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.

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.

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!

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.

Never Ever Hold Your Breath

About 10 days ago, I returned from a three week trip to Thailand. My first vacation in ages. No work obligations and mostly unplugged, it was an incredible experience. Life-changing, even. The weather was glorious, the people incredibly kind, and the adventure was eye-opening. We did plenty of awesome activities like ride elephants and take a Thai cooking class, but the one thing that stood out the most for me was accomplishing my life-long goal of learning to scuba dive. I love the water. Growing up on the East Coast I have a fondness for salt water in particular. But I also love warmth. And I figured if I ever wanted to scuba dive, learning in the warm waters of Thailand would be the best, not the mention the cheapest, option.

I don't know what I thought would happen when I learned to scuba dive, but I don't think I was quite prepared for how far out of my comfort zone it would take me. Multiple times I had to fight the little voice inside my head going "ARE YOU CRAZY??!? Why are you still underwater? You can't BREATHE down here!"

I panicked. Multiple times. In fact, this panic lead to one of many self-realizations: Whenever I try something new, if I don't "get it" right away, I stop breathing and brace myself for some sort of impact that is sure to come and kill me, which leads to an unreasonable amount of panic. And then usually I give up, because this fear of dying due to trying new things must be a legit one that is just trying to keep me safe.

Oy. I do this in my acting work too.

But see here's the thing with scuba diving, the most important rule actually: NEVER, EVER, HOLD YOUR BREATH.

Wait a minute, so now I can't fall back on my old panicky habits and I have to sit/hover there under gallons of water and just... breathe? Because there is nothing wrong? My equipment is secure and my scuba buddy (always swim with a buddy) is right there.

Fortunately, I had a very generous and patient instructor who was with me the whole time. And eventually, it hit me. There is nothing wrong. I can breathe through this, I will survive and I will be stronger for it.

Not only that, it opened the door to a whole new world of wonder & fun. Beautiful fish swam around us, gorgeous corals were all over the place, secret crevices were hidden inside underwater rock formations... And then we had a blast striking superhero poses underwater because if you're going to hover in water, hover like you're a goddamn superman.

It was the most fun I'd had in a long time. And to think I almost missed out on it all by closing my eyes and holding my breath.

With my Sail Rock Divers instructor Emma looking like badass superheroes with messy hair.



So you want to do a Fringe show in the United States?

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw / Are you an American citizen who has a cool little show you want to produce on the Canadian Fringe Festival Circuit? No problem! You DO NOT need a work permit if you are a performing artist who:

  • will perform in Canada for a limited period of time,
  • will not perform in a bar or restaurant,
  • are not being hired for ongoing employment by the Canadian group that has contracted you and
  • are not involved in making a movie, television or radio broadcast.

You just need a letter from the festivals you will be participating in confirming the items above.

Are you a Canadian citizen who would like to take your cool little Fringe show to one of the American Fringes (New York, Orlando, San Diego, Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Boulder) who are members of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, or one of the many other unrelated Fringe Festivals in the U.S.? No probl...

Wait, what?


As some of you may know, I was accepted into the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival where I was planning on producing Roller Derby Saved My Soul. Going into the US to produce/perform in a show is way more complicated for Canadians than it is for Americans coming our way. Some folks have whispered to me that perhaps it might just be easier to lie and say I was going on vacation. I'm not comfortable with that for one second. I am the worst when it comes to lying to authority figures and the BORDER is the very last place where I would like to push my luck. I've heard too many nightmare stories of people being detained or, even  worse, banned from entering the States to ever want to do that.

However, by wanting to produce my work honestly and following the rules, I now found myself in a bureaucratic nightmare worthy of Asterix & Obelix's task in "The Place That Sends You Mad". I expected some fees and some paperwork, but this is just too much and, as such, I've had to sadly withdraw from the Orlando Fringe.

While this was one of my favorite Asterix & Obelix movies as a kid, it is my hope that if you want to pursue this avenue, my adventures might save you from going completely insane in the process.

