Theatre

Five Shows to See in the Final Fringe Weekend

The final weekend of the Vancouver Fringe Festival is very nearly upon us! With 91 shows in the festival this year, I know it can be overwhelming to try to decide what to pick – especially in the final weekend when sellouts abound. Here are five shows I recommend snapping up advance tickets to before you head down to Granville Island for the weekend. In no particular order:

Nancy Kenny in Roller Derby Saved my Soul

Nancy Kenny in Roller Derby Saved my Soul

1. Roller Derby Saved My Soul – A coming-of-age story, but not in the high school sense. As Amy enters her 30’s she discovers what it means to be her own woman through Roller Derby. The shows nerds out a bit with Buffy references in the best way (the night I was there I was wishing I was with a friend who also loved Buffy so they would laugh with me), and writer/performer Nancy Kenny is charming. Oh yeah, and she does 2/3 of the show on roller skates. The show has been selling out, so I’d recommend either getting there early or buying in advance online.

2. Aiden Flynn Looses His Brother so he Makes Another – A simple, wordless retelling of the Frankenstein story that makes use of shadow puppets in addition to other movement. The show is touching, sweet, and the kind of show that you will only find at the Fringe.

3. Industry: The Food Must Go Out – A Laugh-out-loud riot examining the behind the scenes of the restaurant industry. Set in the restaurant where the three lead performers work, find out why you should never order hot water with lemon, experience a hangover on the job, and be prepared to get involved – you might even get some dessert or some wine out of it. And they are serving drinks during their late night shows. Tonight’s show is sold out and tomorrow’s is very limited, but there’s still some room for Sunday’s show. Again, I recommend you buy these online.

4. Magic Unicorn Island – Jayson McDonald (fringe god) returns to Vancouver with his new piece that is a commentary on the current state of the world. Beginning with creation, we see how we got here and explore one possible outcome. The evolution sequence alone is worth the price of admission. One of the most political fringe shows I’ve ever seen and McDonald is at his best when he’s playing kids.

5. The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth – Let me say upfront that I am not a big fan of buffoon so when I heard that one of the guys from last year’s You Killed Hamlet! was back with a new show I walked far away. But the combination of the Fringe-for-all and flyering intrigued me so I figured I could go as long as I sat near the middle with multiple people on either side of me. And I was okay and had a great time. Charles the monkey performs a series of feats of acrobatics, clowning, and comedy, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a good show for kids – things get dark at the end but in a way that had me thinking as I left the theatre.

Alison with QuoteBonus: The Chariot Cities still has a pair of shows left (Friday at 6:45pm and Sunday 1:00pm). Come see the show that critics have called “a hit show in the making” (Vancity Buzz) and “one of those rare but fabulous shows where the ensemble cast is so damn good” (Plank Magazine).

Seen something else that was excellent? Shout it out in the comments below.

 

 

The Chariot Cities at the Vancouver Fringe

Group QuoteIt’s one of my favourite times of the year – Vancouver Fringe Festival season!

I love seeing shows at the Fringe – one year I think I saw 45 or 50 of them – it’s crazy! Tonight I’m doing a five show night. ON A MONDAY. This is the amazing thing about Fringe season.

I’ve worked for the festival on and off for the past four years – most recently as the off-season marketing assistant this winter/spring – but this year I’m the most actively involved as an artist that I’ve ever been. Yes, I’ve had shows in the festival before, but I’ve never actually stage managed for the festival and I haven’t produced at the level that I have this year.

The show I’m stage managing/producing is called The Chariot Cities. It’s a new play with original music about a family (two generations) of musicians who are much better at being a band than they are at being a family. They know how to handle the public sphere, but their private lives – especially as they related to each other – are a mess. Reviews have been really great so far – they all agree that the show has a lot of successful moments but wants to be a longer show. That’s okay by me – we want it to be a longer show too. Eventually it would be great to see a two act version of the play and after chatting with the playwright yesterday I found out that at least one more song already exists that was written for the show, but cut to make it fit into the 75 minute fringe time slot.
Jeff with Quote

Folks have been very supportive – our first two performances were attended by over 100 patrons each and the buzz at the festival is good. I was in line for a show yesterday afternoon and talking to a friend of mine about the response when the man in front of us turned around to tell me he’d seen the show the night before and had already bought tickets to come back this coming weekend.

