Ottawa Theatre

Hanging Out at the Ottawa Fringe


Oh, Ottawa Fringe Festival, I love you so! It's taken me this long just to recover. The quality and caliber of shows this year was incredibly high, which probably accounts for the multiple sold out houses and record breaking box office numbers. I saw a grand total of 22 shows, which is not too shabby if I do say so myself. They were, in viewing order:

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Uncouth I think my boyfriend should have an accent The Nature of Things of Nature Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo Hootenanny Mars Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!! Three Men in a Boat The Orchid and the Crow Whose Aemelia The Untitled Sam Mullins Project The Sink Two Girls, One Corpse Supervillains Don't Wear Stilettos Sh!t I'm in Love with you Again Screwtape Die Roten Punkte: Best Band in the World Inescapable Pachiv! Hannah and George Working Title: Undecided Northern Daughter

And this not counting all the ones I had already seen.

While hanging out at the Fringe this year, two questions frequently came up: 1) How does it feel to just be a patron this year? and 2) Will you be doing Roller Derby Saved My Soul again?

Here were my answers:

1) It's surprisingly great. I get to see a bunch of shows, hang out with all my friends, and drink like it's... well like it's Fringe, but I have none of the stress that comes with producing your own show. Though I missed performing, after the incredible amount of pressure I was under last year, this was a breath of much needed fresh air.

2) I had at least a dozen people come up to me and ask about Roller Derby Saved My Soul. My director, Tania Levy, also told me how inspired she was to revisit our collaborative effort after seeing all these new shows. The script has changed a lot over the summer and she has yet to see this new version. I was also inspired by some of the design elements I saw during this festival (track lighting from The Orchid and the Crow anyone?) So the short answer is yes, I will be doing Roller Derby Saved My Soul. The how, when and where of it will take up another blog post all on its own.

A couple shoutouts/cool things from this year's festival:

  • Congrats to Pat and the team for getting a couple suitable alternatives to the Beer Tent this year. Both The Albion Room and Club SAW were a lot of fun.
  • Awesome to see the ticket price go up to $12 this year making Ottawa a city with one of the highest payouts for Fringe on the circuit. For those of you who don't know, artists only make money through ticket sales so this is a fantastic thing.
  • It was down to the wire. I thought for sure my Fringe crush this year would be the perfect bangs and chiseled jaw of the Mars crew. But on the last day of the festival I caught Working Title: Undecided and Tamlynn Bryson caught my heart. A well-deserved emerging artist award is now in her bag!

Don't make me choose!

  • It turns out I'm still young enough to stay out until 5 a.m. multiple nights in a row.
  • Hanging out with Hiroshi Shimizu and introducing him to various Canadian cuisines.
  • Looking forward to the remount of The Elephant Girls in the Arts Court Theatre. Since it sold out its run, this was one of the few shows I really wanted to see but missed.
  • 4 out of 5 Best of Fest shows were created by women. 2 out 3 shows that sold out their entire runs were local.
  • Wes Babcock is my hero.

Hey Kevin, look over here!


Next Stop: Toronto Fringe!

Nancy’s Must-See List at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival


Wow, Fringe already? It feels like just a year ago that I was packing up a car and heading out on a four month tour of the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit... Oh wait, that was a year ago. One year ago...

This year, I am taking it easy. For the first time in about 12-13 years, I am not involved with any Fringe show in any way. This year, I am but a patron and I am excited to see what is coming my way at this year's Ottawa Fringe Festival.

The Fringe preview start tonight, so new things might catch my eye, but for the moment, as is my yearly wont, here is Nancy's Must-See List for the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival:

Usual disclaimer: These are my opinions only. If your show is not on here, it does not mean it isn't any good. Feel free to add your show and why we should see it to the comments below. Also, please don't hate me.

The Stuff I've Already Seen so I Probably Won't See it Again but you Should

Magical Mystery Detour

Caught this one in Edmonton. Gemma Wilcox is an incredible shape-shifting performer. You may have seen her in The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over and Shadows in Bloom, two shows that have more awards and recognition than Meryl Streep has Oscar nominations.

The Cockwhisperer... A Love Story

Caught a working version in Winnipeg and then the whole thing in London. Colette Kendall is one of the fiercest women I know. The first time I saw this show, during an incredibly rough time I was having at the Winnipeg Fringe, I wrote about how much I admired her and her presence. I think this may be her first time in town, so show her some love, Ottawa!

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project

Saw this one in Montreal last year. I loved it, even though Sam told me he was not happy with it. He then went and made major rewrites and proceeded to sell the shit out the rest of his Fringe Festival tour in every single city. My title for this section is now misleading as I will totally try and catch this one to see what changed. He also beat out Roller Derby Saved My Soul for a Canadian Comedy Award, so there's that.


Caught this one in Toronto. Tonya Jones Miller shares an incredibly personal and incredibly true story about her mother in Vietnam. Go see it and then spend the rest of the night in disbelief wondering if that really happened. Answer: Yes, it really did.

Bursting Into Flames

Caught this one in Toronto as well. Marting Dockery is an excellent story teller and this was one of the first pieces of fiction I saw him do. Once again, he blew me away in what quickly became my favourite of all his shows.

Keith Brown: Exchange

Another one I saw in London. Keith is both super charming and super magical. This is a great show, good for the whole family. Sidenote: If you hear me yelling "Burn the witch!" at the Fringe grounds, Keith is around.

The Stuff I Missed the First Time Around


I wanted to catch this one in Edmonton last year, but fell victim to burn out and bad timing. John Huston is a mainstay on the Fringe circuit and always impresses with his performances so I'm looking forward to this one.

Three Men in a Boat

Missed this one when I was in Toronto because it was selling out ALL THE TIME. While I wish the same for them here, could everyone wait until I have my ticket before you go? I really don't want to miss it again.


The Super Incredible People Who Are Doing Super Incredible Things

The Elephant Girls

Margo MacDonald. That is all.


Oh wait, I did have something to add. Her promo photos for Shadows in 2010 were outstanding and she really outdid herself again this time around.



Hannah and George

Even if I hadn't seen a workshop version of this piece at the Fresh Meat Festival. And even if it hadn't been charming as fuck. And even if it didn't include the wonderful Madeleine Hall who both worked for me that one time and blew me away with her acting skills during an event I saw at the Clocktower. And even if their posters and publicity materials were some of the best ones I've seen so far this year... I would be going to see this show because of one Kevin Reid. Let's be honest folks. If you are in anyway involved in theatre or Fringe, Kevin was right there, front and centre (quite often literally), supporting you and your work and then writing incredibly nice things about it. So get off your seat and go see a show by a man who not only discovered in his 40s that a life in the theatre is actually what makes him happy but turns out he's also really good at it too.

Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!!

I will see this show based on the title alone.


Kate Smith is an incredible performer who created a really lovely Fringe show a few years ago that I still bring up to this day (and not just because she was naked in it that one time). Will Somers impresses me more and more each time I see him on stage. His piece with David Bennedict Brown at last year's Fresh Meat Festival was one of my absolute favourites. Add Cory Thibert, director of On the Fringe as a videographer to this project and you've got a killer team I'm looking forward to checking out at this year's festival.


Speaking of Cory Thibert, he's also directing his May Can brother from another mother Tony Adams, as well as Chelsea Young in a show at the Bronfman Amphitheatre. If that wasn't enough, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that amphitheatre is outdoors. I love it when the traditional venue system is challenged!


