Month: April 2014


Renny DeGroot – Family Business

On April 12th Renny DeGroot held a launch party for her novel Family Business at Fromagerie Elgin in Sudbury, Ontario.

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Description from Renny’s website:

Set in the Netherlands against the backdrop of the Great Depression and through World War II, Family Business follows the story of Agatha Meijer and her sons, André and Johan, as they build their textile business, a business Agatha is determined her sons will carry on, regardless of their own desires.

Family tension comes to a head when the boys each take a stand, sending all their lives spinning in directions none of them would have ever anticipated, and making each of them question the true meaning of loyalty, love, and freedom.

The event was well attended and Renny was on hand to read from her novel and sign copies. Below are a few pictures from the event. If you want more information about the book or to order one, please visit Renny’s web site here

Book Launch Photos: Lisa Coleman-Brown

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Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts – May 1st, 2014

Eight local artists will be celebrated at the inaugural Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts this Thursday May 1st 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Laurentian School of Architecture.

Poet Daniel Aubin, playwright Mathew Heiti, musician Alexandra Lee and choreographer/dancer Lauren Pero have been shortlisted for the Sudbury Arts Council Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist.

The CN Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Arts will be presented at the event as well. Shortlisted for this aware are musician/producer Dan Bédard, composer Robert Lemay, musician/actor/broadcaster Stef Paquette and visual artist Heather Topp.

Tickets for the event are $50 and are available at Artists on Elgin or through Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario by visiting their website at www.letno.ca/billetterie or calling 705-525-5606, ext. 4 or, or through any of the Creative Consortium organizations.

PlaySmelter 2014 – New Play Festival Hits Sudbury Next Week!

PlaySmelter_PosterPlaySmelter 2014 full releaseMatthew Heiti, Playwright-in-Residence at the Sudbury Theatre Centre and the man behind the very successful Playwright’s Junction, forwarded the following:

 

Click here for PlaySmelter 2014 full release

Sudbury, ON – From May 6– 10, four new plays will be given their first readings in front of a live audience as part of PlaySmelter, at the Jubilee Centre. Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Colleen Murphy will join local writers Karen Thistle, Jenny Hazelton, Jesse Brady and North Bay native Kristin Shepherd in this initiative, produced by Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. The series, now in its second year, offers the rare opportunity for an audience to get their hands dirty by participating in the development of these important works-in-progress. All readings feature performances by local actors, and will be followed by lively discussions, accompanied by delicious offerings from new Sudbury vegetarian/vegan hotspot, The HeartBeet Café.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTSplaysmelter.ca

Tuesday, May 6th – Festival Kick-off – Playwrights’ Cabaret, a reading by Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Colleen Murphy.

Wednesday, May 7th – The Intermediaries by Karen Thistle. A young woman, facing the pressures of high school and growing pains, is entrusted with the care of the magical beings that inhabit Bell Park.

Thursday, May 8th – Dead Pan Land by Jenny Hazelton. Two people are drawn magnetically together. A riveting piece of physical theatre about the adventure of breaking free from the mundane day-to-day routine.

Friday, May 9th – Hope Op by Kristin Shepherd. A hilarious and poignant look at ageing. In their daily yoga class, four women plan a hostile takeover of a supermarket.

Saturday, May 10th – The Ballad of the Locked Out Gang by Jesse Brady. Mired in a long and bitter strike, a group of miners plot a daring gold heist.

All readings begin at 7:00pm at the Jubilee Centre (195 Applegrove). Admission to each evening is Pay-What-You-Can (suggested minimum $10).

The Festival will also feature Development Sessions for budding writers. During the afternoon of May 10th, from 2pm-6pm, instructor-led discussions will be offered on a variety of theatre creation hot-topics. Space in these intensives is limited, so please contact Matthew Heiti, at matthew@patthedog.org for more information.

In just its second year, PlaySmelter is a grassroots festival that is getting attention from outside the city. In addition to the funders from the pilot year (including Ontario Trillium Foundation) who remain committed Pat the Dog can boast new and increased funding from Canada Council ($15,000), OAC Northern Arts ($12,500), Access Copyright Foundation ($7500). Supported by local partnerships with The Days Inn, The HeartBeet Café and STC, the Festival is quickly growing. “We are thrilled that these are both provincial and national funders,” says Pat the Dog’s Artistic Director Lisa O’Connell. “It is proof of the value of local art being created here in Sudbury.”