We still have four performances left, so if you’re in the Vancouver area I’d love to have you join us.

The shows are:

Tuesday, Sept 9 @ 5:00pm
Thursday, Sept 11 @ 10:40pm
Friday, Sept 12 @ 6:45pm
Sunday, Sept 14 @ 1:00pm

Tickets are $14 plus a $5 one-time fringe membership and can be purchased online at http://www.vancouverfringe.com/show/14PMR7/, in person at the box office on Granville Island up to 4 hours before the show, or in person at the door 45 minutes before the show.

Shantini with Quote

As a special thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of the show and in response to all of the requests for a cast recording (we hear you, I promise!) here is a live recording of the opening song, Little Lights.

Bright Spots: PTC’s Test Kitchen

I’ve previously blogged about PL1422 and how much I love rehearsing in that space. This past year a number of my rehearsals have been in the newest space in town – Playwrights Theatre Centre (PTC)’s Test Kitchen and I have also fallen in love with that space for some of the same reasons I love PL1422. I sat down with PTC’s Artistic Director Heidi Taylor to talk about their new space and what they see happening with it in the future.

The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen

When PTC was trying to come up with a name for their new rehearsal space last fall, inspiration wasn’t far away. “Prior to our tenancy, the space was a commercial pork roastery and warehouse. It had been planned to be turned into a restaurant a number of years prior, but those plans weren’t completed,” Heidi told me. “So the shell of the interior walls existed, and there were four huge commercial coolers, and a whole lot of grease.”

In its first nine months, The Test Kitchen has been home to over 35 projects and companies beginning with the workshop of The Concessions by Briana Brown and rehearsals for Except in the Unlikely Event of War by Sean Devine (which I stage managed and was my first exposure to the space). “You guys really helped us figure out the space, besides living through the cold snap before we got our additional heaters in,” Heidi joked as we laughed about days wearing multiple sweaters and blankets. But heaters were added and plans are in the works for new insulation before the next winter hits.

There are still big plans for the space. “We’re going to put a new floor in the studio that will make it movement-friendly,” Heidi told me, “and add a layer of insulation to keep us all warm this winter, and reduce the heat gain in the summer, and do some more improvements to the electrical for the studio.”

One thing I love about the space is the sense of community that is built by the neighbouring Hub – a shared office space for nine users. Heidi explains, “Rather than a hot desk set up, each renter gets their own desk that they share with one other HUBster – they work out their own schedules, and can leave their script charts up, decorate, and have a workspace that they don’t have to reset every time they come in.” Currently the space is about 50% writers and 50% theatre companies, but it means there is always some sort of creative activity happening in the building and familiar faces lurk around every corner. Add to that the PTC Associates & the Pi Theatre Staff whose office is already in the window and meal breaks become visits and collaborations all their own.

Photo of New Town Bakery taken by Josette Jorge during a break from rehearsal for Except in the Unlikely Event of War

Photo of New Town Bakery taken by Josette Jorge during a break from rehearsal for Except in the Unlikely Event of War

Another great thing about the space is its Chinatown location – close to lots of funky little restaurants that you can run out to on a meal break or swing over to New Town Bakery for sweet buns to bring back to rehearsal.

PTC has already begun experimenting with resident companies to make sure there is optimal space use (the current resident company Rice & Beans opened a show last week), but when I asked Heidi where she saw the space going in the next couple of years she said, “With more rehearsal spaces coming online in the next few years, I think we’ll find emerging companies and physical practice will be a higher proportion of our renters.”

For PTC the ability to rehearse and workshop their writers’ work on site was a huge benefit, but as a community we get to reap the benefits of it.

They are currently taking bookings of 2 weeks or longer and will open up shorter-term rentals on August 1st for fall availability. To submit a booking request or check the online calendar, visit www.playwrightstheatre.com/space.

Espresso – Final Week!

10247379_10152376814429113_5748058237409244516_n I did not see Espresso when it took to the Pacific Theatre stage 10 years ago. I was new to the lower mainland, having just begun my education at Trinity Western University and was not yet involved in theatre. When I joined the theatre program a year later, everyone was still talking about the show, and really liked to tell me what an amazing show I had missed.

