CANADIAN STAGE: Festival of Ideas and Creation Seeking Ambassadors

The 2012 Festival of Ideas & Creation is fast approaching and Canadian Stage is looking for curious and energetic volunteers to be Festival ARTISTIC AMBASSADORS.This year’s Festival focuses on Music in Performance. It features emerging and established artists alike, and runs at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St.) from May 9th – May 12th, with a special offsite event on May 13th. As an Artistic Ambassador, each volunteer will be paired with a presenting company and assist them in their rehearsals and performance as scheduled throughout the Festival. Artistic Ambassadors will be responsible for liaising between Canadian Stage and the artists involved and providing the support necessary for a successful process. Involvement with the company can range from working as an ASM, taking blocking notes, or even simply observing the process.

The Artistic Ambassador program is a fantastic way to meet accomplished artists, gain insight into new creative processes, and connect with some of the most exciting new works being created in Canada. It is also a unique opportunity to gain full access to this year’s Festival programming. In thanks, volunteers will also be offered two tickets to Canadian Stage’s production of The Game of Love and Chance on a date of their choosing (on stage until May 12).If you are interested follow this link to the application form:

Please complete the application form, specifying which projects you would be interested in and available to work with.

Please email:

1) The completed application form

2) A paragraph that outlines your interest in the position and your past artistic, production and/or administrative experience (maximum 300 words) to no later than NOON on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (Subject line: FESTIVAL ARTISTIC AMBASSADOR).

For more information on ongoing emerging artists opportunities at Canadian Stage, check out our GYM Program.  We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions please call 416-367-8243 x 245.

The Character’s Voice: The Physical Approach Into Creating Theatre

The Character’s Voice:  The Physical Approach Into Creating Theatre
May 5th & 12th 10:30-5:30
Two Day Workshop
Lead by Martha Ross
Zuke Studios
1581 Dupont Street, Toronto
Martha Ross, co-founder of the award-winning Toronto-based theatre company, Theatre Columbus, is offering a weekend class that will change how you create theatre.   
Your creator’s voice will be tapped by way of character work: a physical approach Martha adapted from her training at Ecole Jacques Lecoq and her years of experience of creating original theatre.


This class exposes the student to Lecoq’s technique of physically identifying with the rhythms and dynamics of the four elements and then transposing them into the dramatic dimension of character and story.


But the process has an interesting hitch: The ‘universality of tree’, is an impossible quest.  By looking for this “universality”, you fail.  It is through this ultimate failure that your personal imagination and voice is revealed. Your characters begin to talk and therefore you begin to talk. What you want to bring to the empty stage or the empty page becomes evident. Theatre is born.


As Lecoq wrote,  ‘When a student has experienced this starting point, his body will be freed, like a blank page in which drama can be inscribed.”  
As Martha says:  “It’s a time to enter the empty space, it’s a time to play, it’s a time to find out what you want to say.”
Martha’s long list of collaborative creations include  “The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine”,  “The Attic, the Pearls and three Fine Girls”,  “Paranoia”,  “Hotel Loopy”, to name just a few, and the plays she wrote “solo” include  “And Up they Flew”,  “Dr. Dapertutto”,  “Ratbag”,  “The Bog” that was part of the Blyth Theatre Festival’s play, ‘HomeTown’ and more recently, “The Story”, a retelling of the Nativity produced by Theatre Columbus at the Brickworks.  Martha has taught across Canada and at the University of Toronto UC Drama program.

What People Have Said about The Character Voice Workshop
Thank you so much for guiding, inspiring, pushing, drawing out, witnessing, celebrating, questioning, appreciating…. – Sherri
This weekend was artistically-spiritually such a breath of fresh air.. – Dave
Thanks again for a great workshop!  It was way too short…I want more!!  You are such a generous and insightful teacher – Sharon

Dates:  Saturday May 5 and Saturday May 12 @ 10:30-5:30
Location: 1581 Dupont Street
Fee: $200
Please send a very short bio and any questions to

Canadian Stage Call for Submissions for the GYM Playoff

Call for Submissions for the GYM Playoff

We are seeking submissions for short works in development for this year’s GYM Playoffs on Wednesday, May 9 at 8:30pm. The annual playoffs are a chance to flex your athletic artistry and present your budding new works and collaborations to Gym members, Canadian Stage staff, friends, family and members of the artistic community!

