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Thirteen Hands

by Carol Shields


October 20 – November 4, 2017 on the Mainstage

Before Stitch n’ Bitch, there was bridge.

Thirteen Hands
Canada’s beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Carol Shields is behind this witty and vibrant play-cum-musical that explores the nuances of life and womanhood. One of Alumnae’s most revered and successful premières, Thirteen Hands returns this season as part of the theatre company’s 100th anniversary retrospective series.

It follows the lives of many women over three generations who find connection and support through a weekly game of bridge.

Special Events

​Pre-Show Bridge

EVERY performance features pre-show bridge!
Join us before every show starting at the opportunity to play a hand of bridge with a pro! All levels welcome!

Opening Night Gala

Opening Night Gala – SOLD OUT
Friday, October 20, 2017
We will be celebrating our 100th season with a champagne and canapé reception preceding the opening of our first show of the season. This event is sold out!

Post-show chat with Jordan Himelfarb

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Jordan Himelfarb is a member of the editorial board of the Toronto Star whose love affair with bridge began about two years ago. He’ll delight the audience with a lively and timely discussion of the past, present and future of the world’s greatest card game.

"Behind the curtain" talk-backs

October 22 and October 29, 2017 after the Sunday matinee
The lights go on, the curtain goes up and the play begins—but how does it all happen? Join the director, designers and cast for a look behind the curtain to reveal how the production is brought to life.

Trailer by Nicholas Porteous, music by Ali Berkok.
group photo thirteen hands
Cast, Director and Stage Management pose in front of Marysia Bucholc’s beautiful set.   Photo by Bruce Peters.

Director/Cast Bios

Claren Grosz,Director
Claren is an emerging director, creator, and producer in Toronto. She is also the Artistic Director of Pencil Kit Productions, a company dedicated to generating new work. Selected credits: Director, CHICHO (Caminos Festival 2017); Director/Producer, Perfect Couples (PKP 2017); Co-Creator/Producer, Shadow Girls (PKP, Rhubarb 2017); Director/Producer, Persephone (PKP 2016); Director, Cats and Dogs (New Voices, 2016); Director, The Council (NIF, 2016); Director, MACBETH (Wolf Manor, 2015— winner of MyEntertainmentWorld’s Outstanding Direction in Small Theatre). Upcoming: Director, The Tenth Muse (Filament Incubator 2017); Director/Producer, The Hungriest Woman in the World (PKP, 2017).

Andrea Massoud, Cast
Andrea is thrilled to be joining this team of amazing women! A graduate of the Ryerson Theatre School, some credits include: Beatrice, Much Ado about Nothing, Grand Bank Theatre; Maria, Twelfth Night, Jessica, Merchant of Venice, Ale House Theatre Company; Anansi, Little Red Theatre Company; Shakespeare in Hospitals, Spur of the MomentYICHUD (Seclusion), Theatre Passe Muraille/Convergence.

Jesselle Laurén, Cast
Jesselle is a Calgary born and raised actor, poet, and performance artist. She moved to Toronto in March of this year after falling in love with the city at Canada’s National Voice Intensive 2015. She is delighted to be joining Alumnae Theatre for Thirteen Hands as a part of their 100th Anniversary Season. Recent theatre credits include Two Gentlewomen of Verona (Dauntless City Theatre), Toronto Says… (Pencil Kit Productions), and Hamlet (Theatre Calgary). Recent film credits include Up In Smoke (2016), and Nostomania (2016) with PKB Productions.

Kelly-Marie Murtha, Cast
Kelly-Marie is thrilled to be back at the Alumnae in their 1st production of the season! She was last seen at the Alumnae in the role of Angela in the Toronto Irish Players production of The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down and as Barbara Fordham in August Osage County. Other recent roles include Lady Lambroke in The Veil (Toronto Irish Players) Vixen Fox in Adult Entertainment (Marion Abbott Prod.) and Rose Ouimet in Les Belles Soeurs (The Village Playhouse).  Kelly-Marie recently performed with SoundCrowd ( ), Toronto’s first large-scale acappella vocal ensemble at Carnegie Hall in NYC.

Lawrie Hopkinson, Cast
Lawrie is excited to join this terrific cast and crew for her first show at the Alumnae Theatre!  Her recent theatre credits include Valerie in A Party To Murder, Sparkle in An Old Story and Ann Stanley in Forty Carats. On television she can be seen in A World Without Canada and Broke and Famous. Lawrie is especially honoured to perform in a Carole Shields play, an author and playwright she respects tremendously.

Mahlet Tesfu, Cast
Mahlet was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. Some of her past credits include SeussicalTrue Colours and Les Miserables (Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts). She is very excited to be part of the Thirteen Hands production and cast.

