#41 – Hayley Pace

Hayley Pace is a freelance designer, technician and award-winning performer from Kitchener, Ontario. She is a graduate from the Devised Theatre & Design program at York University. Select performance credits include The Teeny Tiny Music Show (Hamilton Fringe) Rent (Vanier College Productions) and The Beggar’s Opera (Theatre@York). Select design credits include set for Hamletmachine (Theatre@York), costumes for The Village Green (Applebox Film Company/Rockzeline) and Plato’s Atlantis (Canada’s National Ballet School). Hayley has also worked as a personal assistant for the award-winning Broadway and Hollywood actress, Tovah Feldshuh during the Toronto premiere of Golda’s Balcony.

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Transcript

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Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 41 of Stageworthy, I’m your host Phil Rickaby. Stageworthy is a podcast about people in Canadian Theatre. on Stageworthy I might talk one on one with an actor, director, playwright or producer, or I might get a group of people together to talk about a specific aspect of theatre in Canada. If you’d like to be a guest on stage or the or you just want to drop me a line, you can find stage early on Facebook and Twitter at stageworthypod. And you can find the website at stageworthypodcast.com. My guest this week is Hayley pace, a freelance designer technician and award winning performer from Kitchener, Ontario. If you enjoy the podcast, I hope you’ll subscribe on iTunes or Google music or whatever podcast app you use, and consider leaving a comment or rating.

You’re You’re, you’re just finished at school? Yes. Yeah. So you were at York? Yeah,

Hayley Pace
I took I took a fifth year actually. Okay, because I had taken so many theatre courses that

Phil Rickaby
did not have enough to quite graduate.

Hayley Pace
I didn’t have enough of my mandatory courses to graduate. The actual things you need to get a

degree, like a social science scores, natural science course.

So I was so interested in so many aspects of theatre, like setting costume design, and directing and play making and play funding that I took so many theatre courses.

Phil Rickaby
So what was your major? One of your, uh, your it was

Hayley Pace
called devised Theatre, which is very familiar with the programme. Yeah, it’s a very millennial way of saying collective creation or playmaking? You know, yeah. Or, as Paul Thompson would say, a carpenter of theatre.

Phil Rickaby
I always felt like, when, when I was on tour with Keystone theatre, there was a group in Montreal of people who were York, they were in their first year, then they were part of the device theatre group. And what sort of freaked me out is they were like, well, you don’t need a director. And I was like,

Hayley Pace
oh, yeah, you need someone who’s watching the direction of the piece, and you need roles. And I think what that course is trying to enforce is that everyone has a say, and everyone has a say, on the vision of the peace. But unfortunately, that’s not really how it works, can’t really

Phil Rickaby
do that, because somebody has to have somebody has to be the ultimate arbiter of that sort of thing. Otherwise, you end up with a mess,

Hayley Pace
right, which is what the projects work most of the time. So I got a lot of my bad theatre making out in my undergrad, because they were teaching us in these strange methods of making theatre, which I’ve taken selections of ideas from but not the entire process. Because I do believe that, you know, you need to have structure to the process in some way, shape or form. Right.

Phil Rickaby
It’s interesting that it’s interesting that this class, this course exists at all, really, because when I was in theatre school, nobody talked about making your own theatre. I think people who might listen to the podcasts are tired of me talking about that. But I’m constantly fascinated by the fact that, that when I was in theatre school, it was all about, go to the audition, get the job, get the next job, go to the next audition, it was all about that. And nobody talked about creating your own work, which has become one of the most important parts of the business is creating your own work. And now we have these programmes at all that are actually talking about

Hayley Pace
it right, because this movement has only been recent since the 80s. Because before then each regional theatre had a season. And it wasn’t necessarily a piece of original Canadian work. They were all imported works from either the American musical theatre or from the Elizabethan Shakespearean theatre. So we actually weren’t creating our own work until we did have regional theatres. And even then, it was still very classical process. And underneath that when you couldn’t afford to get your work into the theatre, or it was curated as such, that you couldn’t get into it. Alternative theatre sort of coming up. So it’s still so such a baby. And now schools are trying to emulate that idea, like how do you create an ad hoc theatre company right, and now it’s spawning even more so.

Phil Rickaby
It’s really interesting. cuz I think that a lot of that, I think that the Fringe Festivals in the fringe circuit has a lot to do with the way that people are starting to look at independent theatre. And people are creating shows and taking them on the road and things like that, as well as the whole regional theatre thing that if there’s so much encouraging of these new pieces of theatre when you went to New York, that was this year, this is not your first rodeo as far as theatre school went or did you? You’ve worked in theatre school before that you could do

Hayley Pace
I didn’t use theatre school, but I did participate. I was encouraged to pursue theatre since I was in my grades. in grade school. We were putting on a play in from a language textbook and I’ve volunteered to do the lead role as a template, but yeah, that’s right. The bug caught me but I was just doing community theatre until I decided to apply to university for it.

