Making Your Own Work

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.

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

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!




The Start of Something


Yesterday, my producing partner, Natalie Watson, and I sat in a darkened room and watched, not the work we had created, but people's reaction to it. And it was pretty fucking cool. The Vancouver Fringe Festival had generously put together an event for a select group of people in order for us to preview our upcoming documentary, On the Fringe. So far, no one outside of the production team had seen what we had been cooking up. While I'm confident in and incredible proud of the work Natalie and director Cory Thibert have been doing, I was still a little nervous showing anything for the first time. There was no need to worry, however, because the reactions were incredible. People loved it and were excited to see more.

And now, I am ready to share that with the rest of you. Click on the image below to see our preview!

Title Card

This preview is a rough cut of the film's introduction. It is still a work in progress but it should give you an idea of where things are going. It is our hope to have a finished film by the Fall. Are you as excited as I am yet?

You may also have noticed, once you clicked on the image, that it takes you to our Indiegogo page. Thanks to a new program from the crowdfunding platform, past successful campaigns are able to re-open. Until we've built a proper website, this is a great place for you to pre-order the film, get updates on how things are going and help us raise funds for post-production.

If you already contributed to our previous campaign, THANK YOU! We wouldn't have been able get this far without you! You will still be getting your selected film perks once they are ready. If you can contribute again that would, of course, be amazing, but you can also majorly help us out by being our ambassadors and distributing it through your social networks.

We're also looking for some additional help behind the scenes. I need someone with experience in branding, marketing, graphic design and web building who can work within our Fringe budgets. If this is you or someone you know, please contact us.

So check out the video & the campaign, tell us what you think, and share share share with everyone you know.

A year ago, this documentary was just a pipe dream and now we are closer than ever to making it a reality.


Featured image in header "Waiting for Hulot" by blondinrikard licensed under CC-BY.

Documentary Sneak Peek


From May to September 2014, Natalie Watson, Cory Thibert and I travelled from across the country in our sponsored Volkswagen Passat to gather footage for what will eventually become On the Fringe, a documentary about life on the Fringe Festival circuit. Thank you, Hunt Club Volkswagen in Ottawa!

After 10 cities, over 18 000 kilometres, and countless hours of footage, we are finally ready to give you a sneak peak of what we have so far.


Tomorrow that is. We are ready to give you a sneak peak, as well as an opportunity to pre-order the movie, tomorrow night.

Stay tuned!

(And be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you would like this preview to be sent directly to your inbox.)

Looking Back on 2014


Feature image credit: Takashi(aes256) via Compfight cc I usually try to get my year-end recaps out by the end of December, but my December 29th was spent on planes to Vancouver where I had to jump into rehearsals for The Little Prince the very next day. With rehearsals, New Year's and settling in, things have been pretty hectic, so blogging had to, once again, take a back seat. But on one of my few days off, I find myself enjoying the sun and mild weather as I reminisce on the past year.

Dear 2014, you were really good to me. Crazy, crazy good. It started with a shot-ski bang after a closing performance of You're a Dead Man, Charlie Brown and a massive hangover cured by a delicious breakfast from a generous roommate. Then there were rehearsals and the run of Pop Fiction in Ottawa where I got to wear the coolest costume of my entire acting career so far.

I'm the one on the right just waiting for you to go ahead and make my day.

Experiencing one of the biggest cold snaps ever in Ottawa, I was thrilled to head out on vacation to Thailand with a close pal. It was an absolutely life-changing experience and opened my heart and mind in ways I still feel affecting me to this day. It also gave me a major travel bug. Which is a good thing considering how the rest of the year went.

From March to May, I was back in Ottawa getting ready for the biggest project of my life thus far. If you've been any kind of regular follower of mine, you know I'm talking about the cross-country tour of Roller Derby Saved My Soul, as well as the accompanying feature-length documentary, On the Fringe.

I had to get back into shape for the show and I found the best outlet for that was through the Ottawa Stilt Union. Their acro sessions were just the kind of fun workout and training I was looking for and it's one of the biggest things I miss about Ottawa these days. If you ever have the chance to work with them, I highly recommend it.

