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New Ideas Festival 2017 - Week 3

Wednesday to Saturday, 8 pm; Saturday & Sunday, 2:30 pm; Reading, March 25, 2017 12:00pm

Week 3 plays (click on show for details): Beat • The Ballad of Sadie Wong • Who Knocks? •
The Hungriest Woman in the World • Thistlepatch (reading)

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BEAT by Dale Sheldrake

After a near fatal crash, a woman confronts her demons and herself. Heartbeats and self-reflection weave her senses into a desire to find her true voice. A surrealist life lesson many of us learn while marching to a different drummer. 

Director: Josh Downing
Stage Manager: Gabriela Mattos Fay
Cast: Jackie Mahoney, Laurel Schell

BIOGRAPHIES: CREATIVE TEAM

DALE SHELDRAKE, Playwright
Dale Sheldrake works extensively as a supervising ADR editor for film and television, currently on MGM/History’s hit show Vikings and Hulu’s upcoming The Handmaid’s TaleBeat is his second produced play, which means he now feels like an honest to goodness playwright! His play Of A Feather was produced for the 2015 InspiraTO Festival. He directed Tuesdays with Morrie for Theatre Aurora, and seven short plays over five years with InspiraTO. Dale greatly appreciates the help, support, and guidance of the New Ideas Festival, Pat, Carolyn, Jennifer, director Josh Downing, and this remarkable cast and crew.

JOSH DOWNING, Director
Josh Downing is a Toronto playwright/director who studied in the Douglas College Theatre Arts program. As a playwright, Josh has written several plays that have been produced for InspiraTO Festival, Gay Play Day, and HamilTEN Festival. Josh has also directed for all three festivals and performed as an actor in two plays as well. Josh attended the InspiraTO Playwriting and Directing Academies and just had his play Pee & Qs published by Playwrights Canada Press in Long Story Short, an anthology of short plays. 

​GABRIELA MATTOS FAY, Stage Manager
Gabriela Fay is a grade 11 student at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts who is exploring the world of theatre both on stage and backstage. She has appeared on stage in Today Is Your and Maven. She has been working backstage in school productions for 2 years, including the Musical Theater’s production of Rent (ASM) and the Annual Revue (ASM).

BIOGRAPHIES: CAST

​JACKIE MAHONEY, Evelyn 1 Jackie Mahoney has thankfully never fallen asleep at the wheel and knows that driving tired is as dangerous as driving drunk (so don’t do it, friends). She’s a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s theatre and performance program and has been involved with theatre as an actor, director, writer, and technician for almost 10 years. Past acting credits include Sense and Sensibility and Shakespeare in Hollywood (Amicus Productions), Unity 1918 (University of Waterloo Drama), and No Exit (The Director’s Projects). Outside of the theatre, Jackie happily locks people up at Captive Escape Rooms Toronto.

​LAUREL SCHELL, Evelyn 2
Laurel Schell is an Edmonton-born performer, producer, and poet based in Toronto. Selected acting credits include Lily in Vladimir Is Dead (The Never and The Yes Collective), Luciana in Comedy of Errors (Humber Theatre), Clytemnestra in The Oresteia (Humber Theatre), and Monster in The Heart on the Ceiling (self-written and produced). Laurel is the founder of The Never and The Yes Collective, and can be seen performing her poetry around Toronto. She is also a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo and a retired competitive fighter who still likes to throw the occasional kick.

THE BALLAD OF SADIE WONG by Andrew Lee

Hardboiled detective novels, punk rock dreams, poetry, and a coffee shop romance all intersect in this story of the relationship between bookstore owner Althea Jackson and the stormy barista/lead singer: Sadie Wong.