Martin Dockery again teaming up with RibbitRePublic's Jon Paterson. Also known as that super talented guy I spent weeks travelling with in a van as we toured The Little Prince out west. Long time Ottawa Fringers might also remember him from his fantastic take on Daniel MacIvor's House. Brian Carroll will also tell you that he is one of the reasons every single show at the Ottawa Fringe Festival now gets a review. Go see this show and then talk to Brian. Seriously, talk to Brian, it's a good story.

Sh!T I'm in Love with You Again

First the title totally caught my eye. Second, the name Rachel Elie. She was here with JOE: The Perfect Man, a hilarious show that taught me that there are different types of clowns out there.

The Inventor of All Things

Jem Rolls is back! And I'm told this time it's with something different from any show he's done in the past. Guys, there's actually a poster! With a picture! I spent an entire summer with this man and I am genuinely surprised and absolutely delighted to see where this one goes.

Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo

I'd be remiss if I didn't include this one since I am billeting the actor. Jeff Leard's The Show Must Go On was one of my favorite shows on the Fringe; one that I thought about a lot as I did my own children's theatre tour. He's a fantastic performer and I'm hearing great things out of the London Fringe about this one.

The Orchid and the Crow

From Daniel Tobias, one half of super mega group Die Roten Punkte. Every once in a while, you hear the other artists talk about a show they saw that absolutely everyone needs to see. This is that show.

I Think My Boyfriend Should Have an Accent

Emily Pearlman is back with a solo show! It's been a long time since we've seen this. I fell in love with her alone on stage talking about her tapeworm so I'm incredibly excited to see what she has cooked up this time around.

Supervillains Don't Wear Stilettos

Ok, I think I lied. I am involved with a show in some way. This show was originally part of the Youth Infringement Festival and I was a writing mentor for the group. Sock n Buskin picked it up as their Fringe show so it had to drop out of YIF. I am excited to see how everything turned out for these young playwrights and budding directors.


Wow, not including the other categories, that's already 10-12 shows that I absolutely need to see. And I haven't even mentioned the return of Sterling Lynch with Autoerotic, Rick Kaulbars promising me a bawdy good time with "Finished Girls" A Tale of Colonial Sex Trade, local Fringe favourite Richard Hemphill's Junior Sleuths, Tim Oberholzer's final Ottawa performance in Whose Aemilia?, Jayson MacDonald's Mars, and countless other shows that I'm sure I've either missed because I've been staring at the program too long or will pick up along the way. This isn't so much a list anymore as it is a rehashing of the program.

Well, there is a lot of ground to cover, so what are you waiting for? On your mark, get set, FRINGE!

So long and thanks for all the theatre


The Magnetic North Theatre Festival ended this past weekend. I've been to the last 4 or 5 in Ottawa and for me this was definitely one of the best ones yet. Things I loved:

  • Of the 10 productions included in the festival 4 were from Ottawa. FOUR! I remember years when we would be lucky to get one.
  • All the shows were great! One stood out for me in particular.
  • 15 Industry Spots were sponsored for local Ottawa artists.
  • The partnership with the Canada Dance Festival meant that I got to see 2 shows that made me think I may be a "dance person" after all.
  • Although I missed the Club Saw Festival Bar from years past, I was happy that the NAC 4th Stage had cheaper drink rates than what the NAC would normally offer.
  • Bar activities like THUNK Theatre's Lost & Find Project and Therapy Sessions with Self-Proclaimed Expert Emelia Symington Fedy made for a fun night out.
  • Great panel discussions like Can We Make Gender Equity More Than An Intellectual Exercise? made for awesome conversations.
  • Inspiring Pitch session.
  • I saw posters for the festival everywhere!
  • The Saskatoon contingent. I think more cities/provinces should band together and send their artists to the festival.
  • Partnering up with Soup Ottawa for an event promoting local arts projects. Congratulations to the Fresh Meat DIY Festival for walking away with the prize that night!

Things to think about:

  • While for the most part I enjoyed the One-to-One Sessions, I think I preferred the open Marketplace that happened the last time the festival was in town. There were a limited number of presenters at this year's festival, so it was at times difficult to get face time. Then while having your One-to-One time, you might discover that you were not a proper fit after all. With the Marketplace, presenters could walk by, see something that catches their eye and know immediately if it was a good fit. My 2 cents on that.
  • We had some great meals but the breakfast and lunch sessions left a lot to be desired if you had any kind of dietary restrictions. I often found myself leaving to go buy something else.
  • The street event prior to the opera was confusing.

Really? Those were the biggest criticisms I could come up with? Congratulations Mag North, you did all kinds of alright this year. Hopefully I will be seeing you in Whitehorse next summer!

I Am the Seeker


The Magnetic North Theatre Festival has been an absolute whirlwind of activity for me. My flight from Saskatoon arrived Sunday afternoon and, after a quick shower, I immediately jumped into the Industry Series. There have been so many great discussions, connections and productions jammed into an intense 4 days. It was another solid series of shows for this festival, but one in particular has really stuck with me: What Happened to the Seeker. What Happened to the Seeker is an incredibly personal and moving event. I hesitate to call it a play as it felt more like performance art. The piece is divided into two halves, the first one split into three parts.

As I sat involved in the first two parts, I felt confused and then angry. The whole thing initially seemed self-indulgent and wanky. Oh great, another play about artists who are unable to make art. It made me so mad. I was angry people were laughing at jokes I did not find funny, but incredibly sad. I was angry at the negativity presented in the piece, the desperation and lack of hope. And I was angry at the, yes I dare say the thought crossed my mind, what I perceived to be a waste of money in creating this elaborate project. And now I was angry at my own hypocrisy and assholishness. What the hell was wrong with me?

I grabbed a drink as I walked to the third part. Well, at least there was a bar. I started wandering the exhibit before me, carefully looking, touching, reading; starting to feel unsettled by the familiarity of it all. I knew this story all too well. I reached a point that offered the audience member a chance to “release” their anger by beating up a pillow. Impulsively I went for it. Unleashing this rage I was feeling, hurting my hand in the process. I was shaking as I kept on through the exhibit and was grateful for the hug that was offered next. As I reached the end of the piece, I felt the tears coming up. I took a step back, drink in hand, trying desperately to compose myself and wondering what to do next when I spotted the Seeker. I looked at her and she looked at me. In that moment, I knew she saw me. Really saw me. As I gave her a hug, the floodgates opened and I started sobbing on her shoulder.

I finally managed to say what had been weighing on me this entire time: “This is my life.” She looked at me and I saw she was crying too. So I did what any grownup does in this situation. I ran off to get another drink.

You may have a completely different experience with this show. You may not even like it at all. But for me, this piece is something that is going to stick with me for quite sometime. And I’m not just saying that because I notice the slight bruises developing on my knuckles from that time I lost a fight with a pillow and chair.

I wasn’t angry because this was “bad” art. I was angry because it hit so close to home. What Happened to the Seeker put a broken mirror up to my face and I was pissed to confront truths in myself that I had been ignoring for a long time. Love it, hate it, this show certainly did not leave me indifferent.