We read the play during Canadian Drama in my final year and I’m pretty sure I failed the quiz on it. But I fell in love with the words.

With Lucia (Playwright & Actress), Sarah (Director) and Rob (Actor)

With Lucia (Playwright & Actress), Sarah (Director) and Rob (Actor) on opening night.

For the last six weeks I have had the great pleasure of living in that world with the team at Pacific Theatre. In a way it has been a bit of a return home after two and a half years working all over the world and it has been such a delight.

The other night at intermission, we were chatting in the green room about how lucky we are to be doing a great show with great people. Not every show is like this and I’m trying to savour every moment – every sold out crowd, every standing ovation, every show stopping bout of laughter or applause.

espresso3

Rob & Lucia in Espresso

We’re in our final week of the run now – there are just five performances left and this one will be hard to let go of at the end of the run. I hear there are still tickets left, although it has been booking up so if you’ve been thinking about coming and haven’t yet bought a ticket yet, you should do that quickly. Me? I’m going to be savouring these last five performances like a five course Italian meal.

 

Espresso by Lucia Frangione runs until June 16 at Pacific Theatre (1440 W. 12th Avenue).
Directed by Sarah Rodgers
Featuring Robert Salvador & Lucia Frangione
Set & Lights: Stancil Campbell, Costumes: Naomi Sider, Sound: Jeff Tymoschuk, Props: Phil Miguel

Tickets available online  or by phone at 604.731.5518.

Q2Q Comics

Q2Q Comics #15 – Ten of Twelves

 

I’m sure by now some of you have come across Q2Q comics, but for those of you who haven’t, you really should. Q2Q Comics is written and drawn by Steve Younkins. He’s a company member at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre where he works primarily as a sound designer. He posts new comics every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that follow the technical team of the Cheeseborough Ensemble Theatre. He also has a web store where you can buy various merchandise including t-shirts and prints. I have a print of the comic above on its way to my house. So take a click and have a laugh.

The Show Must Go On: Emergency Protocols & Preparedness

As a stage manager I try to be prepared for everything. You need a bandaid? I’ve got you covered. Hole in your costume? I have a needle and thread standing by. Blew a bulb mid show? I can change it after and try to cover using the magic sheet. But in the last year and a bit I discovered that there were some things I didn’t even know I wasn’t prepared for because they hadn’t crossed my mind.

In the face of an emergency the stage manager, FOH manager, and other members of the staff have to make snap judgements in the name of safety, all while adrenaline is pumping and sometimes there isn’t a clear road map.

During the tour of  Ride the Cyclone I noticed a lot of footsteps in the upper lobby outside the booth. I heard rushing and whispering and thought I heard the word ambulance, so I sent a standby technician to find out what was going on. When the FOH manager got on comm to talk to me, she said,“Someone in the audience is sick. It’s up to you if you want to stop the show.”

In my mind I’m asking myself, “Okay, how sick is sick?” Because let’s face it, if it’s up to me I never want to stop the show. I needed more information. So I asked,”How sick is the patron? Can they make their way to the lobby?”

The response I got: “Well he’s having a seizure and vomiting. We’ve called an ambulance.”

I'm super official when I have a headset on.

I’m super official when I have a headset on.

That’s a different story than just plain sick. We need to stop. So on Comm I say, “We are going to have to stop the show. Can I please get the house lights up and God mic turned on? [ASM] can you clear the actors from the stage please?”And I’m not panicking, but I’ve never had to do this before. I’m breathing deeply and in my mind I’m thinking, “Okay, what did I learn about emergencies, ever? Not much. Don’t incite panic among the sick patron or the rest of the audience. Ok. Here it goes.”

I jump on the God mic: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are experiencing some technical difficulties. The performance will resume in a few moments.” I know I’m lying. The people near the vomiting patron know I’m lying. The cast has no idea that I’m lying and are looking at me like I’m crazy. But the patron hasn’t been embarrassed and we’ve made it safe for the FOH team to do their job. By the time the fire department arrived to carry the elderly gentleman out of the theatre on a stretcher, everyone knew that it wasn’t technical difficulties that we had stopped for. The firemen left to applause. And moments later we resumed.

When I asked after the show about venue protocols I was told that there were none for instances such as these.

