The Bellows: Trash vs. Treasure by Michael Kruse

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On this episode of The Bellows our trusty moderator Kevin Hutson talks with Ian Garrett and Ryan Wilson about what do do with that old set or how to build a more sustainable design. This installment of the monthly production panel discussion was recorded at the Wychwood Barns in Toronto on Oct 24 2017.

The Bellows is Pip Bradford, Rebecca Hooton, Kevin Hutson, Christopher Ross, and Michael Kruse.



Ian Garrett

Ian Garrett  is Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University; is director of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, a US think tank on sustainability in arts and culture; and is the resident designer for the Indy Convergence, an arts accelerator in Indianapolis, Toronto, and Haiti. He is a member of the Performance Studies International Performance+Design Working Group and is the Curator for the US for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. He maintains a design practice focused on the integration technology and scenography. He was executive producer for Transmission at the FuturePlay Festival in Edinburgh and Future of Storytelling Festival in New York. Other recent creative interactive projects include Theatre Panik's durational performance, Peep, at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche; Erika Batdorf's Micro-theatre for Burnish at the Theatre Centre and Venice Biennale, the set and energy capture systems for Zata Omm Dance Projects’ Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre, and the geolocated Silo No. 5 on Maria Island, Tasmania. He has worked on installations such as DTAH Architects’ Ravine Portal and on the lighting team for the Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a 150’ wide, origami-style crane sculpture at the 2010 Coachella Music Festival. He serves on the Board of Directors for Associated Designers of Canada.

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson is a passionate artist whose talent, collaborative spirit and work ethic have earned him praise from his peers. Currently the head scenic carpenter at Young People’s Theatre (Toronto), he has worked at numerous theatre companies, including Soulpepper Theatre Company (Toronto), fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company (Toronto), Factory Theatre (Toronto) and Globe Theatre (Regina, Sask.). As a freelance production manager/technical director at fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, Wilson worked on four productions: Ching Chong Chinaman (2013), Brown Balls (2011), lady in the red dress (2009) and Banana Boys (2008). Ryan Wilson graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University’s Theatre School in 2007.

#44 Ken MacDonald by Michael Kruse

Photo by Joy von Tiedemann

Photo by Joy von Tiedemann

Ken MacDonald went from teaching drawing and painting at high school in the 1970's to one of the most sought after theatre artists in Canada today. His artistic and personal partnership with Morris Panych has resulted in some of the most iconic Canadian theatre productions, including the international sensation The Overcoat.  Ken and I spoke in May of 2017 at his home in Toronto.

In the opening rant I reference this interview that appeared on CBC Metro Morning, regarding the civil suit brought against now former artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre Albert Schultz. 

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University of British Columbia, Art Education

Gordon Smith

Sam Black

MUSSOC UBC Musical Theatre Society

Sheila McCarty

Don Shipley

Patty Armstrong and the The Belfry Theatre

Danny Costein

Puttin' On The Ritz, at The Belfry Theatre

Puttin' On the Ritz, at the Shaw Festival

Cameron Porteus

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols

Piaf by Pam Gems at The Belfry

Dames at Sea Directed by Glyis Leyshon at The Belfry

Da by Hugh Leonard with Denis Arndt at The Belfry

Private Lives by Noel Coward at The Belfry

Canadian Gothic, American Modern by Joanna Glass at the Belfry Theatre

A Thousand Splendid Suns at ACT in San Francisco, by Khaled Hosseini

The New Play Centre in Vancouver, Artistic Director Pamela Hawthorn

Tamahnous Theatre

Haunted House Hamlet, by Peter Eliot Weisse

Festival TransAmeriques in Montreal

Sleep No More by Punchdrunk

Morris Panych

Last Call, a Post-Apocalyptic Musical

Sue Astley, director

Vancouver East Cultural Centre, The Cultch

CBC Special of The Last Call

The Last Call at The Globe Theatre, with Patrick McManus and Alan Moon, designed by Deeter Shurig

Chris Thomas and Lucy Peacock

David Sereda

Don Williams, producer for CBC

Ukrainian Labour Temple, Thunder Bay - this is most likely the Finnish Labour Temple, but could have been the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg, where Don Williams was based. 

