STALKYARD

APRIL 6TH????  What???  Has it been so long?  I mean, I knew I had been absent, but April 6th???

Anyways, as I sat down tonight to unwind from a long day of hard work, glass of red wine in my hand, the IANA blog flittered across my mind.

It keeps getting shoved aside, pushed back, left in the dust, as I prioritize it completely out of my mind.

But I miss you blog.  I think about you often.  And I know you’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been, and who I’ve been hanging out with, but let me tell you, I’ve had good reason to be away.

That good reason was a new show called STALKYARD HURTS.  And that great reason is the only thing I want to talk about in this post.

Let’s start at the very beginning.  This season was planned before the first leaf fell off the first tree last fall, but come late October, plans suddenly changed when we found out we couldn’t in fact do one of the shows we had planned.  I was stumped.  We were a couple weeks away from announcing our season, and now there was a gaping hole in it.  What could fill this void?  Where would our Canadian Musical Theatre inspiration come from.

And then I flew to New Brunswick to visit with a few of my good friends who were running an improv company in Sackville.  I took a couple short bumpy plane trips, and arrived at the Sackville airport where I was picked up by two of those fabulous friends, Justin Collette and Karine Berube.  We weren’t in the car more than five minutes when the question was raised about what we would be doing for our 2012 season.  So I blew through our big drama, and how we had no idea what would be a good show to take that slot, etc, etc, when Justin simply replied ‘Well, why don’t we write one?’  Now, had that car been driven by anyone else, or had that question come from any other source I probably would have laughed it off as not even a possibility, or shrugged it away with a maybe, or a we’ll see, but coming from that man, my quick and easy response was ‘Okay’.

And so, the process of STALKYARD HURTS began.  We sat down at a pub in Moncton and started throwing around ideas.  It was a few ideas in when Justin pitched a live Rock band Mockumentary.  Sorry blog, but I fell immediately in love.  The more we talked about the idea the more my faith in it grew, and the more I was convinced it would be a fantastic concept.

As soon as we arrived at the house, I was given a quick tour, I blew up my bed, and we immediately enlisted the help of the amazingly talented and hilariously funny Danielle Leger.  Danielle and Justin began working on the music immediately and obsessively, and within days of my arriving in New Brunswick they had several pieces to show me, most of which remain in the show today.

While I was there we figured out the bare bones of the script, continued to write some music, and build on ideas we had for the show.  Also we watched a bunch of rock band documentaries.  Very informative and very entertaining if you get the chance.  By the time I left I was confident we were going to have a hit on our hands.

Months went by…the writing continued, the planning progressed, and the cast began working on the show.  At the end of April, we sent a young man, one Colin Jones, one of the BEST singers I have ever heard out to New Brunswick to begin working on the show with them.  I then didn’t see anyone until we started rehearsals in Stirling the first week of May.

The first day I walked into that theatre, and they played the bare bones of the first couple songs for me, I literally fell in love with this show.  The more I watched this group rehearse and the more I sat back and listened to these songs, the more I fell.

Then, the time came to share our work.  To present this incredible product that Danielle and Justin had created to the world.  We were doing a show at Revival bar in downtown Toronto.  The doors were opened, the house started to fill up, the opener went on, the audience was riled up, and when the time came, STALKYARD HURTS took the stage.  And they literally TOOK the stage.  That night was pure magic.  The audience was blown away.  I was blown away.  I think the band was blown away.  What happened in that bar that night was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever experienced.  This group of people set fire to the stage, and wowed a group of people to a point of pure excitement.

We trucked it back to Tweed.  We rehearsed for our final week, and we finished building the show.  The show opened.  The audience sat enthralled for the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes that is STALKYARD HURTS.  And at the end, they stood, they cheered, and STALKYARD HURTS was born.  The first band to have a reunion tour before they even began, the first band to release a greatest hits album as their first release, the first band to create from scratch, in a matter of six months, one of the most remarkable, moving and exciting shows I have ever witnessed.

Although STALKYARD HURTS has now closed at the Marble Church, I have the most faith that this show will live on, and on, and on.  I can promise you that you haven’t seen the last of STALKYARD HURTS.

This show needs to be shared with the world, so watch out, cause STALKYARD HURTS is coming for you…

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for our promo video from the show, as well as our Flickr to see all the great production shots courtesy of the wonderful Kelly Brazeau.  Thank you to everyone who came out to check out this show, and for everyone else, we look forward to seeing you in the front row next time around.

