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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Toronto Artist Scotty Schafer

Today is a very special blog as we are featuring Toronto artist Scotty Schafer and his incredible donation to our show in support of Bereaved Families of Ontario

Scotty Schafer displays his immense range as an artist through his diverse collection of paintings. All over Canada and abroad, he has found great success with his solo shows.

He comes from a background of interior design and decorative arts. Infusing his natural skills from those areas into his artwork. Scotty opened his own art gallery - Schafer's Gallery - in Toronto in September 2012. It has become a well known staple in the High Park/Parkdale community.

His unique collections feature bright colours, beautiful landscapes and incredible detail. While scrolling though his artwork you're sure to go on a wild adventure of emotion. Check out his full website HERE.  

Here is just a small handful of some of my personal favourites of Scotty's work.

You can see each collection separately here...

- THE SKY COLLECTION

- THE BIRCH COLLECTION

- THE ABSTRACT COLLECTION

- THE QUEEN'S FANCY

- THE ROOSTER COLLECTION

- THE DAY OF THE DEAD COLLECTION

- THE BEACH COLLECTION

- THE AERIAL COLLECTION

We are incredibly lucky to be able to showcase Scotty's work on our set for Rabbit Hole. A piece of art is a personal expression of the artist who creates it and when you connect with a piece it becomes like a part of the family. Scotty's work is the perfect addition to our little family.

The work featured on our set during the run of the show is for sale and will be available to bring into your home after the run. Scotty has generously donated this piece so that all of proceeds go to Bereaved Families of Ontario!

Grab your tickets to the show HERE  and get an exclusive look at Scotty's work. And you can visit his art gallery HERE.

You can follow Scotty on Twitter here: @SCOTTYSCHAFER

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - RAWacting + Special Discount Code

RAW is a very important part of our production of Rabbit Hole... for MANY reasons. 

Raw, honest performance is what every artist strives for. Following instincts, connection, truth and electric chemistry is something that each of our featured actors have in common. And that is thanks to Rooney Actors Workshop aka RAW studios.

Owner, Sophie Ann Rooney has quickly become one of Toronto’s top acting coaches. Her scene study, on-camera and advanced Bar classes at RAW are consistently filled every session with some of Toronto's hottest talent. With new students joining the RAWactors family each session, the name RAW is become very well known throughout the industry for top working artists. More information on classes at RAW can be found HERE.

Sophie teaches the Strasberg method as well as influences from her years teaching and training in Europe’s most reputable establishments. In addition to her coaching, she is an award winning director and co-director of Sterling Theatre company. You can read more about Sophie HERE

The journey to Rabbit Hole actually began in RAW's Tuesday Night Industry class. Lindsey, Tyler and myself were all assigned scenes from the play and we instantly fell in love with story and our characters. In true Sophie fashion, we were given amazing challenges to help us get find the truth in our work.

A personal favourite was when Lindsey and I went on a "sister date" in true Izzy and Becca form! I (the Type A, control freak, older sister) dragged my wild child, younger sister out to paint pottery. Naturally, Lindsey left her purse in a coffee shop and had to run out in the middle of pottery to find it. That day proved that the characters just seemed to fit us so perfectly.

Fast forward to a year later, with two new RAW actors (Rhea & Nathan) in the mix we were getting ready to jump into rehearsals. In order to prep for a quick rehearsal process with Sophie, we took it upon ourselves to do some homework of our own. Sensory work, dates, interviews with BFO group leaders, shopping, chocolate binges and family dinners all seemed like a natural part of the process when approaching the work with like minded actors. 

Sophie has helped us develop all aspects of our relationships with each other and with the story and has given us the freedom to play. It's unlike any rehearsal process I've experienced before. Each night will be a new adventure... you may want to get multiple tickets for this one, because you'll never see the exact same show twice.

FOR TODAY ONLY use the promo code: RAWacting to get tickets for Rabbit Hole for only $15!!! Get your tickets HERE and be sure to use your promo code.

 

*** We want to say a special thank you to Sophie for opening up this wonderful space for us to hold our rehearsals in. It's been an awesome ride so far. 

 

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Meet Our Sponsors - Triple A Bar

AAA Bar is an award winning Central Texas style BBQ joint catering to adults and families alike. Check out their full website HERE!

They have 3 locations:

- Just across the street from St. James Park at 138 Adelaide St East

- 1276 Queen St East across from the Beer Store in Leslieville 

- AAA Public House just off Broadview at 598 Gerard St East in old Chinatown.

