The Bellows: Getting Started in Design by Michael Kruse

This time on our presentation of The Bellows, a topic close to the heart of this podcast, Getting Started in Design. Moderator Christopher Ross speaks with lighting designer Jareth Li, performance designer Shannon Lea Doyle, sound designer and composer Alex Williams, and lighting Designer Michael Kruse (:)) about their best advice on getting becoming a theatrical designer.


Jareth Li

Jareth is a freelance lighting designer based in Toronto. Select lighting designs include: The Glass Menagerie, Casimir and  Carolin (The Howland Company); Sinners’ Lounge (Canada’s  Wonderland); Dusk Dances (Dusk Dances – Sylvie Bouchard);  Crazy For You (Port Hope Festival Theatre); The Trial of Judith  K (Thought for Food Productions); Mourning Dove (Sudbury  Theatre Centre); Dangerous Liaisons (Red One  Collective/Storefront); The Widow (SummerWorks); Disco Pigs  (A Lasting Dose Productions). Jareth is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

Shannon Lea Doyle

Shannon Lea Doyle is a scenographer and sculptor from Toronto. In the past year Shannon has collaborated with directors Leah Cherniak, Frank Cox-O’Connell, Alessandro Costantini, Mikaela Davies, Sarah Kits, Jeannette Lambermont-Morey, Adam Lazarus, Viktor Lukawski  Gregory Prest, Albert Shultz, Guillermo Verdecchia, and Michael Wheeler. Shannon is currently assistant to the 2016 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art in Toronto, designing The Last Wife at The Belfry in Victoria, B.C. and working on a new sculpture series. She holds a BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University and is a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy where she worked under the mentorship of Lorenzo Savoini. Find more details on her website at:

Alex Williams

Alex Williams has worked for 12 years on Hollywood features, television series, documentary and indie film productions in both sound and picture editing departments, such as Acts of Imagination, X-Men 3, Scary Movie 4, News for the Church and Mustard Pancakes. Alex holds a B.F.A. In Film/Video from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Film/Video), studied at Concordia University, The Banff Centre, and under Emmy and Juno-award winning sound mixer, William Butler.

Michael Kruse

Michael is a Toronto based lighting designer and has lit over 125 shows for theatre, dance, opera and corporate events. A graduate of Ryerson Theatre School, Michael was at the Shaw Festival for four seasons, the Blyth Festival for nine seasons, and has worked across the country and abroad.  He has been honored with several Dora nominations in lighting design including Studio 180's The Laramie Project and Theatre Direct's Alphonse, and a Sterling nomination for the hit November Theatre show The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets that toured Canada and made an appearance at the Tarragon Theatre in 2008.  Michael designs have also been seen at the Factory Theater, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre New Brunswick, The Globe Theatre, Regina, Theatre Network, Edmonton, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Carousel Players, and many others.  Michael currently works as an advanced care paramedic for York Region Paramedic Services.


The 2017 Harolds Sham-Cast: A Special Presentation of The Bellows by Michael Kruse

Detail from a painting of Harold Kandel by Kirsten Johnson

Detail from a painting of Harold Kandel by Kirsten Johnson

On June 13th, Toronto theatre artists were feted again by the irreverent and always random Harold Awards. Established in 1995 by 13 bad-ass independent theatre artists, the awards have wound their way through the theatre community, establishing a timeline of independent theatre creators that have pushed the boundaries and held everything together in the Toronto theatre scene.  The new artists are "Harolded" by the previous year's winners, who look for theatre creators who inspire them professionally, or personally, or surrealistically and come from all aspects of the theatre, on stage and off. Stage managers, producers, educators, administrators designers and yes actors and directors make up all of the recipients of what Daniel MacIvor has called "the most important award a theatre artist can win".

See the Harold's webpage for the history of the award, named after Harold Kandel, an eccentric and vocal theatre lover who became an entrenched theatre super-fan and who was loved and who, when he started talking back to the actors on stage during a show, could instill that cold sweat that let you know you had to pull out all of your acting chops to make it through that performance, or risk being heckled!

