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April 14-29, 2023

String of Pearls

BY MICHELE LOWE

Director: Barbara Larose
Producers: Amanda Kistindey and
Arlene Stanley

*Mainstage Theatre/105 minutes

A fateful thread of magic in the form of a pearl necklace slips from one woman’s hands to another’s. Passing through a vast myriad of women, the play offers a passport into each of their private spheres— inner worlds rich with desire, frustration, resentment, yearning, hoping.

The Director and Producers

BARBARA LAROSE/ ​DIRECTOR

Barbara studied theatre at Concordia University in her hometown of Montreal and has worked as an actor, director, dramaturge, and acting coach for many years.  Barbara has directed numerous productions at the Alumnae Theatre, including Sharon Pollock’s Blood Relations, Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being EarnestWit by Margaret Edson and The Real World? by Michel Tremblay, to name just a few. Recent directing credits also include the award-winning Seeking Refuge by Rick Jones and Life in the Raw, which she also co-wrote, both at the Toronto Fringe Festival, as well as Love Letters by A.R. Gurney, Evelyn Strange by Stewart Lemoine, and Mr. Pim Passes By by A.A. Milne at the Village Playhouse.

ELLEN GREEN/ ​ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Ellen graduated from York University in English first, went back for Dramatic Arts, which was much more fun, and then added her teaching degree in Drama. She absolutely loved directing talented young people in some of her favorite shows, including Little Shop of HorrorsAnything GoesInto the WoodsNoises Off, and Brighton Beach Memoirs. Upon retirement, Ellen joined Alumnae to continue feeding her appetite for theatre. Ellen wants to thank Alumnae for the many varied opportunities she’s been offered to direct, assistant direct, assistant stage manage, and participate on the Board, currently as Director of Training and Development.
Now, in her very fortunate role as grandmother of five girls and twin boys just over a year old, there is always exciting drama in her personal life as well. 

AMANDA KISTINDEY/ ​CO-PRODUCER

This is Amanda’s second production with Alumnae, having produced The Female of the Species earlier in the season. She attends Toronto Film School’s ‘Screenwriting for Film and Television’ program and loves seeing stories brought to life on the stage and screen.

ARLENE STANLEY/ PRODUCER

Arlene Stanley, photographer and former member of the Alumnae Theatre lighting crew, returns after fifteen years and is very excited to now venture into production. Arlene is delighted to be back, daring to do what she loves most, and is eager to contribute her wide variety of experience and knowledge to the production team. 

The Cast

SHANNON PITRE/ AMY, HELEN, JITTERS, KYLE

Shannon Pitre is a multidisciplinary actor/creator from Goderich, Ontario. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA in Acting program (2019).  Now living in Toronto, Shannon has worked across the GTA as an actor and teacher. Her passions include new play development, devised theatre, classical works, and making new connections with artists of all skillsets. Previous works include Vanessa, Inflections in Greatness (NIF 2023); Fatalia/Capitano, Commedia Noir (Tall Tale Theatre); Juliet, Measure for Measure (GLT) ; Annette, God of Carnage (University Players). She is so grateful to play, love, and learn as an actor every day. Thank you family, friends, and supporters far and wide for your encouragement!

ANDREA LYONS/ ​WANDA, FRENCH WOMAN, ABBY

Andrea is happy to be back on a stage after a pandemic-induced hiatus and thrilled to be back at Alumnae! Previous shows include August: Osage County (Alumnae), Late Company (Village Players, ACT-CO award for Best Production: Drama), Much Ado About NothingAll’s Well That Ends Well (Dauntless City Theatre), and The Sad Blisters (Glass Hammer Productions).  Andrea is cohost/coproducer of SNAK The Show, a weekly four-minute talk show that celebrates Canadian talent. Check it out at snaktheshow.com

NATALIE STEPHENSON/ BETH AT 74 & 39, DENISE, VICTORIA

A graduate of QUT (Theatre Studies), Natalie has made Toronto her home since January 2022, Recent credits include Thistlepatch (Fireworks 2022), Gloria’s Guy (Bloor Village players), and Government Inspector (Javeenbah Theatre company) She is excited to share the story of String of Pearls with you.