Fast forward a few months and I’m Front of House managing Theatre Passe Muraille for the Toronto Fringe when stormmaggedon hit- that infamous Toronto summer storm that flooded subway tunnels, stranded trains, drowned cars, and knocked out power to much of the city – including my venue. Thankfully we were not in the middle of the show, but rather the bows were in progress when the sudden darkness hit. Thankfully their emergency lights worked (I’m told some of the other venues did not have working emergency lights).

My volunteers, desperately trying to stay dry.

My volunteers, desperately trying to stay dry.

I had never been briefed on evacuating the building, and although the rain was pounding down outside, I had a recollection that evacuation was what I was supposed to do and so I took my flashlight and made the announcement, directing the patrons out into the rain. They weren’t happy with the turn of events, but when the festival production manager stopped by he reassured me that I’d done the right thing and helped me move the last few patrons out of the building.

Penelope had a flaming BBQ. It didn’t just need to be lit, it needed to start flaming from the base of the frame and it needed to spread up to the grill. We tested it many times and talked about out plans. I met with the FOH manager and we went over fire evacuation for the building just in case (and reiterated it nightly to the volunteer ushers). I spoke with the actors about keeping a safe proximity and stated that their personal safety was my highest concern, meaning that if something was wrong or even if I just perceived something to be wrong, I would not trigger the effect.

The flaming barbecue from Rumble Theatres production of Penelope

The flaming barbecue from Rumble Theatre’s production of Penelope

On the night of our preview, we approached the part of the show where the effect was supposed to occur, but during our routine “three people look at the BBQ and see if they notice any issues” check, we noticed two issues. We saw a knife on the grill, which had never ended up there before. And we saw something that looked a lot like a couple of potato chips on the initial flame surface. While I thought about what to do, my technicians got excited. They really wanted to set off the fire effect in front of the audience. One stood up and started waving. The other waved a sign. A cast member cleared the knife and seemed quite pleased with himself. But that was it: no one was clearing the chips. (I understand that chips seem like a little thing, but if a chip sends ash up to the smoke alarms, we’d definitely set them off as well as the sprinkler system and every conversation with all the PMs and TDs and fire marshalls and inspectors involved stated that the fire should not be triggered if anything was in the way). When the big moment came, I did not trigger the effect. Everyone was frustrated and some people were a little upset, but it was the safety call that needed to be made and I was glad that I’d been advised by so many smart people. Thankfully, opening night the fire went off without a hitch, and although it didn’t always work perfectly, I never again had to decide that we wouldn’t at least try to light it up.

Emergencies happen. They don’t happen every production, but they happen far more frequently than anyone wants to admit. Every emergency will have a unique set of circumstances and snap judgements to be made, but having a conversation with your team or even hearing about how others have dealt with similar issues give you the most facts to help you make the best decisions while the adrenaline races.

Do you have emergency plans in place? What happens if you lose power in the middle of the show? Do you have a plan for medical emergencies among the cast, crew, or audience? What about an earthquake, flood or even high winds for an outdoor show? Share your emergency protocols in the comments below.

#TheSummit: Vancouver Stats

For the past week my twitter feed and blogroll have been full of responses to  The Summit, a series of discussions led by Washington Post reviewer Peter Marks and hosted by Arena Stage in DC this week. The Summit put the AD’s of five of DC’s largest theatres on a stage together for a candid conversation about the state of theatre. For a great summary of the event, check out this article from DCTheatreScene.com or this response from 2amTheatre.

They  discussed many subjects that evening including attendance figures, ticket prices, season programming & subscribers, and many other relevant topics, but the one that sparked a fire was when they discussed including female playwrights.  Twitter exploded on #TheSummit when one of the AD’s in attendance made comments that there are not enough plays by females produced in New York or London and that as AD’s they needed the name recognition in order to sell a show. Other ADs made comments about there not being female-penned classics and about how many “feminist” plays are now too dated to produce.

Out of this has come a new twitter/tumblr account called LadyPlaywrights which introduces a handful of, you guessed it, Lady Playwrights every day because ignorance is not an excuse.

Nothing But Sky, written and directed by Kendra Fanconi, opens tomorrow (Friday, February 21st) at The Dance Centre.

Nothing But Sky, written and directed by Kendra Fanconi, opens tomorrow (Friday, February 21st) at The Dance Centre.