The Ken McDougall award for directing, sponsored originally by Platform 9, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Theatre Passe Muraille is the only prize that comes with cash and was added in 1996 to honor the passing of Ken McDougall, a leading director in the Toronto Indy scene. In 2012, the year that I was one of the organizing artists as a Haroldee from 2011, we established the Barbara Fingerote Award to honor the great and unswerving volunteers without whom no theatre could operate in Toronto. Barbara Fingerote is a volunteer, now retired but who keeps getting pulled back in, who was to be found at every indie theater in Toronto at one time or another and who stood for the love we all have of theatre. 

The Bellows crew was asked to come and record the show and interview some folks during it, and as you will find out, was a target of a classic Harold's ruse. While in some years the recipients were told they were winning, most years, it is kept a secret, and it is part of the game to see if you can get your Haroldee to the party without them knowing. They can't prepare and the surprise is everything. 

If you work or aspire to work in the Toronto theatre scene, you will not be disappointed in this edited version (at 1:20, it is a might bit shorter than the 2 hrs it usually takes) and you will hear interviews conducted by Pip Bradford and Rebecca Hooton with some past and present inductees into the awards interspersed in the show.

OH! A quick note - in the extro I mention it was recorded at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, but that was a mistake - it was recorded at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre!

#41 Richard Feren by Michael Kruse

Last September, 2016, I spent 2 hrs talking to composer and sound designer Richard Feren.  We spoke about his early career in radio, at the age of 13, through his time in the explosion of indi theatre in Toronto in the early 90's and his work with iconic directors like Daniel Brooks. We land on his process for producing sound scapes and scores for theatre and the genesis of his modern method, from the early days of the Fostex 4-track cassette to Qlab. We finally land on his work in organizing designers to fight back against the cuts to fees in Canada. This is a 2 hr chat, but one that holds on to you at every minute.  To see Richard's theatre bio go here.

We did not get to chat about his work as @RobFrod or his other music projects, but you can see more on his website here.


Guelph Little Theatre

Samuel Becket and Theatre of the Absurd

University of Toronto Schools (secondary schools)

David Letterman

CFRU FM at U of Guelph

Post-punk and New Wave

Reel to Reel editing (splicing block, Revox reel to reel)

Fostex 4-track cassette recorder

The Residents (band)

Van der Graaf Generator (band)

Chrome (band)

Brave New Waves with Brent Bambury

Ed Video, media arts centre, (Guelph)

Trinity Square Video (Toronto)

Brian Eno

Fiona Griffiths

U of Guelph

Theatre Resource Centre

Richard Pochencho and Ian Wallace


Mump and Smoot

Futures Grant, from Canada Council

The Maids, directed by Ian Wallace

Rhubarb Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Old Buddies' space on George St.

Pow Pow Unbound

Darren O'Donnell

Wendy Agnew

Stephen Seabrook

The Young Company at Blyth Festival

Round Rotund Rumps at Rhubarb Festival 1994

Excerpts From The Emo Journals by STO Union

The Dance of Death by August Strindberg at Equity Showcase

Skye Gilbert

Das Reingold by Richard Wagner, directed by Stephen Seabrook

Justin Roddy, sound designer

Death Waits - Jacob Wren

The Bangs at The Theatre Centre

The 40 Tiny Performances, Darren O'Donnell

The Theatre Resource Centre's Soirees

Daniel Brooks and The Augusta Company

Nadia Ross

Here Lies Henry, by Daniel MacIver

Monster, In on ItCul-de-SacThis is What Happens Next, by Daniel MacIver

Necessary Angel Theatre Co.