Triple A is a BBQ joint serving Dry Rub Ribs, Brisket and other traditional favourites smoked daily on our offset barrel smoker. Full menu served until midnight 7 days a week. "Mostly" Gluten Free!

Check our their signature menu:

We had the opportunity to eat at AAA just before Christmas and the food was AMAZING!!!! We tried half of the menu (no joke) and EVERYTHING was delicious. We are so incredibly excited to have them as a sponsor for the show.

To grab a theatre & dinner package to Triple A, head to our Indiegogo Campaign. We will set up the reservation for you (at your location of choice) for 6:00 and all you have to do is show up! After dinner, head to the theatre and enjoy the show.  

You can get DINNER & THEATRE PERKS at AAA for one person HERE!  

You can also get DINNER & THEATRE PERKS at AAA for two people HERE! 

Trust us, you don't wanna miss this awesome deal.

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Meet our Director - Sophie Ann Rooney

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy

Sophie Ann Rooney is an award winning filmmaker for her short film ‘Fallen Fighter’. She is also one of Toronto's top acting coaches and the owner of RAW studios where most of her classes continue to have waitlists due to their popularity. 

Sophie is Sterling Theatre Company’s Co-Founding Artistic Director; producing 27plays in just over two years. She has directed theatre in Paris, Vancouver and most recently directed ‘MACBETH’ which sold out every show.

With an all RAW cast, we are incredibly grateful to have Sophie on board. We can't wait to bring Sophie's techniques to our rehearsal process and her vision for Rabbit Hole to life. 

Director's Note for Rabbit Hole: 

When one experiences grief, one may want to escape down a rabbit hole, or feel like Alice spinning out of control tumbling to the ground. To out-live your child is one of the biggest fears as a parent, and for those who have lived it, with the range of emotion, thoughts and physical toll, it could easily be unsurmountable. This play deals with family grief but also shines a light on white prejudice and privilege.

The playwright is sending a message here, trust me. Some may argue that these characters are not the easiest to love (they could be right) we should certainly question their integrity and bigotry, especially as I am a strong believer that art should reflect the time (Donald Trump, am I right?).

However the given circumstances this family is living (the death of their child) is shared amongst a large portion of the world, therefore Rabbit Hole is a universal story that needs to be told and honoured with human sensitivity and empathy with lightness and darkness portrayed, with the heart and integrity the playwright intended which serves as a reminder for us to check our privilege no matter how hard we deem our lives. Nathan, Rhea, Lindsey, Tyler and Courtney are the perfect team to tell this story.

You can keep in touch with Sophie on Twitter:  @RAWacting & @SophieAnnRooney well as on her Instagram HERE. You can connect with her RAW Studio on Facebook HERE

To order advanced tickets (at a discounted price) check out Rabbit Hole's Eventbrite page!!!  There are 17 performances to choose from. 

If you'd like to take advantage of exclusive opening/closing night parties with complementary Frisky Beaver Wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner/theatre packages with Braised or Triple A, behind the scenes time with the cast or would like to donate directly to Bereaved Families of Ontario please check out our Indiegogo Campaign HERE.

See you at the theatre!

 

 

 

 

 

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Meet Nathan Taylor

Rabbit Hole is Nathan's introduction to the Toronto theatre scene! He is proud to share that he was the recipient of Sophie Ann Rooney's RAW studio scholarship for 2017 and is incredibly excited to fine tune his acting technique and push his artist to new limits while immersed in classes at RAW.

You can find Nathan behind the lens snapping photos at some of Toronto's top industry events so be sure to check out some of his amazing photography featured on his Instagram page. Nathan recently became an ACTRA Apprentice after booking an OSPA commercial, so keep an eye out for Nathan on your T.V screen. Past TV credits include “Motive and Murders” on DiscoveryID. 

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Exclusive Interview with Nathan who plays Jason.

1. What drew you to this story?

What draws me to the story of Rabbit Hole is the amount of truth that can be told within it, from the perspective of a family losing a child at a young age. It's heart wrenching material, a story that makes people feel uncomfortable but should be known and expressed because the world isn't perfect.

2. Tell me a little bit about your character.

My character is Jason Willete, a teenager about to leave his family to go off to college. He loves science and has good friends at school who care about him. A determined and caring person. 