Director: Cassidy Sadler
Stage Manager: Sophie Munden
Assistant Stage Manager: Natasha Lenartowych
​Cast: Liz Der, Remi Long, Peter McArthur

BIOGRAPHIES: CREATIVE TEAM

ANDREW LEE, Playwright
Andrew Lee is an award-winning playwright whose plays focus largely on memory and mental illness and how they are represented. His plays have been produced in both the Hamilton and Toronto Fringe Festivals, and most recently he was very proud to have his play Prayers to St. George produced in week one of the New Ideas Festival at Alumnae Theatre (Toronto) in 2016. He is delighted to again be in the New Ideas Festival and hopes to one day to become a recognized playwright in Toronto and beyond. He proudly makes his home in Hamilton, ON.

CASSIDY SADLER, Director
Cassidy Sadler is Toronto-born actor, writer, and director. She is currently completing her degree in drama and English at the University of Toronto. Cassidy participated in the 2012 New Ideas Festival as a writer, and is absolutely thrilled to be back as a director. Directing credits include: Useless Superhero Support Group (Hart House Drama Festival); Hello from the Rain (University of Toronto Drama Centre); Here Lies Henry (Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, alumna); Let My Mind Run Dry (Hart House Drama Festival); Never Swim Alone (Victoria College Drama Society); Shazam! Or, Schism on, Eternity (Hart House Drama Festival).

SOPHIE MUNDEN, Stage Manager
Sophie Munden is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto with a double major in English literature and drama. She is a cofounder of Off-Key Productions, for whom she wrote and directed What She Said, which is currently touring high schools and universities in Ontario. Other recent credits include Dreams and TOUGH! (Assistant Director, ENSEMBLE Canadian Youth Theatre), Pericles (Designer, CDTPS), and Valkyrie (Stage Manager). Sophie is thrilled to be part of the festival for the first time. 

​NATASHA LENARTOWYCH, Assistant Stage Manager
Natasha Lenartowych is a Toronto-based stage manager; her SM and ASM credits include In Conflict (U of T), Useless Superhero Support Group (VCDS), Hello from the Rain (U of T), Pericles (U of T), Drop Dead Juliet (KDSS). Natasha would like to thank Cassidy and Sophie along with her family for their endless love and support.

BIOGRAPHIES: CAST

LIZ DER, Sadie Wong
Liz Der is an actor and a mover in her final year studying drama and history at the University of Toronto. She is very excited to be a part of The Ballad of Sadie Wong and Alumnae’s New Ideas Festival. Past credits include What She Said (Off-Key Productions), The De Chardin ProjectPericles, and 4.48 Psychosis (CDTPS).

​REMI LONG, Althea Jackson
Remi Long is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she majored in drama. Her most recent stage credits include the Hart House Players’ Let my Mind Run Dry, for which she won the Donald Sutherland Award for Outstanding Performance at the U of T Drama Festival in 2015. She is excited to be back on stage and part of this show. When she is not on stage you can find her on the rugby field.

PETER McArthur, Detective Ellesmere
Peter McArthur studied theatre arts at Algonquin College decades or possibly centuries ago, and has since worked with acting teachers such as Kate Hurman and Sophie Ann Rooney. He has appeared in numerous productions in Ottawa and Toronto, including Rosencratz in Hamlet for Sock’n’ Buskin, Bartley in The Cripple of Inishmaan for The Tara Players, and Joseph (as in the one that got saddled with the baby Jesus, not the colourful coat) for Poculi Ludique Societas. He is thrilled to be working with the New Ideas Festival for the first time.

WHO KNOCKS? by Connie Guccione

Two friends reflect on their mortality resulting in an unexpected event.

Director: David Suszek
Stage Manager: Mary Barnes Amoroso
​Cast: Ruth Miller, Sandra Burley

BIOGRAPHIES: CREATIVE TEAM

CONNIE GUCCIONE, Playwright
Connie Guccione is an actor whose credits include the premiere of George F. Walker’s We the Family (Hart House), TributeA Death and the Marias (2015 New Ideas Festival), NutsMambo Italiano, and The Laramie ProjectWho Knocks? is Connie’s first play. She also wrote Road Less Travelled for Alumnae’s 2016 WriteNow.

