History is Dramatic

One of the many hats I wear is shaped like a bonnet – well, at least that’s my usual hat when I’m at the museums. I am a storyteller and sometimes the story I have to tell is that of Toronto’s history at some of the historic house museums. You can learn about my endeavors on my Historical Interpreter page and see more about my historical dramas built for site specifically on my Playwright page

The Toronto History Museums and I have a long standing history (pun intended) of creating experiences for patrons to explore history in a different/immersive way. I have created several theatre-in-situ/site specific stories based on artifacts, letters, diaries, and photographs. Here’s my little piece in the museum magazine about it:
history is dramatic magazine page article front cover of toronto historic sites museum magazine Adrianna in Toronto History Museum Magazine

So fun! I can’t wait to see what our next creation will be 🙂

Rebellious Women: Remount!

Rebellious Women: Remount!

Next year, our great nation will be celebrating 150 years of Canadian history and culture! Now the history nerd in me is going nuts with all the great programming that I know is coming to the museums I work at – but also that I will be in an episode of Canada: The Story of Us on the CBC is exciting!

PLUS: it has been confirmed that my one-woman play about Mrs. Gibson and the women of the Upper Canada Rebellion will be remounted at Gibson House Museum in August!

I’m stoked to look back at this play I wrote back in… oh man, 2010?! Dust it off and send it back into rehearsal/the parlour. It is a site specific piece that tells the woman’s side of what happened in December of 1837…

Rebellious Women: Teasoons Raised
Rebellious Women: Teaspoons Raised

 

“November 1851: In the front parlour of Mrs. Gibson’s newly built home in Willow Dale, a table is set with cake and tea. Mrs. Gibson and her guests: Mrs. Cummer and Mrs. Sheppard, have gathered. Gibson House hosts the three unique women of Willow Dale whose lives were touched by the events of the 1837 Rebellion. Based on letters and journals, discover history through the perspective of the wives, daughters, and mothers of those men who fought for change on Yonge Street.”

 

 

 

More updates on tickets and specifics to come!

Writer’s Retreat – Toronto Islands Artscape

Writer’s Retreat – Toronto Islands Artscape

The writer’s retreat at Artscape Gibraltar Point last month was nothing like what I expected.

For one thing, I didn’t know it was going to be so gosh darn gorgeous. I mean look at those photos! I was compelled to stay outside and if you know me that is NOT my factory settings! I hide in the shade or stay inside, but that weekend I was constantly trying to stay outside and soak up the sunshine and the beautiful relaxing landscape. But wait, isn’t the Toronto Islands a tourist destination? How can that be relaxing? Well, the organizer (and friend) Phil Rickaby planned our weekend retreat on Mother’s Day weekend + the weekend was cold and calling for rain so not many people were there except the usual suspects (aka the people who live there).

I was there with 5 other writers, only two are pictured above as I didn’t want this to be a “vacation” where I photograph everything (though I couldn’t help the pictures above because AGAIN it was so damn gorgeous!) – all of which had a project they were working on. I was working on the 2 Weeks to Paradise webseries script! We shared our pieces together and gave feedback on what we heard.

We had our own desks in our rooms and came together at meals and hung out (Phil and I went to the farm on the island and got kissed by Prince the llama(!), and heard about each other’s projects. It was really inspiring!

Here is a sample of what I wrote while I was there; it’s shifting the focus on Claire, the principal character’s intern. I want each of them to have a full story of their own as “supporting” characters…

CLAIRE
You know what I mean. You’re dedicated. You’re an artist.

JENNY
Graphic artists don’t get to be “artistes”.

CLAIRE
Ya you do, it’s in your job title.

JENNY
Ya but, I don’t use a brush I use a keyboard and I don’t think a museum wants my digital creations any time soon. Hell, I just want my Etsy to blow up – pay my rent, hell buy me groceries…

CLAIRE
Do you need money?

JENNY
No no no. I just, ah, I just am feeling like a faker. No one wants my shit.

CLAIRE
It’s not shit.

JENNY
Says the dutiful sister.

CLAIRE
Says the sister who is always right.

JENNY
I love you “sister who is always right”.

CLAIRE
I love you too. Now (waves her fork like a wand) it is time for another glass of wine! Why? Oh, because I’m always right!

Here’s hoping the next round of grants will let me finish this and produce it up for you to see! In the meantime, if you can BOOK SOME TIME at Artscape, I’m already planning on going again later this year. It was exactly what the writer doctor ordered 🙂

*Special thanks to Phil Rickaby for putting that weekend together and all the participants who were just an amazing talent and energy to be around.

2 Weeks to Paradise – #amWriting

I don’t know if you know this but I started writing a web series…

This was made for IPF funding , it’s a ‘proof of concept’ trailer in hopes that they will like the concept and we can get backing from them to hire awesome talented people to make it a reality.