SANDY RAMDIN/ RANDY, JOSIANNE, JEWELER

Sandy is excited and thankful to be part of the Alumnae Theatre Mainstage production of String Of Pearls and grateful to be able to tell the stories of these women. Sandy developed her love of acting and theatre when she enrolled in theatre class to overcome extreme shyness. Her love of the art form has only developed and grown since. Sandy has been in productions of MacbethRomeo and Juliet and, most recently, Albertine in Five Times for Alumnae Theatre. Sandy would also like to extend a thank you to our wonderful director, Barbara, and the wonderful cast and crew of String of Pearls.
Thank you for the experience, insight, and growth. 

GEORGIA FINDLAY/ ​LINDA, ERICA, CINDY

Georgia (she/her) is a Toronto-based actor, playwright, producer, painter, and graduate of George Brown Theatre School. Selected credits include Joan Fontaine (Joan & Olivia: A Hollywood Ghost Story, Toronto Fringe – also playwright), Sister Helen (Penance, Newmarket National Play Festival), Jenny (Indifference, NNPF), Sarah (Like a Kite, NNPF), Mrs. Clandon (You Never Can Tell, George Brown Theatre School), Arsen Kazbeki/The Fat Prince (The Caucasian Chalk Circle, GBTS), Josie Hogan (Moon for the Misbegotten, GBTS), and Ferdinand (The Duchess of Malfi, GBTS). Georgia is thrilled to be making her Alumnae Theatre debut in String of Pearls and is so grateful to share the stage with so many incredible women. 

KIM CROSCUP/ ROBERTA, ELA, ZOE, CHERYLE

Kim is an actor who writes, directs, and produces! Kim is a graduate of both the three-year Conservatory Program at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Neighborhood Playhouse Summer Conservatory in New York City. NYC highlights include playing Margery in Vinegar Tom, Gertrude in Hamlet, and The Friar in Romeo and Juliet. On the Alumnae Stage, she’s played Tess in The Female of the Species, Mrs. Daldry in In The Next Room, and Jessie Mae in The Trip to Bountiful. To see what mischief she is cooking up next, follow Kim on The Internets @kimcroscup.

VALÉRIE CARRIER/ ​BEVERLY, STEPHANIE, DORA

Valérie’s involvement in theatre started in Montreal where she interpreted various roles, notably Gulnara in la robe de Gulnara with Theatre Parenthèses.  Expatriated in London (UK), she got involved with the French theatre community and played in Ring (Camille), several characters from Under Milk WoodLes Belles-soeurs (Germaine Lauzon), and finally produced and played Isabelle in The Orphan Muses.  Back in Toronto, she performed in a few short movies, commercial spots, TV shows, and web series.  Also, her prior involvement with Alumnae Theatre Company included interpreting the role of Madeleine in the hybrid theatrical rendering of Albertine in Five Times and Brooke in the play Boom Baby, which was part of the 2022 edition of the Fireworks Festival.  It is also noteworthy that she is a board member of the Theatre français de Toronto.

ANNIE MASSEY/ ​GLORIA, AUNT PATTI, KYLE'S MOM, HALLIE

​Annie is an actor and playwright. She trains at ACT II STUDIO and has been on stage since 2016 in productions including Shakespeare and restoration comedy. At ATC, she has taken part in monologue festivals and numerous online playreadings. As a playwright, she has twice won the Chang School Stella Award for one-act plays, and her work has been selected for two Fresh Picks Festivals, the 2021 New Ideas Festival and the 2021 Hamilton Fringe.

The Production Team

CHARMAINE PETERS/ ​STAGE MANAGER

Charmaine is happily returning to theatre after a “short” hiatus from stage management and event production. She graduated from Theatre Sheridan in the Technical Production Program … a while ago, working on various shows over fifteen years before transitioning to interior design and construction management. Charmaine is thrilled to be working on String of Pearls with the cast and crew and looks forward to more adventures in theatre over the coming years.

