August 2017: An Island Summer
First CAEA apprentice credit: CHECK. I had a really good time in Chemainus this summer! It was hard work, as expected, but I learned a ton (seriously, could not have asked for a better first apprentice experience, in terms of acquiring knowledge and honing useful skills), and got to know a lot of lovely people. And I enjoyed the small town Island experience as well – more than I thought I would! It turned out to be a much-needed break from my busy city life.
April 2017: The Out Vigil, Again
This month I’ve had the privilege of coming back to one of my favourite theatre projects of the past few years, for the third time! Twenty-Something Theatre’s The Out Vigil was remounted at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam, with a quick of rehearsals followed by a week-long run. However, this time round, for reasons that are too complicated to get into in a short update, I ended up as the ASM, assisting stage manager extraordinaire Lois Dawson. So I had the weird and challenging but ultimately fantastic learning experience of watching someone else do a job I had previously done…and do it better. It was VERY instructive! The show grew so much too, more than I think anyone expected for such a short remount process. It was lovely to be back in Little Harbour/Dutch Harbor for the duration.
December 2016: Looking Back on a Very Busy Fall
The September-December stretch is always crazy; it’s one of the most jam-packed times in Vancouver’s arts calendar, AND there are a lot of major arts funding application deadlines that fall within those months. This year, it was a fall of firsts for me, in a few different ways. I stage managed a show in a strip club (The Chop’s SONIC ELDER at The Penthouse!), and also had the honour of working with Fugue Theatre on the first full workshop presentation of a beautiful new musical by Julie McIsaac and Corey Payette called Les Filles du Roi. And then in November I got some exciting news: I will be getting my first credit as a CAEA apprentice stage manager in Chemainus this summer. Very grateful for the opportunity, and I cannot wait to get the apprenticeship process properly underway at last.
August 2016: FAME The Musical at the Firehall
It has been a busy summer, full to the brim with musical theatre! In addition to spending a lot of time down at Malkin Bowl in my capacity as a Board member at Theatre Under the Stars, I also stage managed a big musical for the first time in several years, as part of a collective created with a team of amazing friends and colleagues. We called ourselves Bring On Tomorrow Co., and we produced FAME: The Musical at the Firehall from Aug. 11-21 with an incredibly talented cast of 29 (!) plus live 4-piece band. It was an intense and exhausting 6-week process, but I was so proud of the final product and everyone involved in it. Look at these rock stars!
May 2016: Urban Ink Productions presents SILENCED at rEvolver Fest 2016
I have had a blast and learned so much from working on this workshop production created by Urban Ink’s Artists’ Collective. It marks the first time I have stage managed a “devised piece” (a term I only vaguely understood prior to this project) and I have found the whole process fascinating on multiple levels. Also, it turns out that my ability to take detailed, more-or-less coherent notes on wide-ranging discussions (honed through countless lectures and seminars over the course of two history degrees) is actually super helpful in this type of rehearsal process…who knew?!
March 2016: Twenty Something Theatre presents The Out Vigil (World Premiere)
After being involved with the workshop production of this beautiful new play by Julie McIsaac in 2014, it is so exciting to be a part of the fully realized world premiere, March 16-26 at the Firehall. [UPDATE as of June 1st, 2016: The Out Vigil was recently nominated for Jessie Richardson Awards in five Small Theatre categories: Outstanding Performance Male & Female, Outstanding Music/Sound Design, Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production. Huge congrats to the whole team!]
February 2016: Global Soundscapes Festival presented by the VICO
The Araxes (or Aras) River starts in Turkey, and flows along the border with Armenia into Azerbaijan, where it continues along another border (with Iran), until it joins the Kura and together they reach the Caspian Sea. As major rivers often are, the Araxes is a boundary marker, but also a roadway, where tributaries, travellers, cultures and ideas meet and are swept along on voyages of discovery. The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s annual Global Soundscapes Festival takes similar journeys in musical form. This year’s edition, subtitled Notes From the Araxes Basin, showcases the musical traditions and instruments of the Middle East. Over 10 days of concerts, chamber recitals, educational events and more, the VICO will present an impressive list of special guests from Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Iran as well as visiting ensembles from Victoria, BC and Montreal QC, alongside Vancouver-based musicians and composers. Wearing my Communications Manager hat, I provided copy for articles about the festival in Artslandia Magazine here and here.
September/October 2015: Smoke on the Mountain at Pacific Theatre
So happy to be back at Pacific Theatre this fall, with the good folks of Midnight Theatre Collective and this sweet, funny show, which is full of great southern bluegrass-y gospel tunes, silly family antics, and tons of heart. Watch the trailer on YouTube here.
July 2015: Off to Korea (!)
