Canadian Theatre

October Artist Feature- Kristian Hansen


Meet Kristiaan Hansen, one our assistant directors for Shakespeare Kids and Teen Camps this summer. He is back in the thick of things up at York University finishing his bachelors for the year and we wish him the best!

Q & A

What interests you in a 400 year old text?:

The challenge of finding my own voice, as well as finding new life, new meaning, and a new way to tell the story!

What is your approach to acting?

The thing is to BE there, be breathing, and be ready to play like a kid again!

Any performances/actors/personal experiences that influence you as an actor?

Patrick McManus in Peter Hinton’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’ last summer at the Shaw Festival! Patrick’s openness and playfulness in the moment made the work so natural and beautiful to watch! I would love to work with him one day.

Why Shakespeare in Action?

I previously had the chance to work with Michael Kelly during our Shakespeare module at York last year, so I’d heard quite a bit about the company! In addition to that, I’ve always loved working with children, and wanted to see how a teaching role would broaden my horizons as an actor!

What is your favourite Shakespeare film adaptation?

My favourite film adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays is Kenneth Branagh’s version of ‘Hamlet’!

May Feature Artist – Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen is one of SIA’s shining stars. Fresh off of our spring tour of Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop. Chris is always full of energy, jokes and smiles when he comes to our office. We are so pleased Chris is our May 2016 Feature Artist! Check out our personal interview with him below.

1.What is your favourite Shakespearean play?

My favourite Shakespearean play hands down has to be Julius Caesar. I love the development of the characters in this play, and although it is based on a true story, I feel Shakespeare really makes it a dynamic and enriched piece, through his poetry. The story takes its audience on a journey through treacherous war, and haunting images of what appears to be an Armageddon in the streets, daunting poltergeists of a man once thought to have the lifeblood of a deity, and so on. It is thrilling throughout, and the complete transformation that some characters, like Brutus and Antony, go through is extremely compelling to read, to witness, and to be a part of.

2.When did you start working with SIA?

I first started working with SIA in late October 2015. I had just finished working with Canadian Stage in their annual production of Shakespeare in High Park, and was contacted by Michael Kelly to join SIA and work through his company to make Shakespeare less intimidating, and more of an alluring and captivating work of art, for the youth.

3. Do you have an adaptation of Shakespeare that you love?

An adaptation of Shakespeare that I love would have to be The Lion King. But, a close second is She’s The Man. The Lion King comes in first because it depicts the timeless tale of Hamlet, in such a relatable and entertaining way for all members of the family, which is what Shakespeare did with his plays.

4. Do you have any dream roles you haven’t had the chance to play?

I have many dream roles I haven’t had the chance to play yet, but if I had to narrow it down to one, I would have to say Macbeth. I think that Macbeth is such an engaging character, and his story is one so astonishing that you can’t help but be compelled by it.

5.What drew you to becoming an actor in the first place?

I have always had a love for entertaining people, but it wasn’t until I got to high school when a drama teacher of mine, Robert Hamilton, convinced me that I had a gift in me that needed to be shared. He’s been a constant inspiration throughout my career.

6. What was your favourite moment working with youth?

I had a lot of great times working with youth through SIA, but my favourite moment hands down would have to be when I went to the Peel Alternative School North to do a Rap Workshop for the students. In all the time I’ve been with SIA, and through all of the workshops I’ve done, there has never been a class of students that have been so engaged and willing to participate than with the students at Peel Alternative School North. I woke up feeling a bit nervous because of how long it had been since I’d taught a Rap workshop, but I was blown away by how excited and engaged the students all were.

7. What are you currently working on?

I am excited to announce that I’ll be joining the Blyth Festival for their production of Mark Crawford’s new play, The Birds and The Bees, as the character Ben. I’m elated to be working with such awesome individuals on such engrossing new Canadian work. I haven’t ever been to the town before or away from home for so long, so I’m really looking forward to this experience.

– – – –

      Christopher Allen is a recent graduate of York University’s Acting Conservatory. Recent theatre credits: Claudius/Hamlet in Hamletmachine (York University), Rossiter/Shaw/Conti in The Ecstatic Bible (York University), The Negro Resurrectionist in Venus (York University), Cinna/Flavius in Julius Caesar (Canadian Stage), Balthasar/Courtesan in The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare in Action), Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in Action), Lee Boyd Malvo in Call me God (York University). Upcoming: Ben in The Birds and the Bees (Blyth Festival). He couldn’t be more thankful for the many opportunities he’s been granted thus far.

Special thanks; Lauren Allen, Harold Allen & Celia Aloma

Young Company For Teens Summer Camp

Spaces filling up for our ‪#‎YoungCompanyForTeens‬ Summer Camp! Do you or your teen have a passion for theatre? Interested in how a play gets produced and wants to gain skills in film and acting?!

