As of January 7, 2013, this website will serve as an archive site only. For news, reviews and a connection with audience and creators of theatre all over the country, please go to The Charlebois Post - Canada.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

IMPORTANT NOTICE. 
This site is no longer an active part of CharPo. It is kept merely as an archival site. For current reviews and news from across Canada go to CharPo-Canada.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review: Memorial (Next Stage)

Mark Crawford
(Photo Credit: Jacklyn Atlas)
The New Year starts...well
by Shannon Christy

Memorial is a play about a larger than life character, “Dylan” (Mark Crawford), losing this big life to cancer and planning his memorial with his longtime fiancé, Trevor (Pierre Simpson), and his sister, Ruth (Mary Francis Moore). However, this is not a play about death as much as it is a play about life.  This has been written so many times that it is becoming cliché but Playwright Steven Gallagher, Director D Jeremy Smith, Dramaturg Toby Malone, and Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay have achieved a truly great work.

They do this by taking us on a journey through Dylan’s life. This is quite the feat given that the stage consists of a bed, two rugs, a chair, and several empty frames hanging by wires in the air. Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay is instrumental in aiding the audience by employing different hues to signify the past and present. The past is represented by bright amber while the present is a sombre blue.

The Still, January 3, 2013


Mike Shara as the title character in Tarragon's Amourous Adventures of Anatol.
Another glorious photo from Cylla von Tiedemann, winner of the CharPR Prize Lifetime Achievement Award.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: CharPR Prize Winners, 2012



WINNERS
CharPR Prize, 2012

The Charlebois Post is in a unique position in the Canadian cultural landscape. First, we are small, so there are only about five of us who have direct contact with publicists at the various companies we deal with. Secondly, with reviewers in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Quebec City, we are in almost continual contact with companies large and small, and because we publish articles about and from many companies outside of those centres, we have a fairly large reach. This is why we decided to create the CharPR Prize (pronounced Sharper), a national prize to recognize the people in the trenches between artists and public (including the press). 

We chose the winners (and nominees) by simply asking our contributors which public relations departments had made their lives easier and, even, gone beyond the call of duty. Although we will be giving two prizes to individuals - BEST PR/SINGLE SHOW and LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT - we are nominating the companies themselves because, in some cases, they have used outside firms - but the efficiency of these firms, we feel, comes from directives and attention paid from within the companies themselves.

The Charlebois Post, ltd. would like to congratulate and, especially, thank all the magnificent PR people across the country who have made the two years we have been publishing a glorious experience.

WINNERS IN BOLDFACE

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:
Cylla von Tiedemann (Photographer, Toronto)
We have been aware of Ms von Tiedemann's work since her early days in the festival and Toronto theatres, seeing her magnificent photos in programs for Stratford (as far back as Robin Phillips artistic directorship). Ms von Tiedemann continues to distinguish herself. If you look at the finalists and runners-up for our photos of the year (on the CharPo sites in the last week), you will see many were created by this magician of light.

BEST PR: Single Production
Sue Edworthy, Proud (Toronto)
There was huge national interest in Michael Healey's show, Proud, this last year. Healey had had a well-publicized run-in with Tarragon Theatre and his play, a satire on the PM's Office, was in the glaring headlines. It takes a special publicist to wrangle that kind of attention and turn an independently produced show into a talked-about hit. Edworthy did her artistic accomplices, and theatre-goers, Proud.

Best Photographer:
Cylla von Tiedemann
Andrée Lanthier
David Cooper
It was probably our last Picture of the Week for 2012 that may have clinched our decision about Mr. Cooper. Indeed, all of his work for Arts Club in Vancouver stands apart - whether it be performance shot or promotional shot. He has also provided exceptional photos for the Shaw Festival and Manitoba Theatre Centre and one photo from last year was named our Picture of The Year. His eye is unerring.

*Best PR - Indie (no fixed venue):
Brave New Productions (Montreal)
WYRD Productions (Toronto)
*The winner in this category will receive a photo link from our site to theirs for the two weeks prior to their next production and during its entire run. The link will be from both our CharPo-Canada site and the appropriate regional site. The link will appear on every page of the site, at the top corner of the page.
Against the Grain Theatre (Toronto)
If we are talking about a company that goes above and beyond the call of duty, AtG is that company. From the start of The Charlebois Post they have been available with first-person pieces, they know how to use Twitter and they actively court - via new media - precisely what opera needs: a young audience. It must be said, however, they have a terrific leader in Joel Ivany who - in his AtG career and out of it - is indefatigable.

Best PR - small:
La Licorne (Montreal)
ATP (Calgary)
Factory Theatre (Toronto)
Of all the companies' publicists we honour this year, no group of people has been through a worse year than the publicists at Factory. Through a devastating summer, they handled media (especially small media) with elegance and restraint. Before the crisis, however, Factory was also most avid in getting the message out there. They were easy to deal with and explained to resident artists the merits of working with The Charlebois Post

Best PR - Medium (multiple venues and mainstage of 400 seats+):
Segal Centre (Montreal) 
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg)
Arts Club Theatre (Vancouver)
If there is one lesson Arts Club can teach the country it is to have readily available images prepared for media discussion of a work well before that work hits the boards. If only for that (and their complicity with the aforementioned David Cooper) they deserve recognition. But they also have learned where other houses have failed: PR is changing - think beyond print.

