HOST AN ACTOR this Summer

sleepy actorAnyone with a spare bedroom is in for a treat this summer should they decide to host one of the visiting professional actors with the Classic Theatre Festival, which celebrates its 5th anniversary with a historic, theatrical guided walking tour, two hits from the golden age of Broadway (Neil Simon’s comedy Come Blow Your Horn and Frederick Knott’s nail-biting mystery, Dial M for Murder), and a brand new venue at 54 Beckwith Street East.

Currently, the Festival has actors who will be arriving in Perth for two separate six-week periods, June 22-August 4 and July 20-September 1. The Festival is hoping individuals or families with spare bedrooms and access to a kitchen and washroom are able to host one of the performers (all of whom pay for their own food). In return, host individuals and families receive free passes to the festival all summer long as well as exclusive invites to special Festival social events.

For Perth resident Helen Gamble, 2014 marks the 5th season she has hosted a performer, and she looks forward to finding out who she’ll be billeting this summer.

“I’ve billeted at least one actress each year of the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth,” Gamble says.  “At first I wondered how it would work out and whether my guest room was adequate. It’s been a wonderful experience. I meet interesting, artistic people who are passionate about what they do. They are gone most of the day into the evening, busy with their work schedules. It’s fun to have someone coming and going, a bit of company, but someone I don’t have to entertain.”

Gamble has gotten used to living with actors she sees turning into completely different people when they assume their characters on the Classic Theatre Festival stage. She, among other billet hosts, has also struck up close friendships with those she has hosted, and they often stay in touch via facebook, email, and reunion visits. And it’s always a nice surprise to turn on the TV or see a film in which one of the people who stayed with her has gotten a role.

“All they need beyond their room is a shelf in the fridge and one in a cupboard,” Gamble says. “They feed themselves, tidy and clean after themselves, and respect my house and routine. My friendly dog seems to be a bonus and often they practice their lines with him as their foil.

“Billeting costs me very little – really, just a bit of hot water for showers and a spare key – but I meet and interact with intelligent, outgoing people and am invited to casual get-togethers of cast, crew, other billeters, and volunteers. I’m gifted with tickets to the plays which are more interesting than ever, because I know at least one cast member. I’m glad I decided to billet that first year and look forward to meeting this year’s actress and becoming involved once again.”

Scott Clarkson, a veteran Festival performer returning for his 4th consecutive season (audiences will remember his star turns in The Fourposter, Two for the Seesaw, and The Marriage-Go-Round), is staying once again with the Hodgins family in Perth as he preps for his role as a suave lover in Dial M for Murder.

“I had never been billeted for a show before my first time in Perth and wasn’t sure what to expect,” Clarkson says.  “The entire Hodgins family were so welcoming and cheerful that it made a six-week stay away from home so much easier. This summer will be my fourth with them – and as much as I love Perth and the Classic Theatre Festival, the Hodgins’ hospitality is an equally large part of why I am so happy to keep coming back! I am so grateful to see such generosity to the arts.”

Even if hosts cannot provide a space for the complete six weeks, some performers may require only two or three-week stints. Individuals interested in hosting an actor should call (613) 264-8088 or email info@classictheatre.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Behrens

Associate Producer

Classic Theatre Festival

Presenting the Classic Hits of Broadway and the London Stage

Box 2121, 57 Foster Street

Perth, Ontario K7H 1R0

(613) 264-8088; 1-877-283-1283 EXT. 3 (toll free)

www.classictheatre.ca

 

YOUTH THEATRE TROUPE brings Perth History Alive

Perth through the Ages: Our new theatrical guided walking tour in beautiful Heritage Perth

Perth through the Ages: Our new theatrical guided walking tour in beautiful Heritage Perth

As part of the Classic Theatre Festival’s 5th anniversary celebration season, young people aged 15-29 with a passion for theatre and local history are eligible to become part of a brand new youth theatre project this summer. Perth through the Ages, a theatrical historic walking tour, will animate the town core, re-creating key characters and events in the town’s storied 200 year history.

“We are very fortunate to be able to offer paid employment to local young people for this innovative and creative endeavor this summer, thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture’s Celebrate Ontario program, along with the valuable assistance of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, and the Perth and District Community Foundation,” says Festival Artistic Producer Laurel Smith, who will be accepting applications for these positions until May 9th.

This summer, visitors to Perth will be forgiven if they feel like they are occasionally walking into a time warp. Five mornings a week from Wednesday to Sunday, beginning June 25th, the theatrical guided historic walking tour will take place, beginning at 11 am at Perth’s Matheson House Museum.

