Théâtre Orangeville’s videographer brings real theater into film | bloginfo(‘name’); ?>

March 3, 2022 0 comments

By Constance Scrafield

Filming a play so that the movie retains the feel of actually being in the theater has been the challenge over the several months of the pandemic. For the Orangeville Theater, the person behind the camera in charge of producing the desired effect is Sara May.

A graduate of Ryerson’s Film Studies in 2013, Sara May joined the Orangeville Theater amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

She commented in a recent phone interview with the Citizen: “Well, like everyone else, during the pandemic everyone had to change what they were doing. I was really interested in things [the team at Theatre Orangeville] were doing. I had filmed Community Living Dufferin (CLD) [Theatre Orangeville Exceptional Players – T.O.E.P.] shows and made a movie of Leisa [Way] To display. They were some of the shows of the Orangeville Theater virtual shows, putting them online; convert theater to video. It was super fun.

Definitely a team effort, directing the shows has been the loosely shared responsibility between Ms May and director David Nairn. When it came to filming the new plays that had been developed, it was a learning curve for both: for Mr Nairn who had never worked with film before and Ms May whose experience was limited to much shorter works of mostly promotional videos. .

“Before I started working on it, I wasn’t used to doing long stories,” she says, “I had done gigs and the first [for Theatre Orangeville] was Tone Fusion. David is really, really confident and lets me do my thing, but it was a back-and-forth relationship and needed input from the rest of the crew.

The filming process to get it right was a long one, setting the scenes and re-shooting them for editing later. Patience and meticulousness reflect the excellence of the actors but also the work of the creative team in the sets, lighting, costumes, everything that is necessary for the staging of a play. The result of many hands at work.

“I think we work very well together,” Ms May confirmed, “Even though I had started [my career] work on shorter films. These are not corporate videos; it’s almost like a movie. Mixing this theatrical experience with film – it was very exciting for us to tackle together as a team. I think that’s when the trust started with the rules of the risk game.

How to bring the intimacy of the theater alive in a film as closely as possible: each scene was shot several times, framing each scene differently to capture the emotions, a question of the use of resources and capturing the meaning of the theatre. For Ms May, one of the biggest compliments was that people said they always felt like they were really at the theater.

If David Nairn trusts Sara May, she trusts her instincts: “I trust what I want to see as an audience, in a setting; everything I see is in a frame. So I have to think about how I would like to see this – near or far.

Now she knows how to turn a play better. She didn’t know it before.

Far from Sara May, which was really important, as a musician and performer herself by which she admits that she feels partly valued and during the pandemic not being able to perform, see other people perform for the theater “was really a therapy; it was really important for me to witness the performance of other actors and performers. Filming them gave me space for my creative side,” she said.

Also important was meeting all these talented performers she didn’t even know before.

“I was on a Young Company show,” she said, “as the King of Hearts, I think. I had a great time. It was my first experience of the Orangeville Theater.

The first thing she filmed [in the theatre] was Roland Kirouac’s wonderful performance entitled Message from a Fool. After that, there were a few other things. It was Teena Avery, the theater’s marketing manager, who contacted her to come and work with the Orangeville Theater team as a videographer.

Have established the shooting routine to virtually share the entertainment on the main stage with the audience; having researched and succeeded in the technology to bring these videos exclusively to the theater’s online customers – not only locally but also across the country and in Britain and Europe – Orangeville Theater Online is here to stay.

Ms. May finds it really exciting that the Orangeville Theater is offering people the opportunity to still ‘come’ to the theatre, commenting that the theater has purchased ‘live video equipment’ in order to start offering live streaming of the shows while they are performed. This option subjects the customer to the same rules as those that apply to physically go to the theatre. The game starts at a specific time and if a person joins late in line, they necessarily miss what has happened so far. Prepare your refreshments early.

As ambition, she said, “I just want to keep doing the best I can and making great movies. The whole team is amazing. I just want to keep giving it my all. My responsibility is to ensure that these shows are properly videotaped and to lend my expertise to the work.

Sara May says anyone can enjoy these productions because they are created by a group of professionals who make world-class theater.

“The videos are done in a very engaging way and they capture the spirit of what it’s like to watch the plays in person, as if they were actually in the theater.”

Starting today at the Orangeville Theater, “Things my Fore-Sisters Saw,” written and performed by Leslie McCurdy, is about four women of African descent who have created change in Canada. One of them is the lady on the ten dollar bill. Come and find out all about her.

The play runs from March 3-13 and will air live on Sunday March 6 and Thursday March 10.

After Thursday it will be available as a paid and exclusive video as usual.

Covid protocols are still in place for in-person screenings and to purchase tickets, or find out more about the production, go to

You can also call the box office at 519-942-3423.

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