Please note, I am not an immigration lawyer, nor have I consulted one at the moment. This is simply the process that I have been going through. If there is an immigration lawyer out there who would be able to speak to me pro bono about all this, I would be very happy to hear from you.


It all started with the CAFF website and their page on Information for Canadian Artists Entering the US where I learned about the P-2 Artist Visa, which is for a reciprocal exchange with a labour organization in the States and one in Canada. For me, that comes from the agreement between the Canadian Actor's Equity Association and the American Actor's Equity Association. The association needs to petition on your behalf to the US Government in order to let you into the country. If you are not a union member, I don't know what other options are out there for you unless you are internationally recognized in your field.

I called CAEA, but they did not have any information for me, so I then called the AEA. If you call them, make sure you contact the national office and not the regional ones. I was informed that I should send them Form I-129 with all proper support materials. But more on that in a second.

First you need to fill out a form called DS-160. Other then the completely un-user friendly name, this form is pretty basic and requires you to include your name, address, passport info, US travel history, ect. Make sure you save your application I.D. number in case you want to finish it at a later time. You'll also need to upload a picture of yourself. You need to fill out this form if you want to get appointment to talk to someone at a local U.S. Embassy. For some reason, you can't just call or walk up to the Embassy for a chat... imagine that.

That was the easy part. Now, since you're looking for a P-2 Artist Visa, you also need to fill out Form I-129. This is a 34-page document (yes, 3-4) that typically your US employer would fill out for you that needs to be submitted in duplicate. However, you're doing a Fringe show, so technically you don't have an employer. No, the Fringe does not fill out this form. From my understanding, I think AEA should be the ones to fill it out, but trust me they are not going to do it for you. But don't worry, US Citizenship and Immigration Services has come up with a little 24-page instruction manual on how to fill out this form that should clear everything right up...

Oh and signatures need to be original and not photocopied. My research tells me you should sign everything in blue ink so that this fact can never be contested.

I'm not quite sure how long every step takes, but from my understanding it can take anywhere from 14 days to 60 to more... Basically, one site tells me you should get started at least 6 months in advance.


  • Passport
  • Letter of no objection from your labour organization
  • Artist Background Info
  • Travel itinerary
  • Contract or support letter from the festivals you are attending
  • Cover letter
  • Proof of residency in Canada to prove you have no plans of staying in the U.S.

Now, once all of this gets approved *fingers crossed* which can take up to 60 days, you should get something called an I-797, which you will need to include in your Visa application. Because up to this point, none of this is your actual application.

I believe you then have to go to an interview where they will collect your fingerprints (?!) and officially determine that you are not a crazy person or a threat and that you are not there to take jobs away from hard-working Americans.


Now here's the tricky part. I can't seem to get much of a straight answer anywhere, but here's what I have found out so far:

These are just the dollar amounts that I was able to find on my own. I'm pretty sure there are more surprises out there too. If anyone has any additional info on this, please let me know in the comments.

Please note that at any step throughout this process, someone could say no and there are no refunds. And even if you get all your papers in order, you could still get turned away at the border.

I did find one website who will do all the work for you by charging a legal fee of $645 and a filing fee of $420. I don't know how legit that is, and they say there are no hidden fees, but I'm pretty sure there has to be more to it than that.

If you would like additional information, this handy website called Artists from Abroad has a lot to get you started.


The sad thing about all this is that my participation in the Orlando Fringe does not take jobs away from American citizens. Fringes reserve a certain number of spots for international performers as part of their mandates. If anything, I would have been investing into the U.S. economy through my Fringe fees, travel expenses, food & lodging, ect.

Also, to be clear, I don't blame the Fringes for any of this. The staff at the Orlando Fringe and CAFF have been very kind and offered up any information they might have. This is purely a government matter and as such I am putting together a dossier that I will be sending to my local MP, as well as other key members of the Canadian government in the hopes that one day we may have the same access to the Fringe and other small festivals that our American peers get here.

