People who inspire… a series: Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher passed away in December of 2016.

This affected me – far more than I thought it would. It affected me on the level of losing Robin Williams, and almost to the level of losing Jim Henson. This was big.

Over the past month, I’ve been thinking about Carrie frequently and asking myself why her loss was so great for me and obviously for so many other people. I don’t really have an answer, but I have some thoughts.

First – Carrie was a hero. She wasn’t a heroine. She was a hero. For so many reasons and to so many people. But to my young eyes watching her on the big screen in 1977, she was MY hero for being a strong, smart, woman – who happened to be a pretty princess. More importantly, she was a chick who got shit done. I always liked that.

I enjoy Disney films and Disney princesses (Leia is now owned by Disney, but sure as heck wasn’t in 1977!), but I never really wanted to be like them. I wanted to be like Leia. I wanted to be like her in my everyday life. I remember dressing as her for a costume party when I was young and trying OH SO HARD to get my hair to make the cinnamon buns on the side of my head. You need LOTS of hair – or other magical hacks to get that much hair on the side of your head. I had lots, but it still wasn’t enough. Regardless, I wanted to be a chick who got shit done!

Carrie Fisher as Leia

Second – Carrie was funny. Really funny. Sensually funny. Sarcastically funny. Witty. Glib. All of that. And she just kept it up and didn’t censor herself. I found that inspiring. I still do. Thank heavens for youtube and video footage of her interviews on talk shows and other such events. I’ve been watching a number of those and still have a tab open so I can watch some more.

Third – Carrie didn’t give up. She didn’t give up on herself, her family, her career, her mental health… any of it. And she didn’t give a FUDGE if anyone didn’t like her for it. She just did what she needed to do. I love that about her.


I could probably continue to elaborate why I love her and why I miss her, but I know that many of you felt the same when she left us. I’ll just say, that she inspired me when she first broke on the scene in 1977 and just because she’s left this particular location – doesn’t mean she will stop inspiring me.

I know her loss has affected others – like A nun’s life  who wrote another great article about the profound affect that Carrie had upon her.  Like the author, I rewatched Carrie in the original Star Wars on the night of her passing and I continue to marvel at her gift to us. I will always thank her for being a great lady, who got it done.

Thanks Carrie.

2016 – a Year in Review – what a year!?!

Last year, I was inspired by my friend, Kerry Hishon to do a year in review… and this year I waited with baited breath for her post. It didn’t disappoint. So now, I am going to attempt another of my own to reflect on the highlights from year that was… and what a year it was.


Like so many years in the past, my January began slowly. I was in recovery mode after a very eventful December. Isn’t everyone’s?
But in all seriousness, I directed, (and choreographed) and epically funny production of The Trials of Robin Hood by Will Averill. It had a tremendous cast and crew who adored the process, the product and each other. They, and I shed many tears upon the closing of that gem.



But, I didn’t have much time to recover, as I was already busy choreographing a delightful production of She Loves Me. It was a bit of a bucket list show for myself and my friend, Kristina, as she and I had been talking about our love for this gem of a show for many, many years. It was also one of the first productions I ever saw on Broadway. My work on that also partially inspired a past blog I wrote on the Copywrite of Choreography…

And if that wasn’t enough… I began work on another Original Kids production of Once Upon a Mattress – GTKY, an edited version of the full musical that was made for young performers. No rest for the wicked, right?

Once Upon a Mattress – Gorgeous Set Design!



February saw many more rehearsals, the start of a new semester and the beginning of my work to support a production of The Little Mermaid at the high school where I teach. I had been tasked with choreographing a few of the numbers, (the biggest ones, yes…) and creating a number of puppets to add dimension and magic to the whole production. This took ages… and ages… and though many people offered their assistance, it became quite apparent, that because I cannot open up my brain and show others the workings of my thought process, that trying to explain what I think, I might want to do and translating that into discussion for how a person might help me realize that… is a futile effort.

Mini-octupi…. Mr. and Mrs. They were adorable.



March was pretty restful – in the sense that I didn’t travel anywhere and March Break and Easter were all in that month… but there were rehearsals and rehearsals and, oh yes, more rehearsals!

I also managed to sell some items that I wasn’t needing or using anymore. This allowed us enough savings to put money together to replace our aging refrigerator. That was a joyous experience. You don’t know how important that one device can be to the overall happiness of your kitchen – until you change it.