BRENDA TOTMAN/ ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER

Brenda is glad to be back at Alumnae, again as ASM, for String of Pearls.  This is Brenda’s third time with a show here, and she has hopes of being on stage at some point.  She has also done work with other companies, such as Stage Centre Productions, and has been part of various shows with varying roles on and off stage, including The Odd CoupleCabaretMiracle on 34th StreetVanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike, and last season, she was a SM with the NIF at Alumnae.  Happy to be back!
​​

WANDA TAYLOR/ ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER & PROPS MANAGER

Wanda Taylor is a writer, filmmaker, and college educator. As author and playwright, she has published both fiction and nonfiction and has written and directed plays for the stage. Her production of The Reversal of Peter Dawson (which she wrote and directed) was produced by Ship’s Company Theatre and ran at the Alderney Landing Theatre in 2018. She later adapted it into a full-length novel. Wanda has filled several roles as crew, including set design, props, and assistant stage manager. She was Props Manager/Assistant Stage Manager for Alumnae Theatre’s recent production of Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike. You can find Wanda’s ramblings on Twitter @wandawriting.

VALENTINA KHANZINA/ MOVEMENT COACH & CHOREOGRAPHER

​Valentina Khanzina is a dancer and choreographer. Her interests lie at the intersection of artistic practises such as dance, physical theatre, opera, and other collaborative art forms. Valentina recently received her MA degree from the U of T’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. This is her second project with the Alumnae Theatre, and she is delighted to work in its inspiring atmosphere. 

ARLAINA TAYLOR/ ​COSTUME DESIGNER

Arlaina Taylor is a skilled fashion designer who has worked in costume for the stage for almost a decade as well as in film and television, including the CBC’s series Workin’ Moms. Arlaina is the founder and CEO of a non-profit organization that helps women with employment barriers obtain jobs in the fashion industry. She is also an actress and has numerous film, television, and stage performances under her belt, such as The Wiz, a joint Canadian/US stage production. String of Pearls is her first costume gig with Alumnae Theatre.

THERESA ARNEAUD/ ​SET DESIGNER

Theresa has been doing theatre for more years than she cares to remember and is best known for her work with the Bloor West Village Players. She has done many set designs and won an Act-co award for set design for Late Company (The Village Players). She did the set for last year’s NIF at The Alum, and she’s happy to be working with Barbara and Ellen once again on String Of Pearls.

RICK JONES/ SOUND DESIGN & COMPOSER

Toronto native Rick Jones has worked across the country in musicals such as A Chorus Line42nd StreetOklahomaKiss Me Kate, and, in 2019, Toronto Fringe audience favourite Spend Your Kid’s Inheritance. He works regularly as an actor, sound designer, composer, and choreographer at the Alumnae Theatre, was last seen in Queen Marie as Louis B Mayer, and can be seen on the small screen in Mayday and Designated Survivor.  He is also a writer/composer, and his shows include Wild Moose Chase! (Thick and Thin Theatre), The Meeting (New Ideas Festival), Millennium Madness SaleLife in the Raw (co-writer with Barbara Larose), and Seeking Refuge (Adams Award winner for best new musical script 2017) at the Toronto Fringe Festival. 

MARY JANE BOON/ LIGHTING DESIGNER

Mary Jane has worked as a set and lighting designer for over twenty-five years. This is Mary Jane’s debut with Alumnae Theatre Company, and she would like to thank the fantastic lighting crew in this theatre.  Recently, she has lit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time for Scarborough Players and The Seafarer for the Toronto Irish Players.

DANIELLE CAREY/ ​PROJECTION DESIGNER

Danielle is a Toronto-based designer and technician. She received a BFA in Theatre Production and Design from York University. Selected credits include Lighting Designer for Silence S’il Vous Plait (Illusion, Coffee and Poetry), Head à Tête (YUFFA Fringe), and Sound Operator for Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/The Musical Stage Company). Previous credits for Alumnae: Projection Designer, The Trip to Bountiful (2020), Projectionist, Boom Baby (2022), Lighting Operator, The Heidi Chronicles (2019), New Ideas Festival (2019).

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”

Accessibility

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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