International Theatre Day: One Person Shows Take Centre Stage

One Person Shows Take Centre Stage!

International Theatre Day is just around the corner! SpringWorks 2014 has plenty of exciting theatrical offerings – with everything from opera to puppets, staged readings to cabaret, there is something for everyone. Today, we’re shining a single spotlight on a few of our fearless solo artists doing one-person shows this May 8-18.

Since March 27 is International Theatre Day, on that day only, we’ll be offering $5 off all adult mainstage tickets when you use promo code theatre. For a full list of our amazing offerings, check out

Significant Me – #SWFSignificantMe
Created & Performed by Christel Bartelse
Dutch Girl Productions
Saturday May 10 – 8:00 pm & Saturday May 17 – 12:00 pm
St. John’s United Church

Meet Caroline Bierman, an uncompromising perfectionist who vows to forsake all others and marry herself, but who still ends up struggling to accept the realities of life once the honeymoon phase is over. Join her as she prepares her anniversary dinner and share her frantic pursuit of domestic bliss, as her attention to detail makes her oblivious to the obvious. Every relationship, no matter how selectively orchestrated, always has its problems.  Check out the trailer here!

A Bit About Christel
Writer, actor, producer, clown, comedian, teacher, and 4 times Canadian Comedy Award nominee Christel Bartelse is no stranger to one woman shows and packed houses! She got her comedy start in the physical comedy duo The Burnt Marshmallows and can now be seen as a featured performer all over Toronto. She is an international fringe festival sensation and returning to SpringWorks for the second year in a row. Welcome back Christel! For more information, photos, and past credits, visit

SWF: What was the inspiration behind creating Significant Me?

CHRISTEL: Significant Me is actually the sequel to ONEymoon ( A honeymoon for One), my 2009 Canadian Comedy Award nominated show which is a comedy about Caroline Bierman, a women who opts to re-invent a long standing social convention and marries herself. ONEymoon came out of a “chance comment” to a friend while I was packing to go on a trip to the Bahamas, alone, after a much needed break. I felt like I going on a Honeymoon for One, and out of that, came the term ONEymoon. When I was coming up for the premise of Significant Me, it came at a time in my life when I was entering a very serious relationship and dealing with my fears of domesticity. When I mentioned that to my director, she said instead of this being a brand new show, it feels likes the  continuation of Caroline’s story. What does this woman do, after she made the commitment and is stuck living with herself.  It’s not necessary to have seen ONEymoon. You will soon learn all of Caroline’s quirks and she fills you in on the previous show.

SWF: How is the story you are telling enhanced by being brought to life by a single actor?

CHRISTEL: The story is brought to life, because it’s Caroline who brings it to life and she is such a big personality. I didn’t want to do an auto-biographical show, so I created Caroline Bierman, a version of myself,but much bigger and exaggerated who feels she can tell this story better. I don’t feel I’m completely alone in this show, because I really speak to the audience, and I get to play multiple characters in the show, so there is a whole world surrounding. Caroline. 

SWF: Significant Me is full of comedy and dance, improv and audience participation. Were those elements build into the script when it was first written or did they come from daring experimentation?

CHRISTEL: In all of my work, I love to use audience participation, so I always find a way to incorporate this. I know for a lot of people this makes them nervous to come see the show, but I know that I make my audience members feel extremely comfortable and make them look good. I love working with strangers on stage. It keeps me on my toes. When I start creating a show, I just improvise, explore and then write. The creation process is one giant experiment and exploration.  But through my background as a dancer, clown and improviser these elements always creep in. I have 2 big dance numbers in my show, but ironically I just had a bad ski accident and tore my ACL. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to dance like I used to at this time, until I heal, so I’m adapting the show currently, to deal with this all. I’m sure I’ll find a comedic way to incorporate it.
By Phone: 1-800-518-2819 ext. 3

Confessions of a Red Headed Coffeeshop Girl – #SWFCoffeeShopGirl
Written & Performed by Rebecca Perry
@Redheaded_CSG        On Facebook 
Friday May 9 – 8:00 pm @ Revel Caffe
Tuesday May 13 – 6:00 pm @ Factory163
Saturday May 17 – 8:00 pm @ Falstaff Family Centre
Joanie Little, an “adorkable” graduate decides to make the most out her barista day job by “reporting” about the humans of her coffee shop as though she were Jane Goodall herself, bushwhacking through the African jungle to “observe” the chimps. Except Joanie happens to be frothing milk in the Coffeeshop Jungle of…Toronto, what could go wrong? A tour-de-force that makes you laugh one minute and cry the next! Complete with live music, zombies, earthquakes, co-worker showdowns and a talking coffee mug for a boss! Check out the trailer here!

A Bit About Rebecca
Rebecca is an award-winning Toronto-based actor, singer, and writer. She has just returned from New York City’s FRIGID Fest where she was performing Confessions of a Red Headed Coffeeshop Girl. A mainstay of the Canadian Cabaret scene, you can see her regular cabaret at Statler’s Piano Bar throughout the year. For more information, photos, and past credits check out her website.

SWF: What was the inspiration behind creating Confessions of a Red Headed Coffeeshop Girl?

REBECCA:  It’s a story that stems from the real life experiences of myself and other twenty-something graduates had while working at a coffee shop in Toronto. Every graduate gets out into the big, bad world and is eager to prove themselves…except in this economy a lot of us have to grab a full-time service job immediately to start paying off debt before we even receive our diploma. So what do you do? How do you make the most out of this “in-between” time in your life? And THAT is what this story is about.

SWF: How is the story you are telling enhanced by being brought to life by a single actor?