Pop Fiction

Aliens are coming, but shhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone. Let me back up a bit.

Last October-November, when I knew all my work contracts were over and was in a bit of a "what do I do now" spiral, I got a lovely offer to work with a French production company in Ottawa called Groupe des deux. G2 is neat because they do that thing all artists should probably do more of: they take their time. I think this is pretty normal behaviour in the French theatre community, but I so rarely see it in English. G2 can take up to a few years to develop a new work from the initial idea phase, through a series of workshops and labs, all the way up to the production itself.

Which brings me back to Pop Fiction.

This is not the show you are looking for.

Pop Fiction is a whole new concept that brings together fiction and pop in order to foster communication between people. The show, through phenomenal means, dives deep into the communication problems of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Pop Fiction, as it ponders grave and touching topics, nevertheless finds a way to make you laugh from the beginning to the end!

FYI, that right there? Is just a hoax! What I can’t tell you is that this is in fact the first contact with a species from outer space... but sshh...  don't tell anyone or, we could all be in danger... 

Yup. Aliens.

I came in late into the process for Pop Fiction, but let me tell you, I have seen these aliens with my own eyes and it is one of the most spectacular sights I have ever witnessed on any indie Ottawa theatre stage. I would show you photos, but the government confiscated my phone... Chances are they may delete this message now that I've posted it so you need to act quick if you want to be in on what is sure to be a global phenomenon! Tickets are $15 in advance through Eventbrite, but $20 at the door.

"But Nancy," I hear you say (and why are you yelling at your computer?) "didn't you just say the play was in French? I don't understand French."

Worry pas ta tête, mon ami.

This is actually a co-lingual production. Yes, after all this time wanting to work with a French theatre company, I am speaking English... sort of... again, I can't spoil anything, you just kind of have to be there. If you have a very basic understanding of French, you will be able to follow along and, trust me, the visuals will be worth it. Oh and if my presence isn't enough for you, the English contingent is also represented by the incredibly talented, multi-Rideau award nominated, Michelle LeBlanc, and the whole thing is co-director by the wonderful Natalie Joy Quesnel.

So, get your tickets, bring your headphones, or use the ones provided for you by the theatre (yup, you'll be using headphones... I'd tell you more, but if I did the government would shut down the internet...) and get your butt down to Arts Court for an experience you're not likely to forget.

Pop Fiction runs from January 22 to February 1st (Wed to Sat) at 8 p.m. at Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Ave., Ottawa.

New Year, Same Story, New Beginnings

RDSMS Photo 1 Wow! 2014! You're looking pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

And what is looking to be so amazing about 2014, you ask? EVERYTHING!

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Today I'm back into rehearsals for Pop Fiction. A wicked new work in both French and English that is sure to impress. I can't say much more than that for now, but stay tuned for future blog posts. The show runs from January 22nd to February 1st at the Arts Court Theatre Studio.

I've also just launched the new website for Roller Derby Saved My Soul. It's still a work in progress, so feedback is appreciated, but I am super proud to finally have that little gem out there in the world. And speaking of RDSMS, in 2014 I will be taking on my biggest tour to date: 8 cities, possibly more, from Orlando to Vancouver from May to September. And and and if THAT wasn't enough, I will be creating a documentary of the tour. Again, more on that in another post, but I am thrilled to announce that, yes this documentary is happening!

Are you excited yet?

But wait, there's more!

I have a birthday this year. I know, I know, I have one every year, but this is a bit of a landmark one, one of the last landmarks for a while: my Jesus year. I never do anything special for my birthday. I never really bothered, but this year the timing is just too perfect to ignore. My birthday is in May, a mere week or two before I head out to the Orlando Fringe. So, to everyone in Ottawa (Yes, everyone! Someone call the mayor!) you are invited to one heck of a party where, for one night only, you will get to see the newest version of Roller Derby Saved My Soul - I'm taking new sound design, new choreography, new set - and then we will party like I'm turning 33. More details to come, but think of this as your official save the date for May 3rd. All proceeds will go to help finance the tour and the aforementioned documentary.

