First Root is an independent theatre company, founded by Denise Mader. Inspired by the wide reaching connection available through honouring ones primary influences, questions, passions, and background, First Root aims to connect performer and audience in a shared experience of universal themes via personal storytelling and creation.
I called my company First Root because in creating my first play, This One, I was discovering and developing an artistic connection to my roots, history, experiences of growing up in a rural lifestyle, and the primary relationship of mother and daughter. I realized that the richest material was to be found in that which was already there. First Root also refers to the importance of honouring ones initial artistic ideas with a commitment to nurturing those first inspirations with courage and integrity.
"It was impossible not to connect with Denise right away; she has a lovely spirit and it felt like you knew her." -Kristin Archer ihearthamilton.ca
Directed by Melee Hutton, actor/writer Denise Mader opens her kitchen and her heart to share her mother’s favourite recipes for pie and a good life... and to get a bit of help along the way. Denise is throwing a surprise birthday party for her four year old niece and is faced with the challenge of baking a pie from scratch for the first time amongst a series of mini disasters and delays. The clock it ticking before the rest of the guests arrive and she's going to attempt to make her mother's classic, a pecan pie. Her mother was a baking ninja with five kids, one husband, a farm to run and a kitchen to dance in. Louise Mader had her hands full when her life was cut short. This One is the true story of a motherless daughter and a transformative pecan-pie-baking journey. A slice of storytelling, a dash of theatrics and bountiful real life experience, This One is perfect on the palette.
This One began as a solo piece devised while Denise Mader was completing her MFA at York University. Workshopped at the Hamilton Fringe Festival in 2013, This One stole hearts and reviews. After continuing development, Denise presented the Toronto Premiere of This One as a full-length production directed by Dora Nominated Melee Hutton. Assistant directed by Kristin Boivin. Set design by Dora award winning designer Andrea Mittler. Lighting design by Kaileigh Krysztofiak. Stage management by Kate Duncan.
In the summer of 2016, a new two act version of This One premiered at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre, earned rave reviews and many laughs from the wonderful audiences. Direction and dramaturgical support by Melee Hutton. Set design by Joshua Quinlan. Lighting design by Noel Wraight. Stage management by Lani Martel. Assistant stage management by Rebecca Walsh.
Welcome to Someday, a cutting edge psychological technology guaranteed to help you get what you need to live the life you want. Join seminar leader Pamela Steel as she deftly guides participants towards Someday, but then unexpectedly encounters an unplanned, unorthodox, and unexplainable lesson of her own. Pamela's presentation is hijacked by music (Lady Percy by King Charles) and her body by dance (West African). Layers are stripped away as someday becomes now: naked, joyous, and free.
Someday is a fifteen minute comedic piece that explores the physical and psychological connections around the idea of achieving the life one wants…someday. A rigid frame of mind is transformed through physical engagement, acceptance, release, and celebration.