Phil Rickaby
What made you decide because some people, you know, they might do community theatre, but it never, they never look at it as a vocation. So what made you want to do it?

Hayley Pace
I knew I knew I wanted to from a very young age. I mean, I didn’t really know you could go to school for fear. Until I heard my, my drama classmates applying to universities for theatre, and I thought, Oh, well, I was thinking about just going in for social work. But then, because I’d be working with people and dealing with emotions. Funnily enough, yeah. So I learned that you could apply for theatre school. And I said, Yeah, I’m going to do that. I’m going to take a year off from high school, I’m going to get my priorities straight. I’m going to take a year off, say goodbye to my Kitchener friends, unfortunately, and move on to do this.

Phil Rickaby
So how long is that? How long is the orc programmes? Four

Hayley Pace
years, but it’s an intense, four years, so intense, that people don’t often finish in four years. If they take summer school, they could. But it’s very, very time consuming. And intense.

Phil Rickaby
Is that I mean, I’m because I’m familiar with with the conservatory model, which is very intense into three years. Yeah, I cannot imagine if, of course, had that sort of conservatory model, but also made you take like a Social Sciences class and class and things like that.

Hayley Pace
That’s how you get your degree paper. Right. So that you’re educated, like, academically beyond what it is you’re studying. Right. And to me, I mean, I’m a big advocate for education. Yeah, I believe all knowledge is relevant. So anything you learn or work ethic in? Yeah, countless. So yeah, it’s on top of your, you know, being in rehearsal or being in crew till 10 o’clock, and then being in rehearsal from 10 to 12am. Then you start your homework, right? So not a lot of sleeping. No, there was a lot of not a lot of sleeping in my own bed. I slept in studio to finish my design projects, because I’d be building models, scale models, and I’d be doing scale drafting until four or five in the morning and walk out and see that people are in line at Starbucks. That’s the worst thing ever.

Phil Rickaby
I’m so good. So you were taking extra stuff around the design aspect? Is that right?

Hayley Pace
Yeah, I was in the device theatre programme, which is what I put on my resume. But it’s not technically a programme. It’s not a stream. It’s just a series of courses, where they teach you how do you make a piece of theatre from an idea to a concert that you can actually mount in a theatre and get money for. And on top of that course, I took the design series of courses, which is set in costume design, and I took a bunch of other things that were required on top of that. So like set drafting. You could take costuming, you could take a course called History of visual sources, right? Which was literally from the beginning of time to now you draw a five page, five page line portfolio every single week. So you have to do research on every single time period in history. You can imagine what that was like. But incredibly informative. So now I have this portfolio of starting off point I’m just gonna point of it right. Yeah. So then there was the directing courses and acting courses and there’s in our courses, so it’s So in the School of the Arts, but outside of your major, so that’s where I learned piano. That’s where I got to perform in the Beggar’s Opera, which was a one of the mounted pieces. I learned sheet music. I learned everything. Wow, I learned everything other choir, like, I’ve tuned my voice in choir. Wow. Yeah, it’s just, I love that opportunity, I would have taken so much more,

Phil Rickaby
if there were more hours. Yeah,

Hayley Pace
if I could, if I would go back a six year but I’ve outgrown it, you know, I can’t do school for another few years. But oh, my God, I was ready to like, take up the creative writing course, like I took that I could improve my writing. Fantastic.

Phil Rickaby
I’ve been, I spent quite a period of time myself where I wasn’t writing. It’s only a couple of years ago, really, that I started writing again, I used to write a lot. And then at a certain point, when I, when I decided that I wasn’t going to do theatre anymore, I gave it all up and I stopped doing doing writing and I stopped, so you weren’t going to do, I wasn’t gonna do theatre anymore. I spent like four or five years of like, just being like, Nope, just going to get a job, just going to just going to do the work was just going to be a person who works. I burned myself out on a bunch of stuff, I produced this double bill of Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Shakespeare’s last play Edmund Ironside, with Richard Bowen and a number of other actors. And that took a lot out of me. And then I spent a few months after that, maybe two, two months to become a guest, I’m going to, I’m going through and I’m being I’m just going to do the thing. And then I was like, I’m too tired, and I stopped.

Hayley Pace
My biggest fear.

Phil Rickaby
That’s I mean, you have to be fed. Right. And I think that community is something that feeds you, and surrounding yourself with people who make stuff and who can feed your creativity because I was sort of in a bubble. At that point, I didn’t really have a community. I was that I was making. Yes, I had the actors that were in the show, but I sort of was alone in my creative endeavours, as far as I thought, wow. And so that that’s where you can really burnt out because you don’t have a support network at all.

