History

The Other Guise Theatre Company is committed to developing theatrical presentations reflecting the history and culture of our community while supporting the livelihoods of local professional and emerging artists. Our work reflects our community and our stories have strong musical ties within them.

Matthew Payne

Artistic and Executive Director

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Tobin Stokes
Musical Director

2001 The company’s first production in 2001 Sex: the Musical, created by Desprez with musical direction by Tobin Stokes, played to sold-out houses at the Belfry Arts Centre and enjoyed unanimous critical acclaim. The production also enjoyed a successful run in Nanaimo, BC.
2002 In 2002 The Vinedressers reunited the team of Tobin Stokes (Composer, Librettist) and Ross Desprez (Director). This world premiere included a cast of seven singers, musical director/accompanist and three musicians. Once again, the company enjoyed critical acclaim and strong audience response. The Vinedressers enjoyed its second production at the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific in Powell River, BC.
  In November 2002, OGT work-shopped Moodyville Tales, created by Desprez with musical direction by Stokes. The play ran in February 03 and featured a cast of 7 actor/musicians. The play enjoyed a revival at the Chemainus Theatre in April 03 and was remounted in downtown Victoria in the summer of 2006 for a sold out 4 week run.
2004

The company’s fourth project was the world premiere of Charles Tidler’s Tortoise Boy in 2004. With a cast of two local professionals partnering with two University of Victoria theatre students, this darkly poetic piece garnered excellent press and audience response.

2005

Desprez then created The Ballad of Jim Pane featuring Zach Stevenson. The show premiered at the Belfry Theatre’s Festival in March 2005. Such was the success of the initial production the Belfry remounted the show that summer. In 2007 the show was invited to the On The Waterfront Festival at Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax, NS.

2007 In 2007 Desprez showcased acclaimed local Victoria professionals Brian Linds and Jan Wood in a stellar production of Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad by Michael Melski. The show played to sold out houses at the Belfry Arts Centre Studio.
2010

The company focus for 2008/09 was the development of the new multi-media musical revue Good Timber – Songs and Stories of the Western Logger. This work again reunited the team of Desprez and Stokes as lead creators collaborating with some of BC’s finest actor/musicians. The show premiered on July 2, 2010 at the Royal BC Museum. The response to the piece was outstanding and it has toured BC during 2011, 2012 and planning is underway for more in 2013.

2012 In 2012 OGT premiered Tobin Stokes’ new chamber opera, Rattenbury. Internationally acclaimed opera star, Richard Margison, sang the title role and the piece featured stellar performers Kathleen Brett, Julia Morgan, Erin Ronningen, Ken Levine, Andrew Erasmus and Stephen Barradell. Members of the Victoria Symphony were under the baton of Maestro Arthur Arnold, Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow Symphony. Rattenbury premiered September 2012 at the Crystal Ballroom, Empress Hotel, Victoria.

 

2015

Desprez collaborated with Mark Hellman to adapt legendary folk icon Pete Seeger’s memoir “The Incompleat Folk Singer” for the stage. Mr. Hellman has since toured this one man hootenanny across Canada and south of the border including a performance Off - Broadway in New York City.

2017

2017 saw another collaboration with an amazing group of actor/musicians and our videographer John Carswell in the creation of Flotsam and Jetsam: Life On The West Coast. In this production Desprez and Stokes continued interpreting historical events along the BC coast through song. This show was reproduced in 2018. *This production is dedicated to the memory of Roger Kemble*

2018

Straying from the musical format, in 2018, the company began workshopping a new script written and performed by Canadian veteran actor Allan Morgan. I Walked The Line is Allan’s autobiographical experience walking the picket line for a large BC union and learning the hard way that community and brotherhood only goes so far. This one person show has been presented multiple times in multiple theatres across the province.

2019 and beyond

In 2019 The Other Guys and Vancouver Island University co-produced Slugfest. This musical, written by Ross Desprez with music by Tobin Stokes, tells the tale of a small coastal town saved from financial ruin when big business and environmentalists battle over the local supply of the medical miracle properties discovered in slug slime.

During covid The Other Guys workshopped Vancouver Island playwright Robinson Wilson’s powerful and poetic script The War Song of Miranda Bird. The play was presented in a public staged reading at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre.