return to the stage after a long hiatus. He studied drama at Dawson College’s Theatre program in Montreal, the Banff Centre, and McGill University.  He has appeared in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  He is glad this play only has one word in the title. 

Maureen last appeared as Puck Sr. in the Passionate Players production of A Midwinter Night’s Tale at Factory Theatre in December 2014. Prior to that, she last tread the boards more than three decades ago as part of Sock ‘N’ Buskin Theatre Company at Carleton University. A former journalist and mother of a son in university and a daughter in high school, Maureen is exploring the art of reinvention.

Kate is a theatre performer, arts administrator, and general lover of the arts. She is thrilled to be involved in (En)Lightning for New Ideas Festival. Select theatre credits: Nightwood Theatre’s production of Judith Thompson’s Who Killed Snow White? for the New Groundswell Festival, The First Go by Sarah Dennison for the Thousand Islands Playhouse Playwrights week, a one-woman show entitled [republic] of rhetoric for the Toronto Fringe Festival 2012, and The Marionette Makers for InspiraTO, 2014. 

Joshua is thrilled to be making his NIF debut in (En)Lightning and would like to thank Catherine and Sandra for the opportunity to appear in this important show. Since graduating from St. Lawrence College’s Music Theatre Performance program, Joshua has appeared in Hamlet (St. Lawrence Shakespeare), Shrek the Musical, The Sound of Music, Dora the Explorer LIVE! (LOT), Themes of Grief (Black Rabbit Theatre). He is also Artistic Producer of Next2Nothing Theatre Collective. Twitter: @joshuatclayton, @N2Ntheatre

CANIS FAMILIARIS by Carolyn Bennett

A new couple visit friends grieving a death. What is appropriate? What is sane?

Director: Brenda Darling
Stage Manager: Elizabeth Verwey
Cast: Patricia Hawk, Kevin McLellan, Julie Cohn, Kwaku Adu-Poku

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

Writer and comedian Carolyn cut her teeth performing at Yuk Yuks and hasn’t stopped bleeding since. Selected TV credits include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC COMICS, and Air Farce. Produced plays include Mixed Media (CBC Radio), RuntkillerThe Short List and Hitler’s Ass. Carolyn co-wrote the 2012 Ross Petty panto Snow White and 007, and in 2013, she won the TIFF Screenwriting Intensive Jury Prize for The Mac and Watson Springtime Reeferendum Show. But enough about her.

Brenda began her professional theatre career at Theatre Passe Muraille in the ’70s, with a core staff of three and compensation of free housing in Rochdale College. In the ’80s, she was an actor, office manager, publicist, fundraiser, and general manager. Brenda founded MythMakers, an independent production services company, which inspired the current government-funded STAF, and then became Administrative Producer of World Stage, Harbourfront Children’s Festival, and Festival de théâtre des Amériques. Apart from creating films, Brenda has enjoyed directing and producing with the Alumnae Theatre Company since 2002.

Elizabeth is a member of the New Play Development Group at Alumnae Theatre. You would normally find her mentoring business owners in Toronto. Elizabeth is thrilled to explore behind the curtain at the New Ideas Festival in her role as stage manager for Canis familiaris. She has enjoyed the learning curve and is ready to get back to writing her play, “Nurture Night.”


Pat has been a member of the Alumnae Theatre since 2009, when she retired from teaching. “There’s a lot of theatre in teaching, so this is a good fit.” Pat has acted in several seasons of the New Ideas Festival. She has also taken on the job of Front of House Manager at Alumnae for the last few years. As a dog lover, Pat is happy to play the role of Christine, a rather more eccentric dog lover. Pat is also happy to be working with her director, Brenda Darling, for the first time.

Kevin is making his debut at the 2015 New Ideas Festival in Canis familiaris. He has been a member of ACT II Studio since 2012, where he studied with Vrenia Ivanoffski, Aaron Willis, and Christine Brubaker, among other excellent teachers. He has appeared in several ACT II productions, including Accidental InheritanceUnder MilkwoodThe Griffin and the Minor Canon and Nuit Blanche. He has also been part of the stage crew for various ACT II plays. Before realizing he could act for fun, Kevin worked in the advertising industry and the not-for-profit sector, which was not much fun.

Julie is excited about her third season of New Ideas in Canis familiaris! Julie has many years’ experience in professional film, television, theatre, playwriting, voice over, radio, music video, and dance, and is the artistic director of BEARS! In The City! Theatre. Playwriting: SwingSet (InspiraTO Festival, published online). Recent credits: Meet little bear (little bear/Crapshoot!, Theatre Passe Muraille), Elsa and Marigold (Marigold/New Ideas Festival ’14), Sorry ‘Bout That (little bear/BEARS! In The City!/National FRINGE Tour). Training: Presence and the Word (Daniel MacIvor/John Beale), One Yellow Rabbit, UBC, Vancouver Film School.

