Friday, August 29, 2008

Fall Line-up

I've likely already posted this, but just in case you missed it, here's what we're doing this fall, at the Fergus Grand Theatre and the Elora Centre for the Arts:

At the Fergus Grand Theatre:

Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in

September 4th, 5th and 6th

The Innocents

October 23rd, 24th and 25th

Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates

December 18th, 19th, 20th

At the Elora Centre for the Arts:

ART—A special presentation in Conjunction with Sensational Elora

October 3rd, 4th

A Bench in the Sun

October 23rd, 24th and 25th

Sally and Marsha

December 4th, 5th and 6th



All shows , dates and venues subject to change, tickets are on sale as we acquire the royalties for these shows. For more information please visit www.grinderproductions.org.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Same Time Next Year Closes this Weekend

Just a reminder that this weekend will be your last chance to see Dean and Rachel in this wonderful little show. With the close of this show on Saturday night our 4th season of the Ennotville Summer Theatre will be complete. Make sure you get out to see this one - there's a sequel to it that we're considering for the summer of 2009!

Tickets at the door, on the blog or by phone at 519-780-7593. See you there!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Laugh-in at the Grand




We're just over one week away from the all the mad-cap, sock-it-to-me, humour you can stand! Grinder Productions is pleased to present the stage version of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in at the Fergus Grand Theatre, September 4th, 5th and 6th (shows at 8pm nightly, with a 2pm Saturday matinee). Featuring some of the best known and loved lines, gags and characters from the TV show, including "The Judge," "The Old Maid," and the Soldier (Verrrr-y Interesting!). There's even room for the dumb blonde!

Call the Fergus Grand Theatre box office at 519-787-1981 to make sure you get you and your sweet bippy a seat for this extra-special Grinder Productions event.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reflections on us all

It's been a long summer.

Much fun as I've had, all the memories we've made, it has taken a lot out of me. Perhaps not as much as it did last summer (where it nearly destroyed the company as much as it nearly destroyed yours truly). I've had many happy times, many sad times, and now that the summer is almost over I think it's a good time to take a bit of stock about where I am, and what I've learned, or how I've grown, over the past 15 weeks.

For starters, this is the first summer where I wasn't truly alone in my quest to keep the company afloat. Yes, Grinder has always been about the people, but when it comes to the books I've usually kept that out of my conversations with directors and actors, because I would much rather they focus on doing their jobs, rather that worrying about whether or not there's enough in the cash box to keep us going for another week. But this summer, with the addition of the world's greatest girlfriend, I finally had someone with whom I could openly, objectively discuss the numbers with. That, combined with improved tracking and reporting methods, helped me make some decisions that most certainly kept the roving death squads of the royalties police off my back more than once.

I also learned this summer that quality is a subjective term - very subjective. There were moments this summer where I just wanted to hand people their money back and beg them to forgive us for putting such a terrible effort in front of them, and there were others who felt the same. But by the same token, there were intelligent, thoughtful, discerning people who thought the exact same moments were some of the finest theatre they had ever seen, and who came back to see the same show over and over again only to shower even more praise on the bewildered cast and crew. There were times when I agreed with my directors about their assessments of their shows, there were times I thought their shows were better or worset than they did. I was reminded of something I figured out years ago but had recently let slip my mind - quality is not only a subjective term, it is also a personal one. So from now on, I think I'll worry more about making a show acceptable on my terms, because everyone else out there is doing the same thing. It's not like we are all working from the same checklist.

I learned this summer that people can do great things, like carry a show all alone, learn a part in just 3 days, or move an audience to laughter and tears in the space of a few minutes.

I learned how young people can step up and do things beyond their years, and how older people can find commonality with the young in performance, and form the most unusual of bonds.

I learned that people aren't always perfect, even when you desperately need them to be. I've learned how it feels to be let down by the people you trust, and how easily the delicate thread of friendship can be broken. I've learned to hedge my bets, be wary of counting shows before they've closed, and to leave nothing, however small, to chance or expectation.

Yes, it's been a long summer. And yes, there have been ups and downs which, by the way the fall is shaping up, show no signs of easing up. But despite it all, on balance, I consider myself and this company infinitely better for having come through this summer. For everyone who let me down there are 5 people who made me proud. For every disaster there were 5 successes. There was even a miracle or two thrown in there.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, everyone who helped to make this summer a reality. Your contribution, no matter how small, is valued, and you can be proud of what we are able to accomplish.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Belwood Summer Theatre 2008 comes to a close

We're done!