By April, I had a number of projects in very good shape, lots of teaching on the go and my husband had a pile of combat related projects that he had been supporting. It came to the point that we had to choose how and where we’d support the different productions we’d been helping. He got to see Heathers and I didn’t, I got to see Mary Poppins and he didn’t… that sort of thing. But it was an active time of year that kept us hopping, leading up to …


In May, we took students on an amazing trip to Walt Disney World! I’d been trying to make this happen for my students for years and we finally had approval and everything worked! It was a tremendous trip. The kids were great, the parks were great, the weather was – hot! But we had a superb time visiting and learning and pointing out to our performing arts students all the skills that they had, or were learning, that were being used by cast members all over Disney World. It was truly incredible. I look forward to doing that again.




June is the winding down time of the year for teaching, but it is also like a break neck race to the finish to get as many things crammed in as possible before the exams and the clean up and commencement.

This year, my seniors planned a Drama Nite, to showcase their talents and perform for family and friends in our school’s courtyard. It was a great evening. It was a HOT evening with a lot of sunshine and the threat of thunderstorms, but I was immensely proud of the final product and the work my kids did to make it happen. They really pulled together on that project.

Aside from all that, I began rehearsals and planning for a dream show, that I will tell you more about later.


July had us travelling. My husband and I went to Great Britain for three weeks. We were primarily in Wales, Cornwall and a few days in London. It was a wonderful trip. A gift from my parents that meant a great deal to the two of us. The portion of the trip to Cornwall was planned by my husband as he has done the research into the history of his family and discovered that his lineage is entirely from Cornwall. He enjoys research, planning and lists. He’s exceptionally good at them. What we discovered he doesn’t enjoy, is driving on the left-hand side of the road. I, on the other hand, don’t mind it. I really enjoyed driving in Great Britain. I found it quite sensible and easy. The navigation, I left to him. He was exceptional at that.

By the way, I love Cardiff. I really do – and if you do, (or if you haven’t been there, go!), you can show the world how you love Cardiff, buy purchasing items from

Mevagissey… where my husband’s ancestors are from…



August saw us visiting family, friends and attending special events. We had four weddings through August and September. It was wonderful to celebrate with special people.

Not everything in our year was happy, of course. Many sad things happened, but the only one I’m going to mention is the passing of our beautiful and loving cat, Willow. He left us in August. That kept us busy for a good while. And we still think of him, daily.

Mr. Pooperhead. The best cat ever.



By all accounts, September was pretty normal. There were rehearsals, for that project that was alluded to earlier. There was the return to school and all materials that are associated with that. There were two large purchases – a vehicle for each of us. Original Kids rehearsal starting up and general life. It all seems like a blur. Good thing there’s Google Calendar to help to remind us of what we have done!


October is where life started to ramp up! The Performing Arts kids at my school planned and performed our best Haunted Hallway to date – sold out! Our theme was a graveyard and their characters were the best so far, and so was our transformation of the simple drama room, into a spooky environment. They built a tree, used shadow puppetry and had tombstones, dead leaves and corn husks to help mark the path of our visitors to the event.

We also hosted The Young Americans at our school in October. It was a pretty amazing event. I have seen their work and been a part of the experience in the past, but no one else at my school had. My colleague deserves an immense shout out for her organization of the whole event. She hadn’t been involved in any visit by them to another school before and yet she took the task on and planned the whole thing with style and grace. It was an incredible experience for our school and our kids. I look forward to when we can host them again.

Also in October, my production of Silverwing took to the stage at Original Kids. It was a wonderfully weird little play that the kids completely embraced. They performed beautifully and expertly this adaptation of a Canadian novel, that really was a film adaptation. More playwrites need to learn that taking a novel and just putting into play format does not really make it a play. Usually, it just makes it an awkward film script that needs an editor. Sheesh.


In November I started to get memory posts from Facebook about doing puppet workshops with TAG at Original Kids with Kerry Hishon… so, I just showed up and did more workshops! No, not really. But clearly there’s a theme to how my year goes because right when I was scheduled to do workshops for Kerry this year, my memory feed reminded me that I’d done these sorts of workshops for her in the past. Isn’t that interesting the way life has patterns? Speaking of patterns, in September of 2016, Brock, (that’s my husband) and I, went to see an Opening Night performance of Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers SIX YEARS TO THE DAY from the Preview performance of our life changing production. That is life repeating itself. Ripples and spirals…

Their 3M…. Not ours…Ours was better.