All dollars raised for PlaySmelter stay in Sudbury. This year, the Festival will hire more than 30 local Arts and Culture workers over the course of a month, and all are compensated based on professional union rates. Many of the writers have gained experience through the Playwrights’ Junction workshop at the Sudbury Theatre Centre. Several of the writers featured at PlaySmelter have gone on to be professionally workshopped, and one of last year’s scripts, Blind Nickel Pig, by Lara Bradley, will received its premiere professional production by Sudbury’s Encore Theatre Company.

Pat the Dog Theatre Creation www.patthedog.org is dedicated to the support and advocacy of playwrights and their plays, and is the only playwright development centre in Ontario open to both established and emerging artists. Pat the Dog has more than 300 members across Ontario and is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. For the past two years, PTD has been working to develop and promote Sudbury playwrights.

Writing Exercise/Prompt

We here at the Guild try to encourage each other to write whenever possible. To that end we issue prompts once a year. These can be items — I wrote a funny story about demon babies and witches based on a such a prompt (a baby soother) — photographs, snatches of dialogue, or even randomly selected words/phrases. At our March 27th meeting (rescheduled to April 3rd) I offered the following exercise:

 

Gene Roddenbery, the creator of Star Trek, didn’t start out as a writer. He was a police officer for years before deciding that television was his true calling. Not having a lot of money or free time he couldn’t afford classes in writing so he taught himself using a simple trick — he watched TV. First he would watch with the sound off and try to write dialogue to fit the action. Then he would sit with his back to the TV and write action to the dialogue he heard. In that spirit I ask you to think of a favourite movie and write part of it (the opening, a favourite scene, etc.) in prose. Don’t mention what movie it is and see if we can guess the title just from the brief (500 word) sample. Below is an example I wrote many years ago — it’s a bit rough, but conveys the opening shot of one of my favourite movies (hint: it stars Richard Pryor, John Candy, and Hume Cronin).

 

The sun gaped like open wound in the sky. Bloated and sickly it hung against the washed out blue background. A blue only matched by overused urinal cakes, with not a porcelain white cloud in sight. What little warmth the gaseous orb shed fell limp upon the mostly yellow, threadbare grass.

That stretch of dying growth, which only a true believer would call an “out-field,” worked hard to make the shitty dirt look magical and inviting. Like every other aspect of the old ballpark, it failed miserably.

Crooked chalk baselines marked the field’s wobbly diamond. The fence, a collection of mostly vertical boards that had been painted years ago with a colour now little more than a memory, threatened to collapse with every stale breath of wind.

There were two dugouts. Twin pits not even fit for an animal. Both moldy. Neither had a working fountain … just rusting pipes that groaned and dinged before releasing a trickle of thick, disgusting slime.

Each dugout was built around a long bench, roughly cut pine, little more than a squared off log. The bench was a place most of the players were intimately familiar with, having spent plenty of time sitting on it – or others like it – throughout their careers. Knots covered its length, explaining why it hadn’t been cut for timber. Small holes marked where various species of insects resided … those that weren’t busy afflicting the players.

Behind the dugouts lurked the fans. A surly lot, more interested in the overpriced beer than the laughably inept action on the field, they jeered the home team and tried to find a comfortable spot in the unforgiving steel and concrete stands. Built to house six thousand, it echoed pathetically with a few hundred in the seats. The public address system screeched like a scalded cat, thankfully failing to convey the announcer’s incoherent ramblings.

All things considered, it was a ballpark worthy of the city of Hakensack.

None of this was noticed by the scrawny figure standing alone by the scared rubber of the uneven mound. Sixty-two feet six inches from home plate, give or take a foot, he was oblivious to his surroundings. Standing in a much-mended uniform, complete with a more pink than red bull rampant on his breast, he existed in his own little world.

Montgomery Brewster was unaware of the curses rising from the half empty stands or the obvious disrepair of the stadium around him. In his mind he was back at Wrigley Field pitching for the Cubs. Living, once again, the high life of The Show.

Family Business by Renny DeGroot – Book Launch

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Family Business by Renny Degroot

Toadhollow Publishing invites you to the launch of Renny deGroot’s debut novel:

Family Business

When: 12th April (2 pm to 5 pm)

Where: Fromagerie Elgin

(5 Cedar St – enter on Elgin)

Please RSVP to:

toadhollowpublishing@toadhollowconsulting.ca