Behind the Scenes in the Production Department

Heather Landon

Heather Landon Production Manager

Over the past few months we’ve been gearing up for our two spring tours – In This World and Dib and Dob and the Journey Home. Since our Production Department has been so hard at work getting everything ready to go for those first weeks of rehearsals, we thought we’d invite Heather Landon, our Production Manager, to share some insight into what’s been going on lately in the Production Department:

 

 

 

In This World Set being built at Production Canada. Set Design by Lindsay Anne Black.

It has been a very busy time for us in the Production Department! Coming up we have two fast and furious rehearsal periods (2 weeks each) for two shows that will happen in quick succession. In This World is a brand new show for us which means a longer process of design meetings with the production department, the Director Andrew Lamb, and the designers Lindsay Anne Black and Verne Good. The sound design is coming together nicely and the set is being built right now at Production Canada.Lindsay and I went to visit Production Canada on Valentine’s Day to see the set build progress, answer questions and help make decisions to avoid problems later. For example, we asked that the window frames be screwed in place without using glue so that if one of the plexi-glass pieces were ever damaged on tour it would be easier to replace. This professional shop will complete the set build in just two weeks so the Stage Manager, Thom Speck, can learn how to put it together and have it ready for rehearsals which begin March 4th.

In This World set being built at Production Canada. Set design by Lindsay Anne Black.

Digging up the Dib and Dob set to get ready for the 2013 spring tour. Set design by Karyn McCallum.

Dib and Dob is a remount which might seem easy. Just pull the set out of storage and you’re ready to go, right? Not quite so easy. Roseneath hasn’t toured this show in almost 10 years – before myself or anyone currently on staff worked with Roseneath. We have spent the last few months researching and trying to make all of the little tricks and gadgets work again! The set and costume designer, Karyn McCallum, has come in to help explain a few things and repaint some parts of the set that needed some TLC. We have built new tree branches, have been rebuilding new ‘fleurs’, the props all need quite a bit of work and the costumes will have to be new, updated and adjusted for at least one new actor. The sound design was on an old system that was still using a CD player and a mini-disk system. Designer Rick Sacks and I had to sit down and reprogram all of the music and sound cues into our more current computer SFX 6 playback system which will be much easier for the Stage Manager Sandi Becker.

I’m always excited to bring these shows to students, hear their reactions and discover their questions to understand what parts of the show make them think and change their views about the ideas we present. I love what I do – who else can answer ‘What are you up to?’ in the creative ways that a Production Manager can?

Heather Landon has been the Production Manager with Roseneath Theatre since 2008.

Wrecked Reactions

Following five weeks of performances for Wrecked, here is what some audience members had to say about the production:

L to R: Kimwun Perehinec, Kevin Jake Walker, Jajube Mandiela, Justin Goodhand. Espanola High, Espanola, ON.

“This was an awesome experience…Actors were awesome, content was very appropriate for our school, our students were very engaged”
– Teacher, Espanola High, Espanola, ON

“I watched the first performance of Wrecked this morning. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with the performance. The cast are totally ‘awesome.’ I was so amazed at how well they performed and they got the message across to our entire student body. Best performance I have seen in years. Please pass on my thanks to the actors. Keep up the great work.”
– Heinrich Bebie, Principal, Holy Trinity HS, Bradford ON

“(The three best things were) Language [age appropriate and realistic based on use of slang], content, ability to build character development and switch scenes.”
– Occasional Teacher, Central Technical School, Toronto, ON

“Fabulous! Amazing production and very relevant.”
– Phys-Ed Head, Middlefield CI, Markham, ON

“Let me open with, WOW: what a fantastic show! Wrecked is a very strong script that’s highly relevant to our secondary students, and it’s directed and performed with high energy and a creative vision. The design was spectacular – I particularly loved the use of the “doors”. Your actors are incredibly talented and engaging, and your SM was organized, professional and friendly with me and the kids. After the show, the actors were kind enough to stay and sign autographs for our students, who were floored by their talent and commitment. Our students don’t often get the opportunity to see professional theatre, and this was a really life-changing experience for them.
Bringing Wrecked in was a FANTASTIC experience. The students loved the show, and so did the supervising teachers! Finally, relevant teen theatre that isn’t preachy and cheesy! I just can’t communicate how happy I am with the performance today, and the entire Roseneath experience. You folks have been so easy to work with from day one, and I would happily bring you in again!”
– Allyson Bradley, Dramatic Arts Teacher, Rick Hansen SS, Mississauga, ON

