Sara Tilley as Fruithead, created with Mark White, 2013. Photo by Kyle Bustin.

 

- July-August 2002: Nosebleed. The first project for She Said Yes! was two-fold: a two-week workshop with internationally-renowned clown teacher/director, Sue Morrison (ON), and a subsequent workshopping and performance of Sara Tilley’s first solo clown show, Nosebleed. The workshop was held in conjunction with Resource Centre for the Arts’ Festival 5 workshop series, July 15-26 2002, and allowed six actors, including Sara and her director, Pat Dempsey, the chance to work with Sue Morrison on clown technique and creation, based both in Pochinko and Gaulier technique.

Sara and Pat then took their new skills and applied them to the creation of Nosebleed, an original, full-length, solo clown show. Nosebleed played August 22-25, 2002, Masonic Temple, St. John’s, and was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and the City of St. John’s.

 

-January 2003: The Ultimate Actor’s Nightmare. The first annual She Said Yes! fundraiser event, held at the Resource Centre for the Arts, LSPU Hall, featuring the gracious pro bono work of seventeen professional actors who were cast randomly and then staged eight classic theatre scenes with no rehearsal time whatsoever.

 

-February 2003: The Jailer’s Daughter and Other Mad Fools Cracking Their Livers to Pieces for Love. A text-collage solo show based around the theme of love addiction and several pieces from Shakespeare’s Two Noble Kinsmen, as well as texts written over the period of a year by Sara Tilley as JD, a fictional persona created through an online, interactive diary. The play was performed by Tilley and created with John Hirsch prize-winning director Danielle Irvine. A co-production with The Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre Company through its Significant Other Series program. It was supported by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

 

-February 2004: The Ultimate Actor’s Nightmare II. The popular fundraiser for She Said Yes! returned to the LSPU Hall. Nearly twenty local actors brought eight classic theatre scenes to life, without rehearsal.

 

-February – March 2004: Top Girls. Written by Caryl Churchill, directed by Charlie Tomlinson, co-produced with Redwatch Theatre in celebration of International Women’s Day. This was the company’s first production of an existing script. The production took place at the LSPU Hall and featured Didi Gillard-Rowlings, Sherry White, Nicole Rousseau, Leah Lewis, Renee Hackett, Sara Tilley and Geraldine Hollett. A portion of the proceeds raised went towards the local women’s shelter, Iris Kirby House.

 

-March 2004: Nosebleed, a clown show for adults. Directed by Pat Dempsey and featuring Sara Tilley. Remounted at the Masonic Temple in St. John’s, after extensive workshopping and rewriting of the piece.

 

-June 2004: Grand Central Station. A three-day exploratory workshop of a new piece based on texts by Elizabeth Smart and George Barker, adapted for the stage by Sara Tilley. This workshop was led by Sara Tilley as the playwright/director, and featured the contributions of Sean Panting, Sherry White and Ruth Lawrence as actors, and Diana Daly as composer. Over the period of the workshop the five participants worked together using Viewpoints and Butoh. Supported by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

 

-May – June, 2005: Sara participated in a month-long clown intensive led by Ian Wallace (BC), co-creator of the Pochinko school of clown. This intensive course covered the method of Pochinko clown-through-mask technique, as well as studies in kinetics and neutral mask.

 

-November 26, 2005: The Ultimate Actor’s Nightmare III: Pinter’s Revenge. In a new twist on the Nightmare, fifteen actors were divided into relay teams and performed the entire play The Lover by Harold Pinter, without rehearsal.

 

- April 2006 – LULU. Adapted by Sara Tilley from the original plays by Frank Wedekind, directed by Sara Tilley. Featuring Chuck Herriott, Brad Hodder, Ruth Lawrence, Steve Lush, Sean Panting, Kira Sheppard and Mark White. The rehearsal process included neutral and Pochinko-based mask work as well as animal work, Laban and butoh theatre practice, mixed with traditional theatre practice. Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the City of St. John’s. A co-production with White Rooster Theatre.