Nancy's Must-See List at the 2014 Ottawa Fringe


time flies

Creative Commons LicenseRobert Couse-Baker via Compfight

Well, here we are on our last day at the Montreal Fringe. I have one last performance of Roller Derby Saved My Soul tonight at 9:30 p.m. where I will close the MainLine Theatre, before heading off to the Cabaret du Mile End for what I am sure will be one heck of an after-party. It's weird. No matter how many times I told myself I would be going to bed at before 5 a.m. every night, somehow that almost never happened...

But that's a blog post for another day. In the meantime, as we get ready to head back to Ottawa and start filming the last main group we will be following throughout our documentary, Martin Dockery & Vanessa Quesnelle, I have put together a list of shows that I am really looking forward to catching in the very limited amount of time I have in town.

Honestly, this is just my personal opinion, so it should be taken with a Grain of Salt (see what I did there?). If a show isn't on the list, it doesn't mean it's not good and if a show is on this list, it doesn't mean it's any better. For most of these, I simply have no idea and I've decided to stay away from reviews. Also, you may simply not like what I like. But I do know certain things from my past experience On the Fringe (see what I did there?). I'm like the hooker friend who teaches the Pretty Woman a thing or two about hooking up with Richard Gere... I think that's how that movie goes. It's been a long time since I've seen it.

Anyway, without further ado, please don't hate me, and go see:


One of the few Ottawa shows I've actually seen, I caught Jessica Fitzpatrick's show in Halifax last year. My first reaction after seeing the show was a big ol' fuck you. Fuck you for being so incredibly funny, talented, gorgeous and so damn young to boot. Oh and to top it all off, she had to go and be an awesome person too! Gah! Yup, this show made me grin from ear to ear and, pushing all those envious feelings aside, Ms. Fitzpatrick became one of my closest gal pals on the road. I'm still hoping some of her sparkling energy rubs off on me. See this show if only to see the show I'm totally jealous of. You'll be smiling too.

Chase and Stacey Present: Joyride

You haven't met Stacey yet, Ottawa, but you remember Chase from  6 Guitars if you were able to even get tickets to that one. Honestly, don't make that mistake again. This show is probably already selling out and if it isn't it damn well should be.

First Words

The big return to the stage of Natalie Joy Quesnel, former Ottawa Fringe Executive Producer, in her own one-woman show no less! I am very excited to see this one and support Natalie and her work.


Because you shouldn't be afraid of French shows and trying something new.

2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrows Investigation

Saw it in London. Was lots of fun and won a few awards. An evening of easy entertainment for sure.


Super curious about this one. I've never seen a show created by Nicholas Amott before and it is probably time to rectify that situation.


From the folks that brought you the super popular Duck Wife a few years ago, which I missed. I've heard great buzz about this from Montreal, so I don't want to miss out on what may be another hot show.

Kitt and Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future

Because all the feelings.

Silent Party Interlude

Another show I saw in London that made my heart all gooey. I also can't wait to download Devon's EP.

Who Killed Gertrude Crump

Monster Theatre is back, this time with the incredible Tara Travis and a whackload of puppets.


Ok, that's already ten shows and I still haven't told you to check out jem rolls and the barrage of Martin Dockery-ness at the festival - slightly biased as they are included in my documentary, but that doesn't make them any less talented. Plus, I know there's Jayson McDonald show somewhere in there but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it as it doesn't fall under his usual Stars and Hearts banner. I also haven't even touched on the barrage of hometown heroes who are sure to delight: Dave Brown & Ray Besharah, Tim Oberholzer, Richard Hemphill, the Dead Unicorn gang, Tess McManus, Nicolas Alain, the ladies of Rachel and Zoe... ZOMG! So much Fringe and so little time! Seriously, just stop reading this now, grab your beer mug and head on down to the tent.

I'll be seeing most of you there on Tuesday!

It's a Brand New Derby


On Saturday, we had the first table read of my revised draft of Roller Derby Saved My Soul. And I think I made my sound designer's head explode. Pictured here on the left, pre head explosion.

You see, it's a different show now. And I didn't realize how different until he pointed it out. In my mind, I had moved a scene here, cut out another one there... sure there was some new content, but it wasn't that much, was it? And he, consummate professional that he is, now wants to create some new music to go with this new version of the show.

That's why I was so happy to finally read this new version to a group of people, so I could hear this kind of feedback. I feel really good about it. For a long time, though I loved the old version of Roller Derby Saved My Soul, I always felt it was more like popcorn: light and fluffy but without much sustenance. Now, the new show structure, without losing any of its heart and humour, feels more grounded.

The brilliant Tania Levy has been instrumental in helping me develop the piece. We work incredibly well together. To the point where I think she might be reading my mind. Folks, I can't say this enough, but you should really hire Tania for all your projects. All of them. She will make them magic and I think we could all use a little more magic in our lives.

So all this to say that if you saw Roller Derby Saved My Soul in the past few years, you should come and check it out again this summer because it will be a very different experience. Tickets are selling fast for Ottawa. And they are now on sale for both the London Fringe Festival and the Montreal Fringe Festival.

And if you're curious, the documentary campaign is going very well. Please consider making a contribution to our Indiegogo campaign and make this film about life On the Fringe happen!

The Evolution of a Show

2009 - The idea of a roller derby show  comes to mind. I start researching the sport, interview people involved and writing scenes. My show is nowhere near ready for Fringe so I decide to do something else. Something else bombs and I give up writing for a whole year. 2011 - Opportunity to be in the Ottawa Fringe Festival presents itself and I take it. I dust off the old scenes and start writing a show. It goes... not that well at first.

Uh... something something roller skates.

Regardless, it becomes an unquestionable success. And after Ottawa, I took all the feedback I got and wrote another draft for the Hamilton Fringe, where things also went well. Did one more performance in Ottawa that year with a few minor changes and that was that. As I needed money, I took a self-imposed break from the arts to work a few full-time jobs. I was not going to tour in 2012.

2012 - A roller derby lady in Swift Current, SK had heard about the show and wanted it for a theatre festival she curates. Barely any changes are made to the script. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I set up a successful Indiegogo campaign to take the show on a full cross-Canada tour in 2013.

2013 - I only get into two festivals - three after all was said and done. I decide to finally get a proper sound design for the show. There's a few more minor script rewrites with some Toronto dramaturgy help, but the main focus is on sound. Once more, the show does well, but I end the year with an unsettled feeling. I decide to tour again next year and apply to the big Canadian Fringe Festival lottery. I put in almost every city on the tour because I don't think I will actually win.

2014 - I win the lottery and start preparing for the biggest tour yet. I've hired a choreographer and we've changed the show's set design, but the unsettled feeling has returned. If it ain't broke don't fix it, but... Parts of the script just don't feel right anymore. I have a chat with my director and she agrees. I've grown up and, if I want to keep doing it, the show has to grow up too. In fact, this sums it up pretty well:

THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.

My taste is so high and, as good and fun as RDSMS has been, it's not as great as it could be. This is a scary thought. The show is a proven entity. It does well. If I leave it as is, I will have a good summer. It won't be a creatively fulfilling summer, but it will be a good, safe one.

But I didn't get into this business to be safe. So, I've decided to go back to the beginning and dig deeper. Will you like it? I hope so. In fact, I think you will because I'm still going to be a charming little presence on stage. But my goal is to be a truer one in both my writing and my performance.

Will I ever be satisfied? I don't know. I'd love to hear from other creators on that one. Are you ever done? Is a painting done when you finally hang it on a wall? Is a song complete just because it's been recorded? Is a writer ever satisfied when he or she has scribbled out the last page?

