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April 24 - May 5, 2024

New Ideas Festival

Proudly entering its 36th 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.

Week 1 (April 24-28, 2024)

This Woman is an Island

Written by Hope McIntyre
Directed by Madelaine Rose

One cold night in 1960, Kate bursts into the Brandon Mental Institute seeking help. She is doubting her sanity and experiencing fever dreams. After fighting all her life, perhaps it is time to rest. A kind nurse is inspired by the wild adventure that Kate’s life truly was. Based on the true story of Kate Rice, Canada’s first female prospector.


Written by Natalie Stephenson
Directed by Barbara Larose

Spanning five years, the breakdown of a marriage and the relationship between parents and their firstborn child: one story, three people, three different versions. Everything is just fine.

Just for Tonight

Written by Sheila Toller
Directed by Erin Jones

Caring for a loved one with dementia isn’t fun, but it can be funny. And reality is more negotiable than you might think. Jane reflects on a year of living with her elderly aunt, who is only staying “just for tonight.”

Mirror Images

Written by Jean Sheppard
Directed by Mel Thompson

“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror?” (Maya Angelou) Mirror Images focuses on the decisions four women must make at a pivotal moment in their lives.

Week 2 (May 1-5, 2024 )

Double Down Helix

Written by Carolyn Bennett
Directed by Nicole Anne Smith

Who are U? Your DNA can tell you. Find out using our kit. All it takes is your saliva. Just spit and ship. Easy! Learn the story of you – Patricia Taylor – for 50 percent off the regular price.

A Little Bite of Paradise

Written by Melanie Stevenson
​Directed by Ilana Linden

After a mother loses her son to an opioid overdose, her son’s teenage drug dealer, Wayne, loses a big delivery. Does the dead boy’s mother have anything to do with its disappearance, and why does she insist on hiring Wayne to help in her garden?

Victorian Closet Drama

Written by Nina Kaye
Directed by Kyra Keith

In a small but well-furnished Toronto parlor in the late 1800s, the eccentric Luff family holds a dinner party and stages a theatrical play in the dining room, hoping to gain the admiration of the exacting Jewells. It is not likely to go well. A silly play that playfully swipes at gender roles, conventional marriage, and the nuclear family.

Je Suis Morte

Written by R.J. Downes
Directed by Ivana Obradovic

The Performance Artist known as Salon is presenting a revival of her very first production “Je Suis Morte.” Is the show as pretentious as it sounds? Is there deeper meaning behind the opaque words and movement of the artist? What is really going on, and what does it all mean?

Co-Artistic Producers


Kimmie is an actor who writes, directs, and produces! She trained at both the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Alumnae highlights include performing in The Trip to BountifulIn The Next RoomFemale of the Species, and String of Pearls.



Brenda’s career journey in theatre included seven years at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, the founding of MythMakers, which provided production and management support to 80 arts organizations and became Brenda’s vehicle for video creation, and 13 years as administrative producer for international festivals—World Stage, Harbourfront Children’s Festival, Festival de theatre des ameriques, and Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. At the Alum, Brenda has directed The Trip to Bountiful (2020), Stepping Out (2016), and several shorts for the New Ideas Festival, which she also co-produced for three seasons.


Pat is a Producer/Director/Actor/Arts Consultant Producer for New Ideas Festival for 10+ seasons, Write Now for the New Play Development group, and two Mainstage shows. She has directed for New Ideas, the Toronto, Hamilton and London, Ontario, and Edinburgh, Scotland, Fringe Festivals, main stage shows for the Village Playhouse and the ROM, and for Children’s Peace Festivals in Greece and Turkey. As well, she has been dramaturg and director for numerous new works, staged readings, and workshop productions, including Zoom productions during the lockdown.


Carolyn Zapf is a writer, dramaturg, and publishing professional. She is currently editing several non-fiction books for the University of Toronto Press and a poetry collection for an independent press. As a playwright, she has written commissioned works for theatres across Canada and was the first playwright-in-residence for the National Theatre School of Canada (English section). For Alumnae Theatre, she has served as co-artistic director/producer and dramaturg of the New Ideas Festival, as well as dramaturg for FireWorks Festival and Big Ideas. She is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.

The Production Team


Tsipporah Shendroff is an actor/writer/producer/hot mess with a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Brock University. Favourite acting credits include Meet Chloe (Carousel Players), King Ubu, and Sunday on the Rocks (Brock University). Stage managing credits include Thy Name is Woman (Into the Abyss Productions) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Panoply Collective). She’s trying her best. 




Lamesha Ruddock, a cultural producer, stage manager, performance artist, and dedicated historian specialises in 20th-century Black British feminist history. Her immersive theatrical experiences ignite engagement with Black diasporic history, empowering creative expression. Lamesha has had stage management roles on Hamilton West End and at the Royal Court Theatre and was Co-Executive Director of Boundless Theatre in 2023. Currently, she’s a producer at Luminato Festival Toronto 2024 and is delving into Toronto’s Jamaican Patois history through Canada’s oldest Black Theatre Company’s Artist Mentorship Program. (Photo Credit: Diarmuid McDonald @dmcdonald on instagram)


Alumnae Theatre’s Berkeley Street entrance and the Mainstage Theatre are wheelchair accessible. ​There is a wheelchair accessible restroom on the ground floor.


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