A Vancouver-based theatre company called Pangaea Arts has hired me to stage manage a show they are touring to some festivals near Seoul, and then hang out with their kid (it’s a husband-and-wife team who run the company) while they spend 4 weeks in Seoul workshopping a new show that’s a co-production with a Korean theatre company. Exciting!! And nerve-wracking. But mostly exciting. 😉
Update: I wrote about my Korean adventure on my travel blog here.
December 2014: New blog post – a vaguely Christmas-themed trip down memory lane
My friend Lalainia put out a call for stories for a vlog series she was putting together called “The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving”, and somehow that sent me on a trip down memory lane…20 years back, to be exact. I posted my story as a comment on her blog, and then cleaned it up a bit for my own site here.
September 2014: Escape to Precipice Valley
In early September, after a week of frantic post-TUTS desk-clearing, I travelled to the Chilcotin, to my aunt and uncle’s ranch in the Precipice Valley, to help them host a weekend of music and other festivities affectionately dubbed the first ever Woodpile Festival. In addition to being a lot of fun overall, the trip was an excellently-timed change of scenery…and the scenery was heartbreakingly beautiful. So, photo post:
May 2014: A Study in Contrasts
That’s my rehearsal life these days: I am juggling Shrek: The Musical at Theatre Under the Stars with Twenty-Something Theatre‘s workshop production of a new play called The Out Vigil by Julie McIsaac. So I’ve been bouncing around from ogres and princesses and fairy tale creatures to Newfoundland fishermen and back, with the pop-rock soundtrack of Shrek competing with Julie’s arrangements of traditional East Coast folk tunes and Gaelic invocations in my head…it’s actually so much more fun than that sounds, I promise! The Out Vigil runs at the Havana Theatre for just five shows, May 28-31 (tickets here). It’s a beautiful show with a fantastic cast and production team, and I’m excited to be a part of bringing it to the stage for the first time. Shrek is also shaping up to be a total blast in completely different ways; as I write, we’ve just come to the end of our second week of rehearsals, but I can already tell it’s going to be a SUPER fun way to spend the summer (tickets here). Among other firsts for me, it is already notable for having generated the following “to do” list item: Arrange pick-up of rehearsal dragon. Try to figure out what THAT means…you’ll just have to come to the show to see. 🙂
December 2013: THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS is back!
This holiday concert, affectionately known behind the scenes as “The Madness of Christmas”, was essentially my first production gig in Vancouver, back in 2002 when I first got involved with Creber Music as a production/admin assistant. I worked on the show every year after that until 2008, at which point the Crebers took a hiatus from producing it to pursue other projects. Now, five years later, we’re bringing it back! It’s happening on December 14th at the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver. I love, love, love Christmas music, and this show has all kinds – traditional, pop, rock, jazz and more – along with a bit of comedy, some dancing, and fabulous performers of all ages. Some of the featured folks: Michelle, Monique and Michael Creber, Jasmine Bharucha, Gabriel Brown, Peter New, Andy Stein, Natalie Sharp, Edith Wallace, the Cypress Singers (of which I am one, incidentally), talented students & alumni of Creber Music Academy, Vanleena Dancers, the Michael Creber Band and more. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale here.
October 2013: FRIENDS OF FOOTLIGHT Benefit Concert
Apart from writing what feels like ALL the grant applications (seriously, there are four due the week of Oct. 15th alone) and doing my communications manager thing for the VICO’s upcoming concert series (The Longing Sky), my big project right now is helping to produce this fundraiser for Footlight Theatre. It’ll be held on Sunday Nov. 3 at the Michael J. Fox Theatre and it is shaping up to be a fantastic evening of “greatest hits” from the company’s past shows. Footlight has been a huge part of my professional life thus far, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities the company has given me…so I’m glad to be able to give something back by working with the Crebers, the Footlight Board and an amazing cast (50+ and counting!) on this event. Tickets are on sale now – don’t miss out!
In other news, I was offered tickets to the opening night of the VSO’s 95th season a couple of weeks ago, and I blogged about it here.
July 2013: Summer Musical Theatre Intensive
Has it really been EIGHT years? Yup, it has. That’s how long I’ve been helping Monique Creber run this program on the North Shore. For most of those years it was held at Mulgrave School; this summer we moved to a new location, Alcuin College in North Vancouver. As always, it was an all-consuming, exhausting, and ultimately hugely rewarding project. I will never cease to be amazed and inspired by what can be accomplished in a mere two weeks with a dedicated, multi-skilled/multi-tasking production team and a group of enthusiastic, talented kids. We turned a gym into a site-specific theatre space; we put on a full-length musical from the ground up (literally: from auditions to final performance in 10 work days); and, my favourite part of all, a motley crew of kids aged 7 to 18 went from being mostly strangers to being a solid, high-functioning team. Not saying the road wasn’t rocky throughout, because oh yes, it was – but they kept it together overall, kept things positive and supportive and collaborative in a way that I think any cast (even the adult professional ones) would be proud of.