2014-04-17 11.45.53-1

Creatively, while I was working on rewrites for Roller Derby Saved My Soul, I took some classes early in the year with the incredible Alix Sideris, the same pal I traveled with to Thailand, in Laban work. I'd never tried this type of work before and it really opened up new possibilities for me as a performer. Oh and I finally took my violin out of storage and buckled down with some classes. Though I by no means became an expert, I can muddle through a passable 'twinkle twinkle little star' that would make the parent of any 8 year old proud.

Spring also a period of massive fundraising, where we managed to not only raise over $10,000 through an Indiegogo campaign, but also create a wonderful partnership with Hunt Club Volkswagen in Ottawa who became our official travel sponsor for the tour.

I never would have been able to accomplish this without the incredible team I had assembled. Yes, 2014 was the year I put on my big girl pants and expanded my operations by hiring staff. Best decision I ever made.

And then there was the tour!

2014-10-08 11.01.24-2

From the end of May until the end of September, I found myself of the road, hitting up a different city every 10 days or so, documentary team in tow. It was an unbelievable adventure and an incredible opportunity.There were plenty of sold-out houses, good reviews and awards (including a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for Best One Person Show), but there was also some heartbreak, tough notes to take and a few health concerns. It wasn't always easy, but it was definitely worthwhile. If you want to know more about all that, please feel free to check out the play-by-play in the blog archives.

By September, I was in Vancouver, finishing up the tour and taking acting classes with my favourite teacher. Then in October I hopped in the car and took a mostly solo trip back across the country where I returned the keys to VW Passat *sniff* and headed to the family home back East for some quality downtime.

In November, I took my first trip to Los Angeles to once again study with my acting teacher and her incredible team, before settling my affairs up in Toronto and heading back to the family home. At this point, I was pretty burnt out and looking forward to the comforts of home before the craziness know as the "Holidays" began.

Once there, I was finally able to sit with all my administrative work from the summer and gear up for the next chapter in my journey, which brought me back to Vancouver on December 29th.

Though this year may have started with a bang, it ended in a quiet night with friends and colleagues influenced by jet-lag and wine. The perfect way to end a year filled with so much movement and excitement.

Goodbye 2014! You were a gooder, that's for sure. Hey, 2015! Tag. You're it.


Up next, What's Up 2015!

Thank you for being a friend


When I reach this time of year, I usually like to pause and reflect on everything I've accomplished and everything I still aspire to do. This year was definitely a big year for me, but the crazy thing is (and this is where I think something in me might be broken) it doesn't seem like enough. I know that I am a very ambitious and at times incredibly intense person. This gives me some kind of laser focus when working on specific projects and I usually manage to channel that energy into something positive, but this constant striving for more also leaves me with a deep sense of dissatisfaction in my own life.

I've had to come to terms with this deep-rooted dissatisfaction in multiple areas of my own life this past year and it wasn't always pretty. When I fall down that well, I can quickly become anxious, bitter, insecure, jealous and resentful. And those negatives become present with the same amount of intensity as the positives, which make me absolutely unbearable to be around.

If you were around during any of those times, I'd like to sincerely apologize for anything I put you through. Please know that I am aware of this behaviour and I am actively working on it every day.

Not only was 2014 a big year in terms of accomplishments, but it was also pretty huge in terms of personal growth. If I learned anything this past year, and this is still scary difficult for me to admit, it's that it is enough.

I am enough.

It doesn't mean I'm going to stop striving, but it does mean I can stop being so hard on myself about my place in the world.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Your love and support has meant the world to me and carried me through when the dark times and doubts come along.

I'm very much looking forward to 2015.

Next up: a recap of 2014 and what's in store for 2015. Stay tuned!

No Fringe for You


I didn't want to tour again next summer. I'm still burnt out from this past one and I've been tapped out creatively. Only now am I starting to feel alive again. To not sign up for any Fringe lotteries after the epic tour I just had was a bittersweet decision. After all, it's the glorious devil I know. So I cheated a little bit. I signed up for one Fringe lottery and only one, my favourite on the circuit, my home base: the Ottawa Fringe Festival. But the odds, they were not so much in my favour and I ended up 9th on the Local Waiting List.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was slightly relieved. I have an idea for a new show that I want to work on and 9th is not that bad. I heard that last year the 10th person on the waiting list got in and there is always the possibility of a BYOV. But right now it just feels all too soon.