I, in the meantime, will go back to a writing exercise that my lovely creative partner has asked me to finish before our story meeting tonight. An exercise I have judiciously procrastinated on by doing my taxes and writing this blog post. Because when I know something is good for me, I'm going to put it off as long as I can.

Stay tuned...

Pop Fiction

Aliens are coming, but shhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone. Let me back up a bit.

Last October-November, when I knew all my work contracts were over and was in a bit of a "what do I do now" spiral, I got a lovely offer to work with a French production company in Ottawa called Groupe des deux. G2 is neat because they do that thing all artists should probably do more of: they take their time. I think this is pretty normal behaviour in the French theatre community, but I so rarely see it in English. G2 can take up to a few years to develop a new work from the initial idea phase, through a series of workshops and labs, all the way up to the production itself.

Which brings me back to Pop Fiction.

This is not the show you are looking for.

Pop Fiction is a whole new concept that brings together fiction and pop in order to foster communication between people. The show, through phenomenal means, dives deep into the communication problems of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Pop Fiction, as it ponders grave and touching topics, nevertheless finds a way to make you laugh from the beginning to the end!

FYI, that right there? Is just a hoax! What I can’t tell you is that this is in fact the first contact with a species from outer space... but sshh...  don't tell anyone or, we could all be in danger... 

Yup. Aliens.

I came in late into the process for Pop Fiction, but let me tell you, I have seen these aliens with my own eyes and it is one of the most spectacular sights I have ever witnessed on any indie Ottawa theatre stage. I would show you photos, but the government confiscated my phone... Chances are they may delete this message now that I've posted it so you need to act quick if you want to be in on what is sure to be a global phenomenon! Tickets are $15 in advance through Eventbrite, but $20 at the door.

"But Nancy," I hear you say (and why are you yelling at your computer?) "didn't you just say the play was in French? I don't understand French."

Worry pas ta tête, mon ami.

This is actually a co-lingual production. Yes, after all this time wanting to work with a French theatre company, I am speaking English... sort of... again, I can't spoil anything, you just kind of have to be there. If you have a very basic understanding of French, you will be able to follow along and, trust me, the visuals will be worth it. Oh and if my presence isn't enough for you, the English contingent is also represented by the incredibly talented, multi-Rideau award nominated, Michelle LeBlanc, and the whole thing is co-director by the wonderful Natalie Joy Quesnel.

So, get your tickets, bring your headphones, or use the ones provided for you by the theatre (yup, you'll be using headphones... I'd tell you more, but if I did the government would shut down the internet...) and get your butt down to Arts Court for an experience you're not likely to forget.

Pop Fiction runs from January 22 to February 1st (Wed to Sat) at 8 p.m. at Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Ave., Ottawa.

What's Next? Back to Ottawa

Ottawa - See you soon! About a week ago, over coffee with a friend, I mentioned how great it was to know what I was going to be doing with my summer, but that I had no clue what I would be doing for the next couple of months. No sooner stated that I arrived home to the following Facebook message from a friend and colleague: "Hey, are you still in Ottawa?" Me: "Kind of." (Which isn't a lie as I no longer have a home base and, let's be honest, did I ever really leave Ottawa?)

Turns out my friend had lost an actor for an upcoming play he was producing and he wanted to know if I would be available to take over. Now, this is a guy I have been dying to work with for quite some time now, so saying yes was a no brainer. Not only that, the play is in French, fulfilling a life-long dream of working professionally in my native tongue in a show that I did not have to produce myself... even though it turns out I may actually be speaking in English for most of it. Did I say the play was in French? It's actually a bilingual play.

It's a new creation by a local Ottawa company called le Groupe des 2. The show is called Pop Fiction and it has been a few years in the making. I don't know how much I can say, because I don't want to spoil the story, but it's a very cool project with a sci-fi bent that makes my inner nerd-girl squeeee. It will play at the end of January at Arts Court in Ottawa with rehearsals starting at the end of November.

Basically, this means I'm moving back to Ottawa until at least early February. I have a place lined up with some very cool theatre folks and, after almost a year on the road, I can't say I'm not excited to stop in one place, even for just a few months - though I already have plans to head to New York City again and will be visiting family back in New Brunswick over the Holidays, so my hobosapien ways will still be nourished.

If you would like to know more about the show, I recommend you check out the Indiegogo Campaign they've got going on (and maybe even donate a few dollars to the cause). Like I said, it's a super cool concept, but it does need the funds in order to pull it off, so every little bit helps.

In the meantime, Ottawa, get yourself ready. I'm coming home.

Fringe 101 - Un guide pour les francophones

Chers.ères confrères et consoeurs francophones, vous êtes amateurs de théâtre et festival, mais vous pensez que cette bête noire de "Fringe" n'est pas pour vous? C'est faux! Je comprends: vous voyez une programmation majoritairement anglophone, un site web et un guide unilingue et cela ne vous intéresse pas. Et bien, je suis ici pour vous aidez à trouver ces petits bijoux francophones au festival et vous initiez à toute la beauté qu'est le Fringe.

Tout d'abord, c'est quoi un Fringe?

Un Fringe c'est un festival multi-disciplinaire qui encourage les artistes à prendre des risques. La programmation se fait par lotterie, donc vous y retrouverez un peu de tout, et 100% des revenues reviennent aux artistes impliqués. Le festival d'Ottawa fut fondé en 1997 et comprend plus de 15 salles de spectacles et une cour extérieure où vous pouvez prendre un verre, écoutez de la musique et même jasez avec les artistes.

Puisque 100% des revenues reviennent aux artistes, le Fringe vous oblige à acheter un macaron pour accéder au festival. Ce petit $3 aide à financer le festival-même. Pas de macaron, pas de spectacles pour vous. Aucune exceptions.

Les spectacles

Cette année, le festival comprend 54 spectacles avec plus de 400 représentations dans le centre-ville d'Ottawa. Côté francophone, vous retrouvez une pièce de théâtre et un opéra, mais je vous suggère aussi de la danse.

Dolores (Théâtre)

Dolores homepage

Théâtre in situ dans la cuisine de l'église St Paul's Eastern United au 473, rue Cumberland. Ayant finalement mérité une journée de répit, Sandra voit sa quiétude troublée par l’arrivée de sa soeur Dolores. Un drame d'Edward Allan Baker. Traduction originale de Nancy Kenny. Mettant en vedette Nancy Kenny & Martine Roquebrune. Mise en scène de Tania Levy.

Pour plus d'info, voici une superbe critique de la pièce.

La voix humaine (Opéra)

De Toronto, un opéra de Francis Poulenc & Jean Cocteau. Une fille. Un gars. Une corde de téléphone. Avec Rachel Krehm et Patrick Hansen. Mise en scène de Aria Umezawa.

Passages (Danse)

Une fusion de danse celtique, de chant et de théâtre, c'est l'histoire d'une jeune fille que se sauve de la guerre en Écosse pour ce rebatir une vie au Canada. Quoiqu'il y a des morceaux d'histoire en anglais, la danse et le chant en font une expérience que tout le monde peut apprécier.


J'espère que ce guide vous encouragera à venir visiter le Festival Fringe d'Ottawa. Ce serait bien d'avoir un festival bilingue ici à Ottawa et cela ne peut ce produire sans vous.


Welcome Back, Magnetic North!

