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New Ideas Festival 2023

March 15-26, 2023

Proudly entering its 35th year, the New Ideas Festival is Alumnae’s annual showcase of new and experimental one-act plays. Witness theatrical history in the making with bold premieres from both emerging and established theatre artists.
Festival Artistic Director: Cassidy Sadler
Producers: Trisha Harlan, Meliz Posta, and Sonali Sambherao
Associate Producer: JD Joute
NIF 2023 is generously supported by

Week 1 (March 15 - 19)

​Director Peron Directs

Written by Kat Meads
Directed by Sungwon Cho

* Fame for the Femmes Fatales *

​​Eva Peron is staging a play to advance the fame of three fellow women from history: Charlotte Corday, Fanny Kaplan and Violet Gibson. These three assassins/would-be assassins reluctantly star in Peron’s production, but unfortunately for Peron, her cast isn’t cooperating.

​And One More Thing …

​Written by Lonnie McGuire
Directed by Erin Jones

* Some days, you just gotta laugh. Make me laugh. *

​When two retirees meet on a park bench, one thing leads to another and another and … one more thing.

Inflections in Greatness

Written by Barry Eitel
Directed by Sophi Murias

* The best pattycake player in the world makes an earth-shattering decision. *

​A man bent on discovering the full range of human achievement. In clapping. When pattycake champion, Kirk DuSplat, announces his retirement, he’s struck by a crisis of identity, legacy and human connection.

Spell

Written by Barbara Blatner
Directed by Marijke Reinink

* I deny nothing, not your suffering, not the tainting of our clouds. *

​Fires burn, skies are thick with soot, and ash covers all thought. Their island dying, Ariel and Caliban demand that colonizing sorcerer Prospero restore the beauty of their now polluted home. A one-act riff in verse on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.​

Week 2 (March 22 -26)

Back Mirror

​Written by Sandra Castillo
Directed by Ethan Joshua

* I have come to the conclusion that this thing I have with myself is not possible. *


An adaptation of three Venezuelan poems, this story captures the essence of immigrants torn between the future, the past and the present. An avant-garde exploration of poetry, migration, saudade and survival.

​Joyce and Florence

Written by Pat Cochrane
​​Directed by Grace Lamarche

* As winter approaches, two fiercely independent women dismiss attempts to provide them housing. *

Joyce and Florence are determined to live life on their own terms. After spending the night in a Toronto park, they visit a community centre, where they refuse efforts to get them into community housing. A glimpse into the lives of two complicated women and the strong bond between them.

Recipe for a Riot Grrrl

Written by Melanie Stevenson
Directed by Ian Prinsloo

* When the punk dream dies,
what’s a Riot Grrrl do next? *


When the leader of a ’90s Riot Grrrl band decides to quit music and become a baker, her sister and bandmate fights to save their feminist punk rock dream. Will the “Filthy Sonic Surfer Girls” ride again, or will “Revolution Girl Style Now” be fair-trade chocolate and silicone bakeware?

Genieology

Written by Jean Ciampi
​​​Directed by Emma Jo Conlin

* Which witch wins with Win’s one wish, and other Puritanical problems. *


Win Edgars believes impressive ancestral lineage is the key to Bethany Harris’s heart. When he pins his hopes on an unusual genealogist and his Puritan grandmother appears in the flesh with a burning vendetta, he’s in way over his head.

FESTIVAL ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

CASSIDY SADLER/ PRODUCER

A director, actor, and producer, Cassidy began working with Alumnae Theatre at age 17 in the 2012 New Ideas Festival. She is passionate about new works, immersive experiences, and experimental theatrical forms. She has performed in London and New York, and across the Canadian Prairies. She is a permanent company member of Live History, whose site-specific work can be seen internationally. Cassidy is the Associate Producer at Roseneath Theatre. Additional credits include: A Tonic for Desperate Times (Theatre Gargantua); The Curious Voyage(DopoLavoro Teatrale/Talk is Free Theatre); and The Pride of Life and Mankind (Poculi Ludique Societas/Stan’s Cafe/Metropolitan Museum of Art).

THE PRODUCTION TEAM

TRISHA HARLAN/ ​PRODUCER

​Trisha Harlan is a multidisciplinary creative with a passion for storytelling. After graduating from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre & Film studies, she pursued postgraduate studies in Creative Writing and Publishing and has dabbled in various creative forms. She recently rekindled her passion for theatre, and her love for the craft led her to the New Ideas Festival. This marks her return to Toronto’s vibrant theatre community.

