THE LADY'S NOT FOR BURNING to Open Jan 24 at Alumnae Theatre

The Alumnae Theatre Company presents its second mainstage show of the 2013-2014 season: The Lady's Not For Burning, by Christopher Fry. This is particular production is part of Alumnae's Centennial retrospective leading up to our 100th Anniversary in 2018. The current production is helmed by Jane Carnwath.

"Life, forbye, is the way

We fatten for the Michaelmas of our own particular

Gallows. What a wonderful thing is metaph"

Christopher Fry's poetic flight of comic fancy about a witch-hunt and a world-weary veteran was in instant hit in 1949 London, in a country still reeling from the harsh realities of war. Jennet, an eccentRic Young woman accused of witchcraft and Thomas, the soldier in search of oblivion, confront each other and a world that seeks to destroy her, and their lives.

Can a play, set in 1400 "either more or less or exactly", have anything to say to an audience in 2014? Absolutely. For all its comic quirkiness and poetic pyrotechnics, this wonderful play throws a torchlight beam into some of the dark corners that still haunt us: mob paranoia and violence, fear of "the other", religious hypocrisy, the wielding of tradition and bureaucracy as weapons of defense or aggression. They resonate sharply today.

It's been an ambition of Jane's to direct THE LADY. To bring to life a world that dances between the poetic and the everyday, a world that is dangerous, flawed like the richly contradictory folk who inhabit it, yet ultimately redeemed by its beauty and complexity.

THE LADY'S NOT FOR BURNING stars Chris Cocoluzzi as Thomas; Andrea Brown* in the role of Jennet; Chris Whidden as Richard; Elsbeth McCall will be playing the part of Alizon, Ryan Armstrong in the part of Nicholas, Paul Cotton will play Humphrey, the role of Margaret will be performed by Carol McLennan, Christopher Kelk* takes on the part of Tyson, Rob Candy will be Tappercoom and Peter Higginson and Ian Orr will play the Chaplain and Skipps respectively. Director Jane Carnwath* is at the helm of this production with stage management by Margot Develin. The set is designed by Ed Rosing, with light design by Jennifer Fraser. Sound design for The Lady's Not For Burning is by Angus Barlow. Costumes for the series were designed by Margaret Spence. The show is produced by Ellen Green and Barbara Larose.

*Appears by permission of Canadian Actor's Equity Association

Cast (in order of appearance):

Chris Whidden (Richard)

Chris Whidden was most recently seen in Alumnae's Fireworks festival production of Theory as Richard. Other credits include: Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice (Ale House Theatre); Will in One Side of an Ampersand (Toronto Fringe); Fabian in Twelfth Night (Ale House); Macbeth in Macbeth (Ale House). Chris is also a recent graduate from the Performance Acting program at Ryerson Theatre School including such credits as Shalimov in Summerfolk and Piper in The Piper.

Chris Coculuzzi (Thomas Mendip)

Chris has been involved with independent, community, and educational theatre for over twenty years. Recent highlights include his performance as Romano in Vittorio Rossi's Paradise By The River (Shadowpath 2010) and Piecing Together Pauline, which he co-authored and directed for the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival. In the last two years Chris has been busy performing in All My Sons as Chris Keller, Jekyll and Hyde as Mr. Hyde, and directing Jeff Daniels' Apartment 3A (Amicus Productions). Chris has participated as a performer and director for Alumnae's New Ideas Festival but this is his first time in a mainstage production.

Elsbeth McCall (Alizon Eliot)

Elsbeth is a Toronto-based actor and vocalist. She is a graduate of the Theatre Performance program at Humber College and is co-founder and co-artistic director of Barking Bird Theatre. Elsbeth most recently played Cassio in a thrilling gender swapped production of Othello (Go Play Producing). Other theatre credits include No Time for Dreams (barking birds theatre), The Survivalists: A Radio Play, Tir Na Nog: A Visitor's Tale, Unfinished Passage, Henry V (Humber Theatre), Cabaret, Evita, and Jesus Christ Superstar (Northumberland Players). Elsbeth is very excited to be playing in her first Alumnae Theatre production.

Ryan Armstrong (Nicholas Devize)

Ryan is a recent graduate from Queen's University and is extremely excited to be doing his first show back in Toronto with Alumnae theatre. As an aspiring actor he is thrilled to be working with such a receptive and dynamic cast, and with such a driven and creative crew. He would like to thank Nathaniel Fried, Ryan LaPlante, and Matt McFetridge for their incredible support, and all their help in getting Ryan to where he is today.

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