Hayley Pace
Absolutely. I completely agree with that. Because when you see people doing it around you, you say yourself, why why not? Me. And I keep reminding myself of that. When I see you know, my friends on Facebook who have graduated with me, I see them making their shows producing their, their own shows getting, you know, internships with theatre companies, I’m like, Yep, it’s just it’s choosing, choosing your path and choosing your behaviour, how you’re going to think of the situation and surrounding yourself with creative people. That is, yeah, amen to that. So true.

Phil Rickaby
And I, you know, when I stopped writing, I kept wanting to write and I never had, I never did. And then finally I did. My girlfriend encouraged me to do that. I mentioned the red sand castle was doing this 24 hour playwriting thing in the theatre. And she was like, You should do that. And I was like, I will. And then I wrote, like, what turned into like a full length play there. And I’ve just been writing ever since. And I think I find that writing is something like you can take a course in it, and you will you the most valuable thing is to do it in writing theatre. That is not quite enough, because then you have to get the go the other step and sit down and have people read it out loud. Or if it’s like a solo show for you. People listen to you read it out loud. Yes. Until that happens, it’s not you don’t know if it actually can be spoken.

Hayley Pace
Whereas, in when a David Mamet’s books he wrote that the best way to play right is to stand at the back of your audience and watch when they’re kind of churning in their seats. Watching their reaction. Yeah, this is very valuable.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, I love I love the idea. Like every time I’ve ever done like a staged reading, have a group, you know, in front of an audience, you know, you bring in some people, you’re going to do this, you’re going to read this play, you have to read this. I never feel like I actually need a q&a after because the audience has told me everything that they that I need to know. But there’s this expectation that you’re going to do a q&a. And so

Hayley Pace
and sometimes q&a is I find them very biassed, and they put a lot of pressure on the audience to

Phil Rickaby
you know, not only that, but if you don’t ask questions, like I did a couple of Q and A’s with at a lot On my theatre as part of their new ideas festival a couple of times, and their their q&a session would start with. So what did you think? Any questions? And that’s the most dangerous thing to say? Because the only feedback you’re gonna get is? Well, I would have written that like this, or, you know, really well, yeah. Basically, what it boils down to is, this is what I would have done, you see, you get no valuable feedback,

Hayley Pace
wow, I would have thought that you would have gotten feedback, like, it was good, it was good. It was good and nothing else. Well, what

Phil Rickaby
do you tend to get? It starts with? I thought it was very good.

Hayley Pace
But as

Phil Rickaby
you start to get that sort of thing, which is like, not at all, there’s no helpful thing whatsoever.

Hayley Pace
Yeah, I understand that. Yeah. I mean, that’s why I have, I’m thankful again, for going to university for this because I trust very much trust my professors and my mentors, I have one in particular who’s been a designer for theatre for, you know, up to 10 years. And he’s who I go to, to critique my work, because I know he’s going to be straight with me. He’s not going to tell me like a bunch of bullshit about my work. He’s gonna say what didn’t work? Yeah. And he’s gonna tell me what worked. Yeah, explicitly. And so I’m like, I love that. Yeah. Because then I know where to go with it. Because he knows what he’s talking about. I trust people who’s been doing this for years. Yeah, you know.

Phil Rickaby
You now you went to the Edinburgh Fringe. It was, was that your first creative piece? Or did you do some stuff before that before you went off to Edinburgh?

Hayley Pace
Yeah, I had done. The Hamilton fringe is the first fringe I ever did was the first show that you did there. It was called a language for dogs. I was with a troupe at the time, we were just starting out, we were called out run the mill. And we did pieces, we did physical theatre pieces that were site specific. And we’re about real issues in the community. So we did a piece about gentrification in Hamilton, because the area is really becoming a pop up place. So it was physical theatre, it was weird, it was violent. And that was kind of the style of our art director, which wasn’t really my style. But he was very knowledgeable on the ideas in the fringe and how it worked. And he was where I learned how to do it. Right. So although the theatre wasn’t quite my style, I knew that okay, these are the steps I have to take in order to apply for French.

Phil Rickaby
But then, when he did go to Edinburgh, well, the show was called

Hayley Pace
nudity free beer. Good for kids.

Phil Rickaby
Okay, so and so you take this show nudity for here, good for kids, to Edinburgh? And what was that experience? Like?

Hayley Pace
It was the most like shit kicking thing I’ve ever been through?

