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September 23 - October 8, 2022

The Female of the Species

BY JOANNA MURRAY-SMITH

Director: Victoria Shepherd
Assistant Director: Leslie Ann Walcott
Co-Producers: Amanda Kistindey and Judit Murphy

*Mainstage Theatre

Margot Mason, a thinly veiled version of Germaine Greer, has writer’s block following publication of her ground breaking polemic, The Cerebral Vagina, when in through the French windows steps one of her ex-students—with a gun. The Female of the Species frequently says the unsayable and gets away with it under cover of the spiraling comedy.

*Please note that the bar will be “cash only” until ATC implements a card-payment option this season.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE TRAILER!

The Director, Assistant Director, and Producers

VICTORIA SHEPHERD/ ​DIRECTOR

Victoria Shepherd enters her fourth decade of directing a proud member of the ATC since 2004. Victoria has directed several productions for the company’s Mainstage (Summer and Smoke, August: Osage County, In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)), New Ideas Festival (2005, 2007, 2008), Big Ideas (Oedipus Wrecks, Jegger and Malone), Next Stage (In The Chocolate Boxes, Ribbons, A Little Happiness), and its Cyber Reads Series (12 Angry Women, The Vic,, Hedda Gabler). Outside the ATC, Victoria has helmed productions at the Village Players, Amicus Productions, and the Toronto Fringe Festival as well as the premiere productions of Chloe Whitehorn’s The Pigeon and Waltzing With Puppets and Andrew Batten’s The Sad Blisters. Victoria is eternally grateful to her master carpenter husband, Brent, who completes all of her worlds, her triple threat daughter Viv, who lends her glorious voice to her soundtracks (and is making her Mainstage debut in this production), and this madcap company that has brought this rollicking production to life.

LESLIE ANN WALCOTT/ ​ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Leslie Ann “L.A.” Walcott has stage-managed various plays with the Alumnae Theatre during the Fireworks and New Ideas Festival events, and she picked up acting opportunities for a few online Cyber Reads with the company.  Female of the Species is her debut as an Assistant Director for an on-stage performance.

AMANDA KISTINDEY/ ​CO-PRODUCER

Previously a Production Coordinator for Northampton Community College, with integral roles in their annual stage shows – Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness (1998) and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1999) – Amanda has had a fair bit of experience managing stage productions for larger audiences. However, it wasn’t until she attended a mesmerizing performance of Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs at His Majesty’s Theatre (Aberdeen, Scotland) in 2000 that she fell passionately in love with theatrical performance as a mode of creative storytelling. She currently attends Toronto Film School’s Screenwriting for Film and Television program but has maintained a long-harboured desire to return to stage production, where that passion was discovered. She has been a member of Alumnae since the 2020/2021 season, and The Female of the Species marks that triumphant return in what she hopes to be the first of many co-productions with Alumnae Theatre Company.

JUDIT MURPHY/ CO-PRODUCER

Judit is an Alumnae Theatre member and first-time co-producer of a comic play, The Female of the Species written by Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by Victoria Shepherd, first performed in 2006. The play is a satire about celebrity feminists, with a plot loosely inspired by a real-life incident in 2000 when author Germaine Greer was held at gunpoint in her own home by a disturbed student. After a long break from the “Arts”, Judit recently completed a Screenwriting programme offered at the University of Toronto Continuing Studies and is currently studying Drama online presented by the University of Saskatchewan. 

The Actors

ELIZABETH FRIESEN/ ​MARGO MASON

Elizabeth is a Toronto-based actor, vocalist, playwright, director, and dramaturge, who has been onstage for as long as she could walk, talk, sing, and dance. Years of classes at various studios across the city (everything from ballet to flamenco) and classical vocal training at the Royal Conservatory of Music led to numerous lead roles in a wide assortment of musical theatre productions, as well as more traditional theatrical endeavours. Performances in Oliver!The Drowsy ChaperoneGypsySteel MagnoliasMacbethLes Misérables,The CrucibleKing LearNoises OffLove LettersSummer of Saints, and Kiss Me, Kate stand out in a long list of credits. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Elizabeth is currently affiliated with ACT II STUDIO at TMU, the Village Playhouse, and, more recently, Alumnae Theatre, performing in many of their Cyber Reads, the Big Ideas Festival, and playing Albertine at age 40 in Albertine in Five Times. Elizabeth is the proud mother of two magnificent young people and 8 cuddly cats. She is incredibly thankful for the ongoing love and support of her friends and family.