December saw me moving stuff – literally – in a moving truck, into The Arts Project to set up for my bucket list production, (that I alluded to earlier) of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer. I saw this show in New York City in 2008 on a trip with Original Kids and I was amazed by it. It has stuck with me and sat in my brain ever since. I have been waiting for the perfect situation to come along so I could direct this play. In July, Brock and I extended our stopover in Dublin, so that I could visit some of the areas where the play is set. We were in a pub that is mentioned in the script and met the owner. She said she used to be friends with the playwright. The first part of December was about set up, final rehearsals and the Opening Gala. The second week was about savouring the whole thing before it disappeared into thin air, and the final weeks of the month were filling time between remembering the sweetness of the process and production and real life. Sure, there was a holiday assembly and a pretty sweet Coffee House in there, plus some Christmassy celebrations and a wedding anniversary, but since the show is set on Christmas Eve… it permeated almost every waking moment of December. It is a production of which I am immensely proud. I am pleased that I had wonderful friends to help me make it a reality.

The Seafarer Boys… at their best. I love them.



An Open Letter to Lin-Manuel Miranda

Re: Your Self-deprecating Tweet


*Lady rolls down her car window at 181st street*

“Congrats on HAMLET!”

Me: “I WISH I wrote Hamlet!”

Lady: “Yay HAMLET!”

*drives away*


34.4K retweets… 114K <3

Dear Lin-Manuel,

I am loathe to point out an error on the part of someone as talented and brilliant as yourself, but on this point, I must correct you. The Lady who rolled down her car window at 181st street is quite correct in her congratulations. You have written Hamlet and you need to accept any and all congratulations on your achievement. You have written the American, 21st Century Hamlet. The comparison between your work and the immortal Bard’s is apt. The poetry, drama, conflict, resolution and catharsis are all evident. Both works are brilliant. Both explore the human experience in their entirety. Both contain flawed and interesting “heroes” and “heroines”. Both conclude tragically.

You will continue to receive validation for your work, and the plaudits your production have garnered thus far are clearly correct. I’ve come to this conclusion from simply listening to your work and seeing snapshots on the Tony’s and YouTube. I have tried to see the show, but as so many are aware, tickets have been scarce.

I must also add, you have not just written Hamlet, but also Cyrano and JC Superstar. You have captured the imaginations of millions whilst doing honour to those who have composed before you. You have inspired others to greatness with your great love of your art and your generosity of spirit is evident to anyone who is willing to hear it. Your message that Love is love is love is love is love is love is needed. And I for one, hope it will be heeded.

I look forward to your next adventure and have no doubt that more ladies will shout about your achievements from passing vehicles. I roll down my windows and blast your scores for anyone willing to listen!


Keep creating!

Ceris Thomas

p.s. Hamlet also died in a duel he maybe should have avoided….

April Instagram Challenge(s)!!!!

Here I was, getting all geared up to put myself through a Doctor Who challenge on Instagram for April when Kerry Hishon comes up with a challenge for Creative Types for TLTDAY to sponsor for April!!!

What’s a girl to do?

Both, I guess! Here’s Kerry’s exciting list of Creative Challenges for April – we do hope you will join us and hopefully follow all my Doctor Who posts as well!!! It’s going to be an Instagram kind of month, I think!


#CreativeApril Challenge! 

We are excited to announce that we are bringing back a creative challenge for you: The TLTDAY #CreativeApril Challenge on Instagram!

Last year we ran the #top10challenge in March. Since it was the first time we’d created our own Instagram challenge, we started with baby steps: a 10 day Instagram challenge right in the middle of March. Now we’re upping the ante and going to try a full month of Insta-inspiration! Again, the focus is creativity and the arts, and it’s going to be FUN!

Please put your Instagram name in the comments if you want to join in, so we can follow you and others can follow you, too! Use the hashtag #CreativeApril so everyone can find you. Show us your creativity… anything goes! Read on for more details and how to get in on the fun!

April 1: Fool Us!

It’s April Fools Day, but we ain’t foolin’! In tarot, the Fool is the first card in the deck and symbolizes a new beginning or a journey. Sounds like a great way to begin this challenge. So we’re going to play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Introduce yourself and tell us two things about you that are true and one that’s a lie. We’ll try to guess which is which in the comments!

April 2: Happy Saturday

Share with us something that makes you happy today!

April 3: Feeling Magical

Abracadabra! Share something with us that you think is magical. Rabbits in hats? Stars and cosmos? Sparkles and ice cream? (Why not?) Bring that magic out and show it to us!

April 4: I’m Gonna Wreck It!

Some of the most creative work comes out of destruction. Show us something destructive or that you’ve destroyed, and tell us how you’re going to build it back up again.

April 5: OOTD

We love creative fashion and costumes, so today, share with us your “outfit of the day” and something creative about it! Where did you get it? Is there a story behind it? Is it formal, functional, fabulous (or all three?!).

April 6: A Colourful Life

What’s your favourite colour? Share it with us and let us know why it’s your favourite.