That moment when you had one audience member was like, the moment I realised that everything has been done and nothing is original. And I thought, how can I best tell the stories I want to tell in a way that is engaging and gives back to my audience? Yeah. Because really, there were 3000 shows happening simultaneously. Beside the Fringe Festival. Yeah. Which is the international artists who are brought in and asked to perform, which is like your competition. Yeah. That was, that was the hardest thing. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done as an artist and I learned so much from it to be modest about my work, and how to best Give, give an audience experience that needs to be seen live,

Phil Rickaby
there’s something as well about especially fringe having a good hook. Yes, like, Yes, you got to know how to talk about your show and draw people in. Especially something like the Edinburgh Fringe where every like that, and any fringe really, that one on one contact is your best selling tool. Um, you can have the best publicist, sometimes publicist can can really work out for you, but you’ve got to get in and talk to those people. So you’ve got to have a hook that people read and go, I want to see this show.

Hayley Pace
Well, in Edinburgh, it’s a little scarier than that, because it’s not so much about like one on one time. You’re on the Royal Mile, and there’s probably you know, three or 4000 people running through their throat the whole day, and there’s live acts happening all up along the street, and the loudest wins the loudest most entertaining most promising spectacle when right out of anything? Because that’s how you grab people’s attention. Yeah. And that’s what I that’s what I learned from that experience that like, if I’m going to come to a festival like this, I need to do something that like grabbed right here right now. I can’t sit and have a conversation with people, they’re getting fired 15 times in three minutes. You have to, like, know how to stand out real good. Yeah. And that includes having a guaranteed product that people recognise instantly. Well, there’s

Phil Rickaby
I mean, there’s something about like, you know, you sort of, for a lot of Fringe Festivals, you have to do your time, like maybe your first, your first couple of festivals are not going to do so well, but you build up. And if you do more than one festival, maybe early on, you don’t do so well. But as word spreads and Word does spreads, yes, not just through reviews. But somehow there’s this osmosis between Fringe Festivals, where I can remember showing up in Winnipeg, between Montreal didn’t go to Toronto go to Winnipeg, and volunteers were like, Oh, we’re so excited for your show. And we’re like, how do you even know about it? Wow, you know, there’s just something in the in the air

Hayley Pace
that helps for that. Exactly. In Edinburgh, it’s also your publicity. It’s like you’re walking down the street, and there are billboards that are like, four feet tall, lining the fences. And then when people’s reviews come out, they all print out stars and slap them on there. Yeah. So as soon as you see five stars, you’re like, oh, that shows doing well. You know, and of course, all the publicity awards help, it’s a guaranteed product people are looking for. So it’s like getting to that point is the hardest part. But once you’re there, I’d say you’re on fire.

Phil Rickaby
I remember being in Winnipeg and watching. So it was like the first day of shows and you know, trying to decide where we’re going to go flyer because we knew we had some buzz but we needed to capitalise on it. So we’re gonna have a flyer. We’re like, you know what, Peter and Chris are probably going to have a good line. So we’re gonna go and we’re going to fly over there live. And as we approach the life of Pierre, equip, Peter and Chris, we can see everyone, every show, basically, we can see people coming towards from all angles with their, with their fliers out, ready to flyer that line. And we just sort of when those people are going to have enough or we went to find another line, but like, I’m trying to imagine that exponentially in Edinburgh,

Hayley Pace
you’re not even allowed to fly airlines in Edinburgh different flowering politics, you’re only allowed to fly around the streets. Flying lines is the unwritten rule. You’re not allowed to do.

Phil Rickaby
So what you after that experience at Edinboro, what did you learn to take forward to your next show,

Hayley Pace
I learned that I need to give it an audience and experience that they want to see, you have to learn to catch their attention. And everything has been done and nothing is original. It’s the hard truth.

Phil Rickaby
That I think is it’s an important truth. So I think that a lot of people forget that their original idea is not as original as they think. They just you have to acknowledge that and just sort of concentrate on what it is that you’re saying. It’s new, or there’s different. What’s your take on that?

Hayley Pace
Yep. And I think, although the fringe gives us a playground, to experiment with our new work, you know, we still see audiences dwindling, which is the biggest theatre debate there is. And I hear from a lot of people, from the generations above me, pointing the finger at at us and saying, you know, you guys are not cultured, and you’re not exposing yourself to culture and you don’t know what you’re missing. And the live experience of seeing an actor sweat on stage is so rewarding. And it’s like, you’re talking to a bunch of people who like are, you know, getting thrills, playing video games and watching the movies that they want to watch? And you have to understand that you can’t reject that. No, you have to understand what our what our generation wants and why they’re entertained by that

Phil Rickaby
yeah, there’s I mean, you going about it the wrong way to things the point of the finger and saying you guys need to get out and see some culture Yeah. And also giving them the same thing that they can get at home. And given the same thing that like, unless you can say something different or new which Shakespeare Fuck off, like, like, and you know, I know people and I know some people who are doing some very exciting stuff with Shakespeare and I love that they are I’m so bored by Stratford.

