Where Would You Go?


In October of last year, I bought what ended up being an expensive (travel was between Christmas and New Year's Eve to give you an idea) one-way flight to Vancouver for the start of rehearsals on The Little Prince. I later had to make some changes to my flight and ended up with a $700 credit that I had exactly one year from the date of purchase to travel on. Though I have flown in the past year, I never used the credit because the flights were never that much and I didn't want to lose the balance on the credit. It expires at the end of this month.

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?

I finally decided it was time to make one of my bucket list dreams come true. On Tuesday, I will be heading down to New Orleans, a place I've dreamed of visiting ever since I found out my childhood crush was from there.

I'm waiting for you, chérie.

I've been fascinated with Cajun culture for years. My mind was blown when I first learned that, not only were they descendants of my deported ancestors, but their name was derived from "Acadiens" (Acadiens became Cadiens became Cajuns).

I've been toying with a new show idea that goes back to my Acadian roots and this flight credit seemed like the perfect opportunity to get in some first hand research.

I'm incredibly excited right now. My home in Ottawa is still rented and a friend hooked me up with a place to stay. I've never been to New Orleans before so if you have any suggestions of things to do or see or eat while I'm down there, please let me know what they are in the comments section below!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Les_Stockton via Compfight cc

Hitting Reset


I've set up shop, like all good 30-somethings, in my Mom's basement. The notion hit me last night as I downed my third beer, a Granville Island Winter Ale I bought last Christmas that my Mom despises which is why it was still in the fridge. Actual photo taken last December.

I've been here for about a week now and I can't begin to tell you how much good it's done. I feel rested and motivated to work. The primary difference from working alone at home is that I know I have to take regular breaks to visit with family so I'm actually getting more done with the time I have. And there's always food in the fridge! What a novel concept.

Would I actually move back in? God no! I also know when not to overstay my welcome and my next adventure begins as early as next week. But in the meantime, this has been a lovely little oasis. A place to reset and put all the pieces into place on future projects. I'm incredibly excited at what's coming down the pipeline and grateful for this opportunity to wrap my head around it all.

Thanks Mom!

I love you.


Featured Image Photo Credit: Great Beyond via Compfight cc

Making Contact


A few months ago, I talked about Contact events. Less than a week after writing that post I found out that I had been accepted to Pitch Roller Derby Saved My Soul at Contact East. Typically, when you apply to a Contact event, you are applying to Showcase. A Showcase is a 15-20 minute time slot where you can give presenters an idea of what your production might be like and its potential to tour regional theatres/roadhouses (or soft seaters as the pros call them) across the country and abroad. A Pitch is a 5 minute version of the same thing. Initially I wasn't too keen on doing a Pitch. I won't lie. My ego kind of flared up.

How dare they give me ONLY 5 minutes! Do they not know who I am?

Short answer: No. No they don't. And they don't care. Do you want the 5 minutes or not? Because someone else will take it and they won't be such a whiny baby about it.

Getting over myself, I found that the list of Pros in attending Contact East for a Pitch heavily outweighed the Cons. For one thing, I'd never been to Charlottetown and I'm always up for a new reason to travel. For another, my family lives in Moncton, which is just a short drive away, turning this working trip into a familial visit. Contact East was also much cheaper than the other Contact events I had applied for and all meals were included.

I applied for and received an Audience and Market Development Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, which would cover my flight, so Charlottetown was a definite go.

My booth in the Contact Room. Check out the floor. You can bet I was on wheels the entire time.

I landed in Charlottetown at around 5 p.m. on Thursday night, taking the red eye and 3 different planes from Vancouver. I registered as a delegate, checked into my hotel, showered, ate and rushed down to the community centre where the Contact Room was located to set up my booth. I was absolutely thrilled when I found a gym floor, the most perfect of all surfaces to roller skate on. Armoured in short shorts and knee socks, you kind of have to admit that I am hard to miss. From there, we were off to the Opening Reception and Hospitality Suite. I was back in my room by midnight. You'd think I would be exhausted but a combination of adrenaline and possibly jet lag kept me awake. I worked on my pitch for an hour before finally finding some sleep.

At 6 a.m., I was awake, eating breakfast and waiting for my 7 a.m. pickup to take me to my tech rehearsal for the Pitch.

At the time, it seemed impossible to distil the essence of my show, along with touring information, into a 5 minute pitch. I settled on this approach, in costume:

  • 1.5 minute bit from the show
  • Introduction, touring information, possibility of a French tour, community outreach initiatives
  • Heartwarming true story of what this show has meant to people
  • Appeal to come see me in the Contact Room for more information

Well, I fit it all in. Thank you Fringe Festival previews for teaching me the value of being concise.

Now almost lunch time, we boarded a bus for a tour of PEI and a lobster lunch. As luck would have it, the gentleman who sat next to me was a representative for the French equivalent of Contact East in New Brunswick. It turns out there is great interest in a French version of my show, something multiple people have been telling me for years but I hadn't really listened until now.

This made me so happy!

As the adrenaline was now leaving my body. I managed to squeeze in a power nap after our dinner before heading down to my booth in the Contact Room. At this point, I was still unsure if my pitch had any impact, but I could not have been more wrong. The number of compliments I received from various presenters and delegates simply blew me away. When a variety of East Coast presenters approach you with "We want this show," you know you might just be doing something right.

Buzzing from the days events, I made it out to the Hospitality Suite where I had the pleasure of hanging out with a variety of showcasing artists. Apparently we drank them out of beer.

I had plans of waking up early-ish, but a combination of little sleep, jet lag, and just plain ole exhaustion saw to it that my eyes didn't open until 12:30 p.m. Groggy, but determined to make it out to the Confederation Centre for the Arts for their matinee production of Evangeline. It was lovely and, even though I know the story, I cried like a baby.

Quick walk along the harbour to grab a lobster roll and I was back for my last turn in the Contact Room. More positive chats, including one with a tour manager who wants to talk more. Oh and I even sold a shirt!

Throw in free oysters shucked on location at the closing night party and Contact East was a beautiful and resounding success.

Framily Ties


Vancouver *wistful sigh*

From last year's amazing run of Roller Derby Saved My Soul at the Vancouver Fringe to getting nominated for a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance for my work in The Little Prince (which I now realize I never blogged about), the city has always been good to me. But I really wasn't prepared for how great things were going to be this time around.

Dave Grohl is cooler than you or I will ever be.

Seeing the Foo Fighters live from floor seats at Rogers Arena, spending a day at Wreck Beach followed by a rooftop BBQ, catching up with old friends, and working on the documentary (kinda weird that it took a trip to Vancouver for Cory and I to have the time to sit and work together, but in a day we managed to finish most of our lingering grant applications) and the shows! So many Fringe shows! I saw 17 in my short time there and had a blast at every one.

But what really blew me away was the huge outpouring of love I felt from everyone around me. Yes, it's Fringe and we are quite the Framily, but without the stress of producing a show I was able to sit back and watch how much we truly care about each other.