April 7: Thankful Thursday

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Share something you’re thankful for today.

April 8: Foodie Friday

I don’t know about you, but the TLTDAY team loves food. Today, share with us a delicious dish that’ll have us drooling. Bonus points if you share the recipe!

April 9: Spring Cleaning

It’s time to chase away the winter doldrums and start fresh. Today, get your clean on or declutter some junk from your place that’s holding you down. Share a before and after pic of your work!

April 10: Home Sweet Home

Do you have a special place or area in your home devoted to creativity? Show it to us so we can be inspired!

April 11: Make A Wish

What are you wishing for these days? Share with us one of your wishes or dreams… and brainstorm up a way that you can take a baby step towards achieving that dream!

April 12: Beauty In The World

Today’s prompt is simple – show us something you think is beautiful.

April 13: Very Superstitious
Inspired by a favourite song by Stevie Wonder! Today, show us something superstitious. Rituals, your rehearsal process, ghosts, a lucky talisman…

April 14: Inspiring Words
Stories, monologues, speeches… what gets your mojo flowing?

April 15: TBT

It’s Throwback Thursday! Show us a pic of you as a tot doing something creative!

April 16: Poetry Slam

Share a favourite poetry piece, or try your hand at writing a poem!

April 17: Your Lucky Charm
Share something lucky! Could be an object, a person, a place… bonus points if it’s green!

April 18: Play It, Sam
Share your favourite play or film, maybe a quote… or misquote!

April 19: Lights, Camera, Acting!
We’re leaving this one intentionally vague. Show us what you can do!

April 20: Something To Fight For!
Put up your dukes! Show us something worth fighting for. A cause, a friend, a role, or even a real (or “reel”) life fight!

April 21: And The Award Goes To…
Share your favourite actor/actress/performer, living or not, award-winning or not! Why are they your favourite, and what award should they win?

April 22: Dress Rehearsal
Time to put on your best dress! Show us your costumes, dress up, cosplay… let’s see those fancy pants!

April 23: Sing! Sing A Song!
Today’s all about music. Show us your favourite singer, lyrics from your favourite song, images from your favourite musical… or get brave and make us a video of you singing or playing music!

April 24: Furry Friends

Pets, stuffed animals, puppets… share with us something (or someone!) furry and loveable today!

April 25: Travel Tuesday

Got plans to get out of town and go somewhere? Or are you dreaming of white sandy beaches, amusement parks, or foreign lands? Share some travel pics with us and send us a postcard with “wish you were here” while you’re away.

April 26: A Day In The Life

Sometimes our lives are not so creative and inspiring every second, but it’s always cool to peek behind the curtain and see the day-to-day doings of peoples’ lives. Share with us a moment of your day, magical or mundane.

April 27: Work In Progress

What creative project(s) are you currently working on? Share your work in progress with us and tell us about your creative process.

April 28: Black & White

Today, you can share anything you like… but in black and white!

April 29: May Flowers

It’s not May yet, but it’s close enough! Share some beautiful flowers with us today… maybe by the time this post goes up, they’ll have invented smell-o-vision for Instagram!

April 30: Closing Night
Party time… it’s a celebration! Let’s throw an Insta-party! Confetti, tunes and party hats are HIGHLY encouraged!


How do I get in on the fun?
You should definitely save the image above — or like it on Instagram (follow The Lovers, The Dreamers and You on Instagram at @tltday)  — so you have a reminder of the prompts. Then use the prompts to inspire you! Take photos, upload them to Instagram, and be sure to tag them with #CreativeApril! If you are not on Instagram, then join in the fun on Twitter! We’re @LoversDreamersU over there.
You can also follow anyone from the TLTDAY team on Instagram, they are:

How do I get the most out of this experience?
You will get so much out of the #CreativeApril challenge if you reach out to others participating: like and comment on their pictures, and add them as friends! Write something meaningful as your caption too. Share your creativity with images AND words!

What if I miss a day?

No worries! Just catch up whenever you can.

Can I post the challenge graphic on my Instagram?

Yes, of course! That way you’ll have it to refer back to. Don’t forget the hashtag!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Follow along with us at @tltday on Instagram!

Six Ways to Refocus When You are Trying to Write… But Want to Rebel

Six Ways to Refocus header

I am going through a serious case of writer’s block. I’ve got various creative projects that I need to work on and right now, all I want to do is jump in the car and drive someplace where it isn’t cold.

These prompts are aimed at writers, but can be adapted and used by anyone currently suffering from “artist’s block” or feeling stagnant, stuck, or otherwise blah.

1)  Free write.

