We need your help.
You're the thread that keeps us together.
You're the [sausage] link that keeps this chain strong.
So if you're free on October 13 - 15 & 20 - 22, we're gonna need[le] you.
Come volunteer with us.
If you're interested in supporting local independent artists, and wanna be around for the freshest festival in town, send an email to Mahalia at email@example.com with "VOLUNTEER" in the subject line. Meat puns encouraged, but not required.
Let's make plans. And not those "oh, maybe let's get coffee soon" plans you make at the end of a party with someone you sort-of know when you know full well you're never going to.
We want to know you. We want to see you. Soon.
FRESH MEAT 5 WILL BE HAPPENING OCTOBER 13-15 & 20-22 IN THE ARTS COURT STUDIO.
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED ON SEPTEMBER 14TH.
So maybe let's get coffee. Maybe let's get a beer. But for sure, let's get fresh.
See you soon, bbz.
It's officially only a few months until Fresh Meat 5, and even if we might want to play it cool, let's be real: we're really freakin' excited.
Year 5 is a big year for us. We've got a new look, and maybe even a new 'tude to go with it. But just like Jenny from the Block, no matter where we go, we know where we came from:
Did you know that in the past 5 years, we've hosted over 40 world premieres, put >$13,000 into the hands of local artists, and hosted shows that have gone on to be showcased at the Ottawa Fringe, Undercurrents, and the National Arts Centre?
Needless to say, we're pretty stoked to do it all over again.
Without spilling the beans, we've got our lineup, baby.
We've got 10 local companies, some new, some less new, and all powerhouses in their own right. Plus we've got a few surprises for you in there, too.
So come October, let's you, us, and maybe even Kristen Wiig (get at us, Lorne Michaels) come along for our freshest adventure yet.
The Great Canadian Theatre Company's latest offering, Janet Wilson Meets the Queen is bringing a certain fresh face to Ottawa's largest English-language regional theatre company's mainstage: Fresh Meat alum TONY ADAMS is making his GCTC debut in this world premiere, written by Beverley Cooper and directed by Andrea Donaldson, Associate AD of the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.
A frequent performer in, and former producer of the Fresh Meat DIY: Theatre Festival, and Co-Artistic Director of May Can Theatre (lead by himself and other Ottawa theatre darlings, Madeleine Boyes-Manseau and Cory Thibert), Tony is no stranger to Ottawa stages, even if this is his first time rocking the GCTC mainstage. His work with May Can has toured Fringes across the country, the undercurrents festival, and their breakaway show, Happiness™ has played at Montreal's Wildside festival, and is slated for Vancouver's rEvolver festival this fall.
The show is opening TONIGHT - with a sold-out crowd, no less - and has already been extended past its original run, with performances until May 8th, 2016.
TICKETS ARE EXPENSIVE, HOW DO I GET ONE: The GCTC always hosts a PWYC matinee, the first Sunday of a run, meaning that this Sunday, April 24th's 2pm show will have all remaining tickets available at the door for sale at a PWYC rate! Additionally, all rush tickets (all tickets remaining for sale on the day of a performance) are $33 standard, or $15 for all full-time students, with ID. Regular tickets are available between $38 - $55, more info here: http://www.gctc.ca/plays/janet-wilson-meets-queen
All of the usual Fresh Meat sarcasm aside, we're really proud of our boy, Tony. We can't wait to see what he does up there on the big ol' mainstage.
Stay tuned, as we're gonna catch up with Tony real soon, to see what big and exciting things he's been up to, so check back in the near future if you'd like to hear from the artist himself. We also want to see if he's taken to wearing puka shells and shades indoors, or if that's just a character thing.
Until then, stay fresh, and let's get out and support our boy.
Produced by and featuring Fresh Meat 3&4 alum Megan Carty's Cart Before the Horse Productions along with Fresh Meat 4 alum Gabbie Lazarovitz this heavy-hitting show is sure to pack a punch.
GETTING DOWN TO BRASS TAX: All performances are Pay-What-You-Can at the door for students and the run also features PWYC matinees at 2pm. That's right. PAY WHAT YOU CAN, PEOPLE. Tix here: http://artscourt.ca/events/perfect-pie/
Synopsis: In this contemporary Canadian ghost story, Patsy’s childhood friend Francesca returns to a town that left her for dead. Buried memories and secrets slam into the present at Patsy’s very foundations are rocked by the past, and the two of them come together to confront the terrifying incident that tore them apart years ago.
