2016: The Year in Review

2016: The Year in Review

It’s that time again… time to look back over the previous year and reflect on everything that has happened. 2016 has been a year of ups and downs, successes and challenges. I think we can all agree that it’s time to move ahead and focus on the good things to come. But for a short while, I’m looking back over the things that happened throughout the year. Thanks for sticking with me!

If you’re curious, check out my reviews of 20152014 and 2013.


January started with archery tag, recording a podcast, visiting Toronto and seeing Kinky Boots, and going to the Brickenden Awards.

February saw the start of Tarzan rehearsals (which basically consumed my life until May), celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Original Kids Theatre Company in the midst of a snowstorm, visiting the London RV show and dreaming of buying a trailer, enjoying my cousin Jacalyn’s baby shower, and celebrating my stepdad’s 60th birthday.

March was a busy month! I saw The Great All-American Musical Disaster at Lucas Secondary School, and then was off to New York City with the Original Kids (my third time with OKTC but my fifth time to the city). I saw nine shows (including Something Rotten twice!), met Christian Borle, Adam Pascal, and Tavi Gevinson, hung out backstage at the Slipper Room with the lovely Veronica Varlow, experienced the madness of Sleep No More, took a longsword class taught by my pal Jared Kirby, and overall had an amazing time. Ceris and I recorded another podcast, and created an Instagram challenge for April. I celebrated my 33rd birthday by winning tickets to see Metric in concert and enjoyed the show with my friend Kate. Shawn and I also squeezed in an impromptu roadtrip to Toronto.

2016: The Year in Review

In April, Brock and I taught a swordfighting combination to two grade six classes, I recorded a course for the Drama Teacher Academy, created violence for Musical Theatre Productions’ Heathers the Musical, started a five-week yoga course, and saw a Blue Jays game.

In May I got to host the 2016 OKTC Playfest Awards Ceremony, and my mom and I made enough mac & cheese to feed an army (the secret ingredient was cauliflower). The rest of the month was consumed by Tarzan, which sold out the entire run before it even opened. I also got a mole on my shoulder removed, which turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma. For the record, I am absolutely fine, the doctor got it all out, and my scar is healing really well. But PLEASE avoid tanning beds and always wear sunscreen! I will keep bugging everyone about that!!! I finished out the month celebrating at the OKTC Grad Gala, which is always a bit of a tearjerker.

2016: The Year in Review

June started out with me appearing on Xandra‘s Heroine Training webinar, which was a lot of fun! I also appeared in a one-night-only performance of Campus Martius with a bunch of fun theatre friends in the London Fringe Festival, and went to the Oxford Renaissance Festival with my friend Cole. Shawn and his cousin Justin also built me a garden in the backyard.

My mom, my aunt, and I flew out to Sault Ste. Marie over the Canada Day weekend in July to visit my cousin Jennifer, which was a lot of fun. We went shopping across the border, played Cards Against Humanity, and ate tons of delicious food! My friend Lizz introduced me to the fun of geocaching (we also had a lovely outdoor adventure with Nicole), and Shawn and I went to see a WWE house show at Budweiser Gardens.

2016: The Year in Review

August started out with a visit to Rib-fest (and the largest cherry lemonade I’ve ever experienced), and consisted of gardening, reading, and a visit to my in-laws’ trailer.

September also began with a visit to the in-laws’ trailer. I started teaching OKTC’s T.A.G. (The Actor Grows) classes again, as well as started rehearsals as fight director for OKTC’s production of She Kills Monsters. I appeared on Theatrefolk’s podcast, chatting about theatre etiquette. I went to the London Psychic Expo, which was very enlightening! I also went with my mom to see Macbeth at the Stratford Festival.

In October, I received my first introduction to Thirty-One Gifts with a party at Kendryth’s, and received first-aid training with the rest of the OKTC staff. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Shawn and I travelled with Justin and Amanda to Pittsburgh for the first time. They went to see the Pittsburgh Steelers and I saw The Toxic Avenger. We also visited the Andy Warhol Museum, went up the Monongahela Incline and gorged ourselves with amazing Mexican food. At the end of the month, Shawn and I saw I Mother Earth and Our Lady Peace in concert, and had fun at Justin’s Halloween party. I also started loom knitting! (I’m obsessed.)

2016: The Year in Review

In November, Shawn and I travelled to Toronto to see Pentatonix in concert (SO GOOD). Shawn also got to meet Wendel Clark (his favourite Toronto Maple Leaf player of all time). Both She Kills Monsters and the T.A.G. showcases had fabulous performances as well.

And it all comes back around to December. I started out the month hosting my own Thirty-One Gifts party (and my mom and I cooked our brains out). OKTC announced their Spring 2017 season lineup, including my two upcoming productions: Peter and the Starcatcher and Disney’s High School Musical 2 Jr.