I’m calling it the next chapter in the Everything But the Cat… trilogy. But that only makes two? Ah yes, I’m also putting together a children’s book too! Since these are all under my EBTC branding which aligns itself with mental health, grief, and bereavement – I haven’t been talking about it much here, so if you want to follow that journey hop on over to www.everythingbutthecat.net and see how it’s doing 🙂

Please subscribe and like the above channel and video, as that is where the rest of the episodes will be posted, should we get funding!

Thanks for your support! And thanks to Charlie, Jason, Danielle, Phil, Ryan, AJ, Ron, Val, and Coral for making that video happen – you are the bestest!

“Hey Adri, what are you working on?”

I get this question a lot. And it always feels good to say, “you might want to sit down, this could take a while…!”

Cranium Cookie is always happening! In fact we just shot another episode about dogs and behaviour with none-other-than my lil puppy McFly! Plus we are having fun online at @craniumcookie – join us!

Cast of State of Women by Tandum Entertainment with Adrianna as Jean
Cast of State of Women in rehearsal by Tandum Entertainment with Adrianna as Jean

 

I have started rehearsals (pictured is the main cast of ladies!) for this really awesome WWII EPIC called “State of Women” written by the ever-so talented Andy Lyberopoulos, and directed by Tatum Lee. It’s a 5 Act play (impressive right?!) that looks at the lives of women in WWII: factory work, personal loss and gains during the war – I’ll say it again: EPIC. It goes up in July for a limited run to preview to some big-wigs but perhaps you can steal a seat! I highly recommend it.

And lastly, I have written a web series about bereavement and grief and mental health: it’s called “2 Weeks to Paradise” <-*read the first 3 episodes here!*  and I am getting the first read of it with actors going next week! I’m excited and a little bit scared with a touch of ERMERGERD. So I feel like I’m on the right track to creating something here.

OH and I’m still at the museums as their Social Media Community Manager (oh lookie I have a fancy title now!) and I’m helping plan a Steampunk festival for Zion Schoolhouse in August – be there or be a steamed square! And I am 3 courses deep into my College certificate for Social Media at George Brown (top of my class, well la-di-da!) and of course being zany on commercials or as a knight (SQUEE BEST GIG EVER!)

So ya, what’s new with you? 😉

Adrianna on set as a 70's chick (but looks a lot like Velma from Scooby Doo
Adrianna on set as a 70’s chick (but looks a lot like Velma from Scooby Doo
Adrianna as The Red Knight at Casa Loma March Break 2015
Adrianna as The Red Knight at Casa Loma March Break 2015

Answer some questions about yourself.

My friend and constant inspiration Kat Leonard asked me some great questions, and I mean GREAT. These rival the #AskHerMore questions on Twitter! Here, click the pic & take a look at what I answered:

People Profile: Adrianna Prosser's headshot for Kat Leonard

 

I think everyone should ask themselves these questions. Furthermore, Kat was so generous to ask me to come out and take part in her WonderFest in March  where I will be performing a piece from my Everything But the Cat… one-woman show. It looks like it will be March 5th at 3030 Dundas St W – stay tuned for more details 🙂

IC Publishing Summer Blog Tour

My friend, Andrew Freund (@AndrewFreundKM) asked me to be a part of the IC Publishing Summer Blog Tour and I couldn’t be more delighted! You can read Sheri’s post that launched the tour here. The idea is to talk about projects and all the things that go into it.  As Sheri puts it: “So, what better subject to blog about than how to start, continue, and complete those tasks we really want to—big or small?”

writing
My projects vary: I’m a playwright and soon to be children’s author (that’s my in-the-works project/goal!) and a blogger over at my “Everything But the Cat…” website. I would really like to explore screenplays in the future; I have a webseries idea in draft about bereavement in a dark comedy set in Toronto too. So a little bit of everything really!

How do you start your (writing) projects?
With a deep desire to say something about that subject. When I wrote the historical adaptations for The City of Toronto Museums I was moved by historical fact and the knowledge that most people I knew didn’t even know those events had transpired. In their own home town too! The medium I was most familiar with was acting so I wrote a play. I also wanted people to come to the site specific museums to experience the history as much as be entertained by it.

With Everything But the Cat… it was equal parts moved by events (my brother had died by suicide) and a part of my bereavement process. I needed an outlet and once again, it was the medium I knew. I also wanted to share my story in a very personal way: one-woman-show style. I wanted my audience to know this happened to me and that this show was something beyond entertainment – it was a call for community and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health. That’s why I made the blog over at www.everythingbutthecat.net so that the community could grow and connect and share.

With the upcoming children’s book, I felt I still had things to say about mental health and subjects like depression and helping young people understand that it’s okay to talk about their feelings to those they trust. In the book a little girl has SADs and it is up to her and her helpful teddy bear to fight the symptoms and treat her illness.