I honestly wish I had taken more pictures.

I sit in the Halifax Airport as I write this, waiting for my flight to Charlottetown where I will be for Contact East until Sunday. Meanwhile, the Fringe plays on in Vancouver until the end of the week. If you are around, please see as many shows as you can and support these amazing artists. I'm sure you will fall as madly in love with every single one of them as I have.

See you every day!

Featured image photo credit: kurichan+ via Compfight cc

Nancy's Must-See List at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Part 2)


For those of you who missed Part 1, which contains the list of all the shows I've already seen, you can check it out here  


Alright gang, I have a problem. A glorious problem, but a problem nonetheless. There are just too many great looking shows at this year's Vancouver Fringe Festival  for me to see them all before I leave town. This means I have had to do some creative culling when it came to writing this blog post.

The I'm sorry I'm lazy shows

Since I have so little time, chances are I will not be making it out to the Firehall Centre, the Havana, or the Cultch, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great shows playing out there. Early buzz is on James & Jamesy in the DarkTJ's Kitchen, and Mrs. Singh & Me in each venue respectively.

The this has been around for ages and I can't believe I haven't seen it yet shows

I'm lucky that I attend so many festivals. Quite a few shows tour the circuit repeatedly over the years and every once in a while you get a golden opportunity to finally catch it. That's the case for The Most Honest Man in the World. Andrew Wade is the nicest guy and I keep telling him I will see his show in a certain city and every single time I've missed it. I've also heard about Vaudevillian for quite some time and I'm hoping this city will be the one where I will come through. Don't wait until the very last minute to see a show. It's a terrible feeling when you miss it and you talk to the performer after who kindly listens as you apologize but inside you both know you are the asshole. Don't be like me. Don't be the asshole.

The I've got high hopes so please don't disappoint me #nopressure shows

Balance 2.1

This show comes from the same people who brought Anatolia Speaks to the Fringe last year, which I really enjoyed. Plus I'm currently living with her and she made me tea when I was feeling under the weather. When a performer makes you tea, you go see their show. That's the rule.

Chris & Travis

Although Travis is one of the best magicians on the circuit, this show somehow wasn't really on my radar until I saw the Fringe opening event a few nights ago where he and Chris were hosting. Their good natured game of charades to acknowledge the festival sponsors pretty much sold me on the show. See kids! Nonsensical previews do work!

The Exclusion Zone

Martin Dockery is one of the best storytellers out there and I absolutely love it when he pushes himself to go outside the box. Last year's The Dark Fantastic  blew me away and I have a feeling this one will be right up my alley.

Fire in the Meth Lab

From the guy who created Pretending Things are a Cock. Based on the title and the poster I was expecting this to be a drama but someone told me it was a comedy so I'm even more intrigued.

For Body And Light Presents: Bear Dreams

I saw For Body And Light's previous show in Edmonton last year and caught a preview of this one at the opening event. I'm not typically a "dance" person but the use of mask, live music and poetry has me intrigued.

Grandma's Dead

It's Sam Mullins, one of the most affable performers on the Fringe who has consistently been playing to sold out houses all summer. He's trying something a little different from his usual storytelling fare and it always excites me when performers try something new. He also beat out Roller Derby Saved My Soul for a Canadian Comedy Award last year so I'm going to go sit in the front row and judge.

In Search of Cruise Control

Last year, I saw James Gangl's Sex, Religion and Other Hangups and thought it was the strongest, funniest and most polished one-man show I had seen in a very long time. It seems this one might be no different after not only selling out his entire run at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, but the entire holdover performance as well.

Kiss Around Pass Around

I still regret missing Miss Hiccup when she performed at the Ottawa Fringe a few years ago. I've heard great things about this one and I'm really looking forward to it.

A Story of O's

Tonya Jone Miller has had a lot of success with autobiographical stories like Threads which has been raved about across the circuit and won her an award for Outstanding Original Work this summer in Ottawa. This time she pulls from her background as a phone sex worker.

Village Ax

Sydney Hayduk is my manic pixie dream girl. It seems impossible to find so much heart in such a small frame, but there you have it. If there was only one show I could see at this festival, this would be the one.


Sigh. There are more shows that have peaked my interest, from catchy titles to interesting premises. If I have a hole in my schedule or if I hear any great buzz, I may try to squeeze some of them in. Word of mouth is a powerful things and that's the beauty of Fringe. If you hear of anything, please feel free to let me know about it in the comment section below.

2015-09-10 13.36.16

As I write this, the Vancouver Fringe Festival officially begins tonight! Grab a program, grab some friends, grab me a glass of white wine if you see me around and have yourself a merry ole Fringemas!


Nancy's Must-See List at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Part 1)


I'm finally back on the road! After an absolutely lovely time catching up with friends and shows at the Victoria Fringe Festival, it was one tumultuous little ferry ride over to Vancouver. Actually, the ferry ride itself was fine. It was in the search and rescue of our missing luggage that the real adventure happened.

Smiles in the hours before we lost our innocence. Our innocence was in our luggage.

Everything worked out, as they do, and now we can always say "Well, at least it's not as bad as searching for our luggage at the Greyhound Station."


But back to the reason you probably clicked on this blog link in the first place. Now that I am in Vancouver and I have my Fringe program, I have been combing through the list in order to see as many shows as I possibly can in my short time year.

Before I go any further, the usual disclaimer. I am not a reviewer, nor do I claim to be one. This list is my own personal list of things I look forward to seeing for a variety of reasons. Pick up the Fringe program and make your own awesome list of things to see!

The Shows I've Already Seen and Would Probably See Again So Maybe You Should Go At Least Once

I've already seen 16 shows appearing at this year's festival, which nicely fills up my gotta catch 'em all punch card. 15 of them I would recommend.

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing

Saw this one a few years ago at Zoofest in Montreal. It was crazy and kooky and put a big ole smile on my face.


A total stand-out show for me at this year's Victoria Fringe Festival. A beautifully crafted solo-confessional. As a former Canadian SLAM poetry champ, I shouldn't be surprised that Brendon Mcleod knows how to craft a beautiful turn of phrase and his delivery makes you feel like you are having a deep one-sided conversation with your best friend. Only 30 seats in his venue to get there early!

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II

God in a power suit telling it like it is. Probably one of the funniest shows I have ever seen.

The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper

Another stand-out for me from Victoria. I saw Corin Raymond's previous show, Bookworm, three times. He's a glorious storyteller and I knew this one wasn't going to disappoint.

The Inventor of All Things

Hands down, this is my favourite of all Jem Rolls' shows. If you like his other shows, you are in for something completely different. If you hate his other shows, you are in for something completely different.

Keith Brown: Exchange

An incredible magician, he will have you yelling "Burn the witch!" before the show is done... or maybe that's just me... because I am an asshole.

