Tag Archive: World Theatre Day

Happy World Theatre Day 2011!

It’s March 27th, the day the world celebrates theatre. This year the official world theatre day page has more responses on it than ever – from Poland, from Mexico, from Australia, from the UK, from India – and its very exciting to see the way people the world over are celebrating theatre!

I already posted my contribution to the World Theatre Day theme, but I want to post it again.  This year the theme was “This is my theatre” and when I thought about that I thought about how I don’t have only one theatre that I like to call mine.  I think of the whole Vancouver theatre scene as my theatre – places I go to create either as a part of the production team or the audience.

Today I will celebrate by seeing two shows: The Virtual Stage’s 1984 at the Cultch and Staircase XI productions’ Evelyn Strange at the Havana. Two very different plays and I’m very excited to see both of them.

Literary Expansion

This is my shelf of plays, sorted alphabetically by playwright.

Last week I was re-reading Travis Bedard‘s post over at www.2amtheatre.com about the books that every theatre student should read and was surprised at how few of them I had actually read.   I went to university and read an awful look of books about theatre, but somehow many of these had not made the cut.  This lead to an examination of my theatre bookshelf and the realization that it was time for it to grow.

Fast forward. This morning I was wandering around downtown Victoria and was struck by the number of used bookstores around.  It seems like every half a block there is another one and many of them fill more than one storefront.  While I didn’t have time to pop into any of them today (I was on a mission!), I’m already planning to go back many times over the next couple of weeks and while I’m sure I’ll pick up some novels & cook books, I think the goal will be to grow my theatre library.

Here’s the challenge though: What do I look for and buy? Certainly everything that has been suggested over on Travis’ post and also the

The technical book shelf - mostly stage management books!

ones on this list as well.

Two years ago the world theatre day meme was “Standing on Books” and we all took photos of ourselves standing on the books that have taken us to where we are now.  And its true – the books that we have read inform the art that we make and the way we approach the world.  And I want to expand my knowledge in that area.  I want to have more books to stand on next time we take a photo like that.

But could you all make some suggestions for me? Scripts, books on writing, directing, technical, theory, history, whatever you think a well rounded theatre artist should have read.

4 Projects. 1 Short Day.

Today was one of those days when every project I’m working up ganged up on me.

Photo by flickr user DBarefoot. Used under creative commons licence.

Last night was closing for Hive 3.  I did the math: in a week and a half we did 70 performances of House/Home.  Three weeks ago the show didn’t exist and now it no longer exists, except as a text document outlining the movements & as a few photos.  This morning we packed up the last of our stuff out from the venue and it was sad to say good bye to the whole thing. But that’s the reality of the impermanence of theatre.

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Today in Vancouver there was a series of panels called Backstage with Jackson where local theatre practicioners discuss what it’s like to make a life in the theatre. I sat in for the 1pm panel to do a live blog for the official World Theatre Day site.  One of my favourite comments was from Kenji Maeda who said,

“I think that using new media or projections or new techniques brings in new audiences which is very important. I think if we are not adapting to what the community – or younger audiences are seeing – if they think theatre is only Shakespeare or kids wearing flowers or being a clown, then they are going to be turned off of theatre. I think new media is one way of doing it. But I also think that marketing traditional theatre in a new way is another angle. Theatre is about reflecting what the community is at a specific time.”

It’s interesting at least in part because it ties into the whole conversation about theatre marketing that’s been happening over on Simon’s blog.

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Glass City Theatre. That was another two hour meeting and a whole lot of brain food for the next week.  What are my skills? What responsibilities do I want to take on? Am I really ready for this? Does it matter? What have I gotten myself into? THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.

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Rehearsals for Refuge of Lies start tomorrow at Pacific Theatre. I’m almost ready.  I want to do some baking for first read tomorrow, and I have a little bit more paperwork to do. But I am feeling more confident about being ready for these rehearsals than I have before.  Of course, that usually means I’m totally forgetting about something, but I’m going to choose happy ignorance for the moment.

And now it’s 8:49pm and I’m sitting here wondering where today went and whether I should be doing something more useful than blogging & watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. So far I can’t figure out anything more useful than Neil Patrick Harris & Joss Whedon singing a commentary to me while I bake, so I’m going to do that.

2009 In Review: Blogging

Six months ago I took the plunge into self-hosted  WordPress.   I  had spent six months with a blogspot.com account which began as “Lois in La La Land”  and evolved into Lois Backstage.

At times my blogging has been frequent – there were periods in the past year where I wrote on almost a daily basis, but more often it has been sporadic, as thoughts hit me or shows inspired me or I ran across other people’s posts that I needed to share or I had a show of my own up that I wanted to make sure you all knew about.