Insomnia, by Daniel Brooks

The Designated Mourner, by Wallace Shawn

A Doll's House at Soulpepper

The Other Place at Canadian Stage

Todd Charleton

DAT Tape

Tape Hiss

Sampling Keyboards in Theatre

Qlab from Figure 53


Heartbreak House, 1998 Shaw Festival

Tadeusz Bradecki, director and performer

Faust, at Tarragon Theatre directed by Daniel Brooks

Steel Kiss by Platform 9, at Buddies in Bad Times, by Robin Fulford

Gulag by Platform 9, directed by Sarah Stanley

Steve Marsh, sound designer

Possible Worlds, directed by Daniel Brooks

Mitchell Cushman

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), directed by Alisa Palmer

Endgame by Soulpepper, directed by Daniel Brooks

László Marton

Diego Matamoras

John Cage

Stratford Festival

Shaw Festival

Peter Hinton, director

Mike Walsh, sound engineer and designer

Oleanna, at Soulpepper Theatre

White Biting Dog, at Tarragon Theatre

Julie Fox, set designer

Julius Ceasar Hart House theatre, Overture by Richard Feren

Associated Designers of Canada

The Designers Guild

The Bellows: Self Care by Michael Kruse

Are you sleeping enough? Do you know what enough is? When was the last time you made yourself a meal, or spent the day taking care of yourself instead of all of your actors and director? Have you had moments of panic for no reason or felt an unyielding force preventing you from leaving the house and going into rehearsal? Perhaps, like the rest of us, you have been focusing on the show to much and on yourself too little. Self care is important, and vital to a long and fruitful career.  The next hour and 1/2 we talk about self care. In this session of The Bellows, host and carpenter Kevin Hutson talks to a panel of self-care experts about surviving, well, life in the theatre.

Recorded on February 20th, 2017 , our panel was made up of David Whitley, advanced care paramedic and peer support worker in paramedic services, and Leah Erbe from the Actors Fund of Canada.

Actors Fund of Canada


David Whitley

David is an Advanced Care Paramedic in a emergency service in the Greater Toronto Area, and serves on it's Critical Incident Stress Management and Peer Support team. David is also a registered nurse and has spent many years training in the treatment and prevention of stress injuries.

Leslie Erbe

Leah is The AFC’s first program manager. The AFC is the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry, providing short-term financial assistance to entertainment industry professionals whose health, housing, or ability to work have been jeopardized by an unforeseen emergency. Leah spent eight years as The AFC’s case coordinator, fielding calls and processing applications for assistance, before becoming program manager in 2016. Prior to her work at The AFC, Leah worked as a member representative at the Songwriters Association of Canada.

Leah has performed as a solo act, with her band Smugshot, and with other bands and projects in and around Toronto. Her songs have been featured on "Dawson's Creek", “Party of Five”, and in several independent films; she has worked with producers and co-writers Mike Rocha, Luther Mallory (Crush Luther), and Haydain Neale (jacksoul). She also has extensive TV and film credits as a singer, including theme vocals for "Earth: Final Conflict" and the IMAX documentary "Under The Sea", and featured vocals for the IMAX films "Spacestation" and 2016’s “A Beautiful Planet”.

#40 Martha Mann by Michael Kruse

Martha Mann is one of the original Canadian theatre designers. I had the pleasure of speaking with Martha in her home in August of 2016. We speak about her personal origins when there were no theatre training programs in Canada, about the birth of modern Canadian drama from the amateur Dominion Drama Festival, and her work on countless productions of theatre and film, including her work at Glimmerlass Opera and on the Anne of Green Gables films. More quotes from Martha can be found here.


New York University Drama Dept.

Yale School of Drama Graduate Degree

Ontario College of Art, now OCAD University

University Alumni Dramatic Club, now the Alumni Theatre

James Raney's The Killdeer

The Dominion Drama Festival

The London Little Theatre, now The Grand Theatre

The Royal Alexander Theatre

The National Theatre Schoo

Mark Knagen, designer

Wilf Pegg, designer

William Needles

John Colicos

Ron Hartmann

Hart House Theatre

Lawren Harris

Susanne Mess

Les Lawrence

Victor Braun

South Pacific

Catherine Brickenden

Life with Father

Young People's Theatre

Jupitor Theatre - The Museum Theatre at the Royal Ontario Musem

The Crest Theatre

Hilary Corbett

Murray and Donald Davis and their Sister Barbara Chilcott

The Straw Hat Players


Central Library Building Toronto turned into the Robert Gill Theatre

Robert Gill

The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles by George Bernard Shaw

The Drama Centre at University of Toronto

Francois Barbeau

The Arts and Letters Club, Toronto - 0:41

Jo Mielziner

Susan Benson

Jean Rosenthal

Leon Major

Kevin Sullivan

The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson, shot at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Krieghoff film by Kevin Sullivan