Lust & Marriage

I met Eleanor O'Brien during my first tour to Winnipeg in 2009. Her friendship back then during a particularly difficult Fringe is one of the reasons I didn't quit. I saw her one-woman show at the Toronto Fringe this summer and I was absolutely charmed by her performance and her tackling of a subject matter that often remains behind closed doors.


Caught this one at the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year. I will see anything that has Jayson McDonald's name attached to it and you should too.

The Middle of Everywhere

I've seen every single show the Wonderheads have brought to Fringe. Their shows are always delightful and this one is good for the whole family!

Nashville Hurricane

My favourite Chase Padgett show! It's a beautiful, well-crafted story that just gave me all the feels. A darling on the Fringe circuit and, once you see it, you will understand why.

Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris

Peter n' Chris are funny guys and their shows regularly sell out on that premise alone, but this one, while still hilarious, also packs a nice emotional gut-punch.

The Sama Kutra

Clowns. Sex. Directed by one half of Mump & Smoot. I saw their very first performance in Calgary last year where they won the Patron's Pick. I've been told they've made some changes since so I'll be checking it out again to see what they've cooked up.

The Seven Lives of Louis Riel

Caught this one ages ago at that fateful Winnipeg Fringe in 2009, so you can be sure I'll be back for a refresher this year. From Ryan Gladstone, the guy who brought you Grant Canyon, I don't think history has ever been this fun.

Sperm Wars

Jeff Leard has frequently been compared to a young Robin Williams and, once you see his show, it's not hard to understand why. An incredibly malleable performer, he will have you in stitches before the hour is up.


After her preview performance at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, Windy Wynazz became my very first Fringe crush of the year. Once you see the dance number in her show, she just might become yours as well.


Man, so much talent at this year's Vancouver Fringe and these are just the shows I've seen! Stay tuned to this blog for Part 2 where I give a shoutout to all the stuff I'm hoping will delight and surprise me.







Adventure Time!


This post was originally sent out through my monthly newsletter. I won't also post the content here so if you are interested in getting additional insights on my adventures, feel free to sign-up!  

Hi friends, did you miss me? I spent my summer time in Ottawa working on grant applications. I took a little break from this ole newsletter, since there wasn't all that much to share other than "woke up, worked on a grant, took a Netflix break, worked on a grant again, did some acrobatics (as you do in your downtime), worked on another f'n grant".

Now September has rolled around and I don't know about you but I am ready for a new adventure. On the 1st, I handed the keys to my condo over to a lovely family and literally skipped all the way to my friend's car. I'm still in Ottawa for the next few days and I can't tell you how absolutely ecstatic it makes me to be crashing on a pal's couch. While I enjoyed the downtime in my home, I think I am much better suited to life on the road.


My first stop will be in Victoria to catch the last weekend of their Fringe before heading out to Vancouver for theirs. For the first time in quite a few months, the documentary team will be reunited in person in Terminal City! Lots of meetings are planned as we work towards our goal of having a rough cut of the film completed by November 1st. And while Natalie and Cory work away at all the technical elements that come with putting together a movie, I will find myself a coffee shop office and keep writing more grants...


What our meetings look like. Natalie did not want me to take this picture. Oops!

Speaking of grants, I have to send a lot of love and special thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts for offering me an Audience and Market Development Grantso I can attend Contact East in Charlottetown to pitchRoller Derby Saved My Soul. My mother is then coming to pick me up after the conference so I can spend some quality time with the family in Moncton. Yup, from one coast to the other in September!

So excited for this!

Stay lovely,




I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Je remercie le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.



Feature Image Photo Credit: abdallahh via Compfight cc

Vagabond Shoes


I'm ready for another adventure. It's been too long. While I've enjoyed a much needed rest in my lovely Ottawa home, I need a change of scenery. I will be heading out to Victoria for the end of their Fringe of September 4th and then head on down to Vancouver for their own festival and some work on the documentary. After that, I fly out to Charlottetown on the 17th for Contact East to pitch Roller Derby Saved My Soul and I will get picked up by my mom to spend some quality family time in New Brunswick until the end of September. After that, who knows?

A lot depends on finding a tenant for my condo. Are you or anyone you know looking for a short or long-term rental in Ottawa? I currently have a posting on Airbnb but it's cheaper if you decide to take it for the whole month or more.

My home has been a wonderful sanctuary for me and I know it will be for you too.


Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/97411961@N00/11254166486/">Mike Gabelmann</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

Summertime Blues


How appropriate that it's raining right now as I write this. It's been over a week since my last Fringe adventures in Toronto. I was just a patron, but I still felt like I belonged. Over at the New Ottawa Critics, Brie MacFarlane pretty much hits the nail on the head:

What is it about the Ottawa Fringe that feels so, for lack of a better word, magical and inclusive for ten straight days? And why are we all so dang sad when it’s over?

There's a reason many of us keep coming back year after year. I've finally come to the realization that Fringe isn't the thing I do and then go back to my real life once it's over. Fringe is my real life. The rest is just the stuff I do in-between. I try to take solace in the snippets of film I get to see from last year's tour while I finish off a few grant applications.

After almost two months of various guests coming and going, my apartment feels empty and quiet. Too quiet. I'm grateful for the flexibility I get in working from home, but it can become very isolating. I feel lonelier than I have felt in a very long time and yet it takes incredible effort to go out there and meet with people. I've forced myself to start working out with people, otherwise I just won't bother going to the gym.

I've consciously stopped drinking. It's been 10 days (only 10? feels longer) since my last sip of alcohol, which may be a new record. I don't know how long I will keep this up, but for now I'm telling myself just one more day.

I've been battling with fear, depression and learning to trust that I am on the right path. I'm meditating everyday now and walking more. Trying to enjoy my own company. I'm in transition. I know that and it's not a bad thing.

It hasn't been easy to shift gears into a slower pace. I'm learning to embrace it. The world is going to speed up soon enough anyway.

Photo Credit: caruba via Compfight cc

There Will Be Blood


I recently returned from the Toronto Fringe Festival where I had the pleasure of seeing 9 shows over 4 days. One of those shows was Morro and Jasp do Puperty. Spoiler alert: The show is about periods.

Right off the bat, Morro is freaking out on the toilet and then comes out to tell what I am assuming is typically a female audience member a secret. On my night, the audience member said that it was totally ok. So Morro asked her to tell everyone in the room. Suddenly it wasn't ok anymore.

We all laughed at the discomfort, of course, but something else stayed with me.


I both identify as a woman and have all the working ladybits that come with that biological designation.

A few weeks ago, I was in Toronto for work and I was also on my period. Since I have been getting periods for the better part of my life, I am well acquainted with the ahem ebbs and flows of my cycle. My day in Toronto would fall on my "heavy" day. No matter. I was prepared.

Work started at 9:30. I popped a Super Absorbent tampon in and added a liner for safety's sake.

11:15 break - everything normal on the southern front.

