Northumberland Players offers workshops in theatre performance and theatre production. They are co-ordinated by Valerie Russell.

Workshops provide opportunities to learn from recognized, experienced and knowledgeable teachers. They are conducted in a group at the Firehall with others who share the passion for community theatre.
In addition, there are workshops offered by other organizations in the community that might be of interest.
Workshops will be added at the top as they are announced. Check back often to see what is coming up, check your dates and sign up by emailing Val Russell.

Scenic Painting Techniques

Saturday September 15, 2018.  10:00 – 3:30

Mattea has been a Scenic Artist for over 25 years in Theatre, Film and Television. Trained in both London England and Toronto, she is passionate about the art, craft, techniques and faux finishes that create the magic of Scenic Painting. In her career she has worked on many wonderful productions including for Broadway, CBC television, The National Ballet of Canada, The Canadian Opera Company, Tarragon Theatre, The Blyth Festival, Young Peoples’ Theatre, and Soulpepper Theatre Company. When she is not painting for work you can find her with her three children; gardening, cooking and creating art.

Here is a short over view of the day, based on the elements we will cover.

1. Experience and background
2. Theory and objectives of Scenic Painting
3. The physics of light
4. Tools and tricks of the trade
5. Techniques, layering, glazes and topcoats.
6. Demonstrations and hands on practical work. Focusing on Marble, Wood and Stone.

… if time permits I will touch on
7. Shadow and light, Trompe l’œil, vignettes.

Northumberland Players Third Space, Lovshin Rd.
Fee $25.00 Lunch provided.

If interested please email for a space.

Hair Styles and Techniques

Wednesday September 12 and 19, 2018.

Learn the specialized skills for achieving period hairstyles for the stage.

Over two evenings, Betty Atkins will demonstrate the techniques for achieving up-sweeps, finger waves, and other period “dos” and then and allow for hands on training on real models.

Betty has been a hair stylist for 48 years. She was the owner of BJ’s Hair Salon until her recent retirement. Betty is very knowledgeable about many types of period hair styles and how to achieve those “looks.”

Betty is very active in fund raising for the Ontario Cancer Society and her fee for these workshops she is presenting goes towards her 40K Walk for the Cure.

Firehall Theatre, Second Floor Blair Room, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
$25.00 for 2 sessions.

Download the Hair Styles and Techniques Flyer to share with others.

If interested please email for a space.

Past Workshops

Costumes Workshop

Presented by Delphine White
Saturday, November 4, 2017  This workshop is now full.

Firehall, Cobourg, in the second floor Blair Room

Fee $25.00 includes light lunch break

Check back for further details about Delphine and her plan for this workshop.
In general she will be addressing how a costume designer can “create the look of each character according to the Director’s production concept and within the budget by selecting clothes and accessories the actor will wear in performance” (NP Production Handbook).

If you would like to participate in this workshop, contact Val Russell at or at 905-342-2893.

The Ins and Outs of Stage Management

Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Finished

Facilitator: sandra Henderson. See sHenderson_BIO 2017

sandra Henderson is a performance practitioner based in Toronto, Ontario. Her practice in the arts is rooted strongly in the belief that performance projects are best understood holistically, bridging technical and artistic conversations and fostering dialogue across disciplines. She brings this belief to all of her work as production manager, tour coordinator, lighting designer, stage manager, rehearsal director, performer or technician.


Saturday September 9, 2017

Facilitator: Hilary Sadler, Manager, Marketing & Development, The Burlington Performing Arts Centre

The workshop covered:

  • Defining integrated marketing communications
  • Delivering the same method through a variety of channels (print vs digital)
  • Defining branding
  • Identifying the Target Audience
  • Digital communication technologies


Preparing for Auditions

Thursday August 31, 2017, 7:00pm

Facilitators: Val Russell, Marie Anderson, Alina Adjemian, Jack Boyagian, Matt Kowalyk

In this workshop intended to help actors develop their audition skills, Northumberland Players directors discussed what they look for in an audition, how to select audition material, and helped participants improve their potential audition selections.

This was a chance to ask questions and practice skill building. For those who have never auditioned, or have felt nervous about giving the stage a try, or wondered how to improve their chance for getting a role…this workshop provided opportunities to develop more confidence about how to audition.

Download Notes from Audition Workshop.

Being YourSelf™ • Body, Mind and Music: A workshop for Singer-Actors!

Saturday, January 28, 2016

Facilitators Jennifer Moir and Babette Lightner  invited participants to come and experience how beautifully your system is designed to support you to sing, to move and to BE. Be supported in the knowledge that the foundation of artistic freedom and expression is in YOU; how you are in the world; how you can harness all that you already know to work for you.

Read about the clinicians, Jennifer Moir Bio and Babette Lightner Bio 2016

Comedy 101 with Melody Johnson:
How to be Hilarious / Sketches and Scenes / Foundations for Funny

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Facilitator Melody Johnson, (actor/ writer of Miss Caledonia and teacher at the Humber School of Comedy and The Second City) led a four-hour intensive workshop focusing on the fundamentals of improvisation, (saying “yes!”, being present, listening, embracing failure by risk taking, ensemble play), while also inviting participants to bring in a memorized comedic monologue (no more than two minutes) for exploration and direction.
You can access information about Melody Johnson and promotional materials for her show, see Melody A. Johnson.

A Little Illumination!
(or “what those mysterious folks in black are really up to…”)

October 12, 2016

Facilitators David Hoare and Tim Russell guided particpants through basic and advanced lighting theory and techniques in a fun and intensive 3-hour practical seminar at the Firehall Theatre in Cobourg,After completing the seminar, participants were invited to join the lighting team for one or more shows during our season as a co-designer, technician or assistant.

For information about the seminar leaders, see david-hoare-bio and tim-russell-bio

“Can They Hear Me? Do They Get It?”
A workshop focusing on Projection, Diction and Resonance.

September 10, 2016

This workshop was designed specifically for performers at the Best Western and Firehall Theatres where amplification is minimal and where acoustics are not optimal.

It was open to all performers in Northumberland Players.
Facilitator was Heather Stubbs. Read more about Heather at HEATHER STUBBS BIO, 2016.

Sound Production: Canadian Women Working in Music & Shelter Valley Folk Festival

May 22, 2016

Shelter Valley Folk Festival invited women to the first in their learning series – Sound production.
This course is in cooperation with Canadian Women Working In Music, and is an opportunity for women to learn the basics of sound production for a live show. Participants would be introduced to the process of set up for a show, how to manage a sound board, what to listen for in mixing sound, basic trouble shooting, and stage management