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: New York City, March 10 & 11, 2016

Travel Diary: New York City, March 10 & 11, 2016

Hello lovely people! My posting schedule kind of went all sideways because I was busy getting ready to go to New York City with the Original Kids Theatre Company! I’m currently writing this post from a Starbucks on 43rd and 8th, and I am just basking in the gloriousness that is NYC! I’m going to try and take a few minutes every couple of days and share the highlights of what I’ve been up to.

We arrived in NYC on the morning of Thursday March 10 and went on a scavenger hunt around Times Square, getting re-acquainted (or in some cases, introduced!) to the Theatre District. The weather was insanely gorgeous, and we were all running around in t-shirts and tank tops! We were able to get into our hotel rooms around 3 pm, where we freshened up, hit up Shake Shack for dinner, and then went to our first show of the trip: School of Rock, based on the Jack Black film, playing at the Winter Garden Theatre. It was a fun show, with great music and an insanely talented group of kid actors who played all their own instruments in the band! It was a great way to start off this NYC adventure.

Travel Diary: New York City, March 10 & 11, 2016

Friday was our first full day in the city, and it was a busy day! I started out the day getting rush tickets for Something Rotten with Cole, Brenton and Lia (warning: you will be hearing a LOT about Something Rotten below!). After snagging those tickets (front row, only $35!), we took the subway to Fifth Avenue, picked up J.P. and dropped off Lia, and had a leisurely stroll up Fifth Avenue. We dropped off J.P. at Rockefeller Center (it’s weird spelling it with an ER) and had fun exploring the Lego store and Nintendo World. We checked out the New York Public Library and then ran back to Rockefeller Center to meet up with a whole bunch of OKids to experience Top of the Rock. It’s an absolutely gorgeous view. It was also incredibly windy! I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building but this was my first time checking out Top of the Rock.

Travel Diary: New York City, March 10 & 11, 2016

We met back up with Lia and were joined by a couple other OKids for a nice dinner at Scarlatto, an Italian restaurant just steps away from our hotel. The gnocchi was fantastic. Zach and Nic headed off to The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time, which was just across the street. The rest of us were cutting it pretty close to our show though, and Cole, Brenton, Lia and I had to sprint to 44th street to get to Something Rotten on time!

Travel Diary: New York City, March 10 & 11, 2016

Our sprint was TOTALLY worth it though. Something Rotten was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE AND I AM OFFICIALLY OBSESSED WITH THIS SHOW. It’s side-splittingly hilarious and so cleverly written, and I am going back to see it again before the end of the trip. Seriously, it was that good. I’ve already bought the album on iTunes and I plan to have the score memorized by the end of the trip. When can I get the rights to this show?!?!

We stayed to get autographs at the stagedoor after the show and I got to meet Christian Borle… witness the awesome:

Travel Diary: New York City, March 10 & 11, 2016

I only fangirled a little bit. 😉

Anyway — it’s been an amazing trip so far, and the trip has barely begun! I’m about to sign off to go catch a matinee of Shear Madness, and there is so much more that I’m looking forward to — Sleep No More on Monday night, a fight workshop with Jared Kirby on Tuesday, The Crucible on Wednesday afternoon, and of course I’m going to see Something Rotten again. I love this city!

Got any must-sees that I should check out while I’m in NYC?
Share your tips with me on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

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5 Items You’ll Need For A New York City Theatre Trip

5 Items You'll Need For A New York City Theatre Trip

I’m heading to New York City in less than a week with the Original Kids Theatre Company, and I’m so excited! This will be my fifth trip to NYC, and my third with OKTC. I’ve already got tickets for Sleep No More and School of Rock, and I’ve got a list of other shows and adventures I want to explore while I’m there!

Before any trip, it’s important to get your things packed and ready to go ahead of time so you aren’t all stressed out before you leave! If you’re specifically going on a trip to immerse yourself in theatre, here are five items you won’t want to leave home without!

1.  Sharpie markers.

Easy to stick in your pocket or purse, and great for getting autographs on your program at the stagedoor after a show. I recommend having three different colours: basic black, a metallic (gold or silver) in case your program has a mostly black cover, and one random, bright colour like red, fuchsia or purple. Avoid yellow at all cost!

