Our goal is to produce theatre that both challenges and entertains, that finds the serious part in funny situations, and the funny part in serious ones, while creating satisfying and rewarding opportunities for theatre artists and audiences.
I love a good bon mot, and one of my favourites is from John Dewey: “To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.”
Same Day Theatre is my vehicle for securing that opportunity. It allows me to work with talented and passionately creative people, people smarter and more imaginative than I am. It also allows me to create work for other theatre people, which is hugely rewarding.
We are, hopefully, finding an audience and creating a connection to Ottawa theatregoers by our choices of material.
On the surface, those choices may seem unconnected. What do In the Next Room or the vibrator play, Ethan Claymore, ‘Art’ and The End of Civilization have in common?! Are you having trouble “pinning us down”?
Here are some clues to what shapes our choices: Excellent writing. Compelling characters in compelling situations. The basic but far-from-simple need to express oneself, and in so doing, to discover that one isn’t alone.
A hallmark of Same Day’s body of work is the calculated gambles we’ve been willing to take in the key position of director, giving opportunities to newly trained professionals as well as established theatre artists looking to expand their skill set. For Bronwyn Steinberg, a then recent MFA in Directing graduate, In the Next Room was her first time directing a full-length, professional production. Peter Haworth, an established theatre artist, made his professional directing debut with ‘Art.’ As for Mary Ellis, who’s enjoyed an illustrious acting career in Ottawa and beyond, The End of Civilization is only her second professional directing job, and her first on a main-stage.
We balance that with solid choices from among Ottawa’s most talented and interesting artists…and we make a point of hiring locally:
- Ethan Claymore was helmed by John P. Kelly, well known to local theatregoers for his wise and steady hand as a director. Its cast included the burgeoning talent of Sarah Finn, and the well-established talent of Paul Rainville.
- ‘Art’ cast local favourite Andy Massingham, and brought out of retirement respected actor/dramaturge/clown Robert Marinier.
- The End of Civilization features not just director Mary Ellis, but also several well-known locals, including Brad Long, Catriona Leger and Geoff McBride. And we predict numerous variations of the “Wow, who was that?” question when people see the work of Julie Le Gal as Lily.
We also like the idea of extending opportunities to women (who have directed two of our four productions).
We are proud to hire union. The End of Civilization represents our second successive production using a full Equity cast, director and stage manager.
And we have a civic conscience. During Ethan Claymore, presented at Christmastime 2013, we appealed to our audiences after every show, raising over $7,000 for The Actors Fund of Canada, Performing Arts Lodge of Ottawa, and the Ottawa Food Bank. We also raised funds for The Actors Fund from the Opening Night audience of ‘Art,’ and will do so for the opening of The End of Civilization.
Credit Where It’s Due
In autumn 2013, while planning for Ethan Claymore, I was introduced to Richard Cliff, an Ottawa based theatre and arts wrangler. He agreed to serve as Production Manager on Ethan. Since then, he has become Associate Producer with the company and has also served as Production Manager and Stage Manager for both ‘Art’ and The End of Civilization. Richard has an awesome skill set culled from a long and diverse career in the arts from his training at the University of Cape Town and CAPAB Opera in South Africa, through his many wrangling projects for small and large theatre and arts organizations across Canada and his four seasons working as assistant to the Artistic Director of English Theatre Peter Hinton at the National Arts Centre.
I am far from the only person who realizes what an asset Richard is to the Ottawa theatre community. Simply put, I am at a loss to imagine how Same Day Theatre could function without him.