Kwaku is an actor based in Toronto. Recent credits include Witt’s EndPlan Canada PSA (Holiday Films), and Flip’d App Promo. He is thrilled to be a part of the New Ideas Festival this year. Enjoy
the show!

SANDWORMS! by D.J. Sylvis

Two people. One apocalypse. And did we mention the sandworms? SANDWORMS!

Director: Stacy Halloran
Stage Manager: Ryan McLean
Cast: Michael Barkey, Julie Tesolin

*Sandworms! special prop courtesy of Daedalus Marine & Salvage, which continues the work of Icarus Aircraft Engineering, renowned for building remarkable theatrical technology on a minuscule budget.

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

D.J. SYLVIS, Playwright
D.J. has been involved in theatre for 25 years as an actor, director, technician, playwright, and producer. He’s proud to be both a founding member and the playwright-in-residence for Monkeyman Productions, Toronto’s Geekiest Theatre Company, and most of his plays are produced through them. This is, however, his fourth time in New Ideas Festival, and he’s happy to return after a few years’ absence. Best wishes to all in the Festival, and remember – sandworms! SANDWORMS!

(Since Stacy declined to submit a bio, one of her favourite playwrights has taken the liberty of writing one for her.) Stacy has been called “one of the leading lights of the Godfrey theatre scene.” Her semi-autobiographical one-woman show Sheep Breeders and Schadenfreude won the Patron’s Pick Award in the Highway 38 Fringe Festival. The North Frontenac News described Sheep Breeders as “a wild and woolly romp thought the colourful world of ruminant production.” Stacy is pleased to be working indoors (and with two legged performers!) this time around.

RYAN McLEAN, Stage Manager
This is Ryan’s first year at the Alumnae Theatre with the New Ideas Festival. A graduate of the University of Toronto, his stage management credits include Nude with Violin and The 39 Steps. He is very excited to be part of the festival!


Michael studied acting at George Brown College and is delighted to be making his stage debut at Alumnae Theatre. A Toronto-based linguist and electrician, he believes his strange and unique set of skills may enable him to confront whatever perilous situations arise in Sandworms!

Julie is a TO-based actor and graduate of the Fanshawe College Theatre Arts & Performance Program. Working in film, TV, and voice over, she also wrote and toured a one-woman play called Safe Haven. Select credits include: Safe Haven (anitafrika! dub theatre), Three Plays about Toronto Theatre (Givens Street Theatre), The Red Coat (Palmerston Theatre), When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet (Alchemy Theatre), Othello (Alchemy Theatre), Top Girls (Fanshawe College) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Fanshawe College). You can also find Julie actively teaching yoga in the city.


You can end a life in 140 characters. Can you save a life in 140 characters? Eunice fights back against a high-school classmate for his online sexual harassment. She is not prepared for the popularity and despair that her act of courage will bring.

Director: Meg Moran
Stage Manager: Sean Miller
Cast: Janice Yang, Melissa Chetty, Roselyn Kelada-Sedra, Kelly Seo, Tom Beattie, Oscar Moreno, Timothy Ng

*You Can Ask Me How I’m Doing was written with support from the Ontario Arts Council.

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

NORMAN YEUNG, Playwright
Norman works in theatre, film, and visual arts. His play Pu-Erh was nominated for four Dora Awards, including Outstanding New Play, and was a finalist for the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition. His performance piece In This Moment premièred at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, and his opera Black Blood (Norman Yeung, librettist; Christiaan Venter, composer) premièred at Tapestry New Opera Showcase. His play Theory has been produced at SummerWorks and Alumnae’s Fireworks.

MEG MORAN, Director
Meg is a director and playwright from Toronto. Directing credits include Here After (Upstart Theatre, 2014 Toronto Fringe) and The Seagull in Four Movements (Upstart Theatre). Assistant
directing credits include Restoration (dir. David Storch) and Laramie: Ten Years Later (dir. Anita La Selva). Upcoming: Meg is assistant directing I am Marguerite (dir. Molly Thom) at Alumnae in April, and is a collaborator on DASH at the Paprika Festival in May.

SEAN MILLER, Stage Manager
Sean is a graduate from Humber College’s Theatre Production Program. He has been working for several theatre companies in Toronto, including Theatre Columbus, Necessary Angel, Pure Carbon, North of Maine, and Hart House Theatre.

BIOGRAPHIES, Ensemble Cast

Born and raised in Toronto, Janice was involved from an early age in the arts, visual arts, singing, and dance. Only during her later years of high school did she realize her passion for performance acting after taking part in her first improv class. She has been seen in Tempo at the Storefront Theatre and Theory written by Norman Yeung and directed by Joanne Williams. Janice’s current projects include Paprika Festival’14/15, while continuing to audition and studying Creative Industries at Ryerson University.

Melissa is thrilled to be a part of this year’s New Ideas Festival as a cast member in You Can Ask Me How I’m Doing. A graduate of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, she has performed in various sketch comedy and theatrical productions in and around Toronto. Although she’s a familiar face at the theatre, this is Melissa’s acting debut at Alumnae.