June in Ottawa. That special time, every second year, where the month is just jammed packed with so much theatre you might explode! With JOY! People, I love me some theatre festivals. While Ottawa Fringe is just around the corner (eep!), the Magnetic North Theatre Festival sweeps in like an older sibling jazzed to show you all the cool things they learned while they were away at school. It started, officially, on Friday with an invitation to For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again at the National Arts Centre. Those in attendance with me absolutely adored this one. Really, nothing wrong with this production, but it just wasn't my cup of tea... or I should say that for me "the tea was very good."

Peter and Valerie press photo

Speaking of tea (and totally mixing my references), you know who makes a great cup (even if they only paid $2.99 for a box of 100 tea bags)? Lovely couple by the name of Peter and Valerie. As you can imagine, I'm a big fan of site-specific theatre these days and Peter and Valerie is a wonderfully interactive and entertaining experience... well, as entertaining as a wake can be, I suppose. For the first 30 minutes or so, I felt that same awkward feeling you get when you're politely sitting at a distant relatives house while they show you photos of people you should know because your parents knew them. And for the other half, I felt like a gossip detective (a profession I totally just made up) trying to piece together the pseudo-mystery, at least to me, of this man's life. I am absolutely not doing this show the justice it deserves with my words, but suffice to say I would go back again just to see if things change with a different audience. Unfortunately, I can't. And if you don't already have your ticket, you can't either because I hear the entire run is sold out - not hard to do when only 9 people can see it at a time. But if you are one of the lucky few with a ticket, come find me at Club SAW and tell me, please, did she tell you what was on that letter?

Oh and speaking of Club SAW, I forgot how much I enjoy that venue as an artist bar. I almost didn't go last night, but I'm so glad I did. This space should be used more often: live performances, various nooks and crannies to mix & mingle in, a wonderful outdoor patio, a cheap bar AND hot dogs! What more could you want?

The Magnetic North Theatre Festival is off to a promising start. The Industry series starts tomorrow. Really looking forward to the War of 1812, God That Comes & A Brimful of Asha... OH AND ZOMG YOU GUYS! MORRO AND JASP! MORRO AND JASP AT SUBDIVISION! I have my tickets. How about you?

undercurrents theatre festival: Just Go!

It's only it's opening weekend, but I'm going to call it right now: Best. undercurrents. Ever. It's been a long time since I could gush about a whole slew of shows in one sitting. Major kudos and congratulations go out to festival organizer, Patrick Gauthier, for assembling a stellar line-up of shows that practically scream upgradeyoursingletickettoasixshowpassrightnowZOMGWHYAREYOUSTILLSITTINGTHERE!

On Friday night, my adventure began with Little Iliad (which also played at World Stage Toronto). I loved it and later on a friend asked me why they should see it. I spent about five minutes ranting about my joy at seeing the incorporation of theatre and new media/multi-media done well (and seriously, most of the time I just kept wondering how they were doing that), the solid acting, the story, feeling like I wasn't actually watching theatre, but creeping in on someone's conversation, the fact that it's a super short show, so why not take the chance? By the time I was done, I think I had convinced two other people to see it.

Then it was off to Bread. Another super short show, but what it lacked in length it definitely made up for in sweetness. Ruby and Seth are moving out of the neighbourhood, but they've invited us over to teach us to bake bread before they go. I shouldn't have been surprised that this show goes straight to your heart and stomach since it was directed by the queen of whimsy herself, the most divine Emily Pearlman. Only ten people get to make bread with them at the time and the spots fill up super quickly so make sure you reserve in advance.

And your yummy bread will be waiting for you when you return from your next show.

I ended the night with Little Orange Man, a show I had seen almost three years ago at the Calgary Fringe Festival when it was called Gnomeward Bound. I was super excited to see the updated version since the original was a real sucker-punch to my heart and a reminder of the kind of theatre I like to see and create. It definitely did not disappoint. For those of you who saw the show, all I have to say is: coatrack, amitrite?

So that was day one. Started day two with Ladies of the Lake. Patrick Gauthier stated at the post-show talkbalk that this was probably the prettiest show to ever fill the studio space. He's not wrong. The design team have done an absolutely brilliant and seamless job. This is also probably one of the most polished shows I've ever seen at the undercurrents festival.

Then it was off to SKIN. To be honest, I was worried about this one. With a program description that starts with "What if you don't feel comfortable in your own skin?" I thought it might be a very heavy show, but I was wrong. It was incredibly funny, honest and featured an ensemble of multi-talented women that work so cohesively together... SKIN is a very special show that struck a chord.

Ended this night with The Public Servant, probably my favorite show at a festival already filled with favorites. But I may be a bit biased since I've worked in the public service in the past and so has my mom. The show was so funny and true to life. Opening monologue aside, the main character was me. The first day excitement, the clothes, the projects, the cutbacks, the voice mail... I laughed until I wanted to cry. The cast is so good! It's some of the best work I've seen Sarah McVie do. And my arts crush on Jennifer Brewin, which started at the Next Stage Theatre Festival (The Peace Maker was my favorite show at that festival too) just keeps getting stronger. I'm going to have to see more from Theatre Columbus.

Oh, I guess that wasn't the end of my night, since the festival had a great little party for everyone set up in the lobby. There was food, dancing and the return of Two Little Birds Theatre with Recess.

Another show in the works?

Last but not least, ended the entire festival on a high note with Hip-Hop Shakespeare:Live Music Videos! I missed it at the Ottawa Fringe last year and man, oh man, was I glad to correct that mistake. It's absolutely phenomenal. Personal favorites included Melanie's Lady M and David's Rich 3. Go see it! Go see it! Go see it!

Seriously though, why are you still here? Get your butt down to the Great Canadian Theatre Company RIGHT NOW (unless you're reading this on Monday, then wait a day) before all the good theatre is gone.

Cold Night, Hot Theatre

It was -3 when I left Toronto yesterday morning and -24 when I arrived in Ottawa four hours later. But at the risk of plagiarizing myself, just like last year, the best way to fight a cold snap in Ottawa is with some red hot theatre. They're not kidding when they say the undercurrents festival has "Ottawa’s hottest plays at the coldest time of the year." Have you seen the line-up? (Seriously, have you? Click that link if you haven't!)

The festival started earlier this week and it's been really hard for me not to read some reviews and get spoilers on all 6 shows... I'm sorry did I say 6? Ooooooh! It seems the little undercurrents festival is growing and possibly taking a page out of the Next Stage Theatre Festival's book by hosting a show in the Great Canadian Theatre's Festival lobby.

With one of my favorite publicity photos ever by Andrew Alexander

Of course, this means I'm going to have to catch them all!

As for my viewing schedule, feel free to join me at the following: Friday, February 8 7:45 pm Little Iliad - a show that played at World Stage Toronto, and you all know how I feel about those guys! 8:30 pm BREAD - the lobby show with the awesome photo 9:00 pm Little Orange Man - saw it at the Calgary Fringe in 2010 when it was still called Gnomeward Bound. It was one of the most fringetastic things I had ever seen and I look forward to findin gout how the show has progressed.

Saturday, February 9 3:00 pm Ladies of the Lake - the brilliant Catriona Leger & Kate Smith premiere a new work at the festival. With pedigree this strong, you know you're in for something special. 7:00 pm SKIN - take everything I just said about Ladies of the Lake and add a few more lady chromosones. Deluxe Hot Sauces' new work has been getting a lot of buzz for shaking people up and I'm the type of gal who likes to be shook. 9:00 pm The Public Servant - a show from the incredibly talented folks behind Theatre Columbus in Toronto and featuring Ottawa's own Sarah McVie. The show is already selling out, which isn't much of a surprise in Ottawa.