So Blog, I’m sorry I’ve been cheating on you for the past couple months, but I promise I will do my best to be faithful from now on, although with how well GODSPELL is coming along, I can guarantee you I’m going to be cheating with her as well.  She’s hot.  Just wait.

See you at the show!

Tim

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So Much is Happening!

IANA has a big meeting tonight, and as I sit in my office, reviewing things to go over, I realize that because they may not constitute a whole blog post, there are a huge number of things that I have not talked about!  So, heres whats been going on!!!

First off, we were so excited to learn earlier this month that IANA Theatre Company had won the Best Independent Production of 2011 at the BroadwayWorld.com awards!  We are incredibly honoured to have won, and would like to thank everyone who came out and supported original Canadian Theatre this year, and we would also like to thank our fantastic sponsors who made all of this possible.  We couldn’t have done it without you!  Thank you so much! (Music starts playing, Tim is ushered offstage).  And congratulations to all the other winners, especially former IANA performers Melissa O’Neil for her Jesus Christ Superstar win, and David Light for his nomination as part of Billy Elliot.

The award has helped us get a lot of press coverage, you can read some of the articles here, and here, or you can check out the Municipality of Tweed’s website here, where we are currently the homepage story!

We are getting ever closer to our production of STALKYARD HURTS, and preparations are well underway.  Starting soon we will be looking for willing participants from Hastings County to be a part of the audio-visual elements of this production, watch out for that!  We are going to be including a lot of local talent in these videos, so watch out for your favorite area celebrities!

We will also be holding auditions in the next couple of months for our upcoming season.  We are always thrilled to meet and work with new talent, and we are so excited to add even more fantastic performers to our already incredible ensemble.  Here’s to 2012!

I also have a meeting tomorrow with our ALECK BELL set designer, the amazing David Butler, who has some colour renderings for me that I can’t wait to check out!  Maybe he’ll let me take a teaser photo…who knows.

And coming very soon we will be announcing our final production dates and venue for ALECK BELL in Toronto!  We are so excited to be bringing this show around the province.  If you are in any of the cities we are coming to, let us hear from you!  We are going to be doing quite a bit of promotion in Brockville, Stirling, Brantford and Toronto, and would love for you to be involved.  There are lots of great surprises in store for this year’s tour, it’s gonna be the best!

IANA will also be taking over the Canadians for Canadian Musical site on facebook and carrying on the great work that Robert Missen started over there.  Robert has been growing busier and busier (which is fantastic considering he represents all Canadian work!) and we are very excited to be continuing this great group.  Watch for lots more to come with that!

It is a great time for theatre in Ontario right now, with a tonne of shows extending and selling out, theatres announcing their very exciting seasons, and people gearing up for a great summer of theatre adventure!  And on that note, we are also incredibly excited to be members of ASTRO for the first time in 2012!  ASTRO is the Association of Summer Theatres Round Ontario and they do amazing work to promote regional theatre in the province.  We could not be more excited to be joining them.

What else, what else…I’m sure there is so much more, but it will have to wait for another time!  I’ve got to get back to work, and this is getting long-winded!  Check in at our website for loads more info about our upcoming season, and be sure to head out and take in some Canadian Theatre this month!

See you at the show!

Tim

Exploring Our Audience…IANA’s 100KM Reach

This weekend I am going on a great adventure.  Thursday morning the adventure begins.

We want to make sure that everyone in the area knows about our season this year and has the opportunity to visit us at the Marble Church.  For that reason, we are starting a 100km reach from Tweed.  Our new posters have been designed and printed, the routes all planned, and the rental car is booked.

I have to say I am incredibly excited to see many towns that I have never had the reason or opportunity to visit, and go on a little mini vacation road trip around Ontario.  I also plan on stopping in at many local theatres (Some I have coffee dates with) and seeing how we can all better promote our events and get more people in the theatre!

At the end of my trip, or possibly throughout, I will write another Blog post to tell all about my grand adventures, and what I discover on my trip.  Thursday will take me from Tweed, to Napanee, to Kingston, to Perth, to Sharbot Lake, to Tamworth and everywhere in between!

Friday will start in Actinolite, head to Kaladar, Queensborough, Bancroft, Peterborough, Hastings, Campbellford, Marmora, Madoc and again, everywhere in between.

Saturday begins in Stirling, heads to Frankford, Trenton, Carrying Place, Bloomfiled, Picton, and finally ending in Belleville, and, you guessed it, everywhere in between!