A little about the folks: Cart Before the Horse is committed to exploring the authentic teenage voice, with the goal of inspiring dialogue amongst young people and exploring how their world has been expressed by playwrights in contemporary theatre. Founded by Ottawa born and based emerging artist, Megan Carty, the company mounted its first production in January 2014 to sold-out houses and rave reviews. Their adaptation of Joan Macleod’s The Shape of a Girl was awarded a Spirit of the Capital Youth award, remounted for anti-bullying month, and went on to tour high schools and universities in the Ottawa and Gatineau area.
Reviews and Awards for The Shape of a Girl:
2014 Spirit of the Capital Arts and Culture Award for Megan Carty
“The Shape of a Girl is a provocative one-woman show sure to impress…keep an eye out for some of these actors on our stages in the future.” –Brian Carroll, Apartment613
“Thanks to the heartfelt performance of Megan Carty and the strength of her chorus, Shape of a Girl is a show that takes hold of you, innocently at first, and doesn’t let go. I have a strong appreciation for challenging, visceral theatre, and Shape of a Girl delivered on that.” –Allan Mackey, Onstage Ottawa
“This is a show not only about the hugely important issue of youth bullying but it is also a coming of age story for Braidie who is ultimately faced with a difficult decision that requires courage, compassion, and maturity to make. The ending was shocking and beautiful, a perfect denouement to an already captivating and stirring production.” –Caitlin Oleson, New Ottawa Critics
“Megan Carty is just a stunner as Braidie, pulling off a seriously impressive performance in this challenging 80-minute show.” –Kevin Reid, The Visitorium
PERFECT PIE runs March 11 - 19 at Arts Court, click here for tickets: http://artscourt.ca/events/perfect-pie/
Of course you did, because you're hip, cool, and in the know about all the local artsy business in town, so you're already thinking about UNDERCURRENTS, happening February 10 - 20, 2016 whose chill tagline is "Theatre below the mainstream."
LISTEN TO ME //
Resounding Scream Theatre //
Stephanie Henderson and Catherine Ballachey //
Eight tickets available per performance
How many times have you looked at your phone today? Checked a text or sent one? Updated your status on Facebook? Read a Buzzfeed listicle? At the bus stop, waiting in line at Starbucks, even while walking to work or out with friends. How many missed connections, opportunities and relationships does this create? Listen to Me is an opportunity to step away from digital personas. To allow for possibility.
Audiences join an exclusive "speed-dating event" in the Arts Court Studio. Guests will speed-date the performers in pursuit of conversation that heads into deeper waters than just smalltalk. But the audience member always has the upper hand. The choice of how much to engage, or divulge, is always in your control.
"Visitors should also expect surprises and broken expectations. A conversation can begin with date-like small talk, but could (and will) suddenly turn on its head, submersed in an existing relationship." –Boaz Joseph, The Surrey Leader
FORSTNER AND FILLISTER PRESENT:
FORSTNER AND FILLISTER IN:
FORSTNER AND FILLISTER //
F&F Theatre //
Will Somers, David Benedict Brown, and Melanie Karin Brown //
Forstner and Fillister are brothers. Forstner and Fillister are woodworkers. They want to teach you what they know. They know a great deal. You are very lucky to have them here to teach you. Forstner knows a great deal more than Fillister. Fillister is happy to be here.
The brothers do their best to lead you through a woodworking lesson... but anger and jealousy get in the way. Love is a lot like furniture: is it worth the effort to fix it?
Learn basic woodworking skills, maybe even touch a power tool or two. Just be sure to get out of the way before the insults and wood chips start to fly!
N.B. Advance tickets are not available. PWYC admission at the door.
"Pure entertainment... Forstner & Fillister prevails. The use of real tools on stage is dangerous enough to be exciting."
–Brie McFarlane, New Ottawa Critics
"Impressive talent and a whole lot of funny." –Kevin Reid, The Visitorium
"A very funny and very well executed show... A very good comedy, definitely worth seeing."
