Bloor West Villager
A trio of artistic women are set to open an independent theatre company in the Dundas and Bloor Street West streets area this fall.
Co-artistic directors Sophie Ann Rooney and Angela Besharah along with associate producer Julie Brar will bring their first production to the new Sterling Studio Theatre beginning Tuesday, Sept. 11. Rooney will direct John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea with proceeds going to a 9/11 charity.
“I’m very excited about our new theatre – we get the keys tonight,” said Brar on Aug. 15, adding that a fundraising launch party will take place Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Brar and Besharah met at a class Rooney was teaching in January. The three women, says Brar, are on the same wavelength.
“We are hoping to give other actors, writers and producers a chance to launch their projects as well. We want to provide a space to rent out to other theatre companies who need a venue to stage their work; to create a space for the artistic community to support each other.”
The three want to reach out to not only thespians, but to aspiring comedians and other performers.
“The idea is just to be creative,” said Brar.
Meanwhile, Rooney is anxious to teach classes in her own space.
“I’m excited to give Toronto audiences something new and different,” she said in a statement. “I love acting and I’ve always loved theatre, I love film. That’s why I do what I do,” said the acting coach and director.
Launching a new theatre adds to the tapestry of Toronto’s “vibrant” arts scene, said Brar, whose credits include Fringe, Lost Girl, and Smallville.
While acting is her first love, Brar is looking forward to branching out into writing and producing. Raised in Winnipeg, Brar moved to California to study at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Later, she relocated to Vancouver where she discovered the city has little independent theatre. Her next stop was Toronto, just over a year ago, and immediately fell in love with the art scene.
“There is such great theatre in this city,” said Brar. “There’s something so beautiful about an actor on stage with an audience – it’s a beautiful experience. We like telling stories as human beings. We’ve been doing it since the dawn of time.”
Besharah, Brar and Rooney plan to premiere shows from countries around the world as well as bringing new and older Canadian plays to the stage.
Previewing Sept. 11 with a Sept. 12 to 22 run, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea stars actors Drew Nelson (Flashpoint, Rookie Blue and Supernatural) as Danny and Kerri Smith (Jesse Stone, Flashpoint and Murdoch Mysteries) as Roberta. Both Nelson and Smith have also taken one of Rooney’s acting classes.
If you would like further details about the theatre and its upcoming shows, visit www.sterlingstudiotheatre.com