VIVIEN SHEPHERD/ ​MOLLY RIVERS

Vivien Shepherd is a triple-threat performer who started acting early. Her love for dance in nursery school led to her debut musical performance in kindergarten in Tarzan The Musical​ where her passion for storytelling and music was discovered.  She received the Vocal Music Award at KKSA (Karen Kain School of the Arts) and graduated with Honours as an Ontario Scholar from ESA (Etobicoke School of the Arts). There she majored in Musical Theatre and travelled around North America as a member of their award-winning female show choir, GLO. At ESA she also acted in several student films and began a love for that medium as well, which grew when she attended Randolph College for the Performing Arts, from which she recently graduated. Because of the pandemic, many of this year’s classes took place over ZOOM, which has furthered her interest in working on camera. Vivien has some experience in voice-over and as a vocalist on soundtracks. As a singer she has sung solo in local music venues around the city since she was 16. She has also been an arts educator at a musical theatre camp since she was 15. In addition to performing, she  has a keen interest in dramaturgy, writing, and painting and is passionate about creating from a modern, feminist viewpoint. Coming up:  Vivien is excited and honoured to have her on-screen debut playing Peyton in Mark Brombacher’s The Bloody Baxters, a part of the Hellbound Horror Festival, 2022.

KIM CROSCUP/ ​TESS THORNTON

Kim is an actor who writes, directs and produces if she has to! Kim is a graduate of both the 3 Year Conservatory Program at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Neighborhood Playhouse Summer Conservatory in New York City. Highlights include playing Margery in Vinegar Tom, Gertrude in Hamlet, and The Friar in Romeo & Juliet. This is Kim’s third Mainstage show with the Alumnae Theatre. Past performances include Mrs. Daldry in In The Next Room and Jessie Mae in Trip to Bountiful.  To see what mischief she is cooking up next, follow Kim on The Internets @kimcroscup.

CHRIS PETERSON/ ​BRYAN THORNTON

Chris is thrilled to be back under the direction of Victoria and with this terrific cast and crew, after last being on the Alumnae MainStage in In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) and August: Osage County. Other recent credits include Proof (Theatre UnBlocked), Four Hours (Alumnae New Ideas Festival), His Girl Friday (Bygone Theatre), The Program Audio Series (Podcast), The Theory of Accelerated Hotness (Glass Hammer Productions), Operation 24/Cut-Outs (Unit 102/The Assembly Theatre), and Sorry, Wrong Number/The Hitchhiker (Plain Stage). Wishing my biggest supporter – my mom – could be here, but I know she’s watching.

JOHN SHUBAT/ ​FRANK

John is a Toronto-based stage, film, and television actor who is excited to be back on the Alumnae Theatre stage. John can be seen in the series Two Brothers (Amazon Prime/OUTtv) and the upcoming psychological thriller Emerge (TLN Studios) and is currently filming the RomCom It’s All Sunshine And Rainbows (OUTtv). John is also an acting coach at TALENT INC. John would like to thank his family and friends for their continued support in this disease of a dream.
Training: University of Toronto Theatre and Performance Studies, NYU-TISCH Performing Arts, and Industry Essentials.
Other credits include SeanceFear Thy NeighborSee No EvilParanormal 911The Glass Menagerie (The Village Players), The Pigeon (Alumnae Theatre), and Pericles (HGP Playhouse).

ROB CANDY/ THEO REYNOLDS

Rob has appeared in a number of Alumnae shows including Importance of Being EarnestAugust: Osage CountyThe Lady’s Not For BurningThe Killdeer, and Blood Relations, as well as numerous NIF shows. He has also acted in many shows for the Village Players, with Scarborough Guild, East Side, and with others. Thanks very much to Victoria for including me in this show, with this talented cast and crew.

The Production Team

VICTORIA STARK/ STAGE MANAGER

Victoria was born in Calgary, AB, is a graduate of the UVic Phoenix Theatre Department, and has been a performer, improvisator, lighting/sound operator, and assistant stage manager. This production is Victoria’s third endeavour as a stage manager within this year alone. Her last two stage management credits were  In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) at Alumnae Theatre in April and Never Wonder: A New Musical at the Toronto Fringe. This production will be Victoria’s first foray into comedy and farce, and she is honoured to be working with a hardworking, generous team that makes her sides hurt with laughter. 

