A couple of weeks ago, it was 7 o’clock on a Tuesday night and I was frantically running around Concordia, lost. I was supposed to interview the ladies of the Montreal theatre troupe Hopegrown Productions to chat about life as a young female actor and their play Around Miss Julie, (a meta theatre experience of sorts about a group of actors trying to put on the Stringberg play Miss Julie) which was showing as part of the Montreal Fringe Festival. Just as I was about to give up and call it a night, what should appear but an information kiosk! It appeared our interview was meant to happen after all.
And thank goodness it did! If I hadn’t made it, I never would have had the chance to meet with the three founding members of Hopegrown; Lindsey Huebner, Miriam Cummings and Samantha Megarry, who are all recent grads of the theatre program at Concordia University.
Hopegrown Productions was born when these obviously close friends were seeking quality material for female characters and the chance to continue working for people they trust and respect. They concluded that the best way to do this was to start their own theatre troupe.
“There was just nothing out there for young female actors that appealed to us,” Cummings said. “So we decided to start our own thing. That being said, just because we care about strong female characters doesn’t mean we’re anti-men or anything. We just want the same juicy types of characters as they do.”
Unlike many other artists I know, who decide they want to start a company but then smoke weed and go to bed instead, Hopegrown Productions have been working hard throughout the year to ensure that their current project was properly promoted and financed. Around Miss Julie is the troupe’s debut production. Written by Harry Standjofski, who taught the Hopegrown ladies while they were at Concordia, Around Miss Julie premiered at this year’s Fringe Festival. The play is scheduled for an international tour over the rest of the summer.
They launched an Indiegogo campaign and have been active on social media all throughout the year to ensure there was buzz about their opening at the Fringe.
“It’s kinda been scary, all the interview requests we’ve gotten about the show. Scary, but great obviously. It means our hard work has paid off,” Megarry said enthusiastically.
During our interview, the ladies couldn’t help but praise their professor for delivering them this incredible script to work with, noting how rare it is to find female characters who are “well rounded in all aspects, fully developed, three-dimensional women.” After the Montreal Fringe is over, the ladies will be performing the play at the Ottawa and Hamilton Fringe Festivals before capping it off with a trip to Scotland to play the original Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.
Around Miss Julie has been getting excellent reviews around the Montreal theatre blogs. I am super excited to have made this play a part of my final Fringe 2013 weekend. There’s one final showing today, June 23, at 7 p.m. at Club Espagnol (4388 Saint-Laurent). See the Hopegrown Productions website for more details.
Image from HopegrownProductions.ca