Our theatre intensive provides hands on experience in film, acting and production. Stay tuned for our announcement on which Shakespeare play we will be working on this year! Which play would you love to produce and perform?



JOB POSTING: Summer Camp Assistants

Job Description

Shakespeare in Action, with the support of Service Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs grant, is looking to hire talented, enthusiastic staff for our 2016 Kid’s and Teen Summer Camps.

Dates: June 29th – July 29th
Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Salary: $2160 total


The successful candidate will:

  • Be above 19 years of age
  • Be a full-time college or university student in the previous year
  • Be returning to full-time studies in the fall
  • Be able to commit to the full term of employment
  • Have some experience working in leadership roles with youth aged 7-17
  • Have skills and training relevant to the role for which they are applying (see Roles Available below)
  • Be able to provide a Vulnerable Sector Police Reference Check

Additional assets include:

  • A passion for theatre arts and education
  • First Aid training
  • Ability to think on their feet
  • Ability to have fun while working hard

Additional Info:

Roles Available:
Assistant Director: Kid’s Camp

  • Will work with youth aged 7-12
  • Will provide some administrative assistance
  • Will work with the Kid’s Camp Director for the planning and running of rehearsals and other activities

Assistant Director: Teen Camp

  • Will work with youth aged 13-17
  • Will provide some administrative assistance
  • Will work with the Kid’s Camp Director for the planning and running of rehearsals and other activities

Stage Manager

  • Will assist with the rehearsal and performance of both the Kid’s Camp and Teen Camp shows
  • Will provide some administrative assistance

Film & Media Assistant

  • Will have skills in still photography and film
  • Will be able to work with Final Cut Pro
  • May be asked to work with Lightroom, Photoshop, Q-Lab, or Logic
  • Will provide some administrative assistance

Apply Here

SIA ‘Artist Feature’ April 2016

We’ve decided to start doing an “Artist Feature” segment on SIA’s blog once a month to highlight the actors working with SIA and the good works that they are doing for the community.

Neil Silcox is SIA’s Managing Producer. Neil has extensive training in theatre and education. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing with and Emphasis on Education from York University. Neil has worked as an actor and director for more than 10 years, working with companies like Humber River Shakespeare, Hart House Theatre, the U.C. Follies, and the Toronto Youth Theatre. Neil served as Artistic Director for the Toronto Youth Theatre from 2011-2013. Neil has worked with Sheridan College, Centennial College and York University and teaches and coaches private students.

We sat down with Neil to get an deeper insight on his passion for acting, his love for Shakespeare and what has brought him to pursue youth education.

What attracted you to wanting to work with youth in the community?

I love the energy and vitality that comes from working with young people in the theatre. All things are possible when you’re working with them, and there is an almost unlimited amount of creativity and problem solving. I’m also very keen to help foster in young people an understanding of the importance of live performance in order to foster the future creators and consumers of theatre.

What is your acting philosophy or method?

My acting philosophy is built around two quotations from the amazing Jim Henson. The first is “Simple is Good”. Although complexity and virtuosity are important there is something very powerful about simplicity in the theatre. A simple thing done clearly and cleanly has the ability to touch something deep within us. The second quotation is “Listening is the first step and the last step.” This applies just as much to performing a scene or a monologue—where one must always be listening to one’s scene partner—but it’s also very important in the creative process, where if you don’t really listen to the other people on the team the whole process can fall apart quickly.

What is your favourite Shakespearean Play?

My favourite Shakespearean play is Romeo & Juliet. I love Shakespeare’s nuanced understanding of the ups and downs that come with love, and the ways that romantic love can cause great pain alongside great joy.

What advice would you have for a youth or even an adult who wants to try and break into acting and the industry?

It’s important to train. Talent can carry you a certain amount, but having a real understanding of how the craft of acting and making theatre works is important. You don’t necessarily have to go to school for theatre, but there’s no other way to get as much experience in as short an amount of time. If you do go to school, find the one that’s right for you. Meet with students and teachers and talk about their priorities and what they believe.

Who are your favourite playwrights other than Shakespeare?

I love Tennessee Williams, Suzan-Lori Parks, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett

What Shakespearean roles have you played?
I’ve played Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Edgar in King Lear, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Oliver in As You Like It, Antipholus of Ephesus in Comedy of Errors, Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Buckingham in Richard III.

Which was your favourite?

I really loved playing Edgar in Lear, he has amazing growth and discoveries throughout the play (and he gets to be the king in the end!)

Do you have any dream roles you haven’t had the chance to play?

I always wanted to play Romeo, but I think my ship has sailed. At 35 I’m just too old for the role.

Celebrate Black History Month- Black Actors in Shakespearean Roles

We are currently in the middle of celebrating Black History Month, and all of the important contributions that black men and women have made to the world. We wanted to share with you a list of some of our favourite actors who have tackled Shakespeare over the years. Here are just a few of the actors that we admire (we know this list could be much longer, so please share your favourites with us!)


