My theatre company, Straight Camp, is specifically for queer artists making queer work. We did a show called Spoon in this year's Fringe Festival, directed by Sky Gilbert, and now we're working on a new show called Collective Creation.
I'm also pretty much the in-house research assistant for Buddies. Anyone who needs something researched comes to me because I'm obsessed with anything that has to do with queer theatre.
I did my undergrad at Brock University in St. Catharines from 2007 to 2011. I studied theatre but my focus was dramatic literature. Then I went to U of T to do my master's in theatre, which I used to further research queer theory and theatre. Spoon started as my thesis at Brock; I took it to U of T for my M.A. and then staged it at this year's Fringe. So what started as an academic project ended up as a theatrical production.
I'm constantly inspired by queer theorists. Spoon is heavily influenced by Judith Butler, whom I discovered at Brock. What I read at school has infused my creative process. On another level, Brock was very much about making your own opportunities. The department itself put on one or two musicals but I was also part of a musical theatre company that put on shows every year. We had to do everything: fundraising, marketing, sets.
I benefited from putting on those productions from scratch. When you come to Toronto, the only way people see your work is if you produce it. You can't wait for somebody to stumble upon you and give you resources, especially at the beginning.
I worked on Spoon for three years and it was the biggest risk I ever took, artistically and personally. I'm one of the co-owners of Glad Day Bookshop, so we staged it in the third-floor space. It was my very first site-specific play and it was about failure, so I told myself, "It's okay to fail! It's all about failure!" By the end of the run we were doing sold-out shows, so I feel I have something important to say and that people are into it.
Keeping busy is important because you never know who's watching. And it's important to go see theatre. The only way to do theatre is to see theatre and meet the people making theatre, so you can put your name in the back of their heads. The theatre community is pretty gracious, and its members offer a great deal of their own time, but you have to do the same.
Good playwrights need to be honest. The kind of playwrights and performers I like are people who are not afraid to look bad or ugly and are focused on telling the truth. I admire risk-takers, especially queer artists, who are making themselves vulnerable. They connect to me the most, and my heart melts.