Friday, January 30, 2009

Newsletter Available

Here is the February Newsletter, everyone. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grinder's Got Talent!

The first-ever "Beat the Winter Blahs Comedy and Variety Cavalcade" starts tonight and runs for four shows at the Fergus Grand Theatre. Call 519-787-1981 for tickets, or get them at the door. Come on out and support the best, brightest and newest members of the Grinder company, and chase away those winter blues!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Midsummer Madness

I'm happy to report that rehearsals for our next show at the Elora Centre for the Arts, William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, are now underway. With a large cast and a small space we're going to have to come up with some very creative staging for this one...

If you've never had a chance to see a Shakespearean play before, or you have seen a play but been totalled baffled, then "The Dream" is the perfect cure for you. It is one of Shakespeare's most-loved, most popular plays (and for the most-produced playwright in history, that's saying something about the play's lasting-power). It's a love story, a laugh-out-loud farce and a fantastic journey to fairyland all rolled into one.

When I first read the text I was very young, no more than 13 or 14 years old, yet I had no problem understanding what was going on. The language of Shakespeare's plays may look and sound a bit different than our own, but it's still English, and when you get beyond a few of the old sayings and classic references turns into something quite familiar to us all.

In truth, I don't think it's so much a different way of speaking, as it is a different way of thinking, that gives actors such difficulty with classical texts. Once you make that shift in your mind, and the lines come out not as you, but as Theseus, Hippolyta, Oberon, Titania or Puck, that's when they seem to flow. And as we all know, when the lines start to flow, the play starts to take flight.

The Dream begins March 12th, and runs to March 14th. Tickets available from any cast member, or by calling 519-780-7593. Seating is limited.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

FYI.. public meeting on the Master Plan

Just wanted to let everyone know that there's a public meeting this Thursday at 6:30pm at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex in Fergus regarding the draft Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan for the municipality.

Why should you care? Because a significant element in the Master Plan is culture in general, and the Fergus Grand Theatre in particular. The plan is based on input from the community, facilities users, township staff, and other stakeholders, and it calls for substantial investment from the municipality for "capacity building" - be it new facilities, upgrades and renovations to existing facilities or simply equipping facilities and groups with the tools they need to make what they do easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable for all involved.

The last time one of these master plans were developed one of the major results that came out of it was the Sportsplex itself.

In that report, the cultural scene received a paragraph's worth of treatment. This time around, it's the arts' turn, so let's make sure we get out there and ensure our voices are heard.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Looking Ahead

With a crop of fresh faces now initiated into the company (many thanks to all who came out and enjoyed our reading of Euripides "The Cyclops" this past weekend) it's time to look ahead to the many exciting projects that we have coming this winter and spring at Grinder Productions.

January:
Beat the Winter Blahs - preparations for our comedy and variety cavalcade this weekend are coming along well. We still have some room for more performers, and it's only a one-performance commitment, so if you have some talent you'd like to share with the world this is your chance! This show will also be an opportunity to showcase the new members of Grinder Productions, as well as a few old faces who are returning to give us as much diversity in these performances as we possibly can. This is raw talent at its best, and I'm confident that the faces you'll see for the first time at this show will go on to become our company's future stars.

February:
No performances (Yikes!) but rehearsals will be underway for several shows, all of which will go up in...

March:
...which will feature three great productions. The first is William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This show will be staged at the Elora Centre for the Arts March 12th - 14th. Tickets are available from any cast member or by calling 519-780-7593 but you had best reserve early - seating is very limited! This studio production of one of my favourite plays by The Bard is going to be full of fun and enchantment, and will be presented in a three-sided "thrust" stage format - just like in the original production (but this time, ironically, we'll have some of the women playing some of the male parts).

This will be followed the next weekend by The Winter 1-Acts, four short plays all brought together in one performance, at the Fergus Grand Theatre March 19th - 21st. This is an opportunity to see some rarely-performed plays, ones we couldn't otherwise afford to do, as well as see some of our novice directorial talents making their theatrical debuts. The shows themselves are a selection of comedy, tragi-comedy, fantasy and satire, all very entertaining in their own right, but even better when brought together under this umbrella.

And finally, March will come to a close with two shows at the Ennotville Library on March 27th and 28th (yes, we can do shows there in the winter!). The Heart of Eden and Hitchin' at the Junction will form the double bill for these shows, and both are a part of the "Hopeless Romantics" touring division of the company, so after this production both shows are ready to tour anywhere in the region to perform at weddings or other special events. Bring your "critical eye" to these performances - we'll be inviting audience feedback, as well as offering these shows as a demo to any brides, grooms, wedding planners or anyone else that is considering booking a show with us in the weeks and months ahead.

