[ID: An image of a white face in profile. It has glasses and a large beard. The inside of the image shows a house floor plan. Blue, black, and yellow text bubbles reads RCA Theatre + Andy Jones Productions Don’t Give Up On Me, Dad May 31 – June 11 lspuhall.ca]
RCA Theatre Company Presents Don’t Give Up On Me, Dad
Written & Performed by Andy Jones*
Direction and Dramaturgy by Charlie Tomlinson*
Stage Management: Crystal Laffoley
Set, Props Design and Scenic Painting: Alison Helmer
Assistant Scenic Painter: Jack Soucy
Set Construction: Jeff Baggs
Sound Design: Brian Kenny
Lighting Design: Renate Pohl
Technical Direction: Reg Hoskins
Music Direction/Assistant Stage Manager/Voice of Klara: Jessica Power
Movement: Anne Troake
Children’s Chorus: Grace Ryan, Anthony Donnan, Kieran Foley, Dianna Connors, Maya Brodeur, Leah Scott, Josie Ellis, Oscar Elms, Jack Pellerin
Chorister Wrangler: Leigh Ann Ryan
Technical Assistance and Recording: Terra Bruce Productions
Production Administration: Nicole Rousseau and Brandon Hillier
Production Administration (for Andy Jones Productions): Laura Bruijns
Administration, Rehearsal Stage Management, Writer for Children’s Voices: Jenny Naish
Graphic Design: Perfect Day
This production was supported through the ACC and TCAR Arts Connector Program.
*The participation of these artists is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors Equity Association under the provision of the Dance*Opera*Theatre Policy.
The show runs approximately 120 minutes with an intermission.
CONTENT ADVISORY: This show deals with sensitive subject matter and is not suitable for younger audiences.
RCA respectfully acknowledges that the land on which we currently create, perform, and gather is the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk, whose culture has now been erased forever. The island we call Newfoundland is the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq. Labrador is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Innu of Nitassinan, the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, and the Inuit of NunatuKavut. We ask that before you watch the performance tonight, you take a moment to reflect on whose land you are standing on, whose land you were born on, and whose land you currently live on. We ask that you reflect on how that land was taken care of, and how it is taken care of now, and finally who currently walks freely on it. If this reflection makes you uncomfortable we ask that you sit in that feeling and question it. Let it help you work towards reconciliation, something we can only achieve together. Thank you.
Don’t Give Up on Me, Dad is actor/writer Andy Jones’s very personal story about the insight, courage, and unique humour of his son Louis as he battled with the mental and emotional anguish that led to his suicide.
This one-man show is a heartfelt and sometimes humorous analysis of Louis’ long journey through the health care system. In this new work, Andy lends his voice to the rising cry for compassion, care, and a quantum leap in funding for research into mental illness.
If you or someone you know is experiencing “the storm of the heart, soul, brain, and mind” please reach out to the resources below.
Bridge the Gapp
Mental Health and Addictions
A Message from our Artistic Animateur
Welcome to RCA Theatre Company’s Main Stage Production of Don’t Give Up On Me, Dad. You are about to witness the World Premiere of a new solo work for the theatre by the incomparable Andy Jones, the sixth in a series of critically acclaimed one man shows, many of which debuted on the LSPU Hall stage. We are proud to close RCAT’s 2022-23 Season with this production, a season which focused on reconnection through close fiction, verbatim, and documentary works that bring contemporary experiences to the stage and seek to inspire meaningful exchange. These stories are all, in some way, true.
Don’t Give up on Me Dad is supported by a gifted and generous creative team whose collective vision has affected the space in a transformative way. And we could never have done it alone, we are grateful to all our community partners, including the Arts and Culture Centres and Terra Bruce Productions, who have assisted the play’s creative journey over the last three years. Thanks, as ever, for coming with us, and for choosing live theatre for your night out. When you buy a ticket for a show at The Hall, you are supporting essential, live performance in your community, as well as important programs and resources for the artists who create them. We love to see you and hope you can join us again for more events in our upcoming season, more details coming soon!
Nicole Rousseau, Artistic Animateur
Cast and Creative Team
[ID: Andy, a white man in his 70s has short grey hair and a white beard. He is wearing glasses, a grey and white scarf and a black winter coat. He is standing in front of a rocky background.]