“(The three best things were) Students and teacher loved the relate-able / realistic scenes, organized, well rehearsed, well performed [strong actors], connected with teens – teen language.”
– French Teacher, Middlefield CI, Markham, ON

“Just saw a pretty awesome performance from @RoseneathThtr called “Wrecked” – pretty sure our students saw themselves in the characters.”
– Tweet, @lauradorphin

“My students are still talking about it! Wrecked really had an impact on them, due in no small part to your fantastic actors, design and staging…They (students) were engaged in the performance, and they still bring up points from the play when we have discussions about issues in class.”
– Head of Drama, Middlefield CI, Markham, ON

Wrecked 2012 on tour in the GTA. Jajube Mandiela, Kimwun Perehinec, Justin Goodhand.

“It (Wrecked) allowed for discussion about making good choices and helping others to make good choices. They (students) also discussed how they can show empathy for others.”
– Grade 8 Teacher, John McCrae PS, Toronto, ON

“Hey you guys were just at Espanola High, just thought I would tell you guys did an amazing job and hope you guys come back soon :)”
– Facebook Post, Student, Espanola High, Espanola ON

“The theatre group was at our school on the 27th and all the staff and students want to say how much we enjoyed the presentation! The group was so well-organized, professional, and VERY talented. The message they presented was just right for our age group for grade 7/8 and timed perfectly with our Health unit. We will spread the word that Wrecked is the best performance-based presentation we have ever experienced!”
– Grade 7/8 Teacher, St. Kateri Elementary School, Kitchener, ON

“Thank you so much! I need to let you know that my staff and I were very pleased with the production. It was superb! The cast was excellent! In the words of some of my grade 8 students, ‘Ms…the play was awesome!’
Thanks again!”
– Principal, Beverley Heights MS, Toronto, ON

Wrecked closes it’s 2012 run on Friday. To book In This World or Dib & Dob and the Journey Home click here.

Meet Our Co-op Student, Tynan

Roseneath regularly works with students in both the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board to support their high school co-op placement programs. Tynan is our co-op student this semester and he will be working in the office every afternoon until the end of January. Tynan has been all sorts of busy since his first day with us in September. We thought we’d ask him to share his thoughts on what co-op at Roseneath has been like so far. Enjoy!

Hello everyone, my name is Tynan and I’m currently working as a co-op student with Roseneath Theatre Company for the first half of the school year.  I enjoy theatre and drama and have loved them for most of my life.  I love making other people laugh and cheering my friends up.

Tynan filling in for one of the actors while we were working on projection ideas for Chris Craddock’s Champion.

In the past year I’ve been given many opportunities to show myself off on a stage, to make people laugh, or gasp, or otherwise genuinely react.  I was in a production of West Side Story, participated in the Sears Ontario Drama Festival, and had the incredible fortune to be invited to a specialized drama course at the brand new Éclat School of Performing Arts this past summer, where I was able to work with many people already established in the industry. Through all these performances, I kept wondering how all the behind-the-scenes aspects of acting worked.  From my courses and experiences I knew roughly how being a member of a tech crew worked, but I was never able to truly experience these or the more managerial aspects of theatre.

This is what led me to applying for a placement with Roseneath—I figured that working with the managers and directors behind the scenes would give me a better view of how the entire theatre/acting industry works. I’ve done all sorts of things as part of this placement, such as entering invoices into a database, helping with hotels for tours, working on the Wrecked set, and even helping to workshop Champion, which we’ve just started working on. As you can see, it promises to be a very interesting show!

Testing out some cool silhouettes for Champion.

I’ve been here for a month and a half now, and I couldn’t think of a better placement for me.  I really enjoy helping my co-workers out with whatever they need, whenever they need it, and thanks to them I have a much better understanding of how the theatre industry works now!