The Phoenix Lottery

How could anyone not love a show full of characters so perfectly chock full of delightfully hilarious flaws? This is a play that gently skewers religion, art, family relationships and all the little pretensions people use to make it through the day. It has twists and turns that leave seasoned news reporters shaking their heads in wonder; with magic tricks, exorcisms, and special effects galore! We hope you have as much fun watching as we have in staging it. – Mike Semple (Director)

Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Phoenix Lottery! I liked it much better than the Grand version of many years ago. Excellent ensemble cast! Nice to see Mike Semple reasserting his directorial prowess! Crisply designed and presented with gusto! Tyler Parr stands out as Vincent Van Gogh! London really does need another thriving professional company. Go see it!” – Jason Rip

Hi Elizabeth! I saw you in your play tonight, The Phoenix Lottery, and I just wanted to tell you that you made me feel stuff and I really enjoyed it. And I think I just really needed to sit in that chair tonight and feel stuff. So thank you for that. Also, I have really good peripheral vision and I could see that you were making the people on both sides of me feel stuff too. Tears were being discreetly wiped. Especially on your knees scene. – 😉 High tens!!” – Aiden Thomas

A great performance by all. And the production elements were dead on. Costumes, lighting, sound and set were perfect (and let’s not forget the digital elements). Special hello to Tyler. So good to see him in London again. Thanks for a wonderful evening of theatre.” – Ashleigh


Mike Semple – Stage Director
My theatre life began at the Grand when it was the home of London Little Theatre. It continued through six years at Western, doing every show I could while supposedly studying Philosophy and Math. Since then, I’ve worked as an actor, stage manager, designer, director and general dog’s body in shows at Passe Muraille, Tarragon, STC, Shaw, Necessary Angel, Chinook and a host of others including sadly demised companies like Open Circle, The Limelight, TWP and Phoenix. I’ll keep doing shows- it’s addictive, especially when working with artists as talented as The Phoenix Lottery’s.

Tyler Lionel Parr – Vincent
I have no definitive impression behind my experience in this show, as yet. However, I have had the near pleasure of working with Jeff Culbert on shows such as Within the Glass by Anna Chatterton and Hamlet A.D.D., adapted by London playwright Jason Rip. I have worked with Mike Semple, albeit under a different theatrical state of affairs. I’ve had to deal with “people” while performing shows as far abroad as Prague C.R., Karakoy, Turkey and throughout Canada. On top of the 30+ years of stage performance I’ve also immersed myself into performing on screen, being on shows such as Murdoch Mysteries and CBC’s Creeped Out. I look forward to post rehearsal drinks.  

Jessica Pereira – Lydia
I am ablaze with excitement to play a part in The Phoenix Lottery! Past theatre credits include: Exit Laughing (Elgin Theatre Guild), Pride and Prejudice (London Community Players), Anne of Green Gables (Theatre Orangeville), and Cinderella (Blackhorse Village Players). I graduated with my Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Western University in 2018, and I am passionate about supporting communication development in the community. In my spare time, I enjoy skimming celebrity memoirs, kayaking, and being very chill and normal during board-game nights. I generally avoid setting flame to any and all works of art.  Thank you to Mark and family for the ongoing love and support.

Jay Gordon Wright – Junior
This is my first time performing with Theatre Aezir, and I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting production. Performing has always been a part of my life, from the time I played Oliver in sixth grade to several years of international performances as a tribute artist. I have had the pleasure of portraying some of the 20th century’s most memorable characters, and using music to connect with audiences from many countries and languages. If you hear someone humming backstage, it might be me. If you are humming backstage, please return to your seat. Sit back and enjoy!

Elizabeth Durand – Producer, Emily
I am so happy to be producing and acting again. The early part of my career was spent singing in small opera companies in Northern California.  I attended Western and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  My favourite roles would be Mimi in La Boheme, Freia in Das Rheingold, Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo and Pierre Valliere in Sixty-Seven for AlvegoRoot Theatre. Last year I eliminated my side lawn and turned it into a vegetable garden with four large galvanized steel raised beds and a topiary of a bull.

Jeff Culbert – Edgar Beamish
I never went to theatre school, but I studied physics, philosophy and environmental studies along the way, and spent a few formative years as a teacher in Lesotho, southern Africa. Some of my favourite stage roles were Archy and Mehitabel (the cockroach and cat characters created by Don Marquis), McAllister in Dear Johnny Deere (the folk musical based on the songs of Fred Eaglesmith), Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Police Chief Patrick Fitzhenry in the Boneyard Man series by Jayson McDonald. It’s great to be working with old and new friends on The Phoenix Lottery.

Chris Bancroft – Wichita
I am very happy to be returning to the boards for this hilarious and provocative piece with the wonderful group of artists that Theatre Aezir has assembled.  A graduate of the University of Windsor’s School of Dramatic Art, I got my start in a galaxy far, far, away (Chatham), in what remains one of my favourite roles – Judas in Theatre Kent’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”.  I have since had the pleasure to travel and “play” in many diverse productions at venues from Granville Island, Vancouver, to Toronto, to Kawartha Lakes, to Brantford’s Sanderson Centre, Niagara Falls for dinner theatre and beyond, and locally at the Arts Project and Port Stanley Festival Theatre. Memorable local roles include Clov in AlvegoRoot Theatre’s “Endgame”, Lou in Port Stanley’s “Bedtime Stories” and the Sheriff in Iglesias Production’s “Night of the Living Dead”. My other great artistic passion includes writing and performing original music. Two other areas of interest/cherished time wasters include my wonderful wife Karen and my inscrutable teen wonder/daughter Aurora.


Chris Bancroft – Wichita
Jeff Culbert – Edgar Beamish
Elizabeth Durand – Emily Tyler
Lionel Parr – Vincent
Jessica Pereira – Lydia Spark
Jay Gorden Wright – Junior
Madi Muggridge – Understudy

Front of House

Sandra Fritz-Szabo – Lead
Judy Cormier, Al and Sheila Green, Andrea Da Costa, Sookie Mei, Lorissa Sinisac Walton, Sara and Al Gallien, Rachel Ganzwinkel, Colleen Marlin and Gord Walker

Our Thanks To:

  • Heather Weitzel
  • Valerie Langnis
  • Kole Dupuis
  • Malcolm McIntyre
  • Hayley Kell
  • David Long
  • Jeff Werkmeister

Artistic Credits:

Director and Lighting Designer – Mike Semple
Costume Designer – Deana Sigut
Set Designer – Janice Johnston
Sound Designer – David Bogaert
Choreographer – Mary Durand
Properties – Bronwyn Powell –
Paintings – Margot Stothers
Hair and Costumes – Dianne Taylor
Set Builder – John Beverley

Stage Manager – Abby Stevenson
Assistant Stage Manager – Madi Muggridge
Assistant Stage Manager – Brittney-Lee Lowey
Photographer – Richard Gilmore
Living Wall Designed by Fanshawe Collage – Design Foundations Students

Video Scenes Julie Atchison – CTV
Matt Loop – 103.2 JACK-FM