News From Around the Barrio

The theatre just NEVER stops in this country! There is always so much to tell you!


Firstly, right on the heels of Comedy Bar’s week-long birthday celebration of all things Comedy and Torontonian is the 5th Annual Toronto Sketch Fest which kicks off tonight, November 10th and goes until November 15th with nearly 50 troupes performing on 3 stages over 6 nights. Holy Hannah, you sketch fans are going to have quite a conglomeration of talent to choose from this week! There is so much information on the Sketchfest Website (which you should check out for all your Sketchfest wants, needs and desires) that I am overwhelmed in wondering where to even begin to choose what to tell you. Here is a list of the Sketch troupes that you can catch this week: 2-Man No-Show (Toronto), 7 Minutes in Heaven (Toronto), 100 and 50 (Toronto). Accidental Company (Toronto), Approximately 3 Peters (Toronto), Big Tease (Toronto), BŌF (New York), The Boom (Toronto), Bull Hooey (Toronto)The Chesterfields (Toronto), Deadpan Powerpoint (Toronto), Death Ray Cabaret (Toronto), Dinkus (Toronto), Falcon Powder (Toronto), Flamingo Bandit (Toronto), Frankenmatt (Los Angeles), Free Love Forum (New York), Frenzy (Toronto), Fully Insured (London, ON)Grade Eight Dance (Toronto), Haircut (Toronto), Hot Thespian Action (Winnipeg), Kanellis & Armstrong (New York), Last Call Cleveland (Cleveland), The Local Singles (Toronto), The Lusty Mannequins (Toronto), The Majors (Toronto), New Excitement (New York), Obliged (Los Angeles), Oddville Stage Compnay (Toronto), Kathleen Phillips (Toronto), Postmaster Hypothesis (Toronto), punchDRYSDALE (Toronto)The Raisin Gang (Toronto), The Riot (Toronto), The Serious (Newfoundland), The Second City (Toronto), Shame is Right! (Toronto), She Said What (Toronto), Shoeless (Toronto), The Sketchersons (Toronto), The Skinny (Vancouver), Skule Nite (Toronto), Smells Like the 80s (Toronto)Statutory Jape (Toronto), Tang (Los Angeles), Uncalled For (Montreal) and The Understudies (Toronto). That is A LOT of sketch, people! What else can I tell you? There are shows in three venues: The Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street W), Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue) and The Second City (52 Mercer Street) from 7pm every evening. You’re going to want to make a battle plan to maximize your Sketchfest Awesomeness. There are also tons of special events and parties going on like The movieola 48 hr video challenge and Some Conditions Apply: A Night of Commercial Parodies. There are also tons of opportunities for sketch artists to hang out and party. For more information- visit this website. It looks like it’s going to be an incredible week!

jason robert brown and chilina kennedy

Mark Selby and Michael Rubinoff have announced that, having just wrapped her critically acclaimed role as Maria in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s West Side Story, Canadian musical theatre superstar Chilina Kennedy will join Jason Robert Brown for his Toronto concert 8PM, Monday, November 23 at the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West. Brown will also be joined by his band the Caucasian Rhythm Kings and the Toronto Youth Music Theatre Company Choir. Only a limited number of tickets remain, buy now and don’t miss this rare celebration of musical theatre in Toronto. TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE AT OR BY PHONE AT 1.888.222.6608

belle of winnipeg

This show looks fascinating. You should check it out! Keystone Theatre presents the World Premiere of The Belle of Winnipeg: A Stage Meets Silent Film Extravaganza! An innovative production that melds a newly developed style of physical performance with film projection and live musical accompaniment, The Belle of Winnipeg is a new original play inspired by the silent film era. The culmination of over four years of collective creation this production combines physicality with a group of engaging characters to introduce a new vocabulary of theatrical expression in silence – save for the live accompaniment of a piano. The Belle of Winnipeg tells the story of a young woman named Belle, played by Ginette Mohr (Fish Face – Playwrights Theatre – Cultch Theatre Award, A Bird’s Eye View – Theatre LMNOP – Dora Nomination). It is 1882 and our heroine has been shipped off from her comfortable life in France to an arranged marriage in the wilds of Canada. Unimpressed with her new life in Montreal, Belle escapes her wedding only to find herself stranded smack dab in the middle of the dangerous and foreboding frontier town of Winnipeg. From the old CP railways, to drunken bar room brawls, to a well-intentioned tramp lousing up simple jobs, to a damsel in distress being tied to the train tracks, Belle is a hilarious, exciting and often touching production. By bringing this blend of physical performance, live music and filmic elements to the stage and presenting it in an environment that is designed and costumed in black, white and shades of grey, Keystone Theatre will treat audiences to a classic form of entertainment in an entirely new way. The Belle of Winnipeg. Nov 11- 14, 8pm. Sun Nov 15, 2:00pm, pwyc. Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street, Toronto) Tickets : $22 / $17.50 (students/seniors, ACTRA, EQUITY, the Unemployed &Railway Workers). For tickets please visit

