Image: John Alcorn

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The Cultch Presents

Little Willy

A Production of Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes (Toronto)

10

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29

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the performance

The Daisy Theatre gang is back with their irreverent hijinks as they take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in Little Willy. Burlesque star Dolly Wiggler starts the show with an Elizabethan striptease in this riotously funny improvised mash-up of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays. All the leading ladies of the Daisy ensemble battle for the role of Juliet, including faded diva Esme Massengill in a boozy interpretation of the lovesick ingénue.  Beloved audience favourites Schnitzel and Mrs. Edna Rural are back in supporting roles, and adding to the fun and mayhem, The Bard himself joins The Daisy Theatre cast for a twisted retelling of this timeless tale.

Created and Performed by Ronnie Burkett
Music by John Alcorn
Stage Management by Crystal Salverda
Ronnie Burkett is represented by John Lambert & Assoc., Montréal (johnlambert.ca). 

The Cultch acknowledges that it is on unceded territories belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Created with the support of the Explore and Create program of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Ronnie Burkett; photo by Dahlia Katz

Cast & Company Bios

Ronnie Burkett has been captivated by puppetry since the age of seven, when he opened the World Book Encyclopedia to “Puppets”.  He began touring his puppet shows around Alberta at the age of fourteen and has been on the road ever since. 

Recognized as one of Canada’s foremost theatre artists, Ronnie Burkett has been credited with creating some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppetry. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes was formed in 1986 and has stimulated an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre, continuously playing to great critical and public acclaim on Canada’s major stages, and as a guest company on numerous international tours abroad.

Ronnie has received numerous awards in the Canadian theatre as a playwright, actor and designer for his work with Theatre of Marionettes, including the 2009 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, The Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre, and international recognition including a Village Voice OBIE Award in New York for Off-Broadway Theatre, The GLAAD Award for Outstanding Theater, Broadway/Off-Broadway,  and four Citations of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette. In 2019, he was appointed as an Officer of The Order of Canada.   

Ronnie’s highly acclaimed and wildly popular improvised marionette vaudeville cabaret The Daisy Theatre has played seven consecutive sold-out touring seasons including Los Angeles to New York, Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney and Auckland, and follows the international successes Penny Plain, Billy Twinkle, 10 Days on Earth, Provenance and the “Memory Dress Trilogy” of Tinka’s New Dress, Street of Blood and Happy. Little Dickens (The Daisy Theatre version of A Christmas Carol), premiered in 2017. In June 2019, Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes premiered a new audience-interactive production, Forget Me Not. In 2022, The Loony Bin premiered, Ronnie’s first solo salon handpuppet show since he was a teenager. In 2023, The Daisy Theatre cast takes on Shakespeare in Little Willy, and work has begun on Ronnie’s dream project Wonderful Joe for a spring 2024 premiere.

Image of John AlcornJohn Alcorn is one of Canada’s premiere jazz vocalists, delivering his distinctive renditions of jazz standards on the most prestigious bandstands and concert stages across Canada. His list of citations and acknowledgements in music and theatre include both Jazz Report (Male Vocalist of the Year) and Dora (Outstanding Music) awards. As composer, lyricist, musical director, arranger and producer, he has collaborated with numerous significant Canadian theatre artists, including Daniel MacIvor, Deanne Taylor, Sky Gilbert, Theresa Tova, and Tomson Highway, and eight collaborations with Theatre of Marionettes.

Picture of Crystal Salverda.With over 30 years in the entertainment industry, Crystal has been blessed to work both across the country and internationally stage managing some wonderful productions. She has had the pleasure of working with Ronnie for the past 11 years.

She has also worked with companies such as Blyth Festival, Kidoons Network, Calgary Stampede, Necessary Angel, Soulpepper Theatre, Canadian Stage, Harold Green Jewish Theatre, just to name a few. Other work experience includes Operations for Field of Dreams and Little League Classic (BaAM Productions), Sales Manager (Westsun), Concert Stage Manager (Marquis Entertainment).

Interview with Ronnie Burkett: Part One—The Daisy Theatre

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