But all of this conversation on my timeline and blog reading got me thinking: How does Vancouver measure up? DC stats show that females make up  27% of playwrights on DC stages and 33% of directors. I was certain that our stats were better than that. I mean, we have wonderful playwrights like Lucia Frangione, Michelle Riml, Lisa Ravensbergen, and Deb Williams. We have directors like Sarah Rodgers, Mindy Parfitt, Kim Collier, Anita Rochon, Carole Higgins, Chelsea Haberlin, Angela Konrad, Genevieve Flemming, Rachel Peake, Renee Iaci, Katrina Dunn, Rachel Ditor, and Lois Anderson. Surely our numbers would be higher than DC’s.

I decided to do some quick research. I looked at the 2014/2015 Season so far (beginning May 1) for all Jessie registered shows.

Here are the Vancouver stats:

35% of directors are female
24% of playwrights are female
22% of plays produced are new plays and of those only 25% are written by women

Comparatively, we have even less female playwrights and barely more female directors being produced in our city. I perceived Vancouver to have a wealth of female talent – which I still believe it does – but the numbers suggest that equal representation is still a long way off. In DC they are tackling this head on: in fall of 2015 49 companies will participate in the first ever Women’s Voices Festival. Maybe Vancouver needs to follow suit?

CAEA Dues Referendum

Monday night I attended the Vancouver Equity Dues Referendum Forum at the new Vancouver Opera rehearsal space.  There were a handful of people there, but I could easily list (without looking anywhere) the names of more equity members who weren’t present than there were people in the room. One of the questions that was asked as a part of the evening was “How do we get people to vote?” The number one thing that came up was (as it is in theatre publicity) word of mouth. We need to talk to each other about what’s going on. I figured that I have a platform (this blog), so I feel compelled to share what I learned at that forum and encourage everyone to make his or her voice heard. But this is not your last chance to hear from the team at Equity: There is still the Toronto meeting this coming Monday, Feb. 10 which will also be webcast.  For more info, head here.

In 2011 there was a similar referendum. Council approached us at that time asking us to raise basic dues from $135 to $200 per year. At that time they were looking forward and noticing that they would soon be in a position of running a deficit to simply maintain the level of service they were offering. For a referendum to pass it requires a 2/3 majority. In 2011 approx 54% of members voted in favour of raising dues: a simple majority, but not enough to pass. The primary feedback that council received at that time was that a raise of that level was too much at once on the backs of members who may not be working very much. Members said they wanted to see the raise split between working dues and basic dues.

Here we are in 2014 and CAEA is now in a position of running a deficit. They cannot continue to do what they do with the money they have. So council has come back with a proposal to try to find a balance in raising the basic dues to $180 and increasing the working dues by 2.25%. Allan Teichman, Council President, said that for members making the median income of approximately $15,000/yr this new structure would split the dues evenly (almost within the dollar) between their working and basic dues. It means that members who work more are paying more and people who are working less are paying less. As someone whose work fluctuates from year to year, I appreciate that consideration.

I am 100% in support of the raise to dues.

The steps that Equity has been taking in the past couple of years with the new Festivals policy, new Indie 2.0 and Collective agreement are great steps. I want to see them able to keep moving in this direction and they need the resources to dedicate to that.  Arden, the executive director, spoke about wanting to be able to do advocacy work whenever funding cuts occur, but again that requires resources. She also spoke about wanting to make it possible to pay dues online, but not being able to afford to do that right now. Things are gaining momentum and moving in a good direction. I’d like to see it continue to do so.

Vote today

As I’m writing this 555 members or 9.7% of the eligible voters have cast their vote. Council president Allan Teichman is hoping to see upwards of 50% turnout. Do you want to know what other equity members are thinking? Allan has been inviting people to blog on the Council Connection Blog.

