Meet the Companies

SpringWorks 2014 is going to be another record year and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re in the midst of building the final calendar, but with all the companies we have coming this year, it’s safe to say: Pen SpringWorks into your calendar for May 8-18, 2014, since you won’t want to miss a moment!



A Different Drummer – #swfDrummer
behindthewire productions
Written & Performed by Dan Ebbs
behindthewire productions is a decade old, award winning theatre company in London, Ontario, specializing in original Canadian works that explore such topics as WWI internment camps and sexual assault. A Different Drummer celebrates the life and work of Henry David Thoreau, American writer of Walden and Civil Disobedience. Warning: Dan Ebbs’ one-man shows involve audience participation.

Awake – #swfAwake
Docket Theatre
Awake is a one-woman show written and performed by Llyandra Jones, a Toronto-based actor, director, and theatre creator. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA Acting program, artistic director of Docket Theatre, and company member of Alternative Theatre Works. Awake takes place aboard a ship carrying cryogenically frozen passengers to a new planet, after Earth has become uninhabitable. During the journey, one passenger wakes up two centuries too early, and must discover how to survive alone in space. Exploring the nature and power of love and loneliness, Awake challenges what it is to be human.

Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl – #swfCoffeeShopGirl
Theatre After Secrets

Written & Performed by Rebecca Perry
If Jane Goodall were in her 20’s, had just graduated and was 1 part sass, 1 part insatiable curiosity and 1 part feisty redhead – you’ve met Joanie Little.  Joanie is making her way through the highest-falutin “jungle” of all Urbandom – The Coffeeshop. Between the lactose-free lilac lattes, quad shots of espresso, zany customers, useless coworkers and a sock puppet for a boss – she blazes on through in hopes navigating where life SHOULD be taking her. Through reporting her “findings” you witness the story of a girl progressing from seeking to please to that of one learning that: finding one’s place in the food chain also comes down to choosing it.  And hey – making a real connection along the way wouldn’t hurt? 

Cracked: a new light on dementia – #swfCracked
Co-Production of Possible Arts and the Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance
By Julia Gray and The Ensemble
A joint creative-research effort among health scientists and artists Cracked follows Elaine Carter, diagnosed with dementia, as she and her family grapple with what the weighty diagnosis means. But Elaine pushes her children to see her as she really is, cracks and all. Based on research conducted by Drs. Sherry Dupuis, Gail Mitchell, Christine Jonas-Simpson and Pia Kontos, this play is vibrant and dynamic, filled with movement, music and laughter. Cracked will cast new light on dementia to help us embrace the imperfections that define each of us, to envision new possibilities for relating, and to recognize and honour the individuality of those living with dementia.

Dairy-Free Love – #swfDairyFreeLove
Savoury Entertainment
Victoria is an Actress, Host/Emcee of the Food Network Celebrity Stage at The Canadian National Exhibition, Gluten-free lifestyle blogger and Creator/Star of critically acclaimed one-woman dramedy Dairy-Free Love for which she has been awarded “Fave Actress” (The Beat), “Best of 2012 – Theatre” (View Magazine) as well as second runner-up in the Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival Playwriting Contest (2012). In the past year, Victoria has made her her New York and Los Angeles theatre debuts and is weeks away from beginning a tour of her second one-woman show Bootlegger’s Wife – inspired by the woman behind Canada’s most notorious rumrunner. For a sneak peak at Dairy-Free Love, check out this trailer!

Is This Love? – #swfIsThisLove
HeartNSoul Productions
Created & Performed by Mark Whelan
First performed at the Cameron House in Toronto in summer of 2013. Created, produced and starring Actor Mark Whelan with Acoustic guitar accompaniment by Jim Mallen. Is This Love? is a charming, light hearted, Anglo Irish examination of the power and impact of love in our lives by way of Drama, Spoken Word, Music and Song. It is a consideration through the eyes of a traveler, his personal accounts, and those of many great writers in history who have pondered the subject.

Judith – #swfJudith
Cheeky Magpie
By Heather Davies
Inspired by award-winning Canadian novel, Judith, by Aritha Van Herk, this is a brawling, passionate play about hope, fears and courage, with live music and many pigs. Born on a farm, Judith was proud, fierce and independent when she went to the city to make something of herself. But things went wrong. And so, alone and defiant, she returns to her roots. And slowly it is beginning to happen. But can she make it on her own?

Life as a Pomegranate – #swfPomegranate
Written and Performed by Dawna J Wightman
Directed by Ginette Mohr
Music by David Mesiha

Quirky Montreal actor sets out hoping for an American work visa. What she finds instead is rural BC, a buffoon husband, many children and neighbours that every Canadian will recognize. Plagued by the evil Sutton Waverly Jones and her inner critic. Messy. juicy. seedy. bitter. sweet. Check out this trailer for a sneak peek!

