Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Hirsch’s Gift To Future Generations of Directors

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

I never met John Hirsch or saw any of his plays.  I’m also convinced that the Canadian theatre community does a pretty poor job of chronicling, learning and respecting our own history, even though it is fabulous and full of amazing stories and individuals.  So I first found out about John Hirsch when I was a much younger director, through the Canada Council’s John Hirsch Prize.  On his death in 1989, John Hirsch left a bequest to the Canada Council for the Arts to assist and encourage Canadian directors. The John Hirsch Prize is a tribute to the extraordinary contribution Mr. Hirsch made to theatre in Canada, most notably as founder of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, head of television drama for the CBC and artistic director of the Stratford Festival. The Prize was created in 1995 to recognize new and developing theatre directors who have demonstrated great potential for future excellence and exciting artistic vision. Two $6,000 prizes are awarded every two years, one for each of the Anglophone and Francophone theatre communities.  You can find out more about it here.

The Ontario Arts Council also has a similar program – The John Hirsch Director’s Award.

In 2012 Toronto director Christopher Morris won the Canada Council John Hirsch Prize. Those that saw Touchstone Theatre’s co-presentation of Night at the PuSh Festival will know Morris’ work and his daring investigation of uncharted communities and issues.  Finding out about Hirsch through the legacy of this Prize has forever connected his name with the cause of young directors in Canada, and with the many brilliant artists who have been recognized and encouraged by the award.

Katrina Dunn
Artistic Director
Touchstone Theatre

Why I Want to Write Musical Theatre by Dorothy Dittrich

Monday, June 24th, 2013

I spent my childhood summer nights in front of the TV watching old musicals on the CBC late and late late show. Showboat, Annie Get Your Gun, 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, Sweet Charity, West Side Story – all the Judy Garland movies from the Andy Hardy series to A Star is Born… My sister and I would stay up every night we could get away with and watch them until we dropped. Then we’d perform them the next day – playing all the parts, singing all the songs. My parents had albums we’d listen to as well. South Pacific, Carousel, An American in Paris – we were captivated by the sounds and the voices, the music and the extraordinary poetry of those lyrics written by such masters. At 15, I got my first job as a rehearsal and show pianist for an amateur theatre company and began learning about musical theatre.

I write musical theatre because I love it, because to me, Musical Theatre is an elegant form, a synthesis of language and music and movement, acting, singing, dance all coming together to tell a story. I love the endless possibilities within musical theatre to speak to and express any feeling, tell any kind of tale. I love too that enormous depth and complexity of narrative and emotion can be delivered in a seemingly light and gentle way or with full force. But perhaps the most important reason I write musical theatre is that story telling through music – singing – is such a powerful form of communication. I am amazed and inspired by the incredible talent that is required of the actors and performers in any and all musical theatre. I want to work in that feeling of wonder and magic and inspiration. One voice, two, three, a quartet, a chorus – this is a sound I love. Working with others to bring a musical into being is an amazing experience and once I’d had that experience I just wanted to keep on.

Photo of Dorothy Dittrich

Dorothy Dittrich

Dorothy Dittrich is a writer, composer and musical director and her musical The Two in One Woman Show is receiving dramaturgy and reading at In Tune. The project dramaturg is Paula Danckert and the cast is Linda A. Carson and Cailin Stadnyk. Her musical, When We Were Singing was first produced by Touchstone Theatre, followed by a production in Toronto at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, a Belfry Theatre/National Arts Centre co – production and a production in St. Petersburg Florida. It received a workshop at MTC in New York and a staged sing through. Dorothy has had productions of two non-musical plays and is very proud to be working on a new play as part of the Arts Club’s Silver Commissions Project for New Play Development.

Touchstone launches 2009/10 MADE IN BC Season

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

It’s all happening at Touchstone! We have just moved our office from Yaletown to Granville Island, sharing with our good buddies Carousel Theatre. AND we have just launched our shiny new website (thanks Adam Jones at adjo!!). Surf around and find all the new features, including our Culture Matters page, highlighting the threats to the Arts and what you can do. And next week the first show of our MADE IN BC season opens at the Cultch. Don’t miss Any Night by Daniel Arnold, Medina Hahn and Ron Jenkins, co-presented with the Cultch. And if you’re a lawyer, we’ve just announced the dates for the auditions for the 2010 Lawyer Show. Go to our Lawyer Show page for all the details. OK I have to get back to work, but I’m looking forward to sharing more about Touchstone with you.

All the best
Katrina Dunn
Artistic Director
Touchstone Theatre