–Rajka Stefanovska, Capital Critics' Circle
New Play Tuesday //
Norah Paton //
Egodeath Theatre //
One in a series of new works in-development for Undercurrents
Theatre under the mainstream is all about encouraging new and innovative theatre creation (just like another little festival we know...) which is why their New Play Tuesday initiative is so exciting!
Artists are invited to present a reading of a new work in-development, and this year Ottawa's own Norah Paton is one of those shooting starts to be selected.
Keep your eyes peeled for more info.
The 6th annual Undercurrents Festival is brought to you by the Ottawa Fringe, featuring the best contemporary theatre from local and visiting artists.
The festival runs February 10 - 20, 2016.
Since 2011, undercurrents has brought to stage 11 world premieres. Festival partner and founders GCTC hosted from 2011–2014.
The 2016 line-up, tickets and passes are available at www.undercurrentsfestival.ca
Isn't it funny to think that just two weeks ago, we were having our opening night party to launch our lil' baby festival into the world? To release it, with eager eyes and hungry hearts, into your wonderfully open arms?
And since the festival wrapped up last weekend, we don't think that it's a coincidence that Adele released that new heart-breaking song about having to accept moving on, pretty much as soon as the festival was over.
But Adele is onto something. We're not saying "goodbye," we're saying "Hello from the other side," but most of all, we are saying THANK YOU.
So a big, sloppy, sappy THANK YOU to you: our audience. Fresh Meat 4 was by far our strongest year in terms of attendance, ticket sales, and support for artists. And that success was, in no small part, thanks to you. We can't tell you how much to means to have wonderful people in the city come out and support new and innovative theatre creation. Seriously: thank you.
But like we said, this is not goodbye. If you want to stay in touch with us until next year, like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FreshMeatTheatreFestival/?fref=ts), follow us on Twitter (@FreshMeatFest) and on Instagram (@freshmeatfest) for all the latest updates and all the worst puns.
Keep an eye out for #freshmeat5.
Until next time,
Hey - remember us?
We're hoping everyone had a ~blast~ last weekend, and we can't believe that the SECOND WEEKEND OF THE FESTIVAL IS ALMOST HERE!
We're so excited, and we just can't hide it, so to ease the transition into this weekend's festivities (starting tomorrow - eep!!) here is a quick preview of our hosts for the second weekend:
THURSDAY OCTOBER 22ND: ANDREW KING
Born in Kingston, Ontario, Andrew moved to Ottawa in 1991 to study industrial Design at Carleton University. During this time, he contributed to the Ottawa Citizen's comics page with a weekly strip entitled "Off The Wall" which was published from 1993 to 1997. A number of his comics were printed in newspapers across North America through King Features Syndicate. Andrew followed his love or cartooning and was accepted into the Television Animation program at Algonquin College where he graduated with Honours in 1997.
After graduating, Andrew began working in television with a number of local animation studios and continued his freelance design and animation work with studios in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. Currently, Andrew resides in Ottawa, Ontario, where he continues to work as a visual artist and freelance designer. Andrew also contributes a regular newspaper column to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper that uncovers local history mysteries.
You don't need to choose a snack when your the King.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 23RD: CATRIONA LEGER
A theatre professional for the past 20 years and an omnivore since birth, Catriona is delighted to be back hosting Fresh Meat once again. On the new creation front, she enjoys her role as co-producer for subDevision, bringing site specific works to unlikely, far out places, and, on the old school front, she equally enjoys being co-Artistic Director of a Company of Fools, bringing Shakespeare to Ottawa's diverse community. Catch her production of Love's Labour's Lost at Academic Hall for the U of O Drama Guild November 3-7th. For more detailed rumours and truths about Catriona's past, present and future, feel free to chat with her in person, do a creepy online search or follow her on Twitter: @catrionaleger
S&V chips, and any kind of sour gummy and/or zingy zaps. So tangy, so crunchy.
CLOSING NIGHT SATURDAY OCTOBER 24TH: KATE SMITH
Kate Smith is a performer and Co-Artistic Director of Skeleton Key Theatre, an Ottawa-based independent theatre company that focuses on immersive theatrical experiences. She most recently appeared as Annie in the dark musical comedy HOOTENANNY! with past Fresh Meat alum Will Somers. She also co-created two pieces for subDevision 2015, an event that she co-founded and organizes.
