News From Around the Barrio

rosemarie umetsu
Here’s a bit of theatre and fashion news that is hot off the presses! Toronto-based fashion designer Rosemarie Umetsu and her studio, Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu were recently approached by MacKenzieRo, the Irish Rep Theatre of Canada, to design the costumes for the North American premiere of New Electric Ballroom by Irish playwright Enda Walsh. The play stars Rosemary Dunsmore, Sarah Dodd, Christopher Stanton and Cathy Murphy and will be directed by Autumn Smith. It opens at the Tarragon Theatre on October 8th, 2010. As Umetsu says, “The play surrounds a time gone by and particular dresses worn to the Roller Royale Ballroom circa 1964. Hence costume is going to be an important component.” A huge supporter of the arts, whose client list includes dozens of Toronto multidisciplinary artists and founder of Iconic Beauty, an ongoing project to celebrate the individual style and art of the Canadian Female Artist through the medium of Fashion Photography, this marks Umetsu’s debut of designing costume for the theatre. I have a feeling this is only the beginning!
sharron matthews, kristen thomson
alon nashman and anthony black
You probably know that Toronto Cabaret star Sharron Matthews is taking her World Domination Tour to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, but did you know that Kristen Thomson, Alon Nashman and Anthony Black also have productions that they are taking to the World’s Largest Fringe Festival. Matthews lands in Scotland fresh from her debut at New York’s famed Joe’s Pub where Nite Life Exchange had this to say about our dazzling diva, “it is a joy to report that not only was this show a complete and utter triumph on all counts, but serves as testament to the fact that a chanteuse as riveting and brilliant as Matthews proved on this night should wholeheartedly be welcomed to New York and elsewhere with unabashedly open arms.” Sharron Matthews Superstar is a personal journey, woven effortlessly from song to story as Sharron performs her singular “songologues” and tells tales of her “almost-famous” life.
Celebrated actress and playwright Kristen Thomson has been touted as “one of the most heart-stoppingly honest comedians in Toronto” by the Globe and Mail, and her performance in I, CLAUDIA has garnered awards for Outstanding Performance for both the live theatrical version (Dora Award) and for the film version (Gemini Award). Claudia is an official pre-teen, still reeling from her parents’ divorce. Her father is getting re-married, she has a science fair project coming due, and she is in the physical and emotional throes of puberty. Finding refuge in the basement of her school, Claudia discovers the pain at the centre of her brimming child’s heart. This is one of my favourite plays in all the world and Kristen Thomson is a revelation as Claudia.
Alon Nashman has been acclaimed as one of Toronto’s “Top Theatre Artists” by Now Magazine, and his production of KAFKA AND SON has received London’s Brickenden Award and Montreal’s Mecca Award for Outstanding Touring Production. Adapted from a monumental (and undelivered) letter written by Franz Kafka to his father, revealing deep connections between his life and his fiction in work such as The Metamorphosis and The Trial, the play is a blistering, often hilarious, dissection of domestic authority, and a revelatory visit with one of the architects of the modern psyche. COOL.
Anthony Black is a Halagonian treasure. He was named Halifax’s “Best Theatre Actor” in The Coast. His fantastic play INVISIBLE ATOM is the story of Atom, a successful stockbroker with the world at his feet, when doubts about the ethics of his work begin to plague him, and he falls victim to a catastrophic reversal of fortune. The show takes place at the apex of a jump: suspended in a very precise point in time and space, just as he stops going up and just before he starts coming down. In that split-second, time freezes and the normally reliable laws of motion and matter dissolve. Dealing with themes of economics and classical physics Invisible Atom is essentially a very human and affecting story of personal tragedy. This is one play that I would feel lucky to see again.
SummerWorks is going to be the biggest party in August. Featuring a massive theatre program of 42 juried plays and 5 young artist productions, with some of Canada’s finest theatre-makers, SummerWorks is Ontario’s premier festival of cutting-edge, exciting, professional theatre – a hub for dynamic artists from across the country and an incubator for new creations. It takes over Queen Street West from August 5-15, 2010. Check out What’s New To the Festival This Year!
FREE! The Playground: Designers Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson turn the front rehearsal hall of The Lower Ossington Theatre into an interactive, multimedia wonderland. Open every day during the Festival, August 5 – 15th, the Playground blends dazzling technology with the toys of our childhood, and invites you to come goof off and explore!
3rd Annual SummerWorks Music Series, 10 nights of indie-rock and new musical works in concert! The Hidden Cameras headline a who’s-who of Toronto stars: The Elastocitizens, Diamond Rings, The Wilderness of Manitoba and The Weather Station, all at The Lower Ossington Theatre. $10. Advance tickets at band listings at
Take a Hike! SummerWalks run throughout the Festival, re-connecting us with our neighbourhood. Come and rediscover your city with three distinctive walking tours:
This is maybe the funniest video I have ever seen. Fiasco Playhouse at the first-ever SummerWorks Performance Bar: ten wild nights of Toronto’s best live acts – from the weirdest art you’ve ever seen to the prettiest song you’ve ever heard. Local improv heroes The National Theatre of the World collide with the likes of Jeremy Bailey, Zeesy Powers, Laura Barrett, Istvan Kantor and Bob Wiseman. August 5 – 14 @ 9pm, PWYC at the Lower Ossington Theatre.  
The National Theatre of the World has a new YouTube Channel. You should subscribe. Things like this happen ALL THE TIME.

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