Archive for the ‘Ottawa’ Category

Today my friend and colleague Kat Fournier and I launched the very first episode of Just Another Gala: Your Ottawa Theatre Podcast. Ottawa’s theatre scene has exploded in the last few years, and we feel that some thorough on-air discussion is in order. Join us!

We’re also on Facebook and Twitter. Please like and share widely.

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Sappho Blog 1015 x  276

Dear everyone,

Since moving to London over a year and a half ago, I managed to fall in with some wonderful theatre artists and ended up directing my first professional show titled ‘Sappho …in 9 fragments’. Since the show did quite well (check the reviews), I’ve decided to take it to Canada on tour.

Interested in getting involved? There are several options:



‘Sappho’ is playing in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal this June 2013. And you’ll love it, I promise. It’s got poetry (from Ancient Greece’s best love poet), storytelling, aerial choreography, ropes and scaffolding, phenomenal acting, killer soundtrack, ‘take your breath away’ visual moments, and the sexiest lesbian love story you’ll ever encounter. Seriously, bring the kids.

Toronto: June 14 & 15

Ottawa: June 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29

Montreal: June 27 & 28

For full tour information and to purchase advance tickets, please follow this link.



If you can’t make it to the performance, but you think your friends will love it, feel free to connect them with us via. social media.

Website/Blog: http://sappho9fragments.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/460578744012696/

Twitter: @sappho9fragment

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN2E8j5UfiE



Truth is, we need some money. We’re taking this show across the ocean from London to Ottawa, and plane tickets are expensive, yo. And you know how much I love handing out flyers, so we should probably print a few of those. Plus venue rental costs and hiring a fancy limo to drive around the lead actress… uh, forget that last bit.

All in all, we’re looking at spending just over $5000.00. Which is not bad for an international show. So if you’re willing and able to chip in a few, you know I would be forever grateful. And I’ll happily thank you publicly.

Donating is super easy: just visit the Jer’s Vision page (this charity is wonderful enough to be supporting and presenting our Canadian tour), click on ‘DONATE NOW’ and select ‘Arts: Sappho in Canada’ as the recipient.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.

The show opens in just over two months! In the meantime, we’re making plans to remount the show in London (possibly in one of Shakespeare’s former theatres…) and present the play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So much to look forward to.

I spent my last couple of years in university studying and shadowing Canadian theatre companies that toured their work in festivals nationally and internationally. I admired their perseverance and their belief that theatre work could have a life beyond its original presentation, even ten to fifteen years into the future. And I would love for ‘Sappho’ to enjoy a similarly lengthy existence. Here’s hoping!

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My lovely and brilliant friend Julie Laurin filmed this. It is so strange watching yourself, and noticing the lines in your face, and the way your bottom eyelid flickers, and how much you bite your lip. Also, I think my dress is very pretty.

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“The best theatrical experience I’ve had since New York 2011 and the Book of Mormon”  MAUREEN LIPMAN


sap thinEXEUNT MAGAZINE ★★★★

“Uncommonly exhilarating”

“Jessica Ruano’s direction focuses so keenly on the physical, that it’s as much a piece of choreography as a text; I believe Sappho, a great proponent of both the direct and the sensual in poetry, would unreservedly approve. No part of the space is not explored, no shape of the body not attempted.”

“Victoria Grove, who is surely some kind of professional enchantress, with the husky voice of a Dench or a Bacall and the poise of a young Vanessa Redgrave. Her characterisation of Sappho is simultaneously haughty and earthy; imagine Penelope Keith’s voice in Felicity Kendal’s body.”


“Sappho… in 9 fragments is written, directed and executed with passion”


“Stunningly athletic and entirely sensuous… fluidly directed”


“a spectacular visual and physical piece”

“a gracious dance between an improvised energy and choreographed poignancy”

“Victoria Grove is fantastic, she is magnetic and mysterious, dominating…”

“like a fireworks display that you are glued to and every jet of sparkling light explodes with a wonderful climax”


“What a performer!” … “A bravura display of technique and emotion”

“Remarkable balances and acrobatic gyrations”

“Victoria Grove makes this aerial choreography seem second nature”


“Don’t miss this unique production!”