Rene Simard

Adelaide Court Theater, Toronto

Cheap Sentiment, Tamahnous Theatre

Simple Folk, Songs of a Generation (1987)

Babz Chula, a la Mary Travers

John Forrest, bass player

Odessa, Russia

The Berlin Wall, and East Berlin

Wolfgang Kolneder, director (translate from the German)

Key (Floor) Ladies in Russian Hotels

Langara, Studio 58, Pam Johnson, resident designer, Bruce Kennedy, Technical Director, Katherine Shaw, artistic director

Glynis Layshen

Green Thumb Theatre

Ken McKenzie, designer

Eugene Lee, designer of Oklahoma

Michael Eagan  (not interviewed yet :) )

Michael Levine, designer

Christina Podubiak, and Scott McEwean

Amedeus, at Canadian Stage

Parfumerie at Soulpepper

Picture This, by Morris Panych and Brenda Robbins at Soulpepper

Barber of Seville, Quebec City

Gaudi and Frank Gehry

You Never Can Tell, at the Shaw Festival

The Cost of Living, by Morris Panych

Vigil, by Morris Panych with Alan Williams

7 Stories, by Morris Panych

The Overcoat, by Morris Panych

The Waiting Room, by Morris Panych, about Spirit of The West's John Mann

The Banff Centre for the Arts

Urjo Kereda

The Tarragon Theatre

Margaret Barton

Vigil at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo

Vigil at Wyndham's Theatre in London, UK (debuted under title Auntie and Me)

Vigil with Olympia DuKakis at ACT in Los Angeles

Vigil with Brent Carver and Martha Henry

Vigil with Morris Panych and Jenny Phipps

Magrite, dadaism

Peter Anderson

The Barber of Seville, Pacific Opera

This Fabulous Century Series of books

Madness of King George III, at the Shaw Festival

Our Town, directed by Molly Smith at The Shaw Festival

Chopin's Nocturns

The Overcoat, a musical tailoring

Wendy Gorling, choreographer

Kurt Gödel and Shostakovich

Moby Dick with Debussy at The Stratford Festival

The Barbican, London

The Overcoat, on CBC television

Alan Brodie, lighting designer

John Mann and Spirit of the West music videos

Earshot, by Morris Panych, starring Randy Hughson

The Imaginary Invalid, by Moliere

Leslie MacMillan

The fall of the Vancouver Playhouse

Wayne Reierson, propmaster at Shaw

Donna Hrabluk, former propmaster at Shaw

Company, by Theatre 20

The Dishwashers

Trapdoor, by Anika and Brita Johnson

Sovereignty, at The Arena Theatre in Washington

2000, by Joan Macleod

Sweet Charity at the Shaw Festival

OCAD Designer: Shannon Lea Doyle

French Painter Raoul DuFy

The Bellows: Contracts and Fees 2 by Michael Kruse

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Another installment of the Bellows for this episode. This is a compliment to the previous episode on Contracts and Fees we did earlier in 2017. This time with production manager Erin Birkenbergs and producer Sue Balint. This covered areas we did not have a chance in the last episode and I am sure you will learn even more from this discussion. The Bellows was recorded on September 23 2017 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. As normal, the panel discussion was moderated by Kevin Hutson and hosted by Christopher Ross.



Erin Birkenbergs

Erin studied theatre at York University, and has spent the past three seasons as Factory Theatre's Production Manager in Toronto. Previous to that she was a Freelance Production Manager and technician for theatre, opera and dance. Selected credits include:  opdog/Underdog, Ruined (Obsidian Theatre); Window on Toronto (Soulpepper); The Story (Theatre Columbus); The Mill Parts 1-4 (Theatrefront); A Synonym for Love (Volcano Theatre); The Test (The Company Theatre); Turn of the Screw (Against the Grain Theatre); Svadba - Wedding (Queen of Puddings Music Theatre); La Calisto (Glenn Gould School of Opera). 

Sue Balint

Sue has been working in arts management for the past decade, acting as producer for Modern Times Stage Company for several seasons, and for Theatrefront’s Dora award-winning play cycle, The Mill (Parts 1-4). She has also worked with visual artist/architect Philip Beesley, and most recently served as producer for SummerWorks’ Progress festival and Aluna/Modern Times’ co-production of Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre). Sue holds degrees in Theatre and Religion (Queen’s University) and Journalism (King’s College).


#43 Rachel Forbes by Michael Kruse

Rachel Forbes, photo by David Cooper.

Rachel Forbes, photo by David Cooper.

I caught up with Rachel Forbes just before the opening of 1837: The Farmer's Revolt at The Shaw Festival in May of 2017. We discuss choice of going into theatre and the beginnings of what promises to be a long a fruitful career in theatre. 