3. How are you similar/ different to your character?

I'm similar to Jason in the way, I've been through high school, I've got good friends, I love science like him, and I care about other peoples feelings over my own, even in dire situations.

4. What has been the biggest challenge so far tackling the subject matter involved in the play?

Rabbit Hole is an important story to tell because in the world we live in now, people are told to forget about their past more often and focus on the future, but this story shows the past shapes our futures. As a family and as people, events that have happened within our lives are never forgotten, they always leave a mark that doesn't just fade away like people expect. This story shows, the time will pass but the hurt never disappears. 

5. Do you have a favourite rehearsal memory yet?

The first time reading through the play, Lindsey thought I was 15 because I put on my younger voice while reading. That was funny. Plus the food was good and we drank wine afterwards.

You can follow Nathan on Instagram HERE

To order advanced tickets (at a discounted price) check out Rabbit Hole's Eventbrite page!!!  There are 17 performances to choose from. 

If you'd like to take advantage of exclusive opening/closing night parties with complementary Frisky Beaver Wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner/theatre packages with Braised or Triple A, behind the scenes time with the cast or would like to donate directly to Bereaved Families of Ontario please check out our Indiegogo Campaign HERE.

See you at the theatre!

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Meet Tyler McMaster

Tyler McMaster is a Canadian actor originally from Vancouver. Recent credits include principal roles on "Killjoys" and "Murdoch Mysteries". He also wrote, produced, and stars in The Last Day, an ambitious short film recently featured at the Toronto International Short Film Festival. 

Selected film/tv credits include Gangland Undercover, Remedy, Lost Girl, and J.J. Abrams' Fringe. On stage, he's participated in productions of American Buffalo, 12 Angry Men, Psycho Beach Party, and WestSide Story. 

He considers his training an ongoing process of plucking and thieving techniques and experiences, as he continuously grows what works for him. In this regard, he lists Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston's path as one of his inspirations. Training with Matthew Harrison of The Actor's Foundry was a ''game changer'' for him. He currently trains with Rabbit Hole Director,  Sophie Ann Rooney at her RAW acting studio in Toronto which ''inspires daily in its artistic truth and madness.'' He credits Sophie for ‘opening doors I didn’t know existed as an artist. Her studio facilitates boundless artistic growth, egoless truth, and play”.

Exclusive interview with Tyler McMaster who plays Howie.

1. What drew you to this story?

It's universal. I love stories where I can relate to several characters on different levels. This is one of em. It evokes questions that resonate long after you read it, or see it. See it. Hey, come see it.

2. Tell me a little bit about your character.

You want to grab a pint with Howie. He's the "firm handshake, eye contact, help you move" kinda guy. He's all heart. A shit dancer but will gladly bust a move if it'll get a chuckle.

3. How are you similar/ different to your character?

I'm different than Howie when it comes to dancing. I'm a PHENOMENAL dancer. Also, I lie. Similarities include heart and empathy. We would do anything for family but could probably reach out and open up a bit more. 

4. What has been the biggest challenge so far tackling the subject matter involved in the play?

Probably letting go of  the idea that it's a subject matter that can be ''tackled''. It's so personal and ever changing. There is no ''right way'' to deal with loss so I'll try to find my truth in these beautiful words and do the story justice. 

5. Why do you feel this is an important story to tell?

Grief can have some negative and messy connotation but I think there's beauty in it. It stems from love. So, it's a story about love that also has some laughs. There's only so many cat youtube videos you can watch. Oh except for this one with a cat and a cardboard box.....ah never mind. 

6. Do you have a favourite rehearsal memory yet?

Aemon (plays my 4 year old son Danny) and I shovelling chocolate fondue into our gobs. I felt ill for 3 hours but he passed out on the car ride home. He's a lightweight.

You can check out Tyler's IMDB page HERE and see more of his work HERE on WorkBook Live.
 

To order advanced tickets (at a discounted price) check out Rabbit Hole's Eventbrite page!!!  There are 17 performances to choose from. 

If you'd like to take advantage of exclusive opening/closing night parties with complementary Frisky Beaver Wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner/theatre packages with Braised or Triple A, behind the scenes time with the cast or would like to donate directly to Bereaved Families of Ontario please check out our Indiegogo Campaign HERE.

See you at the theatre!

