Arts & Entertainment The Assembly Hall

Published on February 9, 2016 | by Samantha Lindgren     Photography by Samantha Lindgren


Theatre Etobicoke Celebrates its Diamond Year with Knickers.

A grandmother with a dirty secret is the main focus for Theatre Etobicoke’s new farce.

Nana’s Naughty Knickers is the spring production for Theatre Etobicoke and it stars a female lead who is elderly. The play centers on Sylvia Charles an 85-year-old woman who manufactures and sells lingerie illegally, while her lawyer-to-be granddaughter is living with her for the summer.

Katherine Bignell-Jones is the director. Bignell-Jones has been with the company for several years working in several departments, from directing, stage managing, costumes, lighting, and sets.

But with experience and knowledge in everything to do with the stage Bignell-Jones says her favourite is directing.

“I like finding the perfect cast, finding the cast that would have the best camaraderie and energy and seeing where I can take each person’s ideas and fit them in to make the best show for an audience,” Bignell-Jones added that she likes to add a twist the audience won’t see coming, hoping to get them to gasp.

Paul Louie the president and producer for Theatre Etobicoke has been with the company for 21 years. When Louie first joined the company he was a sound operator, later going into set construction, and program design.

“I love comedy so, I’ve taken this company on the road of just doing primarily comedy. If you look at the history of theatre Etobicoke they’ve done musicals, they’ve done dramas, they’ve done thrillers, they’ve done it all,” He added comedy shows are the shows their audience like to see. Paul also said that shows that include people in drag, in their underwear, or in compromising positions are always big sellers, “it brings more and more people out, they enjoy the silliness.”

Sixty years ago Theatre Etobicoke began producing comedy shows to wow audiences in the GTA. Theatre Etobicoke’s motto is to provide downtown level quality with the price of community theatre.

Theatre Etobicoke started as Little Theatre Etobicoke in 1956. The theatre thrives off community involvement and enjoyment. In the earlier years of Theatre Etobicoke there were hundreds of volunteers. But since then countless cut backs to arts all around the GTA and busier schedules, volunteers are harder to get and keep with any play house.

Louie joined at a time where Theatre Etobicoke was having severe financial issues resulting them closing for a year. Louie said, “it was myself at the time who decided to resurrect the company and I made a personal investment into it to get it going again.”

“You’ll never see me on stage, I am not an actor by any means, and I think that has something to do with the fact that this company has done so well is because of my background in business management. Most theatre companies especially community theatre companies are run by actors and actors don’t want to be what I do, they want to be on stage,” he said.

Krista Barzso, who plays Bridget the granddaughter in the show said, “I heard that they put on a really good show, that they are really professional in the way they approach the theatre and all of their projects, so I decided to try out and on my last experience I found that absolutely to be the case. It’s a lot of passionate, very talented people who pool their resources to make some magic happen for the theatre so I decided to come back.”

Nana’s Naughty Knickers is on stage in April at The Assembly Hall and tickets are on sale. For more information on show times and prices visit

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Is a third year Journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber, and she desires to be the next Jessi Cruickshank.

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