Grand Theatre presents Blind Date on the Spriet Stage

A Spontaneous Theatre Creation
Starring Rebecca Northan

International, Award-winning, Improv Sensation Lands in London, February 13 – March 3

LONDON, ON, February 5, 2018 — The Grand Theatre is thrilled to present on the Spriet Stage BLIND DATE, a Spontaneous Theatre Production created by and starring Rebecca Northan. This unscripted, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure has entertained audiences in sold-out houses from Manhattan to London’s West End. The Title Sponsor for BLIND DATE is London-based McCormick.

BLIND DATE opens in a little French café where Mimi (Northan) sits and waits for her blind date. When he fails to show up, she turns to the audience for someone brave enough to answer love’s call. But it’s not a cold call. Rebecca and her team mingle with patrons in the lobby before the show, in search of the perfect ‘Date.’ Once found, and with full consent of the participant, the show begins, the Date is invited up on stage, and what happens next is anybody’s guess.

Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times called BLIND DATE, “Fearless…and very funny,” and The Toronto Star declared it “Absolutely magical.”

BLIND DATE began in 2007 when Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage Festival commissioned it from Northan. In 2010, Broadway producer Kevin McCollum, renowned for his success with Rent and Avenue Q, premiered BLIND DATE Off Broadway. The show has since toured to sold-out theatres across the U.S., London’s West End, Canada, and more recently at GCTC and Tarragon Theatre.

“The orig­inal was really just a short, sweet, simple, flirtatious sketch, but it went so well, I wondered what would happen if we expanded it and took the time to really get to know the Date. My training as an improviser taught me to say ‘yes’ and to follow the impulse to take the next most obvious step. That was nine years ago. BLIND DATE has grown from a short, ten-minute clown turn, into the full-length version,” said Northan.


In celebration of BLIND DATE, Title Sponsor McCormick commissioned London-based microbrewery Forked River to create a custom Belgian Witbier brewed with Billy Bee Honey and Club House spices. Coined Honey Love, this limited edition brew, with BLIND DATE poster art wrapping the can, will be available during the run exclusively at the Grand and across the street at The Church Key Bistro-Pub. 

BLIND DATE is on stage at the Grand Theatre for a limited-time engagement from February 13 to March 3, 2018. Tickets are $29.95  to $84 (includes HST and CIF – prices subject to change) and are available at, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street. 

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2017/18 Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group.

About the Grand Theatre:
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub proudly located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original homegrown stories through COMPASS, a New Play Development Program. The Grand supports educational programming and youth mentorship such as The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a new community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools in 2018 at no cost.

A not-for-profit regional theatre, the Grand produces and presents professional theatre on two stages: the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand’s season runs from September to May.


When:  Tuesday, February 13 at 1:30 pm (cameras, please arrive at 1:15 to set up)
Where:  Grand Theatre Spriet Stage
What:  BLIND DATE photo, video, and interview opportunity for media

For more information, contact:
Kate Rapson, Communications Manager
krapson [at] (krapson[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)

519-672-9030 ext. 247


Scenographer/Alternate Mimi   TESS DEGENSTEIN

PRODUCTION TEAM                           

Stage Manager and Sound Improviser   JESSE LYNN NORTHAN
Lighting Designer JASON HAND
Associate Producer MARCIE JANUSKA
Associate Producer    CHRISTOPHER OLDFIELD


Rebecca Northan  Creator & Mimi
Rebecca Northan is an actor, director, producer, and theatre creator. She created Blind Date in 2010, and since then it has toured across Canada and the US, played Off Broadway, and in London’s West End. There are currently four women trained to play Mimi in the original Blind Date, as well as two other talented actors who star in Queer Blind Date. In the last seven years, the Blind Date team has hosted over 600 different Dates on stage. Rebecca’s new Spontaneous Theatre creation, Undercover, premiered in Toronto at the Tarragon Theatre in September, and recently closed at Vertigo Theatre in Calgary. It will play the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton this April. Rebecca also has an improvised Shakespeare project in development with the Stratford Festival of Canada. An Undiscovered Shakespeare will have a sneak preview presentation in 2018. Rebecca is a Dora Award winner, a Canadian Comedy Award winner, a Betty Mitchell Award winner, and a Gemini Award nominee.

Tess Degenstein  Scenographer & Alternate Mimi
Tess Degenstein is an actor and improviser who has appeared on stages across Canada, including Western Canada Theatre, The Citadel, The Globe Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, and recently in Toronto in Mockingbird (Dora Nominee — Best Ensemble). Internationally, she has performed and taught in Vienna, Berlin, London, and Oslo. She has been nominated for multiple Canadian Comedy Awards for her ensemble work in the improv troupe The Bad Dog Repertory Players and the webseries Space Janitors (CSABest Webseries), and a Sterling Award for Best Actress in the world premiere of An Almost Perfect Thing. Her onscreen credits include King, Murdoch Mysteries, 12 Cards of Christmas, and the feature First Round Down.

Kristian Reimer  Scenographer
Kristian Reimer has had the pleasure of being with Blind Date from the beginning, and loves being here with this great cast. Arriving via the QEW from Toronto, Reimer is Hamilton’s newest resident. Before that he grew up on the Prairies in Calgary — the home of grain-fed Alberta Beef (mmm beef!) and wildfires! Reimer started off performing in the back of classrooms, later refined his talent as an improviser at the Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary under the direc­tion of Keith Johnstone and Dennis Cahill. You may have seen Reimer on UTC Undercover High.