Ryerson School of Performance (Nee theatre school)


Hooray for Johnny Canuck

Obsidian Theatre Company

Michael Gianfrancesco

Astrid Dora Janson


Weyni Mengesha

Djanet Sears

 1837: The Farmers Revolt, Shaw Festival. LD: Steve Lucas, Director: Philip Akin, Actor: Sharry Flett

 1837: The Farmers Revolt, Shaw Festival. LD: Steve Lucas, Director: Philip Akin, Actor: Sharry Flett

How Black Mothers Say I Love You, Factory Theatre Dir: Trey Anthony, LD: Steve Lucas, Actor: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah

How Black Mothers Say I Love You, Factory Theatre Dir: Trey Anthony, LD: Steve Lucas, Actor: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah

#42 Peter Hartwell by Michael Kruse

Peter Hartwell, photo by David Cooper

Peter Hartwell, photo by David Cooper

Peter is a set and costume designer based in Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario. I had the pleasure to speak with him at his home in May of 2017. Peter spent the first 1/2 of his career in the UK, working with the likes of Max Stafford Clark at the Royal Court, and since 1991 has distinguished himself in Canada as one of its leading designers.


Queen's University Drama Program

Fred Euringer

Gavin Semple

Margaret "Percy" Harris, from the Motley Theatre Design School

English National Opera at the Sadler's Wells

Saved by Edward Bond

National Theatre School

The Royal Court Theatre, London and from The Telegraph

George Devine and Tony Richardson

Sophie Harris, of The Motley's

Jocelyn Herbert

The Bristol Old Vic School

Elizabeth Montgomery

Galileo by Berthold Brecht

Michael Gambin

William Gaskel (The Royal Court)

Tony Page

John Dextor

Lindsay Anderson

The Half-Moon Theatre

Hayden Griffon

The Farm at the Royal Court

Camperdown House

Half-Moon Passage, London

Pam Brighten

Guy Sprung talking about the start of the Half-Moon Theatre

York Mystery Cycles

Come Together at the Royal Court

Timeon Alsacker

Phaedra Britanica at the National Theatre, designed by Tanya Moiseivitch

The Cut in Waterloo at the Old Vic

Weapons of Happiness by Howard Brenton Directed by David Hare at the Littleton Theatre

The Berliner Ensemble

T34 Russian Tank

Portable Theatre with Snoo Wilson and Howard Brenton

Joint Stock Theatre Company

The Speakers by Heathcote Williams

Il Campiello by Goldoni at the National Theatre

The Olivier Stage at the National Theatre

Bill Bryden

Tamburlaine and Prince Philip

Simon Relph

The Madras House

A Mad World, My Masters by Barrie Keeffe produced by Joint Stock

Max Stafford Clark

Simon Callow and Gillian Barge

Epsom Downs by Howard Brenton

The Roundhouse Theatre in London

The Riverside Studios and Peter Gill

Paul Thompson

Ralph Koltai

The Glad Hand by Snoo Wilson

Tony Sher and Julie Walters

Roots by Arnold Wesker at the Young Vic

Tim Caroll

Stuart Birge at the Royal Court

Cloud 9 by Joint Stock and Royal Court

Top Girls, Serious Money, by Carol Churchill and Our Country's Good

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists with Harriet Walter

The Iran Hostage Crises

Roman Litchinsky from Canadian diplomatic core

Scenes From an Execution by Howard Barker

Glenda Jackson

Phil Young

Hamstead Theatre Club

Albrecht Seeger

Our Country's Good

Bill Glassco

Miles Potter

MacBeth at (Royal) Winnipeg Theatre Centre

1949 by David French

Jeffery Dallas

Of The Fields Lately By David French with Randy Hughson directed by Bill Glassco

The Ten-Minute Alibi at the Shaw Festival

Murray Morrison

The Old Woman, by Daniil Kharms

Doug Lemcke

Glynis Lehshan

The Devil's Disciple at The Shaw Festival

Waste directed by Neil Munro at the Shaw Festival

Rat and the Skull directed by Max Stafford Clark

Serious Money directed by Max Stafford Clark

Anita Rochon at the Belfry Theatre Alice Monroe Short Stories

Seana McKenna

Jenny Taramani (designer UK)

Tim Caroll

John C. Dinning

Ivan Habel

Michael Eagan

The Foster Festival

Jane Dagg (development at Shaw Festival)

Rod Hilliard



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