“Walking the streets of Heritage Perth is almost akin to touring the backlot of a motion picture studio,” says Smith. “These beautiful heritage facades whisper of a history peopled with remarkable characters and compelling stories. Our goal is to enliven the streets of Perth this summer with fictional theatrical re-enactments of historic moments that these buildings represent, and which has been preserved, winning the town the Prince of Wales Prize for architectural preservation.

“There have been numerous studies that show rural areas like Lanark County need to embrace the opportunity to animate their town cores, which not only provides a great tourism experience for visitors, but also supports the many small businesses that populate the downtown area, while heightening local civic pride in our unique rural communities,” Smith says. “Along with utilizing research collected from the almost 200 years of Perth’s history, this will also be a cross-generational community project, with teenagers interviewing seniors to get a sense of what the town was like 50 or 60 years ago, ensuring local authenticity of the stories presented.”

The Classic Theatre Festival is working in partnership with Perth’s Matheson House Museum, as well as with renowned historian Susan Code, whose annual Halloween Ghost Walks, along with her many heritage publications and projects, have contributed a great deal to unearthing and preserving the still often unknown parts of Perth and Lanark County history.

Those wishing to join the tour can reserve tickets by calling 1-877-283-1283. Perth through the Ages will run Wednesday-Sunday at 11 am, June 25 to August 31, meeting at the Perth Museum, 11 Gore Street East. Tickets will be $12 for general admission, $10 for ticketholders to the Classic Theatre Festival, with children 12 and under free.

Local young Perth and area residents interested in applying for the walking tour positions can submit their resumés to info@classictheatre.ca no later than May 9, with interviews to take place the following week. More information is available at classictheatre.ca

EARLY BIRD Special and Season Pass On Sale Now

Buy today and get 10% off!  Choose your dates later!

Buy today and get 10% off! Choose your dates later!

Take advantage of our EARLY BIRD SPECIAL and save 10% on any ticket.  Buy now and choose your dates later!  Available until May 31, 2014.

Enjoy the savings with our 2014 SEASON PASS:  buy one show at regular price; get the second show at 25% off!

To take advantage of these awesome deals, call our box office at 1-877-283-1283 or order online at ticketsplease.ca

SWING INTO SPRING with Big Band Extravaganza

Mike Rowe (with trumpet) and his new bride Erin Morel-Rowe (with saxophone) are the newest members of Standing Room Only.

Mike Rowe (with trumpet) and his new bride Erin Morel-Rowe (with saxophone) are the newest members of Standing Room Only.

The myth that musical performers usually stick to their own kind – trumpets only hang out with trombones or French horns, but not so much with those clarinets or violins – has been thoroughly demolished by Erin Morel-Rowe and Mike Rowe. The duo make beautiful music together both onstage and off as a recently married couple and the newest members of Standing Room Only (SRO), the big band which headlines the annual spring fundraising dance for the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth on Saturday, May 3. “Swing into Spring,” the annual gathering featuring what most consider the finest big band in Eastern Ontario, will feature free dance lessons, a silent auction, and swinging renditions of tunes from the 1930s through the 1960s. Doors will open at 6:30pm, with dance lessons at 7pm at the Civitan Club, 6787 Lanark 43 in Perth.

Swing Dance Lessons

The annual Swing into Spring big band night is an occasion for those who love both the music and the opportunity to dance, just like the Classic Theatre Festival’s Matthew Behrens and Ann Hawthorne of Tickets Please.

Those who have attended the enjoyable annual event in the past – either to dance or just to sit and tap their feet – will note some of the group’s lineup changes, including tenor saxophone Erin Morel-Rowe. Having moved to this area last year from Sudbury, Erin first had a semester’s replacement contract at PDCI and is currently a supply teacher in the Upper Canada District School Board, hoping to eventually land a full-time gig teaching music to high school students. In the meantime, her passion for playing led her to join a saxophone quartet in Almonte that featured Elizabeth Sampson (a founding member of Standing Room Only) and, eventually, to join the big band. Along the way, she convinced SRO that a big band normally has four trumpet players and her husband Mike would make a perfect fourth.

“As a saxophone player, jazz is my favourite music, and I learned it early through a fabulous music teacher in Sudbury,” she says. “Playing with Standing Room Only is awesome, because I get to play my instrument every week.” Erin grew up in a musical family, with both parents playing in the Sudbury Community Band. “The turntable was always on, playing everyone from Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman to Colin James.” When she was in grade 7, her father started playing music from Big Band Spectacular, turning her on to a different sound while many of her contemporaries were jiving to ’n Sync, Jennifer Lopez and Pink.