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Meet Lindsey Middleton

Lindsey Middleton is best known for playing Vanessa on the internationally award winning, Toronto based web series, Out With Dad. Lindsey also co-produced her own spin off series called Vanessa’s Story and recently won the 2015 IAWTV Award for Best Female Performance in a Drama for her role. 

Lindsey is also a very active member in the Toronto theatre community. A graduate of U of T Mississauga and Sheridan College's Theatre and Drama Studies Program, a co-funder of Well Fought Theatre Company and Theatre By Committee. Lindsey recently starred in Theatre By Committee’s remount of FAITH and be sure to look for her in the new IPF winning web series Squadron 86.

Lindsey has also co-created a brand new documentary web series HappyHer focused on sharing women’s stories about happiness from all over the world. To watch some exciting news about their upcoming adventure click HERE.

Exclusive Interview with Lindsey who plays Izzy. 

1. What drew you to this story? 

How it can make you laugh and cry in the same sentence, I believe that is the best story telling.

2. Tell me a little bit about your character. 

Wild Child Izzy. A bit of a "fuck up" (in her own words) and an unpredictable, wild child that I am so excited to play!

3. How are you similar/ different to your character?  

I enjoy a party as much as the next person (maybe a little bit more than the next person), but Izzy and I definitely differ in her lack of direction. I've also been very focused on what I want to accomplish, though it is good to let go and have fun. Maybe Izzy will teach me something valuable. 

4. What has been the biggest challenge so far tackling the subject matter involved in the play? 

We all want to do it justice, and if you can't do a character justice then why do it at all?

5. Why do you feel this is an important story to tell? 

I think it is important to share stories and talk about the hardships in your life. For years I believed that "loose lips sink ships", but now I'm all about sharing, learning and understanding people through their and my own stories of what makes us the people we are, whether that be the good or the bad.

6. Do you have a favourite rehearsal memory yet? 

All the dinner rehearsals. I get to eat so much in this show and rehearsal. Who doesn't like that?

You can follow Lindsey on Twitter and Instagram and check our her IMDB page HERE. Be sure to also her HappyHer adventures HERE!

 

To order advanced tickets (at a discounted price) check out Rabbit Hole's Eventbrite page!!!  There are 17 performances to choose from. 

If you'd like to take advantage of exclusive opening/closing night parties with complementary Frisky Beaver Wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner/theatre packages with Braised or Triple A, behind the scenes time with the cast or would like to donate directly to Bereaved Families of Ontario please check out our Indiegogo Campaign HERE.  

See you at the theatre!

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Journey Down the Rabbit Hole - Meet RHEA AKLER

Rhea Akler is a graduate of the York University Theatre Program in Directing. Her love of acting ultimately overshadowed her degree and she has not looked back since. Rhea was nominated for an ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female for the short film, Undercurrent, which she wrote and co-produced.  Recent film/TV/web series credits include The Strain, The Returned, V Morgan Is Dead and Winter Garden. 

Recent Theatre credits include The Dumbwaiter for Stratical Theatre, and in May, Rhea will debut a new play by Sophia Fabiilli, called Liars at a Funeral. Rhea is thrilled to be returning to the stage to share this moving story of Rabbit Hole alongside this beautiful cast of actors.

Exclusive Interview with Rhea Akler who plays Nat. 

1. What drew you to this story?

This is a moving story of a family shook by a tragic accident. In a matter of seconds, their lives have been changed forever. The loss of a child is beyond comprehension. Will they, somehow, some way, in time, find their way? This struggle to exist beyond loss is what is compelling to witness. Loss and death are themes which are not often talked about in our society. Especially when it comes to the loss of a child. This is a chance to begin this dialogue.

2. Tell me a little bit about your character.

Nat is the matriarch of the family and a bit of a spitfire. I kinda love her!  She's passionate, funny (although not always trying to be!), a straight shooter, a little self-involved, loves a glass of wine (or 4) and is resilient in the face of loss (she lost her only son 11 years ago). Although she has made her fair share of mistakes, she has always done her best as a mother.  She loves her children deeply and fiercely and would do anything to support and protect them.

3. How are you similar/ different to your character?

I am a mother, so naturally Nat and I have that in common. I too love my kids beyond the hemisphere and back and would do anything to protect and support them. I think I am down to earth like Nat and passionate about subjects which move me. Although perhaps in my earlier years I may have been more self involved, I am proud to say I have moved towards a mindful state of being (a continuous journey). 