I've been reading and writing a lot lately and it's nice to just get back to creating without a specific deadline in mind. I've got so many projects running through my head that the days just don't feel long enough to get to it all. This is also the first time in a long time that I don't know what my summer will hold. I've been doing Fringe almost every year for the past 12 years and I'm excited to see what else might be out there for me.

The Gratitude List


Wow. Wow. Wow. Guys, we did it! We really did it! Step by baby step we climbed that mother fucking mountain and the view up top is pretty darn spectacular! (It is Vancouver after all.) The money was raised, the car was found, the tour was successful and the film is more or less in the can. I say "we" because I couldn't have done it without an absolutely brilliant community of people. First and foremost, my biggest thanks go to Irene, Doug, Gwen and the team of fabulous people at Hunt Club Volkswagen in Ottawa. The entire tour would have been nigh impossible without you.

I promise I'm bringing it back... eventually.

To the hundreds of people who donated to my Indiegogo campaign, as well as all those who sent in contributions once it was all over: Thank you! Your support has meant the world to me and my team and I am excited to share the finished product with you all. An extra special shoutout to our new Associate Producer, Douglas Beaton, as well my beautiful friend, Peter Janes, for going way above and beyond the call of duty in order to make this all happen. We've also started sending out perks so please be on the lookout for those in the next few weeks.

Thank you!

To the Roller Derby Saved My Soul team: Tania, Steven, Trish, Jess, Mikaela, Richard, Emily, Madeleine, JP and Nick. This show's successes are as much yours as they are my own.

With TO stage manager, Mikaela Dyke and choreographer Patricia Allison.

To all the producers, staff members, volunteers, my fantastic technicians, and, yes, even the critics in each and every city: Your dedication to this little thing called "Fringe" is second to none. These festivals would absolutely not happen without out and the arts community in Canada owes you a great deal for that.

To our amazing billets who took in a bunch of, probably, dirty, smelly artists, thank you for being crazy enough for giving strangers keys to your home. I don't know why you do it, but I am sure glad you do!

And that sometimes you include breakfast.

To our "Tour Mom" Lizzie Watson: thank you for taking care of us all along the way. You opened your home to us and made sure we were fed and caffeinated. You honestly can's ask for more than that.

Thanks for all the gift cards!

To everyone who came out to see the show, including all the incredible Roller Derby men and women who showed up, you blew me away this summer. You have helped me grow both as an artist and as a person. With all the incredible talent and productions found on the Fringe, I am incredibly grateful that you chose to spend your time with me.

Thank you for making things like this happen.

To my beautiful Fringe family, your love and support is unparalleled. The level of talent on the circuit is unreal and each and every one of you inspires me every day. Thank you for sharing the joys and for sharing the tears. Friends old and new, we are all in this together. I believe in magic because of you.

Just throwing together a little Cabaret in less than 24 hours. No biggie.

An extra special thanks to everyone who allowed us to film them for the documentary, but especially jem rolls, Martin Dockery, Vanessa Quesnelle, Morgan Murray, Danielle Spilchen, Robert Grier and Graham Kent. Not everyone would allow a film crew to invade their lives for a whole summer.

Behind the scenes moments like hanging in our Vancouver Fringe outdoor living room. Not pictured: the SNES.

One of the loveliest couples I know.

What 100 Fringe Festivals looks like. Congratulations jem!

To Randi Strickland who answered the call of duty and joined our team in Calgary and Edmonton: Your talent and skill is undeniable. Thanks lady for picking up the ball and gleefully running with it.

Double-fisting in the film world.

And last, but definitely not least, to Natalie and Cory... I don't even know where to begin, except to say thank you for believing in this crazy adventure with me. You were the perfect team and words cannot express how much gratitude I feel and how much you both mean to me. You were an absolute joy to travel with and I am proud to consider you both my colleagues, my peers and my friends.

Couldn't have done this without you.

And thanks again, dear reader, for sticking it out with me. Lots of big things still to come. Stay tuned!

Last Time, With Feeling


I'm just a few hours away from my very last performance of Roller Derby Saved My Soul of the summer, as a Pick of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and for the foreseeable future. Sitting here in my special tank top, though I'm feeling a bit nervous, as I do before any performance, I also feel a great sense of accomplishment and gratitude. What an adventure I've been on! Four months on the road, 55 performances in multiple cities across this beautiful country, tons of friends old and new, two very special colleagues who helped me realize my vision of a feature-length documentary in one awesome little car from the amazing people at Hunt Club Volkswagen in Ottawa... Man, do I ever have a lot to be grateful for. A more personalized list of thank yous will be coming soon, but for now, I just want to let all of you reading this that I couldn't have done it without your support.

