Informal Upright

A Theatre Collective

Withdrawing from Impact Festival

Dearest Region of Waterloo,

It is with heavy hearts that we have elected to pull our show, Me Not You, from the MTSpace’s wonderful, biannual Impact Festival. 

Last February, we workshopped Me Not You for intimate, enthusiastic audiences in an old house surrounded by a snowstorm. This staged-reading was supported by the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Our heartfelt gratitude for that support surpasses anything that can be expressed here. 

The MTSpace has been generous in their resolution to program our little show in their juggernaut of a festival. Having done the math, they would have lost money by programming us. Importantly, however, this is not the reason that we are withdrawing. 

All three members of Informal Upright are presently undergoing transitions in the day-jobs that help support our artistic vocations. The timing of these transitions coincides with the timing of the festival such that they have made it impossible for us to rehearse properly. 

The sentiment that centres this decision is that we have received so much support from the Region of Waterloo that we only want to bring you quality, fully-prepared work.

Our collective is named after a style of bonsai tree—something which, in nature, only grows in size proportional to its container. As our capacity to share is dwarfed by our desire to do so, today, we remain true to our name. Coincidentally, one theme of Me Not You is the consequential relationship between exhaustion and loneliness. Our greatest efforts are severing us from this wonderful festival and from you, our darling audiences. As the title of this show assures, it’s not you, it’s us. 

We are actively looking for better ways to address this problem of competing employment and artistic obligations from within the small enclave of the Informal Upright Theatre Collective. Most importantly, to the MTSpace, the Impact Festival, and the Region of Waterloo, we love you. We love you. 


The Informal Upright Theatre Collective
Ciarán Myers | Sukhpreet Sangha | Shawn DeSouza-Coelho

Informalities on Hiatus / An Eye to the Future

Hey folks,

As the title of this post reveals, we here at Informal Upright are putting our Informalities podcast on indefinite hiatus. We do this with a heavy heart, but the realities of indie producing are that we simply don’t have the person power to maintain the many different avenues we’d like to go down, the varied ways we’d like to contribute to our theatre communities. We’ve enjoyed the ride, and we hope you have as well.

The podcast episodes will remain available on our website, as well as through iTunes, for anyone interested in learning more about all facets of the theatrical community: from the ambitions of student life to the ethical responsibilities of stage managers to the thought processes of artistic directors. All that and more are just a click away.

The plus side of shelving the podcast is that it frees up our resources for upcoming productions, which we’ll be delighted to tell you more about once we’ve massaged the generals into specifics.

Stay tuned!

Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 20 - Nora Polley

Hey Folks,

This month's episode of Informalities is a very special one. On May 8th, our very own associate director, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho, is releasing his next book, entitled, Whenever You're Ready: Nora Polley on Life as a Stratford Festival Stage Manager. It is the first  biography of a stage manager ever published, and is sure to become a staple of the theatre community in Canada, as well as those in the US and across the pond.

So! For Informalities this month it only made sense to interview Nora and get her take on the theatre ecology we all live and work in, especially considering she's been at it for over 50 years(!). Forty of those years were spent in stage management (and 37 of those were at the Stratford Festival), and in our episode Nora gives her best advice to aspiring stage managers in addition to discussing, in light of the controversy surrounding Soulpepper, some of the ethical responsibilities of the stage manager in the rehearsal hall. This is a valuable episode, and one we hope you don't miss. Listen below or on iTunes, and don't forget to subscribe and rate us! It helps others finds us. Enjoy!

As for Nora's biography, it is with great pleasure that we invite one and all to the launch parties happening in both Toronto (on Saturday May 12th, from 6-8 p.m.) and at the Stratford Festival itself as part of Opening Week festivities (on Thursday May 31st, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.). Info for the Toronto launch can be found below, while all of the info for the Stratford one can be found at the link provided above.

Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 19 - Heather Davies

Good news, everyone!

Spring has sprung and we've got the same in our step here at Informal Upright. We've got a few irons in the fire right now so we hope you're ready for a year full of provocative and intelligent theatre.

Speaking of which, this month on Informalities we sat down the current artistic director of the Ryga Festival out in British Columbia, Heather Davies to discuss her current artistic work (in a long and storied career as an actor, director, singer, musician, and now artistic director) and the murky waters of incentivizing audience members and bolstering attendance. Hint: community is the answer.

Have a listen below or on iTunes, and don't forget to rate us. It helps others finds us. (And who doesn't want to be found?)


Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 17 - Jennifer Roberts-Smith

Hey there Uprights,

Every episode of Informalities brings a new perspective on the theatre ecology in which we all live and work. This month's episode is no exception.

It was our great pleasure to sit down with Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre & Performance at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Jennifer Roberts-Smith. A former professional herself, Jennifer charts her path to academia and discusses the value of a university education to the fledgling artist. This is an important episode for anyone wondering just what the value of a degree is in the context of one's artistic work. Have a listen below or on iTunes, and don't forget to subscribe and rate us! It helps others find us.

Stay tuned for some great news coming down the bend.

Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew


Episode 16 - Liza Giffen

Hey folks,

We're so busy in the theatre world trying to make ends meet, trying to put on a show, trying to get things running, trying to establish ourselves, etc. that it isn't often we take the time to reflect on what came before us. Luckily, there are those in the theatre community who have made it their profession to collect and maintain these records for ours as well as future generations. In Episode 16 of Informalities we sit down with one such person, Liza Giffen, the director of the Stratford Festival Archives, to discuss just what inspires her about her work and how the theatrical community at large can benefit from it. Have a listen below, or on iTunes, and don't forget to like and subscribe!

We've got some big news coming down the pipe so stay tuned and have a wonderful and safe New Years.

Informally yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 15 - Lindsay Bowman-Matthews

It has always been our bread and butter here at Informal Upright to explore and examine the many varied perspectives on the theatre ecology in which we live and participate. Our latest episode of Informalities is no exception!

In episode 15, we sit down with Lindsay Bowman-Matthews, an avid theatregoer and enthusiast, to discuss what excites her about theatre and just how she makes her decisions on what shows to see. Indie theatre companies take note! Have a listen below or on iTunes, and don't forget to like and subscribe and rate us so that others can find us easier.

Informally yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 14 - Jamie Kasiama and Brianna Seferiades

Hey there folks!

Great news! Episode 14 of our monthly podcast is out now and we think it offers a unique perspective on our theatre ecology. In this episode we sit down with Jamie Kasiama and Brianna Seferiades, two upper year students in the Theatre and Film Studies program at McMaster University, and discuss their views on the theatre community and what they believe their role in it is as current/future members.

We don't often hear from the students of this profession and we at Informal Upright think that the community is at a loss because of it. So, check out the episode below or on iTunes (don't forget to rate us and subscribe) and enjoy!

We've got more news coming down the wire, so stay tuned!

Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 13 - Betty Anne Keller

We had such a wonderful time doing Season 1 of Informalities, that we just had to do a Season 2. In this new season we continue with our pursuit of new perspectives on the ecology of art and theatre that we all find ourselves living and working in. Episode 13 is a perfect example of that. In it, we sit down with Betty Anne Keller, the Chair of the Board of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and discuss the ins and outs of arts funding. Ever wondered just how our granting agencies make their decisions? Listen in right here or on iTunes, and don't forget to rate and subscribe!

Until next time!

Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew


Thank you for joining us at the staged reading of my play yesterday evening in Toronto. Holy shucks it was hot! 

Grosse Ile is a project that seems to be surfing the crest of my writerly insecurities. I usually feel something like ambivalence when writing a new play: enjoying the playground and the puzzle of the process. I think because the narrative and setting are so magnificently crucial to such a specific community I’ve given myself more pressure than I’m accustomed to. I’m collaborating in ways I’ve never done and, maybe, the dialogue is approaching a genre that I don’t often gravitate to. So I’m a bit more naked than usual. 

Which is why I’m so grateful to have had such a wonderful audience. Thank you. From the reception, it seems, Grosse Ile is at a stage right now where the audience likes it more than I do. My astoundingly enthusiastic collaborator (Karen MacLeod on music/composition) assures me that’s exactly as it should be. Which is also to say, there is work to be done.

If you weren’t there, we struck such a hyper-naturalism to shy Annie Baker. About five years ago I met Lynne Griffin at the Hamilton Fringe and, ever since, I’ve been searching for the opportunity to work with her. As the Pirate Life Toronto ship (our appropriately ambient venue) knocked and rocked the poor woman had to swallow her breakfast back down. Then she threw on a cape and continued the performance! Maintaining your motion-sickness until after the play is done is a fast path to humbling your playwright. I’m only sorry that I’m writing about dysentery at sea. What a champion! 

Informal Upright is a brand-new collective. This is only our second public appearance. Though we’ve known each other for years we are also in the process of developing a rhythm and shorthand to our collaboration. If my playwrighterly confidence is jostled by this process, my producerly confidence is doubled by my team. I’m proud to play a part in showing the world how incredible Shawn and Sukhpreet are. 

I also must acknowledge our incredible board member Damien Nelsonwho was pulling small supports for us at every turn all week. How did we do so well to nab her? 

And of course, thank you to the Pirate Life team for providing us with their incredible venue on the water.

I entered a relationship with this play telling myself that my challenges in writing it will make the work stronger. But there comes a point where that stops feeling good. So I’m humbled by your support, by your thoughtful feedback, and by having the role to write it at all. Here’s to the story’s next breaths and to all the gifts that Informal Upright gestates for you. 

~ Ciarán

A Staged Reading of Grosse Ile!

Hey there Informalites (a new word, patent pending),

We're over the moon to share with you the details of our very first staged reading of our very own Ciaran Myers' new play Grosse Ile.

It's happening on September 23rd at 5:30 p.m. at 333 Lakeshore Blvd. E. in downtown Toronto, on a pirate ship. That's right. You read right. A pirate ship! Not to worry, though, because the ship will remain docked. We're just going to have the reading on the deck. Here's a poster with all of the details!