In the past year I have written 113 posts.  My most popular post by far has been “You’ve Got Everything In There!” :: The SM Kit, followed by the Who Is Lois? page & the Upcoming Productions page.  Most people who are on search engines and click through to my blog are looking for info on stage manager’s kits, quotes from Slings & Arrows, or are actors I have worked with searching their own names (there are 6 or 7 of you and I know who you are!).  Mostly my traffic comes from twitter & facebook when I post links to new posts.  The other source of site traffic has been The Blue Room – a UK technical forum where one of the moderators happens to be a designer I’ve worked with who posted the link to my SM Kit post.  Thanks Matt!

Blogging has opened a lot of doors for me this past year.  It has connected me to some wonderful people through the World Theatre Day efforts (I’m thinking of you Simon, Rebecca, Jess, Nick, Travis & Kate!) and has got me interacting both nationally & internationally with theatre makers and engaging ideas.

Looking forward to 2010 I want to do a lot more with my blog.  I will no doubt still put together lists of recommended shows to see, but I will be focusing more on the technical side of theatre & specifically stage management whenever possible.  I also intend to be more frequent/consistent in my blogging.  My initial goal is to be posting approximately twice per week, but that those posts will be of a higher quality than a lot of what I posted this past year.  The numbers will be similar, but if the quality is improved, the blog is improved.  And I will be involved again with World Theatre Day 2010, so be watching the blog for more info about how you can get involved!

Previously: 2009 In Review: Shows I Saw

2009 in Review: Work

Whenever I meet new people, one of the inevitable questions that comes up is “So, what do you do?” and whatever that piece of information is, it becomes one of that person’s defining characteristics. He’s a chef. She’s a banker. They are artists. Our work often defines us as people.

I am currently stage managing The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe which continues at Pacific Theatre until Jan. 2, 2010.

I am currently stage managing The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe which continues at Pacific Theatre until Jan. 2, 2010.

In the past 12 months I worked on 12 shows for seven different companies. There was a one-woman show about the birth of modern dance at the time of WWII (A Time To Dance), a collaborative storytelling project to celebrate World Theatre Day 2009 (My First Time: The Tour),& a clown show (Holy Mo). There was Shakespeare in a park (Hamlet), Stoppard in a park (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead), and a magic show (Unshuffled). I stage managed a a dark tale of pedophilia, murder , & forgiveness (Frozen), a response to gay-bashing (Stop Kiss), and a magical Narnian adventure (The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe). I worked with 22 emerging artists on a showcase piece(You Still Can’t), 16 musicians & storytellers on a Christmas extravaganza (Christmas Presence) and the graduating class of the William Davis Center for Actors’ Study (Memory).

Of those twelve shows, some of them were only a single night (Unshuffled, My First Time: The Tour) while others ran for six weeks or more (The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe; You Still Can’t) and the rest were somewhere in between. Each time, a new venue, a new group of people, a new set of challenges to look forward to.

The variety is part of the fun of being a freelancer. I get to take on all different

Cast & Crew from shameless hussy's production of Frozen.

Cast & Crew from shameless hussy's production of Frozen.

sorts of projects over the course of the year, working with all different sizes of companys and on all different sorts of projects. I have a couple of contracts in place for 2010: I”ll be returning to Pacific Theatre to Stage Manage Refuge of Lies by artistic director Ron Reed which opens mid-April and I’m booked for the month of February as well. Other than that the new year is a blank slate. I’m sending resumes across the country. I’ve told myself that I will apply for every stage management position I hear of that I could even possibly qualify for. Chances are I will have moments where I look just as crazy as I did last March when I did that mailout. I’m taking a leap of faith that there will be work for me and that I will continue to be able to live off my theatre income.

My work related goal for the next year: get my first equity apprentice stage management credit.

Orestes Live from Austin, TX to my Bedroom

orestesTonight I had the pleasure of being among the 30 or so people watching Cambiare Productions live online stream of their performance of Orestes.  Having run in Austin for the last 2 weeks and continuing through this weekend, hosting a live stream was a way for Cambiare’s Artistic & Producing Directors Travis & Will to share the work they are doing with those who cannot make it down to Texas to see the show.

During the World Theatre Day celebrations, Cambiare also hosted a live stream for their reading of Carol Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children.    And after the success of that endeavor I was thrilled to hear them announce tonight’s show.

