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2018/19 SEASON

New Ideas Festival 2019 - WEEK 2

March 13 – 17, 2019
Produced by Ilana Linden, Simone Goldberg and
Meredith Heinrich

WEEK 2: March 13 – 17, 2019


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New Ideas Festival 2019

🌟Week 2 - Show times

March 13 –17, 2019  in the Studio

A program of four short plays:

· The Indomitable Mrs. Rothman
· Little Angels 
· The Trouble with the Garden 
· Almost ​
** Playwright/Director Talkbacks will be held following the Saturday Matinee performances.

A Rehearsed Reading * 

Waiting for Attila  

​Saturday March 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm  ·  in the Studio

Wed. March 13, 2019
8:00 pm​
Thurs. March 14, 2019
8:00 pm​
Fri. March 15, 2019
8:00 pm
Sat. March 16, 2019
2:30 pm & 8:00 pm
Sun. March 17, 2019

NOTE: * The Rehearsed Reading requires no reservations and is  Pay-What-You-Can. ​
** A Playwright/Director Talkback will be held following the Saturday Reading. 

Waiting for Attila, March 16, 2019 ·
Sat. 12:00 pm


by Tajlei Levis 

Directed by Simone Goldberg

The financial crisis of 2008 has trapped divorcee Phyllis Rothman in her grand Park Avenue apartment which she can’t afford to keep, but is unable to sell.  Her ex-husband, a recently fired Wall Street tycoon, proposes a strategy to help each other until the economy improves..

Tajlei Levis is a playwright and lyricist, and creator of site-specific, immersive mysteries. She wrote book and lyrics for the Jazz Age Edith Wharton musical Glimpses of the Moon, which is published by Samuel French. Other musicals include  A Time to be Born, based on Dawn Powell’s 1942 novel, and The Bootlegger & The Rabbi’s Daughter, developed at the Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont. Tajlei is a graduate of Columbia College and NYU Law School. She is a member the Dramatists Guild.

Simone Goldberg, Director
Simone Goldberg is honoured to be a Producer (and Director) at this year’s New Ideas Festival. She recently joined the Board of The Alumnae Theatre and and finished a production at the Village Playhouse. Her roles in theatre have varied from working in Producing, Directing and Stage Management but her love for the art has always remained constant. She has been privileged to have worked at National Arts Centre, Centre Stage Productions and Toronto Free Theatre. At the community level she performed in the CHAT Alumni musicals and Produced and directed 6 Musicals at Beth Emeth Players. Simone would like to thank the numerous volunteers, mentors who have helped bring this Festival to life.

Samantha De Vries, Stage Manager/Assistant Director
Sam is thrilled to work with the New Ideas Festival and the Alumnae Theatre on the
comedic and important play, The Indomitable Mrs. Rothman. Sam is a recent graduate from Rochester College in Michigan, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. With a few Toronto productions under her belt already, Sam looks forward to continuing her art in this beautiful city.


Colleen Simm,  Phyllis Rothman
Colleen has been involved with the Alumnae Theatre for 3 years and has enjoying reading for a number of new playwrights. Her previous involvement with NIF was on the programming committee for two seasons and she is thrilled to be on-stage as part of this years New Ideas Festival.  She has been involved with community theatre for over 25 years and is currently pursuing voice-over opportunities now that she is retired. She is currently taking improv classes with Second City and will be directing this spring for the Richmond Hill Curtain Club.

Alex Bortoluzzi, David Rothman
Alex is very pleased to be returning to the New Ideas Festival stage after a seven-year absence. In the interim, he has appeared in numerous productions  for various Toronto based community theatre groups– most recently in Dreamtheatre Productions’ Dirty Rotten Scoundrels earlier this year. Thanks to Simone for her confidence in me and guidance during the process. Thanks also to my fellow cast members who made this an enjoyable experience. Enjoy the show.

