OurToba brings the blizzard with Cold Reading Event

Actors and writers gather together Nov. 1 for a night of creative exploration

Image provided by Kathleen Gallagher

The King’s Head Pub will once again be filled with actors set to take on brand new works by women, non-binary and gender-diverse writers on the evening of Nov. 1. 

Put on by the OurToba Film Network alongside ACTRA Manitoba, the Cold Reading Event is part of a series of casual cold readings where actors, writers, directors and producers come together to showcase their talents and network with their peers. 

Kathleen Gallagher, president of the board of directors at OurToba, said the goal of the event is to create a comfortable environment where writers and actors can feel confident.

“It’s not about perfection, it’s really about just creating work, putting it out there [and] building a community,” she said. 

Gallagher said writers don’t always get to hear their works as they would be performed, so the Cold Reading Event helps give writers that insight. 

Lauren Cochrane, guest host of the Cold Reading Event and previous participant, said the event aims “to give a voice to people who might not always get to showcase their work in a way where they can have an audience and constructive feedback, and build and grow work that might not get to be seen and produced in a larger scale.”

Cochrane herself has participated as a writer for the event in the past, and said having actors who are capable of portraying a wide variety of characters read through a work is very helpful for the writing process. 

“It really provides an opportunity for writers to have character be brought to life, and then they can make notes and hear it in real time,” she said. 

“I think it’s kind of an untapped resource that Manitoba can use, especially with all the creativity that we have here.” 

She said she is excited about the opportunity to be hosting the event this time around. 

Cochrane is no stranger to the stage, with a background in improv and stand-up comedy. She has previously hosted events herself and with her husband as a comedy duo, and she has also been the go-to MC for most of her close friends’ weddings.

 “You know, I’m that gal,” she said. “Never a bridesmaid, always an MC.” 

Gallagher said she hopes any women, gender-diverse and non-binary actors, filmmakers and others within the community will stay connected with the organization. 

“We’re here to support you and give you space and help you thrive,” she said. 

Spectator tickets for the Cold Reading Event are available for a suggested price of $10, and a portion of the proceeds will go toward the participating actors and writers. 

The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the King’s Head Pub, 120 King Street. 

Tickets for the Cold Reading Event are available through OurToba’s website.