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Call for Submissions (Edmonton): Theatre Partners – Players de Novo

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Call for Submissions (Edmonton): Theatre Partners – Players de Novo

Call for Theatre Partners
May 2025 and May 2026

To: Edmonton’s professional not-for-profit theatre community

Have you met us yet?
The Players de novo are actively seeking a theatre partner for each of our two upcoming productions in 2025-2026 and NOW is your opportunity to partner with us!
To apply, submit your pitch by email to Kevin Mott at kevinmott1953@yahoo.ca on or before January 12, 2024.

Your pitch should include short descriptions of:

  • Your theatre company (including your administrative capacity);
  • Why you are applying (including urgent needs or special projects); and
  • Your proposed play(s) and director(s) and why you are proposing them.

Please note that we typically favour a larger cast show, with a balance of male and female roles, and with varying age ranges. We are open to musicals.

Who are we?
The Players de Novo are a volunteer group drawn from Edmonton’s legal community. Each year, we put on a production at the Victoria School for the Arts, with two goals in mind

To raise funds for the theatre community in Edmonton.
The funds raised are shared equally between the partnering theatre company and the Victoria School Foundation for the Arts, our host for the event. The average annual share for each partner – Theatre Company and Victoria Foundation in somewhere around between $35,000 – 40,000 each, after expenses. In our first 16 years, we have been able to contribute over $1.5 million to Edmonton’s theatre community and the Victoria School Foundation.  That includes fees paid to directors, stage managers, designers and other Edmonton theatre professionals.

Our theatre partners to date have been:

  • 2006 Workshop West
    The Mousetrap, directed by Ron Jenkins
  • 2007 Shadow Theatre
    You Can’t Take It With You, directed by John Hudson
  • 2008 Free Will Players
    Arsenic & Old Lace, directed by Troy O’Donnell & Julien Arnold
  • 2009 Concrete Theatre
    Father of the Bride, directed by Caroline Howarth & Jana O’Connor
  • 2010 Catalyst Theatre
    Murder on the Nile, directed by Jonathan Christenson & Michelle Brown
  • 2011 Edmonton Opera
    Lend Me A Tenor, directed by Brian Deedrick & Kevin Mott
  • 2012 Northern Light Theatre
    The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, directed by Trevor Schmidt & Davina Stewart
  • 2013 Theatre Network
    The Government Inspector, directed by Bradley Moss & Troy O’Donnell
  • 2014 Varscona Theatre Alliance
    The Matchmaker, directed by Jeff Haslam & Belinda Cornish
  • 2015 Kompany Family Theatre
    The Beaux Stratagem, directed by Jan Taylor
  • 2016 Free Will Players
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Marianne Copithorne & Troy O’Donnell
  • 2017 Workshop West Playwrights Theatre
    A Village of Idiots, directed by Vern Thiessen & Troy O’Donnell
  • 2018 Catalyst Theatre
    Guys & Dolls, directed by Greg Dowler-Coleman, Natalie Witte & Bruce Cable
  • 2019 Edmonton Opera
    Harvey, directed by Brian Deedrick & Kevin Mott
  • 2022 Concrete Theatre
    The Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery directed by Tracey Carroll
  • Shadow Theatre
    The 39 Steps (A Radio Play) directed by Reed McColm
  • 2023 Shadow Theatre
    Laughing Stock, directed by Reed McColm & Amanda Goldberg

To enhance good will and collegiality in the legal community.
For the past 16 years, we have organized the production of an annual play with a cast made up of local lawyers and judges.  Since we started, we have put 250 members of our community on stage – some of them more than once, and some for the very first time in their lives!

How do our partnerships work?
Overall, we rely on our theatre partner to provide the artistic expertise and organizational administration. The legal community supplies the organizing committee, the cast, ticket sales, advertising and sponsorships. The Victoria School provides some rehearsal space, the performance venue (its 692-seat, fully-equipped theatre), the technical and design team, and the reception venue.