June 9, 2013: Events Galore
After spending the past 6 weeks or so primarily writing, editing and desktop/online publishing, I’m excited about getting back to the production side this month in a few different ways:
- Flavour Fling! An Evening of Music & Food Fusion: I’m looking forward to helping out at this fundraiser for the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra on June 16 (4-8 pm at Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, tickets and info here). Intercultural music paired with fusion food – what a genius idea.
- In the Spotlight (June 21, 8 pm in the Studio Theatre at Kay Meek Centre, West Vancouver; tickets and info here): this is Creber Music’s year-end showcase, and it’s NOT your regular garden-variety student recital; the programme features pop, jazz, rock, musical theatre, classic sketch comedy and more, all accompanied by a fabulous (professional) live band. I’m assistant-producing, stage managing…and will also be singing, as part of a small adult vocal ensemble. Eeek.
- You Are Very Star (June 12-29 at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, details here): I’m a volunteer box office manager for what promises to be an amazing, innovative theatrical experience presented by The Electric Company. Very excited to spend a bunch of lovely summer evenings and afternoons at the planetarium!
May 28, 2013: Writing – A Meditation on the Green College Players
A small piece I wrote for the inaugural edition of an alumni newsletter associated with Green College (the graduate residence where I lived while doing my MA at UBC) was published here; I’ve also reposted it on this site in the blog section.
April 18, 2013: Switching Hats
Hmm, switching is actually kind of inaccurate, since I don’t feel that I ever actually take any of my work-related “hats” entirely off…I’m more or less wearing all of them all the time, like the Mad Hatter, so really when I switch I’m just moving a new one to the top position. Or something. Okay, now that I’ve stretched that metaphor beyond all recognition… my point is that I’m currently between stage managing gigs, but still quite busy in the communications part of my working life. The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra is gearing up for a major series of events in May: Chrysanthemums & Maple Leaves, a festival celebrating Japanese music in Canada, in myriad forms – from the centuries old traditions of Noh theatre to contemporary music for soloists, small ensembles and intercultural orchestra. For me, that means a lot of writing and editing (media releases, poster copy, website & Facebook updates, newsletters), some desktop publishing (a festival brochure, concert programmes), floods of e-mail about all of the above, and of course all the usual grant application deadlines. Busy times!
March-April 2013: Us & Everything We Own by Sean Minogue (Twenty-Something Theatre)
I’m excited to be working with the lovely folks at Twenty-Something Theatre for the first time…and on a brand new play, no less. Having playwright Sean Minogue with us in the rehearsal hall made for some fascinating discussions and discoveries; I loved listening in as he and the cast and directing/dramaturge team worked through the script from all kinds of different angles. Changes were made every day, some quite significant – including a major rewrite of the ending, which happened the night before our last day in the rehearsal hall! Us & Everything We Own runs April 4-13 at the PAL Theatre; tickets and info here.
February 2013: The Girl in the Frame… and more
At the end of 2012 I didn’t have anything on the calendar past December, which was a strange feeling after having been more or less solidly booked from January 2012 onward with six shows in succession (sometimes overlapping!). I should have known better than to worry, though; there has turned out to be no shortage of fun and interesting things to do. In January I ran front-of-house for Relephant Theatre’s production of Ordinary Days…and also had one (just one! nice change…) backstage job during the show (it involved timed confetti-tossing!). I had a blast hanging out with talented folks and listening to Adam Gwon’s beautiful music every night.
There was also a good lot of VICO-related work: a couple of grant deadlines, a new edition of The Inter-Cultural, and prep for various February events…culminating in a major concert at the Chutzpah! Festival on February 11th.
Finally, I took on a last-minute stage managing gig, joining the team at Intimate Theatre Productions for the Canadian premiere of The Girl in the Frame. It runs Feb. 13 – Mar. 2 at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.
January 12-13, 2013: The Totally True Story of Cinderella & the Prince
This is a silly but fun (I hope!) adaptation of the Cinderella tale that I wrote with my friends at New Star Children’s Theatre California; it is being performed in Fair Oaks, CA this weekend by a cast of awesome kids, teens and adults. Break legs, everyone!
I’m very proud to have edited these two recent pieces by the amazing Pat Taylor, a parent advocate for young adult cancer patients and their families, who also happens to be my aunt. 🙂
December 13, 2012: The Inter-Cultural
Technology almost foiled me, but I prevailed, and posted the Winter 2012 issue of The Inter-Cultural, a semi-regular newsletter I produce for the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. It contains the first official announcement of several major events in the VICO’s ongoing 11th season. This is fusion music on a global scale; it is the one of most artistically wide-ranging endeavours I’m involved with, and I’m very glad to be a part of it.