DAVID SUSZEK, Director
David Suszek has performed as an actor, an improviser, and a clown. Selected directing credits include Eve’s PrayerIn Their GloryEglinton (New Ideas Festival), and Strange BedfellowsJars (InspiraTO Festival). Theatre interests: human dilemmas, comedy. He hopes you enjoy Who Knocks?

MARY BARNES AMOROSO, Stage Manager
Mary Barnes Amoroso’s love of theatre spans several decades. After retiring from teaching, she co-founded and ran a summer high school theatre program called Éclat School of Performing Arts. For the last two years, she has been chair of the New Play Development Group at Alumnae, and her play Not for the Faint of Heart was recently presented as part of the Alumnae Next Stage reading series. “Calling the show” for Who Knocks? is a great way to participate in this year’s New Ideas Festival.

BIOGRAPHIES: CAST

RUTH MILLER, Mary
Ruth Miller is delighted to be playing Mary in Who Knocks? This is her second role at the Alumnae, the first being the French maid Louise in Private Lives. Most recently she played Lina Paventi in Mambo Italiano with the Alexander Showcase Theatre and Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret with The Alexander Singers. With the latter, she has also been Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and Marie in Most Happy Fella, among other roles. She is a member of Act II Studio at Ryerson University’s Chang School where she takes classes and performs. 

​SANDRA BURLEY, Rose
Sandra Burley began her stage performances in the suburbs with Mississauga Players. She enjoyed a variety of roles from pantomimes to comedy and drama. More current endeavours have been with Act II Studio, a theatre school and creative drama centre at Ryerson University, the Alumnae Theatre, and dance with Attitudes master class in Markham. Sandra is delighted to join the cast of Who Knocks? at NIF 2017. Hats off to the producers and behind the scenes volunteers who bring 15 new plays to the stage in a three-week production

THE HUNGRIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD by Shannon Bramer

When Aimee invites her work-obsessed and preoccupied husband, Robert, to see a play with her, he refuses. His refusal sends Aimee on a dark and hilarious journey into the topsy-turvy world of theatre itself.  

Director: Claren Grosz
Assistant Director / Stage Manager: Teresa Bottaro
Cast: Jeanine Thrasher, Armand Anthony, Jacqueline Verellen, Jamie Rose

BIOGRAPHIES: CREATIVE TEAM

SHANNON BRAMER, Playwright
Shannon Bramer is a poet and playwright with new work forthcoming from BookThug and Groundwood Books. Her first play, Monarita, was produced in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 2010 and has since appeared in festivals across the country. She is delighted to be part of the New Ideas Festival and to have The Hungriest Woman in the World directed by the amazing Claren Grosz.

CLAREN GROSZ, Director
Claren Grosz is an emerging director, creator, and producer in Toronto. She is also the Artistic Director of Pencil Kit Productions, a company dedicated to generating new work. Selected credits: Co-Creator/Producer, Shadow Girls (Pencil Kit Productions, Rhubarb 2017); Director/Producer, Persephone (Pencil Kit Productions, Fringe 2016); Director, Cats and Dogs (New Voices, 2016); Director, The Council (NIF, 2016); AD/SM, Karla and Grif (Outlaw Theatre, 2016); Director, Macbeth (Wolf Manor Theatre, 2015).

TERESA BOTTARO, Assistant Director / Stage Manager
Teresa Bottaro teaches yoga, writes fiction, and is a lover of all arts, with aspirations to write and direct in the theatre and filmmaking industries. She recently left a ten-year career in corporate communications behind so she could pursue her passion for creative endeavours and helping others. She lives in Toronto and loves anything that titillates the senses.