Hayley Pace
So my, my biggest one of my biggest nono, Shakespeare does not speak to me and never has, I thought there was something wrong with me as a theatre person going into university and still not giving Shin but I realised when I graduate that I just had an idea of what was yeah, what I what what worked with me and what did it in funny you say the new thing. New things that people are doing Shakespeare there was a show in Edinburgh called ship phase Shakespeare. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen classical actors of getting shit faced before the show, and then doing the show drunk. And like you could vote as an audience, like if you thought he wasn’t drunk enough or not. And I thought that is the collective spirit that Shakespeare intended his work to be written for, like back then you are outside in a theatre that you had people yelling, throwing fucking oranges at the actors, the actors were drunk, everyone was drunk. That was a collective idea. And not only that, but it was relevant to the time period directly. Yeah. So like, Shakespeare was directly making fun of like, the government system of the time. And that is relevant. Yeah. I completely disagree with people who are trying to make Shakespearean theatre relevant today. It is not. It is not relevant today. And we need to be writing theatre that is relevant today. Yeah, that operates on, you know, our government systems, like the kinds of ways we socialise, the kinds of ways we fall in love is very different than it was in like, a Monarch of 18th century. And that’s what we need to be writing about.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, I think that I think that, you know, we sort of a lot of theatre companies do do Shakespeare, because they feel like, they feel like it’s safe, which is a mistake, because we should never be safe, or doing like, we should take a bunch of risks and not do something safe. But also, I do think that they think that they can’t find something else. So like, we’re just going to do this classical work, because there’s no royalties because he’s been debt free. When I think that, you know, there’s so many other options available to them. Or maybe there’s somebody who’s writing stuff that they don’t know about, who’s just looking for a stage or, like, I think that that we’ve fallen back on these classical works for far too long. And we need to do something different.

Hayley Pace
Yes, it’s a big problem, because the big theatres aren’t as popular anymore. And I was just reading about this in Jordan, Jordan Tana Hills book, Theatre of the unimpressed where he visited at the original theatre, and it was dark and archaic. And, you know, he is a 300 seat theatre that you can only fill up to half. Even if he puts on a major production, and God forbid you put in anything original, it’s not a guaranteed work, who cares enough? But if they were to put in a Shakespeare show, well, everyone knows that. Yeah. Why not? Yeah. But even then, it’s like the ticket prices are not necessarily accessible,

Phil Rickaby
either versus or real problem. Yeah. I mean, when people started wringing their hands about why are the millennials not going to the theatre, because you’re charging $100 A ticket and then go see a movie for 10? Or stay at home and watch Netflix for $8 a month. So think about think about that, you know,

Hayley Pace
like, but then again, on the other hand, devil’s advocate, says that theatre needs to maintain its technical, you know, infrastructure. And, and I think that’s why the bigger theatres are becoming less popular, and these more pop up storefront theatres are becoming more popular. Yeah. Because it’s cheaper, cheaper ticket prices for a product, that’s something we’ve never seen before. And it’s accessible,

Phil Rickaby
exactly. Like accessible in that, you know, there’s like, new work going on there. But also the, like, you said, the ticket price is not going to break the bank.

Hayley Pace
Yeah. Because it’s a smaller maintained, you know, industry within that. Yeah. I mean, if you want to go see that Broadway spectacle, like, you’re gonna go to New York, you’re gonna go to Mirvish even that is a family function, like no one our age can go and afford that. No,

Phil Rickaby
I think, I mean, people are, and I mean, something like Hamilton, that the age range, you know, that’s, that’s a particular thing that’s traded. It is, you know, I think it’s bringing people to Broadway that that wouldn’t normally go there, but those ticket prices are still fucking high. And the, you know, it’s an entity, you know, you have to go there to see it, which is another another thing. And Mirvish shows you know, there tend to go very family oriented or they go for couple of short things a year, but those ticket prices are still high. I think that, you know, like, and you know what they’re hanging too, because they’re, they’ve relied a lot for a long time on their subscriber base that’s dying.

Hayley Pace
And they’ve also relied heavily on Disney, who was a big financial backer to Broadway so that anything that wanted to be produced on Broadway that was relatively independent and didn’t go through Disney was usually on the side streets. Like it’s very hard to top the Lion King, when there’s so much money put into it, because the money was there. Yeah, this world revolves around it. And that’s, that’s another hard truth. You know, if Disney’s got the money, they’re gonna make it and hinging on nostalgia is one of those perfect modules that they’ve used to sell. And niche markets like fetish markets to with merchandising, and everything is like, people love to collect stuff. They like to have stuff. And well, we got the budget for it.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And merchandise is, like, huge for a lot of Broadway shows. Yeah. That’s, that’s just another way to make money.