“highly sensual and intelligent piece… charged with eroticism”

“inspired direction” “outstanding performance”


“Both intellectually stimulating and intensely compelling”


“Intimidatingly intimate … a totally mesmerising production”


“Victoria Grove is magnetic and compelling… A unique production and a chance to catch an impressively talented actress at close quarters.”


“brilliantly staged” “utterly riveting performance”


“bewitching Victoria Grove” … “strong direction by Jessica Ruano”


“Spellbinding… This dramatic meditation on identity, filtered through a classicists appreciation of the great Sappho, is a triumph for everyone involved.”


“The show won a standing ovation from me, the fourth in 25 years…yes, it’s that f*cking good!”


SAPPHO …in 9 fragments by Jane Montgomery Griffiths. Directed by Jessica Ruano and featuring the Victoria Grove as Sappho/Atthis, this production is designed by Ana Ines Jabares with lighting by Sarah Crocker and sound by Luca Romagnoli. 

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Theatre people at SubDevision. Photo credit: Julie Laurin

Following a two-week visit to Ottawa, I feel rejuvenated and inspired. Man, I needed that. I needed to see my childhood home in the spring time. I needed to see my friends busy at work and play. I needed to perform poetry in the park. I needed to attend a theatre carnival and be welcomed by the majority of the people in the room. I needed to climb my favourite tree and bike along the canal and visit the farmers’ market and try contact improv and get drunk with my high school buddies and have lunch on a patio in the market and go salsa dancing and run into people in the street.

Having seen plenty of incredible theatre in London, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer quality of the work at SubDevision and The Extremely Short Play Festival. And finally we have an Ottawa theatre brochure!

Having experienced bouts of anxiety and depression in recent years, I was relieved to find myself capable of relaxing, enjoying simple pleasures, living in the moment. Spending time with a three year old and his wonderful caregiver (i.e. one of my favourite people in the whole world) can really help with that.

Having suffered through severe heartbreak recently, I was ecstatic to realize that I still have the capacity to fall for someone in less than twenty-four hours. Thank you, Rosemary; you inspire.

Why don’t I just come back? Well, I have many reasons – but one of them is, simply, that I need to be away for a while. Moving across the ocean is the riskiest thing I have ever done, and I question myself  constantly for having left behind everything I know and love. Simply existing here in London is a challenge. Whereas in Ottawa, jobs were offered to me on a silver press kit and friends were never far away, here I have to fight for everything I want. If I don’t want to spend time alone and lonely, I have to make an effort to connect with people, to make plans on my own initiative, to force myself to get out of bed in the morning and be productive. I’m finding this very difficult, but I’m not going to give up yet.

This summer I have a number of activities planned: among some of the more exciting, I’m moving into a new flat that will require minor renovations and decorating; I’m planning a European tour for my company Second Skin Theatre; and I’m planning to get more involved with my Walthamstow neighbourhood – anything from volunteering, to offering workshops, to attending more local events. Running London’s West End might be a more ambitious aim, but I’m the kind of person that likes to immerse myself in a tight-knit community; the goal of ‘making a difference’ is that much more attainable. And, hey, maybe I’ll attempt to take over the big city next year.

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Not only is there a fabulous new Ottawa arts blogger in town, Matias of ‘Ottawa Showbox’ also gave me a flattering review for my impromptu poetry performance at new series ‘4in1’ Ottawa Park Acoustic Sessions, hosted by photographer/music lover Ming Wu. Perfect end to a magical two weeks in Canada’s capital.


Jessica Ruano gave me a second, more forceful dose of spoken word. She was the designated ‘time killer’ since Del Bel and Lisa Bozikovic had to run for sound check. Wow. Jessica touched on themes I think we all experience at different points in our lives – particularly powerlessness, but also strength to recover from our times of weakness. She kicked ass.

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A Clown Wedding at the Eiffel Tower

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