We encourage all submissions but especially those inspired by the focus of this year’s festival: music and sound in performance practice.

If you are interested, please send:

– A short description of the piece you wish to present (please note: Presentations must be 10 minutes or less)

– A list of artists involved

– An excerpt or sample of your piece (if applicable)

Submissions are due no later than Friday, April 20

Please send submissions to Kathryn Binnersley, Hannah Rittner and Mairin Smit, Festival of Ideas and Creation Interns at


Now lace up those submissions and hit send!  We look forward to hearing from you!


A Song For Tomorrow New Harlem Productions & Eventual Ashes Christina Wong / Donna Michelle St. Bernard
A Thousand Words UnSpun Theatre Written and Directed by Chris Hanratty
Ajax (por nobody) Hot House Theater Written by Alice Tuan and Directed by Zack Russell
Ally & Kev j.squared theatre Jason Maghanoy
Aneemah’s Spot Motion Live Presents written by Motion/directed by Dian Marie Bridge
Artaud: un protrait en decomposition TheatreRUN Adam Paolozza, Michele Smith, Antonin Artaud
Barrel Crank Suitcase In Point Erin Shields/Rose Plotek/Deanna Jones/Natasha Pedors/Amy Nosbakken/Ernest Harris Jr/Joe Lapinski
Breath in Between Breath Collective in Association with Crow’s Theatre Written by Anton Piatigorsky, Directed by Brendan Healy
Breathe For Me Real Eyes Theatre Jesse Stong and Edward Roy
Dumbo Squid Birdtown & Swanville Aurora Stewart de Peña
Extinction Sing The Theatre Department Ron Jenkins and Ron Pederson
Facts The Facts Assembly Writen and Directed by Arthur Milner
Fierce Monsters The Pop Group Rebecca Buttigieg
FRANCE (or, The Niqab) Old Pirate Written by Sean Dixon and Directed by Tanja Jacobs
Haunted Tango Co. Daniel Karasik
HUFF Dependent Theatre Projects Cliff Cardinal
Iceland The Iceland Collective Kawa Ada, Nicolas Billon, Claire Calnan, Christine Horne, Ravi Jain, Renna Reddie, Kim Purtell
Les Demimondes Operation Snatch Alexandra Tigchelaar and Catherine Nimmo (The Scandelles)
Marine Life Company Theatre Crisis Rosa Laborde/Natasha Mytnowych/Trevor Schwellnus/Patrick Duwors/Eric Meadows/Scott McCord/Tommie Amber Pirie/Philip Riccio
Medicine Boy Anishnaabe Theatre Performance Written by Waawaate Fobister, Directed by Tara Beagan
Petrichor Kitchenband Created by Erin Brandenburg, Andrew Penner, Henry Adam Svec, Monica Dottor
Pieta Pieta Productions Written by Astried Sadelbach, Translated by Michael Evans, Directed by Sarah Stanley
Such Bounty Snap Productions Written By Richard Sanger, Directed by Mary Francis Moore
Terminus Outside the March Mark O’Rowe / Mitchell Cushman, Maev Beaty, Ava Jane Markus, Harry Judge
Terre Haute Ecce Homo Theatre written by Edmund White | direction and sound design by Alistair Newton | production design by Matt Jackson
The Fever Cohort Theatre Company Wallace Shawn/Cohort Theatre Company, Directed by Rose Plotek
The Frenzy of Queen Maeve Live Lobster Theatre Anthony MacMahon
The Hearing of Jeremy Hinzman Foundry Theatre Company Josh Bloch, Oonagh Duncan, and Richard Greenblatt
Violent Be Violet Fine Wine Theatre Co Tanisha Taitt
Willow Bunch Willow Bunch Productions Rona Waddington
Your Side, My Side, and The Truth Compass Productions Rebecca Auerbach/Tova Smith
I, Animal KAZAN CO-OP Written by Daniel MacIvor, Directed by Richie Wilcox
My Pregnant Brother Freestanding Productions Written and performed by Johanna Nutter, Directed and dramaturged by Jeremy Taylor
One/Un Orange Noyée Created by Mani Soleymanlou
When It Rains 2b theatre company Written and Directed by Anthony Black
Big Plans Two Wheeler Productions Jeremy Taylor / Andy Trithardt
Dutchman lemonTree Creations Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
Invitations/Into/Traces Cara Spooner Cara Spooner

