dossier: Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee for MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF

As a fellow clown, albeit a new one who really has no experience clowning with or around these two, and York alumnae (it’s about time I shamelessly showed pride of my roots on this site – I realize that sounds like I harbour problems with York’s training. Really, I don’t; I had an excellent time there and think the training I received was exactly what I needed. I just don’t talk about it much anymore. Gotta move forward, amiright?) I am greatly excited to bring both Amy Lee and Heather Marie Annis by today to chat a little about the reprise of their hit, GO BAKE YOURSELF! That’s right, Morro and Jasp are in the field to chat about what got them started.

Amy, Heather and I mostly just missed each other at York University. I had seen them around, and I think Amy had seen me, or at least knew my face, but it wasn’t until, maybe three Fringes ago that we actually met and had a conversation. It’s funny because I think I’ve actually seen these two perform more frequently out of nose than I have in nose (if you haven’t seen these two bust out their acting chops, do yourself a favour and keep your ear to the ground for what they’re up to next; usually they come as a pair, but individually they are their own unique forces of theatre-nature. It’s quite refreshing).

I know Fringe is well underway, but if you need to fill a hole in your roster and you’re just hearing about this show right now (which you probably aren’t), there’s still time to catch it! You’ll just have to line up a bit early…

dossier #18:

morro and jasp ii copy

Who are we talking with?

Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee (sometimes known as Morro and Jasp).

What drew you down this path? (to theatre, to clowning, to Fringing, to wherever the hell you are in life)

We were in theatre school at York and discovered that we really loved working together. Byron Laviolette (our director and co-collaborator) had studied Pochinko clown and after he saw us in a physical piece together, asked us if we’d be interested in playing around with clown. We said yes, having no idea what to expect, and then we kept saying yes to every opportunity to experiment with/perform clown.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?

Amy decided when she was 6. Heather decided in high school. Although that was acting, not clown. Clown was a bit of a surprise love for both of us.


We both love cooking, baking, and food in a serious way. When we were roommates we would experiment with new recipes and they would almost always turn out disastrously (even though on our own, we are pretty kitchen saavy). We thought, “What could be more fun than letting our clowns play in the kitchen?” We also wanted to look at our relationship with food and how food helps us relate to one another. And we have a whole lotta fun doing it…

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect from MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF?

Fun, delicious, and full of love.

You’ve done the Canadian Fringe circuit often in the past. What do you look forward to the most when touring a new show to a new city?

Every audience is difference. And because we interact with our audiences so much, that really impacts us and the show. It is always really exciting to see how the space, city and people will affect the show and how we can play with that.

What is your favourite memory from a past Fringe circuit show?

Ah! Too many to pick one! Although, if we have to…We created a very audience-dependent ending to our show last year and we had no idea whether it would actually work, so on opening, when it did, we cried so many tears of joy!

Describe MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.


Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

Here is our trailer for it:

We are sold out of our advance tickets for the run, but there are still tickets at the door every show!

We want to wish every Fringer out there, whether you’re performing or watching, so much love, so much gratitude, and may the Force be with you!

morro and jasp - fringe13 go bake yourself 2013 11x17 textured draft 2

much ado about funding.

As the storm rages for an extended four weeks around Monkswell Manor Guest House, a new company (and when I say new I mean the individual members working together, not the body as a whole) of passionate artists are banding together and pledging their time, their hearts and their mental well-beings to put on a show themselves. They do this for love and for hatred, for wit and for dullness. They do this because, simply, they cannot do anything else; it is everything, and it is nothing to them.

This past Tuesday, was the initial meeting and read of Shakespeare BASH’d‘s upcoming Toronto Fringe staging of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. And it was wonderful. We sat in a boardroom on the fifth floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a boardroom that was altogether too big for us (and this is not saying we are a small or meek cast). We ate, we drank, we met one another and right away we were able to play with one another. I have never had this experience before. First reads with new casts are, in my experience, usually kind of reserved, there’s a little air of caution all around us as we test the waters with one another. Not so with Shakespeare BASH’d. These waters were as warm as a hot-tub’s.

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Shakespeare BASH’d’s mandate is one of love, of camaraderie and of that warm embrace of social lubrication.

Now, unlike the Lower Ossington, which is currently housing The Mousetrap, indie-theatre is largely incapable of (i) selling-out their initial run before opening, (ii) being in the position to extend said run by a month, and (iii) be lucky enough to have a producer willing to put up the entirety of the starting capital required to fund a show (even a small one). Now, this is not saying this never happens. I’m just saying when it does, it is a rather rare event. The nature of being independent puts us out in the vast ocean, swimming furiously amongst hundreds, if not thousands of others trying to do very similar things. The advancements of the age we live in have done a tremendous amount for the arts. Crowd-sourcing has become a powerful tool that gives the user, the patron complete control over what they want, how they want to experience it, and how they can help produce more and more of it.

With that said, Shakespeare BASH’d has set up an indiegogo campaign to support Much Ado as we go into rehearsals. As many independent theatres don’t own a building, don’t program a season of 4 to 6 shows, and, therefore, don’t offer the traditional method of support (subscription packages), indiegogo campaigns are an excellent way to show your support for what is sure to be an exciting experience.