She met her future husband, trumpet player Mike Rowe, at the age of 15. They dated for the following decade until they got married last summer, writing and arranging the music for their wedding. Their path took them together through the rest of high school and into the McMaster University music program, where Erin was inspired by the intensity of playing music every day.

“I love the feeling of working with a group, because you can express yourself individually while still working in the context of a larger collection of players. And big band music is so fun for us to play and audiences to dance to or just listen to. It’s easy to get distracted when you play for a dancing group because you see people having so much fun on the dance floor. I think a big reason this music is so popular is because it is so accessible: people quickly get it and they love it.”

Mike grew up in a family where both parents were ministers, and at age 11, he joined the Salvation Army band, which is all brass. He began to learn more contemporary tunes in grade 8 from a teacher who also played in a Sudbury jazz band, “which pushed me into a wider spectrum of music.” While he honed his musical chops in high school, he got accepted into both the university physics and the music program; however, he chose music because the intensity of practice time in high school “made me realize how much fun I had playing music, so this is what I wanted to do.”

For Mike, playing in Standing Room Only “is great. In university, a lot of the music was more academic, with audiences who were there just to listen. With SRO, people know the songs, they are there to have fun, they’re happy and excited, so it’s win-win for everybody involved.”

Swing into Spring

Swing to the sounds of Standing Room Only on Sat. May 3 at the Perth Civitan

Like Erin, Mike loves the cohesiveness of playing in concert with others. “There are different feelings in different bands. I was principal trumpet in a 90-100 piece orchestra, but then you just work in your section and coordinate with the other section leaders. You don’t worry so much about what other people are doing, whereas in SRO you need to listen to what everyone else is doing.” And while music remains his primary passion, Mike is also enrolled in the Culinary Management Program at Algonquin College.

Those attending “Swing into Spring” will get to see first-hand the talent of this dynamic couple, celebrating the arrival of (hopefully) warmer weather with the rest of their big band colleagues on May 3. Tickets to “Swing into Spring” are available at Tickets Please (613-485-6434) for $25. Further information is available at classictheatre.ca/big-band-2014

 

 

 

NEW THIS YEAR: Perth through the Ages

Walking the streets of Heritage Perth is almost akin to touring the backlot of a motion picture studio: beautiful heritage facades whisper of a history peopled with remarkable characters and compelling stories. This summer, they come to life with a theatrical guided walking tour that introduces you to fascinating, entertaining storiesPTTA logo acted out before your very eyes by a talented troupe of up-and-coming performers.

$12 per person
$10 per person  for Classic Theatre Festival ticketholders
Free
for children aged 12 and under

Buy Tickets

June 25 to August 31
Wed. to Sun. at 11 am

Meet at Matheson House Museum
11 Gore Street East, Perth

BIG BAND Extravaganza May 3 in Perth

Swing into SpringIt’s a remarkable testament to staying power that tunes first topping the music charts in the 1930s and 40s remain popular today. Indeed, the work of big band leaders like Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and the Dorsey Brothers continues to find life and a broad range of fans from all age groups via modern swing orchestras such as Standing Room Only, the 16-member big band that will be performing at the annual Classic Theatre Festival fundraiser Swing into Spring event at the Perth Civitan Saturday, May 3 at 7 pm.

Now maBuy Ticketsrking its 11th anniversary, Standing Room Only started in 2003 when trombonist and Almonte resident Catherine Illingworth brought some musical friends together under the direction of a former Glebe Collegiate Institute music teacher, Stan Clark. Among the original band members was Elizabeth Sampson, who will be playing alto saxophone and clarinet on May 3.

Sampson represents that growing corps of musicians worldwide who remain entranced Sampson on Saxwith big band and swing music, defying the popular wisdom that anything older than yesterday’s twitter feed could possibly interest anyone. In fact, as Sampson and Standing Room Only members point out, the interest is shared by everyone from octogenarians to pre-teens, all of whom show up at their popular monthly tea dances at the Almonte Town Hall. (Sampson’s 12-year-old son also plays clarinet and enjoys selling tickets at the tea dances).

A member of her high school band, Sampson recalls playing marches and Beatles tunes, but never anything from the golden age of swing. Following a 20-year hiatus from music, during which she studied architecture at Carleton and went on to work both for the federal government and in private practice, Sampson answered the call from Illingworth and got back into the cycle of weekly band rehearsals, often in her basement, and a growing list of concert and dance commitments.

While Standing Room Only’s authenticity is often based on finding the original arrangements for classics from In the Mood and One O’Clock Jump to Mack the Knife and the Pink Panther, the band is open to new arrangements from the like of Michael Buble’s band.

