On Tour

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

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.

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!

Have YOU Hugged a Germy Moppet Today?


Photo Credit: notanartist via Compfight cc I may have spoken too soon about enjoying my "much-needed" day off. I had gone to the gym earlier that day and assumed the soreness in my body was from that, but when I laid in bed and felt that familiar tickle in the back of my throat, I knew I was in trouble. By morning, it was official: I was sick.

Now, the last time I got sick was at the end of the Victoria Fringe, but this was due to sheer exhaustion and I was over it within two days. But this was different. This was probably the worst cold I'd ever had in my adult life. My body was sore, I got chills, my nose was runny, I was coughing up a storm and would intermittently lose my voice completely. Oh and Aunt Flo decided to pop by for a visit just for good measure. Because timing.

And because the Universe is a HI-larious, this all happened on back-to-back 3-show days.

How could this have happened? Where in the world could I have caught this cold? I haven't been around any sick people. Only hundreds and hundreds of tiny, adorable little children who love to high five and surprise you with hugs... Oh.

Note to self: buy hand sanitizer.

The thing about being an independent artist is that you don't get sick days. There is no understudy waiting in the wings. If we can't do the show, that's it. There is no performance and we don't get paid. So, you suck it up, dope yourself up with meds, and pray adrenaline pulls you through just one more show. It, after all, must go on.

My current pre-show routine. Nin Jiom is pretty much saving me right now.

I've been lucky. We do have microphones so I haven't had to throw out my voice in echo-y gyms and we've had some nice accommodations so I could rest up in the evening. But it's been an incredibly frustrating experience. I'm a perfectionist and I hate not being able to give my 100%. I reached my breaking point yesterday when I tried to sing during soundcheck and could barely squeak out the words - did I mention we also have to sing in the show? The sounds coming out of my mouth are alien and weird. My ears have been plugged up so I'm not hearing things properly either. It's infuriating to feel like your body isn't cooperating.

Today, I finally feel slightly better. It's not great, but it's better. And I've been finding ways to sing around my normal register so I can at least hit the notes without cracking.

We had a show this morning in a lovely bilingual school and it was probably my favorite performance of the run so far. Now we're all packed up and on our way to Red Deer. One performance there this afternoon and another tomorrow morning and we'll finally be on our way back to Vancouver for a few days of rest. Hopefully it will be enough time for me to shake this thing.

If anyone has any vocal tips, I'd be happy to hear all about them in the comment section.

On the Road Again


Written a few days ago, just posting it now. Today I am enjoying a much needed day of rest in Calgary, AB. No show and no driving. Just some glamorous glamorous laundry and catching up on bills. Ahhhhh, the life of a touring performer! Enjoying the rest while I can since tomorrow is a 3 show day. Fortunately the performances are all at the same school so we won't have to pack up in between shows.

Shared office space with Tara Travis. Asking her to pose for the photo is actually the first time we've spoken aloud to each other in 3 hours.

Our first week of shows for The Little Prince was in the Vancouver area. It was pretty nice to be able to go back home, especially after a two show day. Early on I hit what Tara Travis affectionately dubbed TYA-lag. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, TYA stands for Theatre for Young Audiences. The lag part refers to jet lag.

As if getting over the New Brunswick to British Columbia jet lag wasn't enough, here I was feeling loopy for a completely different reason. On show days, my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for a 7:30 local pick-up. Then we head to a school, set up, perform, pack up, have lunch, drive to another school and do it all over again. While this gets me home by 3-3:30, it means I'm already passing out by dinner time. I'm not much of a morning person, so this has been quite the adjustment.

Pictured: Not me.

On Friday, as we left a school in Langley, we officially started the "touring" portion for this production. We arrived in Vernon for our first community show and here's where I discovered some major differences between the school performances and our public ones.

School shows typically take place in a gym. We have about half an hour of set-up time and our lighting design consists of finding a guy with keys to turn off a bank of fluorescents. Community shows normally take place in a theatre. We get a proper tech time (usually around 11 a.m. Which is downright civilized) dressing room and they put us up in hotels. In Vernon, we got an incredible fruit basket that we took with us to munch on the road. In Nelson, we got chocolate and wine.

Feeling like a rock star!

You'd think the perks would make the community shows my favorite, but that's not necessarily so. I like the energy that emanates from the school shows. Community shows are filled with parents and kids, so they tend to be a bit more reserved. School shows have a bit of rowdiness that I enjoy. They're also more intimate since the kids sit on the floor and we're not separated by any kind of stage.

All that said, my favorite part of any show is the Q & A we have at the end. I love hearing all the questions the kids have and hate that we have such a short time we can't get to them all. But that is a blog post for another day.

