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.

Carol McLennan (Margaret Devize)

Carol is delighted to be back on the Alumnae Mainstage, where she last appeared as Edna in Albee's A Delicate Balance. She has also performed there in Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan and in a number of plays in the New Ideas Festival. Other appearances: Dust Motes Dancing (Act 2 Studio Works), The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (Amicus), The Heiress and The Winslow Boy (Village Playhouse). She would love you to come see her in May at Amicus in A Month in the Country. And As always, Carol thanks her most loyal supporter, Peter.

Paul Cotton (Humphrey Devize)

Paul is happy to be performing with the Alumnae Theatre for the second time, having just played the role of Louis Godin in A Measure of the World . Other recent roles include Felix in The Odd Couple with the Scarborough Players, and Dan in Rapture with the East Side Players. A dual citizen, Paul has been involved in theatre in Toronto and New York for the past 20 years and has coveted every role.

Christopher Kelk* (Hebble Tyson)

Christopher has been a professional actor for 40 years, beginning with a season at the Shaw Festival. He has performed in theatres from B.C to Newfoundland, including 26 Shakespeare productions. Favourite roles include the title role in King Lear, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Iago in Othello, Bri in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot and Ralph Waldo Emerson in Democracy. He may also be seen as Rollo, the school janitor, in Universal Pictures' Billy Madison. His verse translation of Juvenal's Satires was published in 2010 by Edwin Mellen Press.

Andrea Brown*(Jennet Jourdemayne)

For Alumnae Theatre, Andrea's credits include After Magritte (Thelma), Lady Windermere's Fan (Lady Plymdale), Baby with the Bathwater (Principal Willoughby), and Moonlight & Valentino (Sylvie). Other recent credits include The Crucible (Elizabeth Proctor) and Young Frankenstein (Frau Blucher) with Alexander Showcase Theatre as well as various professional and community theatre productions throughout the GTA, and TV commercials. Andrea thanks The Family and husband Patrick, as well as the production team for bringing her aboard. Andrea notes with interest that she will have played an accused witch in two shows back to back.

Peter Higginson (The Chaplain)

Peter first acted in this theatre in 1973 as The Covey in "The Plough And The Stars" - the first Alumnae production at the Firehall Theatre. Thirty years and twenty characters later he is delighted to be adding number twenty-one, as Chaplain, to his Alumnae roster. Other productions this year have included Bent, Tunnel Vision, Surviving Spears, The Glass Cage and four independent film projects. Active in small theatre since 1956, when bitten by the bug, and independent film since 2001, when his son started his career in film, Peter continues to be scratching in both areas.

Rob Candy (Edward Tappercoom)

Rob is excited to be part of this production of The Lady's Not for Burning. Rob will be familiar to Alumnae Theatre audiences from The Killdeer, The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte, Delicate Balance, and several New Ideas Festivals. He has also performed extensively for the Village Players, most recently in Dangerous Obsession, The Price, Ravenscroft, and The Heiress. Rob has also appeared for Snowdrop Productions (The Glass Cage), Hart House Theatre (Richard III, Midsummer Night's Dream) and Canopy Theatre (Lysistrata, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It), as well as in Piecing Together Pauline (2012 Fringe Festival).

Ian Orr (Matthew Skipps)

Ian Orr has appeared in some thirty productions for the Aluminum Ladies. Among them were: The Birthday Party, Mixed Doubles, The Cocktail Party, Tom andViv, The Increased Difficulty of Understanding, Real Estate, The Unexpected Guest, Summer and Smoke. Roles he has played for other companies include Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sir in The Dresser, Lord Simcoe in Swimming for Shore. Among his reviews he particularly treasures the one that reads: "Most disappointing was Ian Orr, a performance lacking authority, energy, passion and charm, leaving a vacuum at the centre of the playwright's humanity."


Jane Carnwath* (Director)

Jane Carnwath's most recent directing assignment at the Alumnae Theatre was Cosi in 2012. Other productions include Hedda Gabler, Pride & Prejudice, Homeward Bound, After You, A View From The Roof, The Gut Girls, The Madwoman Of Chaillot, Eleemosynary and The Art Of Dining. For the York University Drama Department she directed En Pieces Detachees and Jennie's Story. Other productions she remembers with fondness are Not Wanted On The Voyage and A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Sheridan College Music Theatre Department. Jane has loved The Lady for a long time and is delighted to have a chance to bring her to life.

Ed Rosing (Set Designer)

Canadian born, Ed received his higher education at Yale School of Drama followed by Central School of Art and Design in London UK. He most recently designed the Set and Lighting for the Alumnae's Fire Works Festival. Other selected credits: The Kildeer- Lighting Design (Alumnae), Of Mice And Men (Scarborough Players) -ACT-Co Award nomination for best set design, GuineaPigging - Set and Lighting (Alumnae),The Drowning Girls -Set and Lighting (Alumnae),Cosi - Set and Lighting (Alumnae).

Margaret Spence (Costume Designer)

Margaret has taken many administrative roles at the Alumnae Theatre for over fifty years. Her creative passion is the art of costume designing to meet both the author and director's needs in producing a theatrical picture that fits the time period and action of the play. She particularly enjoys designing period works. She created pretty frocks and stylishly dressed gentlemen for the 21-member cast of Pride and Prejudice in 2009. Her designs were seen in Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan in 2007, a translation of Hedda Gabler in 2010 and Cosi in 2012.

Angus Barlow (Sound Designer)

Angus Barlow is an experienced freelance Sound Designer, Composer, and DJ. His recent credits include Young Frankenstein The Musical, and The Crucible for Alexander Showcase Theatre, A Woman of No Importance, GuineaPigging and The Real Inspector Hound & After Magritte, for Alumnae Theatre, Hair The Musical for First ACT Productions; The Grasshopper & The Ant for Cow Over Moon and the InspiratTO Festival. Angus is currently the House Tech at the Alumnae Theatre and has been volunteering there for over 10 years.

*Appears by permission of Canadian Actors' Equity Association

Opening Night & Gala: Friday January 24, 2014. Performance Dates: Friday January 24 - Sunday February 8 2014. Schedule: Wednesday - Saturday 8:00pm; Sunday matinee at 2:30pm. Talkback with cast and director after the matinee on Feb. 2. Tickets: Wednesday 2-for-1; Thursday, Friday & Saturday $20; Sunday PWYC. May be purchased online for Thu/Fri (except opening night)/Sat at Alumnae Theatre is located at 70 Berkeley Street (SW corner with Adelaide), Toronto. Box Office: 416-364-4170 (box 1) or e-mail For cash purchases, Box Office opens one hour prior to each performance. Please note: Alumnae box office does not accept credit or debit cards.

Alumnae Theatre Company has been producing thought-provoking, challenging and rarely-performed plays since 1918. For more about Alumnae, read the blog at, or follow on Twitter @alumnaetheatre, or visit

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