Three houses. Three families. Five days. Two neighbours. Telescopes, guitars, subway trains, churches, and two ice cream cones. And one big decision. We The Astronomers is live theatre like nothing you've seen from an amateur theatre before.
We're a Crazy Bunch of People
The Knockout Theatre Company is a not-for-profit amateur theatre company based in the town of Oakville, Ontario, Canada. We are made almost entirely of students and young adults from schools across the province of Ontario, who have trained and worked professionally in live entertainment. Despite this, we're an extremely fun bunch who love eating chicken wings and binging Netflix after production meetings.
Our members and alumni have worked for the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, the CMTP, and starred in both Hollywood films and several TV series. Schools they come from include Queen's University, Sheridan College, Wilfred Laurier and the University of Waterloo, Randolph Academy, Western University, Niagara College, Trent University, and the University of Toronto.
And still, the shows we put on are different, because we're not doing this to hopefully "be discovered", or become famous at all. The world of entertainment can be gruelling, and very intimidating. We create live theatre not primarily because we believe it is important, but because it's joyful. It's fun!
The most important thing to all of us is that we put on a great show. We want everyone who walks out of the theatre to really feel like they had a great time. It might be a scary, sad, or complex play, or some hysterical, loud, and colourful spectacular. No matter what it is: Theatre should be entertaining. And we have fun doing these projects for an audience: everything we do is for the people who come and sit in the seats.
In short? We're professionally trained artists and entertainers who do this for the love of telling a great story. And we're serious about having fun.
Our mandate usually creates a new play every year in the late Spring, but we're flexible on whatever it is we discover the next amazing show is going to be. (We also specialize in some terrific short-term projects). While we're made mostly of young adults, and we believe it's important young people make a point of theatre being in the culture for people our age, we make theatre for everybody, and don't let our age suggest we take things lightly. For us, every detail must be perfect.
It's Time for Something Extraordinary.
Since 2013, we've produced three other shows in three different cities. The first production was actually first produced by the University of Waterloo, and had a team of just three people. We've grown to nearly 50 members since then, and we keep growing. Our shows have been done in Oakville, Waterloo, and Mississauga.
But we've also used Kickstarter twice before to make the show happen, and every time we do, it's amazing to see what happens. (And it's not just our dumb resident writer Tyler smearing his ugly face on everything). Here are some links to see the other shows we've done in the past:
Post-Its - February 2014, Waterloo
Gate Seventeen (Boarding Soon) - May 2014, Oakville
A View from the Bridge - May 2015, Mississauga
Now, we're currently in production for the largest play we've ever done before. It's grand in scale, using new technology and elements we've never used before. It's epic in every sense of the word, and we couldn't be more excited to bring it to the stage this summer.
It's called We The Astronomers, and we are performing it from Thursday June 16th to Saturday June 18th 2016 at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. The show will be presented once each night at 7:30pm at the Centre in downtown Burlington.
The new play was written by Tyler Collins, author of other amateur plays like Coaltown Road, Gate Seventeen (Boarding Soon), Magazine, and The Business of Fine Dining. Over two years in development, Astronomers is epic in every sense of the word. The play is a mix between a classic three act dramatic piece and more technical immersive theatre of the 21st century.
About the Show / The Story
Exhilarating, terrifying, heartbreaking, and magnificent all at once; it's a unique fusion where traditional theatre uses light, shape, colour, and world music to create an immersive environment on stage.
It is May 1999 in Toronto, Canada, where the city is ready to resume construction on an expanded underground subway line after a deadly accident that happened four years ago. In just seven days, the workers will return to the previously excavated tunnels underneath Mayfield Road, where three families live in rented homes. But first, one of these houses must be emptied to become the new construction office, and the residents of the street have 96 hours to decide who's moving out. As friends and relatives explore the outcomes of the sudden eviction, the two youngest residents begin to unravel a dark secret hiding in the streets, and may soon threaten everyone with a catastrophic danger.
