Upstart 14: Festival of Innovative Theatre

Upstart 2014 posterBy UWaterloo Students

Performances: February 6-8, & 13-15, 2014

Matinees: February 8 & 15, 2014

Venue: Hagey Hall 180, Humanities Building

The Upstart Festival is a bi-annual one act play festival run by UWaterloo Drama students presenting original and innovative works of theatre. This year all 8 shows have been produced, directed and acted by UWaterloo students with seven out of the eight plays being original works. Upstart 14 featured a wide range of performance styles including comedy, drama, movement-based theatre and commedia dell’arte.


  • The First by William Innes is a collaboration of music and bodies, exploring the highs and lows of potential love (winner 2013 TSU 8-Hour Playwrighting Contest). 


  • Less than Three by Jackie Mahoney is an exploration of the endless list of questions we have about love. Told through the use of true stories, it is a reminder that when it comes to love, sometimes the best answer is one that ends with another question mark. 


  • Crows in Dream Time (the Biggest Murder) by Sam Beuerle is a work of highly physical and text-based theatre, exploring the way dreams and thoughts can be portrayed on the stage.


  • Signs of Life by Derek McGill follows Brock, who seems to have no positive outlook on his awkward teenage life. But all he really needs is just a good lesson in driving, a bit of confidence, and to learn to follow the signs: the signs of life!
  • Bambino by Kelly Hornung uses traditional stock characters from the Italian commedia dell’arte to explore personal identity and what can happen when people are faced with change in their lives.


  • Post Its (Notes on a Marriage) is an adaptation by Tyler Collins featuring two lives that have intersected with one another through their families, friends, and lifestyle over the last fifty years. The only consistent means of communication between them, however, has been Post-It sticky notes.


  • Fake Plastic Trees by Alan Shonfield is a play about semantics, metaphors, Hamlet, Keanu Reeves, love and Margaret Atwood.


  • The Testimony of Sister Veronica by Laura McVey follows a young nun at the height of the Spanish Inquisition who claims to have received visions of Christ commanding her to dissolve her convent and go out into the wider world to preach.


Festival Production Team

Production Manager - Janelle Rainville

Technical Director - Gill Lesperance

Instructor - Paul Cegys

Production Stage Manager - Jane Honek

Assistant Technical Director, Lighting Designer - Hilary Pitman

Head of Publicity - William Innes

Head of Wardrobe - Sharon E. Secord

Festival Crew - Jessica Blondin, Carly Derderian, Clare Flood, Mollie Garrett, Zac Gungl, Mark Haasnoot, Cameron Jolliffe, Andrew Labre, Meghan Landers, Mar Lyon, Kara Nagel, Alan Shonfield, Sydney Spidell, Alice Wang

Fake Plastic Trees

Writer, Director - Alan Shonfield

Stage Manager - Kelsey Sewell

Cast: Michelle Kestle, Zach Parsons, Greg Johnson

Crows in Dream Time

Writer/Director - Sam Beuerle

Stage Manager - Madeline Samms

Costumes Designer - Madeline Samms

Set Dresser - Madeline Samms

Props Designer - Madeline Samms

Sound Designer, Musician - John Cross


Murder Member - Jasmine Saleh 

Murder Member - Carla Rodrigo 

Dreamer - Emma Mann 

Murder Member - Sam Mercury 

Dreamer - Jenn Adesso

Less Than Three

Writer, Director - Jackie Mahoney


Cal - Alan Shonfield

Robin - Carla Rodrigo

Harper - Emma Mann

Isabel - Jessica Blondin

Sebastian - Mara Haasnoot

Grant - Ryan Bassett

The First

Director - William Innes

Stage Manager - Zac Gungl

Musician - Zach Parsons

CAST: Jasmine Selah, Ryan Robinson-Hatton

The Testimony of Sister Veronica

Writer, Director - Laura McVey

Stage Manager - Michael To


Sister Cristina - Carleigh McDonald 

Sister Luisa - Celena Alcock 

Father Olmos - John Cross 

Sister Veronica - Rebecca Birrell 

Father Barras - Ryan Robinson-Hatton

Sam Mercury - Mother Superior

Signs of Life

Writer, Director, Sound Designer - Derek McGill


Brock - Adam Winchester 

Caroline - Meghan Landers 

Hampton - Michael To 

Dave - William Innes

Post-Its (Notes on a Marriage)

Director, Adapter - Tyler Collins

Producer - James Brown

Producer - Cathy Haymen

CAST: Adam Lemieux, Katie Smith


Writer - Kelly Hornung

Director - Ryan Bassett

Costume Designer - Mark Haasnoot


 Il Capitano - Adam Benninger 

Ottavio - Kaustav Haldar 

Pantalone - Kelly Conlan 

Ariecchino - Mara Haasnoot 

Il Dottore - Tyler Collins 

Columbina - Megan Rucurean 

Angelica - Jenn Adesso

Special thanks to

Peter Carette

Nadia Ursaki

Zach Parsons

Carleigh MacDonald

Katie Honek

Mark Haasnoot

Tori-Day Hamilton

Shaw Forgeron