The Kids Are Alright


Photo Credit: UV Fedor via Compfight cc Sidenote: I'm going to apologize now for all the swearing. As I can't really swear on tour, I'm using this as my fucking outlet. Ya dig?

Don't tell the gang at Monster Theatre, but I think performing for children is the most fucking terrifying type of work any actor can do - and if anyone from Monster Theatre is reading this, you already hired me so you're stuck with me. Suckers! No takebacksies!

While I have done a school tour in the past, twice actually, with A Company of Fools, it was for high school kids, who are already way too cool for this shit. It wasn't unusual, especially at 8:30 in the morning, to see tired and cranky teens rolling their eyes at four grown ups in pantaloons. I can deal with that because I expected it. And we always won them over in the end.

Why would anyone roll their eyes at this?

But this production is for the kindergarden to Grade 7 set. These are children. Scary, impulse-driven children. While teenagers are too cool for your shit, children just won't take your shit. Worse yet, they will be VOCAL about it. Are you boring? They will tell you. Are you mean? They will tell you. Did some technical function just fuck up? Oh you bet ya they will tell you. It's what I imagine doing theatre in Shakespeare's day must have been like except no one is passing around rotten tomatoes for them to throw at you. (Thank Jeebus!) We've even had, in the past 4 days, one child drop his pants and pee on the floor as we were setting up and another burst into uncontrollable sobs as soon as the show began. Because critics.

You might be asking yourselves why I would put myself through this? Well, that's a pretty easy question to answer. In my day-to-day life, I am a control-freak. I love planning and knowing exactly what's going to happen next. But as an actor, I need to listen to my impulses, go from moment to moment, and enjoy this crazy ride of life without a safety net. The real reason performing for children scares me so is that they truly are the greatest actors. They somehow know how to do all those things and society hasn't beaten it out of them just yet, though you can already see it happening with the older kids. Basically, children are just fucking rocking at this game of life because they innately get that it's all a game.

That kind of pure, innocent self-actualization is powerful and fucking scary to me.

While they will be direct when they don't like something, I should also add that they will be just as loud when they love it too. Is your character sad? They will try to cheer you up. Are you saying goodbye and going offstage? They will scream at you not to leave. And man, let me tell you that there is nothing quite like a room of 600 kids in stitches at something you did or said to make you feel like the funniest fucking person in the whole fucking world.

In one post-show talkback, as I was taking one last question, a little girl looked me right in the eye and said: "I love you." No pretence. Just love. On another day, a little boy was following us around as we packed up. I remembered him since he had sat in the front row and I had chosen him for a question. He told us it was his birthday, so Tara pulled out one of our puppets and had it sing him happy birthday. A teacher who was watching then offered us a birthday cupcake. I may never see that kid again, but he is for sure going to remember us. And I will remember him.

Because cupcakes. And love. But mostly cupcakes.

I can only hope my presence in these shows will have some kind of impact. That I will inspire a few kids do to something or other. But at the end of the day, I think I have way more to learn from them then they do from me.

Ready or Not


I was hoping my next post would be about all my new projects coming up in 2015, but for the past two weeks I have been absolutely swamped with rehearsals for Monster Theatre's adaptation of The Little Prince, a family show that we will be touring in schools and communities across Alberta and British Columbia. It's been a quick learning curve. My days are spent at rehearsals, my nights are filled with learning lines and songs. Even my day off was taken up with a costume/props shopping trip. As it's been months since I last performed on a regular basis, I feel out of shape doing such a physically demanding show - you try running around a gym 6 or 7 times with a bushel of birds. And I still feel shaky with the text.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. I am thrilled to be working with such amazing people on a fun show that will make people happy. But I simply cannot believe that we are already previewing the show tomorrow and opening the next day.

I find myself falling into that silly "if only" trap that I am sure many theatre practitioners fall into: If only I had one more week to rehearse. If only I had one more day. If on I had a few more hours!

Well, no point in worrying about that, I guess. We are professionals. We will make it work.

Are you ready for this?

This show is going to be beautiful. It's incredibly tech heavy with lots of projections and music. My partner Tara Travis is an absolute gem and I love working with Ryan Gladstone as a director because he has such a strong vision for what he wants to see onstage. It's all going to fall into place. It always does.

Now to get used to those early morning school shows...

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!

The Little Prince


I'm not a fan of winter. Scratch that. I'm not a fan of cold. I'm the kind of person who will grab her hair dryer and blast it under the covers to warm up the blankets before going to bed. In July. Though I got to work on some fun projects last winter in Ottawa (like Lucy in You're a Dead Man, Charlie Brown! and an alien in Pop Fiction), they did not make up for the bitter bitter cold. I'm the one with the head on the right. Admit it. I look pretty badass.

