If there’s a night to attend the Festival

Then don’t miss A Paprika Gala:

paprikafestival.com/festival/a-paprika-gala/

Hello fellow Paprikans,

I hope your spirits are keeping high over this incredibly long and harrowing “spring time” that seems to have fallen on Toronto again, but fear not! The Festival will happen before you know it and fill you back up with happiness and warmth and color (seriously, it’s gonna happen, and I know you’re all severely missing some/all of those things right now). Keep on trucking!!! THERE IS ALWAYS A PARTY! Remember that

For those of you who are turning 21 and are dreading thinking about the end of Paprika this year, don’t fret! There are some pretty nifty options out there, and probably the coolest of them all is Advisory Board! And speaking of parties, that’s pretty much what we do on AB.

Besides hanging out and eating food and playing some games, the AB is actually responsible for all of the pre- and post-show events during the Festival. If this is your first Paprika, think of fun dressup-themed tea parties before the matinees and country-style craft nights! We have even had open-mic nights and spa days!

We might make it look super easy (yeah, right) but there’s quite a lot of planning and scheduling involved, plus setting up and taking down.

Another big thing we do is to help run the training days. This can be as simple as participating in games and challenges, or as complicated as planning and helping to run activities throughout the day. Occasionally we even get to give our input to Dan and tell him what we thought of an activity or event!

But when we’re not running around taping, gluing and yelling, you can find us on certain Sunday evenings having grown-up conversations with important theatre personnel and picking their brains to gain the vastest knowledge. It sounds like I’m kidding but I swear we behave ourselves.

Does any of this sound like fun to you?

If so, keep it in mind when you’re applying back next year. It’s also a great option if you love Paprika, but are finding it really hard to balance school, multiple jobs and LIFE! We meet usually twice a month, plus training days and the week of the Festival.

Look at me, I liked the AB so much last year, I came back again!!
The after party (themed PROM<3) we planned last year was waaay too much fun, I had to.

Well, that’s it for me, better get back to my Netfli— homework…

Thanks for reading,

Tess

PS. SEE YOU AT THE AFTER PARTY!!!! WE’RE GOING TO TOP LAST YEAR’S

Check out some of our past stories here!

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Dear Toronto:

Our current General Manager, Katherine Devlin Rosenfeld, has to leave us after two amazing years. She is going to become the mother of her first child this year so that means we’ll be in need of someone to take up the reigns of this very important role at Paprika.

All the details on the position can be found here:
WORK IN CULTURE

If you think you’re the right fit for this organization then we want to hear from you. Deadline to apply is March 11th and the first round of interviews are scheduled for March 15th.

IT’S CRUNCH TIME!!!

I warned you there would be cliche(s). But it truly is crunch time, and there is no better way to say it in my exhausted state other than “It feels as though I am in a marathon with time, and I am lost in its dust”… which doesn’t properly convey what I mean, and is somewhat long and irrelevant.

Moving on the more relevant, we have 3 days till our tech rehearsal!!

No, you did read that correctly. we really only have 3 days until tech and 1 week and 1 day until our first show!!!! (Which I am excited to see you all at!!)

This is Sadie and just-look-at-that-precious-face!  I’m in love.  Welcome to the team Katherine and pup.

Hello everyone. My name is Romina and I’m a third year student at York University, doing a double-major in Communication Studies and Sociology. When I’m not pursuing a liberal arts degree, I spend my time surfing the web, obsessing over shows like Doctor Who, Simpsons, and Parks and Rec, and write whatever’s on my mind. This is my first year at Paprika and I’m a playwright under the Mini-Mentorships program.

“Say what? There’s a Mini-Mentorships program? But I never heard of that before,” is what you’re thinking right now. I had that same reaction too when I found out I got in the program. For those wanting to know what it is, the Mini-Mentorships program was created this year for young and up-and-coming playwrights. Think of it as the little sibling to the Playwrights-in-Residence program. While people always go “what’s that?” and “huh?” every time I mention the program, it is still a great program for young playwrights to create their works in an environment offered by Paprika.

Before I entered the program, I had limited experience working in theatre. I was an active member in my high school drama club and the school newspaper. I wanted to pursue a writing career and all I wanted to do was to write scripts for the stage and screen. My parents thought I should get a degree that’s reliable in the real world, so I gave in (hence why I’m not in a fine arts program). The only education I got for playwriting was by reading plays and a book called “Screenwriting For Dummies”. But I continued my love for theatre thanks to a theatre group at York that is open to students of all programs.

I first heard of Paprika at the Fringe Festival. I was reading a program for a show and it was mentioned in someone’s bio that one of the actors used to work for the Paprika Festival. When I researched it, I soon applied after reading about their program for young playwrights. I was ecstatic when I found out I got in, I wanted to threw my hat up in the air like Mary Tyler Moore and say “I’m gonna make it after all.” I did that a few days later.

My experience at Paprika shouldn’t be described as overwhelming, but rather invigorating. I have met a number of people with diverse backgrounds and are participating at the festival as actors, directors, stage managers, and writers. I have even met people who are younger than me and have more experience in theatre than I do. But the fact that I have a lack of a theatre background did not affect my time at Paprika. I was immediately welcomed and treated like family. I always get anxious the week heading up to the Sunday training days, because you never know what fun we’re gonna have and what memories will we cherish forever.

One of things I like about Paprika was getting the chance to connect with professional artists.  I have sat through the panels where professional artists shared stories on how they got to where they are now and such.They are all supportive for the participants and they are also wonderful people to talk to. My mentor, Mel, is the resident dramaturge at the Obsidian Theatre. We found out a few things we have in common, such as that we both went to York. Prior to meeting Mel, I was scared of having my play read by a professional artist. The fact that someone who works in theatre reading my play really freaked me out. In my mind, I was going “will she like it?”, or “I knew I shouldn’t wrote that in the script”. Instead, she had positive feedback for me. She was very supportive and encouraged me to get more involved in theatre. What I thought would be a scary meeting turned into a hour-long words of encouragement over coffee and hot chocolate.

