I guess it all started in the small town of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta in the Canadian prairies, when my thirteen year-old eyes lit up at the sight of Barbra Streisand in the 1969 film production of Hello, Dolly! It was like she burned a hole through my TV screen and into my soul. I was obsessed. I told my mom the next day that I was going to be an actress.
In Alberta, I trained at the U of A, receing my BA Honors in Drama, with a focus on directing devised theatre. I then created an indie theatre company called Holding Hollow Theatre, producing original interdisciplinary works in collaboration with musicians, choreographers and designers that you can see here. Past company works include Qualia, a wordless physical theatre performance scored live by cello and taiko drums; The Woman in the Red Dress, an interdisciplinary theatre-dance-music collaboration; and a dance-theatre solo show entitled This Is the Kind of Animal I Am. Most recently, I directed a production of Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad at the Boston Conservatory. As a deviser, I've had the honour of training with North American Cultural Laboratory (New York), Belarus Free Theatre, Artistic Fraud (Newfoundland), Two Planks and a Passion (Halifax), One Yellow Rabbit (Calgary) and Ghost River Theatre (Calgary). I would one day love to train with the SITI company.
As an actor, I've had the great pleasure of working in theatre, and more recently in front of the camera, across Canada and in the United States. Recently, I've been working on many short films produced by independent companies around New England, including Finding My Dad's Memories with Emmy-nominated company Pixela Pictura. I took part in a developmental workshop of a new Off-Broadway play called Dear Jane, directed by Katrin Hilbe and choreographed by Wendy Seyb, which will be premiering at the Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row in July.
In 2016, I received my MFA in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory, where I played Greta Garbo in my solo cabaret entitled How To Be Alone, all roles in a gender-bending ensemble-based production of A Doll's House and Madelaine True in LaChiusa's The Wild Party. Last summer, I had the honour of starring as Anne Shirley in the sequel to Anne of Green Gables, entitled Anne and Gilbert, on Prince Edward Island. It was a great pleasure to get the chance to revisit a role I had played ten years ealier, at a later point in both the character's and my own life. Current dream roles include Sonya in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, playing any role in Sara Bareilles' Waitress, and playing Tilly in Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl, my favorite playwright.
I suppose I love acting because I love the nuances of people. The little things. Thoughts. Moments. Gestures. Habits. Smiles. I love to watch people and I love to explore their rhythms in my body. My love of acting is definitely rooted in my connection to my body and I have dove deep into studying Viewpoints, Suzuki, Laban, Linklater, Alexander, Feldenkrais, Lecoq, Litz Pisk, Clown and Bouffon. I feel like my sense of time changes when I act - I can feel time passing because I am more present. I think being completely present is a radical act in our day and age, and is becoming increasingly difficult for performers and audience members alike. I think theatre is important because it makes us observe what is really going on, watch people, empathize, connect, listen, observe stillness and silence - all skills that I think we are losing as a culture. I think that silence and stillness are a good starting point for any truthful artistic endeavour.
When not working as an artist, I find balance and community by practicing and teaching yin, hatha and ashtanga yoga. I've taught at studios, schools and privately in Edmonton, Charlottetown and Boston. I'm also in the process of completing my Alexander Technique instructor certification, working with Debi Adams at the Boston Conservatory, Tommy Thompson at American Repertory Theatre and Betsy Polatin. You can book a yoga or AT lesson with me here.
Beyond that, tiny projects are important to me. I like miniature things. I like cooking. I like working with my hands. I find crowds of people overwhelming. I'm working on "less is more" in every facet of my life. New York is a glorious beast of a city that is both dazzling and draining - I am finding my way here.
In my free time, I like to wander through the Museum of Natural History and sit with dinosaur bones. I find them very humbling. I like to read. I look up the etymology of words a lot - words I use and words I encounter. I want to know what they really mean, uncover their history. Language is where thought finds vibration or character and becomes tangible. I write things on my blog here.
I guess I'm always searching for deeper meaning, to uncover the depth and mystery of each moment, no matter what artistic practice I'm engaged in. There is so much underneath the noise if you can tune in.
Photo by Silas Green