Laughing Our Way to Vulnerability and Change: An Interview with Eroca Nicols

Eroca Nicols is a woman soaked in charisma and energy. She is deliberate and playful – the perfect combination for an artist that disarms and changes her audience.

Eroca loves boldly, she honours her impulses, and is audacious with her words, thoughts, and feelings. She has a gift for making the strange become familiar, through humour and cutting insights. This way of being is the driving force behind her festival Badass Dance Fun, which was showcased at Habourfront centre last week

I saw Natural choreographed by Meg Foley and Karaoke Dance Project choreographed by Eroca Nicols. Consequently, our interview was shaped by the playful, provocative, and community inspired vibe that permeated both these pieces.

In this interview you will discover Eroca’s gifts in laughter, conversation, and building communities. Look out for this artist that sticks to her choices – is inspired by failure – and is armed for success.

I know you will have fun reading this interview.


Why do you think dance suits what was being said in this festival?

I do not think the work is a narrative thing. Everybody has a body, everybody moves it. We all know how to dance because we all know how to move – people get really uncomfortable with it because dance has been presented as this elitist form of art, and that has to do with the way it is presented, and it has to do with the kind of training the people get.  So, with Karaoke I felt I could hear and feel an art where it is culturally acceptable for people to fail and to be cheered on by a bunch of drunk people, you know what I mean? I find that pretty interesting – it is about the layers of performance we allow people to do or not do. It is less about a narrative and more about highlighting bodies that are both trained and not trained to move. It is about celebrating bodies that are at different places.

There’s a lot of layering of perspective in the piece, what was your intention with this?

I feel like a lot of interactive work forces people to participate in a very controlled way, it is not about people finding an experience together, it is that I decided what your experience is going to be and I am going to make you have it. As opposed to we can find a way to interact with the space as audience and performer by watching each other and engaging with each other on your own terms, you can choose your level of participation.

There seems to be a yearning in the performance community to change the audience’s experience –  I noticed this sense of play with the audience in your piece,so, then, what questions did you hope the audience would leave with after seeing your pieces?

I feel like our show has a series of surprises, where people go, oh shit they are doing that now? But I also think that in my work I try to do some fart jokes, you know sometimes it is a ridiculous fart joke fest. I also believe when there is a certain level of comfort, they start to be themselves when it is not a big anonymous group of people, and then when you get to be yourself and define the role a bit more, and through humour and complete absurdity, and asking the question: wow is that happening? people then  become vulnerable in a way that is fun. By having that initial disarming experience the whole experience becomes acceptable and not scary.

What human experience were you testing/examining in this work?

I feel like working with people that are not performers is a huge challenge – I mean they don’t have the codes we are trained to know as artists.

There are a couple of things that came up when the dancers said they were not nervous because they were having so much fun. It puts me in a very different space as a performer when people say they are having fun as a person and as a performer. So I think I tried to create that kind of environment for artists and the audience. I feel like I am trying to treat the audience and the performers as having a shared experience.The performance of observation is something I am finding interesting.

When did the craft begin with this work?

Early – beginning with discussions and people. Some times it began with images. I began with the thought that I want people to be having a good time and then the performance evolved from there.

What kind of spaces inspire you to create?

I am interested in social dances, I am interested in places where people come together to have a good time and are also performing for each other.

Discuss why Karaoke fascinates you.