I did say there would probably be more than 8 cities to this tour. I guess that makes 9.

Oh and for those of you who remember Dolores, well that one is still on the table too. I'm still in talks for venues & festivals, so keep an eye out for that. We will also be going into pre-production for a film based on my translation of the script.

I'm excited. I'm very excited, but I know I have to be careful and pace myself. I've spent the past month working from home. I love it. I absolutely do. But I've noticed how easy it is for me to just sit at my computer doing work and not taking a break since I don't have to go anywhere. This is how burnout begins. I suffered one towards the end of 2013 and I definitely don't want to go through that again. Having staff is going to help, but going on vacation in February is probably going to help more. I'm going to Thailand and for the first time since... ever, I'm going to be off the grid for a whole three weeks. No work. No thinking about work. Just taking care of myself.

And when it comes to 2014, this is just the stuff I know about. I wonder what other surprises and adventures are in store for me? Let's find out together, shall we?


Looking Back on 2013

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seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight

Is it really the end of the year? Where the heck did the time go? Definitely not into blogging since I feel like I was pretty lazy about it this past year. I got my "Annual Report" from Wordpress and it seems I only wrote 50 new posts, which makes it difficult when I want to look back and see what I have accomplished.

Why is that important? Because I forget. In the past, I've had a nasty habit of thinking I haven't done anything, not really, whatever that means. In some ways, that's a good thing because it keeps me motivated, ambitious and working hard. In other ways, it's a very bad thing because then I get mad at myself for not being successful *insert your own adjective here* enough. Again, whatever that means.

So, it's good for me to look back and remember. Let's get to it, shall we?

I ended 2012 not knowing what was going to happen with Roller Derby Saved My Soul. I was going to do the Edmonton Fringe Festival, but that was it. Man, did that ever change quickly enough... Funny thing is, this year I end 2013 knowing exactly what I'm going to be doing with Roller Derby Saved My Soul next year (and more on that in my next post), but who knows? That could change as well.

I also like that one of my last posts in 2012 was about getting my financial act together. I'm proud to say that I end 2013 in an even better position than before. I'm excited and feel confident that I am on the right path to bring in even more abundance into my life in the new year.


Now, I started 2013 in Toronto, but I definitely didn't stay there. This past year was one of major travel that included the usual trifecta of Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal at the beginning of the year, but as of May it went something like this: Toronto, Moncton, Toronto, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Victoria, Halifax, NYC, Moncton, Fredericton, Moncton, Lameque, Moncton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver, NYC, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Moncton, Ottawa.

I'm a little dizzy looking at that. Best part? Visiting my family 3 times this past year, which is more than the 2 trips I had in 2012.

And guess what? The list for 2014 is going to be even longer and more diverse. I. CAN'T. WAIT!


I received an email a few weeks ago saying I had celebrated my "5 year anniversary" on Twitter. One of my longest relationships to date, it seems. While I continued working my day job in social media for a major rail transportation agency in Canada, I also picked up another contract doing similar work for a campaign that falls under the banner of the Queen's representative in Canada. I continued creating podcasts for the Ontario Arts Council until March and I have been approached by them to continue some work in the new year. I also started teaching workshops on crowdfunding through Theatre Ontario and I am doing consultation work on the side.

Oh and one of my most popular blog posts this past year was on Theatre Marketing Done Right thanks to the fine folks at Wold Stage TO.


I finally completed my CanFit Pro Fitness Instructor Certification! Though I got too busy to push that much further, I also taught my first ever Zumba class to a willing friend, which was pretty awesome.

I got much better at roller skating thanks to some great sessions with the ladies of roller derdy. Special shout-out to the Rollergettes at the West End Wayward Roller Skating Association in Toronto who really helped me grow, as well as the fantastic Elizabeth Beserkeley (aka Jen Jarvis) from the Capital City Derby Dolls who took the time to coach me one-on-one.

