Event: Big Ideas 2012, Alumnae Theatre Company

May 2 - 6, 2012

Alumnae Theatre’s New Play Development Group has been an incubator for new works by women writers since 2003.  Two of their plays so far have premiered on Alumnae’s main stage – Lucy Brennan’s “Daughter of the House” in 2008, and Catherine Frid’s “GuineaPigging” in April 2011.  Now for five days in May, audiences can sit in on BIG IDEAS: tabletop readings and staged readings of short plays, long plays, and scenes from full-length plays – a total of 11 new Canadian works from the award-winning writers of Alumnae’s New Play Development group.  And admission is free!

The works in BIG IDEAS 2012 are at different stages of development. The 3-play combinations are either stand-alone short pieces or the first act of a longer play. Ashes To Ashes (May 2) debuted in BIG IDEAS 2009 as a one-act, was later a hit at New Ideas, and now returns as a full-length.  We Are Trying (May 6) came out of a Write Now! exercise in 2006; it is now the first act of what may become a full-length play. Measure Of The World (May 5) is in its third draft. Over the past year, dramaturges have worked with writers individually on The Blunt Widow (May 5), Sins Of The Fathers (May 6) and Toward the Unknown Region (May 4).  Preparing For Passover (May 3) had a reading at a festival in Omaha in 2011, and scenes have been read regularly at NPD monthly meetings, as have scenes from Ze Adventures… (May 6), which began life as a one-act in BIG IDEAS 2010.


Wednesday 2 May at 8 pm

ASHES TO ASHES by Marianne Fedunkiw, directed by Pat McCarthy

A hit at NIF 2010, now a full-length play! In the funeral business, you meet all kinds of people: horny wives, wacky families, and money-grubbing bosses. Will Albert Schnupps find his true self and a new career in funeral planning?

Thursday 3 May at 8 pm

PREPARING FOR PASSOVER by Francine Dick, directed by Kerri MacDonald

Their mother laid up in bed with a deep depression and a hot anger towards God, five sisters arrive at their parents’ home to make it ready for Passover.

Friday 4 May at 8 pm — 3 plays

BURYING TONI by Catherine Frid, directed by Alexandra Seay

The face she shows the world is not what lies in psychoanalyst Emma Jung’s heart. Emma fights for her sanity following the funeral of her husband Carl’s mistress.

THE CAPE by Ramona Baillie, directed by Maria Popoff

Hallowe’en. Two young girls find a mysterious cape. When its power to enchant ruins their fun, they know it’s just what’s needed to take revenge on a deceitful older brother. A children’s comedy about the difference between lying and make-believe.

TOWARD THE UNKNOWN REGION by Ilene Cummings, directed by Jane Carnwath

A young man in his mid-twenties escapes from a mental hospital and returns home to his family in Washington State during the Vietnam War.

Saturday 5 May at 2 pm

THE BLUNT WIDOW by Linda McCready, directed by Barbara LaRose

Ah, the search for love! A widow with a dry sense of humour and liberal views wants to get herself a man. Her daughter — controlling, serious, and single — is also trying to find a mate. (Shortlisted, Playwrights of Spring 2008).

Saturday 5 May at 8 pm

MEASURE OF THE WORLD by Shirley Barrie, directed by Molly Thom

Three incompatible French scientists. Two goals: to measure a degree of the earth’s arc at the Equator and to spy on Spain’s rich colony of Peru. And one woman, who is promised her freedom to spy on them all.

Sunday 6 May at 2 pm — 3 plays

SINS OF THE FATHERS by Carol Libman, directed by lindi g papoff

Old secrets never die — they just lie in wait until someone asks the right question at the wrong time. Will the sins of this father be visited upon the son, or is it time to break the chain?

THE MASQUERADERS by Diane Forrest, directed by Kimberly Radmacher

Eloping heiresses, swordplay, Jacobite rebels, cross-dressing — and that’s just in Act I of this sparkling comedy based on the work of Georgette Heyer, master of the historical “Rom Com.”

WE ARE TRYING by Norma Crawford, directed by PJ Hammond

Three at-risk young adults wait for Beth, their yoga instructor. Tracy is bossy, Brent is exploding, and Jimmy sits simmering. Then an unexpected visitor bursts in, and Beth finally arrives. Nobody owns the scene.

Sunday May 6 at 6 pm (* note earlier start time*)


written and directed by Anne Macmillan

Planning a wedding? Step into the world of Monsieur Maurice’s Bridal 
Emporium for a comic romp featuring an extravagant artistic designer, 
a mean landlord, a tough mama, a beautiful bride, and a shocking finale. 

Big Ideas 2012
Wednesday May 2 – Sunday May 6, 2012
Wed – Sat evenings at 8pm; Sunday at 6pm.  Sat & Sunday matinees at 2pm
New works by: Ramona Baillie, Shirley Barrie, Norma Crawford, Ilene Cummings, 
Francine Dick, M.P. Fedunkiw, Diane Forrest, Catherine Frid, Carol Libman, 
Linda McCready, and Anne MacMillan.

Alumnae Theatre, 3rd floor Studio, 70 Berkeley Street, Toronto
Come as often as you like.  See as many as you can.
FREE Admission, no reservations required, 
For more information call: 416.364.4170