I am very excited, and can’t wait to see all these little hamlets, visit with the people there, shop at local stores, eat at unique restaurants and put up our great new posters!  I would love to hear any suggestions of favourite haunts of yours and hear about your favorite spots in Eastern Ontario.

I will be tweeting regularly during my adventure, and writing a big blog post about the trip.  And if I don’t see you this weekend then I’ll see you at the show!

Tim

How we’re doing things differently…and how that involves you…

As 2011 winds down, I thought we would take a little retrospective on our season, and look at how we’ve changed, where we’re headed, and new things that we’re trying in 2012.

2011 was a massive year for us.  We produced our second full length original Canadian Musical ‘ALECK BELL: A Canadian Pop Rock Musical’ which received much critically acclaim, and is going on to tour the province next year.  As I have already said in a previous blog post, it is my proudest accomplishment to date.  Then, we took a huge leap, and brought our production of ‘TWEED: A New Canadian Musical’ to the Papermill Theatre in Toronto.  This show has meant so much to me over the last four years, and I can’t even describe how it felt to bring the show to the city.  Huge.  It felt amazing, and I loved every minute of it.

This year saw our highest attendance ever, it started the great tradition of our GALA opening nights, another great tradition that we will hopefully see in many future seasons our Dark Night Cabaret series, the addition of a stage, dressing rooms and bar to the Marble Church Arts Centre, Our first foray into the world of Toronto theatre, the most actors/creative/crew we have ever employed, and our nomination for 20 BroadwayWorld.com awards.

And now, before the year even begins, our preparation for the 2012 season has already seen another round of drastic changes and accomplishments.  We now have a huge social media presence (Check out our blog-obviously you are, our twitter, our facebook group and fan page, our YouTube channel, our wicked new website, and our presence on hundreds of tourism sites and event listings).  We have also started partnerships with the Stirling Festival Theatre, the Brockville Arts Centre, and the Sanderson Centre in Brantford, all of which will hopefully lead to lasting lifelong associations.  We are also working on our third full-scale original Canadian Musical which is so exciting.  Every time we get to work with hilarious, dedicated, incredibly talented new teams I get overwhelmingly excited.  We are also so happy and so fortunate to have Jon Deighan join us as a permanent member of our team.  This Communications wiz, and awesome guy(seriously, he’s the best), will make all the difference in our continued success.  And, we are so happy to be working closely with the municipality of Tweed this season to take things to the next level, and ensure the success of our community and our company.

And possibly even more important is our good fortune to be able to continue to work with our fabulous team, members, sponsors and friends who will be joining us again this year.  We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our patrons, and of our fabulous General Manager Emily Mewett, our incredible ensemble of actors and creators, and our amazing volunteers!  We consider ourselves so lucky that we will once again have the assistance of so many incredible people in putting together an incredible season of Canadian Theatrical Entertainment!

We have a lot of really cool new initiatives starting this year, and I’m going to fill you in on one of the things I’m most excited about.  This year we are introducing a new way of supporting IANA, and a fun new opportunity to be involved in our productions.  It’s called a Show Sponsorship, but it is so much more than that.  We wanted to find a way this season to really get our patrons in on the action, and we came up with a real cool idea, that I can’t wait to continue to build on and grow in the future.  We are the only company that I know of that does this, and I think it is the most fun!  This year, for very small amounts of money, you can sponsor a specific element of a production.  SO say you have always been fascinated with the sets of plays, and say you are so excited for our brand new Canadian Musical STALKYARD HURTS.  I know I am.  Well, for $350 you can become the set sponsor for Stalkyard.  That means that you can take sole credit for the amazing new pieces we are creating for that production, and you can tell your friends, ‘Hey, that set?  Yeah, I sponsored it.’  Or something along those lines, how you gloat is up to you.  And then, the coolest part.  IANA will find some way to incorporate your name or something about you or your personality into the element you sponsor.  For example, part of the STALKYARD HURTS set is going to be the addition of several of the bands old show posters, maybe one of those posters features you as a model?  Maybe the title of that album just happens to be your full name?  Possibilities are endless, and you literally get to see you name up in lights!  AND..yes, there’s more…every single one of our show sponsors will receive a poster signed by the cast.

There is a lot of cool and exciting stuff happening right now, much of which I can’t discuss at the moment, but that is going to take this company to the next level yet again, and bring Canadian Musical Theatre right along with it.  We hope you’ll join us this season as we continue to build, grab life by the horns, and put it on stage!  Happy holidays, have a fun and safe New Years, and..we’ll see you at the show!!!!

Tim