Thank you thank you thank you. And I will see you on the flip side.

P.S. Don't tell Tania Levy that my last performance takes place on a raised and very lumpy stage. She worries ;)

Terminal City, Last Stop


I arrived in Vancouver not really knowing what to expect with this Fringe. I've always loved the city and Granville Island in particular, but I had never performed here before. My last three cities (Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria) had been just fine, so I expected just as much here. But both the weather and the festival went well above and beyond my wildest expectations. I arrived in town to what I quickly discovered was some mad media buzz. In addition to the Georgia Straight review from the Victoria Fringe, I got to attend a media call and I was named a festival pick in almost every local publication, both online and in print. I once again thank my lucky stars for my amazing promotional pictures, which I am sure played an important role in getting me noticed.

Photo credit: Richard Gilmore

I started flyering and right away the response was incredibly positive. Still, I had no idea what to expect on opening night. Let me tell you I was pretty blown away when I found out that my show had sold out and there were multiple people turned away at the door. My family almost didn't make it in. I kept working it throughout most of the week and ended up with virtually a sold out run in Vancouver. But the good news doesn't stop there! I was selected as a Pick of the Fringe, which means I get an extra performance on Sunday, September 21 at 5 p.m. So if you are in Vancouver or have friends who are, this is probably your last chance to see Roller Derby Saved My Soul this year.


As I write this, Cory is now on his way to the airport to board a plane back to Ottawa. Most of the filming on the documentary is done, though Natalie will be around to talk to me after my last performance on Sunday. It's been quite the adventure traveling across the country with these two and I honestly couldn't have had a better team. We not only worked well together, we travelled well too, which I think is important. And although a chapter in our journey is now coming to a close, we still have all of post-production to get through first.

But more on that and my own travels back to Ottawa in my Hunt Club VW Passat in another post. And if you would like to have access to some exclusive content and information in regards to the tour and the documentary, please feel free to sign up for my newsletter here.

We can rebuild her, we have the technology


Roller Derby is a very physically demanding sport and injuries are common. One of the main reasons I don't play in any actual games is, in fact, to avoid injury at all cost. After all, if I get hurt, I wouldn't be able to do my show. It never really occurred to me that I could get hurt doing the show. First of all, I'm by myself, so there's no chance of getting knocked down hard and all the falls I do do are carefully choreographed. But I'm doing a show on roller skates practically every day for the past 3 months. In some cities, like Edmonton, I would even flyer on my skates, spending 4 to 5 hours a day in them. Like runners training, there's bound to be some wear and tear overtime.

And I'm not quite sure if that's what it was? Overuse and bad posture maybe? Or maybe the floors in the Falsecreek Community Centre were just harder than what I've been used to - I've been told it's a sprung floor but it doesn't feel that way. Or maybe, this one time, I landed funny? But during my tech rehearsal for the Vancouver Fringe on Wednesday, when I practiced my jump and landed on my skates as I zip around my makeshift track, something felt off in my right knee. With the limited amount of time you get to tech, I brushed it off, finished the rehearsal, and with a half hour to spare, tried it again on different skates, since my outdoor wheels have more cushioning than my indoor ones. Then I tried it one more time on my regular skates before thinking that maybe I should stop now...

I called my director. Her first suggestion was the sensible one - "Cut the jump." - So of course I didn't want to hear it. Thoughts of a Calgary Fringe review ran through my head: "The novelty of wheel-powered theatre eventually wears off." 

I'd worked damn hard on that jump and I wanted to show it off, but ugh... Yup, I was letting my one meh review from the summer dictate my personal safety because I was scared of losing any more Wow factor from the show.

I met with the team and started icing my knee. It did feel better. But I didn't want to take any chances that it could get worse. My greatest fear was that I wouldn't be able to do the show at all. Or at least not skate in it. So I managed to get a last minute physiotherapy appointment. And am I ever glad I did!

Bolder, better, faster, stronger.