As for mental health, I feel better than ever. I've taken an active role in making my life better from the inside out. I've been working to love myself more. I've also learned a valuable lesson this past year: It's ok to get help.


Roller Derby Saved My Soul was well-received at Zoofest in Montreal, as well as at the Edmonton and Atlantic Fringe Festivals. By Edmonton, we had a new sound design thanks to the great Steven Lafond, as well as a new show trailer. Rave reviews abounded, additional awards were won, and there was many a sold-out performance.

Yeah, baby!

And let's not forget about Dolores! My first attempt at translation was very well-received, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the phenomenal Tania Levy again, as well as the incredible Martine Roquebrune. Our little show in a kitchen was incredibly well-received and we walked away with the award for Outstanding Drama at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Not to mention raising over $500 for women's shelters in the Ottawa area.

Dolores director, Tania Levy & I with our Outstanding Drama Award

And although I thought this was it for my year, I started rehearsals this past month for Pop Fiction, a co-lingual show that goes up at the end of January in Ottawa, and I was thrown into my very first show with Eddie May Murder Mysteries after a cast-member got sick. Best way to end a year.

If I was going to be a real-live Peanuts character, Lucy would be it.

I shot a few student films in the beginning of the year, though I now realize I haven't even seen any of them yet.  I took some incredible acting classes that have pushed my work to even bigger and better places. I also participated in the Industry Series at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which was probably one of the best decisions I could have made as it provided me with contacts & leads that I'm still following up on today.

Oh and I now find myself mentoring a group of emerging playwrights for the Youth Infringement Festival, which has been a very inspiring and enlightening experience.


It wasn't all roses. I was incredibly stressed out for most of the year. I made money on some projects , but not on others. I loved and lost. I moved away from my very awesome roommate. I left my agent and found myself self-represented for the first time in ages. But in all these trials, if you can even call them that, I grew. I learned that new opportunity and even more love comes from letting go. And I had one heck of an adventure  throughout it all.

So, that was 2013 off the top of my head. But enough about the past, let's look towards the future...


Happy New Year!

A Long December

After a bit of crash and burn at the end of November, I gratefully found myself looking at a slow December. The rehearsal schedule for Pop Fiction wouldn't be really heavy until January. I took three days where, with the exception of one coffee meeting, I didn't leave the apartment. While I still worked at my day job, there was some much needed rest and a whole lot of MasterChef. But after all that, I was starting to get a bit, shall we say, bored. Fortunately, the Universe heard my pleas and delivered big time. In addition to my light rehearsal schedule, I now find myself drafted as a mentor dramaturge for three young playwrights for the Youth Infringement Festival and an understudy for the Eddie May Holiday Show, You're a Dead Man, Charlie Brown.

If I was going to be a real-live Peanuts character, Lucy would be it.

Throw in the search for an assistant, as well as planning for next year and December has turned into one very busy month indeed.

As for the assistant search, it went better than I could have possibly imagined. Stay tuned!

What's Next? Back to Ottawa

Ottawa - See you soon! About a week ago, over coffee with a friend, I mentioned how great it was to know what I was going to be doing with my summer, but that I had no clue what I would be doing for the next couple of months. No sooner stated that I arrived home to the following Facebook message from a friend and colleague: "Hey, are you still in Ottawa?" Me: "Kind of." (Which isn't a lie as I no longer have a home base and, let's be honest, did I ever really leave Ottawa?)

Turns out my friend had lost an actor for an upcoming play he was producing and he wanted to know if I would be available to take over. Now, this is a guy I have been dying to work with for quite some time now, so saying yes was a no brainer. Not only that, the play is in French, fulfilling a life-long dream of working professionally in my native tongue in a show that I did not have to produce myself... even though it turns out I may actually be speaking in English for most of it. Did I say the play was in French? It's actually a bilingual play.