There's more, but that's enough for one blog post. I hope you will have the time to come out and see these shows - they are all going to be wonderful. And once they're through we have a couple more shows in April/May, and then you know what comes next... the summer season. And for that, well, I'm going to have to do some more looking ahead.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Come support the newbies this weekend

This weekend at the Elora Centre for the Arts we will be presenting a staged reading of Euripides' The Cyclops, an ancient Greek Satyr play. The cast and chorus will feature some of the people who have auditioned for Grinder Productions recently, and for many of them it will be the first time they have ever been onstage. Come on out and support them in their theatrical debuts!

Friday, January 23rd at 8pm
Saturday, January 24th at2pm and 8pm

Thursday, January 22, 2009

FYI...

The Township of Centre Wellington has just recieved a draft report of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan. This document is available on the township's website here and contains a lot of important information about the direction the community has suggested we take regarding the growth and development of parks, arenas, community halls, the senior's centre, the Fergus Grand Theatre and other facilities.

A bit long-winded, but definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Auditions Hangover

Well, here it is, Wednesday afternoon, and I still haven't blogged this week!

Sorry for the silence, everyone, but I've been digging out from under a massive pile of casting offers.

Our auditions this past Saturday went very well. Thank-you to all those who came out. It was just the injection of new, raw talent that the company needed, and on a personal level it has really lifted my spirits watching all these new talents coming to light over the past few days.

These are heady times if you're a newbie. Your head may be filled with excitement, or doubt or even fear, but at the same time you can't wait to get started on that first show. It's a big deal.

Of course, the elation won't last forever for everyone. I'm already getting rejection replies, people realizing they suddenly did have some conflict they forgot to write on the schedule, etc. But I know that and I'm used to that, and I don't have a problem with it.

If you're a regular Grinder member, please don't think that I've forgotten you - you're still just as near and dear to me as you were before, and there's a very good chance I'll be offering you a part as well at some point in the near future, if I haven't done so already. It's just now we're part of an even bigger, and, I hope, and even better, family.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Quick Reminder about Auditions

In case you missed it the first million times, we have auditiosn coming up this Saturday!

I apologize if I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but I can't stress enough how vital it is for the company to constantly be encouraging and nurturing new talents with our company. If you're sitting on the fence and thinking about it don't delay, call us today! I want to see as many old and new faces as possible on Saturday.

We have so much coming up, everyone will have more than one chance to be involved with us in shows in Fergus and Elora between now and June 2009. We need performers of all ages, types and genders - there's literally something for everyone to do. If you love to perform, this is your chance to shine.

Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone you know! Often the people whom we would never think of as being interested are the ones who knock our socks off in the auditions. As I said, age, gender, previous acting experience, it doesn't matter. Everyone is welcome at Grinder Productions.

Please call 519-780-7593 or email grinder@grinderproductions.org to book your time. Auditions will be held on Saturday, January 17th at the Fergus Grand Theatre.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Auditions Update

Just a quick posting today - audition spaces still available!

Lots of room left for the kids and teens, especially, and plenty of chances to get them onstage between now and June, so feel free to let the youngsters in your life know they can be on stage with Grinder Productions!

As always, please call 519-780-7593 or e-mail grinder@grinderproductions.org to book an audition.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Auditions Update and Other Grumblings

After the formatting disaster last time (I'm sure you can put a table into blogger, but I don't speak HTML), I'll simply tell you that we've still got plenty of spaces left for the child, teen and adult auditions for the Regular Grinder shows. The Hopeless Romantics spaces are filling up rather quickly, so if you are interested exclusively in those shows you had best let me know soon.

If it does fill up completely, however, there's no need to panic - I will simply have to take you in the regular audtions and note that you're interested in HRP as well.

However, the regular auditions represent a great opportunity to get someone new involved with the company. We thrive on new people bringing in new talents and perspectives, so the more the merrier! Young or old, we'll find a way to get everyone involved. Feel free to pass the information about these auditions along to your family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, classmates, anyone and everyone that might be interested in getting involved with Grinder Productions.

I strongly believe in inviting as many people as I possibly can to become a part of Grinder Productions. As theatre companies go, our entrance requirements are about as easy as it gets: no experience necessary, no special preparations for the auditions, and everyone will be offered at least one part between now and June (likely much sooner!).

I'm told time and again by actors in rehearsal that we have a fun, open atmosphere, and that while our shows don't always have the biggest budgets I know that they have created many magical moments for the people who have been a part of them, creating strong friendships, and fond memories that will last a lifetime.

