Close this search box.

​​​​​​33rd Annual

New Ideas Festival 2021

Produced by Cassidy Sadler

​Week 1: April 14 - 18, 2021
​Week 2: April 21 - 25, 2021

The New Ideas Festival is back and going ... virtual!

Join us online and experience 9 Alumnae premieres from the comfort of your own home.
Each week features a different program of bold and groundbreaking new plays streamed via YouTube!

Ticket Prices:
$10 Ticket for individual viewers.​
$25 Group Ticket for a household of 3 or more viewers.
Save when you buy for both weeks.
Click the “Buy Tickets” button for details.

Members’ Night Special:
​Free admission for members of Alumnae Theatre Company on
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 and Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
Pre-registration is required.
Click the “Buy Tickets” button for details.

NIF 2021 · 2 Weeks! · 9 Fabulous Plays!

Week 1

April 14-18, 2021
​Streaming via YouTube

A program of 4 short plays:

A Sigh or a Wish

Can the compass and the candle guide them home?

Alpha Betty

Mind your ‘Ps’ in queue …

Pretty Little Girls

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Waiting for Mark

Afterlife is what you make it.

** Playwright/Director Talkbacks will be held following the Saturday matinee.

Week 2

April 21-25, 2021
​Streaming via YouTube

A program of 5 short plays:

Another Day

Silent phones … two disconnected people … some cookies … Once upon a time …


Trina went to see the world and came back … a little less there.

Lost Season

A grandmother and her granddaughter adapt a treasured tradition to heal and move forward together.


A mother’s dilemma: save herself or her child?

The Equivalent of Sensation

Dichotomy: the coquette can have the soul of a prude, while the spinster is possessed by the tropics.

** Playwright/Director Talkbacks will be held following the Saturday matinee.

New Ideas Festival 2021 Plays

A Sigh or a Wish
by Phyllis Jacklin
Directed by Samantha DeVries

A stormy night in Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia. During the August Gales of 1927, three generations of women wait for the fishermen of the family to return from sea. Navigating tension and uncertainty, they share stories, handiwork, and music, proving the timelessness of resilience and love.

Alpha Betty
by Bear Kosik
Directed by Nance Gibson

Five women waiting for a washroom try to play the alphabet game. Like the line, their game progresses in fits and starts, until one lady explodes with a ‘P’ stream.

Another Day
by Emanuelle Delle Piane tr. Kristine Greenaway
Directed by Kit Simmons

Two strangers meet at a public phone booth. She is trying to reach someone who hasn’t turned up to meet her; he needs to call for service repairs to his landline. As they wait for the phone to ring, they discover each other — two lonely souls who realize it’s not the phone they need but each other.

by Jen Frankel
Directed by Jen Frankel

Years after returning from travelling the world, a woman finally opens up about the experience that changed her forever.

Lost Season
by David Beardsley
Directed by Catherine Hume

A grandmother and her granddaughter mourn a shared loss. They try, as best they can, to adjust to disrupted lives. With a treasured tradition reminding them of their pain, they create a new tradition that both honours their loss and helps find joy in the new life they share.

by Lawrence Aronovitch
Directed by Leslie Ann Walcott

After years of trying, Ruth is finally pregnant. But then she learns she has cancer. Does she treat the disease or protect her unborn child? A story about motherhood, its selflessness and selfishness, and the constantly changing relationship between parent and child.

​Pretty Little Girls
by Janet Lewis
Directed by Diana Di Mauro

Helen is excited that her daughter Katie is to be photographed. Katie never wanted her picture taken. Her little sister Allie didn’t know her picture was being taken. Everyone but the photographer is crushed.

The Equivalent of Sensation
by Arianna Rose
Directed by Cassidy Sadler

Baltimore, Paris and Italy. The turn of the century. Sisters Etta and Claribel Cone are among the earliest collectors of modern art, championing Matisse and Picasso. But when Etta falls in love with writer and salonnière, Gertude Stein, she struggles to break from her Victorian mores. A story of art, defiance and the glory of femininity.

Waiting for Mark
by Annie Massey
Directed by Joel Haszard

Facebook: a glorious mess of brags and blags, cat pix, hilarious memes and hoaxes. Four strangers post selfies at the exact moment of their deaths. They slip into a beige halfworld. There’s betrayal, victory, redemption, and birthdays — but how do they get out? And who sent the mysterious envoy? Everyone is Waiting for Mark.

New Ideas Festival Producer

Cassidy Sadler
A director, actor and now producer, Cassidy began working with Alumnae at age 17. She was a writer in NIF 2012 and directed for the festival 2017 through 2021. She is passionate about new works, immersive experiences and experimental theatrical forms. Cassidy has performed in London, New York and even Barrie, ON. She is a permanent company member of Live History, whose site-specific work can be seen internationally. Additional credits include: The Curious Voyage (DLT, actor); If You Know Emmaline (Paraphrased Productions, director); Tideline (Hart House Theatre, actor); and Belle Darling Klondike Queen (Alumnae, assistant producer).

Background ·
New Ideas Festival (NIF)

NIF was founded in the late 1980s by Molly Thom and Kerri MacDonald as “a laboratory to develop new talent and new theatrical ideas.” Since then, NIF has played and continues to play a role in playwright and script development, and has also provided opportunities for many Toronto directors, actors, stage managers, and technicians at an early stage in their careers.

Many practicing theatre artists over thirty years have participated in the festival, including Florence Gibson, Dave Carley, Emil Sher, Michael Redhill, Mark Brownell, Sue Minor, Brian Quirt, Wayson Choi, Clem Martini, Shirley Barrie, Jordan Hall, Erin Shields, Norman Yeung, Andrea Scott, and Rose Napoli, to name just a few.

The scripts: often they only ever have one production, especially the very short ones. But some have gone on to other theatres and festivals, further development, and a longer life.

For example, Theory, by Norman Yeung, which began as a workshopped reading in NIF 2010, was later produced at SummerWorks 2010 and Alumnae’s FireWorks 2013, received several readings at various theatres, and won the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2015.

Theory was programmed as part of Tarragon’s 2018–19 season.

Other recent NIF plays that have been subsequently produced elsewhere include Better Angels: A Parable by Andrea Scott (SummerWorks 2015); Radical by Charles Hayter (Toronto Fringe 2014 and FireWorks 2015); The Creases in My Sari by Sindhuri Nandhakumar (FireWorks 2016); and, This Will Be Our Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, Surrender Dorothy by Liz Best, and GASH by Caitie Graham (FireWorks 2017); and Omission by Alice Abracen (Alumnae Theatre Company 2018).

However, NIF is not just about developing individual plays, but also serves as a stepping stone in the development of the playwrights and other theatre artists, who need opportunities to test their playwriting, directing, acting, or technical skills. Established playwrights have tried out first drafts at NIF, and emerging artists have gained experience that has helped them move on to the professional theatre world.

From Carolyn Zapf ‘s 2018 article, “New Ideas Festival – Thoughts on Turning Thirty”.


Please Wait
Talking to the Box Office...

Scroll to Top
alum members throwing cards in the air


Adventurous theatre, Special offers , updates and Opportunities!