Chenyi Guo, Mai
​Originally from China, Chenyi completed her education in the US in the field of accounting. After a few years of professional experience and becoming a CPA in California, she decided to make a change to pursue her childhood dream to be an actor. Since moving to Toronto in 2018, Chenyi has been actively taking training courses and seeking performance opportunities. Still an actor in training, she is very excited to be on the stage of NIF.

Sundance Nagrial, Yasmin
This is Sundance Nagrial, Live on Location! Art & Rock N Roll will Save your Soul!
Recent Credits: Father in How May I Help You? (Lighthouse Troupe/The Box Studio)
Cordelia in Ladies Sigh No More (Daisy Prod./Red Sandcastle), Zuka in We The Men (Toronto Fringe 2018), Mom in The Cardboard Countess (Toronto Fringe 2018), Charmian in Antony & Cleopatra, (Secret Shakespeare2018 / Theatre Centre) Currently in pre-production for my debut short film: HUSSFUSS ​​


​by Ramona Baillie

Directed by Anne Harper

Ellie has to rush to the hospital to be with her dying mother but can’t find anyone to look after her baby. When Fiona, a new neighbor, arrives at her door, a desperate Ellie accepts her offer to babysit.

Ramona Baillie, Playwright
Ramona writes for both film and stage.  Theatre writing credits include: A Better Place (Factory Theatre), A Little Happiness (Edmonton International Fringe/Alumnae Theatre), You Have to Earn It (FireWorks), I’m Still Here (Central Alberta Theatre / New Ideas Festival / The Arts & Letters Club), Babies (Central Alberta Theatre) and I’m Still Here, Drowning My Sorrow (The Heliconian Club).  Ramona has also produced six plays for the Alumnae and directed three musical comedies at Toronto’s Arts & Letters’ Club.  Her film scripts are produced internationally and have won various awards.   Ramona is a recipient of the HRPA Honorary Life Award.

Anne Harper, Director
​Anne has been involved with New Ideas as a Producer, Director and Actor in the past few years, and now she’s back (again!) as a Director. Previous work for NIF, as a Director, includes Two Weeks in Normandy and Gloria’s Guy.  On the MAINSTAGE she has Directed Gloria’s Guy (the full play) and last season’s Omission. Elsewhere directing credits include Lady Windermere’s FanThe Lion in Winter, Humble Boy and, most recently Perfect Wedding and Anybody for Murder at the Village Playhouse. She really enjoys the challenges and excitement of new works

Sean O’Brien, Stage Manager/Assistant Director
Sean received his B.F.A. in Acting at the University of Windsor, then his M.F.A. in Theatre Directing at East 15 Acting School, where he continued to act in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls. Since co-founding Skipping Stones Theatre,  he’s directed 4.48 Psychosis, Coriolanus, and Hamlet(s)Moral Deficit is his first full-length play, initially performed at the 2017 Hamilton Fringe.


Cecily Smith,  Fiona
Cecily Smith is a versatile actor, director, choreographer and theatre education specialist, with extensive performance experience across the US. She is a Theatre Performance graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Cecily’s selected stage roles include Marian in the US premiere of The Edible Woman (Ann Arbor), Lady Di in Brentwood Blondes (Los Angeles), Carol in Oleanna (Cincinnati) and the lead role of Sarah in the movie Blood Proposal. Cecily is a writer and a certified stage combatant with Fight Directors Canada. Cecily and her family now make their home in Toronto.

Mallory Palmer,  Ellie
Mallory Palmer is new to the stage at Alumnae Theatre but has acted in Toronto for five years. Her recent credits include The Windless DaysOffice Romance, and The Last Goodbye.

Ian Goff,  Jessie /Dwayne
Ian Goff is an actor and theatre creator based in Toronto. Active in physical theatre, film, TV,
improv and music, Ian has performed across four provinces and two countries.
Selected theatre credits include DIANA (I knew you when we were 14) (Falling Iguana Theatre), Tree Boy & Jillian Jiggs (To Be Determined Theatre co.), A Record Of Us (Solo Chicken Productions). Ian is very excited to be part of the New Ideas Festival!​


​by Diane Forrest

Directed by Christina Sousa

God has some 'splainin to do. Will a trip back to the beginning help us understand why life is the way it is? 

