Digital Theatre in the Physical Theatre

I’ve been thinking for a bit about digital theatre, and how for the last two years the productions that theatre creators have been producing have been the most accessible they have ever been. Since the pandemic started and theatre moved online, plays have been available to people who normally couldn’t access them, either because of physical barriers, or even financial ones. They have allowed people who might not go to the theatre because getting there is too much trouble, or because the venue isn’t accessible. Or it has allowed people for whom the cost of a ticket has been prohibitive to be able to see theatre, possibly for the first time.

We’ve been able to enjoy productions from all over Canada and the world, which is something that we’ve never been able to do before, without travelling to attend in person, which is great! For most of our theatrical history, the Toronto theatre scene has been separated from the Edmonton scene, which is separated from the Saint John theatre scene, and so on. We haven’t been able to experience the amazing theatre taking place around the country, let alone the world. So digital productions have been a wonderful addition to our theatrical experiences, expanding our theatrical horizons.

As we move back into in-person theatre, I worry that we will lose this. I know that there are issues where Equity and ACTRA are concerned, and that’s something for them to work out, but in the indie world, it’s something that can be done, and I would argue should be done.

That means asking venues if they have a high-speed, dedicated internet connection that can be used to live stream. It means asking if they have a single-camera setup, or do they have a multi-camera option, and if they do, is there a live switcher and do they provide an operator? And it’s possible that the theatre you are looking at doesn’t have any of this, or maybe they don’t even know what you’re talking about! But these are important questions to be asking. If enough people ask about it, the venues will have to provide it.

If live-streaming isn’t an option, there’s still a way to broadcast your show using a simulated live option, where you record a performance, and then provide that recording as a scheduled live stream. Let’s say for example that you recorded your opening night performance. You could then use a service like or Streamyard, upload your video and schedule it to broadcast to youtube (for example). In this way, you could have a live re-broadcast of your selected performance streamed one or more times for an audience that can’t make to the venue. And using this method means that you can also have closed captioning available as well!

We have gained so much from sharing our productions, that it would be a shame to lose this connection and this newfound accessibility.’

I’d love to hear about your experiences with digital theatre, and what you think of the possibility of keeping this going as we return to in-person theatre. Tell me all about it in the comments.

Waiting For The Return

I have been thinking a lot lately about theatre. About being in an audience in a theatre, about performing in front of an audience. And I miss it. All of it. 

But as much as I miss it, I don’t want to rush back. We must make sure that re-opening is organized, and that audiences feel safe. And that’s the challenge. Because audiences are often crammed together, and it would not take much to make that audience uncomfortable. We haven’t been sitting in rooms close together for over a year, and so that’s something that we need to relearn. I imagine an audience packed into the theatre for the first time in almost 2 years, and as the lights begin to dim…someone begins to cough.

That used to be nothing to us. A smattering of coughs as the lights dim was just part of a night at the theatre. But now? I think it will be a while before our audiences are so nonchalant about a cough. 

So what does a full return to the theatre look like? Can we just throw open the doors and hope for the best? That’s probably not a great idea. Because we’ve been distancing for over a year, our audiences likely won’t be ready to sit shoulder to shoulder, for our audience’s comfort, we’ll probably have to ease them back into the theatre.

So how can theatres, operating at a reduced capacity, possibly thrive? Is theatre operated in this way a money-losing venture? Unless we embrace some of the technologies we’ve utilized during the pandemic, then yes.

A wise option for theatres would be installing cameras, investing in good internet, live stream performances, and offering a digital ticket. And we should continue to do this, even after theatres open to full capacity. There are lots of great reasons to offer digital tickets, such as being able to share our amazing theatre with the rest of the world (and with the rest of the country), as well as reducing the ableism inherent in requiring people to come to the theatre (many of which are not accessible spaces). 

There will be plenty of well-intentioned people who will declare that live-streamed theatre will be the death of theatre. But I don’t believe they are correct. We are drawn to gather together to be entertained. Radio, television, home video, and even streaming platforms did not kill the movies.  We are still drawn to go to the movies when we could wait to see it on video or streaming. But some films just have to be seen in the theatre, with other people to really experience.

Others will say that having watched a play in a live stream, no one will want to see it in person. And I am certain that’s not true. After all, we watch movies we love over and over. Not only do we listen to our favourite musicians over and over, but we will pay to see them perform live. To sing the very songs we listen to over and over. That’s why a digital ticket isn’t the death of theatre. Because many of the digital audience will see the show and then want to experience it in person. I saw Hamilton on Disney+, but I would choose to see it in person in a heartbeat. I watched The Grinning Man on Youtube, but I would absolutely see it again in person given the chance.

We have a road ahead of us for re-opening our theatres, and it may be a long one. But we have an opportunity to remake our theatres and our theatre experiences, to grow our potential audiences, and to remove barriers.

So much possibility.

Annual Navel Gaze 2018

As I say every year, I don’t do New Years resolutions. Instead, I take a look back at the past year and take stock of the things that happened, the things I accomplished, and then look a head to the new year and see what I want to accomplish.

Here’s a look back at things I accomplished in the past year.

