Registration for the 5th Annual Shakespeare Challenge is Officially OPEN!

CALLING ALL PROFESSIONALS with the desire to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth!

Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus are locked out of their home.

Toronto, the city of workToronto, take a break and play! Step out of your Winter routine and into the spotlight this Spring, and join the cast of Shakespeare in Action’s 5th annual Shakespeare Challenge!

About the Challenge:

For the past four years, community members from the corporate sector fearlessly took to the stage in productions of some of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays to raise funds for Shakespeare In Action’s educational programming. Their generosity has helped to foster literacy, enhance creativity and promote speech arts for youth at risk in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods.

Shakespeare Challenge 2016
In celebration of the 5th Shakespeare Challenge, this year we are looking for a group of 14 courageous community members to volunteer their time to rehearse and perform an abridged version of one of Shakespeare’s beloved comedies, chosen between A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing,and As You Like It, at the Historic Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.

SIA - Shakespeare Challenge - Pyramus & Thisbe Whisper


Requirements for Shakespeare Challenge participants: 

  • 8 rehearsals, a small amount time. Tuesday’s only from 6:30pm – 9:30pm, January 12th– April 5th, 2016.
  • 8 tickets, sold for $75 each to friends, family members, and colleagues to the final show.
  • Be professionally coached and directed by our renowned Artistic Director, Michael Kelly.
  • Socialize & meet new friends that help to create an exciting community event that supports youth.
  • Ensure youth from priority neighbourhoods get access to professional theatre arts programming.
  • Make a commitment to have fun, exercise your inner actor and enjoy the magic of Shakespeare.

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

Upon registration, each champion will make a tax deductible deposit of $100.00, and will commit to attending scheduled rehearsals, and selling a minimum of 8 tickets to the final performance on April 6, 2015.

To register, click on the Register Now button below!

The deadline to register is December 18, 2015.
Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Eventbrite - The Shakespeare Challenge 2016- Performer Registration


For more information  on rehearsals and other ways to get involved, please visit our website!

The Songs of Shakespeare’s Plays

One of my favourite aspects of movies, television, and plays is music. I am always intrigued by the creative decision to include music, whether it be to create a mood or to comment on a specific situation. Why was a particular song chosen? How does it tie in to the plot? Why is the song played at that particular moment?

Shakespeare’s plays are no different. Not only did Shakespeare make reference to music numerous times in his works, he also wrote songs in to his plays! One such example is in The Tempest, when Ariel sings while helping Prospero with his attire.

Where the bee sucks. there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough
(Act V, Scene I)

It isn’t a wonder that Shakespeare incorporated music in his works since music played a critical role in the Elizabethan era. Queen Elizabeth’s appreciation for the arts is hugely influential in the development and emergence of music and dance as popular forms of entertainment. With the number of songs written into Shakespeare’s works, I am left to wonder if Shakespeare originated what we now call musicals?

With that thought, I leave you with an interpretation of one Shakespeare’s songs. Enjoy!

Where the Bee Sucks

Wordy Wednesday- Pomp and Circumstance

“Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”

The phrase may seem familiar to you from the musical piece “Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches, Op. 39” by Sir Edward Elgar, often heard at graduation ceremonies.Given these two contexts, one may be able to deduce that the meaning hasn’t changed too drastically since Shakespeare’s time. Pomp is derived from the Greek word “pompa” meaning procession, and is used to describe something of “magnificence and splendor”. (Pomp, used in its negative form, describes “an ostentatious display of wealth or ceremony” lending the adjective “pompous”, which originally meant simply “characterized by pomp” but now means “self-important or arrogant.”) Circumstance, in this phrase, is used in its singular form, and means “the ‘ado’ made about anything; formality, ceremony, about any important event or action”. We commonly use the plural form “circumstances” in a similar way to describe “a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action”.
The phrase “pomp and circumstance” thus means a magnificent display with surrounding fuss and/or importance. I think graduation ceremonies capture the essence of this phrase quite well. The “pomp” is the ceremony itself of graduates being celebrated, and the circumstance is demonstrated by those attending the event to witness and celebrate the achievements of the graduates, many of whom take photos and videos to commemorate the event.

Winter is Coming

I’ve been thinking a lot about winter lately. There are several reasons for this, but it’s mostly because Winter snuck up on me a week ago like a thief in the night and stole all my warmth away. You see, I’m a recent transplant to Toronto from the West Coast, so this business of the thermometer dropping to sub-zero temperatures just as soon as you’ve packed away your Hallowe’en decorations is new to me, and I don’t quite know how to cope!
“A sad tale’s best for winter,” says young Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale. These words happen to be true in the case of poor Mamillius, but in general I have to disagree. Winter is a time to discover warmth and cheer in unexpected places, which is why I recommend that you combat the winter blues by cosying up with a warm mug of something-or-other and watching (/reading)…wait for it…The Winter’s Tale.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. The Winter’s Tale often gets the cold shoulder (har har) from theatre companies or your high school English teacher, who brush it off as a “Problem Play.” But <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>The Winter’s Tale is and always will be one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise. The dark realism of the jealousy that destroys a marriage, a friendship, and a life in the play’s first half is beautifully counterpoised by the selfless love that restores all three in the second half. It really warms the cockles of the heart.
Still don’t believe me? Let this quirky (and only slightly creepy) stop-motion animation version produced by BBC change your mind!