Marlo Alcock, Cast
Fresh from her stunning triumph as Tanya in “Mamma Mia”, Marlo is thrilled to be cast in her first show for Alumnae Theatre. Favourite roles: Carmen in “Curtains” (for which she won a Thea Award), Marilla in “Anne of Green Gables” and Belinda in “Noises Off”. She also sings with The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, which has afforded her some wonderful experiences, performing at Carnegie Hall, Roy Thomson Hall and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts; and singing with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Barbra Streisand and Eric Idle (in the world premiere of his oratorio “Not The Messiah”).

Maureen Murray, Cast
Maureen rediscovered her love of acting in 2014 – after a three-decade long hiatus – when she appeared as Puck Sr. in the Passionate Players production of A Midwinter Night’s Dream. Her more recent roles have included: Leda in (En)Lightning in the 2015 New Ideas Festival; Lucie Blackburn in the Hollow Square at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival; Mrs. Web in the Passionate Players 2016 production of Our Town, where she experienced the joy of having her daughter as a scene partner. A former journalist and current speechwriter, Maureen continues to explore the art of reinvention.

Olivia Croft, Cast
Olivia is an actor/creator/mover who was born to a theatrical family in Stratford, Ontario. She’s a proud graduate of Humber’s Theatre Performance Program, and is inspired by “play” in physical theatre, collective creation, and contemporary cultural movement. Her credits include: Kambule (The Pierrot) / Ballet Creole, The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother (Eva) / Tatiana Jennings, The Office : Devised by Karin Randoja (Ensemble), The Playground (Ash) / Marie Beath Badian, Waiting for Godot (Pozzo) / Diana Belshaw, Women, Beware Women (Bianca)/ Diana Belshaw.

Sandi Globerman, Cast
Sandi played herself in the monologue Dethroned, at Red Sandcastle Theatre, Adriana, (Comedy of Errors), and Mopsa, (Winter’s Tale), for Shakespeare’s Magic Carpet, Sarah in David and Sarah and I, and Molly in Frog Princess, with Act II Studio. For Convergence Theatre, she played Annette Tournay in The Lady from Maxim’s at Factory Theatre. For Alumnae, she played Lyona in Y for New Ideas Festival. Sandi played Mrs. D. in Crystal, a ThinkFeel film that premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and performed in various commercials. Sandi is very excited to be playing Clara in Carol Shields’ Thirteen Hands.

Production Team Bios

Ramona Baillie, Producer
Ramona writes for both film and stage. Theatre credits include: A Better Place (Factory Theatre), A Little Happiness (Edmonton International Fringe/Alumnae Theatre), You Have to Earn It (FireWorks), I’m Still Here (Central Alberta Theatre/New Ideas Festival/Arts & Letters/Heliconian Club), Babies (Central Alberta Theatre); I’m Still Here, Drowning My Sorrow (Heliconian Club). She was also artistic director and directed the 2017 Arts & Letters’ Spring Revue. Ramona’s film scripts have been produced internationally and have won various awards and she’s an HRPA Honorary Life Award recipient. This is her fifth time in the role of Producer for the Alumnae Theatre Company.

Mary Barnes Amoroso, Associate Producer
After retiring from teaching, Mary co-founded and ran a summer high school theatre program called Éclat School of Performing Arts. Her involvement with Alumnae Theatre Company since 2014 has been as chair of the New Play Development Group, having her work presented in the Big Ideas Festival 2016 and in the Next Stage reading series 2017 and in stage managing at the 2017 New Ideas Festival. She is pleased to be part of the production team of Thirteen Hands.

Lorna Craig, Assistant Director
Lorna is an actor, director and community engaged theatre facilitator. She coordinated a research project at Concordia University, The Encounters Project, that used performance to explore cultural identity and investigate conflict. In the fall of 2015 she directed ‘on life and living’, a documentary theatre piece based on personal stories from ‘AIDS Community Care Montreal’, an HIV/AIDS support network. She worked with kids from 2013-2016 collaboratively creating plays and performing them throughout Montréal. She is a graduate of the Theatre and Development program at Concordia University where she won the theatre award.

Julie Foster, Stage Manager
Originally from Toronto, Julie is a recent graduate of Concordia University, having studied as a Major in Playwriting. She has had her plays and clown pieces performed at the Gala for Student Drama at the Mainline Theatre in Montreal, the SIPA Short Works Festival at Concordia University, the Montreal Fringe Festival, and the SOLOS Festival. As well as working as a playwright, Julie also works as a stage manager, having participated in shows at Concordia University, the Mainline Theatre, and Marianopolis College.

Sophie Munden, Assistant Stage Manager
Sophie is a recent graduate of the Drama Centre at the University of Toronto. Involved in many areas of theatre production, she is also a co-founder of Off-Key Productions and writer/director of What She Said, which is currently touring high schools and universities and Ontario. Sophie is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the entire Thirteen Hands cast and crew and to continue to learn the art of stage management with Alumnae following her involvement in the New Ideas Festival earlier this year.

