Official art for Mrs. Ballyshannon!

Hey all!  Check out the amazing poster and Facebook header that was just released for Mrs. Ballyshannon’s School for Orphaned and Afflicted Girls Presents Jane Eyre.  It was designed and created by the amazing Sarah Legault!

Can you guess which of the girls is me?

Mrs. Ballyshannon's School for Orphaned and Afflicted Girls Presents Jane Eyre

Mrs. Ballyshannon's School for Orphaned and Afflicted Girls Presents Jane Eyre

Please share these with your friends and family, and come out and see the show!

May 6 – 10 at Procunier Hall at the Palace Theatre / 8pm, with a 2pm Half-Price Matinee on Saturday, May 10th.

Tickets: $20 at the Palace Theatre Box Office — call 519-432-1029

Linktastic – April 15, 2014

Linktastic - April 15, 2014

Hanging out with “Uncle Tony” at OKTC’s production of Lucky Stiff!

Artists, please stop giving your work away. In the long run you hurt yourself and your whole community.

And arts organizations, lets rethink the current paradigm. Instead of cannibalizing your livelihood at these artist centric auctions, change what you offer. Instead of letting these organizations sell your artwork donations you could:

  • offer a loan of the work,
  • offer a class,
  • a museum tour
  • a studio visit
  • a dinner with a couple artist in a private gallery showing offer up a visit to your private collection
  • allow a patron to leaf through your flat files or look through your sketchbooks.
  • if the sponsoring organization will reimburse your expenses, at the most, offer a printed edition of your work, something that more closely aligns with the value of the actual work and what people are paying for it.

Patrons: if you want to participate in a rich arts cultural life in Seattle [Kerry's note: or any other city!], support the artists.

April just sped up!

April just sped up!

Remember back on April 1, when I said April was off to a fast start?  Well, I must have been fooling myself (April Fools Day, y’know), because April hasn’t just sped up… it’s flying with the force of a locomotive!

Last Wednesday I travelled with Shawn, Ceris and Brock to Windsor to see The Drowsy Chaperone performed at St. Clair College, featuring my favourite “brother” Brandon (d’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers) as Man in Chair!  It was an awesome performance and so much fun surprising him!

Rehearsals for Through the Looking Glass and Mrs. Ballyshannon’s School for Orphaned and Afflicted Girls Presents Jane Eyre are going really well.  Yesterday was the fourth rehearsal for TTLG, and we’ve started blocking the first scene, as well as working on choreography and music for “Jabberwocky” and “I Was a Good Egg.”  The group of actors I have are really great — they’re hard workers, quick learners, and just a lot of fun.

We’ve been doing runs of Ballyshannon for a while now, and the show is challenging but fun.  My stutter is coming along, and I’m looking forward to seeing our costumes and working with props soon!

So not only am I working on those two shows, but I have THREE more projects that I’ve recently signed on for!

I was invited to participate in a staged reading for the London Playwrights Lab, entitled Secret Lives of a Sex Doll (although I didn’t find out about the title until AFTER I said yes!).  It’s on May 3, 2014, at Procunier Hall and should be eye-opening!  This will be the second staged reading I’ve participated in with LPL; the last one was a hoot and this one should be too!  Check out the press release in the London Free Press!

I’ve joined the cast of The Voices Collective’s production of Macbeth, which goes up July 10-12, 2014.  My friend Monica got a job opportunity out of town and has moved out of London, and thus had to vacate her role; so I was invited to take over the role of Macduff.  Many of the roles in this production are cross-gender cast, which will be really interesting.  Macduff is a fantastic role — he (or in this case, she) is the person who slays Macbeth.  More stage combat for Kerry!

Speaking of stage combat, I’ve been asked to assist with some combat for Theatre Soup’s production of Ladies Room, which is performing in the London Fringe Festival (June 3-14, 2014).  It’s a cat fight in a ladies bathroom, which will be a blast to choreograph!  I’m definitely looking forward to this one!

(On top of that, I have my regular commitments for sorority, and I’ve started writing the outline to a book I’ve been wanting to write for a very long time — more updates on that really soon!  I’ve also got an idea for a possible addition to the blog, perhaps in video form!)

One bad aspect of being so busy is that I’ve had to turn down some opportunities… but I’ve realized that the more theatre I do, the more discerning and particular I have to be in regards to what shows I commit myself to.  Sometimes I’ve had to say no to opportunities that I didn’t feel I was able to do skill-wise; others I just don’t have the time to commit to.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m nuts or just have a theatre addiction — but I wouldn’t change a thing!  I am so grateful and honoured for the opportunities that have been presented to me… it’s really wonderful to be asked to join a project!

Travel Diary: Birthday Adventures in Toronto, March 21-23, 2014

Happy Birthday to me!  Well, my birthday was March 22, but why not savor the fun and memories as long as you can, right?

I love birthdays.  Especially my own.  Last year I had a huge surprise party thrown for me, and this year, Shawn and my friends took me to Toronto for a birthday weekend extravaganza!