 

-June – August, 2006 – Butler’s Marsh. Written by Robert Chafe, directed by Danielle Irvine, featuring Sara Tilley and Mark O’Brien. This production of Chafe’s disturbing Governor-General’s Award-nominated script was the company’s first outdoor environmental theatre project. Staged in the woods of Pippy Park, in the dark. Supported by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the City of St. John’s.

 

-July, 2006 – The (In)complete Herstory of Women in Newfoundland (and Labrador!). Part of the On the Verge Festival produced by the National Arts Centre in conjunction with the Magnetic North Theatre Festival 2006. The script was workshopped for three days with director Leah Cherniak (ON), actors Martha Ross (ON), Mary Lynne Bernard (NL), Susan Kent (NL), Amy House (NL) and Anthony Black (NS), and with the support of dramaturge Paula Danckert (QC), culminating in a public reading on July 5th 2006.

 

-July 2006 – Nosebleed. A one-night-only performance as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival’s Fridge Festival of Newfoundland Theatre. This special half-hour version of Nosebleed was performed by Sara Tilley with Craig Francis Power as Garcon.

 

-February 2007 – She Said Yes! Artistic Director Sara Tilley was awarded the Rhonda Payne Memorial Theatre Award for women in Newfoundland theatre for her work in 2006.

-March 2007 – Women’s Work: A Festival of Women’s Theatre, co-produced by White Rooster Productions and RCA Theatre Company, a celebration of International Women’s Week, and of theatre written by and for women. The festival featured three nights of staged readings of new scripts by female playwrights, following day-long dramaturgy sessions with professional actors. A secondary aim of the festival is to raise money for local women’s organization. All box office proceeds were donated to the Naomi Centre to help women in need.

Plays dramaturged and presented in 2007:

Sex, the war of by Lois Brown

Family, or, 63 Steps by Agnes Walsh

Connecting Rooms by Florence Button

The (In)complete Herstory of Women in Newfoundland (and Labrador!) by Sara Tilley

Dramaturgy by Sherry White, Sara Tilley and Lois Brown

Featuring Kay Anonsen, Mary-Lynn Bernard, Robert Chafe, Sandy Gow, Brad Hodder, Amy House, Ruth Lawrence, Sara Tilley and Sherry White

 

-June-August 2007 – Butler’s Marsh. A remount of the 2007 production of Robert Chafe’s chiller, set in the woods of Pippy Park. Directed by Danielle Irvine, featuring Sara Tilley and Mark O’Brien.

 

-November-March 2007-2008 – Mail-Order Dramaturgy. Three playwrights are given dramaturgical assistance long-distance, by dramaturges Lois Brown (NL), Sara Tilley (NL) and Emma Tibaldo (QC). This first year of the program was offered with the assistance of Playwright’s Workshop Montreal. The three scripts in development were: Ten Things by Nicole Stamp (ON), Winter Wheat by Andrea Rideout (AB), and Aphasia by Michelle Butler Hallett (NL). The playwrights were given one-on-one dramaturgical support through up to two drafts of their works in progress.

 

-March 2008 – 2nd Annual Women’s Work Festival, a co-production between RCA Theatre, She Said Yes! and White Rooster Productions. A celebration of International Women’s Week, new play development and theatre written by and for women. The festival featured four staged readings of new scripts by female playwrights, following day-long dramaturgy sessions with professional actors. A secondary aim of the festival is to raise money for a local women’s shelter. All box office proceeds are donated to the Naomi Centre to help women in need.

 

Split Ends  by Megan Coles. With Melanie Caines, Monica Walsh, Nicole Rousseau ,Philip Goodridge, Phil Churchill, Jody Richardson. Dramaturgy Lois Brown.

Drinking Song  by Amanda Jernigan. With Kemo Schedlosky, Mary Lynn Bernard,  Philip Goodridge, Jody Richardson. Dramaturgy Berni Stapleton.

Containers by Dawna Wightman. With Amy House, Berni Stapleton, Sheilagh Guy-Murphy, Lois Brown, Kay Anonsen, Mary Lynn Bernard, Ruth Lawrence, Nicole Rousseau. Dramaturgy Anne Chislett.