Ira Aldridge


Ira Aldridge was an American-born Shakespearean actor who had a lengthy acting career, playing some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, including Macbeth and Richard III. Most notably, in the 1820’s, he was the first black Shakespearean actor to play Othello, a black character. Met with much resistance, Aldridge continued to perform in the role, touring to many places across Europe, receiving acclaim for his acting. If you would like to learn more about Ira Aldridge’s life and career, you can check out his page on or Wikipedia!


Condola Rashad


Condola Rashad is an American-born Broadway actress who has recently risen to fame on the stage. In 2013, she appeared in the Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet, the first Broadway production of the play since 1977. Condola starred as one of the titular characters, opposite Orlando Bloom as Romeo. The show was a modernization of the play, featuring an all white Montague family and an all black Capulet family. We look forward to seeing what projects she takes on next! To read more about Condola, you can visit her Wikipedia page!


James Earl Jones


James Earl Jones is an American Actor who is famous for portraying the voices of some of the most iconic film characters in recent memory, which I am sure I will not need to tell you! He is also a veteran of the stage, acting in Shakespearean productions since the 1950’s. Some of his most notable roles include Othello in Othello, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. To read more about James and his lengthy career, you can visit his page on!


Noma Dumezweni


Noma Dumezweni was born in Swaziland, and is an Olivier Award winning British actress. Her name has made headlines recently after the announcement was made that she would be portraying Hermione Granger in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child plays (which we are super excited for, by the way!) Noma has also made many appearances on stage with The Royal Shakespeare Company since the late 90’s, including playing Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, and Calphurnia in Julius Caesar. To read more about Noma’s career, check our her Wikipedia page!


The Cast of Voodoo Macbeth

1,000 Views from 100 Years

Voodoo Macbeth was a 1936 production of Macbeth that took place on a fictional Caribbean island instead of Scotland. Directed by a young Orson Welles, this production featured a cast of all black actors, which was unheard of at the time. The show ended up being a huge box office success, and has had several revivals over the years. To read more about the show, visit the Voodoo Macbeth Wikipedia page!


Paul Robeson


Paul Robeson was an American born actor, and was the first black actor of the 20th century to portray Othello on Broadway, and the first in Britain since Ira Aldridge played the role in the previous century. The Broadway production of Othello is still to this day one of the longest running Shakespearean productions to ever be on Broadway, running for nearly 300 performances!


Marcel Stewart


Marcel Stewart is one of Shakespeare in Action’s very own! He has appeared in our most recent productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, and is one of the brilliant minds behind our popular Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop tour! Check out a video of him performing below!









Shakespeare in Action is going on tour!

This spring, Shakespeare in Action is excited to hit the road and travel across Ontario, performing two exciting shows for students of all ages! To have one of these fantastic shows come to your school, please visit our website, call us at (416) 703-4881, or e-mail!


Suddenly Shakespeare– April 4-15, 2016

This hour long performance brings four of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays –Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth and Twelfth Night – to life for children ages five to seventy-five. Featuring music, dance, and physical comedy, the performance is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for young audiences.

Dates: April 4-15, 2016
Duration: 60 minutes.
Price: $675 + HST (BOOK 2 SHOWS AND SAVE!)
Location: Your classroom, school theatre or gymnasium.
Maximum 250 students per session. Ideal for Grades 1-8!

For more information on Suddenly Shakespeare, visit our website!


Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop– April 18- May 6, 2016

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themeslanguage and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism, and both deal with what it is to be human.

Dates: April 18- May 6, 2016
Duration: 75 minutes.
Price: $675 + HST (BOOK 2 SHOWS AND SAVE!)
Location: Your classroom, school theatre or gymnasium.
Maximum 250 students per session. Ideal for grades 6-12

For more information on Suddenly Shakespeare, visit our website!

thelivingproject Presents: The Living

Our friends at thelivingproject are working on a great new show for the SummerWorks Festival. Check out some info about the show!FB-ad-1

Governor-General Award winner Colleen Wagner (The Monument) brings audiences a stirring new play about women on the frontlines of violence, of forgiveness and of redemption.  Directed byInes Buchli, designed by Shawn Kerwin (set and costumes), Elizabeth Asselstine (lighting) and James McKernan (sound), and featuring a cast of Toronto indie theatre stalwarts, this Summerworks show promises to be a moving and unforgettable experience.

The Living, a documentary play, inspired by the actual stories of women and girls who survived trauma in post-conflict zones, examines the lives of victims and perpetrators, post-genocide, who live side-by-side in government-issued housing, and NGO-funded campaigns to encourage reconciliation in hopes that the impossible act of forgiveness can end the cycle of revenge.