My physiotherapist was amazing! She immediately noticed there was swelling in my knee, but after some light testing deduced that it was a minor injury. My knee got tapped up. I was given some exercises to work on, as well as some kind of electrotherapy, told to keep icing it when it hurt and Just. Be. Careful. It was really awesome to talk to someone who worked with athletes and knew how important it was for them to be able to perform the next day. She made me feel at ease and like I had options.

Opening night in Vancouver. A sold out house! I really was not expecting that at all! My knee is feeling better so I decide to go for it with the jump. Boom! Nailed it. No twitch, no pain. I feel relieved. After the show, other then residual muscle stiffness, I feel pretty alright. Five more performances to go so let's keep it that way.


Blink and You'll Miss Victoria


Hi Victoria Fringe Festival, so nice to meet you... hey, where did you go?? After our all too brief mental health day in Jasper, we hopped into our Hunt Club Volkswagen Passat and drove all the way to Victoria; arriving with just enough time to say hello to our new billets - for the first time this tour we were all being billeted separately - and head on down to Fringe grounds for the mid-week preview showcase, where all the performers who came in from Edmonton got to strut their stuff on stage.

My billets made me breakfast!

I had my tech rehearsal the very next day and jumped right into my first performance almost immediately after... and every day after that. Phew!

I was placed in another awesome venue with a fantastic technician and, although I was further away from the main Fringe grounds, I found the audiences in Victoria to be some of the warmest on the circuit. In Edmonton, possibly due to the sheer volume of shows happening at the same time, it often felt like a struggle to, not only get people to your show, but to enjoy your show without suspicion - in the "ok, show me why I'm here and not next door" kind of way. But in Victoria, though it could take some work to get people through the door, once they were in, they were ready to have a good time with you. It felt like we were on the same team and I think my show got exponentially better because of it.

The show also got some great reviews and was nominated in 3 Pick of the Fringe categories: Favourite Solo Show, Favourite Comedy and Favourite Female Performer.  Not too shabby!

But time flies when you're having fun, and so after barely 6 days in town, we once again packed up the car and headed off to catch a boat that would take us to our final festival city. Vancouver, here we come!

Edmonton Fringe Struggles


Last year, producing a show at the Edmonton Fringe Festival was challenging. I'm not afraid of a challenge. I know if I work hard, I can make it happen. And I did. This year, on the other hand, has been downright difficult. Attendance for my show is low, some of the lowest I've had on the circuit, and I'm not sure I'm even going to break even in this town. It was probably naive to think that the high I was riding from Toronto and Winnipeg would continue in Edmonton, but I figure I would probably do as well as I did last year, if not better. All this has left me, and many others, feeling pretty Fringed and Confused. I know there may be a few reasons behind this. For instance, although I absolutely love my venue, it is located in the French Quarters, which is approximately a 25 minute walk from the main Fringe grounds. That may not seem like that much (and trust me, it isn't) but when you can choose a show located a few feet from where you are standing and one that involves a bit of walking... Well, I know which one I would choose. Also, though I don't have an official confirmation on this, I've heard that the festival has almost 30 extra shows this year as opposed to the last, which definitely could have an impact. Of course, this is also my second year in a row in town with what could be considered the "same" show. I'm thrilled some folks have decided to see the show twice, but with the number of shows to see, I completely understand if people want to see something new - even though I still consider this a fairly new version of the play. And finally, as much as I hate to admit it, the reviews stars do matter. Though the reviews for Roller Derby Saved My Soul have been amazing, for some reason the stars don't seem to match up. In fact, in some publications, the review is actually worse than the one from last year, even though my show is, arguably better than it was. But reviews are a post for another day.

Now, if you know me, you know that I have still been working my butt off to promote the show. I've been flyering a good 4 hours a day almost every day on roller skates no less, but I've noticed only a slight jump (approximately 10 new people) in ticket sales every time I do. This leads to many a frustrated feeling, including creeping doubts that maybe the show just isn't that good... Not true, I know, but it can be hard not to take it personally.