12:15 lunch - I was fortunate enough to have booked an audition with a prominent theatre company while I was in town and work was kind enough to let me go on my lunch break. I went to the washroom and, to my absolute horror, realized that I had had an accident. My underwear was completely soaked through. I had not had a situation like this since my teens and I was mortified. As if it was something I could control and my body had suddenly betrayed me. Fortunately, it didn't seem to have reached my pants. Doubly fortunate: since I had spent the night in Toronto, I had brought a suitcase and packed way too many clothes for an overnight trip.

I cleaned myself off, refused the kind offer from my coworker to let me borrow his bike, and walked to my audition. I mentally congratulated myself on choosing to wear dark grey pants that day and sauntered into the audition room. But something didn't feel right. They were behind schedule so I asked for the washroom.

Once again, I was absolutely mortified to find out that in the 15 minutes it took me to get there, not only was my underwear soaked through but it had also seeped into my dark grey pants, leaving a giant crimson stain. I was grateful I had another tampon in my bag but freaked out that I had left my clothes at the office.

I quietly panicked in the washroom stall. What about my audition? I couldn't just leave, could I? Actually, yes I probably could have, but they had already seen me. I couldn't reschedule since I would no longer be in town so instead I made the decision to go in and be honest about it. As I paced in the lobby, a gentleman walked by and said I could have a seat. I took one look at the plush seats and, as sweetly as I could, muttered a "Nope, I'm good."

Minutes later I walked in dead set on explaining my predicament, but I froze when I saw there wasn't a single woman in the group, only three men. I suddenly felt embarrassed and thanked the universe for the small favour of a plastic chair in the room. We had a brief chat as I clamped my legs together praying for... I don't know what. Not to be a woman anymore?

Now time to deliver my monologue, I felt grateful that the whole scene took place on a bus. "I'm going to be sitting down," I said, proud of my own quick thinking.

Oddly enough, I pretty much killed that audition about a young woman on a bus feeling awkward and embarrassed when the guy of her dreams walks in and sits down next to her. Gee, I wonder why?

High off a job well done, I heard the words tumble out of my mouth before I was able to stop them: "So, you also wanted me to read for another character in the script?"

No! Nonononono, stupid actor brain! We don't want to read for anything else, we want to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible.

But before I knew what was happening, I had new lines in hand and I was jumping around the stage, praying that they were just looking at me from the waist up. And... it went really well. Again, addicted with performance power, I heard the words: "You also wanted a song, didn't you?"


So I did a song. And it was lovely. I finally FINALLY said my goodbyes and made a beeline to the pharmacy next door.

At this point, the adrenaline rush was leaving me and panic was setting in. I grabbed supplies and ran to the pharmacy station.

"Excuse me, I need to talk to a pharmacists."

A bright-eyed, twenty-something asian kid proudly answered me: "Well he's busy at the moment, but I'm a pharmacy assistant. I can help you!"

Oh kid. I sighed and asked if we could speak in private. Behind closed doors I took a deep-breath as I explained my situation. How this had never happened to me before. That soaking through 3 super absorbent tampons in less than an hour felt excessive. I told him my worries looking for an ounce of reassurance.

His face fell as the eagerness drained from his eyes. "Um. I'm going to get the pharmacist."

I asked for the nearest washroom. In the backroom of the pharmacy, a staff member pointed me in the right direction. To my absolute dismay, there was no toilet paper. I ran back to the staff member who left to get more. I'm sure only took two minutes but it felt like two hours. He offered to put it in the holder for me as I quickly snatched it out of his hands. "No thank you!"

Back at the pharmacy counter, the elderly male pharmacist was finally able to see me. I quietly asked if there was a woman I could talk to. He tells me she wouldn't be in until 5. So I took another deep-breath and laid out my story once more, now with 4 tampons instead of 3. Without missing a beat: "You need to go to emerg."

"Excuse me, what?"

"That is excessive. You need to go to the emergency room."

I am now royally freaking the hell out wondering what to do next. I'm feeling wet, dirty and ashamed and now I'm worried that something might be really wrong with me. I rush to pay for my supplies but I am living in a fucked up sketch comedy show meaning the lineup for the cash register is all the way out the door. I decide to go to the makeup counter instead where the girl refuses to serve me because my things aren't from her section.

I'm about to cry and I plead with her that this? Is an emergency! She sighs and starts punching it in. Where the hell is the sisterly support? I hate her and her stupid eyeliner.

Stepping out into the world, I can't imagine myself walking back to work so I flag down a cab. I thank whatever deity there is that the seats are leather.

In the meantime, I call Telehealth Ontario and speak to a nurse who also tells me to go to the emergency room. I had hoped the pharmacist was just trying to get me out of his hair, but it looked like I had no choice but to go to the hospital.

At the office, I approach my male supervisor and explain the situation. He is incredibly understanding. He gives me access to a private washroom so I may once again clean up and change. He even offers to flag me a cab and get someone to go with me.

"Can it be a woman, please?"

Feminine hygiene product count: 5 in 1.5 hours. At this point, I've switched to the Ultra Super Mega Absorbent kind.

The emergency room at Mount Sinai was all kinds of alright. The staff was incredibly friendly and patient. Not to mention unbelievably attractive. All those doctor shows you see on TV? They were probably based on this place.

At this point, I'm feeling pretty miserable & scared but grateful that the staff here seems to be a majority of women. So of course the universe sends me the super hot twenty-something male nurse to deal with me.


He asks me what's wrong and I take a deep-breath as I look him directly in the eye. Hold onto your hat, we're doing this.

"I'm bleeding from my crotch. Like a lot."

For a split second, I see a shadow cross over his face, but he recovers quickly (Note to pharmacist's assistant: this is how a professional behaves). He is very kind and in good spirits. He takes my vitals, some blood samples and sends in the doctor. The coolest hippest woman I have ever met. Have I mentioned how great the bedside manner is at Mount Sinai? If you're ever in Toronto, you should go.

Feminine hygiene product count: 6 in 2 hours.

I'm given some pills to help reduce excessive bleeding and I wait for my test results. I wait a couple of hours and the doctor approaches me again. My test results are all... normal.

Excuse me, what? This whole thing is not "normal" to me.

The doctor tells me sometimes excessive bleeding just happens. And now I feel incredibly embarrassed. I'm told I shouldn't be. As I was flying out that night, it was a good thing I came in to make sure everything was ok.


I spent that entire nightmare of a day feeling varying degrees of shame and embarrassment. I kept having to talk to men and I didn't want to because I figured everyone of them would recoil in horror (and a few kind of did).

This whole situation made me realize that I still have a lot of issues around being a woman and periods in general. And if I feel this way, I can't imagine what it's like for a girl in a developing country. It took me well into my twenties to not be embarrassed to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle, to carry a box of tampons in my hands, to pay at a cash register manned by a, well, man.

Why is that? Because we don't talk about it. And feeling like I couldn't talk about it made me stress out even more.

Which brings me back to Morro and Jasp do Puberty.