2016: The Year in Review

It’s been a really busy year. You may have noticed that my blogging here has become fairly sporadic and for that, I apologize. I have been blogging for the past year for the Theatrefolk blog, which I am thrilled to continue to do in 2017. One of my 2017 goals is to get back to posting here more regularly, but it will be at a reduced rate. I have been working hard on balancing my time, and I think it has been working.

I am looking forward to a fresh start in 2017. I hope you’ll join me!


Favourite Posts of 2016

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Travel Diary: Toronto, January 15-17, 2016

Travel Diary: Toronto, January 15-17, 2016

This past weekend was full of ridiculous times in Toronto, where we stuffed ourselves silly with food, wandered the city in search of adventure, and did some relaxing too. On top of that, I also got to see some great theatre! What could be better?

I travelled with Shawn and our friend Alex, and we met up with Shawn’s cousin Justin and his fiancée Nicole at our hotel, the Ramada Plaza Toronto Downtown. The hotel was quite nice and fit the five of us cozily. Comfy beds, free wifi, and amazing shower pressure. My only complaint was that there was no mini-fridge in the room, but that’s just a minor inconvenience.

Travel Diary: Toronto, January 15-17, 2016

On Friday night we had a quick bite to eat at the Irish Embassy Pub & Grill before I went over to the Royal Alexandra Theatre to catch Kinky Boots! Kinky Boots was just a blast — it’s not “high theatre” but doesn’t claim to be. It’s just pure, unadulterated FUN. It features songs by Cyndi Lauper and is touted as a “joyous musical celebration… about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind.” It’s extended in Toronto until March 6, 2016, so grab your tickets now and don’t miss out! (It’s also playing on Broadway, so if you’re in NYC, go check it out!)

Travel Diary: Toronto, January 15-17, 2016

On Saturday we got a late start and headed to Walhburgers for lunch. All five of us got the BBQ bacon burger and revelled in fries, onion rings, and tater tots. (We may or may not have ordered an extra pitcher after finding out that Donnie Wahlberg was on his way to Toronto but didn’t actually see him. #creeperstatus)

The rest of the afternoon was for some wandering around the city (including a stop at the Steam Whistle Brewery for free samples), a bit of shopping, napping, swimming and hot tubbing at the hotel.

Travel Diary: Toronto, January 15-17, 2016

We headed back to London on Sunday morning and stopped at Moose Winooski’s in Kitchener for lunch, where we gorged on guacamole and mac & cheese-filled potato skins. YUM. Overall, it was a nice quick getaway with good friends. Can’t wait to hit the road again soon!

Travel Diary: Toronto, January 15-17, 2016

What are your top must-sees in Toronto? Tell me all about it!
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Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

I will never say no to a crazy adventure.  So when Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre invited me to come check out their new show, Speakeasy: A Roaring 20’s Murder Mystery on June 6, of course I said “YES!”

Shawn loves travelling to Toronto, so he took it upon himself to book our hotel.  He surprised me by booking a suite at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville.  Located at 90 Bloor Street East, this hotel has fantastic service and comfortable, spacious rooms, and is literally steps away from the gorgeous Yorkville shopping district.  Our suite was on the top floor and had a huge sitting room, a big comfy bed, two flat screen televisions and lots of storage space to spread out in.

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

The hotel has valet parking and a very helpful staff, who catered to our every need.  I mentioned on Twitter that I was excited about our upcoming mini-getaway, and their Twitter team (@MarriottBloor) wrote back right away!  It’s always nice to connect with hotels before you go there, in case you need to ask questions or request something special.  The only drawbacks that I noticed is that there is no swimming pool in this hotel, and wireless internet is available in-room, but it’s not free.

The drive to Toronto was ridiculous… there is a lot of road work going on at the moment, and the commute took much longer than it usually does.  However, the Marriott has a staircase that takes you straight down to the subway, and just a few minutes later I was at Mysteriously Yours to meet up with my friend Maggie, who was my date for the evening.  (Shawn went to Mysteriously Yours with me back in August 2013, so he suggested I bring someone who’d never been before… I suspect that there was a hockey or baseball game on that he wanted to watch!)

Maggie is a Toronto native, but had never been to Mysteriously Yours before.  I didn’t give her much in the way of details, other than letting her know that there is definitely audience participation involved in a murder mystery dinner!  Like I said in my last post about Mysteriously Yours, “Murder mysteries are not for the shy or faint of heart — the actors will come right up to you and start a conversation, no matter how much you try to hide!”  The characters (which included Al Capone, Sam Spade and Mae West, as well as a Doctor who looked eerily similar to Doc Brown from Back to the Future!) all interacted with us, giving clues and dropping one-liners and innuendo all night long!  Many of the characters were particularly interested in Maggie’s tattoo!