Diane Forrest, Playwright
Diane Forrest’s plays Life and How To Avoid It and Magda’s Beauty Secrets have appeared at the Toronto Fringe, and she has had numerous performances and readings at Alumnae Theatre, including Tea on New Year’s Eve and Work and How to Enjoy It. Her plays have won or placed in various competitions. Forrest is also an award-winning magazine journalist and has published several books. She is the founder of Alumnae’s annual Write Now Playwriting Competition and the New Play Development group (NPD). Her proudest theatrical moment was acing her graduation performance at John Turner’s Baby Clown Class.
Christina Sousa, Director
Christina Sousa is a director, theatre creator and actor. Christina has a Graduate Degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from YorkU. She recently directed her thesis show [Pre]Judas, an original collective about shared experiences of othering and being betrayed by fellow “friendly” Canadians. Christina’s most recent acting credits include a remount of The Vagina Monologues as well as Theatre Passe Muraille’s Open Rescue in the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. Christina is known for her incredibly accurate impression of Robert De Niro and for being a great conversationalist. She is excited for her Alumnae debut with The Trouble with the Garden.


Aviva Fleising, Stage Manager/Assistant Manager
​Aviva Fleising is the General Manager of the Canadian Dance Assembly and an independent artist. Under the banner of Tziporah Productions, Aviva has produced two full length interdisciplinary productions as well as a number of smaller works for events such as the Montreal Fringe Festival, Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend, Feats Festival, Ignite Festival, Series 8:08, and Second City’s Late Night Cabaret. Aviva enjoys exploring the crossover between dance and theatre and is thrilled to take part in Alumnae’s New Ideas Festival. Aviva is also a participant in the InspiraTO Director’s Toolbox program where she will direct her first play this spring.  

Shakila Fernando,  God
Shakila began her acting journey doing high school theatre and performing regularly in school plays and the SEARS Drama Festival. She completed her Essentials for Acting Diploma with the Toronto Academy of Acting for Film & Television in 2017 and since then has participated in several productions including short films affiliated with Sheridan and Humber Colleges, a commercial for Google Play Audiobooks and is developing her own projects with fellow filmmakers. She is currently returning to her theatre roots with Alumnae Theatre and is looking forward to pursuing more diverse roles and projects.

Christian Tribuzio,  Adam
Christian is an actor, producer, director, and playwright who trained at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto’s Theatre and Drama Studies program. Previously, he featured as Billy in High Life (Beyond the Round), The King in Rumpelstiltskin (Solar Stage Theatre), and John Proctor in The Crucible (Theatre Erindale). His company, Parcel Face Productions, has screened their award winning films on an international scale, including the Cannes Film Festival. Christian is driven to be a thriving player of both stage and screen, actively pursuing engaging and inspiring projects.

Jocelyn Feltham, Eve
Jocelyn Feltham is very pleased to perform her first show with Alumnae Theatre! She graduated from George Brown Theatre School two years ago, and has since been in several short films and commercials. Although she loves film and voice over work, Jocelyn is excited to be back in the theatre again, as it is where she truly feels at home.

Aaron Clapperton, Snake
Aaron Clapperton is thrilled to be making his Alumnae Theatre debut at The New Ideas Festival this year! He is an actor, dancer and director hailing from Newmarket, ON. Aaron is a proud graduate of The Arts Huron Program at Huron Heights Secondary School and The Performing Arts Preparation Program at Sheridan College. Recent theatre credits include: How May I Help You? (The Lighthouse Troupe), One Song Glory (The Musical Stage Company), The Producers (The LOT), In the Silence of a Scream (Sheridan College & Theatre Erindale). Special thanks to his family for their constant love and support.


​by Taryn Crankshaw and Jessica Marshall

​Directed by Ronak Singh

Sadie, a technician specializing in the medium of virtual reality, faces a moral dilemma when she is forced to revisit a client’s archive.