Jacqui and Henry have known each other since primary school. Henry rescued Jacqui during the genocide but was part of the mob that killed her father and brother. Their relationship challenges the vengeful hearts of the community. Henry and Jacqui struggle to move on by reimagining idyllic memories of their childhood despite the war’s aftermath: AIDS, perpetrators returning from prison facing their own guilty consciences, husbands and wives who barely recognize each other, ghosts of the dead, revenge festering in hearts and minds, imposed notions of reconciliation, and a crisis of faith. And in the middle: impossible love, and a radical approach to reconciliation – transformational justice.

Written by Colleen Wagner
Directed by Ines Buchli
Featuring Miriam Fernandes, Richard Lee, Francoise Balthazar, Kaleb Alexander,
Beryl Bain, Stephanie Jung, Wayne Ward, Gabrielle Graham, Anita La Selva, and Cindy Block

Set and Costumes by Shawn Kerwin, Lighting by Elizabeth Asselstine, Sound by James McKernan, Movement by Erika Batdorf.
Assistant Directed by Lucy Powis
Stage Managed by Cole Vincent

Produced by

The Theatre Centre BMO Incubator

1115 Queen St. West Toronto, ON

Friday August 7th                     7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Saturday August 8th                2:45 PM – 4:15 PM

Sunday August 9th                  2:15 PM – 3:45 PM

Monday August 10th                10:00 PM – 11:30 PM

Wednesday August 12th          9:45 PM – 11:15 PM

Thursday August 13th              7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Saturday August 15th             2:45 PM – 4:15 PM

Sunday August 16th                5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Single Performance: $15, 3-Show Pass: $40, 7-Show Pass: $85, 10-Show Pass: $120Taster Pack: $55

Tickets available at the door 1 hour before show time or Advance tickets are available up until 3 hours before show time and can be purchased as follows:

  • In person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 4-16 from 10am-7pm
  • By phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm
  • Available online through Ticketwise

Call for submissions from Canadian directors for 2016- The Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction

Our friends at the Stratford Festival are offering a unique opportunity to emerging theatre directors across Canada!

This call is for theatre directors, from emerging to mid-stage in their career. Their primary task will be assistant directing one of the plays in the Festival’s 2016 season. The Festival’s 2016 season begins in February with the final openings in August. Assistant directors are usually required for 8-16 weeks within that timeframe. Our 2016 playbill is available here.

Participants will join existing classes in text, voice, movement and other disciplines regularly held by the Festival’s Theatre Training Department as well as specialized classes exploring the text, vocal and physical skills for use in the rehearsal process of a classical play. Selected participants will be given the opportunity to choose a piece of classical text for the Directors’ Workshop Presentation slated for the fall of 2016.

Details on the workshop, and how to apply can be found here! But hurry- the deadline to apply is August 10, 2015!

Shakespeare in Action- 2015 at a glance!

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful and restful holiday season. The Shakespeare in Action team is officially back to work today, and we cannot wait to get started on all of the exciting projects we have lined up for the first half of 2015! Here is a sneak peak at what’s coming up!


TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club

Winter Session- Saturdays, January 31 – March 7, 2015

  • free readers’ theatre program for kids ages 7-12!
  • Explore plays such as The Comedy of ErrorsMacbeth, A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo & JulietThe Tempest, and Twelfth Night.
  • Read aloud and play drama games and meet other Shakespeare fans!
  • Led by professional actors and educators.
  • Visit  the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club page for locations and details!

O - Shakespeare in Action - Shakespeare Challenge - 2013 - The Island is Full of Noises

The Shakespeare Challenge

March 25, 2015 at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

Purchase a ticket for the Shakespeare Challenge Gala Fundraiser and join us for:

  • An abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errorsperformed by a cast of courageous community members! (We have opened new spots in the cast, and the deadline to register is January 9th! Find out how to register here.)
  • Food, drink, and live music following the show!
  • A live and silent auction of fabulous items and packages!
  • The chance to give youth in priority neighborhoods across Toronto access to the arts through our subsidized ticket program!


On the Mainstage: Hamlet

April 13-24, 2015

Our most recent production of Hamlet returns to the mainstage this Spring! This dreamlike production incorporates mask puppets and shadow play to create a visually rich and engaging show while staying true to Shakespeare’s text. Teen audiences will fall in love with our dark and brooding Hamlet as he perseveres to find the truth. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Visit our Hamlet page for prices and booking info!


On Tour: Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop

May 4- May 15, 2015

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themeslanguage and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism and both deal with what it is to be human.

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop brings alive the parallels between the world of the plays and their own contemporary experience. It’s the perfect complement to your in-class teaching of a specific play, in the beginning, in the middle or at the end. Visit our Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop page for booking info!

If you have any questions regarding our upcoming shows and events, please feel free to send us an e-mail, or call us at (416) 703-4881!