If you, or anyone you know would like to book an audition for this Saturday at the Fergus Grand Theatre, please call 519-780-7593, or email grinder@grinderproductions.org

Friday, January 9, 2009

Acting Lessons/Auditions Availability Chart

Starting in January, I will be pleased to offer one-on-one acting lessons to anyone who is interested, either on a “one-time” basis, or as part of a multi-week program. Lessons can be tailored to anyone ages 8 through adult, and students will have plenty of opportunities to tailor lessons to their particular needs, be it preparing an audition piece, building characters, voice, movement, scene study, or simply learning more about the craft of acting. All lessons will be $30 per hour, with both daytime, after school and evening timeslots available.

Call 519-780-7593 or e-mail grinder@grinderproductions.org to for more information or to book.

Listed at the bottom of this post is the auditions availability chart. I'll publish this often between now and the 17th so that you can see how much space is still left. If you're thinking about auditioning but not sure please jump on in soon - I don't want to leave anyone out!

Auditions Availability Chart

Date: Friday, January 9th, as of 10:00am

Time Audition Type Total Filled Open

9am – 9:45am Children Open 10 0 10

10am – 10:45am Children Open 10 1 9

11am – 11:45am Children Membrs 10 0 10

12pm – 12:45pm Teens Open 10 0 10

1pm – 1:45pm Teens Open 10 0 10

2pm – 2:45pm Teens Members 10 0 10

3pm – 3:45pm Adults Open 10 2 8

4pm – 4:45pm Adults Open 10 0 10

5pm – 5:45pm Adults Members 10 2 8

6pm – 6:15 HRP 1 1 0

6:15 – 6:30 HRP 1 1 0

630 – 6:45 HRP 1 1 0

6:45 – 7pm HRP 1 0 1

7pm – 7:15 HRP 1 0 1

7:15 – 7:30 HRP 1 0 1

7:30 – 7:45 HRP 1 0 1

7:45 – 8pm HRP 1 0 1

8pm – 8:15* HRP 1 0 1

8:15 – 8:30* HRP 1 0 1

8:30 – 8:45* HRP 1 0 1

8:45 – 9pm* HRP 1 0 1

9pm – 9:15* HRP 1 0 1

9:15 – 9:30* HRP 1 0 1

9:30 – 9:45* HRP 1 0 1

9:45 – 10pm* HRP 1 0 1

*if necessary

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dating Disasters

Have you been dumped?

Sure you have. It was likely an embarrassing, painful experience at the time, right? But now, when you think about it, it seems kind of silly.

Grinder Productions wants to hear your worst “dating disaster” stories. It could be a first date that went horribly wrong, an ill-considered birthday gift (seriously guys – she doesn’t want power tools!), or any other event in a past relationship that is too outrageous to believe.

Send us a written submission of 500 words or less describing your disaster. We’re not going to check your facts here, so as long as you leave the names out of it, feel free to expand, exaggerate and get creative – we want your story to be funny and entertaining – not necessarily true!

Send your submissions to grinder@grinderproductions.org. Ten finalists will be chosen from the submissions, and asked to read their stories live onstage in February, where the audience will vote for the “dating disaster of the year.”

And you thought your ex was good for nothing…

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Biggest Auditions Ever

Happy New Year!

At Grinder Productions, many, many things are happening.

First and foremost, I have a programming change to tell you about. Our production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, originally scheduled for January 22nd - 24th at the Elora Centre for the Arts, will now take place March 14th - 16th. In its place will be a production of The Cyclops, a "Satyr play" by Euripides. An ancient form of Greek drama, the Satyr play was written as comic relief to come at the end of the trilogy of tragic plays that made up a day of Athenian playgoing. There are only two surviving extant Satyr plays (though we know there were many more), and this one seems to be the better preserved of the two. I've been wanting to bring a small sampling of ancient Greek theatre to Centre Wellington for some time now, and I think that this production will be an excellent opportunity to do just that. And where am I going to find a chorus of Satyrs? Read on...

Also coming up at the end of January will the "Beat the Winter Blahs" comedy and variety cavalcade. This is something new that we're trying, as a way to offer our patrons some light entertainment in the heart of a cold winter. This will be similar to our "Future Stars" variety shows for kids, but open to everyone, and with a greater focus on making audiences laugh. Performers will be randomly assigned to one of the four performance nights, and will prepare material on their own or in conjunction with someone else. All ages and talents are welcome, and no experience or special skills will be required. So how do you get involved in this production? Read on..

And, as previously announced, Hopeless Romantics, our Wedding Entertainment Division, is now open for business. This semi-professional touring arm of the company will begin rehearsals in February for its inaugural productions. Do you want to be a part of it, then read on...