I have a secret blog that I write in when I’m feeling frustrated or stuck. Sometimes just getting your feelings out can really help. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Nobody has to see it but you. Just write – paragraphs, run-on sentences, lists, mind maps. While you’re at it, try changing the font style or colour for fun. Who says you can’t write in pink?

2)  Write by hand.

Close your computer, grab a notebook or piece of paper, and do some writing by hand. It forces you to slow your thoughts a bit. Draw little pictures or designs in the margins while you’re at it.

3)  Shock your system.

If you’re overheated, drink some cold water or jump in a pool. If you’re freezing, take a hot shower or make some hot chocolate. Yes, all these suggestions have to do with water of some sort. Your body is made up of a ton of water, and most of us don’t get nearly enough in our systems. So rehydrate. You’ll feel better.

(Going to a coffeeshop and getting a latte totally counts. It requires getting dressed and getting out of the house, so if anything, you get double points for this one.)

4)  Productive procrastination.

I’m sure you have another task that you could do in the meantime while you’re trying to force yourself to write. Why not go do it for a bit? Maybe you need to reorganize your closet, finish a knitting project, or snuggle your cat. Set a timer for an hour and go do that for a while. Then come back and try writing again.

5)  (Re)mix it up.

I’m normally one of those people who needs silence to write, but today that’s just not helping. Go on Spotify or Pandora or Bandcamp and listen to some new music. Search for music to represent how you’re feeling. I’m liking the “Electronic Concentration” playlist on Spotify right now.

6)  Stop judging yourself. Now.

I know you’re doing it… that’s most likely one of the reasons why you aren’t writing anything. You’re probably thinking “I could do ______ but it’s stupid” or “I could write about ______ but it’s already been done before.” Your voice is important. Your thoughts are important. Your story needs to be told and heard. So write something… even if it’s just a sentence. You took a step in the right direction!


Got any great ideas for taming your writing rebellion? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.


Photo Credit: Creative Convex


Kerry Hishon is part of the TLTDAY podcast team. She’s a director, actor, writer, and stage combatant. Check out her blog at

Choreography and copyright…

I’ve been thinking about copyright and intellectual property for quite some time now… I create a great deal of things, on a regular basis, so I’m always thinking about how and where I receive inspiration.

Sometimes inspiration comes directly from the script or the music, sometimes from something entirely unrelated from the project, like a work of art, or something I’m reading. I once created a piece based upon the sculptures of Rodin – I started with just the shapes of his work, but I got so involved in his work that I went further and read about how and why he’d created those particular sculptures in the first place. The knowledge really fed into my creative process and helped me to realize the meaning and message of the completed piece.

So, when I’m creating something, who’s creation is it? OR, perhaps a better question would be, what percentage of the final piece is mine and what percentage belongs to my inspiration? OR, does it really matter? At the end of the day, I’ve created something entirely new that may then be of further inspiration to others and begat more work.

Romantic Atmosphere


But, when it comes to who gets to control the piece/creation… there’s the question. If I’ve created something that was originally fed by a script, the choreography came from me (and possibly some research I may have done), but the story and the music is the intellectual property of those who originally wrote it. Do we now share this? Should we? How would that work?

As far as the companies who grant royalties are concerned, it belongs to the writers of the play – but they didn’t send the me the choreographic notes for the original production – I did that. They didn’t even provide a paragraph that described any choreography, and frequently the music changes and undergoes revisions over time, so I am left to do the homework to learn the music and decide what MY story will be in the choreography. So, I think that it belongs to me. Set to their music and story.

Kansas City - Oklahoma!

This is a question that I ponder frequently and I’ll continue to ponder it. I wonder what your thoughts are? Sure, we need to support and protect copyright, but with the advent of YouTube and other social media platforms, I feel there needs to be further exploration of who exactly owns what, and what can and can’t (should? shouldn’t?) be done with creative work.

Comment below with any ideas you have.

Special Guest Post: Kerry Hishon!!!! Challenge Accepted!!!!!!

50 Art Challenges To Try This Winter


Two years ago I wrote a post here on the TLTDAY blog called 10 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Creativity. Well, it’s January again, and it’s pretty darn cold here in Ontario (as always!). I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to hibernate. But don’t give in to temptation! Shake off the “winter blahs” and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You need to CREATE! The world needs your art! Thus… I bring to you… Art Challenges!

Art Challenges are little prompts to get your creative juices flowing and make you smile. Many are silly. Many are challenging. All are fun! And most of them won’t cost a thing, other than your time and brainpower.

Some of the prompts will say “create a piece of art…” which doesn’t have to be limited to visual art. These challenges are not to be taking WITH MUCH SERIOSITY. Use them as a starting point. Bend or break the rules. Use them in any kind of art medium, style or form you wish – the sky is the limit! Make the challenges your own!