Andy Jones (he/him) was born and lives in St. John’s Newfoundland. He was a founding member of the Resource Centre for The Arts at the L.S.P.U. Hall where he co-wrote, acted in, and directed many original productions. He worked with the Newfoundland Comedy troupe CODCO in its theatrical form from 1974 to 1976, and in its television format from 1986 to 1991.
He has performed in theatre productions and film across Canada as well as touring his five previous one-man shows: Out of the Bin, Still Alive, King O’Fun, To the Wall, and An Evening with Uncle Val. His puppet show The Queen of Paradise’s Garden (co-created with Darka Erdelji) has toured extensively.
He has written 6 children’s books for Running the Goat Books and Broadsides including Peg Bearskin (co-written with Philip Dinn and adapted from the story as told by Elizabeth Brewer) and The Queen Of Paradise’s Garden –both of which were chosen by the International Youth Library of Munich for their White Raven List. His children’s book Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves won the 2012 BMO Winterset Award.
[ID: A black and white headshot of Charlie, a white man in his 60s. He has short white hair and is wearing a top hat, scarf, and winter coat. He stands on a street with stores and light posts behind him. It is snowing.]
DGUOMD marks the 4th time he and Andy Jones have collaborated on one of Andy’s one person shows. The first was Out Of The Bin almost 40 years ago.
A former Artistic Animateur of RCA he has directed many shows here at the Hall, both upstairs and down. These include Edward Riche’s plays Dedication and HAIL; The Drowning Girls (which he co-created and has been performed throughout the US and Canada, and as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines and Turkey) Joel Hynes’ Say Nothing Saw Wood, Agnes Walsh and Stan Dragland’s The Atom Station.
Elsewhere: Rig for the ACC in St. John’s, A Man Draws A Bird in Edmonton and an ongoing exploration of Oderin, a set of poems by Agnes Walsh.
A sometime actor (less so now) he most recently was at The Hall in The Father directed by Courtney Brown, Chariots Of Fire (The Grand, London) and on TV in Little Dog, Surreal Estate, fleetingly in Hudson and Rex, and Frontier.
He was also a regular out to Trinity at Rising Tide for many years.
He also wishes to acknowledge the recent loss of Chris Brookes, who would have had interesting things to say about this show.
[ID: Crystal is a white woman in her mid-30s with shoulder-length curly dark brown hair and hazel eyes. She is standing in front of a field of tall wild grass. She is looking directly into the camera, smiling and wearing a black shirt.]
Crystal Laffoley (she/her) is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Production Design & Technical Arts program. She has been working regularly with RCA Theatre since 2017 on projects including Rig, Birthday Balloon, Supper Club, Tangly, Seal Slippers, and Men of Misfortune. Other local credits include Come From Away in Concert (Marquis/ Entertainment/Junkyard Dog), Second Shot (Best Kind Productions), I Forgive You, Everybody Just C@lm the F#cK Down, Between Breaths, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (Artistic Fraud), Almost Baymous (Halfhandsome), and two seasons with Perchance Theatre. Beyond her work as stage manager, consultant, and arts administrator, Crystal has been a Teaching Artist at NTS for the last nine years, and she is a co-founder of Fireship Theatre, a community-focused theatre company based in New Brunswick.
[ID: Alison is a 28 year old woman with wavy hair and blue eyes looks over her shoulder towards the camera.]
Alison Helmer (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist who has been deeply and continuously influenced by her studies and experience working on the east coast. Born and raised on the prairies, she began her theatre education with the Stagecraft program at Grenfell college before completing the Scenography program at the National Theatre School of Canada. She approaches the world of both set and costume design through a lens of fantasy, history, and the tradition of storytelling. She is excited by tthat pushes the boundaries between conventional and experimental, and that seeks to fulfill our human search for truth, escape, and shared connection.
[ID: Brian is a white man in his 30s with brown hair and a red beard. Brian is wearing a black shirt sitting in front of a window.]
Brian (he/him) is a designer for theatre from Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador and is a graduate from The National Theatre School of Canada and Sheridan College. Selected credits include: Fall On Your Knees (Vita Brevis Arts), Jersey Boys (Citadel Theatre), Come From Away in concert (Mirvish, Marquis Ent), Billy Elliott, The Rocky Horror Show, The Music Man, Little Shop of Horrors (Stratford Festival), Elf, Grow, Mary Poppins (The Grand Theatre), Everybody Just C@lm The F#ck Down, Between Breaths, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams [Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland], Brian is a member of the IATSE Local 659, The Associated Designers of Canada.