...to here! On Saturday, January 17th, Grinder Productions will be conducting its largest annual Open Auditions ever.

We will be looking for:

Children 8 through 12
Teenagers ages 13 to 18
Adults ages 19 and up

There are so many roles that we have to fill in upcoming productions that I will GUARANTEE everyone who comes out to the auditions at least one offer of a role onstage with Grinder Productions between now and June of this year. The chorus of Satyrs for The Cyclops will have many, many small parts, and will be perfect for people who have never been onstage before. Beat the Winter Blahs will require an almost infinite number of performers, each with a very small job to do, and again, this will serve as an excellent introduction to the stage. On top of that we have over 60 onstage roles to cast for shows at the Fergus Grand Theatre and the Elora Centre for the Arts in the next six months. That doesn't even begin to count our summer operations.

Auditions are open to both current members of Grinder Productions and to newcomers, so please tell all your friends, co-workers and family members about this opportunity. Auditions at Grinder only come around about once a year, so now is the time to introduce yourself to us and show us what you can do.

Newcomers to Grinder Productions will be handled in the open auditions (see time slots below). These auditions will be very relaxed and informal. We will audition in age-divided groups of about ten people at a time, and these will be “cold-read” auditions – ie you will be given a monologue or partnered with someone else for a short scene and asked to deliver it. We’ll also play some theatre games to break the ice, and maybe an improvisation or two, so don’t worry if you don’t read well – there’s plenty of chances to show us what you can do!

If you have auditioned for us before, or have been in a show with us then you can skip the open auditions and head straight to the members’ auditions. Again, we’ll be doing cold reads but anyone who wishes to do so can also bring a prepared piece, or bring a friend and present a short prepared scene.

Hopeless Romantics Auditions – For those of you looking for a greater challenge we will also be auditioning actors for the Hopeless Romantics touring shows. Now this is semi-professional work, you will be paid a small honourarium for each performance, so we’re going to expect more effort than at a typical Grinder audition. Participants must be at least 16 years of age, and have ready a 1-to-2 minute prepared monologue, preferably comedic and contemporary in nature. Musical theatre actors will be given the chance to sing and/or dance, so please bring any audition music on CD.

Everyone who auditions will be asked to fill out an audition form (and pose for a quick mug shot so we can remember what you look like!). The more clearly we understand when you are available the better the chances of us being able to find a way to get you involved, so make sure you give us as much information as you can about your availability.

Time Slots

Open Auditions (for newcomers to the company):

Children: 9am - 9:45am
10am - 10:45am

Teens: 12pm - 12:45pm
1pm - 1:45pm

Adults: 3pm - 3:45pm
4pm - 4:45pm

Members Auditions (for those who have worked with Grinder before):

Children: 11am - 11:45am

Teens: 2pm - 2:45pm

Adults: 5pm - 5:45pm


Hopeless Romantics Auditions:

Adults 16+: 6pm - 6:45pm
7pm - 7:45pm
8pm - 8:45pm (if necessary)
9pm - 9:45pm (if necessary)

The Open auditions and Members Auditions will consist of groups of ten participants auditioning together for 45 minutes. The Hopeless Romantics Auditions will consists of four 15 minute time slots per hour, with one auditioner per time slot. A running chart of the remaining available audition spaces will be posted daily on the Grinder Productions company blog, Grinder's Grumblings, available at http://grindersgrumblings.blogspot.com.

As always, EVERYONE is welcome at these auditions. No experience is necessary to be a part of Grinder Productions, no special skills are required. To reserve your audition time please call Eric Goudie at 519-780-7593, or e-mail grinder@grinderproductions.org.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The first dawn...

Happy New Year from Grinder Productions!

It's great to be here, on this, the first dawn of 2009.

As always, I'm really looking forward to the year ahead, but this year it's for different reasons than I've had in the past.

This is the first New Year's I have any sadness about leaving the old year behind. While 2008 certainly had its ups and downs (right to the bitter end!) it also wound up being the first year where the personal and professional successes finally out-paced the personal and professional failures. We had, on balance, a good year, both on and off the stage. To have reached the point where it's possible to say even that much is a quite remarkable, at least to me.

So for once I'm not overly eager to simply forget the past year. At the same time, though, I am very eagerly looking forward to the challenges of 2009.

Some things won't change - there will still be too much to do, not enough time/money/people to do it, and I know that there will be some dark, difficult days.

But a lot of things have changed - we have a stable home base from which to work, successful productions upon which we can build, and new revenue streams that are finally coming online.

These and other developments give me a lot of confidence that while the challenges will certainly remain, we are now in a much, much better position to meet those challenges than we were 365 dawns ago.

All the best in 2009, everyone.

Grinder