 

How to Vote (It’s super easy):

  1. You must be in good standing (paid up on your dues) by Feb 13. If you’re not paid up at present, you still have over a week to get paid up. Contact membership@caea.com regarding dues payment.
  2. You should have received an envelope in the mail that has 2014 Dues Referendum on the outside of it. Inside are options to vote by Internet or by phone.
  3. If you have not received an envelope, call the Voter HelpLine at 1-800-387-1856.
  4. If you have received an envelope, take a moment to do some research by reading the EQ supplement on the referendum, Allan’s blog posts (and the guest posts) on the subject, or talking to your local council members (For BC/Yukon that’s Kerry Davidson, Scott Bellis and Jane Heyman).
  5. Go to http://www.caea.isivote.com/ or call the telephone voting number toll-free (included in your voting info letter) and vote.
  6. If you’re voting online, make sure you read all the instructions. It will ask you to confirm your vote once or maybe twice before counting it, so make sure you didn’t close the window before you’ve been counted.
  7. Spread the word. While I’m going to join the many people encouraging you to be voting Yes, whatever position you take I hope you will vote. The 2011 referendum had a voting rate of about 38%. A large restructuring vote by British Equity in 2012 had only an 8% voting rate. Make your voice heard.

If you have questions, I may not have the answers, but I’m happy to point you to those who do.

10 PuSh Memories for 10 Years of PuSh

I’m looking forward to attending the PuSh Festival’s 10th anniversary gala opening tonight, but in my excitement this week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking back on my history with the festival as a patron, volunteer, donor and artist.  I wanted (originally) to compile a “top 10″ list, but realized that I couldn’t rank my memories of the festival because my experiences – like the festival itself – are multi-disciplined and genre-bending.

  • I first connected with the festival in 2007 as a volunteer. I was in my final semester of university and not taking a lot of credits and I knew I wanted to (but couldn’t afford to) see the shows that PuSh was advertising. So I signed up as a volunteer and drove myself in from Langley something like six times to sit outside the art gallery where there was an installation or to see shows. But I got really excited about what PuSh was doing, and have been involved in some way every year since.
  • Sitting in the library courtyard during small metal objects in 2008 and watching the general public’s reaction to a bank of people watching day-to-day life through a pair of headphones.
  • The addition of Club PuSh in 2009. That year all of my volunteer shifts were at the club and I remember falling in love with the 20-minute musicals programme which, of course, went on to give birth to Do You Want What I Have Got: A Craigslist Cantata but the image of Andrew McNee in Distant Second: A Steve Fonyo Story still sticks in my head sometimes.
  • Taylor Mac’s opening show at Club PuSh.
  • Attending The Show Must Go On  in 2010 when one of my friends stood up in the audience and started dancing along with the cast.
  • Walking through gas town in 2011 as La Marea was happening. I went the first night and saw all the pieces in one order. And then I went back after each other show I saw that week to walk through it from other angles, partly because I enjoyed the piece so much and partly because the experience of having that many people on a car blocked street enjoying a show was so exciting. I still have the red PuSh festival umbrella I was given during that event.
  • Attending Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and The Farewell Speach in 2012 after so strongly disliking the first Cheltfish show I had seen (in 2009 I think?) and then falling in love with this one.
  • Arriving with the cast of Ride the Cyclone at the hotel in 2013 and being handed a giant welcome package by the concierge (a volunteer role I filled many years) complete with a handwritten note of welcome and enough food to have a party.
  • Participating in A Western at Club PuSh in 2013. Shooting the bad guys and watching audience members die.
  • Finding myself in a financial position to make a donation of more than $20 and getting to take ownership of the festival in yet another way.

Really though, my favourite thing about the PuSh festival is that every year I fall in love with some shows and hate some shows and can’t wait to hear from the people whose opinions are so opposite mine over a glass of wine at the end of the night. Because that’s what PuSh is here for: to push our boundaries and keep us coming back for more.

What have been your favourite & least favourite PuSh festival shows over the years?

2013: Work & Other Adventures

The quote I chose to write on the wall in Calgary on our first tour stop.

The quote I chose to write on the wall in Calgary on our first tour stop.

2013 was a big year for me on the work front. It was also the first year that I had multiple confirmed projects (3!) get cancelled with only a few months notice. This certainly changed my year from going as I thought, but it also opened the door to some new opportunities.

I rang in 2013 with Atomic Vaudeville as I prepped to head out on the national tour of Ride The Cyclone. I can honestly say that I had no idea what I had gotten myself into when I signed up to stage manage that show, but it led to an amazing four months that took me to Victoria, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto (on hiatus), Winnipeg, Vernon (on hiatus), Saskatoon & Nanaimo. There are people from that tour that I miss on a daily basis.