Here are 50 Art Challenges to get you started! Happy creating!

  1. Embrace your foodie side and create or consume some culinary art! Make or find some gorgeous nibbles, and share them with friends.
  2. Take a photo of something you think is beautiful.
  3. Try making some blackout poetry! (Check out @cassyfry for inspiration!)
  4. Buy a pack of markers or crayons and having fun colouring.
  5. Affix glitter to something.
  6. Get some sidewalk chalk and draw a picture someplace unusual.
  7. Write a story starting with “It was a dark and stormy night!”
  8. Go to a thrift store and create a costume for your alter ego (bonus points if you spend less than $10!).
  9. Take a photo a day and create a blog, Tumblr or Instagram to show off your photos.
  10. Make a cover of your favourite song.
  11. Sign up for a new class – printmaking, trapeze, photography, ukulele, sketching, Highland dancing… the sky’s the limit!
  12. Try your hand at sewing something – a costume piece, a pillow, doll clothes, a puppet…
  13. Create a dance piece using “opposite” music. Try ballet dancing to Marilyn Manson, or hip-hop to Beethoven, or lyrical to the Ramones.
  14. Create a comic strip of your day.
  15. Make a ‘zine devoted to your favourite form of art.
  16. Try reading or writing different kinds of poetry – acrostic, haiku, tanka, limerick, couplet, sonnet…
  17. Create a decorative table setting using items from around your house.
  18. De-clutter 5 items from your home, right now (you can’t create if you are surrounded by crap).
  19. Draw a picture with your non-dominant hand.
  20. Have a friend make a scribble on a paper, and turn it into a drawing or design.
  21. Incorporate the four elements into a piece (earth, air, fire, water).
  22. Create a piece based on a single colour.
  23. Finish your current work in progress.
  24. Create a piece of art featuring a candle.
  25. Create a new piece, and give it away.
  26. Create a new way of wearing your hair or makeup.
  27. Create a piece of digital art, or figure out a way to digitize an “analogue” art.
  28. Free write for 15 minutes.
  29. Design a coat of arms that represents you and your artistic endeavours.
  30. Create a postcard, write a note and mail it to a friend. (Check out @leftysmudges for inspiration!)
  31. Go to com and purchase a piece you’ve been admiring.
  32. Create something with glitter.
  33. Colour an entire page. Leave no part uncoloured.
  34. Invent & design your own board game or card game. Share it with others.
  35. Get your mixologist on and create a new, delicious, colourful drink.
  36. Decorate cookies or cake with icing and candy.
  37. Make a list of all the artistic venues you’d like to explore (Tap dancing! Calligraphy! Flute! Making YouTube videos! Burlesque! Stage combat!). Now figure out a way to take a baby step in the direction of exploring that venue.
  38. Go to a museum. Find a piece that speaks to you. Sketch it.
  39. Create a piece of art using office supplies (staples, tape, post-it notes, paperclips…).
  40. Go to a dollar store and create a piece of art using supplies that equal to $5 or less.
  41. Write a story that is only one page long.
  42. Write a story that is only one paragraph long.
  43. Write a story that is only one sentence long.
  44. Write a story using only dialogue.
  45. Turn a story you’ve written into a script for stage or screen.
  46. Write a stage adaptation of your favourite television show or film.
  47. Write a musical adaptation of a favourite play or book.
  48. Create your own “adult colouring book.”
  49. Grab a friend and dance wildly. If there’s no music playing, create your own.
  50. Come up with a list of 50 more Art Challenges.


We would love to see what you create. Share your creations on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #artchallenge so we can be inspired by you!


Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo


Kerry Hishon is part of the TLTDAY podcast team. She’s a director, actor, writer, and stage combatant. Check out her blog at

Inspired by others… Here’s my Year in Review (2015)

Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger/podcaster, Kerry Hishon – I’m going to try my hand at a review of my year. Here’s the link to her exceptional review:



The year began slowly as I was recovering from my production of Henry V at my high school. I was also suffering from four months of vertigo symptoms with no idea of the cause or the cure. January is always busy at school since it is the end of the semester and exams and final projects take up a great deal of time and effort. A special social event was attending Art Fidler’s official retirement party from Original Kids. It was a great evening to celebrate a really great guy.

January is also where Kiss a Ginger Day lives…. I recall that no one kissed me that day. Goal established for 2016!

Kiss a Ginger Day!
Kiss a Ginger Day!