Aphasia by Michelle Butler Hallett. With Willow Kean, Phil Churchill, Dave Sullivan, Jody Richardson. Dramaturgy Robert Chafe.

 

-February-July 2008: Artistic Director Sara Tilley underwent a six-month one-on-one mentorship with Pochinko Clown Through Mask co-creator, Ian Wallace, to learn to teach this unique physical theatre method. This mentorship was support through individual artist grants for Ms Tilley from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. This process resulted in Sara’s qualification as one of a dozen or so teachers of Pochinko method in the world.

 

-December – July 2008/2009: Mail-Order Dramaturgy, a a long-distance dramaturgy program, and in 2008-2009 in its second year of development of new work. Three playwrights were paired with dramaturgs, who worked with them on a further two drafts of their work-in-progress, over the course of the year. The chosen pairs were: playwright Liesl Lafferty’s Canary (BC) with dramaturg Lois Brown (NL), playwright Amanda Jernigan’s Drinking Song (NB) with dramaturg Berni Stapleton (NL), and playwright Sheilah Roberts’ Up the Union (NL) with dramaturg Sara Tilley (NL).

-March 8-11, 2009: Women’s Work Festival. A co-production with White Rooster Theatre and RCA Theatre, in celebration of International Women’s Week. We received many submissions from across the country for our third annual festival, which was held at Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s. The participating scripts were:

MONARITA by Shannon Bramer (ON). With Ruth Lawrence and Sara Tilley, dramaturgy by Robert Chafe.

Killzone: a love story by Wanda Graham (ON). With Katie Butler, Karyn Dwyer, Darryl Hopkins, Luke Major, Dave Sullivan and Wendi Smallwood, dramaturgy by Anne Chislett.

Sweets by Amy Anthony. With Willow Kean, Nicole Rousseau, Monica Walsh and Bridget Wareham, dramaturgy by Sara Tilley.

Tree by Lois Brown. With Nicole Rousseau and Dave Sullivan, dramaturgy by Mark Bath.

Bare Ruint Choirs  by Michelle Butler Hallett. With Rick Boland, Brad Hodder and Susan Kent, dramaturgy by Amy House.

 

-March 24-29, 2009: The (In)complete Herstory of Women in Newfoundland (and Labrador!) The show premiered at the Majestic Theatre in St. John’s, after a two-week developmental workshop in January 2009 on clown character and script refinement and a three and a half-week rehearsal period in March. The show was co-directed by Sara Tilley and Lois Brown, and featured Lois Brown, Susan Kent, Ruth Lawrence, Craig Francis Power and Sara Tilley. Sound and music by Sean Panting, set, costumes and props by Sara Tilley, lighting by Jamie Skidmore, projections by Craig Francis Power, stage management by Shannon Hawes, Technical Directon by Robert Gauthier. A co-production with RCA Theatre.

 

-April – June, 2009: Clown Through Mask training. This workshop was offered to 10 participants, and ran over a 60 hour period. The workshop offered an introduction to the Pochinko method, including work with Neutral Mask and Kinetics, the creation of a personal mask, and the exploration of that mask, transitioning it into red nose clown. Each participant created six different clowns which were then amalgamated into one ‘ultimate clown’. On the last day of class we opened up the room to invited guests to witness the final clown turns of the workshop and to help celebrate the work that each person had done. Following the end of the workshop, several participants joined Sara in an improvised performance for Eastern Edge Gallery’s 24 Hour Art Marathon, on August 21, 2009. Participants ranged from new graduates of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell BFA Acting Program, to practicing theatre artists, as well as dancers, visual artists and musicians. The goal was not to create 10 professional clown performers, but to use this powerful technique to open up new pathways of personal imagery and inspiration that could then be channelled into whatever artistic forms each participant was drawn to. This training continues She Said Yes!’ broader developmental mandate within the theatre community.