We're anxious to share the play with you, and we've got a great and talented cast lined up to read including Alma Sarai, Erik Helle, and Lynne Griffin, with music provided by the incomparable Karen MacLeod. Once again, the reading starts at 5:30 p.m. so please arrive 30 minutes before to be seated. And, of course, it is an outdoor event so please dress appropriately!

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Informally Yours,

The Informal Upright Crew

Episode 12 - Year End Wrap Up


With this, our 12th episode of Informalities, we've now been on the air for one whole year. So, what have we learned? What has a year's worth of conversations with theatre artists taught us about the theatre ecology in which we live and work and grow? What is independent theatre now? Listen (on iTunes or right here) to find out.

We here at Informal Upright want to thank you all sincerely for a year's worth of episodes and we look forward to giving you another year's worth.

Until then, stay tuned for more details on our upcoming staged reading of Grosse Ile.

Informally Yours,

- The Informal Upright Crew

Playwriting Intensive!

Informal Upright, in Association with MJ Drama, are cohosting a short Playwriting Intensive over the Christmas Break.

The Intensive will be held at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener, however, EXACT DATES AND TIMES ARE TO BE CONFIRMED. Please stay tuned! 

This course will feed directly into the Registry Theatre's annual Playground Festival (formerly the ACTOne Festival). In partnership with Informal Upright, JM Drama will showcase selected plays that have grown through this intensive to participate in their 2018 Playground Festival. 

Over six sessions, the Intensive will explore Scene Structure, Story Structure, Character and Action, and Writing Towards a Specific Festival or Assignment, with flexibility to address the specific needs and interests of the participants. So bring us all your problems! 

The Intensive is designed to target post-secondary students but all are welcome! There will be an optional time/space available for quiet shared writing time before each lesson begins so you can use your Christmas Break to create. 

Students are asked to commit to all six days of the intensive for a $60 fee* ($10/day). 
* If you are unable to attend this course because of financial barriers, please contact Ciarán privately. He understands first-hand. We wish for this course to be accessible to all. ciaranmyers1 [at]

Episode 11 - Jeff Ho

Folks, we've got some fantastic news!

Earlier this week, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho sat down with the ever so humble theatre artist Jeff Ho for yet another episode of Informalities. That's right! Episode 11! And it might just be our most important episode yet because we dissect the oft heard but rarely understood phrase "diversity in casting". What does inclusion mean exactly? How do we strive towards it without leaving anybody behind? Listen below or subscribe on iTunes to hear their thoughts!

In other news! We here at Informal Upright are excited as hell to announce that our official launch party is Saturday, August 19th, 2017! All of the information is below in a handy poster. It's going to be great fun! There's magic! There's a reading, AND a special announcement! But you'll have to show up in order to see what it is!

Launch Party!

Come one, come all!

Informally Yours,

- The Informal Upright Crew


Episode 10 - Vikki Velenosi and Kasey Dunn

This is it! Our 10th episode of Informalities, fresh from our mouths and brains and now disrupting the electrons on its way to you, our listeners.

Let's face it: there's a need for affordable theatre space in Toronto (and everywhere, really). So, in Episode 10 we sat down with two women providing it: Vikki Velenosi and Kasey Dunn, artists and co-owners of Brick & Mortar here in Toronto. In this episode we get their take on what it's like to provide affordable space, and to really interrogate what "affordable" means to the community.

We hope you enjoy, and don't forget to subscribe and rate us on iTunes.

Informally Yours,

- The Informal Upright Crew

Hamburger at the ACTOne Festival

Earlier this month Ciarán's play Hamburger premiered at the ACTOne Festival at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener. It was wonderful to be back in the fabric of our amazing and fast-growing community here in downtown Kitchener, sharing this amazing festival with the likes of Gary Kirkham and Sunil Kuruvilla. Ciarán came into the production with the nervousness of seeing his child walk for the first time then came out completely enamoured by John Krukowski and Darla Forward who performed a smart and sharp production. Hamburger was directed by Craig Pearson and staged managed by David Briski. John, playing Arie, is on his way out of the University of Waterloo's Drama program and Mr. Briski, stage managing, is about to begin his BA in technical theatre. With this production bolstering the play, we look forward to updating the script with a little help from the Ontario Arts Council (generously recommended by Pat the Dog Theatre Creation) and then presenting it again ourselves shortly down the road. Big thanks to Sam Varteniuk at the Registry Theatre for spearheading this amazing festival year after year. We can't wait for the next! 

Episode 9 - Cassandra Piroutz


As always, we're hard at work here at Informal Upright trying to generate ties within the communities we find ourselves in. With that in mind, we would like to present to you Episode 9 of our monthly podcast!

With Festival season coming up, we asked arts administrator extraordinaire Cassandra Piroutz to give us her take on the important of volunteerism in the arts community. Every year festivals ask for hundreds upon hundreds of people to donate their time and labour. What do these people get out of it? What motivates them? What is their role exactly? Tune in to find out!

We're delighted to announce that you can now find us on iTunes! Follow the link, subscribe, and listen to your heart's content. And when your heart is in fact contented, don't forget to rate us! It'll help promote the cast.

Alternatively, you can listen to the latest episode the old fashioned way right here!

Informally yours,

- The Informal Upright Crew