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

I remember the food at Mysteriously Yours being excellent the last time I attended, but this time we had a different situation: Maggie is vegan, and I definitely wanted to make sure that she would be able to eat the food there!  What’s the point of attending a dinner theatre if you can’t eat the dinner?!  I emailed ahead to let them know about our needs, and they were more than happy to accommodate us!  We were served a vegan potato soup to start.  My main course was salmon with aioli, quinoa and asparagus, and Maggie was served risotto.  For dessert I got the salted caramel brownie, and Maggie got a ridiculously yummy sorbet.  How they got the flavour to be so strong, I have no idea!

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

The current show, Speakeasy, is set in the 1920’s at the “Emerald City Night Club” with a twist — the slogan “Flappers and Gangsters and Guns… Oh My!” gives it away, don’t you think?  Well, I must be a slow one, because I didn’t notice the Wizard of Oz influence until Maggie pointed it out!  (Duhhhhh…)

The actors give clues throughout the night and it’s up to the audience to figure out whodunit!  All the audience members are given a ballot near the end of the evening to guess who the murderer is, and what clues brought you to your solution.  I won’t reveal any spoilers, but know that if you guess correctly, you can win a prize!  Maggie solved the mystery and was one of the prizewinners — her prize consisted of a reusable Mysteriously Yours shopping bag, a travel mug, and lip balm.  After dinner, the cast is available to take photos with the audience members — of course, I couldn’t resist a photo op!

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

After dinner, Maggie and I met up with Shawn at Three Speed for some post-mystery drinks before we headed back to the Marriott for a good night’s rest.  Shawn and I returned to our room to find this awesome surprise on the desk:

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

Totally unexpected… but what a treat!  Yummy chocolates, strawberries, raspberries, grapes and blueberries, bottled water and a lovely note.  Thank you, Marriott team!  That’s great service!

The next morning we headed out for some retail therapy in Yorkville (although we didn’t buy much!) and checked out all the fancy designer shops at Holt Renfrew.  I don’t think Shawn could ever fathom spending ____ amount of money on a single shirt or pair of pants, but it’s fun to browse and daydream!

We had so much fun… I wish we could have stayed longer!  But we’ll be back soon, I’m sure!

Travel Diary: A Murder Mystery and the Marriott, June 6 & 7, 2014

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Mysteriously Yours event free of charge.  Hotel was booked through Hotwire.com.  All opinions are my own.  Photos taken by me with my iPhone.

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?!

Travel Diary: Toronto, December 28 & 29, 2013

Travel Diary: Toronto, December 28 & 29, 2013

Our hotel room at the Trump Hotel Toronto! Super glam!

I remember getting a text message from Kendryth which said “I have a great idea, call me!”  Those are the best kinds of text messages, aren’t they?  Kendryth’s great idea was a quick roadtrip to Toronto to see Les Misérables and stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto!  I’m always up for an adventure, so on we went!

On Saturday morning we hit the road with our husbands in tow in order to get to the Princess of Wales Theatre for the 1:30 matinee of Les Misérables.  Aaron Walpole played the role of Jean Valjean, and he was absolutely fantastic.  I cried and cried!  I had a great seat in the very front row of the balcony, and I enjoyed every moment of the show.

Travel Diary: Toronto, December 28 & 29, 2013

You’re not supposed to take photos in the theatre… but I snuck this one!

After the show, we checked into our suite at the Trump.  This is the second time we’ve stayed at the Trump, and our suite was identical to the one we stayed in back in August — but just as luxurious!  This time we arrived to find chocolates and Evian waiting for us in the room too!  Mmmmm…

Travel Diary: Toronto, December 28 & 29, 2013

So good…

After we checked in, we decided to head to the Eaton Centre for some retail therapy (of course!).  We then went to Shopsy’s for dinner, as chosen by the boys.

After dinner, Shawn and Andrew were eager as always to hit up the pool and sauna, so Kendryth and I tagged along, although we didn’t get wet!

Travel Diary: Toronto, December 28 & 29, 2013

The pool at the Trump is awesome! The sauna is quite posh too.
Shawn and Andrew clearly felt inspired by their surroundings!

After the pool closed at 10 pm, we headed back up to the suite to relax.  Kendryth and I settled into our pj’s and snuggled into the giant king-sized bed, while Shawn and Andrew hung out in the living room and eventually headed out for some late-night shenanigans… Who knows what those two got up to!

The next day, we checked out at noon and drove leisurely home, stopping in Cambridge for lunch at Lone Star Texas Grill.  We had a fantastic server, “Lil Fox,” who was just delightful!

It was a short visit, but a fun visit!  We always have a blast in Toronto.  I only wish we could have stayed longer!