Guest post: Kaitlin Williams—My Foreigner Family

Actress and blogger Kaitlin Williams plays Catherine Simms in the Arts Club Theatre Company presentation of Pacific Theatre’s production of The Foreigner, currently touring venues across the Lower Mainland. Let her give you a sneak-peak at life on the road with the cast and crew:

Kaitlin Williams before and after her transformation into Catherine Simms.

Kaitlin Williams before and after her transformation into Catherine Simms.

“We are about halfway through our Lower Mainland tour of The Foreigner and we are having a great time. Yesterday one of the boys said: ‘It feels like we’re making really good memories’—and he’s right! This is a special show, with a really wonderful cast and crew who like each other a lot. We are all so grateful to be having this opportunity.

The Foreigner family enjoy lunch together on the road.

The Foreigner family enjoy lunch together on the road.

We did this show for the first time a year and a half ago. Many of us knew each other before working on the play, and then grew even closer during the production. For the Arts Club remount, we fittingly started rehearsals on February 9th—Family Day! Piling into our tour van and being driven out to various venues, sharing meals together, laughing, teasing each other, playing games and making jokes—we really are like a little family unit. We are a funny, sometimes dysfunctional, loving family—making memories together.

Everyone loves a group 'selfie'!

Everyone loves a group ‘selfie’!

One of the other things we have been doing as a cast is creating these little movies that John Voth (Charlie) likes to shoot. The Surrey Arts Centre reminded us of the theatre in Birdman, so in honour of the Oscars on Sunday we made a little spoof. From our family to yours—hope you like it!”

The Foreigner tour is on now! Tickets are available through participating tour venues. For full schedule and links to purchase tickets, click here.

Posted in 2014-2015 Season, Arts Club On Tour, Behind the Scenes, General, Guest Post, Video Roundup Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Playwriting takes both love and devotion

Silver Commission Playwright, Shawn Macdonald

Silver Commission playwright, Shawn Macdonald

Our new production, Sister Judy is a labour of love, not only for the playwright Shawn Macdonald, but also for all of us here at the Arts Club. It’s the latest of our Silver Commissions to make it to the stage—meaning we’ve been with Shawn providing artistic support and financial backing from the beginning.

Shawn was one of four playwrights to be approached in 2006—the program’s inaugural year—by our artistic managing director Bill Millerd. Founded by then-chair Stan Hamilton, the aim of the Silver Commissions is to give local playwrights the opportunity to explore and develop new works.

Each year, Bill works closely with Rachel Ditor (our literary manager) to hand-pick both new and established Vancouver-based playwrights to continue to expand the program. Rachel closely works with them throughout the process. Stan, as founder, is also deeply involved, and he and his wife Kathy have been instrumental in providing key funding.

Almost eight years in the making, Sister Judy has gone through rewrites, extensive work-shopping and several public readings to arrive at the place of a final draft; then hire a director, go through casting, start rehearsals, and rewrite some more! Developing a new play is a deeply collaborative process and an exhilarating one. Shawn has been on a very profound journey: hearing his play spoken by the actors for the first time and seeing it interpreted by director Patrick McDonald, a long-time collaborator. Audiences to Sister Judy will also be able to experience this thrill.

Since it’s inception, six plays from the Silver Commissions have been brought to the stage. These include:

Henry and Alice: Into the Wild, Michele Riml’s comedic sequel to Sexy Laundry, that has gone on to tour with the Arts Club.

Beverley Elliott, Andrew Wheeler and Susinn McFarlen in Henry and Alice Into the Wild

Beverley Elliott, Andrew Wheeler, and Susinn McFarlen in Henry and Alice: Into the Wild

Veda Hille and Bill Richardson’s musical comedy Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata has enjoyed runs across Canada, and was recently optioned for off-Broadway.

Bree Greig, Selina Martin, Dmitry Chepovetsky in Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata. Photo David Cooper

Bree Greig, Selina Martin, Dmitry Chepovetsky in Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata. Photo David Cooper

The holiday favourite, The Patron Saint of Stanley Park, by Hiro Kanagawa continues to grow in popularity with several remounts since its premiere in 2010.

Eight plays are currently in the works through the project, including a new play by Nicola Cavendish, kindly supported by board member Bonnie Mah, as well as John Mann’s The Waiting Room, Dorothy Dittrich’s The Piano Teacher, and Mark Leiren-Young’s The Free Press. With a couple of new commissions kicking off each year, you’re sure to see many home grown premieres in the years to come!

You too can support Silver Commissions by being one of the first-in-line to see Shawn Macdonald’s Sister Judy! You can also find out more about donating to New Play Development on our website.

Posted in 2014-2015 Season, New Words, New Works, Sister Judy Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Critics are moved by THE MOUNTAINTOP

Dion Johnstone and Crystal Balint light up the stage. Photo by David Cooper

Dion Johnstone and Crystal Balint light up the stage. Photo by David Cooper

Critics are raving about The Mountaintop, Katori Hall’s award-winning play that reimagines Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final night on earth. Here is a sample of what they are saying about this moving and thought-provoking production:

“Johnstone…delivers a movingly vulnerable performance. Balint…finds plenty of Camae’s sass and compassion” —Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“A powerful reminder of an important life lost, with two equally powerful performances” —Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents!

“He’s handsome and sexy; she’s sassy and full of attitude” —Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

The Mountaintop is essential viewing” —Remy Scalza, InsideVancouver.ca

“A masterpiece of a play” —Tessa Perkins, The Peak

“Provokes serious and reflective thought” —Baird Blackstone, Broken Leg Reviews

“Filled with whimsy and heart and you need it” —David C. Jones, OutTV.ca

“Compelling, humorous and relevant” —Cora Li, VancouverScape.com

The Mountaintop is now playing at the Granville Island Stage until March 14. Tickets start at $29 and are available here.


Posted in 2014-2015 Season, General, News and Reviews, The Mountaintop