4. What has been the biggest challenge so far tackling the subject matter involved in the play?

The most difficult thing to tackle with this subject matter is relating it to the loss I have experienced in my own life and any imagined loss of my children. I find it extremely painful to fathom this thought. And I can instantly see why people are afraid to speak of this subject. It's unbearable to even imagine, but our job as artists is to present it in order to communicate and honour it.

5. Do you have a favourite rehearsal memory yet?

LoL - still in process. Though, outside of rehearsal, Courtney, Tyler and I had the privilege of meeting with 7 mothers (who are also peer counsellors) from the Bereaved Families of Ontario. They shared their personal stories of loss which profoundly moved me. I had a leaky water faucet in the corner of my right eye which was turned on throughout the encounter. That experience will stay with me forever and hopefully be infused, like osmosis, in the work we do on stage, and I'll try to honour their stories.

You can check out Rhea's IMDB page HERE and you can see more of her work on Vimeo.

To order advanced tickets (at a discounted price) check out Rabbit Hole's Eventbrite page!!!  There are 17 performances to choose from. 

If you'd like to take advantage of exclusive opening/closing night parties with complementary Frisky Beaver Wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner/theatre packages with Braised or Triple A, behind the scenes time with the cast or would like to donate directly to Bereaved Families of Ontario please check out our Indiegogo Campaign HERE.

See you at the theatre!

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Journey Down the RABBIT HOLE

Rabbit Hole is a stunning story about one families journey after the loss of their child, and we are so incredibly excited to share David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize winning story.

We have an incredible cast lined up lead by award winning director, Sophie Ann Rooney and we've decided to give you an inside look at all of the puzzle pieces that have come together to tell this story. 

Stay tuned for lots of behind the scenes information as we lead up to our opening night on January 24th! Did I mention you can get advanced tickets (for a CHEAPER price) RIGHT HERE?

We have blogs featuring each of the cast members: Courtney Deelen (Becca), Tyler McMaster (Howie), Linsdey Middleton (Izzy), Rhea Akler (Nat) and Nathan Taylor (Jason), as well as our director Sophie Ann Rooney.

You'll get the inside story of how we all fell in love with the play and what our RAW collective is all about. You'll also get a glimpse into our rehearsal process as method actors.

As the theme of this play is loss, we've decided to connect with Bereaved Families of Ontario and donate a portion of our ticket sales to them. We will have an exclusive blog about this incredible organization and how you can help raise awareness and support them. 

 We've got feature blogs for our sponsors... Smokin' Beaver Winery, Braised & Triple A, all of which have featured perks in our Indiegogo Campaign.

Did I mention we are also running an Indiegogo Campaign to help us get our show off of the ground? We have some INCREDIBLE perks that include dinner/ticket packages, exclusive opening and closing night tickets with free wine & hors d'oeuvres, and special 50/50 perks that give straight to Bereaved Families of Ontario.

 PLEASE check it out HERE and grab one of our awesome perks. 

Stay tuned for more goodness and come join us at the theatre!

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DwT PRESENTS Rabbit Hole

It's getting close to Christmas and we all know that you've got that one (or 5) people on your list that you don't know what to buy for... SO we've come up with a solution for you!

We have just launched our Indiegogo campaign to help us produce our first live theatre production in January 2017 at The Red Sandcastle Theatre. By supporting our campaign, you won't only be helping to get our production off of it's feet, but you will be spreading awareness and supporting an incredible cause.

We have decided to donate a portion of our ticket sales to Bereaved Families of Ontario. A non-profit, volunteer run, organization that supports family members who have lost loved ones. We also have some awesome perks that you can choose that will go directly towards BFO.

Please check out the video and head over the campaign link HERE

We have some incredible sponsors for the run of our show.... January 24th - February 11th. We've teamed up again with Smokin Beaver Winery to bring you a selection of Frisky Beaver Wines at intermission and after the show.

We've also teamed up with two incredible Leslieville restaurants to bring you exclusive dinner and ticket packages for our show. Triple A Toronto's top spot for Texas Style BBQ and Braised Queen Street's go-to place for modern comfort food. Be sure to check back in for exclusive blogs featuring each restaurant!

We can't wait to share this beautiful story with you, but we can't do it without your help. Please check out the campaign (in case you missed the link before, HERE IT IS AGAIN), spread the word about Bereaved Families of Ontario and know that no donation is too small. Any support you can give WILL make a difference.

THANK YOU!

We can't wait to see you at the theatre.

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