A big thank-you to everyone who helped out this past weekend with Brighton Beach Memoirs at the Belwood Hall. It was a big show, and a lot of work, and despite all the pitfalls that assailed this show from the beginning I'm proud to say that thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved (including an actress who picked up a role with just 3 days to learn the role!), the show came off without a hitch.

Plans are already underway to bring theatre back to Belwood in 2009 - watch for the season announcement coming soon in the fall!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Grinder on Facebook

Do you Facebook?

Then why not join the Grinder Productions Group on Facebook! We're just starting the group now, but as time goes on we hope to have lots of photos, news, and even reviews of past productions. Check it out!

Grinder

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Brighton Beach Memoirs opens tonight!

The 3rd and final show in our Belwood Summer Theatre season is upon us, as is the last opening night this summer. Come on out to the Belwood Hall and see the life of Eugene Morris Jerome played out as he sees it, in 1937 New York. With just a 3 day, 4 performance run, this show will be gone before you know it, so please make sure you get out to see it before it closes this Saturday. Tickets at the door, by phone at 519-780-7593 or online at www.grinderproductions.org

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Laugh-in Rehearsal Photos

Laugh-in at the Fergus Grand Theatre, September 4th, 5th and 6th. Call 519-787-1981 for tickets.






Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Musings on the Naked Theatre

Live performance, be it ritual, dance, music, storytelling, sermonizing, or sitting in a darkened auditorium watching a show on a stage, has been the dominant form of entertainment the world over for the last ten thousand years or so. From Peking Opera to Haitian Voodoo to the latest sex farce on Broadway, theatre has “held up a mirror” and given humanity a reflection of itself, at once both grotesque and beautiful. More visceral than anything printed on a page, more invasive than anything hung on a gallery wall, theatre is, or was, the best (and often only) way the members of civilizations could self-identify, connect with their compatriots and, ultimately, find a palatable route to their conception of eternity.

No more. Since the invention of the camera there has been an explosion of new media. Photography came first, then cinema, then radio, television, and the internet. Each of these new mediums exponentially increased the methods by which the members of a civilization could self-identify, connect with their compatriots and, ultimately, find a palatable route to their conception of eternity.

To perform is no longer an act of faith, nor is it necessarily a learned skill. In fact much of the time it isn’t even recognized as performance at all. A contestant on a reality TV show, a teenaged girl who posts a video of herself dancing in a bikini on YouTube, a local alderman making a clumsy speech into a screeching microphone – they are all performers, whether they (or we) realize it or not. Theatre is no longer the exclusive, hallowed domain of the village shaman, the Stratford actor or the Bollywood mega-star.

Anyone willing to make the necessary sacrifice of self-preservation, regardless of talent, training or even competence can become a star, literally overnight. Most of those who find this new-found fame did not seek it deliberately, rather their motivations, if any, were to secure the adoration of a small, very specific audience – people very close to them, and the resulting interest from strangers merely an unintended (and often unwanted) consequence. Vanessa Hudgens, a star in her own right already, posed nude for a self-portrait she intended to be seen only by her boyfriend, yet it when it leaked out onto the internet she became, however briefly, a star to an audience whose tastes run far, far away from High School Musical. Countless others have had similar (and often no less embarrassing) experiences.

The internet is the platform where the written word, music, the visual arts and performance have been unified on the same palate. It is there that media, ironically, reverts to a singularity – one single conduit through which every piece of information must flow to reach its target, the end user. More importantly though, it is a platform where the content is dictated exclusively by the end user, the person controlling what is being viewed on the screen or heard through the speakers. Content providers can only offer up their gems – no one is under any obligation to buy, try, or even take notice. Attempts to censor or filter out certain content are lacklustre, at best, (and bypassed with such relative ease that a teenager can hack into the CIA) and it is ultimately the users that decide what content is acceptable, and how that content will be used. Thus the police now post convenience store robbery videos online, companies “Google” and “Facebook” prospective employees, and pre-schoolers send Grandma an e-card on her birthday.

In other words, everyone is now a performer, and everything, essentially, is or could be seen as a performance.