 

-December 2009 – August 2010: 3rd Annual Mail-Order Dramaturgy Program. Two playwrights were paired with personal dramaturges, who are working with them on a further two drafts of their work-in-progress, over the course of the year. Lindsay Wilson’s Puck Bunny (QC) was dramaturged by Lois Brown, and Amy Anthony’s Sweets (NL) was dramaturged by Sara Tilley.

 

-February 25-28, 2010: MONARITA. A co-production of Shannon Bramer’s first play by White Rooster Theatre, She Said Yes! and RCA Theatre. This production was directed by Sherry White and featured Sara Tilley and Ruth Lawrence with a guest appearance by Mark White. Lighting by Phil Winters, Sound by Sean Panting, Set and Props by Amy Anthony, Costumes by Gina Rae Hoyles, Stage Management by Mark White. MONARITA was workshopped in 2009’s Women’s Work Festival with dramaturg Robert Chafe, featuring Sara Tilley and Ruth Lawrence.

 

-March 1-3, 2010: 4th Annual Women’s Work Festival, co-produced by She Said Yes!, White Rooster Theatre and RCA Theatre. This festival was held at Eastern Edge Gallery and all proceeds went to Marguerite’s Place, transitional housing for women and children in crisis. Three playwrights received a one-day workshop with a professional cast and dramaturge, followed by a staged reading of their work.

The Collectors, by Shannon Bramer, dramaturged by Andy Jones, featuring  Sylina Jones, Wendi Smallwood, Paul Rowe, Dave Sullivan, Steve Lush and Mark Bath

Like a Mustard Seed, by Dian Vanden Hoven, dramaturged by Donna Butt,

featuring Andy Jones, Monica Walsh, Katie Butler and Colin Furlong

Bound by Megan Coles, dramaturged by Lois Brown,featuring Kay Anonsen, Steve O’Connell, Mary-Lynn Bernard, Emily Bridger, Neil Butler, Nicole Rousseau

 

May – July 2010: Clown through Mask training with Sara Tilley. This intensive 60-hour workshop takes participants from all artistic disciplines and all walks of life through a powerful journey into their own imaginative possibilities. (see previous Clown through Mask description for more detail)

 

August 21, 2010: Sara and three of her former Clown through Mask Students performed a Clown Walk in downtown St. John’s as part of the Eastern Edge Gallery 24 Hour Art Marathon.

 

Sept. 25th 2010: Sara and a gang of former Clown through Mask students performed a Clown Walk in downtown St. John’s as part of the national Culture Days celebrations.

 

Sept. 26th 2010: Dramaturgy workshop and reading of Amy Anthony’s Sweets, open to the public as part of Culture Days. Featured actors Renee Hackett, Didi Gillard-Rowlings, Nicole Rousseau and Susan Kent, working with dramaturg Sara Tilley.

December-July 2010-2011: 4th annual Mail-Order Dramaturgy Program, featuring playwright Lauren Spring (ON), working with Sara Tilley as dramaturg on Granted…, playwright Shelley Hobbs (ON), working with dramaturg Lois Brown on A Good Death, and playwright Christine Comeau (QC) working with dramaturg Bernardine Stapleton on Living People.

 

March 6-8 2011: 5th annual Women’s Work Festival, co-produced by She Said Yes!, RCA Theatre and White Rooster Theatre. Featuring Meghan Greeley’s (NL) Stockholm, dramaturged by Ed Riche and featuring Allison Moira Kelly, Megan Coles and Jody Richardson, and Natasha MacLellan’s (NS) Ms Right Now, dramaturged by Sherry White and featuring Emily Bridger, Monica Walsh, Katie Butler, Brad Hodder, Mark White and Wendi Smallwood. In addition, we offered a screenplay reading in collaboration with RCA’s Second Space Sundays program, of Kay Anonsen’s (NL) screenplay, Melancholy Murder. This reading featured Ruth Lawrence, Des Walsh, Monica Walsh, Paul Rowe, Norm Karlik, and Mary Lynn Bernard.