VALENTINA KHANZINA/ ​ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER

Valentina Khanzina is a dancer, a choreographer, and a published writer. Her interests lie at the intersection of artistic practises such as dance, physical theater, and other collaborative art forms. Valentina is currently finishing her master’s program at the U of T’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. She is focusing on research in dance narratology and exploring the communicative function of movement in the physical theatre genre, examining dance as language and narrative.

ALEXIS CHUBB/ ​SET DESIGNER

Alexis is pleased to be working with the Alumnae again.  Alexis has previously worked with Victoria on In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play and The Pigeon at Alumnae’s Fireworks Festival as well as designing for August: Osage County at Alumnae.  She has also designed Sabrina FairScotland RoadMoonlight and Magnolias, and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife with Amicus Productions and Tainted JusticeQueen Milli of Galt, and Real Estate at the Village Playhouse. 
Enjoy the show.

LIVIA PRAVATO/ ​COSTUME DESIGNER

Since starting with the play Real Estate in (2011) at the Village Players, Livia has become a stable part of Victoria’s “Dream Team” and has been entrusted with doing many of Victoria’s costume designs for plays that Victoria has directed over the years. The most prevalent would be when Livia did the costume design on the THEA/ACT-CO Award-winning play Tainted Justice at the Village Players, for which Livia was nominated for best Costume Design (2018). Other favourites are The Glass Menagerie (2019) at the Village Players and, most recently, In the Next Room/The Vibrator Play (2022) at the Alumnae Theatre, where she made her debut and was very impressed by and fell in love with the Wardrobe Department! Livia is happy to be back again at the Alumnae Theatre to work her magic on this cast and bring their characters to life through their costumes. She is also very happy be working with such a gracious and marvelous cast! Special thanks to her mother for showing her the ropes on how to sew and planting the costume design seed. Enjoy the show!

POLINA ZLOCHEVSKAIA/ PROPS MASTER

Art has always been a big part of Polina’s life in the form of music, painting, and design, but theatre has a special place in her heart. She currently studies theatre and film in university and only became an Alumnae Theatre member at the end of last year. At Alumnae, Polina jumped on board as an assistant stage manager for In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) in the beginning of 2022, a play that was also directed by Victoria Shepherd. She is honoured and very excited to be working with Victoria Shepherd and many other team members again on The Female of the Species as props coordinator and looks forward to the show!

TAMSINE ALI/ PROPS ASSISTANT

Though being new to the Toronto theater scene, Tamsine has previously enjoyed working on various small productions in her hometown and most recently worked as Assistant Director on Canadian webseries Oh, Hi Mark!and Right Under My Roof. She is a cinema studies student at the University of Toronto and is passionate about bringing life to words on a page, be it through film or theater. In her downtime, she can be found whipping up some sweet treats in her kitchen. 

BRENT SHEPHERD/ ​MASTER CARPENTER

BIO TO COME

LIAM STEWART/ ​LIGHTING DESIGN

Light–it’s off and then it’s on again. Hopefully you won’t even notice me. I enjoy sunset walks on the beach, small fields of grass and aardvarks.

JOHN CAMPBELL/ SOUND DESIGN

John has been scoring and sound designing for theatre for thirty years. In 2018 he was given the Thea award for Sound Design in Tainted Justice (by Don Nigro, directed by Victoria Shepherd) for Village Players. This year he has worked with Victoria Shepherd on In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Alumnae Theatre) and with Matty Burns on Lassojackets (Players).
   When he isn’t trying to create the world with soundscapes, he can be found playing bass in Three Speed, hammering on a guitar with Raquel and the Blue Tones, or teaching Live Sound at Seneca College.

JOHN ORDEAN/ ​PHOTOGRAPHER

John Ordean is a Toronto-based photographer specializing in live performance photography. John has photographed over 2,000 performances of live music and theatre. His work has been featured in album packaging, magazines, and newspapers, including Vancouver alternative rock duo Japandroid’s live album Massey Fucking HallToronto Life magazine, NOW MagazineThe Globe and Mail, and Toque Magazine. John’s work has graced the walls of Analogue Gallery, Sound Image exhibition at Field Trip music festival, and discerning fine art collectors. See John’s work on his website, One In Ten Words (www.oneintenwords.com) and by following his social media on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Post-show Talkback!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

​Join us for a ‘Talkback’ with the cast members after the matinee performance.

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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