The large all-local cast provides non-stop laughs and explosive dance numbers. With St. James Players 47-year legacy of high-quality community theatre in town, Mamma Mia! is sure to be a hit.
Peterborough’s newest theatre company Grassboots Theatre—created by Peyton Le Barr and Chris Whidden—is set to debut their first ever performance, Repatriation to the Moon, a new work inspired by theatre created by the underground Polish resistance during the WW2.
In Repatriation to the Moon playing at Artspace, a janitor and an engineer fall in love in a shoe factory. One is Polish, the other Italian. The play, set in a time of war, is a comical and heartwarming story of two lovebirds who attempt to escape persecution in the most absurd way imaginable.
The story was written by Whidden and the play created and performed by Whidden and Peyton Le Barr. The Havelock-based tandem are currently renovating a hobby farm to become a new theatre space and artists’ retreat.
Chris has written multiple plays performed in Toronto including Roaring Robert, which was presented by Shadowpath Theatre to a soldout run at the Toronto Fringe. This will be his first production in Peterborough.
Repatriation to the Moon is inspired by a performance from the 1940s by Polish artist Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz, who created dozens of plays for the underground Polish resistance including a work titled Repatriation to the Moon.
Repatriation to the Moon runs from August 14th to August 17th at Artspace, with performances starting at 8 p.m. each evening. Tickets cost $15 and are available here.
Actors and theatre-makers Peyton Le Barr and Chris Whidden have started a new theatre company called Grassboots Theatre, and they are making their debut this summer with an evening of storytelling and a production at Artspace on July 25th.
ABOUT PEYTON LE BARR
Le Barr is an established actor who has performed in the UK, Russia and Canada. She has worked alongside top directors in Toronto and has been a guest artist at Humber College, teaching an introduction to site-specific performance. She works with Peterborough’s Public Energy Performing Arts in production.
ABOUT CHRIS WHIDDEN
Whidden, a graduate from Ryerson University’s acting program, is a writer and performer with a focus on mask and clown. As a performer, Chris has become an active emerging artist. In addition to his work onstage, Chris has written multiple plays performed in Toronto including Roaring Robert, which was presented by Shadowpath Theatre to a sold-out run at the Toronto Fringe.
Peyton and Chris have purchased a farm in Havelock near Peterborough, and are currently renovating the property to create an outdoor theatre studio. Down the line, they intend to offer the space as an artist retreat to local artists.
Their first event at Artspace, “Share Off! An Open-Mic For Storytellers”, is an evening of storytelling taking place on July 25th at 7 p.m. Participants from the community will share their own true stories (5 minutes or less) following the theme of Firsts. “It seemed like a fun and unique way to learn more about the people of Peterborough on a more personal level,” says Le Barr.
Community members are encouraged to sign up as a storyteller or just come and watch. Spots are limited, so interested storytellers should register in advance here.
Comedic writer/director/actress Tamara Bick recently relocated to Peterborough along with her husband/co-comedic partner in crime, Drew Antzis, and two children, Jaffe and Bailey, after spending a decade in Toronto and then more than a decade in Los Angeles where they developed a diverse résumé working with the Who's Who of Hollywood.
Tamara (born and raised in Peterborough, where she attended Adam Scott) and Drew (born in Queen's, New York but raised in Tucson, Arizona) worked in the entertainment scene there—primarily specializing under the BICK/ANTZIS handle as writers and directors for both branded and original comedy for the web. They've worked with the likes of HBO, Comedy Central and Second City.
They co-wrote a bunch of celebrity comedy shorts for Funny or Die, working with comedic actors such as Jim Parsons and Sean Hayes, and actress Natalie Portman. And Drew did this hilarious video, "The Landlord", with Will Ferrell that was a viral hit on Funny or Die. They also did a MoveOn.org PSA with Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde. The list goes on and on.