One of the things that I found most interesting about the experience was the way the technology changed how I viewed the piece.  I did watch the entire play, but at times drifted over to wikipedia to check plot points or Twitter to see what others were saying about the show.  As well, the technology they were using to stream the show came with a chat room which allowed for immediate responses to things we liked (La Tasha Stephens as the voice of the people, and the whole image of lawyer, judge, jury), things we didn’t like (people who point at other people) and things that surprised us (Death by Travis!).  The best analogy for the interaction level of it was the post-show trip to the bar where you can digest everything you’ve just seen, but we were able to do that while we were watching.

Of course things get lost with the change in medium: there were certain actors that were difficult to hear, the camera chooses where you look instead of you being able to take in everything that’s happening around you, it can be hard to see people’s faces, but despite those difficulties Orestes was a great experience.

Why Theatre: or, What I Loved About World Theatre Day

There are already a handful of World Theatre Day 2009 round-ups online. You can find them here. And here. And here. And here. And here. But now it’s my turn to weigh in on it.

In the lead up to World Theatre Day there was a lot of discussion about “Why Theatre?” It was blogged (and again and again). It was videoed a few times. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, but never got as far as writing about it. But here’s what it boils down to for me: I tried to get out, and I couldn’t.

I did some theatre in high school – stage managed a couple of shows, designed a poster, built some sets & hung some lights. And I liked it. But I didn’t see it as something that I could make a career out of. Someone else, sure. But I was cut out for something different. I was going to study PR & marketing, and I was going to work in the music industry doing that.

So I went into university looking to do that. I declared a Communications major (& media certification) before I took my first class and I was ready to conquer the world. But I needed some fine arts electives, so why not just take 1 credit worth of production. Well, 1 credit turned into 3 and soon I found myself declaring a theatre minor. And then a theatre concentration. And then I was stage managing a professional show while still in school. It was only after that experience that I went to my adviser and re-wrote the graduation requirements so that I could do a theatre major without upper level acting classes. Even then I still kept the communications major, just in case.

But here I am, a couple of years out of school and still doing this crazy thing called theatre full time. And I’m here because theatre pursued me and won me.

But now you’re wondering what the heck does any of that have to do with World Theatre Day.

For me, World Theatre Day was all about celebrating this crazy thing I love to do & inviting others who love it to celebrate with me. Sure, as Rebecca pointed out, Vancouver’s events weren’t that well attended, but those of us who were there had fun (see myself & Simon at left). I even stage managed a special World Theatre Day show here in Vancouver. Even more important than any events at a local level was the international co-operation that truly made this a WORLD theatre day. With each online meeting of the facilitation team excitement grew and new relationships were formed. There are still ways to get involved in WTD09. Have you submitted a photo of yourself standing on books yet? Ian over at Theatre is Territory is collecting them from the tumblr site and you can submit yours by e-mailing it to frabbaurt633@tumblr.com. The idea is that the photos will be used to create a commemorative poster from this year’s event.

Already people are talking about 2010 and all the things they want to try out, and 2009 has barely wrapped up. I’ve got to say, I’m looking forward to it.

World Theatre Day Live Tweet of A Time To Dance

Last night, in honor of World Theatre Day, I did a live tweet of my current show, A Time to Dance.

SMLois: Half Hour Call #ATTD #wtd

SMLois: Just checked in with Box Office – have quite a full house tonight, many are taking advantage of #wtd 2-for-1 special! #ATTD

SMLois: Five minute call everyone #WTD #ATTD

SMLois: Places everyone! #ATTD #wtd

SMLois: Curtain is up – first dance/monologue is underway #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Stand-by LX7 #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: LX7 Go #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: “It was a nuisance child because you wouldn’t die” The audience loves that line. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: The interesting thing about this show is that all of the sound cues are manual – usually the shows are programmed into a computer #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: We have a very special audience member tonight. There is a guide dog in training sitting in his trainers lap. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Such a great audience tonight! Must be the #WTD spirit wearing off on them! #ATTD

SMLois: “Attraction isn’t necessarily because you love somebody. Attraction can be because somebody loves YOU.” #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: I love that the audience gets the show – it’s set in WWII Austria but has a lot of lightness to it. I love their laughter #WTD #ATTD

SMLois: We’re into my favorite lx cue of the show (LX 23). It’s very low light with saturated blue break up. I’m a sucker for saturation #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Crazy Maracca dance! & jumping jacks! & stretching! & sit ups! This play is very fun. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: We have a talk back after the show tonight. I’m now taking bets on what the first question will be. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: We’re about 7 min to the end of the play. It’s a short, sweet piece. Then I get to go collect money for theatre cares week! #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Stand by black out & sound fade out #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Black out and music fade go! Back after I collect money! #ATTD #WTD