Here’s a little something interesting for those of you in Alberta (TWISI is reaching out beyond Edmonton on this one!):
“Arts at the Assembly will pair up forty-one Alberta artists from a range of artistic disciplines – film, music, theatre, dance, writing, visual arts and fine craft – with their MLAs in ridings across the province this week to have a conversation about the role the arts plays in their communities.
Arts at the Assembly is an initiative of an ad-hoc committee of professional artists and cultural managers eager to build on the momentum of the provincial government’s renewed enthusiasm for arts and culture in Alberta.
“In 2008 the provincial government increased investment to arts and culture in Alberta, and we think it’s important to let our MLAs know, firsthand, the impact this investment has had on artists, arts organizations, and most importantly, the communities we work in and with”, said Daniel Cournoyer, president of the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton. “As we move towards a future Alberta, the arts will continue to play an integral role in building healthy communities and a strong, diverse, green economy. We want to work with our government to make that happen, and these conversations are a great starting point.”
Conversations will take place in Barrhead, Bonnyville, Calgary, Drayton Valley, Falher, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lacombe, Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Medicine Hat, Olds, Peace River, Red Deer, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Hinton and Camrose.
This week’s meetings will be followed with a get together with MLAs and artists on November 18 at the Alberta Legislature. This gathering of elected representatives and artists will be addressed by the Honourable Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit.”
I think it’s so neat that this is happening. I wish it happened in all the provinces across the country! Go Alberta!

Toronto isn’t the only city in Canada that is welcoming November in with a slew of cool theatre festivals, DaPoPo Theatre in Halifax kick-started their month long festival The Live-In at The Living Room (2353 Agricola Street) on November 1st. Here are the details: “Halifax — You can live, drink and breathe theatre this November when you move in to The Living Room with DaPoPo Theatre for their month-long festival, The Live-In. The Live-In is just the type of creative fresh take on theatre DaPoPo is known for locally and internationally. The Live-In offers a 360˚ view of the theatrical process through skill-share workshops, readings of new works by local playwrights, and a full production of Christopher Hampton’s acclaimed play, When Did You Last See My Mother? “The response from the theatre community has been really positive. Everyone is really jazzed – this is something we’ve been trying to put together for a while,” Steven Bourque, Live-In producer and director of “When Did You Last See My Mother?”, commented recently. “We’re confident that the rest of Halifax will be just as excited to take part, because there’s such strong support for the local theatre community here,” he said. In keeping with DaPoPo’s goal of making theatre accessible, admission to the workshops and readings will be by donation. For more information or to register for workshops please join our Facebook group or visit our blog,” Sounds incredible.

ben mulroney
Also, on Sunday Night, Ben Mulroney (of all people) is hosting Sunday Night Live. I’ll leave you to insert your own snap here. That said, this is what the Sketchersons have to say for themselves: “this is just gonna be stupid… stupid hilarious. We’re all buying matching wet suits for some reason. On Sunday morning we’re all gonna read our horoscopes and follow it word for word. LOOK OUT FOR THAT! This show is going to be the absolute best. See…Host: Ben Mulroney! (Etalk, Canadian Idol). Music: Hooded Fang! (members of…). Come watch some real pros hangout with us scumbags!”
ADVANCE TICKETS HERE!!! (Tickets are going fast) November 15th. Sunday. Sunday Night Live. The Sketchersons. Comedy Bar. 945 Bloor Street West. 9:00pm-11:00pm. Ben Mulroney. You’re gonna want to check THAT out.

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