The couple also acted a bit in Hollywood—in commercials and some guest starring roles. Tamara guest starred on Seinfeld, and worked with Kelsey Grammer from Frasier. They also did a bunch of Improv there, including Second City and Improv Olympic (Drew is a special guest in an upcoming Citiots Improv show at the Gordon Best Theatre).
So what made the couple leave LA, where, as Tamara says, "most people we met were super talented and super awesome." Her answer is both simple and complicated, and at times conflicted, all at once:
"Hollywood is great parties, meeting lots of famous people, working in television—it's really, really fun," she tells PTBOCanada. "The weather is the best, just gorgeous every day. California is a wonderful place. Living in Los Angeles, our family loved heading out to the beach every Sunday to surf and play in the sand. So we miss the beach and we miss our friends.
But LA is so huge—it's over 500 square miles, it's massive. It's about 4 million people living in that city... that's a lot of smell. But it's very diverse and exciting. At first, you're in awe of everything around you: the huge studios—Warner Brothers and Paramount—from the famous palm tree lined streets, Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd, and famous bars, the Chateau Marmont or the Brown Derby, to the clubs The Comedy Store or the Improv. It's the big league.
But then you do a set on the Improv stage and it's just another tiny stage in front of another brick wall except Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Poehler are in the audience that night and you suck. But after awhile, you realize all these famous people are just regular people who happen to be really talented, well dressed, beautiful and rich. Other than that, they're super ordinary people. And if you're willing to be in your car three to four hours day and pay 25 grand a year for pre-school, then it's the best city to live in!"
But they weren't. And so, they now find themselves happily in Peterborough, where as Tamara says, there is "free health care, no guns, less traffic." They live in the north end near Trent University—"it's so beautiful up here, especially in the fall," says Bick.
And the couple continue to create as much as they ever have. They're just been selected for the Montreal Fringe Festival and have applied to many others including Toronto, New York, Chicago and Winnipeg.
They're workshopping a show in Peterborough called Settle This Thing that actually had its origins on YouTube way back in 2012. Their premise was simple: to have the internet provide a solution to an ongoing argument they couldn’t resolve on their own.
Tamara and Drew each laid out their argument and told viewers to vote for who they agreed with and that they would live with the results of the vote. After a week, the married couple tallied the votes and had a winner. Argument solved! "It’s crowdsourcing to solve our fights," says Antzis, "and it worked!"
The couple have decided to take their web show to the stage and do it live. They’ve written five different Settle This Thing shows and are performing them live at The Theatre On King (TTOK) in Peterborough every last Friday of the month at 8 p.m. from November 2017 to May 2018. They are excited to test the shows in front of Peterborough crowds.
Each show tackles a different topic (Marriage, Sex, In-Laws, Money and Parenting) and includes at least two videos that the audience gets to vote on. The content and videos always rotate so you can could see the show multiple times and never see the same show twice.
Don't miss this dynamic duo, who have chosen Peterborough as their testing grounds for this material that could eventually scale to theatres across Canada and beyond—perhaps taking them right back to LA (only as special guests this time).
The 24 Hr Project is back Saturday, October 21st at 8 p.m., at the Gordon Best Theatre. This is when five plays are written, rehearsed and then performed at the end of 24 hours.
Friday, 8 p.m. -> 5 writers begin scripts
Saturday, 6 a.m. > 5 directors read scripts and each choose one
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. > 30 actors arrive and audition
Saturday 9 a.m. > rehearsals begin
Saturday 7:30 p.m. > Doors open at the Gordon Best Theatre
Saturday 8 p.m. > 5 new plays are performed
UNIQUE PROJECT MIXING THEATRE VETERANS & ROOKIES
What makes the 24 Hr Project special, aside from its format, is the inclusion of theatre veterans with those who have never performed before. A "crash course" if you will for newcomers who have been given the opportunity to get on stage for what may be the first time in their life. It consistently provides great results and a thrill for those on and off stage.