REBECCA: Since I had collected so many stories that all revolved around one coffee shop I decided to create a single character, an everyman to be the centre of the play to witness or be in the middle of all situations… enter Joanie Little!  I felt that one person at the centre of a shop with secondary characters was more powerful because the centre character also becomes the narrator and the person who controls the story.  With a story like this it is nice to have one character taking you under their wing and along for the journey.
SWF: There is such a variety of characters in your play. What was it like discovering those voices?

REBECCA:  A lot of these characters are sketches of people I know in real life.  Every coffee shop has a boss, a trouble maker, a lazy staff member, a student worker, the over-partying employee, the quirky customer etc.  I was lucky enough to have the majority of mine rooted in reality and thus already giving me the basis of what makes them real human beings.  The ins and outs of their days, their values, dreams and needs – essentially, what makes them tick…

Is This Love – #SWFIsThisLove
Written & Performed by Mark Whelan
Accompanied by Jim Mallen
Friday May 9 – 9:30 pm @ Revel Caffe
Saturday May 17 – 4:00 pm @ Falstaff Family Centre

Is This Love is a charming, light hearted, Anglo Irish examination of the power and impact of love in our lives by way of Spoken Word, Music and Song. It is a consideration through the eyes of a traveler through time, his personal accounts, and those of many of histories great writers and Poets.

A Bit About Mark
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Mark currently lives and works in Toronto.  A regular performer in TV, Film and Theatre Marks recent TV and film credits include appearances in Republic of DoyleThe ListenerBeing Erica, Murdoch’s Mysteries, Breakout Kings, The Divide, Pompeii among many. In Theatre, James Joyces The Dead, Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf, Of Mice and Men, Harvey, A Delicate Balance, A Scull in Connemara, Da. You may recognize him in recent appearances as “The Sleeman Guy” in the recent Sleeman Beer commercials.

SWF: What was the inspiration behind creating Is This Love?

MARK:  I had written a few short stories about some of the experiences and memories of my youth and shared them with a few friends. Seems the reminiscences around my early experiences with the opposite sex were particularly well received. So I workshopped one..exploring my first feelings of  ” Romantic Love”…It struck me, just how universal my Irish experiences were. There began the journey.

SWF: How is the story you are telling enhanced by being brought to life by a single actor?

MARK: In this piece, I have mingled my personal anecdotes with the explorations of the great writers, poets of centuries past with whom I was once acquainted, who have pondered the subject, while offering a little insight  as to their motivations. It is a memory piece of sorts. Note quite a “One Man” effort as my Irish cohort, the very talented Jim Mallen beautifully provides the wonderful Irish melodies on guitar.

SWF: Is This Love is a masque-like amalgam of love literature and music. Did you know what poems, songs, and passages you wanted to use when you started building Is This Love or was there a long research journey?

MARK: Not a long journey of research here as there has so much written over the centuries to choose from! The chosen poems are among the most well known explorations of Romantic love, and of course I have my favourites. There were of course  additions and some subtractions over time as our favourites altered. Hope you find your favourite here.

Get Tickets for Is This Love Here.
By Phone: 1-800-518-2819 ext. 3

Shakespeare & the Alchemy of Gender – #SWFAlchemy
Written & Performed by Lisa Wolpe
Thursday May 8 – 2:00 pm & Friday May 9 – 8:00 pm @ Falstaff Family Centre
Friday May 16 – 2:00 pm & Saturday May 17 – 4:00 pm @ Factory163

An actor’s journey written and performed by Lisa Wolpe, acclaimed Shakespearean Drag King is beyond and about gender. It’s pages are torn from the libraries of the great Elizabethan Renaissance Mystery Schools.This is the story of a masterful performer peeking through the veil, a cosmic cartographer celebrating Shakespeare’s most powerful work. Wolpe reveals the physical and spiritual secrets of cross-gender performance, and offers a rare insight into the making of the Great Bard’s magic.

A Bit About Lisa
Lisa Wolpe is an actress, director, teacher, playwright and producer, and is Producing Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. Lisa has directed more than 30 productions of Shakespeare and played many of the Bard’s leading male roles. She directs all kinds of contemporary and classical theater, and also teaches Acting and Directing. For more information, photos, and past credits, check out her website.

By Phone: 1-800-518-2819 ext. 3

Awake – #SWFAwake
Written & Performed by Llyandra Jones
Thursday May 15 – 10:00 pm & Friday May 16 – 6:00 pm @Factory163
Earth has become uninhabitable and humankind’s only hope is to travel to a new planet. The last of the human race has been cryogenically frozen for the 300-year journey. Midway, one passenger is woken up. Discovering she is two hundred years early, with no way back to a cryogenic state, she must face the rest of her life on the ship alone… Or should she wake up her love to live out the rest of their days together?
A Bit About Llyandra
Llyandra Jones is an actor, director, and theatre creator based in Toronto, Ontario. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA Acting program and has trained with various professional theatre companies and acting programs including the SITI Company based in New York, The International Michael Chekhov Association, and the summer program at the Moscow Art Theatre School. She is a founding member of Michael Chekhov Canada, Associate artist with Alternative Theatre Works, and the Artistic Director of Docket Theatre, a company dedicated to producing new work by emerging artists in Toronto.
By Phone: 1-800-518-2819 ext. 3

SpringWorks now has charitable status and can issue tax receipts! All levels of sponsorship are appreciated. Check out our website for how you can donate today!

Let’s get SpringWorks 2014 trending on Twitter!

From technicians to Front of House, SpringWorks can always handle more Volunteers! For more information or to volunteer, check out our website.

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