Not only is this a super fun, funny and at times cringeworthy show, it's true bravery comes in tackling a topic that rarely gets any attention.

The show sold out most of its run at the Toronto Fringe and is getting extra performances as a Patron's Pick and Best of Fest before heading out to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Check out the show if you can or support their Indiegogo Campaign to help them get to Scotland.

Let's be more open about this so it can eventually be the best period of our lives.

*Yeah, even I groaned at that last one.*

Nancy's MUST-SEE List at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival


Long before I caught up with all my old friends at the Ottawa Fringe Festival and realized that I was not done with the hanging out, I had decided I would be heading down to the Toronto Fringe for one reason in particular. Well, two reasons actually.

My love for clown sisters Morro and Jasp is well-documented in this blog. I own a t-shirt, a cookbook and have seen every single one of their productions - even the tiny one in a props room at the Arts Court during Subdevision in Ottawa and Morro's Sorrow, a little seen one-person bit at the Big Comedy Go-To in London - except one: Morro and Jasp do Puberty. As luck would have it, the duo got into the Toronto Fringe ahead of their Edinburgh premiere and so I am heading down this weekend to finally catch it.

But that means I have a whole weekend to see a whole bunch of other shows too! Again, please remember this is a personal list. My tastes may not be your own and, to be fair, I haven't seen any of the shows below (more on that later). So without further ado, here's what else I'm hoping to see:

The Inventor of All Things Jem Rolls was at the Ottawa Fringe this year, but I put off seeing it once I heard he was going to be in Toronto but NOT in the program. You see, his show is a very late addition to the festival so unless you're using the website or the app to get your information, you'll have no idea that it's even happening. It's difficult enough to get people to see your show without having to fight with the promotional materials. Plus Jem is a regular on the festival circuit for a reason and I hear this show is his best one yet! It opens tonight at 10:30 p.m. Go see it!

Jem even has a real poster now! Well, real for Jem.

Caws & Effect Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting to see this show? I toured with these awesome ladies all last year and never got to see it because it was always sold out. Yes, I am buying a ticket in advance. And you should too. But only after I get mine.

SwordPlay: A Play of Swords Sex T-Rex's Watch Out, Wildcat! was one of my favorite shows last year. I really can't wait to see what this one is all about. Also Alec Toller is a kickass director who told his parents to let me sleep in his room in Ottawa when I was on tour and had no place to stay. Full disclosure: he was not there at the time so it wasn't awkward at all!

Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris Apparently Chris dies in this one, so you better see it now before it becomes just Peter n'.

pool (no water) Not only did my previous company, Evolution Theatre, do this show in Ottawa a few years ago, this one is choreographed by Patricia Allison, the amazing lady behind my sweet sweet dance moves in Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

Let's Start A Country! I missed this one when I was at Zoofest a few years ago in Montreal and I was really sorry I did. This somewhat improvised production features Gerard Harris, Al Lafrance, the divine Holly Gauthier-Frankel, and they've traded in Shane Adamczak for Zach Zultana himself, Jeff Leard.

Lust & Marriage On my first tour in 2009, I met the wonderful Eleanor O'Brien and her caravan of super amazing women in Winnipeg where they performed Inviting Desire. She was one of the first touring performers to become my friend and we spent many a night drinking fancy cocktails in the caravan they used to live and travel in. I haven't seen her since so I'm incredibly excited for this opportunity now.

Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl Rebecca Perry, my non-doppelgänger, has gone from Confessions to Adventures in this new show about everyone's favorite musical barrista. Her first show sold out it's run last year so I wouldn't expect anything less this time around. Oh and apparently you don't have to have seen the first one to enjoy this one.

Meet Cute Another show by an awesome lady, Erin Norah Thompson's SLUT, also sold out at last year's Fringe. She's back again with this one and I definitely want to catch it if I can find the time.


With 148 shows at this year's festival, it can be hard to chose what to see. While I haven't seen any of the shows listed above, here are some that I have and can vouch for their enjoyment.

Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo Just saw it in Ottawa and it was the funniest show I saw at the festival.

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project I also just saw this one in Ottawa and it was recently nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best One-Person Show.

The Orchid and the Crow Probably my favorite show in Ottawa this year and the winner of the well-deserved Best Solo Performer Award.

2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrows Investigation Do you like puns? Do you like magic? Do you like film noir? Do you like to laugh? If you answered yes to any of these questions go get yourself a dose of Dirk Darrow.

Anatolia Speaks A beautiful little show I caught in Vancouver last year about an immigrant woman addressing her ESL class.

For Body and Light Presents: Coming and Going I think this is the same dance show I caught in Edmonton last year. Though I'm not a huge dance person and so I can't comment on that aspect, I did really love how they incorporated spoken word into the whole piece.

Two Girls, One Corpse An adorable little show, part rom com, part murder she wrote. Supporting my hometown girls will not leave you disappointed.

High Tea These guys sellout, win every award and collect every star there is.

Pretending Things Are a Cock This show is exactly what you think it is. I saw it at Zoofest in Montreal to a packed house. Grab a drink, bring some friends and giggle like you are five years old because everything looks like a penis now.

Hanging Out at the Ottawa Fringe


Oh, Ottawa Fringe Festival, I love you so! It's taken me this long just to recover. The quality and caliber of shows this year was incredibly high, which probably accounts for the multiple sold out houses and record breaking box office numbers. I saw a grand total of 22 shows, which is not too shabby if I do say so myself. They were, in viewing order:

We would love to receive a quote on "write my essay online" from you and provide you with the best writing assistent ever!

Uncouth I think my boyfriend should have an accent The Nature of Things of Nature Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo Hootenanny Mars Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!! Three Men in a Boat The Orchid and the Crow Whose Aemelia The Untitled Sam Mullins Project The Sink Two Girls, One Corpse Supervillains Don't Wear Stilettos Sh!t I'm in Love with you Again Screwtape Die Roten Punkte: Best Band in the World Inescapable Pachiv! Hannah and George Working Title: Undecided Northern Daughter

And this not counting all the ones I had already seen.

While hanging out at the Fringe this year, two questions frequently came up: 1) How does it feel to just be a patron this year? and 2) Will you be doing Roller Derby Saved My Soul again?

Here were my answers:

1) It's surprisingly great. I get to see a bunch of shows, hang out with all my friends, and drink like it's... well like it's Fringe, but I have none of the stress that comes with producing your own show. Though I missed performing, after the incredible amount of pressure I was under last year, this was a breath of much needed fresh air.

2) I had at least a dozen people come up to me and ask about Roller Derby Saved My Soul. My director, Tania Levy, also told me how inspired she was to revisit our collaborative effort after seeing all these new shows. The script has changed a lot over the summer and she has yet to see this new version. I was also inspired by some of the design elements I saw during this festival (track lighting from The Orchid and the Crow anyone?) So the short answer is yes, I will be doing Roller Derby Saved My Soul. The how, when and where of it will take up another blog post all on its own.

