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Showing posts from 2016

Ross Petty's Sleeping Beauty BFFs: Meet Alexandra Beaton & Taveeta Szymanowicz

Fall/winter theatre favourite Ross Petty Productions is back with another fairy-tale pantomime! This year's treat is Sleeping Beauty-The Deliriously Dreamy Family Musical. The beauty is Kinky Boots star, AJ Bridal and playing her best pals are Alexandra Beaton and Taveeta Szymanowicz of Family Channel's The Next Steps. Taveeta and Alexandra were in rehearsals but took time out to share some insights into their roles.

donna g: Were either of you familiar with pantomime before being cast in Ross Petty's version of Sleeping Beauty?
Taveeta: Yes! I saw Ross's production of Peter Pan when I was in Elementary school. I remember having such a lovely time. I was thus very excited when I was cast in Ross's 2015/16 production of Peter Pan in Wonderland last year. I was thrilled to be cast again this year! 
Alexandra: Of course! Growing up in Toronto, going to the Panto at Christmas  time was a tradition for a lot of my friends. I even saw a few myself.
donna g: You both play Bea…

Festival Founder/Director Marcelle Lean Welcomes All to Cinéfranco 2016!

Cinéfranco International Festival opens tomorrow and runs until Nov. 1st, and Founder/Artistic Director, Marcelle Lean couldn't be more excited to welcome you to the Francophone festival!
donna g: Cinéfranco (CF) is celebrating its 19th year, but it hasn't been an easy ride with funding. You could have given up. What keeps you going?

What keeps me going is my passion for cinema as well as my joy to share the films with other film lovers. I could not give up because when Cinéfranco was rejected for a major Ontario grant and had to cancel its general spring festival, people took the time to write letters to newspapers, to phone Francophone radio stations, to send emails. Over 300 people signed a petition spurred by an activist film lover. I felt energized by so much positivity and sincere emotions.

donna g: The screenings are at Spadina Theatre inside Alliance française de Toronto. What prompted the move to have screenings at this location?
Marcelle: I had been working with Allian…

TIFF16 Day 5: Lion, (re)ASSIGNMENT, Julieta and a monk

Five days into TIFF16 and I'm exhausted. Its a happy tired for most of us who cover the festival, because we love film and we want others to love film too, which is why we share what we've been up to. We want to communicate the passion that is in the air around the central hub at King and John streets, the cinemas, and the stages that show the films and host the conversations.

Yesterday, I began my morning standing in the rush line on Queen Street, around the corner from the Elgin Theatre (called the Visa Screening Room during TIFF) waiting to see if I could get into the public screening of Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. I was number 78 in the line but I got in and had a bird's eye view of the screen from my lovely single seat next to a column in the balcony.

I rarely cry at the movies, but Lion got me in end. Upon sharing this shocking news on social media some friends of mine quickly let me know that they teared up too. This from a feel good movie where we …

Happy First Day of TIFF16: Are You Ready?

TIFF 2016 kicks off today and if you're a regular at the festival you know it's like back to school for film lovers: we meet up with other regulars, some of whom we only see once a year, and we make new friends who we will see next September. Sometimes we chat in line, on the street, and sometimes it's a quick "hi" and "bye" as we dash off to the next film. 
If you're not a regular, then visit for tickets and answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. If you have the patience, then call 416-599-TIFF (8433) of 1-888-599-8433, but please have your information ready: title of film, date, time, venue, number of tickets. If you can't get your first choice, then have your second choice ready to go. Have your credit card ready. TIFF is also using Ticketmaster as an online option:
TIFF is a large festival and it…

A Moment of Silence--Lost in Translation?

by Mohammad Yaghoubi
Nowadays Theatre
Playing at SummerWorks 2016

Shiva wakes up to find she has been asleep for three years. In that time, the world around her has changed drastically. Her friends and family seem different. Strangers act oddly. It’s Iran in 1980 and she has just slept through the Islamic Revolution. For the next ten years, Shiva continues to fall asleep for years at a time. Each time she wakes up there’s a new change she has to try to grasp: the war with Iraq, a series of murders of dissident artists  as well as transformations in her own family. Meanwhile, the playwright creating Shiva’s story begins to receive phone calls threatening his life.

"A Moment of Silence" is written by the award-winning, playwright, director and screenwriter, Mohammad Yaghoubi, and has been translated and performed in several languages. The play makes its Canadian debut at SummerWorks 2016 and is the first English-language of Nowa…

d'bi.young anitafrika on BLEEDERS at Summerworks

My chat with d'bi.young anitafrika about the final part of the Orisha Trilogy, SummerWorks and running The Watah Theatre.

donna g: What has it meant for you to return to SummerWorks?
d'bi: SummerWorks has always been my festival of choice because of the love and solidarity that the team puts into the process of curating the festival. It is an accessible space that welcomes all villages to witness and participate in the story. It is a festival by the people, for the people. It is supportive. It is fun. The quality of work presented is deep. Being a part of the magic again this year has been a dream come true. I believe that storytelling is for the healing of the people. That philosophy methodology is evidenced in the theatre festival and it is an honor to be associated with SummerWorks. 
donna g: In watching bleeders, some might say that this final work in your Orisha Trilogy doesn't quite fit. It is, after all, a futuristic dub opera. What's your response to this percep…