Her work with Skeleton Key Theatre has been presented at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, the In The Soil Festival (St. Catharines), the undercurrents festival, and all iterations of site-specific event subDevision. Kate spent four years training and working in Halifax, NS, before returning to her hometown of Ottawa in 2007. Since that time she has performed with a number of local companies, including: Third Wall Theatre (Top Girls), A Company of Fools (Richard III in Bouffon), Gruppo Rubato (Airport Security, Snapshot), The Magnetic North Theatre Festival (The Rideau Project: The Rhyme of the Nicholas Street Gaol, subDevision), SevenThirty Productions (Iron, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and The 39 Steps for which she was nominated for a Prix Rideau Award), and the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello), among others. Kate is currently working on an outdoor ambulatory family show calledSwan River, as well as preparing to tour HOOTENANNY! this summer. Coming soon: HOOTENANNY! 2 (+1)… Working title, but you get the idea.
S&V chips and milk chocolate. Classic.
In addition to these three unstoppable hosts, we've got lots of exciting programming lined up for the final weekend of Fresh Meat 4.
Come on people, let's make it count.
There are 6 days until the festival. Plenty of time to stress-eat your own weight in Thanksgiving turkey (or Tofurkey, if that's your thang) because you're freaking out that there are only 6 DAYS UNTIL THE FESTIVAL.
To calm you (read: us) down, we've put together a little preview of our hosts, specifically for our first weekend (with info on the second weekend to come!). Just imagine these wonderful and charismatic people soothing your worries in dulcet tones. Or holding you gently, again, if that's your thang.
OPENING NIGHT THURSDAY OCT 15: PRODUCTION TEAM QTS (Emily, Madeleine and Mahalia)
Emily Carvell and Madeleine Hall have been running Fresh Meat/the world for the last few years, and helping local theatre artists come into their own in the process. In an effort to continue this trend of community outreach, and in a recent effort to give back, they recruited local theatre wannabe Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha as part of the team for the inaugural year of their "Street Meat" program, aimed at helping wandering youths of Ottawa find a place in the theatre community. They are letting her sell the tickets.
Jalapeno Cheetos and Jolly Ranchers. Holla.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 16TH: PAUL J. PEIKOSZEWSKI
Paul J. Piekoszewski is an actor, writer, and producer. He is a co-founder Elgin Street Improv, performing regularly at LIVE! on Elgin. He is also the founder of Morning Person Theatre, whose Fan Fiction nights have earned both acclaim and disgust. Their original plays, “Night Rangers” and “Knife 2: The Re-Slashening”, are both appearing December 2015.
Salt and Vinegar chips, baby.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 17TH: GREG HOUSTON
Born in Scarborough, Greg Houston left the Game behind at the tender age of 4. He moved with his parents (because he felt sorry for them) to Muskoka. He was raised a cub scout and a beaver and left Muskoka as soon as possible. Ottawa is where he landed. The Nation's Capital! The Big Beaver Tail! The City Fun Forgot! Well no longer is it the city not fun with Greg Houston in it. And he's doing comedy whenever possible. He'll host and MC events, he'll do stand up anywhere, he'll keep wearing glasses because he needs those to see.
Magazine launch parties, fashion shows, corporate comedy shows, comedy clubs, dive bars, the back of a bus - wherever there is an opportunity he'll perform for you. Just don't feed him pizza after midnight...
Smart and hip - Greg Houston wows audiences with his silly observations about daily life in the Capital. A cleaner comedic approach gives him the ability to perform to any crowd and bring them along for a roller coaster ride of laughs.
Greg doesn't play by society's rules. Snax are for punx.
Besides these five ~dreamboats~, we've got tons more lined up for both weekends, including 3 more fabulous hosts. Stay tuned.
It's just about two weeks away from the festival, and we can't wait. We just can't.
We're too excited about what we've got lined up for you, we're ready to showcase our fresh-faced baby angels to the world, and we want you to be there for it.
Since we're so excited, we got to thinking: what's better than an opening night? An Opening Night Party.
On Thursday, October 15th at 7pm, the doors to Fresh Meat 4 will open, and we will all be there, happy to be together, and happy to be happy.