[ID: Jessica is a white person in her 30’s with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is wearing a blue shirt and is sitting in front of a dark background.]
After completing a Bachelor’s in Music at Memorial University and Master’s in Music Therapy at Concordia University, Jessica moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a Music Therapist in a senior living setting. While there, she also acted with Keegan Theatre in An Irish Carol (Anna) and The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Lena). Jessica’s local theatre credits include: St. John’s Women’s Festival of Theatre: W;t (Susie Monahan); Wonderbolt Circus: Servant of Two Masters (Clarice); c2c Theatre: Leisure Society (Paula); Rising Tide Theatre: Nobleman’s Wedding (Nancy). Jessica is grateful to be a part of this beautiful show!
[ID: Renate is a white woman in her 40s with long brown hair and brown eyes. She is wearing a turquoise and white checked shirt and is sitting in front of a neutral beige background.]
Renate (she/her) is a Set, Lighting, Projection and Costume Designer with a background in performance and social theatre facilitation. She is a Resident Designer, Associate Professor and current Chair of the Theatre Program at Memorial University, Grenfell Campus. Some of the theatre companies in Newfoundland she has worked with include: Persistence Theatre Company; Double Sure; RCAT; Arts and Culture Centres; She Said Yes!; NAX; White Rooster; c2c; Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland; Opera on the Avalon; and Theatre Newfoundland Labrador. Outside of Newfoundland, some of her credits include work with Eastern Front Theatre in Nova Scotia; Mixed Company and Nightswimming in Toronto; Old Earth Productions and Free Will Players in Edmonton; and Union Theatre, Greenwich Theatre, Bush Theatre, New Ambassadors Theatre, Arcola Theatre, and Heart and Soul in London, UK. Renate’s work also includes research in applied creativity for STEM education and the space industry including the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency.
[ID: Anne is a white person in their 50s with brown and grey hair and brown eyes. They are wearing a black sweater and standing in front of a red background.]
Born in Twillingate, Newfoundland, Anne Troake (she/her) is an award-winning filmmaker, choreographer, installation artist, movement coach, and osteopath. Her creations have been shown in galleries, theatres, public spaces and on broadcast networks worldwide. In 2015 she completed a Master’s degree in Anthropology at Memorial University and in 2022 she obtained a diploma in Manual Osteopathy from the National Academy of Osteopathy in Toronto. When not working at her St. John’s clinic, Motion Osteopathy, she is developing a documentary film entitled The End of the Line, which explores the history, haptics and sociology of handwriting.
Andy Jones writes:
I would like to thank Brenda O’Brien, Patrick McKeever, Mary Lynn Bernard, Marthe Bernard, and Charlie Tomlinson for their exceptional help and insight during this last 5 years of writing and research for Don’t Give Up on Me, Dad.
I also want to extend special thanks to Melissa Yetman, Lauryn King, and Justine King for sharing their stories about the amazing Brendan Walsh and for their generous permission to talk about him in my show.
And thanks to Nicole Rousseau and everyone at the Resource Centre for the Arts and the LSPU Hall, for their moral and financial support for Don’t Give Up on Me, Dad, (from the very beginning!)
Heartfelt thanks for all your advice to my understanding friends including Mark Ferguson, Mary Win Clair, Raylene Newman, Stella Walker, Eleanor Jones, Walter Ferguson-O’Brien, Jesse McKeown, and David Hooper.
I cannot thank Jenny Naish enough for her remarkable administrative skills, – as well as her thorough research into the ‘voices’ and her rehearsal stage management support.
Special thanks to Lynn Panting for her unbelievable kindness as I took my first steps towards writing this show.
Thank you to Terra Bruce Productions for your exceptional consideration to this production.
Love and thanks for your interviews to, Rosie Myers, Simon Hiscock, Miles Sharp, Dash Malone, Nicolay Hristozov, Zachary Giovannini, Andrew Brown, Amanda Penney, Gabriel Jones Williams, Rick Page, Donna Kavanaugh, Marilyn Nichols, and Regina Callahan.