Anne of Green Gables film with an Interview with Martha

Ann Roth costume designer

Intermezzo at the Glimmerglass Festival

New York City Opera

Miami Lyric Opera

Radio City Music Hall

Imperial War Museum

Scenography in Canada, Natalie Rewa

Stan Turner, carpenter at The Crest

Malabars Costume House

Anne of Green Gables, the musical at Theatre Calgary

Glenn [Gould] play at Soulpepper

Eames chairs

Ryerson Theatre School

Julius Ceasar at Stratford Festival, 1998

Trapunto quilting

Jerry Franken

Opera News - Dress Up Games

Peter Brook

Associated Designers of Canada

Theatre Safety Guidelines

Charmion King leg injury judgement

Origins of Canadian Actors Equity

Edith Head

The Washington National Opera

The Bellows: Media Relations by Michael Kruse

On January 16th, 2017, the Bellows reconvened again to discuss another pressing and mysterious issue in the production of Canadian Theatre: media relations. Kevin Hutson spoke to Steve Fisher, Rennie Reddie and now Title Block veteran, Sue Edworthy about selling the show and growing your audience.  Bios are below, can you guess who does promotions every day?


Steve Fisher

Steve Fisher holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre, and an Acting - Performance diploma from Ryerson University. He writes a weekly arts & entertainment column for Torontoist, and contributes regularly to Post City and Now Magazine. Other outlets he has written for include The AV Club, CBC Music, and The Grid. He was a 2015 nominee for a National Magazine Award for his Torontoist contributions, and won the bi-annual 2016 Nathan Cohen Award, the top award for theatre criticism in Canada, in the short form review category.

Renna Reddie

Renna is the proud producer of multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominated shows. She is the inaugural Toronto Fringe TD Bank Young Producer and current Wrecking Ball member. She works extensively in event and talent coordination and has over 7 years of festival logistics with JFL42, Hot Docs, Luminato and many more.

Sue Edworthy

Sue Edworthy has worked in the non-profit performing arts for over fifteen years and is a self-described city enthusiast. Her passion for the performing arts has led her to stints in theatre, dance and opera organizations in and around Toronto such as Luminato, Opera Atelier, and Theatre Passe Muraille. She is a 2010 Harold Award recipient and recipient of a CharPR Prize for best publicity 2012 and 2013, and the 2015 recipient of the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Arts Leadership. She is a former Board member for The Toronto Fringe and The Toronto Alliance for the Performing arts, and a current Board member for the Canadian Dance Assembly and Expect Theatre. Currently a part time instructor at Ryerson Theatre School and Humber College, Sue runs Sue Edworthy Arts Planning, a freelance marketing, PR, producing and strategic planning company for the Toronto independent arts community, and is much in demand as a social media and marketing consultant. Sue holds a BFA Specialized Honors from York University. For more information, visit , find Sue Edworthy Arts Planning on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @sueedworthy.

#39 Lorenzo Savoini by Michael Kruse

Designer Lorenzo Savoini

Designer Lorenzo Savoini

Lorenzo Savoini is the director of design at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto, one of the most successful theatres to be founded in the last 20 years and one that continues to push the envelope on what theatre can or should be. Lorenzo tells me about his time growing up in Thorn Hill Ontario and his adventures at UBC, Stratford and for the last 10 years, at Soulpepper. For the second half of this marathon interview, we chat about his philosophy of design and how he is working to develop the next generation of designers who face a world that is both uncertain but alive with potential. We recorded the interview in May of 2016 in the Soulpepper library.


Support the show!

Leaving Home by David French

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

University of Guelph Theatre Arts

Alan Watts (see "Sculpted Spaces: Jim Plaxton in conversation with Alan Watts, from Canadian Theatre Review #54)

Canadian Art magazine

Michael Levine

Daryl Cloran

House by Daniel MacIvor

Alan Stitchbury

University of British Columbia MFA in Theatre

Robert Gardiner

Peter Brook

Josef Svoboda

Simon McBurney

Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw

Wagner's The Ring Cycle by Michael Levine

Rauri Murchison

The Sound of Music at The Stratford Festival 2001

Richard Monette

Timon of Athens at The Stratford Festival 2004

Stephen Ouimette

Tanya Moiseivitch

Desmond Healey

Michael Gianfrancesco

Dana Osborn

Chris Abraham

Deborah Hanson


Return (The Sarajavo Project)

Umbuntu (The Capetown Project)

Claire Sakaki

László Marton

The Soulpepper Academy

BLiNK by the 2010 SoulpepperAcademy

Of Human Bondage by Sommerset Maughm at Soulpepper Theatre

Gregory Prest

Raquel Duffy

Diego Matamoras

John Cage

Richard Feren

CAGE at Soulpepper Theatre

Mies van der Rohe

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, Soulpepper Theatre, Director:  Alan Dilworth, Set and Costume Design:  Lorenzo Savoini, Lighting Design:  Kim Purtell, Sound Design:  Debashis Sinha, Actors:  Michelle Monteith, Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster, Oyin Oladejo, 

