News

2021/22 SEASON AUDITIONS

on Monday, 16 March 2020. Posted in Latest News

March 26 & 27

AUDITION UPDATE 

Due to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we will no longer be holding live auditions. Instead, all those selected to audition will be given instructions on how to provide a video submission. Those who are selected, but unable to make a video selection, can be in contact with us and we’ll work together to come to a solution at a later date. Thank you for helping to keep each other safe.

What you are asked to prepare for the audition remains the same.

 

WHAT TO PREPARE:

Please prepare one monologue and one song totalling no more than 5 minutes.

HOW TO SUBMIT:

Please email your headshot and resume to braydon@catalysttheatre.ca with “SEASON AUDITION SUBMISSION” in the subject line. If selected you will be sent the video submission guidelines.

We’ve extended the submission deadline to Monday, March 25, 2020 at 5PM. If you have any questions about what you need to prepare, please email braydon@catalysttheatre.ca.

If you are interested and have auditioned for Catalyst Theatre within the last few years, we may not need to see you again, but please still express your interest.

 

*Artists who are members of the Canadian Actors Equity Association will be given audition priority. Catalyst Theatre is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and operates within the jurisdiction of the Canadian Theatre Agreement. Artists cast in any production, regardless of CAEA standing, will be engaged under a CTA contract.

 

 

4 Play – Cancelled due to COVID-19

on Friday, 13 March 2020. Posted in Latest News

For Immediate Release

With yesterday’s announcement by the Chief Medical Officer of Health that all events of 250 people or more should be cancelled, and in an effort to protect our audiences and artists, the board and staff of Catalyst Theatre have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s edition of Over the Edge With 4 Play.

Over the past few days, several of Catalyst’s key donors have contacted us to make their regular annual donation to 4 Play but have indicated that, with the spread of COVID-19, they will be unable to attend the event. For some of our immunocompromised donors the risk of exposure to the virus is literally a life-threatening risk they can’t afford to take. For others, it is out of a public health concern. We at Catalyst, want to take all possible measures to avoid contributing to the spread of COVID-19, and to do what we can to keep everyone in our community safe.

4 Play is a very important fundraiser for Catalyst. As a non-profit theatre we rely upon the support of our donors to make productions like The Invisible- Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare and 4 Play is the primary focus of our fundraising activity. We are hoping that we can count on you to join our board of directors and our donors, who’ve stepped forward to affirm their 2020 donation, and commit to making your annual donation to 4 Play this year. As always, all donations will receive a tax receipt. In lieu of this year’s event, we will be looking into other ways we can celebrate the generosity of our community of donors.

We’ll certainly miss sharing in the fun with you this year. In the meantime, we extend our wishes that you and all those you love stay healthy over the coming weeks.

Thank you for your support of Catalyst Theatre.

Review – The Invisible – Edmonton Journal

on Monday, 24 February 2020. Posted in Latest News

BY LIANE FAULDER, Feb 10, 2020

Review: The Invisible, Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare challenges stereotypes about women and war

Well before the show starts, The Invisible starts to pulse.

Audience members settling into their seats become aware of a deep rumble rolling through the Citadel’s Maclab Theatre, which has been reconfigured as a modified proscenium stage to create an intimate setting for this intense musical by Catalyst Theatre’s Jonathan Christenson.

It’s an unsettling sound, like a thunderstorm, or a volcanic eruption. The noise is the first hint of the dramatic tension that exists in The Invisible, which builds steadily throughout the two-hour performance.

That tension is wrought through great writing, staging and performance. Not only do the show’s seven actors achieve an exceptionally high standard, Christenson’s remarkable crew, including choreographer Laura Krewski, Brette Gerecke (who designed sets, lights, costumes and projections), and Matthew Skopyk (who contributed to the music and is responsible for the sound design) succeeds in nailing an often-ineffable, but ultimately magical combination of theatrical elements.

The Invisible, Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare, tells the story of six Allied agents who were dropped into France in the dying days of the Second World War. Their mission is to disrupt the German occupation through any means possible. The agents, all women, are unlikely heroes for their time. They are directed from London by a character named Evelyn Ash (Melissa MacPherson), who is based on a real-life individual, Vera Atkins, an assistant to the head of Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executives.