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

That tour (with the help of my parents) also afforded me the opportunity to buy a condo. So when the tour ended at the end of April, I took possession of my lovely new home. I spent a week doing all the renos: new fixtures, new paint, tile on the kitchen walls, and so on and then celebrated my 27th birthday with a big ol’ party in my new home.

The wreckage that remained at the end of the show.

The wreckage that remained at the end of the show.

May ended with a trip over to Robert’s Creek on the Sunshine coast to work with The Only Animal for their part of the Obstructions series: Stupid Is As Stupid Does. My role on that show became unique from all other Stage Management I’ve done when I was asked to create a three-tiered wedding cake covered in red, white and blue roses that would be cut up with a chainsaw before being eaten. But it was a creative challenge I was excited about and I spent my evenings after rehearsal baking cakes. Our rehearsal of the cake cutting (with a practice cake) yielded hilarious results, including me covered in cake crumbs from head to toe. There may be some video of that kicking around, but sadly I do not have any of it.

Once that show was over, I jumped head first into working with the Vancouver Board of Parks & Rec on the annual Arts, Health & Seniors Gala that I’ve been coordinating for the past couple of years at the Roundhouse. This year the performances included a choir, puppets, and lots of video projects. But the funnest part of the event is always helping to serve the luncheon – especially the dessert. Everyone in the room gets so excited about dessert!

Summer was a time where two projects fell through. The way I looked at my remaining options was this: “I can stay in Vancouver and make no money sitting on my ass while my friends all work, or I can make no money going to Toronto and working my ass off with my friends and with other new connections.”  For me this was a no brainer, so I jumped on an airplane and made a temporary move to Toronto. Temporary contracts with Toronto Pride and Fringe Toronto got me off to a great start and opened the doors to all sorts of opportunities to both make friends and see shows.

The chorus of Paradises Lost.

The chorus of Paradises Lost.

And then the work started in earnest with two shows at SummerWorks Eating Pomegranates Naked and Paradises Lost. The first was the project that took me to Toronto in the first place, and the second was a glorious surprise that I didn’t expect, but I so enjoyed another opportunity to work on opera. I was frequently rehearsing seven days a week, but it was a blast. On my days away from rehearsals I was adventuring around Ontario to see friends but also associate producing Aim for the Tangent’s Mature Young Adults. In fact, I attended a rehearsal of MYA with suitcase in hand on my way to the airport to fly back to Vancouver.

My favourite photo from the circus this year.

My favourite photo from the circus this year.

12 hours after arriving in Vancouver I was on my way back out-of-town – on a ferry headed for the Sunshine Coast. I joined up with Deer Crossing The Art Farm to be the circus manager for the 2013 edition of the Rainforest Circus: Circus of Chance. That show was probably the most exercise I’ve ever gotten on a show, running through the rainforest from station to station.

Then it was a ferry back to Vancouver and straight to a production meeting and my first day of prep for Rumble Theatre’s Penelope. That show was a fantastic experience and truly disgusting – mostly because of the amount of junk food we went through every night. It also had a flaming BBQ. Which was fantastic when it worked (though sadly it didn’t always work – especially in week 2).

Next came NYET with Zee Zee Theatre and artists from across the country standing up and having a conversation about Russia’s anti-gay legislation. Such a fantastic night with an amazing group of artists.

Except in the Unlikely Event of War

Except in the Unlikely Event of War

Of course, NYET happened while I was in rehearsal for Sean Devine’s latest, Except In The Unlikely Event of War with Pi Theatre Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre. Pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve had actual lines in a play and also the first time that I’ve had an audience cheer for me at the end of the show. Thankfully I didn’t have to memorize my lines as I could read them from my prompt script every night. And every night I cursed Sean just a little bit for writing me into the play.

Mom and I taking selfies up the mountain.

Mom and I taking selfies up the mountain.

After such a busy year, I intentionally took December off to rest and regain some balance. A trip to see family for the holidays and celebrating Christmas with a Doctor Who topped Christmas tree were just a part of it.

Which brings us to today. Today was supposed to be my first day on my next gig, but it was one of the ones that got cancelled this year. Instead, I’m writing this blog, reflecting on the year that has been, and looking forward to what lies ahead.