The Naked Theatre is a new way to think about putting on plays. It’s an idea that I hope will make what we do viable once again, to provide us, the producers of theatre (be we actors, directors, playwrights, designers or the poor schmuck who has to put bums in seats) with a new set of tools for understanding how to embrace the evolution in human communication, to create theatre that people will want to see, and theatre that we will want to create. Ultimately The Naked Theatre is a path towards a re-balancing of the arts…

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brighton Beach Memoirs Rehearsal Photos

Brighton Beach Memoirs - August 21st, 22nd and 23rd at the Belwood Hall. Call 519-780-7593 for tickets, or get them online.






Insert Photos Here

Friday, August 15, 2008

Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs comes to Belwood

For Immediate Release

The final production in the 2008 Belwood Summer Theatre is a semi-autobiographical comedy by one of America’s best-loved playwrights. Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs is the story of a young boy coming of age in Brighton Beach, New York in 1937, in an overcrowded, overwhelmed household.
The play is narrated by Euguene Morris Jerome, a thinly disguised version of the young Neil Simon himself. Eugene is both an observer and a player in this story, and it is as much about his coming of age as it is the coming of age of pre-war America. His thoughts, which he writes down in his “memoirs” are funny, piercing looks at the ironies that shape his life, from the death of his uncle (which has led to his aunt and her two daughters moving in) to the hard work and sacrifice of his father, who seems to have to keep working harder and harder just to care for the seven people living under his roof.
In true Neil Simon fashion though, the pains and frustrations are all framed by sweet, touching hilarity, and anyone who has endured the trials of family life through tough times will find much to enjoy. And of course, Simon wouldn’t let his audience leave the theatre without a happy ending, would he?
Grinder Productions Creative and Executive Director Eric Goudie is in the Director’s chair for this production, as well as playing the role of Jack, the father and breadwinner of the family.

“I’ve never played a character this old” Goudie jokes. “But it has been a lot of fun, working on this show. I’m blessed to have work with such a great ensemble who are patient enough to put up with me in my dual roles as actor and director.”

The show opens August 21st and runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, with a 2pm Saturday matinee. Tickets are $15 each, with a group rate of $12 for groups of ten or more. Tickets may be reserved by calling the Grinder box office at 519-780-7593, by visiting the website at www.grinderproductions.org, or at the door. For more information on Grinder Productions, the Ennotville or Belwood Summer Theatres, or any of the events coming up this season, please visit our website at www.grinderproductions.org.


For interviews, photo opportunities or more information please contact Eric Goudie, either by phone at 519-780-7593 or via e-mail at grinder@grinderproductions.org.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Same Time Next Year Opening

It's finally here! The fourth and final show in our Ennotville Summer Theatre Season opens tonight. Arlene, Sara, Nancy, Andy, Dean and Rachel have all worked so hard to make this show come to life, and I would like to congratulate them on a job well done. This is a fairly well-known show, yet they have made it their own, and our patrons are in for all the richer experience for their efforts.

If you can't make it out tonight, the show will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with 2pm Saturday matinees, all the way to August 30th. It's the perfect "date night"for couples young and old, and is sure to please anyone looking for a quintessential piece of summer theatre.

Tickets are available either at the door, by phone at 519-780-7593 or through our website at www.grinderproductions.org.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Marketing and the Naked Theatre

What follows below is some random musing I've been doing on the Naked Theatre as it pertains to marketing. I'm still very much in the formative stages on this - I can and will change my mind depending on what information comes my way. Your thoughts and comments are welcomed.

The Naked Theatre is not about being all things to all people. Rather, it might be considered to be one thing to all people who want that one thing, or more accurately (and profitably), many things to many people who want many things. In promoting the Naked theatre we have to seek out the groups of people who want what we have to offer, not just the “regulars” who come to every show. By the same token, we can’t be relying on “mass advertising” efforts to get our shows out. Take a look at the Middle Ages. By promoting to our “niche” audience (the local and tourist crowd in Belwood) we were able to reach an audience that might not read the Wellington Advertiser or Google our website or blog. It would have been better, though, in addition to that marketing (and yes, we could have done it sooner and better and more comprehensively) to actively seek out the people and individuals who would come to that show and make definitive overtures to them (with comprehensive means in place to ensure a smooth patron experience, of course). To take the concept one step further would be to seek out shows that have such specific audiences in mind, and then create shows exclusively for that audience.
But doesn't this runs counter to the inclusivity of The Naked Theatre? Perhaps here is the goal: to define the specific benefits of a given show to a given audience. To continue with The Middle Ages, as an example, here’s what we could have done to market this show:
1. A postering and online campaign in Belwood and its environs to attract the local crowd.
2. An invitation to The Belwood Church congregation – come to the show, give me a Christian response to it for my book (this would take some careful framing).
3. Organize a “Shuttle Bus” from Maple Leaf Acres (get someone on that end to set it all up). Same for Pine Meadows and Highland Pines, to break down transportation barriers for elder patrons.