How do you continue your writing projects?
Scheduling helps – I like putting myself on deadlines. I also like bringing in other people: the more eyes on it the better. With my plays I had dramaturgs, editors, directors, stage managers… With the children’s book I am reaching out to people I know in the business (Like Erik Buchanan, you can read his blog post from the links below!) and trust their opinion to soundboard off of. Networking is helpful because you never know who will say yes to your project unless you ask! (This blog share being a perfect example of building networks and community!) But these people also put the pressure on to deliver! It’s harder to procrastinate a project when I know someone else is waiting to see that project.

How do you finish your project?
Ah. This is tough. I never feel the project is complete. With the shows, there is a deadline to get it into rehearsals, but even there the script may change and I allow it to with the insight of the actors, director, stage manager – all of these elements can add so much more to the original text. But it is key to stand by your words and stand up for your decisions: it is your play afterall. Setting boundaries is a good idea before allowing others to put their two cents in too 😉

With the book coming up, I don’t know how I will deal with that! That is a finite thing that will be sent off to the printers. I’m guessing with lots of re-reading and edits and a test audience to read it and give me feedback so I can adjust the text/illustrations to get the right mood from the reader as a response. Allowing your “ugly baby” out into the world and to come back with notes, scribbles, highlights and post-it notes is a hard thing but a necessary thing.

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from:

Tip: keep a small pocket book in your purse, bag, knapsack for all those quotes friends say that tickle you – you should use them in your next project. I mean, it made you laugh, it could delight someone else in the future.

Challenge: I would love to know more about the ins and outs of the publishing world. I’m coming into it post-self publication world revolution, where the game has changed so much… where do I begin?

Passing the Pen
I’d like to pass the pen/keyboard over to these fantastic people who will answer these questions next Wednesday on their blog!

Dwayne Harmer is a Designer,  is an Artist and the creator of the Stress Prevention Kit. After dealing with his own mental illness for over a decade, he wanted to provide an alternative to the clinical and the flowery spiritual self-help books. “Spirituality for me comes from the serenity of being in this moment.” He hopes to inspire others to take a (w)holistic approach to their health. @stresskit @zoetropicdream
stresskit.zoetropicdream.com  +  zoetropicdream.com

Erik Buchanan is a professional writer, ghostwriter, communications consultant, actor, and fight director. He is the author of Small Magics and Cold Magics, both published by Dragon Moon Press, and his third novel True Magics will be out this fall.  He also has short stories in “When the Hero Comes Home” and “When the Villain Comes Home.” He has also written more than 300 articles on everything from from consumer electronics to reasons to get the flu shot.  Erik is currently working on a web series, a young adult horror series, and trying to find enough time to sleep.
 erikbuchanan.blogspot.com   @erik_buchanan

A new Blog for a not-so-new conversation.

I recently started a new blog over at Everything But the Cat…’s Website about all things mental health in hopes that people will share their stories. Storytelling is a lost art and I want to do my part to bring it back: it is a great tool to connect people to people, to build community and help others feel they belong. By sharing stories of loss, bereavement, depression and how people are coping, thriving, LIVING – I want others to hear they are not alone.

I am really keen on having guest bloggers as it can’t be a one sided conversation. I already have The Stress Kit’s author lined up, Ashley Gibson who is a constant inspiration – and even the team behind EBTC… is going to share their stories of how they cope, deal, live, promote their mental health.

I hope you join me, join us, and if you were interested in posting as a guest blogger I hope you reach out too! Drop me a line adriannasemail @ gmail. com or through one of the contact forms on these here websites.

Thanks, and remember: you’re awesome.

-Adri

Everything in public…

The other night I participated in the Soulo Festival with my not-so-one-woman show Everything But the Cat...

EBTC Soulo Postcard It SOLD OUT!

The show sold out of pre-sales and the walk-up line started before my call-time! We had a full house with people sitting on chairs that were stacked so they could see over top of other people!

adri EBTC postshow
Me with the post-show talk with my awesome audience

The people I met from the audience were amazing – they were generous with their laughter and their tears. The applause was earth shattering, so much so that I hope my brother heard it because it was mostly for him; he made them laugh with the memories I had shared.

Some audience members even came to give me a hug or shake my hand after, or to tell me their story. I even met a former group therapy member who said she didn’t know it was me going into the show but instantly recognized me when I said “brother from another mother”. She had a deep connection with the theme of the show, but now having one degree of separation she had to say hello afterwards. I’m so glad she did 🙂

I have my first school booking for this show on June 4th and I can’t wait to see what students have to say now that the team has put so much into revitalizing the images to suit my original vision. People’s favourite scenes are still Steph Ouaknine’s slides of the subway and shower, and now I’m hearing the shadow actors are growing in favour as well! Such great talent that was shared to make this happen. You guys are the best!

IMG_9557
Jason and Stevie at the tech board

Thanks to the Soulo Fest for picking my script. Thank you to The Red Sandcastle Theatre for hosting. Thanks to my team Jason, Stevie, Dwayne, Brad, and Bricoteer Puppet Projects for making this show stellar. And thanks to the many talented actors and voice artists that made the memories come to life for the stage. Thank you. Thank you THANK YOU.