A couple shoutouts/cool things from this year's festival:

  • Congrats to Pat and the team for getting a couple suitable alternatives to the Beer Tent this year. Both The Albion Room and Club SAW were a lot of fun.
  • Awesome to see the ticket price go up to $12 this year making Ottawa a city with one of the highest payouts for Fringe on the circuit. For those of you who don't know, artists only make money through ticket sales so this is a fantastic thing.
  • It was down to the wire. I thought for sure my Fringe crush this year would be the perfect bangs and chiseled jaw of the Mars crew. But on the last day of the festival I caught Working Title: Undecided and Tamlynn Bryson caught my heart. A well-deserved emerging artist award is now in her bag!

Don't make me choose!

  • It turns out I'm still young enough to stay out until 5 a.m. multiple nights in a row.
  • Hanging out with Hiroshi Shimizu and introducing him to various Canadian cuisines.
  • Looking forward to the remount of The Elephant Girls in the Arts Court Theatre. Since it sold out its run, this was one of the few shows I really wanted to see but missed.
  • 4 out of 5 Best of Fest shows were created by women. 2 out 3 shows that sold out their entire runs were local.
  • Wes Babcock is my hero.

Hey Kevin, look over here!


Next Stop: Toronto Fringe!

Nancy’s Must-See List at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival


Wow, Fringe already? It feels like just a year ago that I was packing up a car and heading out on a four month tour of the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit... Oh wait, that was a year ago. One year ago...

This year, I am taking it easy. For the first time in about 12-13 years, I am not involved with any Fringe show in any way. This year, I am but a patron and I am excited to see what is coming my way at this year's Ottawa Fringe Festival.

The Fringe preview start tonight, so new things might catch my eye, but for the moment, as is my yearly wont, here is Nancy's Must-See List for the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival:

Usual disclaimer: These are my opinions only. If your show is not on here, it does not mean it isn't any good. Feel free to add your show and why we should see it to the comments below. Also, please don't hate me.

The Stuff I've Already Seen so I Probably Won't See it Again but you Should

Magical Mystery Detour

Caught this one in Edmonton. Gemma Wilcox is an incredible shape-shifting performer. You may have seen her in The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over and Shadows in Bloom, two shows that have more awards and recognition than Meryl Streep has Oscar nominations.

The Cockwhisperer... A Love Story

Caught a working version in Winnipeg and then the whole thing in London. Colette Kendall is one of the fiercest women I know. The first time I saw this show, during an incredibly rough time I was having at the Winnipeg Fringe, I wrote about how much I admired her and her presence. I think this may be her first time in town, so show her some love, Ottawa!

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project

Saw this one in Montreal last year. I loved it, even though Sam told me he was not happy with it. He then went and made major rewrites and proceeded to sell the shit out the rest of his Fringe Festival tour in every single city. My title for this section is now misleading as I will totally try and catch this one to see what changed. He also beat out Roller Derby Saved My Soul for a Canadian Comedy Award, so there's that.


Caught this one in Toronto. Tonya Jones Miller shares an incredibly personal and incredibly true story about her mother in Vietnam. Go see it and then spend the rest of the night in disbelief wondering if that really happened. Answer: Yes, it really did.

Bursting Into Flames

Caught this one in Toronto as well. Marting Dockery is an excellent story teller and this was one of the first pieces of fiction I saw him do. Once again, he blew me away in what quickly became my favourite of all his shows.

Keith Brown: Exchange

Another one I saw in London. Keith is both super charming and super magical. This is a great show, good for the whole family. Sidenote: If you hear me yelling "Burn the witch!" at the Fringe grounds, Keith is around.

The Stuff I Missed the First Time Around


I wanted to catch this one in Edmonton last year, but fell victim to burn out and bad timing. John Huston is a mainstay on the Fringe circuit and always impresses with his performances so I'm looking forward to this one.

Three Men in a Boat

Missed this one when I was in Toronto because it was selling out ALL THE TIME. While I wish the same for them here, could everyone wait until I have my ticket before you go? I really don't want to miss it again.


The Super Incredible People Who Are Doing Super Incredible Things

The Elephant Girls

Margo MacDonald. That is all.


Oh wait, I did have something to add. Her promo photos for Shadows in 2010 were outstanding and she really outdid herself again this time around.



Hannah and George

Even if I hadn't seen a workshop version of this piece at the Fresh Meat Festival. And even if it hadn't been charming as fuck. And even if it didn't include the wonderful Madeleine Hall who both worked for me that one time and blew me away with her acting skills during an event I saw at the Clocktower. And even if their posters and publicity materials were some of the best ones I've seen so far this year... I would be going to see this show because of one Kevin Reid. Let's be honest folks. If you are in anyway involved in theatre or Fringe, Kevin was right there, front and centre (quite often literally), supporting you and your work and then writing incredibly nice things about it. So get off your seat and go see a show by a man who not only discovered in his 40s that a life in the theatre is actually what makes him happy but turns out he's also really good at it too.

Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!!

I will see this show based on the title alone.


Kate Smith is an incredible performer who created a really lovely Fringe show a few years ago that I still bring up to this day (and not just because she was naked in it that one time). Will Somers impresses me more and more each time I see him on stage. His piece with David Bennedict Brown at last year's Fresh Meat Festival was one of my absolute favourites. Add Cory Thibert, director of On the Fringe as a videographer to this project and you've got a killer team I'm looking forward to checking out at this year's festival.


Speaking of Cory Thibert, he's also directing his May Can brother from another mother Tony Adams, as well as Chelsea Young in a show at the Bronfman Amphitheatre. If that wasn't enough, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that amphitheatre is outdoors. I love it when the traditional venue system is challenged!


Martin Dockery again teaming up with RibbitRePublic's Jon Paterson. Also known as that super talented guy I spent weeks travelling with in a van as we toured The Little Prince out west. Long time Ottawa Fringers might also remember him from his fantastic take on Daniel MacIvor's House. Brian Carroll will also tell you that he is one of the reasons every single show at the Ottawa Fringe Festival now gets a review. Go see this show and then talk to Brian. Seriously, talk to Brian, it's a good story.

Sh!T I'm in Love with You Again

First the title totally caught my eye. Second, the name Rachel Elie. She was here with JOE: The Perfect Man, a hilarious show that taught me that there are different types of clowns out there.

The Inventor of All Things

Jem Rolls is back! And I'm told this time it's with something different from any show he's done in the past. Guys, there's actually a poster! With a picture! I spent an entire summer with this man and I am genuinely surprised and absolutely delighted to see where this one goes.

Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo

I'd be remiss if I didn't include this one since I am billeting the actor. Jeff Leard's The Show Must Go On was one of my favorite shows on the Fringe; one that I thought about a lot as I did my own children's theatre tour. He's a fantastic performer and I'm hearing great things out of the London Fringe about this one.