  • I launched a podcast for introverts with my friend Jess McAuley. After attending a friend’s birthday and feeling awkward and foolish at not knowing how to interact with people, I spoke to fellow my introvert, Jess and together we launched “The Introvert’s Guide To…” in which we try and tackle a new issue each week and figure out how to navigate what seems like an introverts world.
  • I performed The Commandment at the Fundy and Halifax Fringe Festivals, received rave reviews, and was named Outstanding Solo Show at the Fundy Fringe.
  • My Theatre podcast Stageworthy crossed the 150 episode threshold.
  • I think I finally figured out how to finish the Christmas solo play (as yet untitled) that I’ve been working on for about three years.
  • I moved again (which I wasn’t happy about, but it worked out). My landlord sold the building, and I got one of those notices that says the new owner is moving into my apartment, so out I went. Apartment hunting in Toronto is a terrible experience, full of scammers and people over charging for closets. I hope I don’t have to do it again for a very long time. But I do have a bigger apartment, in a nicer neighbourhood, so I guess that’s a win.

On the other hand, while I’m super happy about this stuff, I have to admit that there’s some other stuff I’m not so happy about.

  • While I’m generally pretty content being an introvert, and staying home, I do feel like I’ve been isolating myself a bit. It’s all well and good to be a homebody, but not at the expense of close friendships.
  • I’ve also come to the realization that I have not been kind to myself this year. I have avoided a number of social engagements because “no one really likes me”, which is something I chalked up to introversion, but I have come to realize instead is a self-esteem thing (and I haven’t thought about self-esteem being an issue for me in a long time). So, I need to find ways to combat what my brain tells me, so that I isolate myself a little less.
  • I’m also not good at forgiving myself. An important step in recovering from a fuck up, is to be able to forgive yourself for making it. Which I have not been particularly awesome at.

So that’s the year that was. Now let’s talk the year ahead.

  • As I said last year, I want to find more performance opportunities for The Commandment. I did that this year, let’s see what can be done this year.
  • Finish the (as yet untitled) Christmas play (which I describe as a Christmas play for grownups that like a little horror in their holiday), and perform it. Which means I’m in the market for performance space. Ultimately, my ideal situation I would love to be able to perform The Commandment in the summer, and this new piece in Nov/Dec.
  • Write more. I have this new apartment where I’ve created this working space. I should use it. I always said I wanted a work space and that if I had one, I’d be able to write more. So now, it’s time to prove that true.
  • Keep Stageworthy growing. The podcast turns three years old at the beginning of January, and so I want to expand its reach. Interview some bigger names more regularly, get a little more out of the Toronto theatre bubble and talk to more people in other places, and generally grow the audience.
  • Get more traction with The Introvert’s Guide To…. We had a good start, but then needed to take a bit of a hiatus. The goal is to continue consistent podcast production, and to engage with the community a bit more to try and find out what they want, and what questions they want us to tackle. So far, Jess and I have been able to come up with some good topics, but there are times we struggle, so hopefully, by connecting with other introverts, we’re able to get a larger pool of topics than we’re able to come up with on our own.
  • Be kinder to myself:
    • Recognize that my tendency to believe that people don’t actually like me is not a part of being an introvert, and is just a story I tell myself, which means it’s something I can unlearn.
    • Say yes to more social engagements, and don’t talk myself out of actually going.
    • Do more things with friends. Yes, being a homebody is nice, but you have to go out sometimes. It’s better to connect with people in person, than digital.

How was this year for you? What are you most proud of? What are you looking forward to next year?

Theatre gotta get paid for somehow: A Reading of Romeo & Juliet: Re-translated – June 25th 2017

You’ve probably heard about the show I’m going to be performing in November. I’ve mentioned it once or twice. The play’s working title is Krampus Night, but that might change between now and then.

Making theatre costs money, so I’ve got to do a little fund raising. My first fundraising effort is going to be on June 25th at the Social Capital Theatre in Toronto. Its a fun event I’m calling Shakespeare, Re-translated: Romeo & Juliet.

Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance at And since this is a fundraiser, if you can you can’t attend, but want to help me fund the November show, there’s a spot to donate there as well.

So what is Shakespeare, Re-translated? Here’s how it works: I’m going to take Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and run it through a popular online language Translator into another language, then take that translated version and run it BACK through that same Translator and translate it back into English. Then, give it to some really brave and talented folks to read in front of an audience, without them knowing in advance what language I used, or getting to see the re-translated play beforehand.

The really brave and talented actors who’ll be doing this are:

Dave Miller
Merritt Crews
Tom McGee
Richard Beaune
Kiran Friesen
Austin Shaefer
Sarah Strange
Torey Urquhart
Scott Emmerson Moyle


I hope you’ll come out and have fun hearing this strange, fun thing get read, while helping me make theatre this fall. You can find more information here.

I booked the space before I had a play – bad idea or best idea?

I had an idea for a new play, a new solo piece (because apparently, I caught “the bug” with The Commandment), and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t spend the next eight years writing it, like I did with the last solo piece, and so I knew that I needed to light a fire under my ass. Because I know that I need that. If I don’t have it, it will be a thing I want to write, but that I don’t really have to write, which means that I won’t.

But I’m getting off topic. I had an idea. First I wrote a poem about a Christmas monster, and then I started to think about all the other Christmas monsters, the ones who were once gods and the ones who were always just monstrous, and what they mean to the holiday we cut and pasted over Yule and Saturnalia. And so, I started to read about them and their origins. I started with this book, and then found more. And so I started to write. I spent some of the time over my Christmas break writing. And then I booked a space. I called up Rosemary at the Red Sandcastle Theatre, and rented the space for the end of November 2018.

And that lit a fire, let me tell you. Every time I look at a calendar, that adds some fuel to the fire. Because it sounds like a long way off, but it comes up quicker than I’d like.

So I’m writing, with a deadline, to make a thing to perform in November. And I don’t know what its going to be yet. And that’s exhilarating and frightening.