So when the opportunity to head out to Vancouver for an entire winter doing children's theatre presented itself, I jumped at the chance. And the fact that I would get to work with some of my favourite Fringe folk was just icing on the cake.

At the end of this month, I fly off to the aptly named Terminal City to start rehearsals and a tour of a new adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince with the fabulously funny folks at Monster Theatre.

Do blondes have more fun?

I'm very excited for a variety of reasons. For one, Monster Shows are always a ton of fun and I look forward to getting an inside look at their creation process with Ryan Gladstone at the helm as our director. For another, it will be nice to do a show where I actually get to talk to someone else on stage. And what a someone else! I will be playing the Little Prince and the incredible Tara Travis will be playing everyone else. I remember the first time I saw Tara on stage, a few years ago, at the Toronto Fringe in The Shakespeare Show. I was just blown away by her ability to transition seamlessly from character to character. Now I get the best seat in the house to see how it's done! And if that wasn't enough, our touring duo is actually going to be a touring trio with Fringe veteran Jon Paterson as our stage manager. This is going to be such a good time! Oh and I've been told that I will actually get to stay true to my own roots, as well as the book's by doing some of the show in French. If you're a long time reader of this blog, you know how important that is to me.

But it's not all stars and roses (see what I did there?) The company wants to up the production values and build some new puppets for the show and they can't do that without your help.

Click on the widget to watch the video - see how I totally beat out an old lady for the role of the Little Prince - and find out how you can help. If you haven't finished your Holiday shopping (and I know you haven't), your donation could leave you with some pretty cool gifts to give away, like a custom puppet video for your loved ones.

In the meantime, check out this up-to-date tour schedule to see if we're coming to a community near you.

Back to Me


Forgive me, Internet, it's been about a month and a half since my last post. After this whole summer, I just found myself getting more and more burnt out. I write this now from the family home in New Brunswick were I hope to recharge my batteries over the next month. That said, it hasn't all been watching Netflix and eating candy, though there has been plenty of that. I made it safely back to Ottawa after my cross-country road trip to return my wonderful Hunt Club VW Passat (sniffle), but the travelling didn't stop there. Part of my journey took me to Los Angeles for the very first time where I attended an incredibly inspiring and work redefining acting class through Lonsdale Smith Studios (their website is being updated but email them for information on classes in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and New York. You will not regret it!) and helped me lay some groundwork for future distribution of On the FringeI also ended up back in Toronto where I sold the furniture I had in storage and finally let go of my storage locker since it doesn't look like I will be settling there again any time soon - though when am I really going to settle, that's a different story.

I'm nerding out so hard right now.

I find myself reading a lot of books these days, which is so great. I recently finished off the Steve Jobs biography, which had my synapses firing with ideas about design, branding and marketing (something I am very much going to be pushing in the near future for Broken Turtle Productions and the film) and I recently started on Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking. Which is another great read for any entrepreneurial artists out there. On deck, I've also got Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, one of Jobs' co-founders at Pixar and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It feels like forever since I've read a whole book and all this non-fiction from successful people has really been inspiring me to think bigger.

I hope this month will be a chill one as I lay the ground work for all the cool projects I've got running through my head. Lots of writing coming up, budget work on the film for post-production, searching for a marketing agency, ect. And of course, family time.

I also plan to be back to blogging a bit more so stay tuned!



The Voyage Home


I left Vancouver on Wednesday. I repeat this statement like a mantra because I have long since forgotten what day it is.


My travel companion and I left Vancouver on Wednesday and drove approximately 5 hours to Salmon Arm. The next day, we made our way towards Lake Louise, which I had never seen before. Now, on my way to Vancouver for Fringe, we came from Jasper and the road through the Rockies was nice, but ZOMG the road towards Lake Louise and Banff was nothing short of spectacular!

Nice one, Nature!

And what's the point of a road trip if you can't make it special? I booked a room at the Fairmont Hotel in Lake Louise and I was super excited at spending the night there, especially since it was right next to the lake. I had booked the smallest and cheapest room they had available, but I didn't care... until I walked in. Now, I've stayed at a few Fairmonts in the past and it's always been a great experience, but this room was just bad. There was some kind of ink stain on the comforter, trash that had probably fallen out of the can when it was emptied but never picked up, hair around the toilet bowl, a grape under the bed and a coffee stain on the table. I called down, received an apology and told someone would be up "right away" so we stood in a corner not wanting to touch anything and waited... and waited... 20 minutes went by and no one showed up. We finally grabbed our things and headed downstairs. Now, I know I had reason to complain but I still felt bad. Fortunately, I was rescued by Super Geoff who immediately jumped into action. He apologized profusely and told me that I had no reason to feel bad because "every room should be perfect every time." He then personally escorted us to a new room. And what a room it was! I almost cried when I walked in because it was so beautiful. Not to mention bigger than most apartments I've stayed in. And the view!