Hayley Pace
It’s fetishizing. Absolutely. So it’s, it’s, it’s brilliant.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. But to go back to the next point, you sort of you took some of the things that you learned about, you know, what’s bringing people into the theatre to give an experience? And you turn that into? What first? How did you decide that what you’re going to turn that into, before we get into the specifics of what that was?

Hayley Pace
Because my first love is music. And I’ve always known that I was going to create something that had music in it. And music was going to be like a moving working piece in the theatrical show I was going to make, I just didn’t know how I was going to do it, or what that idea was for the longest time until I saw my first biggest inspiration. So music is loud. When it’s well done, it catches attention. And if you can create that and push the boundaries of is this a concert, or is this theatre, and you can find that middle ground, that’s something that in the theatre community hasn’t quite, I think been done in my experiences I haven’t seen, and I’ve seen quite a lot and researched a lot of this. And I haven’t seen something that’s right in the middle, like bringing a concert going audience to the theatre. That’s a huge audience.

Phil Rickaby
It is, is. And so you turn that into the teeny tiny music show. Which I mean, then the name of the show is is a little bit misleading, because it starts out looking like it’s gonna be teeny tiny isn’t. And it is exactly what you’re describing. It’s it’s not just, it’s like the concert, the line between concert and theatre blurring. And with all of these moments of like, there’s really simple theatrical magic is even as simple as like, an instrument that you didn’t expect just sort of appearing beside you, which is, which is amazing. So you worked, you obviously you put together you brought together a brilliant team of people to help you put that together. What was the process of finding all of these people like

Hayley Pace
very hard because I was just finishing my fifth year at York and York is still the community that I was involved in not so much downtown yet. So I reached out to the music community at York and I had to personally ask people I held auditions, to which I only had a turnout of about eight or nine people. People are busy in April. They don’t have time. So I ended up resorting to personally asking people sending them private messages on Facebook. And if someone said No, I’m busy, like I got other gigs. I said, can you refer me? Give me a list of names of other musicians, you know. So I was just going down the line private messaging, strangers, people I’ve never met before. And like two or three of those people have become good friends of mine who are interested, like I’ve only met them once or twice. And who became so interested in the show. They want to work on the future iterations of it. That’s great. That’s great. So it’s my way I butted in a little bit into the Toronto community outside of York, but most of them were all privately asked

Phil Rickaby
development and taken a lot of time

Hayley Pace
it did it was every waking hour. I was sending a pitch about my show. I have my pitch memorised because I’ve typed it so many times. I knew you know, I might as well leader pitch I know like that. Because I had to Yeah, it was the only way I was gonna get people. No one knows who I am. No one cares. I just graduated, of course has nothing to prove my work. Except for my words and my pitch. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
So what? Take David’s question as I intended, which is just like so what was it that made you think that you that this show was worth putting up like that, that it was worth, like, talking to so many people and and like, beg borrowing and stealing instruments and people then like putting this group together? Because

Hayley Pace
I knew that I knew the power of surprise is really, really it’s, it’s powerful. And this is the main hitch of my entire show the power of surprise and how that brings joy to people. That is something I knew would work. I studied bits of it in theatre school, from an bow guards. Teachings, the element of surprise is something you know, because what an Bogart does, if you’re familiar with her processes, is that she’s also a theatre creator, she teaches in New York, and she writes down a list of things that she wants in her show. So she goes, I want a slap. I want an unexpected kiss. I want a moment where you can’t tell if someone’s laughing or cry. I want a moment of unexpected relevation. And that’s the one that I highlighted. I’m like, I want to hitch on that idea. Unexpected relevation something you don’t know what’s gonna happen and happens, I think, has always spoken to me when I’ve seen a piece of theatre. I said, Whoa,

Phil Rickaby
they do that? Yeah, yeah.

Hayley Pace
I am in love with that idea. So I knew that I knew that that would work. And that’s why I was really intense about it. The second is my love for music. Seeing something that’s loud, and then melting that with the idea of surprise.

Phil Rickaby
It is amazing. I mean, it shouldn’t be a surprise, musical theatre has been around for a long time. But how well and how easy it is to put music and words together to form a new thing.

Hayley Pace
Right, which is a different experience than having your band in the pit playing the music and showing up in rehearsal, two days before tech, and then doing this. It’s broke. Yeah, it’s a very different idea. And a lot of musicians have that fate that they know they’re going to be in a paid orchestra because it’s very hard to independently produce your own music as a band. So I thought about that, too. I’m like what? The function of musicians, they don’t actually do a whole lot of action. So what if we did something where we use them a little bit more as moving working pieces in a theatrical setting? Let’s push that theatre a little bit more into music. And see what happens. I had no idea. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know if this was gonna work. I have no idea.