Marilyn ~ After – #swfMarilyn
Written & Performed by Nonnie Griffith
This one woman show researched and created by Nonnie Griffith and directed by Peggy Mahon, Marilyn ~ After explores what might have been if we had had more years of Marilyn Monroe. What if? What might she have to say?

Pickled Heart – #swfPickledHeart
By Jessica Seguin
Directed by Jenny Salisbury
With Death gunning for them both, orphaned siblings Sean and Maggie must battle their differences, their disbelief, and a lack of vital organs in order to save each other. With neither one coming out the other side unscathed and time slipping away, Pickled Heart is a new fairy tale with a different kind of happily-ever-after about how far we will go for the ones we love.

Ruby in the Dust – #swfRuby
Ruby in the Dust Collective
By Robin Taylor Wright
From the author that brought you The Sabbatical (Springworks 2012) comes Ruby in the Dust, a play about life during the depression in southern Saskatchewan.  Ukrainian-Canadian coal miner Eddie Zaboroksi struggles to make a life for his eight year old daughter; when they meet Abner – another coal miner with a mysterious past – and his Czech wife Jo, the Zaboroskis’ lives take an unforgettable turn.  Inspired by the bloody events of the 1931 Estevan Riot, it’s a story about parenthood, prejudice, and second-generation Canadians.

Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender – #swfAlchemy
Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company
Written and Performed by Lisa Wolpe
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.

Significant Me – #swfSignificantMe
Dutch Girl Productions
Written and Performed by Christel Bartelse
4 time Canadian Comedy Award Nominee and creator of the Fringe hit ONEymoon – (a honeymoon for one), brings you a show  with a twisted happily-ever-aftermath. Meet Caroline Bierman, an uncompromising perfectionist who vowed to forsake all others and married herself, but now ends up struggling to accept the realities of life once the honeymoon phase is over. Join Caroline at her Anniversary dinner to see if she can make accept the truth about herself. A fun, wild comedy with a lot of heart. Check out the trailer!

The Little Prince – #swfLittlePrince
Compass Theatre
Adapted & Translated from St. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel by Luciana Burcheri
Directed by Jane Spence, and performed by a cast of talented, emerging artists, this inventive production is sure to enchant the imagination of all ages.

The Portrait – #swfPortrait
Smutylo/Murphy Productions
By Allen Smutylo
Directed by Bill Murphy
The Portrait, a play based on a true story of six art college students moving to the tiny fishing village of Tobermory in 1969. A local named O. C. Vail, symbolized by the knife and his ever-present shotgun-by–the-door, hates the fact that hippies have invaded his town. With commercial fishing declining, major developments planned in town, a portrait painting and a tragic shooting all conspire to re-adjust individual and community values in unpredictable ways. The Portrait, by Governor General Literary Award nominee Allen Smutylo, combines a powerful mix of humour and pathos with original music.

XOXO The Relationship Show – #swfXOXO
Two Juliets
Written & Performed by Meghan Chalmers & Franny McCabe-Bennet
Meghan Chalmers and Franny McCabe-Bennett are Two Juliets, a theatre duo blurring the boundaries between “theatre” and “comedy.” Primarily using vocal masque creation methods, Franny and Meghan create original pieces featuring scenes, monologues, songs and movement to explore modern, relatable issues from a funny, feminist point of view. Check out XOXO: The Relationship Show, an hour long comedy cabaret. “We’ve all heard that nice guys finish last, but what about nice girls? Love and lust, kisses and kicks – XOXO runs the relationship gauntlet. Who will make it out alive? Or more importantly, who will make out with anyone? Ever? Again?” For a sneak preview of these two charming and hilarious ladies, check out these clips from their performance at the 2013 Hamilton Fringe.


54ology by ergo sum – #swf54ology
New Harlem Productions
By Donna-Michelle St.Bernard & Pamela Gilmartin
The 54-ology aims to look at each country in Africa through a different piece of performance work.  Through artistic responses to current and historical events, the project seeks to acknowledge the internal and external pressures of politics, economics, international trade, cultural and spiritual divergence, colonial consequence, natural resources, language, etc. in the life of a complex and variegated continent. ergo sum (latin for therefore I am) is a Toronto based trio creating original music at the intersection of folk, rock, funk and hip hop liberally influenced by jazz and blues. Band members Pamela Gilmartin, Jeff Shewchuk and Belladonna came together in 2013 around the shared desire to create music for healing, affirmation and joy. Fronted by two dynamic female vocalists, the guitar and bass arrangement provide solid bedrock for soaring grooves under illuminating lyrics.