Sampson particularly enjoys the way in which the instruments in the band complement each other, building in melody while allowing for improvisation. Asked whether her architectural background influences her approach to music, Sampson agrees with the analogy, noting “there is a structure to the music, with 12 or 16 bar phrases. We have lots of engineers and computer people in the band.”

While Sampson must pay attention to the music and her band director during performances, she cannot help but notice the infectious enthusiasm on the dance floor as couples and individuals foxtrot, waltz, and tango to the band’s tunes. “This music is a lot of fun to dance to,” she says, “and it’s very democratic. Everyone dances with everyone else.”

Ming 20Those with a film background will also recognize members of the band in the recently-released 1930s-set film, “Ming.”

Sampson says that for the film, the band spent an evening at the Sala San Marco on Preston Street in Ottawa, with the inside done up like the fabled Cotton Club. They were provided white dinner jackets and went through the motions of playing music while dancers took their lead from a piece playing over the radio. “But everyone was very stiff because we were pretending to play this music that was coming out of a radio and everyone was getting frustrated,” she recalls. “So we collectively decided that we would strike out and play ‘In the Mood’, and the dancers started dancing like they hadn’t been dancing all night. The director came up and exclaimed, ‘That’s what I’ve been looking for from you!’ So tSwing Dance Lessonshey ended up having us perform a live piece which was a lot of fun for us.”

On May 3, free dance lessons will be provided from 7-8 pm. The show, a benefit for the Classic Theatre Festival, will also feature a silent auction with items ranging from tickets to the Stratford and Shaw Festivals to other surprise goodies.

Tickets to Swing into Spring are on sale for $25 at Tickets Please (39 Foster Street in Perth) or by calling (613) 485-6434.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Summer 2014 Youth Job Opportunities

TOUR GUIDES
HISTORIC ANIMATORS
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS

DEADLINE EXTENDED:  Fri. April 18, 2014
Email resume and cover letter to:  info[at]classictheatre.ca

 

TOUR GUIDES (2 positions available):  tour guide imageReporting to the Artistic Producer and facilitated by the Local History Consultant, the Tour Guides will coordinate and act as tour guides for Perth through the Ages, a theatrical historic guided walking tour during the summer of 2014.

Specific duties include:
• scouting of locations for presentation of theatrical scenes
• interviewing local residents to gather historical stories
• researching of historic facts and events to be used in the walking tour and in the creation of theatrical scenes
• assisting in the improvisation, creation and rehearsal of theatrical scenes
• guiding visitors through walking tour during the summer months
• coordinating project management and production details of theatrical presentations

Qualifications, skills and interests include:
• interest in local history
• interest in theatre and/or performing arts an asset
• excellent organizational skills
• excellent research skills
• attention to detail
• ability to multi-task and work in relatively high stress situations
• willingness to train
• keen sense of responsibility
• able to work in a team setting
• punctual at all times
• able to be self-directed and motivated
• take instruction and direction well
• excellent customer service skills
• must be available for all tour hours

Wage rate: $10.30-$11.00 per hour
Preferred Age Range: 16-29 years of age
Hours: Full-time from May 20 to June 20; Part-time from June 23 to Aug. 31
Tour Hours: Wed. to Sun. at 11am from June 25 to Aug. 31
APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 18, 2014

 

HISTORVictorian coupleIC ANIMATORS (4-8 positions available):  Reporting to the Artistic Producer and facilitated by the Local History Consultant, the troupe will be involved in the research, creation and rehearsal and performance of historic scenes for Perth through the Ages, a theatrical historic guided walking tour during the summer of 2014, and perform the scenes where assigned during the walking tour.

Specific duties include:
• research of historic facts and events to be used in the walking tour and in the creation of theatrical scenes
• be involved in the improvisation, creation and rehearsal of theatrical scenes
• present historic theatrical scenes as part of the walking tour during the summer months
• act as front of house ambassadors at Classic Theatre Festival performances

Qualifications, skills and interests include:
• interest in local history
• interest in theatre and/or performing arts
• excellent literacy and dramatic skills
• willingness to train
• keen sense of responsibility
• able to work in a team setting
• punctual at all times
• able to be self-directed and motivated
• take instruction and direction well
• excellent customer service skills

Wage rate: $10.30-$11.00 per hour
Preferred Age Range: 16-29 years of age
Hours: Full-time from June 2 to June 20; Part-time from June 23 to Aug. 31
Tour Hours: Wed. to Sun. at 11am from June 25 to Aug. 31
APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 18, 2014

 

PRODUCstage managerTION ASSISTANTS (2 positions available):  Reporting to the Artistic Producer, the production assistant will work with the Production Manager and Stage Manager for the 2014 summer season.