Equal parts epic, mystery, and adventure, We The Astronomers is an alternate history play from the end of the 20th century. Both about the moral complexity between discovery and spirituality, the parallel between then and today poses a unique and socially uncomfortable question: If you turn to the skies and fantasize about the present and our future, what is it that we're really looking up at - and perhaps more importantly, what's looking back down at us.
You Can Help Bring the Show to Life
The nature of live theatre makes it extraordinarily difficult to produce entirely by ourselves. It takes months of planning and fundraising, followed by months of rehearsing and building to get a show ready for maybe three or four days. It takes thousands of dollars to mount a normal community production; and the scale of this show's grand design makes it only more expensive. We've never done anything this large or intricate before, and we've already poured everything we have to keep it going since November.
Knockout Theatre Company has used Kickstarter successfully three times before, and we're confident in our abilities not just to make the projects come to life, but to put on a quality show with some fantastic incentives for the people who go the extra mile to support us. (Or even just the extra couple feet!).
Putting on a show requires an extraordinary amount of time, people and a notable financial investment. The money raised by the Kickstarter project go to pay all immediate expenses to finish the project ahead of the performance in June. This includes the theatre rental, set construction, buying of costumes and props, theatre insurance, marketing the show, and taking care of the actors. (Actors are people too. They need money for things like food and medicine).
Knockout Theatre Company is not a registered charity. The company, however, does not operate for financial gain. Our main goal is not to make money from the production; we are an amateur group who want only to put on a great show. Most of us are still in school full-time, or working full-time positions, and work as volunteers in the organization. The main objective is to put on a great show for our audience. We just can't do it by ourselves.
The Filmed Production
One of the most exciting parts about the production is a new venture for us as theatre artists - we are filming the show! :D
Perhaps our biggest challenge for as long as we can remember has been how we make the show accessible and available to see for anyone who can't come and see the live performances. We've teamed up with filmmaker Cameron Parker, the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, other videographers, and both film and theatre directors to produce a top-notch filmed recording of the show, which will be made available first as a reward here on Kickstarter, and then available to the general public.
Both private rehearsals in the theatre and live performances will be captured on camera to make the most authentic and immersive recording to be as close to seeing the show in person as we can make it. This is the best way to see the show from anyone outside the Greater Toronto Area, and we're so excited to finally share our work with a much wider audience.
Did We Mention the Great Rewards?
Most of the rewards we offer are some way of seeing the show. No matter how much you give, we're extremely grateful for you supporting us. In return, we you to come and see what all our hard work creates, and have a great night out with some terrific entertainment.
Most of the rewards we offer with the project involve tickets of some kind, because the most important thing to us is getting to share the play with as many people as possible. Buying your tickets here on Kickstarter also saves you tax and the facility fees on buying your tickets, meaning they will never be cheaper than the prices you see here!
In addition to you seeing the show in a few different ways, we also offer some truly special experiences for our most generous supporters! You can read more about these below. (Note: Reward tiers are not inclusive, and do not include rewards from previous tiers).
$5.00 BACKER: SEE THE SCRIPT. As a thank you for supporting the show, we'll share with you an electronic file with the first 20 pages of the script. It will include goodies about the show, an insight into the piece, and let you read scene one ahead of coming to see the show in person. (And as with all KO projects - our Kickstarter backers always buy tickets before anyone else).
$25.00 BACKER: SEE THE SHOW. For $25.00 CDN, you get to see the show. You can decide between either an order for a digital copy of the filmed performance available late this summer, or better still, one free ticket to see the show live. This choice saves you over 30% on the cost of your ticket. Simple as that: $25.00 = get a ticket. Easy!
$35.00 BACKER: TICKET + MOVIE COMBO. This is the best of both worlds! For $35.00 we'll include one ticket for you to see the play in person, and also give you a copy of the movie upon its completion. This way you'll get to see the show as many times - or with as many people - as you like.
$50.00 BACKER: TWO TICKETS. For $50.00, you get two free tickets. This is good for any performance you like, and again, saves you over 30% on the cost of tickets to see the show.