A Broadway Valentine – #swfValentine
Compiled & Performed by Janet Martin
Janet Martin (Cats) and Philip Douglas Kerr (Les Miserables) will warm your hearts with an evening of well known Broadway duets and solos in ” ABroadway Valentine”. Accompanied by the incredible piano expertise of Danny McErlain, this show will take you on a journey through one couple’s life together. Check out her music here!

A Celebration of Women – #swfCelebration
Compiled & Performed by Peggy Mahon
A Celebration Of Women grew out of an annual concert I have been doing for the past 7 years at Heliconian Hall in Toronto close to Mother’s Day as a benefit for Interval House, Canada’s first shelter for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. The programs offered at Interval House support women’s efforts to transform their lives to successful, independent ones, free from fear of abuse. Most blues songs reflect a time when women suffered from inequality, abuse, violence, etc. but many women in the music business have broken that mould and led the way for others to pick up the torch. There are so many great female singers and song-writers from the golden age of music, most of which is included in the repertoire of The American Songbook, and these women have changed the way present day women view themselves and their futures.

Anna Atkinson – #swfAnnaAtkinson
Anna Atkinson is a singer, instrumentalist and writer. Since moving to Toronto in 2008, she has contributed to dozens of projects, both as a live performer and as a highly regarded session player. In June 2011, she released Mooniture, her debut CD recorded with producer Brent Bodrug, to critical acclaim. Since 2010 Atkinson has been a member of the Stratford Festival. She performed on stage as violinist and accordionist in that season’s revival of Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, and in 2011 was a contributing composer and performer on stage in The Grapes of Wrath. In 2013, she was featured as the eponymous fiddler in Fiddler On The Roof. Other theatre credits include being a member of the DORA-nominated ensemble of BOBLO (Kitchenband) and Brent Carver’s Cabaret (Soulpepper). Current musical collaborations include a duo with guitarist/composer David Occhipinti, and the Toronto-based quartet Words Around The Waist. She is also, with Andrew Penner, composing the score for Motion 58 Productions film “Eadweard”. She is most frequently heard playing violin, viola and accordion. Check out Anna’s music here!

Lara Loves Leonard – #swfLara&Leonard
GypsyWASP Productions
Created & Performed by Lara MacMillan
Dynamic recording artist and songwriter, Lara MacMillan, helms a late night cabaret celebrating the words and music of Leonard Cohen.  An exploration of select songs/musical stories of Leonard Cohen, celebrated Canadian writer of poetry, stories and songs, dramatically interpreted and accompanied by small ensemble and projected images of isolation and poignant beauty in black and white.

Stratford Songwriter Acoustic Sampler  – #swfSampler
GypsyWASP Productions
An acoustic cafe/concert organized by Lara MacMillan, featuring music artists from Stratford and its’ environs.

Three Little Maids – #swf3LittleMaids
Notes Between Friends
Created & Performed by Barbara Dunn-Prosser, Debora Joy, & Janet Martin
“Everything is a source of fun” as these three soprano friends follow the path of their performing careers in a potpourri of classical, musical theatre, and popular songs. Three Little Maidsparodies the path to performance that many singing thespians have taken. Starting with the passionate desire to connect to music and sing along with a radio blasting behind the bedroom door, to testing the performance nerves at Kiwanis music festivals, to experiencing the terror and trials of auditions, this classical cabaret includes practically every genre of singing from Mozart to McCartney.  There are moments of pure silliness and fun as well as some tenderness and reflection on the frustrations of not having enough time to just hang out with friends.

Charles Mountford – #swfPoetCharles
Charles Mountford has written three published books of short pieces that explore situations that are funny, touching and sad.  The people he writes about could be your next door neighbours.  Their problems could be yours.  His work reveals his uncontrollable passion for story. He has been presenting his work to audiences across Canada for the last ten years with the support of the League of Canadian Poets, The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Mountford has twice been shortlisted for the Bridport U.K. Prize, in 2008 and 2010 and has won First Prize in the Alberta Poetry Contest.  His book, “The Thing On The Comb”, was developed with the assistance of a Writers’ Reserve Grant from the Ontario Arts Council.Gay Allison – #swfPoetGay
Gay Allison was born in Saskatchewan and grew up on the prairies. She has lived in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto. She has an M.A. in English, and taught all Grade levels in schools across Canada. She has been fiction editor of The Canadian Forum, poetry editor of Waves and is founding editor of Fireweed. She is also a founding member of the Women’s Writing Collective, and is on the Advisory Board of Tiger Lily, a magazine by women of colour. She was a poetry instructor for “The Women and Words Writing Retreat” in Vancouver in 1991. She conducts poetry workshops across Canada as well as in the Brunswick House B&B. She evaluates manuscripts and works with writing students on an individual basis. She lives in Stratford, Ontario.

