Last night to catch A Christmas Carol with the Weston Silver Band

Tonight’s the last night to see A Christmas Carol by Shakespeare in Action with the Weston Silver Band. Robin Breon, a theatre reviewer, gives it a rave review:

I’ve seen quite a number of Carols over the years and this one (to paraphrase Dickens) was as good A Christmas Carol as any good old city knew, or any other good old city, village, borough or town in the good old world!

 

Kiowa Wind McComb mural at ROM

The ROM has named a mural after a young man killed in Weston.

Mural
From NOW Toronto

Kiowa Wind McComb was stabbed to death outside Gucci’s Bar and Grill on Jane Street in 2016. He was the Indigenous Youth Intern at the ROM at the time of his death.

“We did get a question about the wind in the hair of the horses, so we talked about Kiowa,” recalls McCue. “I got a little bit more emotional than I thought I would.”

Lauren Lavallee had been dating McComb for two years at the time of his death. She was at the unveiling and was gifted a shawl, a cultural tradition for a grieving person, and only realized the nod to McComb in the mural after McCue explained it.

NOW Toronto has more.

Trouble at Shakespeare in Action

Michael Kelly, Artistic Director at Shakespeare in Action has been accused of  ‘making a racist remark’ by actors working on the production of ‘Sound and Fury’. The show, scheduled for Friday November 22nd was cancelled by SIA’s board of directors as a result of the accusations. The theatre company was chosen to be a co-tenant in the Artscape Weston Hub and began its residence earlier this year.

Mr. Kelly founded Shakespeare in Action in 1988. Here is the full statement from the SIA Board posted after the show was cancelled:

“Statement from Board of Directors, Shakespeare in Action 

ON NOVEMBER 12, 2019, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF SHAKESPEARE IN ACTION (SIA) BECAME AWARE OF ALLEGED ACTIONS TAKEN BY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MICHAEL KELLY DURING A REHEARSAL OF “SOUND AND FURY” ON NOVEMBER 9, 2019. HE HAS BEEN ACCUSED BY ACTORS WHO WERE EMPLOYED BY THE COMPANY OF MAKING A RACIST REMARK. 

The SIA Board has taken immediate steps to suspend Michael Kelly from his duties as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action and is conducting a full investigation into this incident. We are making every effort to speak with all parties involved and hope to conclude this investigation swiftly and fairly. We are also taking steps to ensure lasting organizational changes and improved policies are put in place to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future. 

It is of paramount importance to the Board and Shakespeare in Action that its performance spaces are safe and inclusive for all people regardless of creed, ethnic origin, place of origin, race, colour, ancestry, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. We believe it is our duty to ensure that all employees and actors feel safe, included and respected when working with the Company. 

We regret any pain caused to actors, stage crew, SIA staff and anyone else involved and are working to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. We anticipate concluding our investigation by November 25th, 2019 and will issue a further statement at that time. “

UPDATE:

This statement from the Shakespeare in Action Board of Directors was released on Monday November 25.

“The Board of Directors of Shakespeare in Action has concluded its investigation into the actions taken by artistic director Michael Kelly during a rehearsal of “Sound and Fury” on November 9th, 2019. 

The Board of SIA is aware that more than two weeks have now elapsed since November 9th, and it remains committed to a timely resolution. However, the Board would like to avoid acting hastily and rashly while it considers the findings of its investigation. The Board will deliver its findings and recommendations no later than the end of the week. 

In the interim, Michael Kelly continues to remain suspended from his duties as Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Action.”

Toronto Bell Cote Neighbourhood Bazaar this Sunday

The heritage preservation people at Toronto Bell Cote at 691 Scarlett Road are holding a fundraising bazaar on Sunday August 25 between 1 and 3pm. Funds raised will go to support local artisans and the maintenance of the former St Matthias church.

It’s never too late or too early to stock up!  Please come to the Toronto Bell Cote Heritage Preservation’s Neighbourhood Bazaar. Flowers, baked goods, handicrafts, paintings will be on sale to support local artisans and an award-winning Heritage Building.”

Your job is easy

You think your job is tough? Try dressing like Marie Antoinette and standing on the pavement when it’s 42°. It has to be brutal.

My favourite performance was by Kate Mior, who returned this time as Madame Guillotine. Her performance was brilliant. She ‘executed’, with audience cheers and encouragement, an innocent man drawn from the crowd, before her own death by baguette. It was funny—and a slicing commentary on the difference, if any, between audience and mob.

The BIA, the performers, and volunteers did a great job in really tough conditions this year. Hats–or heads!–off to them!

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Little Avenue Park

From Art in the Parks.

Weston’s resident theatre company, Shakespeare in Action will begin performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream next week for a two-week run in Little Avenue Park. The show will preview on Tuesday July 16 and Wednesday July 17. During these two nights, the company will rehearse, fine-tune and block the show using the unique features of the park.

For many in Weston, this will be the first chance to see SIA perform. Seven actors will play the various roles – this is a comedy and one of Shakespeare’s more accessible plays so it should be entertaining for all ages. Expect some interactivity and not all of the performance will be on stage.

Admission is free and seating is on the park’s grassy area, or bring a lawn chair. A limited number of rental chairs will be available each night. Some people are planning to picnic beforehand or purchase take out food from one of our many local restaurants. Just remember to put all litter in the trash cans.

SIA’s Community Outreach Coordinator Catriona Leger says that performances will be cancelled if it looks like bad weather will persist through the evening. A decision will be made by 6:00 pm each night and broadcast on social media.

The company requests that people refrain from taking photos or videos during performances for copyright reasons.

Little Avenue Park and its bandshell / stage. (File)

The play will last for 75 minutes and Catriona suggests that it will be great for audiences of all ages as well as a pre-bedtime treat for young children.

It’s a short walk from the UP Express Station. Click to enlarge.

Performance Schedule: Starting time is 7:00 pm for all performances.

  • Tuesday July 16, Preview
  • Wednesday July 17, Preview
  • Thursday July 18, Official Opening and Performance
  • Friday July 19, Performance
  • Saturday, July 20, Performance
  • Sunday July 21, Performance
  • Tuesday July 23, Performance
  • Wednesday July 24, Performance
  • Thursday July 25, Performance
  • Thursday July 26, Performance
  • Friday July 27, Performance
  • Saturday July 28, Performance
  • Sunday July 28, Performance and closing night.

Volunteers needed

Shakespeare in Action is looking for some volunteers to help put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Little Avenue Park this summer.

Shakespeare in Action is looking to assemble a team of Front of House Volunteers and Community Ambassadors for our upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Little Avenue Memorial Park in Weston. Shows run Tuesdays through Sundays from July 16-28th.

Volunteers are valued members of the Shakespeare in Action team and we are always happy to include anyone who wishes to contribute to making theatre in northwest Toronto fun, relevant and accessible! Whether you want to become more involved in the community, get to know the budding arts scene in general, collect co-op hours for your school, or just enjoy interacting with fellow theatre lovers, we would love to engage with you. We promise a fun environment, an enjoyable show, and a volunteer experience like no other.

If you’re interested, you can register using the online form or by emailing [email protected] with a little information about yourself.