Thanks to our local community for your unwavering encouragement: Darren Ivany, Maria Cherwick, Calla LaChance of Neighbourhood Dance Works, Aiden Flynn and Chris Ball of the Arts and Culture Centres and TCAR Arts Connector Programs for their trust in and support for this show, Marlene Cahill for her brilliant administrative and moral support, Robert Chafe for his early encouragement, Libby Creelman, for her many years of kindness and support, Maria Foley, Marie Jones, David Baltzer, Greg Malone, Andrew Safer, Emma Butler, Alison Butler, Terry Greenlaw, Bill McGillivray, Vicki Morgan, Camille Fouillard, Ron Pellerin, Mary White, Michael Smith, Bob Joy (for his advice on the music), Dave Goulding (for his Physics), Laura Bruijns, Leigh Ann Ryan, Marnie Parsons, Derek Tomlinson, Arts Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s City Arts Jury, Canada Council for the Arts, Courtney Brown, Luc Clair, Dr. Patrick Snow for all his kindness, Jennifer Morgan, Pat Dempsey, Bernice Morgan, Peter Barnes, Bruce Gilbert, Esme Park, Mark Feener, Deanne Foley, Jill Keiley, Cathy Jones, Penny Alderdice, Peter Armitage, Tamara Ross, Banff Centre for the Arts, Sue Bailey, Heather Barrett, Mary Barry, Dr. Diane Birch, Cathy Chilco, Lee Tizzard, Monica Walsh, Mary Walsh, Agnes Walsh, Mike Wert, Lois Brown, James Benoit, Charlotte Baxter-Smith, Hillary McInnis, Paula Corcoran, Eleanor Dawson, Joan Dawson, Sharon and Tony Halfyard, Bernadette and Tony Duke, Edendale Library Los Angeles, Mark O’Neill (Panoramic Pictures), Randy Feener, and the Queen Elizabeth Library Memorial University.
And a special thank-you to John Lindsay, Judy Wall, Kim Saunders, and East Coast Properties for their great generosity to this production.
And last, but not least, I want to give deepest thanks to our amazing creative and production team Alison Helmer, Renate Pohl, Brian Kenny, Jesse Power, Anne Troake, Laura Bruijns, Crystal Laffoley, Reg Hoskins, (and once again to) Charlie Tomlinson, Duncan Major, Cora Cameron, Phil Winters, Heather Rumancik, August Carrigan, Kat Burke, Suzanne Mullet, Kevin Woolridge, Laura Williams, Brandon Hillier, Ashley Harding, Jeff Baggs, Grace Ryan, Daniel Lanigan O’Hara, Jarod Farrell, Anthony Donnan, Kieran Foley, Dianna Connors, Maya Brodeur, Leah Scott, Josie Ellis, Oscar Elms, Jack Pellerin, Leigh Ann Ryan, James Benoit, Drew Brake, Claire Bates and Sarah Comerford.
Resource Centre for The Arts Staff
Nicole Rousseau Artistic Animateur
Brandon Hillier Artistic Associate
Suzanne Mullett General Manager
Kat Burke Box Office Manager
August Carrigan Communications and Marketing Manager
Kevin Woolridge Operations Manager
Ian Campbell Volunteer Coordinator
Jen Fleming Box Office Supervisor
Allie Duff Box Office Attendant/ Bartender
Ren Follett Box Office Attendant/ Bartender
Una Hill-McMullin Box Office Attendant/ Bartender
Michael Rhodri Smith Box Office Attendant/ Bartender
Paul Warford Box Office Attendant/ Bartender
Reg Hoskins Technical Director
Heather Rumancik Theatre Technician
Phil Winters Theatre Technician
[ID: Text reads: Seat Campaign Back in the seats again! Ask us how to get your own seat in the historic LSPU Hall’s mainstage theatre. The photo shows the red theatre seats of the Hall.]
[ID: The black and pink RCA Theatre logo. The pink letters R-C-A are inside the black shape of the Hall building.]
Coming Up Next for RCAT!
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Your generosity makes a difference.
To find out how to donate to the LSPU Hall, visit our Support Us page.
Thank you to the LSPU Hall Volunteers!
[ID: A faded photo of the Hall with the word Volunteer in pink and green blocks written vertically down the left side. The white Hall logo is in the top right corner.]
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We would truly be lost without them and can not thank them enough for their wonderful work.
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[ID: CAPE logo. Text reads Cultural Artists Plan for Emergencies]
Since its inception in 2005, The Cultural Artists Plan for Emergencies (CAPE) Fund has
become a life line for artists in our community finding themselves in unexpected crisis
situations. Fifty cents from each ticket sold will benefit the CAPE Fund.