Jaybird Productions is the brain-child of Jacqueline Burke, our Artistic Director and Producer. Burke’s 45 year career has spanned both the professional and the amateur and, following the birth of her daughter, Burke decided to opt for teaching and nurturing amateur talent in Toronto. Jaybird Productions was borne. Established 12 years ago, Jaybird evolved over the years to meet many emerging needs and, always, placed itself in markets that were under or counter-supplied.
The company’s original mandate was its Kids’ Company (inspired by Burke’s daughter). This was a volunteer effort offering quality alternatives to standard children’s theatre arts study in the hope that more active kids might also enjoy the benefits of self expression and the arts. Jaybird offered summer and spring break day camps and the homeschooler’s Kidsplay project (compilations of skits the children wrote themselves) for about five years. During that time, Jaybird teamed up with the Open Door and Trish O’Reilly, offering workshops from St. David’s Anglican Church on the Danforth.
About seven years ago, Jaybird added adult shows situating the Adult Company as offering community theatre players challenging opportunities to perform roles in plays like Oleanna by David Mamet, plays that were normally perceived as too challenging to do or to sell in community theatre; or, like the All Female Taming of the Shrew, offering its audience an extreme take on a classic play and afforded women roles they would never otherwise have a chance to perform.
Burke’s family suffered a bit of of a setback about four years ago and Burke started branching into other areas, leaving her largely volunteer work for Jaybird behind having become the sole breadwinner – aaaaaaand enter stage left….Unsung Heroes Productions. An amazing crowd of folks, Burke has long been grateful to have met them and long been impressed not only with the level of talent but with their loyalty to each other and their shared support. Jaybird Productions began producing shows for that crowd in co-operative efforts that included short rehearsal periods and short runs — in an effort to give these talented business persons, real estate agents, doctors, and other professionals a chance to get on stage and do quality work.
And then, about a year ago, enter stage right….MHLD Productions, a company Jaybird has been working closely with since on various shows.
Fast forward to just a few months ago: Jaybird was able to reignite the Kids’ Company (so grateful) and they have plans to restart their home schooling connection and develop a strong Teen project for all the homeschoolers who are now in their teens (and any other teens who would like to be involved).
Jaybird is also currently raising money for the development of a theatrical project for the homeless and is prepping for a full season of fun including The Odd Couple opening September 14th, 2017.
Our current mandate is to offer busy people high quality opportunities for self expression on stage while giving back to the community and just generally fostering a love of theatre in all. #onward