In The Invisible, Evelyn (who narrates the tale) recruits and trains the female spies, all of whom must ask the question of themselves: “What would you be ready to lay down your life for?”

The characters find answers in their own backstories. Jaqueline (Melanie Piatocha) thinks of her daughter and husband, who has already been killed by the enemy. Dorothy (Kristi Hansen) yearns to employ her considerable brains to serve her country. Betty (Amanda Trapp) is a Cree nurse who was raised in a residential school and knows what it’s like to be occupied.

Each has a particular skill set (from demolition to decoding) that’s key to the mission. But one of them, Anna (Marie Mahabal), is perceived as a weak link. The mission’s success may depend on Anna’s commitment to the cause, but she struggles with the cost of war.

Director Christenson wrote the script and the songs for The Invisible (which ran in both Fort McMurray and Calgary before arriving here). While the story is well-crafted, the power of The Invisible lies within its poetic and powerful score. Some of the songs feature the sentimental swell of the big band sound that’s forever connected with the war era. Others pieces are near-operatic in their pain and passion.

A live band of three musicians — Christina Cuglietta, Stephanie Urquhart (who plays a remarkable trombone) and Tatiana Zagorac — brings a thrilling immediacy to the performance.

The cast is tight, strong and versatile, with exceptional vocal performances by Tara Jackson (playing songstress Madeline with great style in a French cabaret-style number) and Mahabal, who moves the heart with her rendition of How Did I Get Here? Evelyn, too, shows a haunting self-doubt with one particularly moving tune.

“All these things I did, that can’t be undone. And yet I carry on,” sings Evelyn in a sentiment that transcends the particulars of this story, and stays in the imagination long after the show has ended.

There is a rare richness in The Invisible. There is virtually no set; chairs provide the only props for the show. But lighting, projections and a myriad of costume detail (I could hardly take my eyes off of Evelyn’s precisely knotted tie) add layers of context to the performance. It feels not only like an immensely entertaining musical, but a conversation about digging deep, and what matters.

Once again, Christenson’s tiny, multi-award winning theatre company —  which has toured the United Kingdom and the United States with hits such as Nevermore — has created a show that could hold its own in any theatre market. You’d be smart to catch it here.

The Inspiration behind The Invisible – Agents of Ungentlemanly Warefare

on Tuesday, 24 July 2018. Posted in Latest News

An Interview by Vertigo Theatre with Playwright Jonathan Christenson

We asked Jonathan Christenson about Catalyst Theatre’s upcoming production of THE INVISIBLE- AGENTS OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE. THE INVISIBLE will be premiering May 11- June 9 as the fifth show in our 2018/2019 season.

 

THE INVISIBLE – AGENTS OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE has its roots in real-life history, including Canadian Millionaire William Stephenson’s WW2 contributions to British Security in the fight agains the Nazis. How are you going about researching these stories, and what excites you about what you’ve learned so far?

 The first book I read was A Man Called Intrepid. It’s a biography of William Stephenson that was written in 1976 before people generally knew much about the Special Operations Executive (SOE) – the agency Churchill secretly set up to fight a covert war of espionage and sabotage in Europe during WWII. The book was originally considered a work of non-fiction, but over the years its veracity came into question and it was recently reclassified as fiction. Which is interesting because I imagine that in the world of espionage the truth can get very slippery. Anyway, I started there because Stephenson was this Canadian who had a huge impact on WWII and on the evolution of espionage during the last half of the 20th century. And I’d never heard of him. I’m interested in Canadian stories that have the potential to speak on a global level and I was struck by the international nature of this story. It had a significant Canadian connection, but it had equally strong ties to British, European and Asian history.

More than anything, though, I was interested in the women who were recruited by the SOE as secret agents. I had no idea that women played this particular role in WWII. And these women were fierce. They weren’t the agent/seductress sort of female spies that populate the work of writers like Ian Fleming. So, I got my hands on as many books as possible about them. There have actually been a lot of them written over the past two decades. And as I began reading these books, I also started to see the stories of these women cropping up more and more in popular culture. There seems to be a growing interest in them.