We stayed at our favourite home away from home in the T-dot, the Trump Toronto Hotel (read about one of our previous visits here).   We checked into our room on Friday night, and of course were treated to impeccable service.  Our room this time was different from the suites we had booked in the past — this one was a bit smaller, with two double beds.  The bathroom is massive, with the ubiquitous television built into the mirror between double sinks, a separate bath and shower, and a private toilet area.

Travel Diary: Birthday Adventures in Toronto, March 21-23, 2014

The whole room was quite beautiful, and I was surprised to find three chocolate covered strawberries in the bar area, with “Happy Birthday Kerry” written in chocolate on the plate! What an awesome surprise!

Travel Diary: Birthday Adventures in Toronto, March 21-23, 2014

We were originally set to have dinner at O.Noir, but the traffic running into Toronto was horrendous, so we went to Mercatto.  It’s a cute little Italian restaurant, just steps away from the Trump Hotel.  We shared a cheese plate appetizer, which was awesome!

On Saturday morning we went to Kensington Market to check out all the vintage shops, including Flashback 2 and Courage My Love.  We met up with my friend Maggie at Epicure Café and Grill for a light lunch, and then hopped on the streetcar to get to Medieval Times!

I am a Medieval Times fanatic.  I have absolutely no problem admitting this.  It was my fifth time going to Medieval Times, but my first time being knighted!  My friends decided to have me knighted as a birthday gift.  I was made a “lady of the realm” in a special ceremony in the great hall with the King!  I received a tiara, as well as a commemorative scroll and photograph to keep as a souvenir, as well as a royal announcement during the tournament!

Travel Diary: Birthday Adventures in Toronto, March 21-23, 2014

We were situated in the Black and White Knight’s section, in the front row!  Talk about VIP treatment!  We had a perfect view of all of the tournament events, and got cheering banners to urge our Knight on to victory!

I always get the vegetarian meal at Medieval Times — the meat is delicious but I just can’t eat the huge portions!  This vegetarian meal was different than other meals I’ve had at Medieval Times. I received carrot and celery sticks and hummus and pita triangles as an appetizer; the standard tomato bisque soup and garlic toast; and then a rice, bean and veggie stew (similar to chili) served in an adorable metal bucket!

Travel Diary: Birthday Adventures in Toronto, March 21-23, 2014

By the way… our Knight was victorious!  First time my Knight has won the tournament — I was thrilled!

On Sunday we headed back to the Eaton Centre for some last minute shopping, and to Shopsy’s for lunch (which has become a Toronto tradition, it seems!) before heading home.  It was a whirlwind weekend, and so much fun!

Now… what to plan for my next birthday celebration?!

Recommended Reading: Drama High

Recommended Reading: Drama High

I knew I had to read Drama High after hearing my drama teacher friends and OKTC colleagues raving about it!  The full title is Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater (excuse me while I shudder spelling it with an “er” instead of an “re” – what a snob I’ve become!), and it’s written by Michael Sokolove.  Art Fidler was kind enough to loan me his copy!

From Amazon.com:

Friday Night Lights meets Glee—the incredible and true story of an extraordinary drama teacher who has changed the lives of thousands of students and inspired a town.

Why would the multimillionaire producer of Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon take his limo from Manhattan to the struggling former steel town of Levittown, Pennsylvania, to see a high school production of Les Misérables? To see the show performed by the astoundingly successful theater company at Harry S Truman High School, run by its legendary director, Lou Volpe. Broadway turns to Truman High when trying out controversial shows like Rent and Spring Awakening before they move on to high school theater programs across the nation. Volpe’s students from this blue-collar town go on to become Emmy-winning producers, entertainment executives, newscasters, and community-theater founders. Michael Sokolove, a Levittown native and former student of Volpe’s, chronicles the drama director’s last school years and follows a group of student actors as they work through riveting dramas both on and off the stage. This is a story of an economically depressed but proud town finding hope in a gifted teacher and the magic of theater.

The book is fascinating — it’s not only a biography of Volpe himself, but of the town of Levittown and of its residents, spanning multiple generations.  Learning more about how Volpe directs (as well as his colleagues) was really interesting, because I know what it’s like working with young actors (I mean, I do have an entire section of my website dedicated to just those people!).  The story about how his cast of Spring Awakening screamed themselves hoarse after homecoming reminded me of how my senior cast members of Annie Warbucks wore themselves out before closing at a house party the night before (yes, I know about that).

This book should be required reading for any arts educator, no matter whether they work in a school or not!  Volpe’s personal story is intriguing, but also inspirational.  My favourite quote of his is something I try each day to inspire in my young actors:

“I’m not here to make you a great actor.  That’s not my job.  The reasons you should be taking this class are far more important than learning to act.  I want you to gain confidence, learn something about life, grow up a little bit.  I want to help you see who you are.”

You can buy Drama High on Amazon.com (not a sponsored link) or at your local bookstore!