Taryn Crankshaw, Playwright
Taryn is an actress and playwright. As an artist, she has worked on projects for Frost Bites Festival, Supercrawl, Hamilton Fringe, and the Canadian Musical Theatre Writers Collective’s An Evening With Stephen Schwartz. In 2016, her script Flicker, was the winner of Sheridan College’s 3X3 Screenplay Competition. As an actress, she recently appeared on the television series, The Weather Files (Blue Ant Media). Credits include: Below Average Josie (Women’s Work), The Brave Space (HERstoryCounts), Unity: (1918) (McMaster) and May (Cloudy Pixels Productions). Taryn currently works for the Toronto International Film Festival, is a member of Blending Reality Productions and Theatre Aquarius’ professional development program, The Junction.

Jessica Marshall, Playwright
Jessica Marshall is Artistic Director of Blending Reality Productions and a graduate of McMaster University with a double major in Multimedia and Theatre & Film Studies. She also received her TV Writing Certificate and Producer Certificate at Raindance Toronto. She has worked as a director, assistant director, writer, cinematographer and editor. Jessica’s short film Repossession, which she co-wrote and directed, was accepted into several film festivals and she was interviewed by CinéWomen Cahiers, where she discussed her inspiration behind the film. In 2016, she served as the director of the Site Committee for the Frost Bites Festival and was a member of ALERT, a training program for site-specific theatre.

Ronak Singh, Director
A big Thank You to Jessica and Taryn for trusting me with their script and to the wonderful cast and crew for all their dedication and hard work.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs
“There are no accidental meetings between souls.” – Sheila Burke

Carrie Villeneuve,  Stage Manager/Assistant Director
Carrie is very excited to join Alumnae Theatre and the New Ideas Festival. It’s been a wonderful experience working with such talented and committed artists. Thank you Taryn and Jessica for the script, thank you Ronak and Natalie for the vision, and thank you Olivia and Laura for the life you give these characters.


Natalie Poirier,  Movement Coach
Born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, Natalie’s passion for dance and performing was evident at a very young age. In 2007, Natalie was inspired to expand her developing dance career and moved to Toronto. Since then, Natalie has worked within the music and television industries, including music videos for artists like Karl Wolf and Jully Black, performed on stages all across the world for shows such as World Pride, Nike, Walt Disney, Festival De Nice, and been in shows and commercials like Much Music and Tim Hortons. Natalie is also a qualified dance teacher, Pilates and fitness instructor, sharing her passion for dance through classes and workshops all over Canada.

Olivia Tilley,  Sadie
Olivia is so excited to have her first New Ideas Festival experience playing “Sadie” in Almost. A Toronto native, she has just recently moved back to the city after spending five years living in Ottawa studying theatre and acting at the University of Ottawa. Her Toronto stage debut was at The Commons Theatre as a part of Pulse Theatre’s production of Operation PMS From Outer Space. She hopes that everyone enjoys the show, the festival, and the beauty and emotion of the story.

Laura Mannion,  Sarah
Laura Mannion was born and raised in Montreal, where she graduated from John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre program. She holds a BFA in Acting from York University and is now based in Toronto. Select theatre credits include DidoQueen of CarthageDeportation Cast (Theatre@York), Under Milk Wood (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Laura is thrilled to be a part of the New Ideas Festival at Alumnae and would like to thank everyone involved for such a wonderful experience.

WEEK 2 - Rehearsed Reading


​by Donna Langevin and Mairy Beam

Directed by Donald Molnar

Imagine there’s a strong possibility that the world is going to end in five days. ​How would you spend the time?.

Donna Langevin, Playwright
Author of five poetry books, Donna Langevin’s plays The Man with a Butterfly Hat and If Socrates Were in my Shoes, were produced at the Toronto Alumnae Theatre New Ideas Festival in 2012 and 2018. Welcome to Nuit Blanche was produced at the Ryerson 50+ Festival 2014. The Dinner, published by Morel magazine, won first prize for script in the one act play contest for the 2014 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival as did Bargains in the New World in 2015. Donna would like to thank the NIF team and the many friends whose suggestions helped bring Waiting for Attila to life.