Wendy Morton – #swfPoetWendy
When Wendy Morton’s first book of poetry, Private Eye, was published in 2001, she knew she had to find some way to turn her poetry into currency. One day she called up WestJet Airlines, suggested she read poems for the pasengers and write poems for them in exchange for flights. After some enthusiastic urging, they said yes, and so she became WestJet’s Poet of the Skies. She has turned her poems into the currency that has proved her with a PT Cruiser from DaimlerChryler, luxurious hotel rooms from The Fairmont Hotels, vitamins from Prairie Naturals, a digital camera from Fuji. The queen, in Alice in Wonderland, says to Alice, ” Why, when I was your age, I imagined 6 impossible things before breakfast.” Wendy imagined that poets all across Canada could commit ” random acts of poetry” on strangers: read them a poem and give them a book. In 2004 and 2005, 27 poets across Canada did just that with the sponsorship of abebooks and an anonymous sponsor. Random Acts of Poetry became a national week long event celebrating literacy.

3degrees Dance Theatre – #swf3Degrees
3degrees Dance Theatre seeks to create performances which reflect political and cultural realities through imagistic and athletic staging, steeped in story. 3degrees was formed with choreographer/dancer Nicola Pantin, writer/director Adam Nashman as well as actors and designers from the Canadian artist community.  After two original productions were performed in theatres in Ontario, having employed over 20 separate artists and technicians in the process, we had the beginning of a unique vocabulary and vision.Lucy Rupert – #swfBlueCeiling
Blue Ceiling Dance
Blue Ceiling dance is celebrating 10 years of creating, commissioning and presenting contemporary dance and multi-disciplinary works in Toronto. Led by the curiosity of artistic director Lucy Rupert, the company delves into the overlap of poetry and anatomy, of ideas and instinct. Blue Ceiling’s repertoire has travelled to New York, Stuttgart, Montreal, and throughout Ontario and has been part of DanceWorks Mainstage, dance: made in canada/fait au canada festival, Harbourfront’s HATCH program and Dusk Dances, among others. Lucy Rupert is an in-demand artist in dance and theatre, working with renowned cutting edge Canadian dance and theatre companies.

How I Became Invisible – #swfInvisible
CLUNK Puppet Lab
How I Became Invisible is a surreal puppet performance that unearths life, death, and the memories that linger in-between.  What happens when you disappear from everything you hold dear, the people you remember, the place you call home? Clunk Puppet Lab is a multi-disciplinary company that creates original work through the exploration of highly visual theatre.  Our experimental approach to collective collaboration strives to delve into the minute, intimate moments and connections of shared human experience, by integrating unconventional practices such as puppetry, physical theatre and sculpture/installation. Check out their trailer here.Handle With Care – #swfHandleWCare
Tangled Web Theatre
Written by Bonnie Thomson
Tangled Web Theatre is an artistic collective whose work emerges from the collision of conventional theatre with unconventional forms such as physical theatre and puppetry. Tangled Web members (Helen Juvonen, Tyler Seguin and Bonnie Thomson) participated in the inaugural Puppetmongers’ Puppetry eXploratory Laboratory, and have also worked with Old Trout Puppet Workshop. Parts of their previous work, Jurkka Jarvinen’s Troll Stories have been presented at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Crapshoot, The Fresh Ideas in Puppetry Festival, National Theatre of the World’s Carnegie Hall Show and Theatre Caravel’s Seachange. Tangled Web is very excited to be sharing their newest piece, Handle With Care, with the SpringWorks audience! Handle with Care begins on a warm summer day when three friends discover a mysterious box in the forest. Inside they find some unusual puppets and a strange set of instructions…and the stories begin!

Rovero & Juliet – #swfRovero
The Manipulators
Performed by Trish Leeper & Allan Martin
The Manipulators is a newly-formed puppet theatre company based in the Ottawa Valley. The Bard’s greatest tragedy as it was originally intended – with puppets and a happy ending! Can two feuding families – the Muttagues and the Catulets – be brought together by love? Find out in this hilarious adaption of Shakespeare’s classic, featuring an all-puppet cast of characters. WARNING – this show includes the use of bananas.

The Sleeping Prince – #swfSleepingPrince
Created & Performed by Kristi Friday & Baptiste Neis
Similar to the story of Sleeping Beauty, The Sleeping Prince reverses the gender roles and makes the Princess an active participant in her own life. The Princess learns of a Prince who is cast under a sleeping spell and only wakes once a year. The Princess must travel in a pair of iron shoes to the land of far, far away, and further still to rescue him. Along the way she encounters many different challenges and through the help of the mothers of the East, West, and North Wind she finds her way to his castle. It is a story of journey, coming of age, and pure perseverance.

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