$75.00 BACKER: TWO PREMIUM TICKETS. Interested in reserved seating to the show? Need to guarantee aisle seats? Want to sit in the best seats in the house? The Premium seats are the front two rows of the theatre, reserved in advance under your name. $75.00 gets you two premium tickets for any performance, over 20% off the normal price. This is the only way to guarantee specific seating for the show, and promises you the best views in the theatre.
$125.00 BACKER: BE A V.I.P. Being a VIP is the best way to see the show live. You'll be the first ones assigned your tickets in our premium front row-seats, and also enjoy complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and an autographed souvenir. This reward includes two VIP tickets for the show.
$250.00 BACKER: BE A PRODUCER. In addition to all the above rewards, your name will be listed in the house program as one of the producers for the show, guaranteed two opening night tickets, and other surprises to enjoy at the performance.
$500.00 BACKER: SEE THE DRESS REHEARSAL. In addition to all the above rewards, you'll receive an invitation for you and a guest to see the final rehearsal and private taping of the show on Wednesday June 15th at the theatre, OR the final dress rehearsal at our rehearsal space in Oakville on Monday June 13th. You'll see the show before anyone else, and be invited as our exclusive guests to these events. (Guests must be Canadian citizens and over the age of 14. Other details to be arranged with the producer).
$1,000.00 BACKER: BE IN THE SHOW. Ever wanted to perform on stage? This could be your chance! In addition to all the above rewards, you'll spend an afternoon in rehearsal with the cast, and ahead of the show that evening, you'll work to appear in the show that night in a non-speaking role during the show's final act. You'll receive three guest tickets to see you that night, and a photo with the cast after the show. A once-in-a-lifetime chance, and an experience you'll remember forever. (Participant must be a Canadian citizen and over the age of 16. Further details to be arranged with the theatre and the executive producer. Other restrictions may apply; rules subject to the discretion of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre).
And on top of all the rewards listed above, there are some other BONUS REWARDS you can add on to any of the previously mentioned rewards, (Except for backers at the $5.00 level) to make sure you get the best possible experience with the show:
- $5.00: A PDF file of the first 20 pages of the script in April.
- $10.00: A copy of the filmed performance.
- $25.00: An additional general ticket.
- $40.00: An additional premium ticket.
- $5.00: Guaranteed aisle seating. (For Premium tickets only).
If there's any combination of rewards you don't see above, add the total of whatever set of rewards you like, and include a list in your private comments with us about any extras you'd like to receive.
We Can't Wait to See You this Summer!
On behalf the executive producers, cast, crew, and everyone involved with the production, and from the bottom of our hearts: Thank you. Without your generosity, none of what we do is possible. Our show is about what great things happen when you work as a team on a greater purpose than ourselves, and the community built in theatre, Kickstarter, and with our audiences are what make live theatre so special.
Everyone here at Knockout Theatre Company is beyond grateful for your support in young amateur entertainment, and looks forward to sharing the final product with you. We can't wait to see you at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre this summer!
Risks and challenges
Creating live theatre brings similar challenges to producing any live event The nature of theatre means there us an absolute timeline that must be adhered to, and the pressure of all the work we need to do. Knockout Theatre's corporate design is actually specialized to this very problem: What can be seen as a weakness to many companies, can be identified as a talent for us.
We've created projects and productions under extreme constrains and brutal restrictions - everything from making everything for free, producing full scale productions in a matter of days, to some actors learning parts in only a few hours. We work best when the pressure is raised to a maximum; there is no challenge we haven't accepted, and no show we won't try.
All the content of our company, recordings, music, promotional material, and work published on Kickstarter are created exclusively by and for the company, with ownership being exclusive to Knockout Theatre Company. All work and materials created for "We The Astronomers" is full owned by and for the Knockout Theatre Company, and used for licensing and distribution only by Knockout Theatre Company.
If you have any questions about the project, or have any questions into our process of staging the production, feel free to contact us through Kickstarter's free communication and messaging. (This is just so we don't put private contact info on the internet). You can also check our FAQ section below, or email us at knockout email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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