2.  A small notebook and pen.

Useful for taking notes, giving notes, getting autographs, making tiny origami on the subway (why not?). It’s just really handy to have.

3.  A bunch of Broadway deals.

Theatre tickets can be expensive, so arm yourself with deals. Playbill.com and Broadwaybox.com can email you deals that you can print out and take to the box office. There are also deals at TKTS booths, lots of apps to find deals (TodayTix is a great one!) and various student and general rush policies, so do some research and get the best deal possible! (As a general note, Disney theatrical shows in New York City such as The Lion King, Aladdin or Mary Poppins tend to have very few, if any, deals available.)

4.  Comfortable shoes.

Get ready to max out your Fitbit. Every single packing list for NYC will say to bring comfortable shoes, and I will echo it. You will walk SO much in NYC and you don’t want to be suffering. From early mornings in line for rush tickets, to late nights in an immersive theatre experience such as Sleep No More or The Grand Paradise, you will walk more in NYC than you will anywhere else. However, do NOT wear flip-flops in NYC, ever, no matter how hot it is, and you’ll probably want to avoid white shoes, because they’ll get filthy fast.

5.  Cash

Honestly, just pack light and bring cash. You can buy literally anything in New York City. If you forgot something, you can easily replace it there. Cash is easier to manage for budgeting (swipe your credit card too much and you’ll just end up crying when you get home), and it’s the most convenient way of buying show swag if you want to buy it!

Leave at home:

  • Enormous suitcases. Just pack less. I’d recommend a duffle bag over a rolling suitcase — you don’t want to be struggling with a massive rolling bag on the subway.
  • Selfie sticks. Gross.
  • Cameras with neck straps. Bring the camera, but leave the strap at home or risk looking like a tourist.
  • Big golf umbrellas. Nobody will be able to walk around you on the sidewalk and you’ll annoy people. If you need an umbrella, get one of those tiny folding ones.
  • Fanny packs. Use a small cross-body purse instead.

What would you put on your NYC packing list?
Let me know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

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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!
Share your stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

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Three Cheers for Five Years!

Three Cheers for Five Years!

Hard to believe that today is the fifth anniversary of this little blog.  I had no idea when I sat down and wrote my “Hello World!” post that I’d still be here, five years down the road.  (If you look closely, you’ll notice that the link is actually “hello-world-2” which makes me think that I must have deleted the first one!  Who knows!)

I love writing about theatre and travel, and I hope to continue to do so (especially about travelling!).  I hope to continue to grow this blog and my readership, and to continue to provide interesting and useful content.

So in celebration of five years, here are five lists I’d like to share with you!

My 5 Most Popular Blog Posts of All Time (Thus Far!)

5 Quick Pieces of Advice for Young Actors

  • Learn your lines as soon as you start rehearsing.  Don’t wait until the last minute to try and cram them in your brain.  Save yourself the stress.  (I speak from experience here.)
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks and look silly.
  • Choose an audition song and monologue you actually enjoy performing.  I can tell that “My Favourite Things” is definitely NOT one of your favourite things.
  • Practice speaking loudly and projecting your voice from the start.  It’s easier to bring your voice down than to try and push it up once you’ve moved from the rehearsal hall to the theatre.
  • Don’t be a diva.

5 Places I’ve Travelled

5 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

  • If you want to run a successful blog, you have to MAKE the time to write.
  • Write ahead and pre-schedule your blog posts as much as possible.  It will save you so much stress in the long run!
  • When inspiration hits, stop everything and write the post.  Don’t save it until later.  By that time your inspiration will have dried up, or you’ll second-guess yourself and think the idea isn’t as good as you thought it was originally.
  • Always include at least one great photo in every post!
  • Be consistent.  Try to post at least one new article every week.  (I’m still working on this one!)

5 Goals for the Remainder of 2015

  • Post one new article each week on the blog
  • Finish my theatre scrapbook
  • Clean up my two youth theatre plays and get them up on the blog
  • Declutter the house
  • Learn to say “NO”