David Benjamin Tomlinson  Scenographer
David Benjamin Tomlinson is a writer, actor and raconteur. Stage works include GASH!, and the solo shows Starf#ckery, Memoirs From Cracktown, Wingéd, Sunstroke: Icarus Speaks, Murdering Godot, Keyed, and the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated Things Under the Bed. DBT has played to standing-room only crowds from Vancouver’s Sketchfest to Toronto’s We’re Funny That Way to Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival. Popular on the comedy, cabaret, and theatre circuits, he is currently launching the irreverent new sketch project The Postcard Boys. DBT was extremely proud to appear as Mathieu in the queer version of Blind Date at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. He has also appeared in Hope Thompson’s Tyrolia, Toronto Masque Theatre’s The Tears of a Clown, three seasons of Sky Gilbert’s Shakespeare Experiment, and Sky’s plays Rope Enough, Happy, and Toller. Media performance credits include the feature film Grey Gardens, the short film Blow, and the television series Conviction, Orphan Black, Train 48, Queer As Folk, and The Newsroom. DBT has written for CBC Radio (Canadia: 2056), and is the co-creator and writer of the digital series The Writers’ Block, now in production with the CBC.

Jesse Lynn Northan  Stage Manager & Sound Improviser
Spontaneous Theatre Credits: Blind Date (Persephone Theatre and the Sudbury Theatre Centre). Select Acting Credits: A Thousand Splendid Suns (ACT, Theatre Calgary), The Big Sleep (Vertigo Theatre), The Club (Theatre YES, OYR’s High Performance Rodeo), The Crucible (Theatre Calgary), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Company) and The Comedy of Errors (Theatre Calgary, Shakespeare by the Bow). Jesse attended the Loose Moose Theatre International Improvisation Summer School in 2015, and is a graduate of Rosebud School of the Arts.

Ken MacDonald  Set Designer
Selected Design Credits: The Barber of Seville, Macbeth, (Pacific Opera Victoria); Three Penny Opera (Vancouver Opera); A Thousand Splendid Suns (ACT, Theatre Calgary); Sovereignty, The Shoplifters (Arena Stage, Theatre Calgary); Engaged, Our Town, Sweet Charity, Arms and The Man, Our Betters, Doctor’s Dilemma (Shaw); Wanderlust, The Trespassers (Stratford); Parfumerie, ’night Mother, The Government Inspector (Soulpepper); The Arsonists, The Overcoat, Vigil (Canadian Stage); Sextet, Marry Me a Little, Benevolence, The Dishwashers (Tarragon); The Waiting Room, Hamlet, Art (Arts Club). Upcoming: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Old Globe, San Diego, Grand Theatre, London, ON); The Overcoat – A Musical Retailoring (Canadian Stage/Vancouver Opera/Tapestry Opera). Awards: Gemini Award for Outstanding Production Design, The Overcoat (CBC); two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Betty Mitchell Award and 17 Jessie Richardson Awards.

Jason Hand  Lighting Designer
Selected Theatre Designs: Hamlet, Peace River Country, Sequence, The Summoned, Abyss, An Enemy of the People (Tarragon); A Misfortune (Charlottetown Festival); Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, James and the Giant Peach (YPT); The Adventures of A Black Girl in Search of God (Centaur/NAC); Arms and the Man (Shaw); The Barber of Seville (Soulpepper); Arsonists (Canadian Stage), The Trespassers (Stratford). Selected Opera Designs: Carmen (Canadian Opera Company & Vancouver Opera); Macbeth (Minnesota Opera); The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Lyra); Oksana G., M’Dea Undone (Tapestry); Kopernikus, #UncleJohn (Banff & AtG); La Bohème, Turn of the Screw, Figaro’s Wedding, Pelléas et Mélisande (Against the Grain); The Tales of Hoffman (Edmonton Opera). Upcoming: Fledermaus (Royal Conservatory), Ayre (Rockport Music Festival). Other: Nominated for three Dora Awards; member of a team that placed third in the 2011 European Opera-Directing Prize; 2012 protégé recipient of the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.

Marcie Januska  Associate Producer
Marcie Januska has been working as an arts administrator and stage manager in Canadian theatre for over 20 years. She is the co-founder and producer at reWork Productions, and has also worked in a pro­ducer/associate role position for Theatre Direct, Eldritch Theatre, Appledore Productions, Coal Mine Theatre, fu-GEN Theatre, and Spontaneous Theatre/Northan Industries. She has held adminis­trative positions at The Banff Centre’s opera training program, the Vancouver Opera, and the Calgary International Children’s Festival. As a stage manager, she has worked on over 150 shows, including over 45 new plays, with companies including Studio 180 Theatre, Necessary Angel, Nightwood Theatre, Modern Times Stage, Canadian Stage, Red Sky Performance, Crow’s Theatre, Signal Theatre, Small Wooden Shoe, Alberta Theatre Projects, Vertigo Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Sage Theatre, and Lunchbox Theatre. She has worked as a mentor to emerging stage managers throughout her career, including recently overseeing the work of two students at the National Theatre School of Canada, her alma mater.

Christopher Oldfield  Associate Producer
Christopher Oldfield grew up in southern Ontario and Europe. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he made the magnificent city his home. A 20-veteran of Toronto’s media scene, Chris opened Oldfield Management in 2010 with his partners Maggie Dunlop & Patrick Yang. Oldfield is a boutique talent management company representing and working with a select and varied roster of Toronto’s top performing Artists.