Tangled Web Theatre Presents “Handle With Care” @ FringeKids!

Written by Bonnie Thomson, featuring Helen Juvonen, Tyler Seguin, and Bonnie Thomson

Written by Bonnie Thomson,
featuring Helen Juvonen, Tyler Seguin,
and Bonnie Thomson


On a warm summer day three friends discover a mysterious box in the forest.

“I have an idea,” says Tyler.

“Uh oh,” says Helen.

“Oh no!” says Bonnie.

“Let’s open it!” says Tyler.

“It might be dangerous.”

“We could get in trouble.”

Tyler opens it anyway.



Bonnie Thomson – Production Manager for Shakespeare in Action in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons – has a new venture.  She, Helen Juvonen, and Tyler Seguin, have formed Tangled Web Theatre, making its FringeKids debut with Handle With Care.

Handle With Care explores environmental themes through humour, play, and various styles of puppetry. The five vignettes make use of tabletop, rod, and shadow puppets; as well as object manipulation, recycled materials, and found items.  The story encourages positive ways of interacting with the environment and features a charming forest Troll (critical for any kids’ show).  It’s perfect for families and the summer holidays.



Wednesday, July 10 – 6pm
Thursday, July 11 – 3:45pm
Saturday, July 13 – 1pm
Sunday, July 14 – 6:45pm

Palmerston Library Theatre, 560 Palmerston Avenue
$5 for children 12 and under. For tickets, click here.

Tangled Web Theatre website – click here.
Tangled Web Theatre Facebook – click here.
To read a Mooney on Theatre review, click here.

Wordy Wednesday – “High time”

Here’s another Wordy Wednesday about time. I can’t really pinpoint why I enjoy discussing the subject. The entire thing confounds and confuses, what with its many concepts regarding relativity, linearity, chronology etc… And yet I’m still drawn to it. Right then, High Time – synonymous with ‘about time’. It is a phrase that refers to the best or latest time for something to happen. It can also mean that something is overdue and should be done right away. Grammatically speaking, the phrase is often paired with a subjunctive verb in the past tense. While it refers to the past, it is really mentioning the present moment the speaker is talking in.

The phrase is found in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, III. ii (1590s):

There’s none but witches do inhabit here;
And therefore ’tis high time that I were hence.
She that doth call me husband, even my soul
Doth for a wife abhor. But her fair sister,
Possess’d with such a gentle sovereign grace,
Of such enchanting presence and discourse,
Hath almost made me traitor to myself:
But, lest myself be guilty to self-wrong,
I’ll stop mine ears against the mermaid’s song.

The phrase’s exact definition varies with the context it is placed in. In The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus of Syracuse speaks of his desire to leave Ephesus, a place filled with ‘witches’ and other women who claim him and Dromio as their husbands. Antipholous could’ve just said “tis time that I were hence”, but “tis high time that I were hence” has a greater sense of immediacy to it.

As in the case above, ‘high time’ is often used to voice a strong opinion. It is a marvellous way to complain about something or someone, with just the right amount of subtleness. Take for example, the ever-pressing suburban annoyance of lawn mowing… ‘It’s high time you mowed the lawn. The grass won’t cut itself’.

Literary uses of the phrase can be found in a variety of sources, such as Tolkien: “It was now past mid-day, and they felt it was high time for lunch” (The Fellowship of the Ring), and Dickens: “…very few words were spoken; and everybody seemd to eat his utmost in self-defence, as if a famine were expected to set in before breakfast time to-morrow morning, and it had become high time to assert the first law of nature” (Martin Chuzzlewit).

And with that, it’s high time I ended this blog entry.

See you on Friday!
– Vineeta

Monday Mystery – Shakespeare word game!

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to this week’s round of Monday Mystery. Fill in the missing letters from the following Shakespeare quotes:

  1. _a_ _  is  _oul…
  2. _ _he_l_   (a play)
  3. A d_ _h fit for the gods.

Once you’ve figured out the letters, unscramble them to reveal a famous Shakespeare text!
(Hint: it’s two words long)

Romeo and Juliet- Fall 2010 Preview

Here are some photos from our Fall 2010 mainstage production of Romeo and Juliet!

In this busy first scene of the play, the Capulets and Montagues fight in the town square.

Juliet (Bahareh Yaraghi) and Romeo (Kaleb Alexander) on the famous balcony.

Lady Capulet (Catherine McNally) and Juliet (Bahareh Yaraghi) have a mother-daughter moment.

A Capulet fighter (Norah Smith, far left) and Benvolio (Marcel Stewart, far right) look on as Tybalt (Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, left) and Mercutio (Ryan Field, right) taunt each other.

In this final scene from the play, the Nurse (Nicole Robert, far left) looks on as Capulet (Clyde Whitham), Lady Capulet (Catherine McNally) and Montague (Richard Stewart) mourn the deaths of their children Romeo (Kaleb Alexander) and Juliet (Bahareh Yaraghi). On the other side of the stage, the Friar (Peter Smith), the watchman (Marcel Stewart) and the Prince (Andy Trithardt) stand over Paris’ (Joe Bucci) dead body.

The lovely and talented cast all together with our director and fearless leader Michael Kelly!

For more of these great photos, please visit our Facebook profile, and visit our YouTube channel to see video from the performance! Photo credit goes to Joel Charlebois.


By: Kathleen