 

June – September, 2011: MONARITA, by Shannon Bramer, directed by Sherry White, featuring Sara Tilley and Ruth Lawrence. White Rooster Theatre and She Said Yes! remounted this premiere production in St. John’s in June 2011 before touring it to the Toronto, Hamilton and Atlantic Fringe Festivals, and to Femfest in Winnipeg, to rave reviews including Outstanding Ensemble Performance from NOW Magazine in Toronto.

 

December 2011 – August 2012: Mail-Order Dramaturgy program with playwright Lauren Spring (ON) and dramaturg Sara Tilley (NL) working on LEX, playwright Bonnie Farmer (QC) and dramaturg Lois Brown (NL) working on Gollywog, and playwright Nicole Harwood (BC) and dramaturg Sarah Elkashef (QC) working on Buffalo Girls: REMIX.

 

February 25 – March 7, 2012: Sixth annual Women’s Work Festival, co-produced by She Said Yes!, White Rooster Theatre and RCA Theatre, with support from the NLAC, the City of St. John’s and Canadian Heritage. The festival expanded to incorporate Neutral Mask workshops and a week-long Theatre of the Oppressed workshop, as well as a week-long workshop of the script White Flag by Turkish playwright Ebru Gokdag. The workshop production of White Flag opened the ‘official’ part of the festival, directed by Ebru Gokdag and featuring Frank Barry, Jane Dingle, Sandy Gow, Ashwin Gupta, Allison Kelly, Huan Yu, Stan Nochasak, Wendi Smallwood, Sara Tilley, and Alison Woolridge. Workshop direction by Ebru Gokdag. The festival continued on Sunday, March 4 with Four Thieves’ Vinegar by Christine Foster (ON) with Kay Anonsen, Colin Furlong, Allison Kelly, and Paul Rowe. Dramaturgy by Mary Lewis. Monday, March 5 – Big in Myself by Ruth Lawrence with Courtney Brown, Philip Goodridge, Natalia Hennelly, Jamille Rivera, Paul Rowe, Sara Tilley. Dramaturgy by Lois Brown (Playwrights Workshop Montreal). Tuesday, March 6 – Moving On by Emily Bridger (NL) with Kimberley Drake, Joshua Druken, Jennifer Furlong, and Greg King. Dramaturgy by Donna Butt. Wednesday, March 7 – Revelations by Deborah Jackman (NL) with Mary Lynn Bernard, Jenn Brown, Joshua Druken, Ciaran Dyke, Kevin Lewis, Beni Malone, and Laura Marie Smith. Dramaturgy by Megan Coles.

 

June 13-17, 2012: In celebration of She Said Yes!’ tenth anniversary, the company remounted its first show, Nosebleed, at the LSPU Hall Second Space, with Sara Tilley as Nosebleed and Craig Francis Power as Garcon. Supported by the NLAC and the City of St. John’s.

 

June 18-30, 2012: Clown through Mask Training with Sara Tilley. In 2012 one student came all the way from Vancouver to train with Sara. As well, documentary filmmaker Michael Mathews from NY travelled to St. John’s to interview Sara and record her teaching of Clown through Mask for an upcoming documentary about clown.

 

January-August 2013: Mail-Order Dramaturgy Program with Camille Thomasson’s Stalker (US) dramaturged by Sarah Elkashef (QC), Hillary Rexe’s And the Echo (ON) dramaturged by Lois Brown (NL/QC), and Joel Fishbane’s The Perfect World (ON) dramaturged by Sara Tilley (NL).

 

July 2012 – February 2013: Fruithead in development. RCA Theatre Company supported an initial two-week development workshop in July 2012. This was followed by a set and costume construction period with designer Sarah Malik, and three week workshop period, supported by the NLAC. The workshop period resulted in the creation of the script, set, and costumes in preparation for premiere production.