Participating at Paprika is the best decision I’ve made in my life so far. I had fun taking part in my school drama clubs, but soon I felt like living under a bubble and I wanted to get out. I had to do something fast before my interest in theatre waned down. Going to training days, chatting with Mel, and all the other experiences I had at Paprika made me appreciate the theatre even more. It’s a great way for young artists to get a kickstart in working in theatre and you get a hands-on experience in creating a show and knowing what it takes to be an artist in Toronto. With Paprika, you are in a supportive environment and there are people who all share a similar goal, but have gone through different paths.

For me, Paprika allowed me to get out of the bubble and explore what theatre has to offer. It renewed my love for theatre and I haven’t been this active than before. I could use a Doctor Who reference to describe my experience here as a regeneration of some sort, but that’s too much to explain. Paprika may be considered as my breakthrough, but who knows what’s gonna happen to me next? Maybe someday, I’ll have a show at Fringe and inspire some future young artist to join Paprika, just as how I got here in the first place. But we’ll see what happens next.

There’s something I’ve learned to expect when I tell somebody I’m part of the Paprika Festival, and it’s not a gasp of recognition or a bow of respect, it’s that person asking me what exactly the Paprika Festival is.  It’s funny, because for a while I wasn’t sure what to tell them.  It’s a lot easier to do now that I’ve got a good chunk of experience, but at first, this question left me almost as stumped as them.

This is my second year in the Paprika Festival. I started last year when I acted in a production with a group of my friends from school. We hadn’t had any real rehearsals before the first training day, and I remember showing up to it still not quite sure what it was I’d signed up for.  I’m not sure if I fully understood what I was a part of when I left, either, but I will say that I was starting to get the picture.

The problem with defining Paprika is that it’s a different experience for almost everyone. For me, being a part of Paprika meant spending Sundays in my classmate’s basement and acting out a one act play whilst battling distractions like the newest video game or the latest viral video. For others it means meeting with a group of people you hardly know and collectively creating a play from scratch, and for others still Paprika is a place focused solely on writing, stage managing, or directing.

Now, there’s more to it than that, of course. Paprika, for me, was also a chance to learn so much more about the city’s theatre scene than I ever could have otherwise.  It was a chance to hear from some very well-known and accomplished mentors, and make some valuable connections with other participates in the festival.  But really, it was the little things from that first year that I feel like I’ll take away, because they were the things I saw most of the time.

Four training days and a theatre festival later, my first year was done. By then, I’d finally figured out what I was doing, and so was eager to volunteer when that same classmate wrote another play and asked me to act in it all over again. This time around was different though, especially that first training day. I walked in there excited, not nervous and certainly not confused.  I felt like I was one of the grown-ups in the room, one of the ones who knew the ropes. One of the ones who knew, exactly, what it was Paprika was all about.

I can say that Paprika is a lot bigger than any one of its participants may realize at first. It’s not just about an actor in a production or the lighting designer for the resident company; it’s all of those people coming together because they’ve been given the amazing opportunity that Paprika provides, the opportunity to get real experience early on in your career.  This is only a perspective I’ve picked up from going through the works of the festival more than once.
It’s something that I’m happy to say I’ve learned along the long way.

Tenderhooks Screen Shot
A Skype Interview with Paprika’s Farthest-Flung Participants!

The Paprika Festival’s Tenderhooks crew has quite the commute. Planes, trains, automobiles, helicopters, spaceships and Greyhounds (the racing kind) are all needed to get this bunch from their home in Ottawa to the Paprika clubhouse in Toronto. The once a month road trip doesn’t seem to slow down Hannah, Connor and Alysa.  It fuels their excitement. This party of three is on a mission for artistic and creative fulfillment. From the Paprika Training days, the Toronto theatre scene and many trips to Value Village this sorority of thespians are getting their fill.

Their journey started far from home when they brought a production with their school to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This experience opened up a whole new world that was otherwise unavailable to them in Ottawa. They caught that bug that’s only cured by completely immersing your self in theatre and culture. This is what brought them to The Paprika Festival.

Hannah, Connor and Alysa have taken what they had learned in Edinburgh and brought it to Tenderhooks. “We were beyond inspired … we took everything we knew about creation and we used that as inspiration to create a new piece.” That piece is Tenderhooks, a movement-based collective creation about the “Hidden absurdities under the everyday life. There is a whole other world in the back of your head that no one really sees. We go in there, magnify it, highlight it and make it theatrical.” Their show is made up of three clowns that work as ring leaders who guide the audience through the story.

One big adversity the whole festival is facing is the teacher’s strike. Many productions have lost rehearsal spaces and other resources their school had to offer. With this strike all other extra curricular activities are also cancelled. High school theatre requires a lot of extra hours from the faculty and that just not possible this year. So just like many students across the province Hannah, Connor and Alysa have had to make due. “That’s one of the reasons why this show has been so important to us, it has been our theatre fix’’. Without productions to work on at school they have had to find another way to stay active. “We are learning to rely upon our selves”.
Sometimes blessings are disguised. Without the strike these three would not have had the time for the Paprika Festival. I believe this festival offers something special that most youth don’t find at school. Hannah, Connor and Alysa believe it too, “I think this is the first time we can come together and do something we are really interested in and are passionate about and really do what we want with it. “ Learning how to do it on your own goes farther then anything else. They are showing a passion for their production and everyone is excited to perform. So check out Tenderhooks which is just one of many exciting productions at this year’s Paprika Festival.