How is this even real?

I wasn't in any hurry to leave the next day, but leave we must since the room was booked for someone else that night. We stopped for lunch in Banff and finally checked out the Theatre Centre that I had heard so much about.  Then we kept going to Canmore and stopped in an art gallery. Now, I like Banff, but I don't love it. I've been there a few times now and it always feels so busy and commercialized. But Canmore was different. It was everything I had always thought Banff would be: this beautiful small town surrounded by mountains and with an incredibly artsy vibe. I really want to go back there someday. And finally, we ended the day in Calgary where I was hosted by some great new friends, offered a fabulous home-cooked meal and given plenty of wine and board game entertainment.

The perfect way to end any day.

The next day, I was to drive my companion to Lethbridge, but there was one place I just NEEDED to see first. Ever since I knew I would be heading to Alberta this past summer, there was one place I really wanted to visit: the Dinosaur Museum (aka the Royal Tyrell Museum) in Drumheller. And since seeing Kira Hall's maddeningly gorgeous Paleoncology on tour, that desire has only gotten stronger. Now, we simply didn't have the time to stop on my first drive through the province but I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity again. So my friend indulged me as I unleashed my inner SQUEEEE at the sight of all the dinosaur bones and introduced me to another gorgeous piece of Canadian topography I had no idea existed: the Badlands.

Ok Nature, now you're just showing off.

It was like being on another planet! Oh and speaking of other planets, the detour to Drumheller on the way to Lethbridge also let me indulge some more in my inner nerd:

It does exist!!

Finally we arrived in Lethbridge and I was disappointed to find out I had just missed the wonderful Julia Mackey and Dirk Van Stralen of Jake's Gift. The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, I said goodbye to my friend and carried on my way East. Now finally alone for the first time in a long time, I felt a strong sadness come over me. It hit me that the tour, this amazing adventure that's taken up a whole year of my life, was over. Yes, the logical part of me knows that this is just a chapter coming to an end, but still...

I drove almost seven hours straight all the way to Regina. Maybe it was due to the scenery that barely changed or maybe it was the copious amounts of podcasts I have been listening to but time just flew right by. I was greeted here by an old elementary school friend I hadn't seen in almost twenty (20!) years and grateful for the invite to her beautiful home.

Now I write this as I'm getting ready for bed, wondering if tomorrow I should stop for the night in Winnipeg or keep on driving all the way to Kenora.

I'm hoping to be back in Ottawa by Thursday.

I left Vancouver on Wednesday.

Break on Through


On Thursday night, I finished my last class of an inspiring, heart-opening and at times humbling acting class with Michele Lonsdale Smith. She is one of my favorite teachers and I usually study with her every summer. With the tour, it wasn't looking likely that I would be able to study with her this time, until I lucked out with some Vancouver dates set to start the day after the Fringe Festival closed. These classes are always what I need to reset my artistic focus and to take my work further and deeper than it's ever been. I've reconnected with old friends and made some super cool new ones. I'm incredibly grateful to be a part of that community. As I walked to the indoor lot where I had been parking for the last two weeks with some classmates I was driving home, I was tired and sad as my adventure was now officially over. Well, be careful what you wish for. I arrived at my car to find this: Well that's not good.

It took a minute for my brain to process what I was seeing. A quick look around the lot showed that I was not the only one with this problem. I called security as my friends took pictures. An hour later, I drove them home where they taped up my window with garbage bags until I could take it in for repairs the next day.

Honestly, what happened sucks, but it could have been soooo much worse. The thief/thieves walked away with a pocketful of change, a flashlight from the dollar store, a Petro Canada gift card with only $12 left on it that is only usable in Alberta and a Roller Derby Saved My Soul t-shirt. Had they taken the time to look in the trunk, they would have found 2 sleeping bags and air mattresses, two pairs of roller skates & derby gear, a violin and a shit-ton more t-shirts (since that's obviously what they were gunning for). I had forgotten to double-lock my trunk that night:

I was very lucky. I had friends with me to support me and help clean up the mess and the glass repair place got everything fixed in a few hours. Special shoutout to the great folks at All Set Auto Glass for also taking the time to vacuum 4 months of touring out of the car. The inside has never looked better. And now that that's taken care of, let us return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Next up: Post-production on our documentary film!

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!