It’s an exercise in failure. There’s this line of making work that isn’t supposed to be perfect. The intention is not to be perfect. It is to ask questions. I am fascinated by karaoke because it is a melting pot of what it is happening. People are watching, and drinking, and are nervous about going up, and other people are shining when they perform, while others are sad, and it’s just a cultural activity. It’s huge here, and it’s huge in other places. It’s taken so seriously in some places too. Being a good karaoke singer doesn’t mean you are a good singer, it is about people rooting for each other. It’s about people saying dude I have weird skills and listen to them.

What new questions were you inspired to ask yourself while creating this piece?

I just finished working on a solo piece this summer, which was pretty intense. I think after being kicked out of schools and experiencing life, and going to a slightly darker work which was hard I had to ask different questions. I think then it was nice to get back to working with fun – even my solo piece there has fun parts, but it is also majorly emotional shit.

One of the big concerns that I had was to make the people that were not performers feel good, I wanted them to feel like this was a fun thing they wanted to do. I really wanted them to trust me. I wanted them to know I believed they had an artistic voice, and that they felt supported. I also was thinking of the idea of the herd, and what that does to people.

Discuss how you wanted to treat the audience’s conception of engagement.

The whole point of the festival is that we want to change the terms of engagement for people who are watching, for people who are dancing, for people who are being watched. Dance, of the art forms in Toronto is pretty traditional. That’s why the festival happened because we are trying to figure out how to change it. We wanted to ask the questions: What would one do if they didn’t know all the rules of the art form? What it would be like for them?

Discuss the element of surprise in this work.

Yeah we worked with it with warning the audience about the splash zone in the first two rows, and then it turns out to be just a little splash. And that’s about showcasing how we get stressed about things happening that we do not usually experience during a performance. I am just not interested in the relationship where the performers are there for a passive audience. I am interested in an active watching, I think the element of surprise promotes active observation. I wanted people to feel like the piece was really for them. I wanted them to feel included as a member of the performers and as a member of the audience.

What do you say to people who are afraid of being addressed so personally as an audience member?

What I say to them is I want them to come on the journey with us to the point where they become comfortable.

When people feel frustrated and when people feel like this isn’t the right thing, you have to ask: why? They are going to be asking the same questions that I am asking, they are just going to be finding the answers in a different way which is totally fine.

What artists are inspiring you right now?

I think people that are working with democratic pedagogy in teaching, in how do you get information across to people without being dogmatic about it. This in the same way of making inclusive art while making bad ass dancing, how do we make something seriously cool without being elite about it.

How do you want Karaoke Dance Project to develop?

I think as a tour it would be awesome because it would give us the opportunity to see the different kinds of karaoke singers around the world. Karaoke is such a different subculture in so many different places and means so many things to these different places. In different parts of the world it would become a completely different show. The project is a queer project – so that would also be a big political question involved in a tour of this show. It is an outsider project, but that is a lot of my work.

Story by: Hannah Rittner

Website in a Day Workshop!!!!

Website in a Day (aka WordPress for Beginners)

Saturday April 28,2012

10am – 4pm
Neville Studio, Toronto Fringe Offices
720 Bathurst Street, Toronto
$129.00 per person

delicious catered lunch included

New: all attendees will receive a special promotion from our friends at Pink Elephant Communications!

Learn how to build a website using WordPress – the popular blog and website publishing platform.  Whether you’re trying to set up a simple website for your small business, indie arts company, a personal blog, or perhaps you use WordPress at work and would like to learn more, this workshop is for you. You’ll learn how to install, customize, and maintain WordPress on your own website.

We will cover:

  • the difference between and hosting WordPress on your site
  • how to install WordPress
  • selecting and installing a WordPress theme
  • building webpages and your site’s menu bar
  • adding a blog to your website
  • plugins and widgets – how to customize WordPress
  • a few lines of code that are handy to know

Bring your laptop, your enthusiasm, and appetite (delicious catered lunch is included!), and by the end of the day, you’ll have built your own website from start to finish.

The workshop is limited to a small group, so there will be lots of time for questions and one-on-one support.

Click Here to Register

The not-so-fine print:

  • Workshop registration is non-refundable, however, your ticket is transferable to a friend or colleague if you can’t make the event at the last minute.
  • You must bring your own laptop and power cord – computers are not provided.