It's a new creation by a local Ottawa company called le Groupe des 2. The show is called Pop Fiction and it has been a few years in the making. I don't know how much I can say, because I don't want to spoil the story, but it's a very cool project with a sci-fi bent that makes my inner nerd-girl squeeee. It will play at the end of January at Arts Court in Ottawa with rehearsals starting at the end of November.

Basically, this means I'm moving back to Ottawa until at least early February. I have a place lined up with some very cool theatre folks and, after almost a year on the road, I can't say I'm not excited to stop in one place, even for just a few months - though I already have plans to head to New York City again and will be visiting family back in New Brunswick over the Holidays, so my hobosapien ways will still be nourished.

If you would like to know more about the show, I recommend you check out the Indiegogo Campaign they've got going on (and maybe even donate a few dollars to the cause). Like I said, it's a super cool concept, but it does need the funds in order to pull it off, so every little bit helps.

In the meantime, Ottawa, get yourself ready. I'm coming home.

Welcome to Edmonton

After 3 nights and two days on the train, I arrived in Edmonton. My old Ottawa pal, Kris Joseph, was up bright and early to meet me. Since then I've had a lovely walking tour of the city and checked in to the Edmonton Fringe in order to get my artist package. I'm doing final tweaks on the sound and costume design, putting together the program, and successfully teched my show. In fact, I would like to give a huge shout out to my venue techs at Venue 4 - Academy at King Edward School for being so awesome. Biggest Fringe program I've ever seen.

But despite all that, I am stressing the hell out. My posters and flyers should have arrived last Friday. It is now Tuesday morning and, after multiple phone calls and "guarantees" from UPS, they still haven't arrived. I'm now wondering if I should wait longer or start calling local print shops to do a new batch, which is an expense that I haven't budgeted for. I think I could still do ok without the posters, especially since so many wall spaces around the festival grounds are already taken, but without flyers to promote the show... Is anyone going to come?

This is my first time at the Edmonton Fringe. Roller Derby Saved My Soul is a great show. I just want it all to go well, you know?

Repost: My First Fringe


While I try and resolve some massive computer issues before I release this year's MUST SEE list, here's a repost from a few years back about my first experience at the Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Picture it: Sicily Ottawa 2002

A young and naive theatre student by the name of Nancy Kenny answers an audition notice posted on a bulletin board (where audition notices went long before this thing called the “internet” existed) in her Theatre department at school.

The show: Tuesdays and Sundays by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn

(Little did I know at the time that this was a huge hit on the Fringe Festival Circuit back then. Heck, I didn’t even know what a Fringe Festival Circuit was. I just wanted to be in a play outside of school. The director of our production saw it done somewhere out west and got the rights for it in Ottawa. I believe that this was the only Fringe Festival that wasn’t done with the original creating team.)

The show is rehearsed over a few weeks and put on in the Alumni Auditorium at the University of Ottawa (which is no longer a Fringe venue at this point in time).

Attendance? Is terrible in this 300 seat auditorium. One midnight show pulls in only 4 people for this cast of 2. (Fortunately, the next Executive Producer of the Fringe, the awesome Kevin Waghorn will later make some very beneficial changes, including cordoning off a section of the theatre so everyone sits in one clump and abolishing midnight performances. But, until then, shitballs for us.)

The company also only gets 5 performances instead of the usual 6 since Nancy Kenny’s scene partner had to attend a wedding in Windsor at the end of the week.

However, the reviews are incredible and rave about the performances of the two young students from the University of Ottawa Theatre Department. Nancy Kenny has fun, discovers something called the “Beer Tent” and makes friends with lots of performers from out of town. She also meets a bearded man with a big laugh who tells her really nice things about the show and has been an avid follower of her career and a dear friend ever since.

Somehow, the show wins the coveted Best of Venue prize and gets an additional performance on the closing night of the festival. The director had rented risers for the performance and had returned them by that point thinking the run of the show was done. Milk crates and planks were used to replace them.

