Virtually Howland


In these challenging, isolating times, more than ever we are craving – connection, inspiration, art, stories, community… and even a little silliness… SO we’ve started to cook up some ideas that we hope can help.

On Monday March 30th The Howland Company started VIRTUALLY HOWLAND, an online theatre seriesWith our now ONLINE monthly sessions of The Reading Group, and the return of our hit comedy Entrances and Exits (an improvised farce), newly adapted for the screen and LIVE-STREAMED to you at home, we’re hoping to create opportunities that help to make us feel a little more connected while we’re staying apart.

Keep posted on this page, through our social media channels and with our e-newsletters for what we have coming up next in #VirtuallyHowland!

Upcoming Virtually Howland Events:

The (Online) Reading Group – Play: The Huns

The Huns The Reading Group E-Blast (1)

The Howland Company Reading Group is a free event held every month. Anyone is welcome to drop in, cold-read a part in the chosen play (roles are assigned and switched around on the fly) and get the opportunity to engage in discussion, and meet people in the community!

Play: The Huns by Michael Ross Albert

When: Monday May 3rd at 7pm.

Where: WHEREVER YOU ARE with internet access! Join us on ZOOM, a free online video conference site/app where we can VIRTUALLY gather and read a play together. Click on our Reading Group ZOOM event link posted here.

If you are interested in attending The Reading Group:

We look forward to reading with you soon!

Past Virtually Howland Events:

“Murder at the Winterhouse Theatre” (An Improvised Online Mystery)

The year is 1927 and Vaudeville is on its way out, which will leave The Winterhouse Theatre (and its staff) penniless if they can’t find an act to turn things around. It looks as though they might be saved when twin singing sensations; The Lavender Ladies agree to perform, but things go awry when one half of the duo is brutally murdered on the night of their show.

From Monday April 6th to Friday April 10th, we had audiences tune in to The Howland Company’s Instagram Live account nightly at 8PM and follow our detectives Agatha and Christie (Liz Johnston and Ruth Goodwin) as they attempt to discover who murdered Violet Marchand on the 5th Floor of The Winterhouse Theatre in downtown Toronto.

Based (loosely) on true events, Murder at The Winterhouse Theatre is created by Entrances and Exits (Best of Toronto Fringe) creators, Ruth Goodwin and Liz Johnston. Murder at the Winterhouse Theatre featured some acting members of The Howland Company, as well as exciting guest artists from across Canada.

“A Little Closer” by Michael Ross Albert (a workshop reading with The Howland Company)

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As part of our Virtually Howland series, we had the pleasure of live-streaming a workshop reading of A Little Closer, a new play by Michael Ross Albert, read by some of our Howland Company members.

About the play:
Cale is a professional cuddler. From his one-bedroom apartment, he provides a comfortable safe-haven for those seeking connection, and a welcome escape from the tumultuous city they live in. But during an unsettling session with a new client, the sanctuary of comfort Cale has tried to create is changed forever. And when the physical intimacy he provides turns to physical violence, he and his clients are forced to confront their pain, loneliness, and regrets.

A Little Closer is a play about our need to make genuine connections, however impossible that may seem.

About the playwright:
Michael Ross Albert is a Toronto-based playwright whose work has been performed across Canada and the United States, and in the United Kingdom. His two most recent plays, The Huns and Anywhere were produced as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2019 and 2018. Both plays were named Patron’s Pick of their respective theatres, and both were remounted in the Best of Fringe Festival. An upcoming remount of The Huns in the Brighton Fringe Festival was canceled due to COVID-19. In association with the Storefront Theatre, Michael produced the sold-out world premiere of his play, Tough Jews (Dora Award nomination – Outstanding New Play). Other works include Miss (Unit 102), The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome (FringeNYC, Toronto Fringe Festival), and a new musical adaptation of The Jazz Singer (Dancap/HGJTC).

Michael received an MFA in Playwriting from the Actors Studio Drama School. He’s been honoured to teach new play development as an instructor of record at the University of Waterloo.