An interview with “Mimi” Musical Director Steven Greenfield

November 5th, 2010

Musical Director and pianist Steven Greenfield tickles the ivories and chats about the music of Mimi, or A Poisoner’s Comedy.


A look inside “Mimi” rehearsals

November 2nd, 2010

For the past couple of months, Touchstone has been helped out in the office and in the rehearsal hall by Jeewon Lee, an exchange student from Korea with UBC’s Global Career Foundations program. Jeewon is studying Japanese Language & Literature at the Seoul Women’s University and is very interested in theatre. She was a personal interpreter for one Japanese director, Tadashi Kato, when he came to Korea to work with Korean theatre students, and she participated in Kijimuna Festa, the International Theatre Festival for Young Audiences in Okinawa, Japan, in 2008 and 2009 as an interpreter and a translator.

Jeewon sat in on rehearsals for Mimi during the first two weeks. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

Photo of Jennifer Lines by Emily Cooper

Photo of Jennifer Lines by Emily Cooper

Mimi rehearsals have begun! Actors are singing and dancing! We’re so excited!

As of today (October 18), there are 17 days until the show opens at the Shadbolt, so the pace of the rehearsal process is very fast. At the first few rehearsals, there were readthroughs, discussions of costumes and set, song and music practise, and lessons in 17th century western European style dances, steps & behaviours. (These looked very difficult! And we learned a clue about the reason for this from period dance instructor and choreographer Catherine Lee – apparently, Louis XIV liked to keep his noblemen busy learning new and complicated dances for court events so that they wouldn’t have enough time to plan any revolts against him!) The actors have been enjoying these dance lessons, and some of the staff members have even left their desks for a little while to join in. There’s lots going on right now – at this stage, Mimi is like a puzzle, and everyone is working on fitting together all the different pieces to make one beautiful show. We are looking forward to it, and we hope you are too!

Katrina Dunn introduces “Mimi, or A Poisoner’s Comedy”

October 26th, 2010

Get the lowdown on our first production of the season!

Things we did this summer – part 3

October 1st, 2010
Touchstone Staff at the Caravan

Touchstone Staff at the Caravan

We went to the Caravan Farm Theatre! We drove the winding highway into the interior, shacked up at a B & B, and spent the evening in the middle of a field watching a bunch of BC’s independent theatre stars adapt Everyman into a contemporary fable with carts and music and horsies! It was a great experience and we send a big thanks to everyone who worked on the project. If you’ve never been to the Caravan you must go – its something that everyone must experience!

Things we did this summer – part 2

September 30th, 2010

 

Touchstone’s annual summer party lit up Lighthouse Park on a sweltering August day. Staff, board, interns and artists mingled amidst the foliage and sampled the wine and great eats. Thanks to all who helped or attended! See you all next year.

things we did this summer – part 1

September 23rd, 2010
AD Katrina Dunn with our winner

AD Katrina Dunn with our winner

A huge thank-you to everyone who bought a ticket for our art raffle during the run of Herr Beckmann’s People. The lucky winner of Christine Reimer’s beautiful oil painting was Britta Bennekou – congrats Britta – may you enjoy it for a long time!

Touchstone Announces Our Season – Finally!

September 21st, 2010

It has taken us a while to get this season to you, what with all the uncertainty here in BC. But it’s here and we’re thrilled about it! We are celebrating our 35th Anniversary with a whole season of original Canadian Musical Theatre.

The season kicks off with the Western Canadian premiere of Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) by Allen Cole, Melody A. Johnson and Rick Roberts. A wickedly funny musical about France’s infamous poisoning Marquise, this naughty ‘bon bon’ of a show wowed Toronto when it premiered at the Tarragon last season. The Vancouver production, with the fabulous Jennifer Lines in the lead role, promises to please and tease. Produced in association with the Firehall Arts Centre and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Mimi plays the Shadbolt from November 3rd to 7th, and the Firehall from November 10th – 20th 2010.

Next up is Hard Core Logo: LIVE, the stage adaptation by Michael Scholar Jr. with original songs by Joe “Shithead” Keithley of DOA fame. Based on the book by Michael Turner, the film by Bruce McDonald and the screenplay by Noel Baker, this iconic Canadian punk story follows the downfall of lead singer Joe Dick as his reunion tour slams and sputters its way across Western Canada. Featuring Michael Scholar, Jr. as Joe, this cast of actors/musicians play live as a band . . . LOUDLY. A co-production with November Theatre and Theatre Network, the show plays the Rickshaw Theatre from January 26th to February 6th 2011, as part of the PuSh Festival. Warning: foul language and spitting!

