I admit that I never really heard of Montreal’s Hopegrown Productions until I found out they would be sharing a venue with me at my inaugural acting Fringe. Their original show, Around Miss Julie, just made its debut in Ottawa after tearing it up at Montreal Fringe. Consisting of Graham Berlin, Miriam Cummings, Lindsey Huebner, Samantha Megarry & Norah Paton, Hopegrown is a lady-centric company that’s already got plenty of good buzz around our Courtyard as they carry on their major Fringe tour in our wee town. Also, Jonah totally went to High School with some of them, so they must be cool. Each of the gang took a question, because they’re troopers like that!
####Who are HOPEGROWN, and how did you all come together?
(Miriam) Hopegrown Productions is the result of consistent work since Fall 2012. Sam, Lindsey and I talked seriously about performing in the Montreal Fringe as a way to capitalize on our close bond as performers after four years of training together at Concordia. Soon, our project grew as we added more cities to our summer tour and we brought on Norah Paton, our wonderful director and fellow Concordia grad.
####How big a problem do you feel the lack of good roles for women in theatre is today?
(Norah) It’s a problem because the amount of roles translates (often) into the amount of jobs. But I don’t want to sit around and whine about a lack of opportunities, because that’s what drove us to create this project. So I guess it’s not a big problem, as long as you’re willing to go out there and create those roles yourself.
####How did you hook up with playwright Henry Standjofski?
(Samantha) Harry Standjofski is a Montreal-based actor, director, playwright and musician (not necessarily in that order). He is also a professor in the theatre department at Concordia University. The members of Hopegrown have worked with Harry as a teacher and director. He is a great mentor of ours, and has been fantastic to collaborate with on this project!
####What kind of show is AROUND MISS JULIE?
(Graham) Around Miss Julie is a funny and sexy romp through the anxiety filled audition process, fumbling rehearsals and unexpected opening nights. Three aspiring performers are thrown into producing a contemporary adaptation of Stindbergs classic, Miss Julie. These performers discover the less than reassuring experience of their director, confront their “inner demons”, and question their choice to pursue theatre as a career. Around Miss Julie is a comedic show for anyone who has questioned their career, their character or been thrown into a situation that quickly loses promise and structure.
####Why did you choose Ottawa as part of your multi-city tour (though we’re glad you did)?
(Lindsey) Ottawa was an obvious choice for Hopegrown’s multi-city tour! After 4 years of training in Montreal, the nature of our tour has us performing in the hometowns of our founding members. Both Lindsey Huebner and Norah Paton grew up in Ottawa and have also performed at the Ottawa Fringe in years past. Can’t wait to be a part of it again this summer!
Around Miss Julie plays as part of the Ottawa Fringe Festival, at T.A.N.Coffee (317 Wilbrod at Friel). Remaining showtimes are:
Wednesday, June 26 – 7:00pm
Thursday, June 27 – 7:30pm
Friday, June 28 – 7:30pm
Saturday, June 29 – 6:00pm
Sunday, June 30 – 9:00pm
Advance tickets available at the Fringe website. $10 at the door with a Fringe pin!