Roselyn is a stage and screen actor, theatre-creator, and singer. Trained in England at RADA, in Serbia at DAH Teatar, in Vancouver with the National Voice Intensive, and in Toronto with Lonsdale Smith Studios, the Cindy Tanas Actors Studio, and Equity Showcase Theatre, she is excited about her next project, which is devising DASH, a movement interpretation of Emily Dickinson poetry about loss.

Kelly is an 18-year-old Korean-Canadian first year theatre major student at York University who aspires to become an actress and a director. She graduated from a prestigious arts high school, Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, as a drama major. Her friends describe her as sarcastic, honest, and lazy, the perfect combination for the average theatre student! In her spare time, Kelly loves to sing and play the piano as well as watch her favourite TV shows, which include Criminal Minds and Elementary

Tom is a Toronto-based actor and theatre producer. He started his career in Stratford with Playmakers! theatre school and the Stratford Festival of Canada; since moving to Toronto, he has worked with various organizations including Hart House Theatre, the InspiraTO festival, and Newborn Theatre. Recent credits include Quino in Pie in the Sky, Jean-Luc in There’s No Here Here and He in Mood Swings. Tom is a founding member/producer for Orphaned Egret Theatre, presenting a one act comedy, “Zombie!” in late August at the Imperial Pub. Tom looks forward to his first experience here at the New Ideas Festival and with Alumnae Theatre.

Oscar is very pleased to join the cast of YCAMHID. Originally from Colombia, he immigrated with his family to London, Ontario, in 2003. While attending high school, he became involved with the Grand Theatre’s prestigious high school project; since then he has moved to Toronto to further develop as a theatre artist, and would like to extend his thanks to everyone who has helped him on his journey. Favourite credits include: The Buddy Holly Story (Theatre North West), West Side Story and Pirates of Penzance (Grand Theatre), Thrill Me (Capricorn 9 Productions), Urinetown (Stageworks Toronto). In 2013, he directed a production of HAIR with First Act Productions, which won Best Ensemble with My Entertainment World Theatre Awards.

Off-Broadway: Shanghai Lil’s (Jerry Wong), New York Theatre: A Chorus Line, All Shook Up, 42nd Street, and Guys and Dolls, Toronto Theatre: Snow Queen (Kay). Proud Graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in NYC. Recent graduate of the Randolph Academy in Toronto. 

BUY MY HOUSE by Natalie Frijia

Ivy built a house. Straw floor, stick frame, brick walls. An 800 km–long highway running right through her bedroom. Home. 
Now all she needs is someone to buy it. Buy My House is a one-woman show about castles, fairy tales, grown-up open houses – and hitchhiking.  

Director: Emily Nixon
Dramaturge: Shirley Barrie
Stage Manager: Natalie Frijia
Cast: Zenna Davis-Jones

BIOGRAPHIES, Creative Team

NATALIE FRIJIA, Playwright / Stage Manager
Natalie is a Toronto-based writer and PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. Her work has been performed in Rhubarb, New Ideas Festival, and Theatre Passe Muraille’s Crapshoot Series. She also goes on many adventures with her bicycle. She has cycled more than 20,000 km in countries around the world. She has written stories and plays inspired by several of the characters she encountered along the way, including the one in Buy My House.

Emily is an emerging director, performer, and playwright. She directed the one-man show Phoenix as part of Ryerson’s New Voices FestivalActing credits include Macbeth (Theatre by the Bay), Romeo and Juliet (Leroy Street Theatre), Elektra in Bosnia (directed by Judith Thompson), KPNBR TV Show (directed by Sky Gilbert), and PRIDECAB (Buddies in Bad Times). This past summer, she co-wrote a musical, And Now, the End, (SummerWorks). She is a recent graduate of Ryerson Theatre School’s Acting program.

Shirley has had a long association with the Alumnae Theatre: four appearances at the New Ideas Festival: A Witch’s Brew (1997), Revelation (2001 & 2013), and Possession (2005),  Measure of the World in the first annual Fireworks Festival (2013), and two main stage productions, The Pear Is Ripe (2001) and I am Marguerite (upcoming in April, 2015). She has written several plays for young audiences that have toured widely and been published. Recent plays for adults include: Beautiful Lady, Tell Me… (2007) and Queen Marie (2012), both produced by 4th Line Theatre. For more information visit


Zenna is making her first stage appearance since graduating from the Ryerson Theatre School acting program (2014). Her work includes: Joanna, Cerulean Blue (2014), Ensemble, Cinderella (2014), Clementine, Girl from Maxims (2013), Sue, The Lion in the Streets (2013), Lady Anne, Richard III (2011). Zenna has recently starred in numerous short films, including On Top of Me (premièring March 2015) and In the Weeds (premièring April 2015). She is currently furthering her love of script writing at George Brown College.


Please Wait
Talking to the Box Office...

Scroll to Top
alum members throwing cards in the air


Adventurous theatre, Special offers , updates and Opportunities!