Ali Berkok Composer, Sound Design
Ali is a Toronto-based pianist, improviser and composer. His solo piano and electro-acoustic quartet project Aurochs have been documented and are available on the All-Set! Editions imprint. His compositions include Battleship Potemkin, and music for Arkana. He also maintains longstanding collaborations with the Mike Smith Company and Tova Kardonne. A multi-grant winning artist (Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council), Ali is also pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Toronto, where he researches multidimensional musical time.
Bec Brownstone, Costume Design
Bec has previously designed costumes for the Alumnae productions of Stepping Out (2016), Burying Toni (2014), You Have To Earn It (2014), Measure of the World (2013), Gloria’s Guy (2013), and The Drowning Girls (2012); she also coordinated props for The Underpants (2013). When she isn’t absorbed in artistic pursuits she can usually be found curled up with a good book and one of her cats.

Sim Suzer, Costume Design
Assistant Costume Designer, Lion King (2017);Costume Designer, Dances 2016 (2016); Alice in Wonderland, Ryerson Summer Camp (2016); Arenea, New Voices Festival (2016); Assistant Paints, You Can’t Take It With You (2016);Costume Designer, Persephone, Toronto Fringe Festival (2016); Wardrobe Team, Shrek the Musical Junior, Ryerson Summer Camp (2015); Costume Designer, Costume Designer, Midsummer’s Night Dream (2015); Wardrobe Supervisor, Spring Awakening(2015); Head of Paints, Hamlet (2014)

Marysia Bucholc, Set Design
This is Marysia’s ninth set for Alumnae’s regular season, including designs for I Am MargueriteThe Killdeer, After Magritte/The Real Inspector Hound, and A Delicate Balance.  She also designed sets for Alumnae’s Fireworks Festival for three years.  Other selected sets: Motherland (Toronto Fringe 2017), A Better Place (LilyRose Productions), If We Were Birds (Randolph Academy), Heart and Music 2010 (Winter Garden Theatre), and Kafka and Son (Theaturtle), for which she received a Dora nomination.  Marysia is an English tutor at Centennial College, narrates audio books for the CNIB Library, and rejoices in her wonderful family.

Bill Scott, Lighting Design
Bill is definitely an Alumnae treasure.  He has literally taken on too many design roles at the Alumnae through the years to mention.  Believe it or not he actually contributed to 5 Studio shows, 5 Main Stage shows and 6 productions at other theatres in the same season!  Apart from designing for our theatre he also designs for the Scarborough Village Theatre.

Alison Watt, Lighting Operator
As a recent graduate of York University’s Devised Theatre Program, Alison is excited to be involved with the Alumnae Theatre. Most recently, Alison has written, directed and performed in her latest two person musical, Cast! The Musical. This is Alison’s second time with the Alumnae as she stage managed for the 2015 FireWorks Festival Devine Wrecks written by Chloe Whitehorn. Alison wishes to extend her gratitude for the kindness and patience of the cast and crew during the run of Thirteen Hands.

Kim Croscup, Lighting Operator
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. For the Alumnae Theatre, Kim directed Sex on the Beach in the 2010 New Ideas Festival. Kim also wrote, produced and performed a one woman show, Ophelia’s Hour, which toured the Canadian Fringe Festival Circuit. A Ryerson University Film Graduate, Kim has performed nearly every role on a film set from Craft Services to Producing.

Fotini Paraschos, Props Master
This is Fotini’s fourth show at Alumnae. Other credits include- Alumnae Theatre-Fireworks festival; Motherland, Prop Co-odinator. Bloor-west Village Playhouse; Les Belles Soeurs, Prop Co-odinator. Bloor-west Village Playhouse; The Fox on the Fairway, Master Carpenter and Painter. Bloor-west Village Playhouse; Foxfinder, Prop Co-odinator. Alumnae Theatre; FireWorks Festival 2015, Assistant Prop master. Alumnae Theatre; I am Marguerite, Assistant to Set Designer.

Alyssa Snow, Set/Props Assistant/Sound Operator
Alyssa was born and raised in Toronto, ON. She grew up in the east end and attended several high schools, developing a love of English at East York Collegiate Institute before settling in at Subway Academy One, where she found a love of drama and writing for the stage. During her grade twelve year at Subway Academy, she wrote and acted in her first stage play, We Can Be Heroes, under the direction and mentorship of Meg Logue Malone. In Alyssa’s newest venture with Alumnae, she seeks to expand her knowledge and gain more experience in the theatre.

Michelle Righetti, Sound Operator
Michelle is a University of Toronto alumna (hB.A. in Music and Drama), studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, ProVoce Studios, and Rhythm and Motion Dance. She studies acting at Alza Acting Studios in Toronto. Michelle is directing Odd Opera’s upcoming production of Pagliacci, appearing as Sandra Bloom in Wavestage Theatre’s Big Fish, and acting and directing in the web series Hitman Hobbies. She recently appeared as Debra in Zac Goldkind’s film Banana, Charlotte Cardoza in Wavestage’s Titanic, Mercedes in TCO’s Carmen. Michelle speaks English, Spanish and French and Italian, and is learning German, Czech and Arabic.

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