December 1, 2012: Album Release – A Creber Christmas
There are few things I love more (at least at this time of year) than Christmas music, so I’m thrilled to have helped in a very small way (by copyediting the CD artwork and helping to package up and mail out the first round of international orders) with the release of this fantastic Christmas album by a very talented musical family. The story of how it was funded and produced is pretty wonderful too; I wrote about it for Michelle Creber’s website here.
November 9-24, 2012: Footlight Theatre Company presents Grease
I’m the production stage manager of this show, and have been working on it since we started planning for auditions back in the spring. I wrote this article about it for Playboard. Very excited to see the curtain go up! Also excited (in a different, more terrified way), about the new challenge this production poses for me in particular: I am running lights and sound effects myself, while calling follow spot cues, fly cues and some set changes. I’ve done shows before where I ran everything, and also shows where I called everything…it’s interesting how much of a mental adjustment it has been for me to get my head around running some things and calling others!
September 21 – October 27, 2012: Midnight Theatre Collective presents The Spitfire Grill at Pacific Theatre
I’ve loved every show I’ve ever done for different reasons…but every once in a while, a project comes along that’s extra specially magical. This is one of those. As I wrote in an e-mail invitation to friends and family: “I think even those of you who aren’t normally keen on musical theatre might like The Spitfire Grill…it IS a musical, but with a few pretty interesting differences. The music is more folk/bluegrass than Broadway (and it’s beautiful! Or at least I think so, still, even after living and breathing these songs six or seven days a week since the end of August…), and the actors accompany themselves on piano, guitar, fiddle, accordion and percussion… so the instruments are incorporated into the blocking in really cool and creative ways. The script is really tightly written, the acting is top notch, and the story will do your heart good.” It is certainly doing mine good to be a part of it.
VICO presents Music of the Whole World:
The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra has two events this fall, both FREE educational presentations that are designed to broaden musical horizons: September 29, 2012 (part of World Culture Days at UBC Robson Square) at UBC Robson Square: Modes & Improvisations in Aural Traditions and November 29, 2012 at Vancouver Public Library Central Branch: The Intercultural View From Vietnam.
August 20, 2012: Album release – Timeless: Songs of a Century (Michelle Creber)
Full disclosure: I’ve known Michelle since she was three years old (she’s now 12 going on 13), so it’s possible I’m biased when I say I’m so proud of this kid and her amazing debut album. From the promo blurb I wrote about it: “Timeless is a genre-defying collection of pop, rock and jazz hits from every decade between 1910 and 2010, covered by a 12-year-old who is most emphatically not your average child singer. She’s got style, technique and versatility far beyond her years, and she makes each classic track her own.” Listen to some audio samples here.
July 9-21, 202: Summer Musical Theatre at Mulgrave – FAME Jr.
Always two of the most intense-but-rewarding weeks of my year, being the production stage manager of this program involves mounting a full-length musical from the ground up, with about 30 kids ages 5-15…in eleven days. This year’s awesome coaching/production team includes artistic director Monique Creber, stage director and choreographer Lalainia Lindbjerg Strelau, stage and technical director Glen Pope, assistant director/choreographer Madelyn Hall and stagecraft instructor Fiona Brough.
May 29 – June 2, 2012: MISCELLANEOUS Productions presents Kutz & Dawgs
Anyone who doubts that theatre can change lives needs to get to know the work of Elaine Carol and her amazing team of artists at MISCELLANEOUS Productions. Their current major endeavour is Kutz & Dawgs, an original hip hop/world musical based on Romeo & Juliet by way of West Side Story, created and performed by a cast of socially and culturally diverse youth. I’m honoured to be stage managing the world premiere of this groundbreaking piece at this year’s Vancouver International Children’s Festival.
May 1-12, 2012: Relephant Theatre presents The Exquisite Hour at The Revue Stage, Granville Island
From an e-mail invitation I wrote to friends and family: “The Exquisite Hour is something different for me in several different ways: it (a) is not a musical; (b) involves a cast of just two people; and (c) is only an hour long! It is also a lovely little romantic comedy with beautiful production values, and the two actors in it are FANTASTIC.”
March 31, 2012: VICO presents Imagined Worlds: Intertwined at the Norman Rothstein Theatre
“Music that sounds like Vancouver looks”….yes indeed. This is the final concert of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s 10th anniversary season, and it features several world premieres performed by the VICO with special guests Laudate Singers. The media release I wrote about it is posted here.
February 8-26th,2012: Hey Look, It’s A Co-op! presents The Marvelous Wonderettes at PAL Theatre