Our beautiful sponsor Dominion City will be wetting our whistles, as per usual, and we've got some ooh-la-la worthy ancillary programming coming to you brought to you by the ineffable Danica Olders and Laura Acosta, with their piece Van Go:
Their piece is an omnipresent version of the gallery and the artist; the feeling you get when arguing, “what came first, chicken or egg?” The gallery model is transformed into a performance, in which the audience, oblivious at first, is not a viewer, but also a part of the work itself. A combination of projections and performers dressed in colorful wearable sculptures will create the Van Go Experience.
If that ain't enough to get your butts out to come and party with us, local music curatorial guru DJ Rosstronica will be spinning beats all night, to keep us boogie-ing.
So come on out, let's dance, let's drink, let's be merry, and most of all, let's support some rad f*cking local theatre on opening night.
Here at Fresh Meat, we love all things new, innovative, creative, daring, and well... fresh.
That's why we're so glad to have to have paired up with local artiste-extraordinaire Andy Massingham for the second instalment of his three-weekend series of acting workshops, entitled The Acting Animal.
The second workshop of the series coincides, entitled Begin Anywhere with the first weekend of Fresh Meat, with the workshop running October 17 - 18.
The workshop info reads:
Workshop 2 – Begin Anywhere – Theatre Creation
October 17–18, 2015 10:00am–4:00pm
Ideas are contagious and you have millions of them, so let’s get to work and spread them around! Judgement and pressure free, the focus here is on creative flow and getting creativity on its feet and into action.
We will draw on diverse influences such as painting, sculpture, literature and music as well as personal history and stream of consciousness to create wholly organic theatre pieces.
This workshop will examine the process rather than the result. You will find the unique storyteller within you and share it with others.
Materials will be provided. Bring along your own writng materials, please.
To register contact: Andy Massingham
In partnership with Andy, we're stoked to offer half price tickets to Fresh Meat on the night of Saturday October 17th, to any and all who participate in Andy's workshop.
It's a great way to take in some local theatre while also focussing on getting your own creative juices pumping.
I mean, come on, who can say no to these baby blues?
We’ve seen you around here; you’re hard not to notice. I hope that’s not too forward of us to say, but how could we not?
I mean, it’s you, after all.
The one with the killer haircut, the disarming smile, the love for local theatre, the passion for giving to the community, and that sweet sweet ability to show up on time and follow through on your obligations. So yeah, we see you. And we want to see more of you
We were thinking that, maybe we could all get to know each other a little bit during the weekends of October 15 – 17 and 22 – 24? Anything you want. You know, ushering, ticket taking, bartending, anything. Whatever you’re into, we just want to spend some time with you and get to know you a bit better.
We're not asking for much, there are no minimum number of shifts required, and we'd treat you to a beer, some shows, and a whole lotta love.
Come on, you know you want to.
Here, take our email: firstname.lastname@example.org and drop us a line if you're as into this as we are. Send a message to Mahalia with "Volunteer" in the subject line, and we'll see where things take us.
We like you. Come work with us.
"It's our party, we can do what we want."
- Miley Cyrus
PIctured: Miley at her freshest, reminding us to party our butts off.
The Fresh Meat 4 LAUNCH PARTY is just days away! Featuring our unbelievable sponsors, Dominion City Brewing Co., and Seed To Sausage General Store, the official launch of Ottawa's Freshest theatre festival will be taking place at House of Common (11b Fairmont Ave, in Hintonburg) from 5-8pm on Friday, September 18th.
Check out our Facebook event for all the sweet deets, and for a v. important youtube clip of Bambi (but let's not talk about the ending of that movie, ok?).
Entry is free, but donations to keep our festival fresh, our beer pouring, and our meat sizzling is very much encouraged. The featured companies will be unveiled, dope beats will be mixed live (none of which will be Miley), and lots of juicy meat puns will be all up in your grills.
Bring a friend, and bring your fiercest self. We know we will #mileyforever.
Fresh Meat founder and musician-turned-actor-turned-musician Jonah Allingham is returning to Ottawa this week to play a show with his awesome new band The Budds. We persuaded him to take a break from his rocking life in Toronto to sit down and catch up with us. Get the juicy details below, and don’t miss The Budds, Fun Fact and Caveman Techno on Thursday September 3rd at Avant-Garde Bar.