This month really took off with activities. Brock was already busy with the combat for a friends production of Macbeth and I began rehearsals for Freckleface Strawberry with Original Kids. By the end of the month we’d already closed Macbeth – it was a great show!!!! I also experienced an Escape room with some of the other teachers from my school and Brock and I were invited to join the OKTC trip to NYC for March Break!

Delightful Show!
Delightful Show!


Brock and I created the violence for a pretty cool production of Miracle Worker – essentially an extended food fight scene – very, very cool. And then we were off to NYC! It’s always a great trip and this was the first time for Brock to join with OKTC. We saw tons, had a nice relaxing time and managed to average our ticket prices at $50/show.

NYC Trip - March 2015
NYC Trip – March 2015


Come April we were waiting for spring to arrive, Brock was helping with a production of West Side Story and yet another Peter Pan! We managed to go together to stage the final battle for Peter Pan – it is always a big deal, but we almost have it down to a science. We can stage it in about 90 minutes with a cooperative and attentive crew of actors! At the end of the month, I rejoined my buddy Kerry to work on another production called The Big Bad Musical – even though my production of Strawberry was still in rehearsal. Gotta love it when things overlap!


May saw us renewing our Pyrotechnician licences, Freckleface Strawberry hit the boards – and was a HUGE hit, especially since it was a story that people had not heard of before our production and our support of Peter Pan and West Side Story was completed. May is a busy month for shows, that’s for sure. I also had my first production meeting for She Loves Me – a show I’m currently choreographing that will see the audience in February of 2016.

She Loves Me - Coming in February!
She Loves Me – Coming in February!


June FLEW by with the OKTC grad night, a trip to the SHAW Festival with my Mum, the London Fringe Festival and the end of school with exams and projects. All the while, I was writing a script for a show we’d be rehearsing and performing in New York in July! not to mention finding the costumes and props we’d need for the show.


July was INCREDIBLE! We flew to New York, stayed in a very convenient and comfortable hotel, saw the hilarious production of Drunk Shakespeare and began rehearsals for our Doctor Who themed combat show with Art of Combat. It’s an intense week of rehearsals and classes that ends in two performances by the end of the week. I was pretty proud of the script I created to make a show out of the workshop scenes and also proud that I managed to memorize my part!

Doctor/Donna in NYC!
Doctor/Donna in NYC!

We flew home Sunday evening and by Tuesday afternoon I was traveling again! This time with my Mum to Great Britain! We had the most amazing trip seeing relatives and checking out all the places Mum used to go to when she lived there. We even took a quick day trip to London to see TWO shows. One glorious musical and a Shakespeare at The Globe! Bucket list items!

The Globe Theatre - Bucket List!
The Globe Theatre – Bucket List!


After returning from Britain, I had a week at home, to sleep and do laundry before I was on the road again. This time, I was headed to Connecticut to attend the Puppeteers of America Festival. This is a week long festival of workshops, performances and celebrating the art of puppetry. 2015 was my second time attending the Festival and at first I felt a little disappointed that it wasn’t the same as my first Festival, but before I made it half-way through the week, I couldn’t possibly imagine not attending the next one in 2017.

Leslie, Lolly and Me at the PofA
Leslie, Lolly and Me at the PofA

The end of the summer wrapped up with relaxation, yard work, meet ups with teacher friends and a production meeting for The Trials of Robin Hood! Oh, and I finally had laser surgery to correct my vision. Should have done it ten years ago!


By comparison, September was a pretty quiet month. Sure, school started up again, but the only other projects on the go at the time were auditions for She Loves Me and The Trials of Robin Hood. Both of these were incredibly fun although extremely different. At the time, I had no idea what was to come with these two great shows. Who knew?


October was a month of work. Rehearsals, rehearsals and more rehearsals. Also a few eye check ups to ensure that everything was progressing as it should. Which it was.

We also presented a workshop at the Annual CODE Conference – a special weekend for teachers of Drama and Dance. We raced in, did our workshop, said hi to a few friends, and then raced home. So we’d be back for rehearsals. Whew.


November was pretty similar to October with a bunch of rehearsals and promotions for the shows. We participated in the Santa Claus Parade with a bunch of Merry Men and Women – that was a great time! And Brock was pretty busy getting different props ready for a variety of shows. By the end of the month we were into our tech weekend for Robin Hood. It surprised us in the sense of how quickly it arrived, but we were ready for it. Many of the cast were doubtful going in to the weekend, but I could tell that we were right on track. All they needed was the audience.

Robin wins with a spoon!
Robin’s Lusty Stunts!



And it arrived! The Trials of Robin Hood opened on December 4th and was a big hit. It received four glowing reviews during the run (deservedly so, if I do say so myself) and it consumed the month for me. It ran for three weekends which is a longer run for our local theatre scene, but part of me wishes we were still doing it.