Mairy Beam, Playwright
Mairy Beam is a member of Alumnae Theatre and Wet Ink Collective (Vancouver). Readings in 2018: The Next Mary at PinkFest by Ergo Theatre and Let Me In at the Bodacious Series. Out and About, co- written with three others, was performed in The 4 x 3 Festival, and in Gelato Fest in 2017. Other productions include: Or The Highway, A Matter of Safety and Back to Work (Theatre Out of the Box). Thanks to Donna for a fruitful collaboration and to the New Ideas Festival for this opportunity.

Donald Molnar, Director
Don is a bilingual playwright/director living in Toronto. He has won several playwrighting competitions and awards. As a director, Don has been involved with Alumnae Theatre’s New Idea’s Festival on several occasions now, most recently directing Vicki Zhang’s new play Oracle Jane. Don is excited to be back again this year to direct a staged reading of Donna Langevin and Mairy Beam’s Waiting For Attila.

Dawnie Chomitsch, Stage Manager/Assistant Director
Dawnie A. Chomitsch is honoured to have been selected for this role for Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival, 2019. Prior to working in this role, their main relationship with theatre was from the pit of the orchestra, as the Lead Percussionist in many musical theatre productions including Calgary’s Storybook Theatre and London Musical Theatre Productions. They have also worked in theatre as a Musical Director and with set production. Dawnie has additional design and technical experience, working as a Lighting Assistant for APTN’s AMPLIFY TV series and Fruitful Productions, “Call my Name” by Deeps Music Video.


Candi Zell, Gloria
For Alumnae Theatre: Patient #5 in Sleeper, Maggie in The Tin Whistle, Carla in Summer’s End, Chaya Tova in Preparing for Passover and Claire in Where Do We Go From Here. Selected credits: Mrs. Barrymore in The Hound of the Baskervilles, Pauline in Prisoner of Second Avenue, Hanna in The Book of Ruth, Boo Levy in The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Marilla in Anne, Claire in Kiss the Moon Kiss the Sun, Comrade Chin/Suzuki in M. Butterfly, Mrs. Dubose in To Kill A Mockingbird, Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz, Lillas Pastia in Carmen, Costanza in Enchanted April.

Anne Shepherd,  Miranda
Anne is a psychiatrist and actor at Alumnae, Villager Players and Theatre Etobicoke. Last year she played in “The Dining Room” in Etobicoke and “The Ties that Bind and Gag” playing a controlling Jewish grandmother in the Toronto Fringe. She recently did a music video as a teacher kidnapped and forced to listen to rap music; next up she is a short horror film about an abused wife poisoning her husband’s sandwiches. She loves to play odd characters i.e. witch or zombie to channel her libido and aggression, she is also a folk singer with zany sense of humour.

Neila Lem, Kellie
Neila is a passionate character actor. In Alumnae Theatre’s NIF they have been “Granny Wave” in Curved by Kristin Shepherd (2016) and “a shopkeeper” in Friends with Benefits  by Neil Naft (2015). They have appeared in Rhubarb and the mainstage production of the Youth Elders Project  both at Buddies in Bad Times as well as in numerous Act2 productions the last of which was a clown and mask show, Send in the ?’s at the Red Sandcastle. Neila is tickled to be involved at NIF again.

Douglas Tindal, Warren
Douglas has acted in community theatre in Paris (no, Ontario) and the West End (no, Toronto) for a dozen years. He has worked with Alumnae Theatre, Amicus Productions (of blessed memory), Paris Performers, Theatre Brantford, Theatre Etobicoke and Village Players. Notable roles include McLeavy in Loot; Angus in The Drawer Boy; Powers in Powers and Gloria; and, most recently, Geronte in The Liar. This is his fourth outing at Alumnae, the first in a staged reading. Thanks to a talented creative team for making it a joy

​For New Ideas Festival 2019 Producer Bios:


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