Fresh Meat: Tell us why you started Fresh Meat:
Jonah Allingham: Soooo about 4 years ago I was like "whoa there is some rad DIY theatre in Ottawa being made by emerging artists with no money, but it's not really a scene yet". So I figured we should make it a scene and started up the first Fresh Meat Theatre Fest. We ran in like a rock show and just threw a bunch of young theatre companies together at a bar and gave them total creative control. I produced it for three years and did shows with my own company Backpack Theatre each year. Now it's like a big thing and I couldn't be more of a happy papa.
FM: What are you up to these days?
JA: Soooo I'm kind of a total jabroni cause I moved to Toronto. Things are good, I'm going to film school and I play in the craziest rock band in the city. We're called The Budds and we play psychedlic garage rock, all our songs are about drugs, girls, and growing up and people just go insaaaane at our shows. Oh waaaait, if you're in Ottawa you can see us on Thursday (Sept 3)! We're playing at the Avant Garde with the awesome touring funk band Fun Fact. There will be sweat, there will be dancing, there will be rock n roll. It's PWYC. Be theeeere.
FM: if you were a kitchen item, implement, or appliance what would you be?
JA: I would be a bottle of Jack Daniels.
FM: Speaking from your experience as an artist, how do you think Fresh Meat impacts the local community?
JA: Fresh Meat exposes independent theatre to a diverse crowd. This is not just for the grey hairs, everybody can enjoy it. It's not museum theatre, it's a night out. It exposes indie theatre to the O-Town masses. It brings theatre to non theatre people.
FM: What’s your favourite thing about Fresh Meat?
JA: Fresh Meat is important because it gives artists a voice. It is very rare for an arts event to trust their artists to just do whatever the fuck they want. And that's where the magic happens. The coolest thing is you don't even have to be sure it will work, because who cares?? Theatre should be punk/DIY as fuck and Fresh Meat makes it so.
FM: Of course, how do you like your meat? (Veggie-friendly answers accepted.)
JA: I love my meat.
Touché, Jonah. Touché.
The Budds play Avant Garde Bar Thursday September 3rd at 10pm. Pay what you can at the door.
Local tour-de-forces and Fresh Meat alums Megan Carty and Tess Mc Manus are teaming up for a wicked double bill at Theatre Underground's event PAIRED UP: You Didn't Ask To Be Here & Donkey Derby this September. So we figured what's a better way to catch up with these two dynamos than a double feature?
Megan Carty is no stranger to Fresh Meat; in the past year she has shared two current works-in-development with the festival: Me and My Monster and The Gold One. Most recently Megan performed as Baby Bridget in Jan Irwin's stage adaptation of Up to Low. She is currently performing in Theatre Wakefield's production of A Bridge to the Past, a musical revue about the history living in the Gatineau Hills. Up next: Charlie in the world premiere of Theatre Underground's You Didn't Ask to be Here by Allan Mackey.
Tess Mc Manus had been working in the Ottawa arts community for a few years when, on a fateful night at the Fringe beer tent (RIP), she was approached by Fresh Meat founder Jonah Allingham and asked to take part in the festival's very first incarnation. It was during that Fringe circuit that Donkey Derby first galloped (if donkeys can be said to gallop?) onto the scene, and the show is back in its newest form in Theatre Underground's double bill.
Read our juicy interview with these two below, and don't miss PAIRED UP: You Didn't Ask To Be Here & Donkey Derby (Sept 11 - 13, Avalon Studio @ 738A Bank, 25$).
Fresh Meat: DIY Theatre Fest: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with Fresh Meat.
Megan Carty: My first engagement with Fresh Meat was last fall. I had recently taken the summer lab intensive at One Yellow Rabbit in Calgary so I was very jazzed about creating my own experimental theatre. I was currently developing a one-woman physical theatre/verbatim piece called Me and My Monster for which Fresh Meat was the perfect platform. The experience with the festival was so tremendous and it was a gift to have a supportive platform to share art straight from my heart. For that reason, I decided to participate in Fresh Meat's Weekend Inventive the following winter with The Gold One.
Tess Mc Manus: Before Fresh Meat came along, I was fascinated with theatre creation - but it was something I'd never tried before. Knowing that that was where my interests lay, I joined a few touring shows on the Fringe circuit to get a better idea of what was being created across Canada at the grassroots level. I watched upwards of 70 shows, and the more I watched, the more confident I felt that I could create something, too. So the following year I threw together a humble attempt at a solo show called Donkey Derby, which toured the Fringe circuit, gaining critical acclaim and was encouragement for me to keep creating.