We became a really tight crew during the process and even went to play Archery Tag together a couple of times. There were many hugs and even tears when folks were saying goodbye on the final night. I’m very proud of the feelings that were generated by this show, for the audience AND for the cast and crew.

We all line up to shoot Brock!
We all line up to shoot Brock!

Tonight, I’m celebrating my wedding anniversary by shooting arrows at my husband. We are returning to Archery Tag for an unusual NYE celebration.

And Brock takes the hit - and catches it!!!
And Brock takes the hit – and catches it!!!

Things that happen DURING the show…

Lots can happen during rehearsals and even more can happen during the run of a show.  I’ve had to go on for ill performers.  I’ve had a performer have kidney stones – he still went onstage – it was thrilling (NOT). I’ve watched my actors perform in the dark due to power outage (both thrilling and terrifying).  These are extreme examples of things that can happen… but what you really need to be ready for is what the show does to you as you watch it take on a life all its own.

Directing a show is very challenging, fun and rewarding. It is cathartic and it is all encompassing. Gene Kelly used to get asked who was his favourite dance partner and he would answer Jerry the Mouse from Tom and Jerry. There was no way he was going to pick one person out of all the beautiful and talented people he’d performed with over the years. When he received his Lifetime Achievement Award, he admitted that you had to be a little bit in love with each girl in each movie in order to make it work. I think it is also true when directing a play… on a larger scale.

I can muster up some feelings for even the worst actor for a few moments on the stage, but if I’m going to direct something, I need to dig into the script and fall in love with many aspects of it – the humour, the dialogue, the characters, the locations – anything and everything to get me involved with bringing it to life. There are times, of course, when I’ve been assigned a show that hasn’t had as much draw for me as other productions, but whenever possible I really do dig into the material to find reasons for loving a show. And then I cultivate that feeling in the attempt to give it all I possibly can.

So then, when friends ask me, “What’s your favourite show?” How can I possibly answer that? I’ve found something to admire in each production and trying to rank them or decide “who” is the best is really an impossible quest. Rather, I can describe how they each made me feel. For example: The Three Musketeers was a fine French dinner with wine and good friends, Follies was a beautiful crystal necklace, Oklahoma! was a rollicking party and The Trials of Robin Hood was a big bear hug.

During my most recent show, The Trials of Robin Hood, I had all of these questions asked of me, and I had all of these musings. There were a few actors in this show who had worked with me before and I was so pleased to have them around again. There were several actors I’d never met prior to this production and I’m now very pleased to call them friends. What you never can expect is how a show will change you during the run. Watching Oklahoma! was like watching something someone else had created – I had to remind myself that it was my work on that stage. Watching, (and performing in) Robin Hood made me feel closer to a show than I had felt in a long, long time.

After the show is over, and cleaned up and you’ve had a little time to reflect, you can start to see how you may have been changed by the experience. I’m still not sure for this last one, but it was different. They all are – there’s no way to pick a favourite. So don’t try…. and don’t ask me.

And STILL more things that will happen at rehearsal…

The score won’t match…

When doing a MUSICAL…. or even a Play with Music… I promise you that whatever they have said in the script or written in the score – IF there IS a score… will not match any of the following…

a) the CD

b) the current script

c) the director’s vision

e) all of the above

Add to that… the cd won’t match…anything. Frequently it is a concept CD and that means it is very, VERY different from the production you are doing. The production that got altered before Broadway, before the Tour, after the Tour and before the release to amateur companies. It will be extremely different. Don’t count on it – in fact… the best advice is don’t use it. At best it is a basic, simple reference. Move on.

The script will NOT make sense… why would it? I mean, you paid for it, so it should… but believe me, it won’t. There will be typos for sure, but then there will also be ridiculous stage directions – that can only be done on MASSIVE Broadway budgets – and even then they are probably stupid stage directions, so Ignore them and do your own thing. Aside from that… there will be lines attributed to the wrong character or a missing character or someone you didn’t know was in the show… (seriously… ALL of these have happened in shows for which I have paid royalties to perform “their script word for word”) There may EVEN be stage directions that appear as dialogue… yup.

$h!t will be missing… Like a song you expected… or a character in the description list will be missing from the show… or an ENTIRE scene.. yup, once a script went from scene 7 to 9. We all wondered “What happened in Scene 8?”

Here’s the thing…. you roll with the punches, you do what is necessary to create your vision, you IGNORE the stage directions – and if possible, get your cast to ignore them as well and you make the best show you can. Even if it means you have to tweak a few things. Tweak away and get that show done!