  • Our theatre partner provides the artistic direction, suggestions and ultimate decision of the choice of play. The theatre company must provide the director and assistant director (if needed).  There is a budget line for directors.  We have found historically that a co-director or assistant director is useful due to the long rehearsal period.  It would also be up to the director to select the play, in discussion with the organizing committee.
    We prefer a show with a large cast (for sponsorships and ticket sales (12-18 – though we have had shows with as few as 8) and lots of humour for our audience.  We prefer to stay away from ‘lawyers’ shows” such as Twelve Angry Men, as the cast are here to have fun and learn, not just repeat what they do in their day jobs.  The same applies to our audience. 
    We note that the administrative tasks involved can be very challenging, particularly as we get close to the show date.  As we aim for a sell-out every year, we are constantly seeking updates on ticket sales – not just the numbers, but who they are sold to, etc.  The theatre partner must be confident that it can handle the administrative support required.  It may be beneficial to speak to past general managers to discuss the work involved.
    Our organizing committee members do almost all of the work on tickets, sales, sponsorships, advertising, but the theatre partner’s administrator will coordinate and keep records of the efforts, look after all the incoming proceeds (in cash, by cheque and credit cards), the tax receipts where appropriate and, pay the usual bills.  The administrator will prepare a budget (previous years are available for format and costing) and the organizing committee will review it at its (monthly) meetings.  Following the budget format allows us to look at one year to the next in a consistent fashion.  The theatre partner should have some way of processing credit cards.
    In 12 of our 14 stage productions to date, we have used the services of Brian Bast to design the set, costume the show and collect the props.  That choice is the theatre partners. The theatre partner will also be expected to provide a stage manager of its choosing and does not need to be an Equity member, just good at what they do.  At times Nico Van Der Kley, the resident technician at Victoria School has suggested some top-flight recent graduates for stage manager.
  • The Victoria School for the Arts provides the venue (theatre and gala reception areas), some rehearsal space, and the technical director Nico Van der Kley and his technical support team.  While the theatre partner may choose to use someone else in the role of technical director and lighting designer, Nico’s services will come into play at some point by virtue of the School’s involvement, and it has proved to be an excellent partnership over the years.  For this project he is not paid by the School, but will be included in the play’s budget.  His familiarity with the venue is of great assistance to all.  Engaging Nico avoids double payment for certain services as he must be there in any event. Our shows are usually held on the first Friday of May.  The exact date is dictated by the school’s need for the theatre in its own scheduling, but the school has been very accommodating wherever possible. 
  • The Players de novo provide the lawyers and judges who act as the cast and the organizing committee. The organizing committee is composed primarily of current and past cast members and is responsible for gathering sponsorships, advertisers, and for selling tickets. We also look after arranging a Gala Reception after the show.  Historically there have been no auditions: after the Director identifies the roles and what he or she is looking for in each role, our casting committee goes out to beat the legal bushes.  In filling the cast, we are also guided by our own mandate that the cast should be widely representative of the Bench and Bar.  Some of the cast members provided to the Director may have little recent stage experience, but all will have commitment and enthusiasm.
    We try to avoid cast members being in the show every year.  Our rule of thumb is that you have to be out for two years before you get back in.  This increases the pool of potential cast members, and also enlarges the ticket selling and sponsorship pool. However, this rule of thumb is flexible and not always honored (for example, in the case of musicals).
    Please note that we are not a legal entity (though that might seem strange from a group of lawyers). We are just a collection of volunteers who are passionate about what we are trying to do.  We have no bank account: all funds will flow through the partnering theatre company. Tickets are typically $100.00 with a $75.00 tax receipt, and the event regularly sells out. It is one of the most anticipated events of the year for Edmonton’s legal community, as lawyers are keen to bring their friends and have the time of their lives, whether as part of the show, attending the show, or at the Gala Reception.

The rehearsal process
All of our cast members are practicing lawyers or sitting judges and therefore have full-time work.  Rehearsals have historically been scheduled for one weeknight and Sunday afternoons starting in early January and running right through to the show date.  At times the Directors have called additional rehearsals closer to “show date.”  This is a long rehearsal period and one to which theatre professionals may not be accustomed. Although it is long in terms of the number of days on the calendar, when the hours are actually totaled up, it is about equivalent to a typical Equity rehearsal period of 3 weeks.  People making the commitment to join the cast will do their best to be at all rehearsals, but scheduling conflicts will inevitably arise over the 4-month span.  Kevin Mott has been part of the organizing committee from its inception, and he is also generally available to work with the cast, individually and collectively, for line runs and additional rehearsals.

 

How to apply
To qualify – The professional theatre organization should be a registered charity, as they must be able to issue official charitable tax receipts for a portion of the ticket price. Non-profit theatre organizations without registered charity status may wish to approach and apply with a registered charity partner, subject to new federal allowances that enable registered charities to enter into charitable partnerships (Bill S-216).  CRA status is critical and applicants without this status or without a formalized agreement in place entering a charitable partnership as referenced above, will not be entertained. 

We review the proposals received from groups meeting the initial criteria and then we make a selection at our discretion. There are no hard and fast rules regarding how we choose a partner. We receive a number of proposals annually and we face the difficult task of choosing one for each given year. Generally, new applicants will be chosen ahead of returning theatre partners, though we may choose to repeat a past theatre partner.

Finally, all parties should be aware that, when planning this far in advance, things may change.  At present, our organization is comprised entirely of enthusiastic volunteers, who may or may not all be around two years from now.  We also understand that a theatre company may have a change of heart or scheduling for its own season, and we are alive to discussing any issues as they may arise.

Interested in becoming our theatre partner?
Please submit your pitch by email to KEVIN MOTT at kevinmott1953@yahoo.ca on or before February 4, 2024. Thank you!

Theatre Alberta does not necessarily endorse the organizations and/or individuals submitting Classified listings on our site. It is the responsibility of each patron using the Theatre Alberta Classifieds to research the integrity of the organizations who submit listings to which they are applying/responding and to verify specific information, especially pertaining to the job/audition listings and youth listings.

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