I’m not saying it would work, I’m just supposing that it’s a start for the moment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rehearsal Update: Laugh-in

Rehearsals are now well underway for our first show back at the Grand in the fall, the (authorized) stage version of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in. The cast has been working tirelessly on this show already; whether it's bringing in props and costumes, finding creative ways to bring characters to life or simply coming to a rehearsal with a smile on their face and some of the best "can-do" attitudes I've seen in quite a while, these people have really taken to this show. And so they should - this is some very funny theatre. Some TV comedy loses its lustre when you transfer it to the stage, but I don't think that will be the case here. The material has been optimized by Rowan and Martin for the stage, making for a fast-paced, fluid show that can be done with a minimum of scene and costume changes or elaborate technical effects. They've also been gracious enough to provide some "alternate lines" at the back of the book - helpful when some of the jokes that were funny in the 1960's don't seem quite so palatable today.

Now you may be wondering, how do I get tickets for this amazing little show? Well I'm not sure, to be quite honest. They are currently in the process of replacing the box office system at the Fergus Grand Theatre this summer, and while there will be a box office up and running soon at this time if anyone is looking for tickets, its best to contact me directly, and I will make sure that they are set aside for you.

Show dates are September 4th, 5th and 6th at 8pm, September 6th at 2pm at the Fergus Grand Theatre.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Website Updates

I've recently re-published the website with a few updates about our upcoming shows and the productions that have already closed this summer. I'll be doing a more thorough review in September, but in the meantime please take a moment to look over the new and improved links page, and feel free to send me any links you think would be worthwhile to include in Future updates. I want the links page at Grinder to be a portal to arts, culture, leisure, services and anything else in Centre Wellington that our prospective patrons might need or want, so the more links we have, the better (it also helps improve our search ranking in Google!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Canadian Theatre Blogs

We're on there! Just click on the title of this post to see a pretty good list of all the theatre bloggers in Canada that these guys have been able to find. You'll notice "Grinder's Grumblings" is there in prominence - that's thanks to you guys, who actually read this and make it a worthwhile endeavour.

It's been a little crazy this past week, but I promise more witticisms are coming next week, as well as all the info you'll need about our upcoming shows this summer and fall.

In the meantime though, check these blogs out. There's some great debates about theatre going on right now in the blogosphere - and I think they have a lot of bearing on what we're doing here at Grinder Productions, both now and in the years to come as our company grows.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

First Kisses closes this weekend

Just a reminder that this Thursday, Friday and Saturday are your last chances to see First Kisses at the Ennotville Library. This little show has played to great houses over its three-week run so far, so don't be disappointed - get your tickets today! And if you're unable to get out to see that one, then hurry up and get your tickets for Same Time, Next Year, the next show that is opening at the Libary on August 14th.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Same Time Next Year Rehearsal Pics



Just a couple of Rehearsal Pics from Same Time, Next Year. Featuring Dean Dunbar and Rachel Behling. Opens August 14th at the libary. Get your tickets online by clicking on "buy tickets" in the sidebar, or by calling 519-780-7593.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Middle Ages wrap-up

Whew! It's finally over, I can put my clothes back on again! After many weeks of toil, including some last-minute heroics, the second show in our Belwood summer season has come to a close. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard on this, and their infinite patience with our ongoing casting nightmares. In the end, it was well worth the effort, and I'm very pleased with what was accomplished, and I think we're excellently positioned for Brighton Beach Memoirs, our third show in Belwood, opening Augst 21st.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August Newsletter

Just a reminder to everyone that the August Newsletter is now available. Get it here.