On that circuit, I was approached by Jonah and Tony. Less than a month before the very first Fresh Meat, I was performing Donkey Derby in Edmonton, and started working on the new show. That year, I offered up Tales She Tells, and the next year came Who Will Separate Us? The festival was a perfect platform to try out both: two brand-new ideas, and the barebones of could-be shows.
FM: What does your Fresh Meat project look like now?
Tess Mc Manus: Tales She Tells has undergone so many levels of evolution it's remarkable. The first, its premiere at Fresh Meat 1, where I tried to cram a lesson in Celtic Mythology and two epic stories into 15 minutes. The second, I toured the Ottawa, Regina, Winnipeg, and Edmonton Fringes in its full-length version. Of course, in Regina I got into a bike accident and broke my jaw, so my amazing stage manager Lydia Riding continued on with the tour, learning an 8 000 word solo show and an Irish accent in less than a week (she makes it look so easy). For the third, I was approached by the Artistic Director of the Ottawa Storytellers to book the show at the NAC's 4th Stage. It went up as Straight From The Harp, featuring a harpist and a soprano, and was a promotion of Irish culture as the original script had intended. Now, in its fourth incarnation, on Oct 2nd at the Richcraft Theatre at the Shenkman Arts Centre, it will feature storytelling and the harp. With every new rendition, it's getting better and better.
FM: Megan, any upcoming performances?
Megan Carty: Of course! I always have a project on-the-go, be it acting, producing, or creating. It's through theatre that I aspire to tell stories that resonate with me on a personal level. Right now I'm involved in Bridge to the Past by Ian Tamblyn and directed by Mary Ellis with Theatre Wakefield!
FM: If you were a kitchen item, implement, or appliance, what would you be?
Megan Carty: A waffle maker.
Tess Mc Manus: A spoon.
FM: Speaking from your experience as an artist, how do you think Fresh Meat impacts the local community?
Megan Carty: It's an amazing way to bring likeminded emerging theatre creators together in a supportive and fun environment. New work is so important to the development of Ottawa's arts scene and this is exactly what this festival is all about!
Tess Mc Manus: In addition to a strong local artist presence, Fresh Meat is a launching pad for those artists. And in order to be considered a launching pad, the presence of highly regarded individuals working in theatre in the city should be in attendance as well. That is to say that staff from the National Arts Centre, Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Council for the Arts, etc could see potential in somebody or a show and shed light on next steps or even pick up some shows.
FM: What's your favourite thing about Fresh Meat?
Megan Carty: I love that I can take huge risks without fear. Fresh Meat celebrates process, and for that reason I can create far out of my comfort zone.
Tess Mc Manus: The void of competition. With Fresh Meat, it's cooperating instead of getting competitive. It's a shift from the Fringe model of ticket sales and bums in seats. When an audience member attends Fresh Meat, all the participants win. It's awesome.
FM: Of course, how do you like your meat? (Veggie-friendly answers accepted)
Megan Carty: I am a vegan, but I am a huge fan of the roasted Portobello mushroom burger.
Tess Mc Manus: Juicy.
PAIRED UP: You Didn't Ask To Be Here & Donkey Derby plays at the Avalon Studio (738A Bank) September 11 -13, tickets for 25$: http://theatreunderground.com/
A homegrown lifelong Ottawan, our first featured artist, Nicholas Dave Amott (Fireflood Theatre) is a man who makes a mean sandwich, and often receives comparisons to Benedict Cumberbatch. Comparisons which he self-professedly encourages.
Nicholas joined the ranks of Fresh Meat performers in 2013: the festival's second incarnation. His piece, previously entitled Wake went on to the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival, and now in 2015, rechristened as Awoken, Nick is back for more.
Read our sizzling interview with Nicholas himself below, and be sure to check out his latest offering of Awoken (Fri Aug 21st at 8pm, Sat Aug 22nd at 8pm and 9:30pm at LIVE! on Elgin, 10$ advance, 12$ door tickets link: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/awoken-tickets-17145037268?aff=eac2)).