Sunday, February 10 1:00 pm Hip-Hop Shakespeare - Shakepeare! Hip-Hop! There is no way this could go wrong! This is a show I missed at last year's Ottawa Fringe and I am thrilled for the opportunity to correct that mistake.

What will you be seeing?

Play Hard, Work Harder

I've been so stupid tired in the last few days, my blogging has fallen off the map, so get ready for an influx of posts in the next little while. And why, you might be thinking, would I be feeling so tired? Although you might not be thinking that. Maybe you're thinking "should I have another coffee right now" to which I would respond, yes. You should always have another coffee right now. Anyway, on Monday night, I caught the train from Toronto for a busy Tuesday in Ottawa. It started out with a meeting with my Mary M director (PRO-TIP: if you want to schedule a meeting with your director, just crash at his house), a French theatre audition, lunch and chat with my dear friend and former Evolution Theatre partner, picking up my tax information, audition prep for another French theatre audition in Toronto the next day, dinner with my director and his beautiful partner, and finally a show - Jayson McDonald's Giant Invisible Robot. (more on that in my next post, but trust me, just go see it)

I felt good about my day. The audition was one of those amazing group ones that last about two hours; where you just get to play with a bunch of strangers and create something beautiful. It's a testament to the Artistic Director that brought us all together that within the first 15 minutes strangers quickly became trusting friends and coworkers. I love those types of situations because they are incredibly fun and leave you with such a high.

In the evening, by the time the show was over, I was ready for drinks, even though I knew that I had a train to catch at 5:30 a.m. the next day. Why so early? Because I wanted to be back in time for work and I had another audition to get to in the afternoon. But a little devil on my shoulder started telling me I should postpone the trip to a later one, maybe call in sick to work, stay out, sleep in, HAVE FUN! And to tell you the truth, I was tempted. Oh so very tempted. Because let's be honest, what are my odds of booking this gig in TO anyway?  But the later trains were sold out and, no matter how freaked out I was about the audition, I had done all this prep work for it and didn't want to miss it.

So I did what any responsible grown-up would do in this situation: I drank like a fish, closed the bar and then stayed up all night before heading directly to the train station... Ugh.

Ok. Let's be honest. I am not the best example to follow. (Won't somebody please think of the children?) But I knew what I was doing and I did not give up along the way. I dozed as best I could on the train, showed up for work and did my job. Well, I might add. (Though special shout-out to my roommate for dropping by with some life-saving acetaminophen.) Then I went to my audition and knocked it out of the fucking park. My body knows, because I've done this before, that the show must go on. Something always clicks inside me when I have to get something done, something that makes sickness and hangovers disappear until I am able to deal with them. Maybe that's my Mutant Superpower?

It was hard, it was painful, and I am getting too old for this shit, but I pulled it off, crashing into bed somewhere around 8 p.m.

Years ago, I was at a Leadership Camp where you had conferences and events during the day and big ass parties at night. During the very first session, someone said something to me that I will never forget: You're only allowed to play as hard as you are ready to work. I'd add to that, you are only allowed to play hard if you are ready to work even harder.

It's too important. This career is my love and people are counting on me. I'm not ready to throw that all away for a few nights of fun.

The Part Chooses You

About two years ago, an incredibly talented director friend (or ITDF) told me over drinks that he had a script that would be perfect for me. I was floored. This is a critically acclaimed, award-winning director whose work I admire very much saying that he wants to work with me. ME! That script? Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety.

Being one of the key members of Evolution Theatre at the time, I immediately approached the company to program it into our next season. It was eventually scheduled for April 2012.  Unfortunately, about a year and a half ago, things changed for ITDF and he had to bail on directing the show. He however insisted that I continue with the project and that I had his blessing to find someone else to direct.  Names were tossed around. Having really enjoyed Twelfth Night at the Ottawa Theatre School, I mentioned Andy Massingham. We had wanted to work together on a project for a while now and, to me, this seemed like a perfect fit.

Andy had wanted to do more directing, but he wasn't sure he would have the time to work on this project. After all, you don't end up with Rideau Award nominations for four separate shows by being "available".  Plus, he wasn't sure he liked the script all that much. So one beautiful summer morning last year, we sat on his porch, script in hand and had a chat. His first question for me: "Why do you want to do this show?"

You mean other than the fact I am dying to perform and the only way I seem able to do so is by producing it myself?

Well, I think it's a great script with a lot of humour and a lot of heart.  If I said to you "homeless alcoholic woman who believes she is the bride of Christ" - hahaha probably wouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind, but Mary M makes me laugh. A lot. (Side note - on the way to NYC I read a few sections of the play out-loud in the car. In less than one paragraph, my friends were hooked.)

But it's more than that. There's a lot of myself I see in this character: East Coast way of speaking (playwright Berni Stapleton is from Newfoundland) - check; troubles with alcohol - check; not having a home and being ok with that - #hobokenny check; filling her bag with free food when it's offered - check; seen as promiscuous even when you're not - check; being so in love with someone you can't be with and spending your whole life waiting for him to come back - check to the check to the double check check.

If you are an actor, have you ever realized that whenever you have a new character to play, no matter how different they are from you, there is always something in there that makes you go "man, I am totally going through that shit in my own life right now." It's almost spooky how that works out.  An acting teacher once told me that you only get the parts that you are meant to play. In essence, you don't choose the parts, the parts choose you.

Mary M is lonely, which is why she overcompensates so much. I get that. Boy, do I ever get that.

He nodded thoughtfully and finally asked me to read. The sun was bright and warm as I read and he stared out at the neighbourhood movie playing in front of us.  The trees frame his street like a perfect natural TV screen and the effect is stunning. By the time I was done, he was quiet for a moment. Finally, he looked at me and nodded some more.  He tells me he's changed his mind. He really does love this script after all.

"We'll make it work."


Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety by Berni Stapleton Directed by Andy Massingham Featuring Nancy Kenny

Arts Court Theatre 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m. (no show on Monday) Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240

I'm Going to Need a New Dress

Last night, the nominees for the 5th Annual Les Prix Rideau Awards were announced and I couldn't be happier. My little Roller Derby Saved My Soul received FOUR nominations!  They are Outstanding Fringe Production, Outstanding New Creation, Emerging Artist for myself as playwright and Emerging Artist for my director, Tania Levy.  This is all for the production that took place at the Ottawa Fringe Festival this past June. I'm also really pleased that Evolution Theatre walked away with a whopping SEVEN nominations and that my director for the upcoming Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, Andy Massingham is so well recognized.

To tell you the truth, I kind of expected the Fringe nod and I had hoped that Tania or I would get the Emerging artist nomination, but I never thought that both of us would, nor did I even expect the New Creation one.  I mean fer cryin out loud, I'm now nominated in the same category as PIERRE BRAULT. That, to me, is just unbelievable.

Maybe four or five years ago, I remember wanting to do a one-person show. I had a theme. Something about roller derby. That was about it.  I had no idea where to even begin, so I contacted the one person I knew who might.

"Hi Pierre, do you ever give workshops on creating a one-person show?"

"Not really, but if you have an idea you want to work on, we can meet for drinks and talk about it."