The Orchid and the Crow

From Daniel Tobias, one half of super mega group Die Roten Punkte. Every once in a while, you hear the other artists talk about a show they saw that absolutely everyone needs to see. This is that show.

I Think My Boyfriend Should Have an Accent

Emily Pearlman is back with a solo show! It's been a long time since we've seen this. I fell in love with her alone on stage talking about her tapeworm so I'm incredibly excited to see what she has cooked up this time around.

Supervillains Don't Wear Stilettos

Ok, I think I lied. I am involved with a show in some way. This show was originally part of the Youth Infringement Festival and I was a writing mentor for the group. Sock n Buskin picked it up as their Fringe show so it had to drop out of YIF. I am excited to see how everything turned out for these young playwrights and budding directors.


Wow, not including the other categories, that's already 10-12 shows that I absolutely need to see. And I haven't even mentioned the return of Sterling Lynch with Autoerotic, Rick Kaulbars promising me a bawdy good time with "Finished Girls" A Tale of Colonial Sex Trade, local Fringe favourite Richard Hemphill's Junior Sleuths, Tim Oberholzer's final Ottawa performance in Whose Aemilia?, Jayson MacDonald's Mars, and countless other shows that I'm sure I've either missed because I've been staring at the program too long or will pick up along the way. This isn't so much a list anymore as it is a rehashing of the program.

Well, there is a lot of ground to cover, so what are you waiting for? On your mark, get set, FRINGE!

So long and thanks for all the theatre


The Magnetic North Theatre Festival ended this past weekend. I've been to the last 4 or 5 in Ottawa and for me this was definitely one of the best ones yet. Things I loved:

  • Of the 10 productions included in the festival 4 were from Ottawa. FOUR! I remember years when we would be lucky to get one.
  • All the shows were great! One stood out for me in particular.
  • 15 Industry Spots were sponsored for local Ottawa artists.
  • The partnership with the Canada Dance Festival meant that I got to see 2 shows that made me think I may be a "dance person" after all.
  • Although I missed the Club Saw Festival Bar from years past, I was happy that the NAC 4th Stage had cheaper drink rates than what the NAC would normally offer.
  • Bar activities like THUNK Theatre's Lost & Find Project and Therapy Sessions with Self-Proclaimed Expert Emelia Symington Fedy made for a fun night out.
  • Great panel discussions like Can We Make Gender Equity More Than An Intellectual Exercise? made for awesome conversations.
  • Inspiring Pitch session.
  • I saw posters for the festival everywhere!
  • The Saskatoon contingent. I think more cities/provinces should band together and send their artists to the festival.
  • Partnering up with Soup Ottawa for an event promoting local arts projects. Congratulations to the Fresh Meat DIY Festival for walking away with the prize that night!

Things to think about:

  • While for the most part I enjoyed the One-to-One Sessions, I think I preferred the open Marketplace that happened the last time the festival was in town. There were a limited number of presenters at this year's festival, so it was at times difficult to get face time. Then while having your One-to-One time, you might discover that you were not a proper fit after all. With the Marketplace, presenters could walk by, see something that catches their eye and know immediately if it was a good fit. My 2 cents on that.
  • We had some great meals but the breakfast and lunch sessions left a lot to be desired if you had any kind of dietary restrictions. I often found myself leaving to go buy something else.
  • The street event prior to the opera was confusing.

Really? Those were the biggest criticisms I could come up with? Congratulations Mag North, you did all kinds of alright this year. Hopefully I will be seeing you in Whitehorse next summer!

I Am the Seeker


The Magnetic North Theatre Festival has been an absolute whirlwind of activity for me. My flight from Saskatoon arrived Sunday afternoon and, after a quick shower, I immediately jumped into the Industry Series. There have been so many great discussions, connections and productions jammed into an intense 4 days. It was another solid series of shows for this festival, but one in particular has really stuck with me: What Happened to the Seeker. What Happened to the Seeker is an incredibly personal and moving event. I hesitate to call it a play as it felt more like performance art. The piece is divided into two halves, the first one split into three parts.

As I sat involved in the first two parts, I felt confused and then angry. The whole thing initially seemed self-indulgent and wanky. Oh great, another play about artists who are unable to make art. It made me so mad. I was angry people were laughing at jokes I did not find funny, but incredibly sad. I was angry at the negativity presented in the piece, the desperation and lack of hope. And I was angry at the, yes I dare say the thought crossed my mind, what I perceived to be a waste of money in creating this elaborate project. And now I was angry at my own hypocrisy and assholishness. What the hell was wrong with me?

I grabbed a drink as I walked to the third part. Well, at least there was a bar. I started wandering the exhibit before me, carefully looking, touching, reading; starting to feel unsettled by the familiarity of it all. I knew this story all too well. I reached a point that offered the audience member a chance to “release” their anger by beating up a pillow. Impulsively I went for it. Unleashing this rage I was feeling, hurting my hand in the process. I was shaking as I kept on through the exhibit and was grateful for the hug that was offered next. As I reached the end of the piece, I felt the tears coming up. I took a step back, drink in hand, trying desperately to compose myself and wondering what to do next when I spotted the Seeker. I looked at her and she looked at me. In that moment, I knew she saw me. Really saw me. As I gave her a hug, the floodgates opened and I started sobbing on her shoulder.

I finally managed to say what had been weighing on me this entire time: “This is my life.” She looked at me and I saw she was crying too. So I did what any grownup does in this situation. I ran off to get another drink.

You may have a completely different experience with this show. You may not even like it at all. But for me, this piece is something that is going to stick with me for quite sometime. And I’m not just saying that because I notice the slight bruises developing on my knuckles from that time I lost a fight with a pillow and chair.

I wasn’t angry because this was “bad” art. I was angry because it hit so close to home. What Happened to the Seeker put a broken mirror up to my face and I was pissed to confront truths in myself that I had been ignoring for a long time. Love it, hate it, this show certainly did not leave me indifferent.


Spring Cleaning


"Is it weird being back?" I've been asked that question a lot lately now that I am not only back in Ottawa, but back in my own home. And in some ways it kind of is. My mom came up last week to help me with some home renovations and what amounted to a ton of spring cleaning. I have not lived here in 5 years and I have not owned a cat in about the same amount of time, yet somehow we could have probably made 2 cats out of the hair we found behind the fridge and stove.

Note to self: Normal people clean behind the fridge and stove.

Other note to self: The cleaning service you hired obviously will not.

Before and After

For the most part, the renovations are done and I am really happy with them. I'm just left with sorting through all my boxes of stuff. Having lived in a suitcase for so long, I am blown away by the amount of "stuff" I have. I can't look at most of it too long or I start becoming sentimental. The donation collection guys at Value Village is starting to know me by name. I'm hoping to get everything done before I leave for Saskatoon on Thursday for a quick remount of The Little Prince.