If you’re unsure how this fundraising may help, here’s an example: a pledge of $10 is enough to ensure an hour of rehearsal time. And we’re doing Shakespeare here, people, we’ll need / want all the rehearsal time we can get!

So, without saying much more, I ask you to please go and check out the Shakespeare BASH’d indiegogo campaign here. Check out the perks you’ll receive for every level of donation received, some of them are really fun, like a pair of tickets to opening or closing, beer and a fun night out with James Wallis or Rob Kraszewski, posters and more.

If you’ve ever wanted to support some great indie theatre, or the stuff I do, this is the opportunity.

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Also, if you need a little more info on this style of fundraising and haven’t seen this yet, check out singer Amanda F***ing Palmer’s TED conference talk called THE ART OF ASKING. It is beautiful.

dossier: Kate Nankervis for SHE WAS

Today marks a little bit of history on this blog o’ mine. With Kate’s dossier, this marks the first time a “mostly” dance piece is featured!

Kate and I just met last week, at what was the beginning of an exciting new opportunity for the both of us plus four others (details are quite secretive right now), and I couldn’t be more excited to showcase this event of hers on my blog. Reading about it makes me sad I won’t be able to see it as I’ll be performing at the same time. If you’ve never checked out a dance show, this one sounds like a great place to start!

Alrighty, without further ado, here’s dossier #12:

Kate Nankervis

Who are we talking with?

Kate Nankervis, a Toronto-based performer and choreographer.

What is your earliest memory of needing, or wanting to dance?

Not sure if it is my earliest memory, but I definitely remember dancing all the time in grocery stores and stores like Sears, because the floors were nice and slippery so I could turn easily. I also remember playing t-ball and always going to out field and just dancing not really paying attention to game- I had a really good cartwheel after that season.

Why do you do what you do?

Wow, good question…! I have almost always danced; it has really become part of my everyday life. Creating dances and producing has been a way that I can further explore my own interests in the world and the people around me. When I consider why I work the way I do it is also really influenced by the people involved. I am surrounded by wicked people, artists and collaborators that really make the all the parts come together and keep me moving forward.

Why “she was”?

‘she was’ is a double bill show of 2 dance works. My work, ‘only place’ is a solo show about a woman left behind. Simon Renaud who is my partner in crime, is making ‘les reines orphelines’, with dancers Joanie Audet and Jasmine Inns. The evening is a collaborative arts event with two dance works, live music, a pop-up lounge featuring work from visual artist Sarah Smith and live music. We are really putting together a whole evening out for audience to come together and experience independent contemporary art.

What can an audience expect from “she was”?

It is an evening out with friends and family to meet artists and encounter new work by mainly emerging artists. We are shining a light on our work and the work of the artists in the city who are inspiring to me and Simon. They can expect to be entertained, moved and maybe provoked, then to move into a lounge with awesome live music and artwork and a bar, of course.

What is your favourite memory from a past dance show?

I remember this performance of a Calgary artist, Helen Husak. she was performing at Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival. She made this emotional and physical perfomance to Timbre Timbre. It was short and it was a mixed program but I remember crying for most of the solo and not knowing why just that I was affected by this work.

Describe “she was” in three adjectives or a phrase.

classy, provacative, ambitious.

Do you have anything you want to share with us? A story? A photo? A song? A video?

she was
choreography by Kate Nankervis and Simon Renaud
May 16- 18, 2013 8pm
The Citadel, Toronto
For tickets email:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kate has provided us with the press and media release. This event sounds amazing folks. Check it out!

Media Release SHE WAS (dance, music, art) May 16-18, 2013 The Citadel, TO

dossier: Andrew Young and Shayne Monaghan for MONDAY NIGHT OF NEW WORKS

Welcome back! After a short break, the dossier series is back up and running, starting with an exciting event indeed.

What Andrew and Shayne do with their Monday Night of New Works is an absolutely indispensable commodity. Usually falling on an “every-six-weeks” kind of schedule, Monday Night of New Works (which oddly finds itself on a Tuesday this month) does the impossible by creating an open, round-table-minus-the-table atmosphere more than welcoming to those stumbling in off the streets. It is a place to bring a script and know that everyone sitting in the circle is completely open for whatever is thrown at them; it is a place to go knowing that everyone present is an actor, a playwright, a producer, a general enthusiast of theatre ready to read, hear and talk about your piece, if you want them to. There is no screening process. An email, saying you’d like to have something read is enough to guarantee space (unless they have received too many – and even then they’ll tell you to bring something anyway, because, really, who knows what’ll happen?).

Andrew and Shayne do a lovely job of making the space comfortable. As soon as you walk in you’ll be introduced to everyone there and yet to come. They usually have coffee, water and some sort of candy. The city is all the more richer for having an event so open and warm as this one. I’ve been lucky to have one of my troublesome scripts read at the last instalment, and am grateful for what I received.

That said, let’s meet the boys.