Specific duties include:
• setting up playing area during rehearsals and at every performance
• assisting actors backstage
• organizing and maintaining costumes during rehearsal and performances
• cleaning and maintenance of rehearsal space and sections of performance space as needed • organizing backstage area, including props
• assisting stage manager during rehearsals and performances as needed

Qualifications, skills and interests include:
• interest in theatre and/or performing arts
• excellent organizational skills
• attention to detail
• ability to multi-task and work in relatively high stress situations
• willingness to train
• keen sense of responsibility
• able to work in a team setting
• punctual at all times
• able to be self-directed and motivated
• take instruction and direction well
• able to attend all rehearsals and performances

Wage rate: $10.30-$11.00 per hour
Preferred Age Range: 16-29 years of age
Hours: Full-time with variable hours from June 23 to Aug. 31
Performance Times: Wed., Thurs., Sat. and Sun. at 2pm; Wed. to Sat. at 8pm APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 18, 2014

Classic Theatre Creates New Venue

Classic Theatre Festival signs agreement with St. James the Apostle Anglican Church: (clockwise from left): Robert Harvey, Laurel Smith, Sue Sams and Canon Christine Piper.

Classic Theatre Festival signs agreement with St. James the Apostle Anglican Church: (clockwise from left) Robert Harvey, Laurel Smith, Sue Sams and Canon Christine Piper.

They say that a change is as good as a rest, and while the ever-busy producers of the Classic Theatre Festival do not get much rest, they are changing their summer performance space to a renovated, brand new theatre facility at 54 Beckwith Street East (inside the Good Shepherd Hall of Perth’s historic St. James The Apostle Anglican Church).

The Festival’s 2014 summer season, including Neil Simon’s comedy Come Blow Your Horn (July 11-August 3) and the classic mystery thriller, Frederick Knott’s Dial M for Murder (August 8-31), will play at the air conditioned, wheelchair accessible space, which has free on-site parking and is also considered the highest point in Perth.

“When we first saw this space, we fell in love with it, not only because of its deep connection to Perth history, but also because it gives us the flexibility we need to present the best possible theatrical experience for our audiences,” explains Artistic Producer Laurel Smith. The hall was originally built as a theatre space but, given changing requirements over the years, the stage was cut back while additional renovations made the space wheelchair accessible.

“What we plan to do is build a new stage, bring in top-of-the-line lighting and sound equipment from Ottawa, and create an intimate space where audiences can be comfortably close to the stage in an air conditioned, wheelchair accessible environment,” Smith says. “It’s such a beautiful location, and there will be a lovely area outdoors where we can host our very popular pre-show talks as well.”

Meanwhile, St James’ parish priest, Canon Christine Piper, remarks: “We shall be fascinated to see what the Classic Theatre does with the space. It is our pleasure to contribute to the community by hosting this well-respected theatre group during our less busy summer months.”

“Given the large amount of extra wall space,” Smith says, “there will be an opportunity to install a Canadian theatre history exhibit that will bring in archival materials from some of Canada’s foundational theatres of the last 60 years. We think people will find the new location a very welcoming and happy place to be. In addition to the trip down memory lane that audiences traditionally get with our shows, they will also see photos of actors they perhaps saw at Stratford 50 years ago, from Julie Harris and Alan Bates to Christopher Plummer and Martha Henry.”

Festival producers are also pleased that in renting the space, they will be supporting some of St. James’ innovative community programming, which includes everything from support for an orphan shelter in Malawi and construction of a primary school in Tanzania to a breakfast program for children in Belize and, closer to home, monthly community dinners, and a program for young skateboarders here in Perth.

“You really have to see it to believe it, but the Hall has hosted a remarkable program called Skater Church during the fall and winter months,” Smith says. “In a town like Perth, where there isn’t always a lot for young people to do, the decision by St. James to welcome the skateboarders to both have fun and develop a spiritual conscience has been a real contribution to our community for the past six years. St. James also hosts Messy Church for young families, another innovative program of similar duration. The congregation’s commitment to bridging the generational gap in towns like ours fits with our own mandate of bringing people of wide backgrounds together to share in the experience of community through the arts.”

While the Festival works on coordinating all the pieces to put together the new theatre space, along with plans for a number of other surprises to be announced next month, it is also treating its new and returning audience members to a Valentine’s Day Special: any regularly priced tickets ordered on or before February 14 will be given a 15% discount, with the freedom to choose dates later in the summer. To order those discounted tickets, visit www.classictheatre.ca or call toll-free 1-877-283-1283. They can also be picked up at Tickets Please, 39 Foster Street, in Perth.