MELIZ POSTA/ ​PRODUCER

A theatre-lover first and producer second, Meliz began her career with an apprenticeship in Creative & Digital Media back in her hometown of London, UK. Realising she is no Barbra Streisand, she found her strengths lie backstage and began work as a producer in immersive theatre. After a short break from the industry and moving to Toronto in December 2022, Meliz currently works for Studio Lab Theatre Foundation and continues to experiment with songwriting for musicals. Meliz is thrilled to be joining Alumnae Theatre Company for its 35th annual New Ideas Festival.

SONALI SAMBHERAO/ PRODUCER

​Sonali is originally from Mumbai and relocated to Toronto from New York in 2020. She is a data analyst by day and enjoys writing and acting in her spare time. She maintains a blog, likeahippiearoundtheworld, where she shares her experiences living and travelling around the world. She is a trained dancer and has been a part of various Indian dance and theatre groups in Mumbai, New York, and Toronto. She is very excited about her first production experience in English theatre with New Ideas Festival 2023 and is very grateful to Alumnae Theatre for the opportunity!

ALYSSON BERNABE/ SET DESIGNER

Alysson is a 2019 TMU Theatre Graduate, with a focus in Scenic Art and Design. She has been working in the industry as a scenic painter and props person for many theatres around the city and is thrilled to be working with Alumnae for the first time as set designer. Some previous workplaces include: Canadian Stage, The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Roseneath Theatre, and Annex Children’s Theatre. Check out her portfolio at: alyssonbernabe.com

AMY REUBEN/ LIGHTING DESIGNER

Amy Reuben’s first appearance in Alumnae’s Studio Theatre was as lighting designer for the 2022 FireWorks Festival. Now she’s back with the New Ideas Festival. Amy has an extensive career in technical and production theatre in Ontario and Louisiana, freelancing as a lighting electrician and designer, lighting director, technical director, assistant stage manager and stage manager for theatre, dance, literary and music festivals, opera, and corporate productions since 1982. A self-producing playwright, Amy is a member of The Dramatists Guild, founder of District Productions NOLA, and a member of NPD at the Alumnae.

ALYSSON BERNABE/ SET DESIGNER

​Catherine approaches each script, song, and day as an opportunity to illuminate her mind and heart. She’s an actor, singer, and (as of 2022) a busker where she enjoys singing and playing guitar in the Mississauga community. Her previous performance credits include Horned Spirit/Skeleton Two in the site-specific premiere of Ghost Light (directed by Za Hughes) and Electra in an immersive production of The Oresteia (directed by Tyler J. Seguin), as well as being a co-creator/ensemble member of the devised piece The Places We Are (directed by Rob Kempson). She would like to thank the NIF team for this new opportunity!

CONNOR PRICE-KELLEHER/ ​ALUMNAE TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

Connor is a technical director, photographer, and clown with a decade of experience in the theatrical industry across Ontario. He is beyond excited to be working at Alumnae Theatre as the TD for the current season and hopes to see you at a show! As a professional, he gets way too excited about breakfast for dinner and believes if everyone learned to juggle the world would be the best place.

ALYSSON BERNABE/ SET DESIGNER

Matthew Bird Loreto is a graduate of what’s now called OCAD University and has been a freelance animator, motion designer, and video content producer for over thirteen years. He has worked with a variety of clients ranging from provincial and federal labour unions to large commercial clients such as BMV, Shopify, and McDonalds to name only a small few. With an interest in many hobbies and creative pursuits, Loreto is most fulfilled engaging with the community and meeting new and interesting people. He can be found on Instagram: @inthebirdnest.

LESLIE RENNIE/ WARDROBE MANAGER

RAZIE BROWNSTONE/ PROPS MANAGER

ADRIENNE WINTERHELT/ ASSISTANT PROPS MANAGER

JONATHAN PRESTON/ PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

SHANE REUBEN-McEVOY/ PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

​Leslie has been the wardrobe manager at Alumnae Theatre since 2018. She continues to rely on the advice and counsel of her wonderful mentor, Margaret Spence. She considers it delightful to help directors and actors find and/or create costumes to suit their needs.

KATHERINE WELSH/ ​MARKETING COORDINATOR

Katherine is an immersive theatre enthusiast, recent graduate of Queen’s Film and Media, and excitable theatre creative trying to have the most fun possible working in Toronto! She has been director of marketing for Alumnae Theatre (2020/21 Full Season, 2021/22 Mainstage shows and company promotion, 2022/23 Mainstage shows and NIF 2023), Rare Day Projects (Leap of Faith, 2022), and Queen’s Students on Broadway (Stricken! Pursued by a Bear, 2021 and Leads Indiana, 2019). Katherine is currently looking for new opportunities in theatre marketing or production roles. Shoutout to her exceptional partner Ryan and foster dog Gamboge. #adoptdontshop”

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