Best PR - Large (Mainstage 800+ seats):
Stratford Festival (Stratford)
Canadian Stage (Toronto)
Canadian Opera Company (Toronto)
The Charlebois Post will always value the well-oiled machine that is a big companies PR department. But there are few places where that machine is more human than at the COC. Quite simply, they want people to come to the opera - no matter how forbidding some of the works COC presents can be. To that end, COC has podcasts, videos, readily available photos, an active Twitter feed and - do not underestimate this - a boss, Alexander Neef, also on Twitter who presents a persona that is approachable and genuine.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Charlebois Post's Picture of the Year, 2012

This is not just our Picture of the Week it is perhaps one of our favourite theatre pictures ever. It is Gil Garratt as Puck (who else?) in Canadian Stage's outdoor Midsummer Night's Dream. Photographer Chris Gallow has not just captured the spirit of the play, he has caught the spirit of theatre itself. We could spend hours talking about the esthetics of the photo - how the costume blends with the foliage so that the character's skin, in contrast, makes him more sprite-like - but we just want to celebrate that rarest of things - that what Mr. Gallow has done is captured energy.

Monday, December 31, 2012

CharPo-Toronto's Picture of The Year, 2012

There is very little to say about the initial reaction to the poster art for Dying Hard by Dahlia Katz except that it grabs the eye and doesn't let go. After the initial shock - the head trying to decipher what is happening (and this remaining a mystery to be revealed by the play itself) - you note the icy blue-green eyes, the left with flecks of blood in it. You notice, too, the red rims of those eyes and how - despite the theme of death this all represents - that this face is vigourously alive. Indeed, Ms Katz - as with much of her work - has created a stand-alone photo of - may we suggest - survival?
[Each of our principal sites - CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Toronto - will be presenting their photo of the year today. Tomorrow we will be presenting THE photo of the year for all sites.]

Sunday, December 30, 2012

CharPo-Toronto's Pictures of the Year, 2012, Runners-Up


From December 22-28 we will be presenting the best photos of the year at CharPo-Toronto, CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Canada (different photos on each site so check them all out). On December 29 we will announce the finalists for the first CharPR Prize (for best PR) including best photographers. On December 30, 2 runner-up photos will be presented on each site (separate from finalists). On December 31 the best photo of the year for each site will be presented. On January 1 the single Photo of The Year will be announced. Finally, on January 2, the CharPR winners will be announced including best photographer, best PR (small, medium, large and indy). 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CharPR Prize Nominations, 2012



Nominations: CharPR Prize, 2012

The Charlebois Post is in a unique position in the Canadian cultural landscape. First, we are small, so there are only about five of us who have direct contact with publicists at the various companies we deal with. Secondly, with reviewers in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Quebec City, we are in almost continual contact with companies large and small, and because we publish articles about and from many companies outside of those centres, we have a fairly large reach. This is why we decided to create the CharPR Prize (pronounced Sharper).

It would be unfair to say that the PR of some companies makes the PR at others shine all the brighter. But it would be absolutely fair to say that the companies nominated below represent the best for reasons very specific to new media. You won't find any companies among the noms, for instance, who ask new media outlets like CharPo to prove and reprove their credentials every step of the way. You will also find no companies who have been reticent to put us in contact with their artistic directors, managers, technicians or artists. All of them understand the value not just of working with CharPo but - ask around - with new media in general. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

CharPo-Toronto's Pictures of the Year, 2012, Finalists

From December 22-25 we will be presenting the best photos of the year at CharPo-Toronto, CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Canada (different photos on each site so check them all out). On December 26 we will announce the finalists for the first CharPR Prize (for best PR) including best photographers. On December 30, 2 runner-up photos will be presented on each site (separate from finalists). On December 31 the best photo of the year for each site will be presented (separate from finalists and runners-up). On January 1 the single Photo of The Year (all sites included) will be announced. Finally, on January 2, the CharPR winners will be announced including best photographer, best PR (small, medium, large and indie). Two special awards will be announced at that time as well.

Monday, December 24, 2012

CharPo-Toronto Pictures of the Year, 2012, Finalists

From December 22-25 we will be presenting the best photos of the year at CharPo-Toronto, CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Canada (different photos on each site so check them all out). On December 26 we will announce the finalists for the first CharPR Prize (for best PR) including best photographers. On December 30, 2 runner-up photos will be presented on each site (separate from finalists). On December 31 the best photo of the year for each site will be presented (separate from finalists and runners-up). On January 1 the single Photo of The Year (all sites included) will be announced. Finally, on January 2, the CharPR winners will be announced including best photographer, best PR (small, medium, large and indie). Two special awards will be announced at that time as well.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

CharPo-Toronto, Pictures of the Year, 2012, Finalists

From December 22-25 we will be presenting the best photos of the year at CharPo-Toronto, CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Canada (different photos on each site so check them all out). On December 26 we will announce the finalists for the first CharPR Prize (for best PR) including best photographers. On December 30, 2 runner-up photos will be presented on each site (separate from finalists). On December 31 the best photo of the year for each site will be presented (separate from finalists and runners-up). On January 1 the single Photo of The Year (all sites included) will be announced. Finally, on January 2, the CharPR winners will be announced including best photographer, best PR (small, medium, large and indie). Two special awards will be announced at that time as well.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

CharPo-Toronto, Photos of the Year, 2012, Finalists

From December 22-25 we will be presenting the best photos of the year at CharPo-Toronto, CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Canada (different photos on each site so check them all out). On December 26 we will announce the finalists for the first CharPR Prize (for best PR) including best photographers. On December 30, 2 runner-up photos will be presented on each site (separate from finalists). On December 31 the best photo of the year for each site will be presented (separate from finalists and runners-up). On January 1 the single Photo of The Year (all sites included) will be announced. Finally, on January 2, the CharPR winners will be announced including best photographer, best PR (small, medium, large and indie). Two special awards will be announced at that time as well.