BIOGRAPHIES: CAST

JEANINE THRASHER, Aimee
Jeanine Thrasher is a Toronto-based, prairie-born actor and producer. She is an emerging artist who recently completed her BFA at the University of Saskatchewan and is a graduate of the Conservatory at Shakespeare and Company. Her latest acting credits include Malcolm/Porter/Lady Macduff/Witch/et al. in Macbeth (Embrace Theatre), Alice in Mexico City (Tightrope Productions), and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare and Company–Conservatory).

​ARMAND ANTONY, Rob
Armand Antony is thrilled to be a part of the Hungriest Woman in the World cast! Recent credits include Mary RoseGame ShowCyrano (Oakville Players); Pamela’s BacheloretteEmily Strikes BackA Wicky Wedding (Plays By Bird); Crimes of the Heart (Calliope Sound); and annual appearances at the New Ideas, InspiraTO, TOP10, and WESTOA Festivals. Armand is also active in the Toronto music community as a singer/songwriter. He thanks his friends and family for their ongoing support! Follow his adventures: @armandbz.
​JACQUELINE VERELLEN, Julie
Jacqueline Verellen is an actress and singer/songwriter from Chatham, Ontario. She has played roles such as Cinderella in Into the Woods, Aida in AIDA, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Wendy in Peter Pan, and many other opera, play, and musical roles. Jacqueline trained in opera performance at the University of Western Ontario. Most recently, she won best overall actress and singer at the Canadian competition CMTC. Playing Julie in The Hungriest Woman in the World will be her first role since her move to Toronto, and she is beyond humbled and thrilled to get to bring a new character to life. 
JAMIE ROSE, Nathan
Jamie Rose recently moved to Toronto from Orillia, Ontario, to study professional communications at Ryerson University. However, after attending classes at the Second City Training Centre, he realized his passion is for performing. He went on to study theatre arts at George Brown College, where his highlight was playing Hamlet in Hamlet and Hotspur from Henry the IV Part 1 in a Shakespeare scene study directed by Geoff Pounsett and Severn Thompson. Now he attends the Acting for Media program at George Brown, learning acting techniques for the camera. Jamie is very excited to be a part of the New Ideas Festival for the first time.

THISTLEPATCH by Catherine Frid

A child psychologist and an investigative journalist try to puzzle together and expose the tragic events that led to a young girl’s death by suicide shortly after she arrived at a juvenile prison. Thistlepatch is based on a true story.

Director: Kelsey Laine Jacobson
Stage Manager: Emilie Callan
Cast: Roxanne Deans, Cassandra Guthrie, Kristoffer Pedlar, Melinda Jordan, Andrea Lyons

BIOGRAPHIES: CREATIVE TEAM

​CATHERINE FRID, Playwright
Catherine Frid’s produced plays include AfterWise (Suicide Awareness Council), Burying Toni (Alumnae), The Bold Canadian (Arts and Letters Club) Homegrown (SummerWorks and others), GuineaPigging (Alumnae), and Dead Cat Bounce (Toronto Fringe and others). She has been Playwright-in-Residence at Mixed Company Theatre and Artist-in-Residence at Osgoode Hall Law School, where Thistlepatch was first developed. Catherine’s publications include Our Voices: Senior Selfies, and This Isn’t Toronto in Long Story Short, a 10-minute play anthology. Upcoming: Half Full (Mixed Company Theatre school tour of a play about youth anxiety, April) and Our Roots Our Future (a Canada 150 project, October).

​KELSEY LAINE JACOBSON, Director
Kelsey Laine Jacobson is a current PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama. She is a director, designer, and dramaturg, and holds an MA in Theatre and Performance from the University of London. Past directing credits include Stuck (New Ideas Festival), The Sonnet Show (Humber River Shakespeare), Roaming and Of a Feather (InspiraTO), Tuesdays and Sundays (Fifth Company Lane), The Drowsy Chaperone (Blue Canoe Productions). Kelsey is also a lighting designer, most recently for Antigone (Alumnae Theatre) and The Crucible (Kindling Collective), and she has several dramaturgy credits as a Junior Researcher at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. 