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Soulpepper Theatre
Director:  Daniel Brooks, Set design: Lorenzo Savoini, Lighting Design: Kevin Lamotte, Sound Design:  Richard Feren, Actors:  Katherine Gauthier, Christopher Morris

#38 The Bellows: Ask Me Anything by Michael Kruse

On this episode we once again return to The Bellows, a monthly informal discussion about theatre production that is recorded in Toronto, this time at Theatre Passe Muraille on November 16th, 2016. Carpenter and Bellows founder Kevin Hutson moderates a Q and A with some of Toronto theatre production's bright lights, with questions poised by the Bellows audience. Taking the spotlight this time are Bellows veterans Remington North and Dave Degrow, as well as Rebecca Hooten and newly minted theatre technician Cameron Kirk.  They are asked a number of smart questions about their career in theatre and their thoughts on theatre production, while Kevin makes sure their ego's do not get too inflated.



Kevin is a scenic carpenter, former technician and occasional project manager.  He comes from Scarborough and loves talking about work over beer.


Pip Bradford has been working in theatre exclusively since she quit the porn store back in ’07, and she has hated writing bios the whole time. She has production managed for companies around Ontario including Why Not Theatre, Crow’s Theatre, The Theatre Centre, The Lower Ossington Theatre, FADO Performance Art, and Stand-Up Dance, and worked in innumerable capacities for countless others. When Pip isn’t production managing or teaching production management to the young, she makes interactive art pieces with Rebecca Vandevelde for Art Is Hard Productions, including the upcoming Blanket Fort at the Theatre Centre in January 2017. In the spare time left over from her spare time, Pip is one of the hosts of The Bellows, a monthly production artist mixer that fosters community among production peeps in Toronto.


Christopher Ross has extensive experience as a technician, stage manager, and production manager. he has worked in most of Toronto’s independent theatres, and has been a venue technician for the Fringe Festival, the Next Stage Theatre Festival, and the Summerworks performance festival. he is currently the head technician of the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace.

remington north

David degrow

David DeGrow is a designer, academic, and teacher whose work has been seen across Toronto and across Canada, and has been nominated for three Dora Awards. He is PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, where his dissertation examines how theatre space shapes artistic mandate, audience and the theatre’s relationship with the city. Selected lighting designs include: Pyaasa (Theatre Passe Muraille/Theatre Jones Roy); Tap-Ex: Metallurgy (Tapestry); Monday Nights (Sixth Man/Theatre Centre); Morro & Jasp: 9-5 (UNIT Productions/Factory); Tagged (Greenthumb/YPT); The Hours That Remain (Gwaandak); the tin drum (Unspun); Dreaming of Rob Ford (Mike Daisey/Crow’s). Recent Production Management/Technical Direction credits include: Salt Baby National Tour (Salt Baby Collective/Globe); Fashion Straight from the Art (University of Toronto/Mirvish); All the sex I’ve ever had (Mammalian Diving Reflex/Luminato); Belleville (Company); Forgiveness (Modern Times); Passion Play (Outside the March/Sheep No Wool/Convergence); Justice (Gwaandak/National Arts Centre); Cafe Daughter (Gwaandak Theatre - National Tour); ZED.TO-Patient Zero (The Mission Business - Nuit Blanche); The Pub Operas (Tapestry). 

rebecca hooton

Rebecca Hooton is a Toronto based deviser, director, production manager, and a founding member of Raw Matter Project.

Cameron kirk

Cameron Kirk is a recent graduate of Humber Colleges Technical Theatre Production program.  He spent the summer of 2016 working at the Blyth Theatre Festival as a Carpenter. Since he's been back in the big city he's been freelancing as a carpenter and technician; picking up calls in various spaces throughout the city and dabbling in the wonderful world of corporate events.  Cameron is striving to be a Technical Director but wants to keep his hand in more creative pockets of theatre. Specifically, set and sound design.  His set design dabut was at Array Music, with Glass Reflections Collectives 'Bonds Beyond' which premiered on October 27th.  Cameron is excited about kicking off his career in the world of theatre and eagerly awaits what challenges and opportunities lie ahead.