 

March 22, 2013: The Ultimate Actor’s Nightmare V. This fundraiser, held at the LSPU Hall, featured twenty actors taking on the play Saltwater Moon, with one week to prepare, without knowing who their scene partner is. Featuring Petrina Bromley, Courtney Brown, Jenn Brown, Melanie Caines, Phil Churchill, Janet Edmonds Colin Furlong, Phil Goodridge, Natalia Hennelly, Mitch McGee-Herritt, Geraldine Hollett, Darryl Hopkins, Allison Kelly, Greg Malone, Steve O’Connell, Keith Pike, Issa Russell, Wendi Smallwood, Mark White, and Sara Tilley, who filled in at the last minute for Didi Gillard-Rowlings. Set designed in one week on a budget of $20 by Richard Short. All proceeds went toward the premiere production of Fruithead in July 2013.

 

April 2013: Clown through Mask training with Sara Tilley. Eight artists participated, including one from Nova Scotia, bridging many disciplines such as music, visual art, writing, theatre, puppetry, radio documentary direction and academics. Supported by the City of St. John’s.

 

May 1-9 2013: 7th Annual Women’s Work Festival, co-produced with White Rooster Theatre and RCA Theatre. This year the festival had more partnership and support than ever, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council festivals program, Canadian Heritage, Playwrights Guild of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, and the City of St. John’s, allowing for an expansion of programming to include more plays and skills workshops including a playwriting workshop with visiting playwright Sally Stubbs, and a new offering of a female songwriter each night along with the readings. Held at Eastern Edge Gallery and donations were accepted for Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program operated by the St. John’s Women’s Centre.

 

Meghan Greeley’s THE FAIR GROUND SUNDAY (ON/NF) with Deidre Gillard-Rowlings, Wendi Smallwood, Kathryn Burke, Amelia Manuel, Darryl Hopkins, Darren Ivany. Dramaturge Donna Butt. Performance by Sherry Ryan.

Christine Comeau’s FOSTER (QC) with Selina Asgar, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings, Beni Malone, Greg King. Dramaturge Bernardine Stapleton. Evening concluded with a women’s song circle.

Sally Stubbs’ CENTURIONS (BC) with Colin Furlong, Josh Druken, Agnes Walsh, Emily Bridger, Rhiannon Morgan. Dramaturge Andy Jones. Performance by Ilia Nichol.

Katherine Koller’s DIRT BABY (AB) with Colin Furlong, Agnes Walsh, Emily Bridger. Dramaturge Greg Malone. Performance by Kira Sheppard.

Andrea Dymond’s FAULT LINES (NS) with Rhonda Rogers, Rhiannon Morgan, Amelia Manuel. Dramaturge Megan Coles. Performance by Katie Baggs.

July 17-21, 2013: Fruithead premiere production at the LSPU Hall. Created and performed by Sara Tilley with Mark White. Set, costume and prop co-design by Sarah Malik and Sara Tilley, lighting design by Renate Pohl, sound design by Ben Jackson and animation design by Jason Sellars. Produced with the partnership of the NLAC and the City of St. John’s.

January 1-August 15 2014: Mail Order Dramaturgy Program 2014, with Playwright  Klara Wojtkowska from Tanzania (MEAT) with dramaturg Sara Tilley (NL), Playwright Alexis von Konigslow from Ontario (The Exclusion Zone) with dramturg Lois Brown (NL) and Sharon Goldner from the US (Frank Talk), also working with dramaturg Lois Brown.

January 2-18, 2014: Artistic Director Sara Tilley attended the Banff Centre’s Old Trout Puppet Intensive, led by Peter Balkwill and Juanita Dawn from the Old Trout Puppet Theatre in Calgary AB. This two and a half week intensive resulted in new skills in puppet creation and manipulation which Sara plans to put to use in upcoming She Said Yes! projects.

March 3-7, 2014: The 8th Annual Women’s Work Festival, originally founded by She Said Yes!, RCA Theatre and White Rooster Theatre, now sees its debut as its own entity, though still supported by in-kind and financial contributions from the three founding companies.

September 17 – October 28, 2014: Clown through Mask training with Sara Tilley. Eight artists participated with six completing the training, including an actor from Brasil. The participants brought many disciplines to the workshop: visual art, theatre, performance art, craft, biology, therapeutic clowning, and church ministering. Supported by the NLAC and the City of St. John’s.