Fresh Meat: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with the festival.
Nicholas Dave Amott: I've lived in Ottawa my entire life, well 27 years of it anyway. I've seen a lot of great things arrive in this city, some better things leave it, and some greater things still evolve from it.
When Jonah "The Budd" Allingham invited me to be in Fresh Meat 2013, I was honoured, but also apprehensive: at the time, Frest Meat seemed like a great idea, but nothing more than a cute pet project.
However, since passing off a generous opportunity to create something for a brand new showcase would be silly (and kind of douchey), I went for it and have fallen in love with the adventure that has come out of it, and the lessons I've learned from it.
FM: Like what?
NDA: That the greatest ideas and the best projects always start off as cute pets.
FM: What does your Fresh Meat project look like now?
NDA: What started off as 20 minutes of me playing with lamps has turned into a full hour of that, with new ideas and challenges in the overall concept.
In Awoken, we see Todd (the protagonist) lost in his own mind, which - weakened though it is - he still has some subconscious control over. By using household lighting instruments (that is, lights that the performer manipulates himself) as opposed to theatrical ones, the audience sees only what Todd wants them to see, blocking elements of his mind by hiding them in the shadows. It's only until the end, when he has nearly lost control that we truly see the human he is.
I've also brought in a director proper (the kingly Brennan Richardson) to have a hand in creating a production wholly different from the Fringe 2014 version previous. That man is more than a find swordsman and spinner of tales, he offered insights into the character and world of Awoken that I had not even considered before.
FM: If you were a kitchen item, implement or appliance, what would you be?
NDA: A decanter. I have trouble verbally articulating my ideas right away; I need to look into them and let them pour onto paper first so that I gain better sight of where they're heading, if anywhere, before sharing them with my peers.
You know, let them breathe a little.
Party-talk is different... Then, it's straight from the bottle.
FM: Speaking from your experience as an artist, how do you think Fresh Meat impacts the local community?
NDA: Fresh Meat is one of the too-few bastions in Ottawa for local, up-and-coming, and needless-to-say independent artists who REALLY deserve an opportunity to just get out there and make something, and to have it seen by the community.
The original Fresh Meat version of Awoken, honestly, was thrown together in three days. I had a story concept, a design concept, and less than a week before the show I strung together a 20-minute... something, and put it up. As expected, it was unpolished, but it was still interesting.
Flawed as the piece was, the concept was enough to capture the audience's attention. It was a seed that showed some promise, which is exactly what the festival does. Fresh Meat assists the artists in finding the potential in their work, and in themselves. Even if it's only a seed.
FM: What's your favourite thing about Fresh Meat?
NDA: The grassroots nature that is still maintains. Even as the festival itself slowly grows year by year, and garners more professional attention, it still feels as though it's a community of friends who have another chance to hang out, drink, chat, and watch some new theatre, without getting too far up each others' butts.
FM: Finally, how do you like your meat? (Veggie-friendly answers accepted)
NDA: Animalistic. Also, sandwiched.
Awoken plays Friday August 21st at 8pm, and Saturday August 22nd at 8pm and 9:30pm at LIVE! on Elgin (above Dunn's Diner). Tickets are 10$ in advance and 12$ at the door. http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/awoken-tickets-17145037268?aff=eac2)
It’s officially been a month since the end of the Fringe Festival. This is the saddest kind of anniversary. It’s a sad-iversary.
See? We’re so sad we’re resorting to puns like this. Please don’t hold it against us, we still love you, and we miss you.
We were thinking of ways to ease the pain. There’s always wine… but that’s a bit cliché.
And there’s always positive and healthy living, but… that’s worse.
So instead let’s reminisce. Together.
Over the next few months, leading up to the festival, we’ll be taking a look a few of the artists who’ve debuted works at Fresh Meat over the years to see just where they’ve ended up, where they’ve taken their work, and just what they’re up to. Stay tuned.
So join us. You can still have wine, of course. Everyone loves a cliché.
We get it, May’s a busy month. You're knee deep in fringe prep and those patios are calling your names. Due to demand from the community, Fresh Meat has extended the application deadline for Fresh Meat 4 until June 1st at midnight. That’s an extra 8 days to get them apps looking tight. Think of it as the Hanukkah of independent theatre.
From our hearts to yours,