Many audience members at the Gordon Best Theatre can't believe what they are seeing wasn't even on paper the night before.
*Featuring: Linda Kash, Daniel Smith, Klint Davies, Lindy Powell, Tamara Bick, Brian Macdonald, Tim Etherington, Lydia Etherington, Ray Henderson, Drew Antzis, Dane Shümak, Amy M. Cummings, Adam Martignetti, Allison Wallis, Riley Tutert, Sean Quinlan, Karen Jordan, Sarah Jayne Riley, Kayla Fraser, Chelsea Munro, Meg O’Sullivan, August MacDonald, Tilly O’Sullivan, Tom Keat, Tonya Kimberly, Vanessa Erin Ferreri, Justin Boyd, Grace Horseman, Luke Foster, Andrew Root, Aiden Wilson, Angie Sorensen, Carol Lawless, Collin Chepeka, Katrina Hynes, Conner Clarkin, Mélanie Dubois, Karen Jordan, Lucas DeLuca, Mallory MacDonald, Noah Henderson, Jacqueline Kerslake, Chase Kilbourne, and many, many more...
*List subject to change
Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Students at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and Showtime is at 8 p.m. on October 21st.
The Gordon Best is located at 216 Hunter Street West. Call 705.741.8763 for information.
Peterborough Theatre Guild invites you to visit the Canadian Blood Services at 55 George St N., in Peterborough on Saturday, September 9th, from 8 a.m. - noon.
That day at Blood Services, you will receive one complimentary ticket for PTG's production of Dracula. Also, the members of the cast and crew, including Dracula himself, will be there that day in costume.
The complimentary ticket is valid for the Preview Show of Dracula on Thursday, September 21st at 8 p.m.
Written by Stephen Dietz and directed by John Lunman, the play runs September 22nd through October 8th at Peterborough Theatre Guild's theatre.
Since 1965, PTG has been the home of award winning live theatre in Peterborough and the Kawarthas. For more info, visit their website.
Crime City!, a monthly stage show at the Theatre on King in the style of old time radio, is soon beginning its second season.
The show is full of thrills, chills, action and adventure as its heroes—hard-boiled detective Victor Marshall (Mike Judson), former spy turned do-gooder Lillian Steel (Marsala Lukianchuk) and 10-year old Adventure Scout Brad Bramble (Kenn Gibb)—aim to clean up crime in Crime City!
Written by Andrew Root, a new episode of Crime City! is performed monthly at The Theatre on King (159 King St., around the back).
Crime City! features performances by some of Peterborough’s top comedic talent (including series regulars Dan Smith, Adam Martignetti and Melanie Dubois and guest stars Ray Henderson, Megan Murphy, Kate Ethier, Aaron Cavon, Kate Story, Matt Gilbert, Sarah McNeilly, Meg O’Sullivan and Jessica Latone).
With sound effects performed live by Melissa Post and original music by Adam Martignetti, each episode is chock full of fun and adventure for the entire family!
Season Two begins on Saturday, September 24th with two performances at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Theatre on King.
Each episode runs between 45 minutes to an hour in length. Make sure to catch Crime City! for a thrill you won’t find anywhere else! Tickets are $10, and available at the door at Theatre on King.
To learn more about the show, check out this video below of the entire first season of Crime City! condensed into only ten minutes...
Millbrook renowned outdoor theatre 4th Line Theatre is showing the world premiere of Maja Ardal’s The Hero of Hunter Street this summer for its first production of the season.
This will be one of the most ambitious, epic productions that 4th Line Theatre—celebrating its 25th anniversary season—has ever produced.
The Hero of Hunter Street tells the story of the December 1916 Quaker Oats factory explosion and fire—its 100 anniversary is this year—in Peterborough that killed 23 men and irrevocably changed the lives of local families.
This highly anticipated play—which has been in development for four years—examines the devastating destruction and profound community response to one of Canada’s worst industrial disasters.
Photo by Rebekah Littlejohn Photography