Launched in December 2011, the Toronto Monologue Slam is one of Canada’s largest acting showcases, where local actors deliver intimate, entertaining monologues and compete for the coveted Heavy Weight Champ title belt.
The Toronto Monologue Slam – TIFF Edition, happening on September 20th at Round Venue, gives participants a great chance to showcase their talents, hone their skills – including improvisation for those who reach round two – and network with producers, casting directors, and other actors. This event also gives audiences a chance to see electrifying, live performances.
Co-founder and executive producer Andre Newell answered a few questions about the event:
Can you briefly describe the Toronto Monologue Slam – and the inspirations behind it – for those who may not be familiar with it?
The Toronto Monologue Slam was created to give actors a monthly place to experiment, play and develop their craft. We also wanted to develop a spirit of (somewhat) friendly competition so that Toronto actors would better compete internationally. Finally, it became a networking tool, once we were able to attract industry professionals to act as judges.
What can the audience expect to see/experience/feel in a typical event? (if there is such a thing as a “typical event”)
They will see a dozen actors perform an original or existing piece which they’ve chosen. The judges give each performer notes to enhance their performance. Many actors in the audience can benefit from these notes as well. Based on this round the audience now votes for the champion.
You’ve had some past winners and participants go on to star in lead roles in popular shows. Can you give us a few highlights of participants’ and/or winners’ successes, past or present?
Kristian Bruun who is the first eveny winner is starring on Orphan Black. Jarret Wright has also had a role in Orphan Black, as well as Heroes. Tattiawna Jones who was also in the first ever slam was a lead in CBC’s Strange Empire and is currently working on other projects. Kris Turner, who is the resident host, is on Saving Hope and also currently working on a new series.
The “remix” (or second) round seems to have incredible potential for amazing and challenging performances. Can you briefly describe this round and share any particularly memorable monologues from past events?
Essentially three to four actors are chosen for the remix round. They then incorporate the notes given in the first round into their new performance. In addition to that, they are given a twist/redirect and expected to add a level of improvisation to the performance.
If there were no limits on financing, exposure, participants, etc., where, ideally, do you envision the Toronto Monologue Slam going? Is it perfect as it is, or do you have wild dreams for its future?
I have thought about this many times. The core of the event is to help actors, so ideally I’d like to have it more frequently to accommodate more people (i.e. weekly). I’d love to continue to have judges who can discover and support new talent. I also just enjoy doing it. It’s literally my favourite event. I am working on a film-based project that will work on producing short features that are created specifically with the actors in mind. Our goal is to allow the actor to present their best work in a role they’ve chosen.
- Toronto Monologue Slam – TIFF Edition is happening on Sunday, September 20, from 5 – 9:30PM at Round Venue (152 Augusta Ave.)
- Ticket prices range from $15 – $20 and are available online, or at the door.
Promotional image provided by the company