On February 11th, 12th and including a special Valentine’s Day performance on February 14th, Touchstone and Vancouver New Music present Love Songs, a creation of Toronto’s acclaimed Queen of Puddings Music Theatre. In this spectacularly virtuosic tour de force for solo female singer, award-winning Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic has chosen love poems from many different languages and set them to music. The work includes text from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Shakespeare, Catullus, Walt Whitman and Amarusataka. With the beauty of Opera, the originality of New Music and the intimacy of a stunning new studio theatre at SFU Woodward’s, Love Songs promises a romantic night to remember.

Lastly, Touchstone celebrates the current creative outpouring in the music theatre genre with the In Tune Conference; Creating the Great Canadian Musical. This mini-conference, workshop and showcase is designed to spark discussion and create opportunities for new musicals and music-based theatre works in development. Produced in association with the Arts Club Theatre In Tune will animate the Revue Theatre in the final week of April 2011.

Touchstone’s Artistic Director Katrina Dunn says, “This season’s offerings run the gamut of musical and theatrical styles. It’s a real thrill ride for anyone who wants to feel the pulse of musical theatre work in this country. What a way to celebrate Touchstone’s legacy of joyful innovation in Vancouver!” Season packages go on sale September 1st at www.touchstonetheatre.com or 604-709-9973. See Mimi, Hard Core Logo: LIVE and Love Songs for just $60! Subscribers also get guaranteed entrance to the In Tune Conference showcase. For more info contact Caroline Sniatynski at caroline@touchstonetheatre.com, or 604-709-9973.

Hope to see you there as a subscriber!

AWARDS, AWARDS!

June 28th, 2010
Gui Fontanezzi and Studio 58 Instructor David Hudgins

Gui Fontanezzi and Studio 58 Instructor David Hudgins

In the fall of 2009 the Touchstone Theatre Scholarship, given to a Studio 58 student who has achieved exceptional progress in the program, was bestowed apon recent graduate Gui Fontanezzi. Congratualtions Gui!

At the recent 2010 Jessie Awards ceremony, Touchstone walked away with two awards from its nine nominations. The first one went to Laara Sadiq – Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Small Theatre for Palace of the End, and the other went to the three directors of Palace – David Bloom, Katrina Dunn and Mindy Parfitt. A great night for Touchstone and our partners Felix Culpa and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades!

Laara Sadiq with her Jessie

Laara Sadiq with her Jessie

Touchstone’s AD Katrina Dunn awarded the Bra D’Or (Golden Bra)

June 16th, 2010

On June 11th 2010 the Women’s Caucus of Playwrights Guild of Canada presented Katrina Dunn, Touchstone Theatre’s Artistic, with the Bra D’Or (Golden Bra), an award which recognizes efforts to support and promote the work of Canadian women playwrights.

Kathleen Oliver, a member of the PGC Women’s Caucus, surprised Dunn with the honour at the opening night of Sally Stubbs’ play Herr Beckmann’s People, produced by Touchstone Theatre in partnership with Playwrights Theatre Centre. The certificate reads, “As Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre Katrina Dunn has played a major role in showcasing the work of female Canadian playwrights. Without fanfare, she has championed, developed, and produced plays by established and emerging playwrights. Katrina Dunn is helping to bring female playwrights into the mainstream for which we are extremely grateful.”

Ms. Dunn responded to the Caucus with this message:

“. . . it is the most cherished of the awards I have found myself holding so far in this lifetime. With the many challenges we’re faced with as Artistic Directors it is deeply satisfying to come through the morass of financial and administrative constraints with programming that has integrity and meaningful impact. When I realized I was programming a whole season of Canadian women playwrights I was absolutely thrilled. I didn’t realize that so much of my audience and colleagues would also find it thrilling. It was one of the most successful seasons in Touchstone’s history. I want to thank you for your efforts raising the profile of women writers in the theatre. I look forward to the day when an award like this will be unnecessary and redundant.”
Katrina Dunn recieving the Bra D'Or

A scene from Herr Beckmann’s People

June 10th, 2010

FREE preview tonight! 8 pm at the PTC Studio!