Now, at the time, I wasn't the NancyKennyRockStar you all know and love. More like NancyKennyRoadie. So contacting the man who created a show that blew me away so much I actually went back and paid for it twice was no small feat. And just like that we were going to have drinks? (Lesson learned: you can pretty much meet any local artist you want if you buy them drinks and maybe lunch... well, at least you can with me #hobokenny)

I still remember the very first thing he said to me when we met.

"Why? Why do you want to do this? Do you really feel the need to sleep on someone's couch in Saskatoon?"

Yes. Yes, I do.

We talked for about four pints and the rest, as they say, is history.


Pierre's advice was a big help in pushing me in the right direction for what was to become Roller Derby Saved My Soul so to even be nominated in this category with him? Whoa.

So much thanks to you, Pierre, my friend and colleague. As they say, it's an honour just to be nominated, but this one feels just a little bit sweeter.


Full list of nominees below:



For Immediate Release - Ottawa, February 27, 2012

Founded in 2006 to celebrate, encourage and promote French and English locally produced professional theatre work and its artists, the Prix Rideau Awards is proud to announce the nominees for 2011.  Artists and supporters gathered earlier at Le Petit Chicago, where the nominees for outstanding achievements in the year 2011 were unveiled.  During the 2011 calendar year, two teams of local arts professionals juried 36 English productions and 12 French productions. Nominations were submitted by secret ballot and tallied by independent accountants.

The Prix Rideau Awards will be handed out on Sunday, April 22, 2012, at the Shenkman Arts Centre, in Orleans.  Tickets are on sale now at


The nominees for English-language productions are:

Outstanding Production

Strawberries in January, Great Canadian Theatre Company

The 39 Steps, SevenThirty Productions

The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Twelfth Night, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

Under Milk Wood, Ottawa Theatre School


Outstanding Direction

Joël Beddows, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre

David S. Craig, The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Janet Irwin, Under Milk Wood, Ottawa Theatre School

Kevin Orr, Bifurcate Me, Theatre 4.669

Craig Walker, Twelfth Night, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival


Outstanding Performance, Female

Mary Ellis, Dreams of Whales, New Theatre of Ottawa

Annie Lefebvre, Under Milk Wood, Ottawa Theatre School

Rose Napoli, The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Kate Smith, The 39 Steps, SevenThirty Productions

Beverley Wolfe, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre


Outstanding Performance, Male

Richard Gélinas, The 39 Steps, SevenThirty Productions

Andy Massingham, Exit the King, Third Wall Theatre

Andy Massingham, The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Andy Massingham, The Shadow Cutter, Great Canadian Theatre Company / Sleeping Dog Theatre

John Muggleton, Speed-the-Plow, Plosive Productions


Outstanding Design

Martin Conboy, Lighting Design, The Shadow Cutter, Great Canadian Theatre Company / Sleeping Dog Theatre

AL Connors, Sound Design, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre

Ivo Valentik, Set Design, Speed-the-Plow, Plosive Productions

Ivo Valentik, Set Design, A Midwinter’s Dream Tale, a Company of Fools

Sarah Waghorn, Set Design, Dreams of Whales, New Theatre of Ottawa


Outstanding New Creation

Tony Adams, Erin Lindsay and Cory Thibert, Sounds from the Turtle Shell, May Can Theatre

Lawrence Aronovitch, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre

Pierre Brault, The Shadow Cutter, Great Canadian Theatre Company / Sleeping Dog Theatre

Nancy Kenny, Roller Derby Saved My Soul, Broken Turtle Productions

Julie Le Gal, Andy Massingham and Kevin Orr, Bifurcate Me, Theatre 4.669


Outstanding Adaptation / Translation

A Company of Fools (Adaptation), A Midwinters’ Dream Tale, a Company of Fools

Henry Beissel (Adaptation), Antigone, Third Wall Theatre

David S. Craig (Adaptation), The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Mishka Lavigne (Translation), Little Martyrs, Evolution Theatre

Charles McFarland (Adaptation), Hamlet 2011, Ottawa Shakespeare Company / Ottawa Theatre School


Outstanding Fringe Production

Glitch…, Ottawa Theatre School

Playing for Advantage, Black Sheep Theatre

Roller Derby Saved My Soul, Broken Turtle Productions

Sounds from the Turtle Shell, May Can Theatre

THE WALK, Moon Dog Theatre


Emerging Artist Award

Katie Bunting, Actor

Pierre Ducharme, Set Designer

Nancy Kenny, Playwright

Mishka Lavigne, Translator

Tania Levy, Director


The nominees for French-language productions are:

Production de l'année

Adieu Beauté, la comédie des horreurs, Théâtre Belvédère

Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Ti-Jean de partout, Cie Vox Théâtre


Mise en scène de l'année

Caroline Yergeau, Adieu Beauté, la comédie des horreurs, Théâtre Belvédère

Joël Beddows, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Isabelle Bélisle, Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

Pierre Antoine Lafon Simard, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Pier Rodier, Ti-Jean de partout, Cie Vox Théâtre


Interprétation féminine de l'année

Geneviève Couture, Feu la mère de madame et Un bain de ménage,  Théâtre de l’Île

Jocelyne Zucco, Les Fridolinades, Théâtre la Catapulte /Théâtre français de Toronto

Lina Blais, Les Fridolinades, Théâtre la Catapulte / Théâtre français de Toronto

Marjolaine Beauchamp, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Micheline Marin, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium


Interprétation masculine de l'année

Nicolas Desfossés, Autopsies de biscuits chinois, Théâtre du Trillium / Théâtre Belvédère

Alain Doom, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Pierre Simpson, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Richard Bénard, Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

John Doucet, Ti-Jean de partout, Cie Vox Théâtre


Conception de l'année

Geneviève Couture, costumes, Feu la mère de madame et Un bain de ménage, Théâtre de l’Île

Brian Smith, décor, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Guillaume Houët, éclairages, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Julie Giroux, décor, Les Papillons de nuit, Théâtre de l’Île

Pierre-Luc Clément et Olivier Fairfield, environnement sonore, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium


Nouvelle création de l'année

Annie Cloutier, Antoine Côté Legault, Marie-Pierre Proulx, Autopsies de biscuits chinois, Théâtre du Trillium / Théâtre Belvédère

Diane Bouchard, Dragon glouton, Gestes théâtre

Michel Ouellette, adapté par Joël Beddows et Marie Claude Dicaire, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Philippe Landry, Retour à Pripyat, Théâtre de Dehors

Marjolaine Beauchamp, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium


Prix artiste en émergence

Marjolaine Beauchamp, dramaturgie

Mary-Eve Fortier, interprétation

Lisa L’Heureux, direction de production

Frédérique Thérien, interpréation

Caroline Yergeau, mise en scène et interprétation


Derrière le Rideau Award

Mathieu Charette, régie, Feu la mère de madame et Un bain de ménage, Théâtre de l’Île

Julie Grethen, régie, Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

Lisa L’Heureux, direction de production, Les Papillons de nuit, Théâtre de l’Île



For general information:               Source:

Les Prix Rideau Awards              Élise Gauthier, Communications Coordinator

C.P. 1087, Station B         

Ottawa (Ontario), K1P 5R1


I'm a Person, Not an Afterthought

I spent the weekend in Ottawa this past weekend where I saw some delightful shows, including Cyrano de Bergerac and a slew of undercurrents offerings.  Trust me, everything was well-worth seeing but I'm going to opt-out of general reviewing to talk about something that really stuck with me: Carmen Aguirre's Blue Box. There isn't a huge age-gap between us, but when I grow up I want to be Carmen Aguirre.  She is a strong, beautiful, earthy and sexually charged individual who has been through a lot and knows how to laugh at herself. She is an incredible storyteller weaving together a tale of her revolutionary days in Chile with her encounters with a man simply dubbed the "Vision Man" (for reasons explained in the show) throughout the years.  It was this latter story that stayed with me the most.  At one point, after traveling from Vancouver to L.A. to be with this man, she is left waiting at the airport, promptly ignored, left alone with the man's roommate and sticks it out for a good 48hours before a girlfriend wisely informs her to immediately get her ass on a plane back to Canada.  By the time Vision Man calls her up to know where she went, she gives him the most beautiful put down I have ever heard.  From memory, it went something like, "Put your hand down between your legs because you will realize that you have no cojones. You are not a man. I know this because I am a Queen. And do you know what a real man does when a Queen takes time out of her busy schedule to come fuck him for a week straight? A real man shows up early at the airport with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other, he takes her into his arms and doesn't let her go. A real man takes responsibility."

There was more and it was brilliant, but I don't want to stray too far from her words and you probably get the point.

And this hit me because for as long as I can remember I have been dating these baby boys who pretend to men, who treat me as an afterthought and leave me feeling like something is wrong with me because I can't seem to be worthy enough to warrant their full attention.  They fuck around on me, ignore me in public, never even bother to spare a kind word my way and I act like I'm ok with that because I don't want to appear needy or clingy. Cowards who are so frightened by any sign of real emotion that I shut down, learn to love what they love without them making any effort to enjoy the things I do, make myself small, and pretend there is nothing wrong in order to appease them.

To them I say: Fuck you and fuck that shit.

You know what I realized this weekend? I am an awesome, smart, funny, ambitious, interesting person who looks better than she ever has. Any person I choose to spend my valuable time with should treat me like the catch I know I am.

Don't get me wrong, I am not looking for a long-term relationship or a marriage proposal or even a subservient to cater to my every whim. I am looking for an equal. Better yet, I am looking for respect. I think, however, that it is high time I take it back for myself instead of waiting for someone else to give it to me.

Little boys and cowards need not apply.

And that, is the power of the theatre.

How to Fight a Cold Snap in Ottawa

Winter in Toronto, this year at least, has been amazing. Most days have hovered somewhere between 1 and 5 degrees (Celsius for any Americans reading this) and the snow melts away as soon as it arrives.  But I will be in Ottawa this weekend, in the middle of what is being dubbed a "cold snap". I don't like the sound of that at all.

So here's what I plan on doing about it - stay in one spot.  More specifically, the Studio Theatre at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre for the undercurrents Festival.

Care to join me?



And on Sunday, I'll be closing out my festival adventures at 2:00 pm with recent Canada Reads winner CARMEN AGUIRRE’S BLUE BOX.

You can also expect some Live Tweeting between shows and maybe a blog update or two thanks to the Great Canadian Theatre Company's free public WiFi. How most other theatre companies have not gotten on board the WiFi band wagon, I do not know, but kudos to GCTC for leading the charge.


As always, I'll be seeing you at the theatre!


Cool People Doing Cool Things

Though I obviously haven't managed to make this a regular weekly feature, I'll still be throwing around some more Cool People Doing Cool Things, you know, for your own good. So this time around, meet Patrick Gauthier.

Among many many job titles to his name, Patrick is the Festival Producer of the undercurrents "theatre below the mainstream" Festival.  Tonight marks the opening night of the festival, now entering it's sophomore year and recently called one of the most 'promising developments in the (Ottawa) theatre scene in the past few years.'  The festival serves a much needed purpose for indie theatre companies looking to go beyond that 'Fringe Festival' status, but who don't have the resources (audience, funds, ect.) to fill one of those big fancy-schmancy places like the Oiving Greenberg (TM - The Visitorium).  In fact, one of the ideas behind the undercurrents Festival was to give these indie performers access to the Great Canadian Theatre Company's regular audience base.  And it seems to be working: in it's inaugural year, the festival had a whopping 86% attendance rate!

(ed. note - after posting this blog update, I learned that one show is already completely sold out - Live from the Belly of a Whale - which was also directed by Patrick Gauthier. It seems the festival is well on its way to beat last years attendance records and it hasn't even opened yet. Better get your tickets now for all the other great productions. Congratulations, Pat!)

If you read about how crazy excited I was for the Next Stage Theatre Festival, you can probably imagine how I am feeling about undercurrents.  You guys, this is going to be shitballz fantastic! (somebody quote me on that)

So what makes a successful theatre festival in NancyKenny's book?

  • Keep it small - I hate missing out on things. With only 6 productions at undercurrents, I can easily catch them all.
  • Keep it cheap - I want to see everything! I can't do that if I can't afford it. A $60 Flex pass gives you access to every single show at $10 a pop. Amazing! (Or you can claim blogger status, that sometimes works too...)
  • Keep it central - in this case, one venue means no running around to catch the next production, which means more time to hang around, drink and socialize.  Because to me, theatre is a communal thing. I want to talk to you about what you've seen so far, what was good, and is Pat Gauthier wearing new Converse shoes?
  • Keep it casual and easy - No theatre festival is complete without ample beverage opportunities and undercurrents has pretty much become the greatest theatre festival in the world by allowing drinks inside the theatre.  This means no chugging wine (ew!) at the last minute so that you don't miss your start time.  It's the little things, you know?

This is all so great that I'll be heading up to Ottawa this weekend to marathon my way through all the shows.  I'll talk about individual productions later on in the week, but for now I just want to extend a very big thank you to Pat Gauthier and the Great Canadian Theatre Company for putting together this little gem of a theatre festival.  undercurrents is just what the doctor ordered.

As always, I'll be seeing you at the theatre!

HoboKenny Rides Again

You know, I have a great job. I really do. But this Blog is not called So You Want To  Be a Civil Servant, now is it? It is therefore with great pleasure and pride that I officially announce to you that I will once again be taking centre stage this coming April for Evolution Theatre in the one-woman show Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety. Yes, Ottawa, I'm coming home!

It's a beautiful, funny and touching script by Newfoundland playwright Berni Stapleton and will be directed by the hardest working man in Ottawa theatre, Andy Massingham.  The whole thing is part of a double-bill that includes [boxhead] by Darren O’Donnell, which will be directed by Alix Sideris and featuring Christopher Bedford and Stewart Matthews.

Check out the Evolution Theatre site for more details on that one and I will be sure to let you know right here when tickets go on sale.


In the meantime, check out this show synopsis and tell me it doesn't sound like the perfect thing for #HoboKenny (which, BTW, I plan on using as the #Hashtag for the show - so go ahead and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date).

Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety by Berni Stapleton Directed by Andy Massingham Featuring Nancy Kenny

Mary Magdalene has spent the past 2000 years in mourning. She’s wandered the earth, lost her jewels and maybe her marbles, and now sleeps on the streets in Toronto. She crashes (literally) into an AA meeting, where she finds the 12 steps to sobriety lead in divergent directions of spirituality, passion, and a really formidable mother-in-law. Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, the perfect after Easter treat.

Arts Court Theatre 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m. (no show on Monday) Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240