Things have been fairly chaotic all around this past month. The renos, the family visit, doing my taxes, the juggling multiple jobs and a surprising number of auditions lately have left me feeling a tad drained. All good things, mind you, so I'm not complaining, but I'm looking forward to the opening & run of Re:Union at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival so I can take one thing off my plate. It's a fantastic show that I am incredibly proud to be involved with so I hope you will be able to check it out.

I was hoping to get back to blogging a bit more, but there just didn't seem to be much to write about. June is gearing up to be one very exciting month though so there will be much more happening in these pages soon.


Stay tuned!


Honey, I'm Home!


You told me you were good at running awayDomestic life, it never suited you like a suitcase

- Dead Sea, The Lumineers


It's been over 4 months since I last was in Ottawa. And almost 5 years since I lived in my own home.

About 7 years ago, with the help of my mom, while I was still gainfully employed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization (and no I'm not going to call it by that other name), I bought a condo. About a year later, I quit my job and began my journey as an artrepreneur. The thing is, the starting salaries for both artists and entrepreneurs are really not as high as you might expect them to be. Unable to pay for my mortgage, but unwilling to sell because we would make no gains from it, I started renting it out fully-furnished. And I hit the road. The rest, as they say, is history - or a few years worth of blog posts.

I've been lucky. Throughout all this time, I've only had 2 tenants and they have more or less keep the place in great condition.

I've always wondered what it would be like to be back, to be in my "stuff". At the moment, it feels kind of unsettling. Now that the place is clean, I've been avoiding unpacking. I know what life feels like in a suitcase. There's freedom in that. But closet space? Shelves? What do you do with that?



Maybe that's why I'm taking the first opportunity I can to jump on a train to Toronto. Yes, yes, I'm going to see Morro & Jasp, as well as Kat Sandler's new show, so can you blame me? But deep down, I know it's because I'm scared of settling down somewhere. I have no idea what I'll be doing as of July, so a small part of me says I just shouldn't bother. Thing is, I've spent years realizing that there is usually something very cool on the other side of that fear. So maybe, just maybe, it's time to unpack my bags.

Vacation Guilt


As a workaholic, I approach vacations like a cat needing a bath. But just like bathing, I've learned to appreciate vacations as a necessary thing. cat-hates-to-take-a-bath

At the end of my tour last year, I was burnt out. Remembering how rested and refreshed I felt after my trip to Thailand, I started looking at other travel opportunities. Shortly thereafter I found out that my cousin would be getting married in Mexico and so I knew I had found my destination.

But something weird started to happen: the closer I got to the trip, the less I talked about it on social media because it was stressing me out. I was feeling guilty for going on vacation. It felt not only frivolous to take a break, but disingenuous when I am still trying to raise funds for my documentary.

I read a passage in Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking, that pretty much summed up how I was feeling. In the book, Amanda is talking to a musician friend (Sam) who has a Patreon campaign but was going on vacation with her boyfriend. She felt guilty because she didn't want anyone to think she was using the money entrusted to her to go on vacation. She didn't want to look like an asshole to her fans. The answer given in the book is too extensive to get into here, but this passage struck a chord:

I told Sam about another songwriter friend of mine, Kim Boekbinder, who runs her own direct-support website through which her fans pay her monthly... Kim had told me before that she doesn't mind charging her backers during what she calls her "staring-at-the-wall-time," which she thinks is essential before she can write a new batch of songs. Her fans don't complain; they trust her process. - Amanda Palmer, The Arts Of Asking

This need for rest, for idleness, it's something I am slowly beginning to understand is actually an integral part of the creative process. Over the past few months, as I lived my life on tour in Vancouver, I found myself busy, but uninspired. Somehow, taking a break to refuel and recharge, never occurred to me as a possible solution and yet that's exactly what happened when I returned from my trip. New and exciting ideas had started coalescing in my brain. As Tim Kreider states much better than I ever could:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. - Tim Kreider, The Busy Trap

To be fair, I also used my own money (credit card) to go on vacation, not the money associated with the project, and what I do with it is nobody's business but my own. And yet, even after seeing the tangible benefits I got from a period of rest, I still find myself feeling guilty...

Fellow artists, does this ever happen to you? How do you get over it?



First Contact


I've been away from for the past week on a lovely and much needed vacation for my cousin's wedding and wrote this post before I left. Quite some time ago, while I was having drinks the incredible Julia Mackey, I asked her what I could do next. As my tour was done and I didn't expect to take Roller Derby Saved My Soul on the Fringe again, I wanted to know how to get it to that next level. As the creative force behind the wildly successful Jake's Gift, she had one word for me: Contact.

With Julia Mackey & Dirk van Stralen of Jake's Gift

No, not a movie with Jodie Foster. She meant a Contact event. There is one in almost every province and, according to this article that explains it better than I ever could:

Contact events bring together performing arts presenters, festival and talent buyers, community arts councils, concert promoters, agents, and cultural organizations from across their region to take in showcases from a wide variety of artists and performers, and offering those artists the opportunity to books shows and even tours.

Unfortunately, I was well pass the deadline to submit myself to the one happening in Vancouver, so I did the next best thing. With one random day off from in the middle of my Little Prince tour that coincided with the second day of Pacific Contact, I bought a day pass and showed up.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Similar in some ways to the Industry Series through the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which I attended in Ottawa in 2013 and will again this year, Pacific Contact was a whirlwind of activity. I attended table talks on relevant industry issues, enjoyed networking meals, saw showcases that taught me how to create my own and explored the Contact Room, where various artists, agents and producers had set up booths selling their wares. Armed with business cards and a one-pager about RDSMS, I made many a new connection (and a re-connection with plenty a pal) and as luck would have it was actually approached by a few presenters who had seen the show at the Vancouver Fringe. Not bad for a gal who was just there for a day in the middle of touring another show.

Now, having seen how it's done, I feel ready to take part. I spent quite a bit of time on the handy "I Want To Showcase" website submitting for all the upcoming Canadian contact sessions.

I should know more in the next few months. Stay tuned!




Back in the Groove... Sort Of


I've had a fairly long break this past month from The Little Prince and my regular blogging schedule definitely suffered for it. It's not like I didn't have anything else on the go, but my creative drive to write was sapped by various admin work and tax prep. last week, we started performing again and it's been great! Better than great, actually. You'd think that after a month off we'd be a bit lost and shaky, but the show is actually better than its ever been. We know it so well now that we can have way more fun. In my case, I'm also able to sharpen many of my character transitions; something that I have always had trouble mastering. I've heard from multiple sources that it takes at least 50 performances of a piece before it really hits its stride and I believe it.

And now... we're done.

What? Already? I don't believe it! Four months have just flown by. I'm so thrilled to have been working on this show with the awesome team from Monster Theatre. Not to mention Winter in Vancouver has been such a treat.

Winter in Vancouver


Well, we're not completely done quite yet. In early June, we're being flown out to Saskatoon for the Potash Corp Children's Festival of Saskatchewan and the company is already in talks for another tour next Winter. The future tour will be happening thanks in part to a great event called "Pacific Contact".

More on that in my next post!