Phil Rickaby
So it didn’t work.

Hayley Pace
I guess so.

Phil Rickaby
Trust me, trust me. I saw that. Um, so, you know, you audiences responded to it really? Well. Yeah. I know, there’s other people did than me who went back more than once. Yes. I know. There are a bunch of them. So what did you learn from from this run at Hamilton friend a lot.

Hayley Pace
I learned that it worked. It was important.

I learned that don’t be afraid to go cheesy because someone might call it theatre magic. And that worked with displaying our saxophone player in light and sparkles. Yeah, you know, like, that was the cheesy thing. And when my director running and had proposed that I was like, let’s do it. Yeah, why not? Yeah. And I want to go further with these ideas. On another note, I also learned about storytelling a lot. I learned about how to make something not self indulgent. Or as you know, a lot of us would say, especially my Professor Messer oratory theatre, how do you give to your audience, because otherwise no one wants to stand there and listen to you talk for an hour. And I don’t blame them. Yeah. I learned that if you want to do why here, why now? Make it like really easy on yourself? You know, make it like you are performing in front of people on a stage. And that is your why and figure out why. One of the most important things to engage them. They want to feel spoken to. They want to feel like they’re part of an experience. They don’t want to feel Yep, that.

Phil Rickaby
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Hayley Pace
Yes, yeah. So as soon as you give them that, they’re on your side. I also learned about how to tell a true story, which was some an idea that I was battling with for a long time, because what I did tell was a true story, which was based on a fictional time period. But the story I told was on verbatim events that happened in my personal life and in my personal relationships. I learned after getting advice that is important to protect the identity of anyone in my personal life, I’m talking about that. If I were to talk about events that were true, some playwrights don’t allow them. So don’t allow a company to produce a play unless the playwrights dead because it contains personal information about their family life or their romance life that may be harmful. To someone watching it. Yeah. Or there has been so many years past, that is okay, and ready to talk about situation, which is what you’re playing

Phil Rickaby
exactly. I had, like I had so much time over 10 years between the events of mine. And also there’s a lot of fiction in mind, when sort of, like, helped with

Hayley Pace
neutralising Exactly. And I learned a very hard lesson about that. Which I think is going to help me with the show. Going further. Because I want to tell a story about a girl falling in love with a saxophone player while watching him play. Whether or not it’s 100% True, is irrelevant. Yeah, I want to be able to tell the story without being held back. By you know, these other things.

Phil Rickaby
It’s interesting that, you know, we want truth on stage. But the truth can also be just whatever we tell the audience, that truth can be what’s true in this moment, as we say it rather than the ultimate truth, which is, or like the Absolute Truth, because the Absolute Truth can sting a little bit for the same reasons that you’ve you outlined. And Neil Gaiman says that, you know, stories are lies, but they’re good lies. You know,

Hayley Pace
unfortunately, if you were to tell 100% True story, you realise that it lacks a lot of dramaturgical. Yeah, you know, climax. Absolutely. So, yeah, truth

Phil Rickaby
a true story doesn’t have. It doesn’t have all the things that you need for a story, you have to mould it into the story pattern, you have to have your introduction and your your rising action and your falling action. Nothing actually has that.

Hayley Pace
No, it doesn’t, because life continues and goes on. And there isn’t an end to you know, the stories that happen in our life. We don’t always have resolutions, which is a something you can include, you know, something that Robert La posh has done over and over again, especially needles and opium, you know, where he was talking about a true event in his life, going through a really hard breakup, you know, which he he lined up with the death of Miles Davis, I believe, if you’re familiar with that show, that shoulder 20 years, you know, and it’s like, it’s still in process, and he’s still working on it, but it’s based off true events. You know, but that doesn’t make it any more or less honest on stage where people are looking for is an honest performance. Yeah. And inspired by true story just makes them go back and look at the details and think what are what is there was is not true?

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. So with all of this, this this show that I would call a success in in Hamilton, what’s what’s next for that? Is it something that you want to continue to develop?