(I still remember sitting backstage, 15 minutes to showtime on a Sunday night, wondering where the heck my partner was as, upon hearing the news we had an extra show, he guaranteed he’d be back from the wedding on time. I also remember how relieved I felt when he ran in, out of breath, with less than 5 minutes to spare.)

No money was made by anyone, but the director bought her actors a beer and an Ottawa Fringe Festival hat. The run NOW officially over, everyone really went their separate ways. Nancy Kenny ends up at the Beer Tent and sits around for the closing festivities. As awards are handed out, she is shocked to hear her and her partner’s names called out in the “Outstanding Performance” category.

Nancy Kenny starts to think this “Fringe Festival” thing is not bad. Not bad at all.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Ready to Rumble

Perhaps this is a little known fact, but I used to be a huge WWFWWE fan back in the late 90s/early 00s. When I was in university, a close friend used to call it "a soap opera for guys... and Nancy." I saw Monday Night Raw live from 5th row. I've been to Smack Down and I was also at the sold out Wrestlamania X8 in Toronto. In fact, one of the things that attracted me to roller derby in the first place was the direct correlation I could make between it and wrestling - costumes, crazy names, athleticism & showmanship just to name a few. I have a very Abed-like mentality when it comes to knowledge of that particular period in wrestling history. Recently, I wowed a bunch of Centennial College students on a film shoot when I heard one of them call another "Scotty too Hotty." It kind of went something like this:

ME - Oh, that's funny. Like the wrestler.

*blank stares*

ME - You know, Scotty 2 Hotty? Former WWE Tag-Team Champion?

Seriously. Who could ever forget this face?

*more blank stares*

ME - You know, with his partner, Grandmaster Sexay? Together they were known as "Too Cool"? (Bonus points if you knew that Sexay's father is Jerry "The King" Lawler.)

Somehow, this powerful knowledge base suddenly made me very popular with young men in their early twenties while on set... but I digress.

The reason I'm bringing this up now is two-fold.


For one, this coming Friday at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick Ave in Toronto), my French improv team, Les Improbables, will be taking part in our first ever Royal Rumble! Now, I'm pretty sure this means we will beat the crap out of each other using improvised objects until only one person survives the night, but I may be wrong. My weapon of choice will, of course, be the chair. Anyway, whatever happens, it will definitely be a good night and you should come out and join us.

Now, while this blog and website often revolves around my acting/performance career, it also includes a lot of information about my other passion, arts marketing. Which brings me to reason number two to talk about wrestling: this awesome post on audience development for the brilliant mind over at the Mission Paradox blog. The subject? Well the title really says it all - A case study in audience building and steel cages. Click on the link for a really great read.

I leave you now with Mr 2 Hotty's finishing move for your viewing pleasure.


Where my Girls at?

Quick! Name me a play for two female actors in their 20s-30s. I'll wait. No seriously, I will wait.

My roommate, the unbelievably talented & incredibly underrated Mikaela Dyke, and I were trying to come up with a project for the two of us to work together but drawing absolute blanks even after an extensive search through my fairly massive play library and a little know-it-all named Google. A spirited discussion then followed on Facebook & Twitter with little to no results.

It's funny. I can think of plenty of two-handers for men in the age range: Morris Panych's Lawrence and Hollowman, David Gow's Cherry Docs, Edward Albee's The Zoo Story, Mary Jones' Stones in his Pockets, just to name a few. But for women?

Many people suggested Marsha Normand's 'night, Mother, but the actresses required are much older than we are and that seems to be what generally available. Same goes for something like Mary Jones' Fly Me To the Moon, which I saw at the Great Canadian Theatre Company last year.

In fact, the only age-appropriate two-hander that people seemed to know was Matt and Ben, which feels incredibly dated these days. Anyone remember when Ben Affleck dated Gwyneth Paltrow? Yeah, me neither. There's also EdWard Allan Baker's Dolores, but I'm already doing that for Fringe, and I know of a great little play called Anything for You but that one is only 10 minutes.