One of the women that I became most intrigued with was someone named Vera Atkins. A lot of people say she was the real-life inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypenny (much as many people say that William Stephenson was the inspiration for James Bond). Vera was very high up in F-Section – the branch of SOE that was dealing with agents in occupied France and she became very involved in the lives of the female agents. Before they set off on their missions, she was often the last person to see them.  At the end of the war, many of these agents were missing and no one knew what had happened to them. Vera made it her personal mission to go to Europe after the war and find out.  She spent months investigating and, if not for her, the stories of many of them may well have been lost forever.  I find Vera an endlessly intriguing character and she was the first to really take hold of my imagination.

THE INVISIBLE is titled as such because it refers to spies in the Second World War, but there’s possibly another meaning about this story being “hidden” by history, while other more famous aspects of the war are celebrated. Was it important to you to write an “untold” story? What excites you about being able to bring this to the stage?

 Yes, absolutely. As male agents were increasingly identified & targeted by the Nazis, female agents were recruited from around the world & trained at secret camps throughout the UK & Canada. Women, it was believed, could coordinate the resistance without being suspected, without being observed, without being detected.  Women could be invisible. We’re reimagining the stories of this international team of female agents through a 21st Century lens. Drawing on historical research, film noir, spy fiction, & graphic novels, we’re working on creating a genre-busting, multi-lingual, “film noir musical” for our times, a contemporary portrait of 7 extraordinary women who risked their lives to fight a dangerous war of sabotage, propaganda & espionage during WWII, only to find themselves betrayed by the very world they believed they were fighting for.

Catalyst and Vertigo previously collaborated on NEVERMORE, which went on to tour nationally and internationally, including a run Off-Broadway. What are you looking forward to when working with Vertigo again? What unique aspects do you find Vertigo brings to the table?

We had a great time working at Vertigo in 2011! The Vertigo audiences were fantastic – so supportive and enthusiastic about NEVERMORE. So, I’m definitely looking forward to sharing this new work with them! Also, Vertigo has a fantastic team! Artistic Director Craig Hall and Executive Director Rose Brow have been amazing! It’s not easy committing to something that only exists as a concept. It requires a lot of trust and confidence. It asks everyone involved to take a leap of faith. That’s not easy – stepping into the unknown – and even in the world of theatre, people can be reluctant to take that risk. But Craig and Rose never hesitated and I’ve really felt, from the very beginning, that we’re all in this together.  It’s been a real gift to begin a creative journey by such trust and support.

 

More Awards For Vigilante

on Thursday, 14 December 2017. Posted in Latest News

For Immediate Release

Internationally acclaimed CATALYST THEATRE, resident company in The Citadel’s Maclab Theatre, received the CAPITAL CRITICS AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION in Ottawa on Monday evening for its production of VIGILANTE.

VIGILANTE, which premiered at THE CITADEL THEATRE during the 14/15 season, is a riveting rock musical that tells the shocking story of Johannah Donnelly and her six dangerous yet devoted sons. Written, composed and directed by Catalyst’s Artistic Director Jonathan Christenson, VIGILANTE ran at the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE in the 897-seat Babs Asper theatre in April.

Jan Alexandra Smith, who plays the fierce Donnelly matriarch, also received the Capital Critics Award for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress. The National Arts Centre engagement of Vigilante was the final stop of a three-city tour that included a sold-out run at the 900-seat GRAND THEATRE in London, ON, and at PERSEPHONE THEATRE in Saskatoon, where it was nominated for 11 SATAwards, winning for Best Production, Best Performance in a Leading Role (Jan Alexandra Smith) and Best Set Design (Jonathan Christenson).

Upcoming from Catalyst at The Citadel Theatre is their presentation of the hit new musical ONEGIN, that’s been taking the country by storm. The Vancouver Arts Club production runs in the MACLAB THEATRE from January 17-28.

Events

Due to concerns over COVID-19, Catalyst’s board and staff have decided to cancel the event. Please read our official statement here

 

Despite this, we still need your support.

 

As a non-profit theatre we rely upon the support of our donors to make productions like The Invisible- Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare. We hope you will commit to making your annual donation to 4 Play this year. As always, all donations will receive a tax receipt.

 

 

Contact  Glenda to learn more. Or make a donation online through Canada Helps.

 

 

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