Here’s dossier #9:

Andrew Young Shayne Monaghan

Who are we talking with?

Andrew Young [above], Co-founder of Monday Night of New Works, Actor, Puppeteer, Artistic Director of My Brother the Changeling.

Shayne Monaghan [below], Co-founder of Monday Night of New Works, Actor, Playwright, Educator, Artistic Director of ChickenWing Theatre. 

What draws you to theatre?

Andrew: The direct connection with the audience, the instant reaction you are able to hear. The fact that anything can go wrong at any moment and you have to be able to adapt, rediscovering the character show after show. Everything is in flux, hopefully within the set blocking.

Shayne: A show? Well mostly I hear good reviews and do my past to see what I can. Theatre as a career? I love the adrenaline you feel when on stage. My high school made me fall in love with theatre. I was luckily enough to be part of a touring ensemble of His, Tom Slater’s, original production of “…A Permanent Solution.” and before every show he would say today you’re going to change some ones life. That gave me goosebumps.

What is the earliest memory you have of wanting, or needing to do this?

A: To perform? For me, I think I was 14 or 15, I think on a school trip to see a play. I grew up in a rural area so once a year my high school packed up a bus full of kids and made our way to the city for the day and see two shows. On the trip I saw a one-woman play called “the shape of a Girl” by Joan MacLeod. It a fairly dark story but the way it was simply one girl talking about these experiences I was enthralled by the storytelling of the show. Since then I said that’s what I want to do, tell stories.

S: It was December of 2010, and Andrew and I were sitting in our living room and, after reading our own shows for the Nth time we said to each other, “Lets invite people from school and class to come over and we can get them to do a play reading for us, and we can invite others to bring work too! We can make a night of it.”

Why Monday Night of New Works?

A: After being out of Humber for a few months, Shayne and I had gotten a few people together to read our scripts. We were sitting at the pub talking about said scripts that we were developing , or trying to write an ending to rather. Shayne and I had both read numerous drafts, new scenes over and over and found it really refreshing to hear new voices in our plays. In school we were lucky to have a playwriting class where we would bring in something and it would be read in front of the class. It was great hearing different voices week to week each with different interpretations of the characters. We said wouldn’t it be great if we could get a network of people to do the same thing on a regular basis and just keep developing these new works. Giving ourselves imposed deadlines in the process.

S: We wanted to hold it on a Monday because most theatres are dark on Mondays so we were trying to optimize our intake. Plus what else is there to do on a Monday?

What can we expect from Monday Night of New Works? (is there a mandate for what you host, what’s the layout of the event?)

A: It’s an open forum to talk about play- or screen-writing. A place to experiment with an idea and hear something off the page. A place so that you can stop forcing your roommates or friends to read your play over and over again.

S: What Andrew said, plus somewhere for fresh eyes, ears and opinions. Our slogan is: Nothing too Rough, Nothing too Short.

What is your favourite memory from a past Monday Night of New Works?

A: It’s anytime I hear a script that is brought back for a second or third time and I get to hear how it has changed and/or grown since. Or seeing something that I heard pieces of or maybe even first draft that has developed and since been mounted as a full production. Seeing it up on stage is such a great experience.

S: My favorite memory has to be our first time in the fringe creation lab when a gentleman came with a script he was developing for a community project, and we found out he came from Barrie. I was flabbergasted that we drew some one from there. Also, a friend of Andrew’s comes from Windsor. Just the dedication that people have and the repeat attendees astonishes me.

Describe Monday Night of New Works in three adjectives or a phrase.

1) Nothing too Rough, Nothing too Short

2) Social

3) Community

Do you have anything you want to share with us? A story? A photo? A song? A video?

A: Our Next Monday Night of New Works is held at the Fringe Creation Lab on March 26th (on the Tuesday[!!!]) at 7:00pm. Come Check it out if you would like to see what we are about.

During New Works we make a point of holding a brief talking point called “Shameless Self Promotion.” This is were anyone who is working on anything has the opportunity to plug anything they are working on, developing or have an idea they want to work on without trying to sound too pushy about it. In that vein we are going to continue with this Idea.

I am currently working on a show with Theatre Lab that is going up in a double bill in the Factory theatre studio space. The show is called, “To the Last Cry”. It opens March 20th and plays till the 24th with shows at 8:00pm with a 2:00pm show on the 24th as well. It’s a double bill show, so there’s Theatre Lab’s show and another put on by Pandemic theatre called “Tjorvi ” the same night. More details at

S: What I would like to share is that we try to support all the shows that come through, and the more that come, and the more people support us, the more I feel we can do. Monday Night of New Works has helped in the Launch of several successful shows. Brandon Crone’s “Turtleneck,” (2013), Alex Daults “The Campbell House Story” (2012), Victoria Velenosi “Princess of Porn” (Fringe 2012), Micheal Atlin “Zugzwang” (SummerWorks 2011), as well is this upcoming Fringe’s “The 8th Day” by Shayne Monaghan, ChickenWing Theatre.

Also Check out New Works at

Or find us on Facebook at

Or on twitter @MondayNewWorks

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