Hayley Pace
Absolutely, absolutely. This is something I’ve wanted to do. Since I’ve watched my friends produce their own work, and I’m going to go go forward with this. My next steps are applying to the Toronto fringe. With our current cast, it’s going to be very hard to tour to outside provinces right now because everyone’s going through school. Oh, it’s really hard time for all of us transitioning. So I would have to essentially recast if I wanted to take it outside of province. And it was already so hard to find players I have already so hard. But now that the words out I have a little bit more credibility, it might be more easy. Yeah. But for right now I’m going to take it baby steps, I want to apply for the grants that apply for me. See if I get those and go forward with the next step, which is doing it in Toronto, a larger audience, I’ve tested my show, it’s kind of a smaller audience. Now I’m gonna see what I can afford. Doing it in front of a bigger audience. Baby steps, yeah, best way to do it. I can see in the future. I would love to tour I want that experience. But it’s not quite yet.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You have to do it sensibly, especially when you have a group of musicians like the size of the show that you had, that’s not an easy thing to tour, it must have been even hard just to get all of them. To Hamilton, it was

Hayley Pace
it was if there was no promise of a pain, or Shep giving them that kind of support. Musicians aren’t used to dedicating this amount of time to a project, they do a gig, they set up for 10 minutes, and they go home. Or they you know, like I said they learn their music on their own time. And then they show up at a SYSPRO. There it was very new experience for them being part of a creation process. So because of that. It’s hard to ask them to put aside their their jobs to come and rehearse twice a week if I’m not paying them to come to rehearsal. Yeah. So my perspective is that I will have to pay them for rehearsals. I want that experience so much. Yeah. I love to pay artists for their work. Well, they know what it’s like to not

Phil Rickaby
get paid. Well, thank goodness for you. Because so many people are like,

Hayley Pace
Oh, I know, I’m all about that. I’m happy that I could pay them for the shows. That was

what I wanted. So bad. And we got it. We did it. We made a profit on the show. Good. So I can’t crowdfund again. Because I’ve already did it once. It was hard enough to get the money we did. Yeah. Time needed. Next is doing those grants. And pretty.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, there are other ways to get I mean, it sort of there are crowdfunding is one thing, but it does have a limited shelf life, you certainly can’t do a crowdfunding campaign once a year, you’ve got partially because whatever time I’ve done it, I’m basically getting money from the same people, because I can’t quite crack my my immediate social network. So you end up, you know, asking the same people for money all the time. And eventually that that that stops, you have to find other ways to try to do some fundraising, you know, an event of some kind that people come to. But even that is risky, because you still have to rent a space. There’s no, man, I wish I knew what the magic bullet was for that stuff. But

Hayley Pace
and trying to get people to come to your events is easier said than

Phil Rickaby
done is also tough. You have to give them something again, it’s enough to give them something they just can’t get at home. Yep, we have to get them out of their house. Exactly. Give them a reason

Hayley Pace
to come out of their house, and not even doing a gig works out. Well, like we were doing that a little bit. And of course, you know, again, like we were just starting out, but like even getting the people together to participate in the event. It’s like, they all got time to they’re like, oh, I don’t know, and, you know, getting the people to organise the events and attend them. Like if we were going to do one playing music. It’s like, it’s another thing you’re asking your musicians to do? Or yeah, and it’s already such a time commitment to commit the reversal process. So you have to be careful how you spend people’s time.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, I mean, the whole theatre funding thing is one of those those questions of how do we do it? You know, for independent theatre outside even, even for fringe like, expensive thing?

Hayley Pace
We have a better I think in Canada than we do in the States. Oh,

Phil Rickaby
I think so. Yeah, I

Hayley Pace
think so. Yeah, I think our government is, is supply supplies, enough of that support and mentorship programmes as well. Yeah. For, you know, artists, to team up with people and get paid that way. I mean, there’s so many arts programmes and ways of funding. I know in the states well know, even in Canada, too. You could always apply for, you know, to register your company and then as a charity, and then you can get companies to donate to you and they’ll get like a tax receipt for that which is, you know, a very good way of doing that. Companies put aside they budget money for the thing. So they also

Phil Rickaby
having having investigated that a few years ago, they also are more likely to give that they want their name on that. So they yes, they they often have money to give. But they also want to make sure that they’re giving it to somebody that can make sure that everybody knows that they give that money to the widest audience. So you find them sponsoring, you know, Mirvish productions or Stratford or shop, like these Kenyan stage, all of these larger companies, because they have a number a lot of people going through, you can see that that company donated. That’s why they’re doing it is to make their name look better.

Hayley Pace
Yep. Yep. And again, better people see it. Yeah. And it’s about starting small to like even for our show, we had an in kind service with need pizza, because we had, you know, a pizza slice we needed in the show every night. And instead of paying for that, we asked me he’d pizza in Hamilton, if they’d like to come on board with us as an in kind. Yeah. And we’ll like put your fliers around our venue. And they they said that they had an increase in business. That’s awesome. It’s like, it’s like starting small that way. Starting with smaller companies. And, you know, it’s just yeah, you know, and you will get there. Yeah, you just gotta keep going. Yeah, keep strong. We’re basically at the end of our time. Thanks.

Phil Rickaby
It’s

Hayley Pace
been a pleasure. So cool. So my first book is

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