Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Apr 29, 2018
May 3, 2018: Tony Read and Rhonda Lee Read, Adventures Around the World”, Tony Carter will introduce, and John Wright will thank our speakers.

Head Table:  Our President Linda Bathe, invites Tony Carter, Steve Lichty, Bob Lightfoot, Gary Lingard, Angus MacDermid, Ian McLean and Bob Malcolmson, to join her at the head table.
Speaker Simon Marsden speaking on his role in planning, set and design at Festival Theaters. Introduced by Mark Smith who is also being acknowledged with various speaking engagements for his work with Es Artes in Suschitoto El Salvador.
This Week:   Our April 26th program featured Simon Marsden from our own Festival Theatre. Simon is the production manager for all of the plays that take place at our four theatres. As "sort of a jock" who enjoys the theatre, I really enjoyed sitting with Simon over lunch. Stops in Toronto, China, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in England led Simon to a 6-month contract with our own Festival Theatre in Stratford in 1995. At that time sales were poor at the Festival, and the Tom Patterson Theatre was in danger of closing. The vision of Martha Henry and William Hutt turned things around and Simon is still here in Stratford. This year he is responsible for 14 productions with a budget in excess of $20,000,000.
When we attend a play, we are viewing a finished product--Simon gave us insight as to how all of that comes together. Each production is discussed regarding the cost and the revenue it will achieve. As well, although Shakespeare's plays are always part of the season, Simon and his staff always consider the "times" we are living in to make their decisions --hence the Rocky Horror Show this year. There are four areas that need consideration in the 10-month planning of a show--safety, skills, time, and affordability. When you realize the size of the stage, and the fact that the actors often, in the dark, have to move into positions equipped with swords, knives, etc. you have a better understanding of the safety issue. The skills required to provide effective productions is mind-boggling--set designers, painters, costume designers, sound technicians, lighting, stage managers, and rehearsals all have to come together. Simon commented that he is always awe struck when he sees the live productions. 
Simon provided us with some slides to reinforce the time and research required for some of the productions:
--a horse for Music Man that looks like the real thing
--the 3D statues and busts for Coriolanus, and also a car on stage
--the creatures in the Tempest
--the rocket costume for the Rocky Horror show
Simon took questions and we further learned that the most difficult part of a production is the technology and craftsmanship required. We also learned about the discrepancy between our theatre and the Royal Shakespeare theatre--money!! Apparently, in England, no budget is required!
Thanks, Simon for taking us backstage and providing us with the insight into what makes an effective production.
Mark Smith introduced Simon, and Sarah Hamza thanked him.
Scribe: Wilhelm Zitrone
Guests: Abbey Hood Tidman, Stratford, Helene Fuchshuber NGE Leipzig, Germany, Members of St Mikes interact club; Luke Gaylor, Patrick Holloway, Keegan Riehl, Melanie Daum, Alexander Bukala.
Interact students from St Michael’s H.S attending our meeting and engaging with the club.

Draw prize: The prize today was donated by Tony Carter and won by George Schroeder (tray of freshly baked scones)
Make-ups: No report
May’s Attendance Committee:  Gezaghn Wordofa (I/C), Gord Steed, Charlene Gordon, Steve Weed, Ed Dujlovic, Kevin Nonomura, Mimi Price, Katherine Hahn, Colin Brisbois.