Of course, we could write something, but I'm more puzzled by the fact that finding a show like this is such a difficult task.

All is not lost. I did get two good suggestions from @TheatreinLondon for David Widdicombe's Wake, as well as Daniel MacIvor's A Beautiful View, but come on people! There's got to be more out there.



En route vers le Festival Fringe d'Ottawa

Ottawa Fringe Logo The fun thing about having a blog means that I can go back an search for things I may have talked about before that I want to bring up again. The annoying thing about having a blog means remembering that you said you were going to do something almost 3 years ago and are only getting around to it now.

Well, better late than never, non?

You did click on the link above right? I'm not going to have to repeat myself, am I?


Ok. Fine.

In 2010, I took an acting class in English, but my teacher had me speak most of the dialogue for my scene in French. It was an exercise. Go with it. My teacher thought that the play I was working sounded great in French and, by the end of class, suggested I translate it for myself. Time kept marching on, but by December 2011 I had completed a first draft of the translation.

Working at the Ontario Arts Council in 2012 meant that I couldn't participate in the Ottawa Fringe Festival, but I am under no such restrictions now. That said, the 2013 lottery came and went and Ididn't applied. Why? Because I didn't want to produce this show in a stereotypical venue. Yes, I actually wanted to do a Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV).

What first attracted me to the show was the realism I found in the text. As an artist, these days my interests lie in creating a real sense of intimacy between the audience and the performer. My favorite kind of theatre is the kind that makes me feel like a fly on the wall which is why, since this play takes place in a kitchen, I always envisioned doing it in a REAL kitchen.

The past few months have just gone by in a blur of finding a venue, paying fees, getting rights, scheduling, union negotiations, getting a director and a fellow actor...

Which all brings me to today. Today I handed in my program information for the Ottawa Fringe Festival and I am ecstatic to finally let you in on what I am doing after all this time.

Ladies and gentlemen, coming to the 2013 Ottawa Fringe Festival:

Dolores by Edward Allan Baker Original translation by Nancy Kenny Directed by Tania Levy Featuring Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune

Dolores by Edward Allan Baker Featuring Nancy Kenny & Martine Roquebrune Photo credit: Tania Levy

Venue: St Paul's Eastern United Church - Kitchen - 473 Cumberland St, Ottawa, ON Tickets: $10 - seating extremely limited

***************************************************** Ou bien en français:

Théâtre in situ de l’équipe acclamée de Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

Ayant finalement mérité une journée de répit, Sandra voit sa quiétude troublée par l’arrivée de sa sœur Dolores. Traduction originale de Nancy Kenny Mettant en vedette Nancy Kenny & Martine Roquebrune Mise en scène de Tania Levy


I have so much more that I want to say about this show, including options for all my anglo friends, so stay tuned to this blog for all the updates.

Are you excited yet? I know I am.


hbw | happy (custom) bokeh wednesday

Adam Foster via Compfight

I really want someone to approach me and say: "I think you're a great actor. Here's this play/movie/TV show/web series/whatever that I am working on. And here's some money. Will you work with me on my project?" Then they actually follow through with the aforementioned project and it's great. Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever had that scenario happen to me. Sure, people have asked me to work on something, but usually the project never gets off the ground.

Fine. I'll do it myself then. Again. Some more.

I'm currently knee deep in festival applications. I just handed one in for Roller Derby Saved My Soul today and have another one due next week. I'm searching for a site-specific venue in Ottawa & Toronto so I can produce a play that I translated into French at the Fringe (BTW, if anyone has access to a domestic looking kitchen near Fringe grounds that would make a great site-specific venue, please contact me for more details). I'm also filling out applications for a brand-spanking new show that I'm writing.

And trust me, I'm not complaining (much). I'm proud to be producing my own work and the control freak in me relishes the opportunity to do everything myself. But I am tired, so very tired of doing all this admin work.

That's the dream: to have someone else take the reigns on some amazing project and all I have to worry about is creation.

One day?