In the past few days, I've been actively working at changing my mentality about everything and looking for all the things that make me happy to be at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. So, without further ado, I am grateful for the following:

  • My billet's incredible home, which she is letting us housesit until Saturday. I sleep in my own bed, have access to a great vinyl collection and there's a hot tub!
  • Skating everywhere I go - for the first time ever I have officially become and outdoor skater. My billet's place is approximately 10 minutes in either direction from both the main Fringe grounds and my venue. It's been a little scary thanks to the shoddy pavement in some areas, but such a thrill to be arriving at the festival on wheels.
  • The poutine at Cafe Bicyclette is to DIE for and worth the trip out there alone. I would have posted a picture but I wolfed it down too fast.
  • The French media has been incredible supportive of the show in the last few days with interviews for Le Franco and Le Cafe Show (Radio-Canada).
  • My incredible Fringe family for their constant love, support and commiseration. Special shout-outs to Christine Lesiak, Jeff Leard and Gemme Wilcox who are also in my venue.

There are still 3 performances of Roller Derby Saved My Soul left. Please help me make them the best ones yet!

Use the Space, Luke


This post contains spoilers for Roller Derby Saved My Soul. Guys. I love my venue at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Venue 48 - Rutherford School in the French Quarter is a school gymnasium converted into a proper theatre space. I always love performing Roller Derby Saved My Soul in gyms - as I learned last year in the King Edward School - because it adds this extra layer of ambiance to a sports show. Dare I say, it makes it almost site-specific. And I love me some site specific.

So what do you do with a site-specific show? You use the space. I am at floor level and the audience is on risers. This gives me plenty of room to skate around, not only the stage, but around the audience as well. I found a perfect moment in the show to use it.

But doing a show in an old building isn't all tricks and turns. There is, unfortunately, no air conditioning so the venue gets pretty warm. I was dripping buckets by the time I was done today. So, I had an idea, a way to use the venue to connect with my audience some more. Tomorrow, before my next show, I will be buying a case of water and passing it around for Roxanne so anyone who wants to can both play along and cool down. I'm excited to try something new.

Why don't you come play with me?



My Own Personal Reboot


There isn't a day that goes by that my Facebook feed isn't inundated with announcements of film franchise reboots. Now, the cynic in me knows that this is a blatant cash grab toying with our feelings of nostalgia, but the artist in me has started thinking differently. I think we just love to tell stories and every time we just want to see if we can add our mark to the tale and make it "better". When it comes to film, the internet goes into an uproar whenever a reboot is announced. Didn't Spiderman just come out last year? Why should I see this again?

But in theatre, the attitude is different. I've seen 7 different productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Not because it's my favourite Shakespearean play - that would be A Comedy of Errors, which I've seen twice and is actually a reboot of The Brothers Manaechmi - but because I wanted to see what could be done with it this time. Like kids around a campfire telling ghost stories around a couple making out in a car with a serial killer on the loose... how's it going to end this time?

Which brings me back, as most things do these days, to Roller Derby Saved My Soul. My former stage manager is sure to grown when I say this, but I'm still doing rewrites. I still want to tell a better story. As some of you know, I undertook some pretty massive revisions of the script this past spring. And yes, I am happy with them, but... There were still a few areas that were bugging me.

The completionist in me hates going on tour with what I might consider an "unfinished" product, but the artist in me has been patiently waiting for inspiration to strike. After all, creating your own work is a fluid process. Yesterday I performed in the lovely community of Cochrane while on break from the Calgary Fringe for a special event called Fringe on the Ranche.

Backstage selfie with Bradley for the Me & my Monkey/Roller Derby Saved My Soul double-bill in Cochrane.

I was really proud of that show. It felt like my strongest performance to date and plenty of new discoveries were made. This morning, after chatting with my new documentary team member who had just seen the show for the first time, it finally hit me. I knew exactly what I wanted to change and I have the perfect opportunity tonight at the Fringe to try it out.

I'm scared, of course, but what is art without exploration? I just want to tell a "better" story.


What Is Success?


The other night, while flyering, I ran into a couple who told me their friend saw my show, loved it and had already come up with her roller derby name - Green Widow. I thought it was a pretty cool name, making the mental association that it was some kind of Black Widow reference. They said they were pretty sure she was going to try out for roller derby now and thanked me profusely for helping her out. I told them they were being too kind, but the woman kept going, saying that it was really nice to see their friend getting interested in doing stuff again... As she got chocked up telling me this, I finally clued in: Green Widow - as in "new" widow. Not knowing what else to do, I gave the woman a hug, told them I looked forward to seeing them at the show and walked away in a daze. Small houses? Bad reviews? Fuck them all.

The knowledge that something I created had the power to do that? Priceless.

When it gets rough, and it always gets rough, these are the things I need to remember.