Jillian toronto
Jillian in Toronto

Over the past few months, English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley and Associate Artistic Director Sarah Garton Stanley, have been visiting cities across Canada, meeting and greeting with artists, while conducting general auditions.

Since September, the ‘Audition Tour’ has been in six cities, five provinces in four months, visiting Toronto, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa, Montreal, and St. John’s, with more to come in the New Year.

It has been quite the trip for them, as they have heard stories that are both of the theatre and the lives that surround the theatre. “We have heard about some incredible projects that are happening in different parts of the country, and with them come stories about what is like to live and make work in various places across the land,” said Sarah.

“A lot of people come in with this awareness of how overwhelming it must be to see so many people, and they offer all kinds of sympathy - but you know, the auditions have generally been so strong that it's not tiring.  When people are prepared and talented, and for 99% that's what we've seen - it's a pretty wonderful way to spend the day,” noted Jillian.

Both Jillian and Sarah were astounded by not just the cities and theatres they visited, but the artists they met, and how welcoming they were.

“Sometimes someone will come into a room and you can just feel the light coming off of them.  It's a special thing about actors, especially when they are feeling on and really open,” said Jillian. “Sometimes I think a monologue isn't really going anywhere and then out of nowhere I'm weeping with laughter and for me that's magic, it's the magic that actors do.  Sometimes someone will take their two and a half minutes, execute a killer monologue, shake my hand and say goodbye, and after they close the door, I'm in a pile on the floor needing a box of tissues and a blanket.”

“This has constant reminder of just how astonishing actors can be,” added Sarah. “We usually start auditions by thanking people for taking the time to audition for us, and the overwhelming response is ‘are you kidding? Thank you for taking the time to come to our city!’”

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