​EMILIE CALLAN, Assistant Director / Stage Manager
Emilie Callan holds a B.A. in theatre and French literature from the University of Ottawa. Her most memorable projects include director of La Boutique de l’Orfèvre (The Jeweler’s Shop by Karol Wojtyla) as part of a symposium in Quebec City, and stage manager of Coeur à gaz (The Gas Heart by Tristan Tzara) for a course project at the University of Ottawa. She currently works as a television producer and is delighted to return to the theatre as a stage manager for the New Ideas Festival. This is her first project with the Alumnae Theatre.

BIOGRAPHIES: CAST

ROXANNE DEANS, Flora
It’s been 13 years since Roxanne Deans stepped on stage, and she is thrilled to be returning with the New Ideas Festival. During her “retirement,” Roxanne focused on writing and literacy advocacy – owning a book store until 2010 – and more recently with the StoryMobs project and her work at The Children’s Book Bank. Some writing credits include a new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac co-written with Chris Coculuzzi *2014 ACT-CO Thea Award; Piecing Together Pauline with Chris Coculuzzi (Toronto Fringe 2012); and Wally, her first play (staged at NIF in 2000). Favourite acting credits include Celestina (Cloud Tectonics); Goneril (Lear’s Daughters);
​Daysi (The Winged Man); Beatrice (Much Ado about Nothing); and Roxane (Cyrano de Bergerac).

CASSANDRA GUTHRIE, Norma / Mrs Dean
Cassandra Guthrie attended Brock University, where she graduated from the drama program with a concentration in performance, and has since been pursuing a professional acting career. Cassandra has been privileged to work on a variety of productions in theatre, film, and television, including Calpurnia in How to Kill a Mockingbird (Lyndesfarne Young Company) and Rachel Brown in Inherit the Wind (Scarborough Players); she also appeared in Drake’s “Energy” Music Video. In addition to taking part in New Ideas Festival, she is currently involved in a theatre workshop, The Other Side of the Box, which will have its staged reading in mid-February.

​KRISTOFFER PEDLAR, Victor / Shawn / James
Kristoffer Pedlar is a Toronto-based actor and writer. Selected credits include Romeo and Juliet (Hart House Theatre), Empire of the Magic Beanstalks (Toronto Fringe), Utah’s Crying (Hard Count Productions), Yellowface (Fu-Gen/Hart House Theatre), Tarrare: A Story of Hunger (Suspicious Moustache/Toronto Fringe) and All or None (Toronto Fringe), which he also co-wrote.
Kristoffer is making his third appearance at the New Ideas Festival having previously performed in both Royal Seasons and Ganga’s Ganga. Currently he is working on a number of writing projects, including writing for Good Read Magazine, and he also works behind ​the scenes at Solar Stage Children’s Theatre.

MELINDA JORDAN, Jean / Penny / Coroner
Melinda Jordan is a classically trained actor with a degree from the conservatory program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Recent Toronto credits include Jean Fordham in Alumnae Theatre’s production of August: Osage County and performing as a member of Plain Stage Theatre’s ensemble in The Laramie Project. Prior to that, Melinda spent two years as ASM with Jubilations Dinner Theatre in Edmonton. Favourite roles include Jo in The Lady from Dubuque and Jo in Little Women. Melinda also enjoys singing and hip hop dance. Many thanks to my family and BAS for the inspiration.

​ANDREA LYONS, Ann / Warden
Andrea Lyons was part of the ensemble cast for Plain Stage Theatre’s recent production of The Laramie Project. Here at Alumnae, she performed the role of Ivy in August: Osage County on the main stage last spring. This is her fourth outing with the New Ideas Festival, having taken on roles in Shakespeare’s BrainBrockfest, and Surrender Dorothy. For 11 seasons, she was the voice of Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective in the podcast series Black Jack Justice with the award-winning Decoder Ring Theatre.

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