Moving forward I am taking my skills of storytelling and putting them on TikTok as @ladydeathdoula as I start my certification as a Death Doula end of life caregiver in the new year. Combined with my years of suicide prevention and intervention training, and recently my grief literacy training, plus lived experience – I hope I can continue to be a resource for people who are dealing with loss and death.
With the pandemic putting a pause on the entertainment industry indefinitely, this seems like a good time to pause and reflect and do some work behind the scenes is it were. This is what I am doing. I still have my new agent trying to help me get voice overs, I am still producing and marketing Eldritch Theatre (we just had a great digital theatre experience/experiment!) and I just finished my term at Centennial College for the Museum Curatorial Management program – but in the new year when most all of those things hit pause until next fall I have something to lean into that fuels me forward.
A few years ago I was having to navigate a major job loss, and then becoming a part-time professor for Centennial College. I needed a break from the grind of the audition room and to refocus on what was newly on my horizon. It’s been a few years, but I never really left the performing arts – as I have been working steadily as a digital storyteller and marketing manager for several arts organizations and artists around Ontario, currently volunteering at Ghostlight.ca which is all about keeping the light on for actors across Canada through the pandemic.
Enter my friend JM Frey who wanted to brush up on her voice acting and find an agent to pursue a career as a voice over artist. I dabbled in it a bit and offered support and what little insight I had when she landed her agent! Congrats to my friend, right? But because it is a strange and COVID-19 time: she was asked if she knew any actors she could bubble with to do proper self-tapes and guess what? THAT’S ME.
So one thing led to another, and I virtually met Jennifer from Star Talent Inc and we hit it off and lo and behold I’M BACK!
What does this mean? You might see more posts about the audition grind, and hopefully more about voice over work from me too. Keep your fingers crossed, and press play on my updated demo reel:
I have had such a great time creating and sharing with GhostLight! I am working on Studio Sessions as a Digital Producer behind the scenes, and recently I filled in for our regular host Charlotte Gowdy in front of the scenes… that’s not the saying but you get me.
I have been so lucky to have met and befriended EB Smith through GhostLight, and then again to have this conversation with him on Studio Sessions. I have much to learn and unpack but with people like EB who is such a superstar in compassion and patience, I know I can become a better ally. Here have a watch:
These are strange times we are living through; I wrote about the impact of our new “normal” on my mental health blog that tries to encapsulate the surreal reality we find ourselves in. The imagery of pushing through the darkness (IE depression, anxiety, fear of living through a global pandemic) and trying to still access creativity as a means of expression without all the avenues we are used to. No more theatres, no more festivals, no more gatherings.
Enter the idea of Graham Abbey and Dylan Trowbridge: Ghostlight.ca
I love the image of the ghost light being left on in the absence of our brick and mortar theatres, and making space for where we find ourselves: a digital storytelling space. Which just happens to be where I have found myself for the past few years telling stories on social media and digital platforms. When Graham and Dylan approached me for insight and support I fell in love with the concept immediately! Here’s a bit more about the project:
Further down that About Page you will see my face as the Digital Strategist and Social Media lead and I am excited for what our team is creating.
With a focus on “illuminating, creating, collaborating,” Ghost Light is looking to become the Canadian theatre hub for thespians of all trades.
I hope you come along for the ride! Subscribe, comment, and give us a like 👍I would love to hear what you think about this project as we are building it to meet the needs of local artists and we want to hear from you! Our guests and mentors are just about ready to be announced, so hold on to the edge of your digital seat – we will leave the light on for you and for the art form we love.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Illuminate your art online.
And of course loving the work I get to do with puppet savvy Eldritch Theatre manning their social media/marketing/producing. And sometimes I get to hang out with fellow puppet lover Jay Fosgitt (who actually drew me into the Henson Universe as Pebbles Fraggle!)
But I so rarely get to actually play with puppets anymore.
There has to be an answer. I have puppets ON MY WALLS to play with at any time and I just… don’t? Procrastination swirls as I get bogged down in the “but what’s the story?” or the worst part of my anxiety, “this is stupid. No one will like it but me.” But really? Who cares. Some people knit, some people take up painting… I want to PUPPET. So if you enjoy a good muppet puppet time you can see me try to get into the puppet groove on my new IG account: https://www.instagram.com/muppetpuppettime/
I want to stop overthinking it and just DO IT already, so sometimes it will just be silly playtime, maybe a fun filter, or it could actually be a full story – the point is to just PUPPET everyday, even for a minute. That’s the goal, but I know life happens and this should never be a thing to stress me out so if I miss a few days that’s going to be okay too.
I’m hoping this will be as enjoyable for those watching, and hey, if you want to be a guest and hangout with Pebbles let me know!
I have been working behind-the-scenes (well behind-the-screen) for Groundling Theatre and Crow’s Theatre’s adaptation of Julius Caesar as their social media specialist. I have been having a blast managing their Facebook and Twitter, where so many audience members and critics are able to interact with me and tell me how much they LOVE this production.
I am so excited for Checkpoint 300 at Fringe this year – ok ok I’m bias, because not only am I working on the show as their marketing and publicist, but I also know Michelle Wise (Playwright and Director) and Geoff Mays from a long time ago from my actors life. Plus bringing to life such a heavy but important subject as xenophobia and religious conflict in the middle east – this show won an award for being such a great piece of theatre. I hope you can see it: https://fringetoronto.com/fringe/show/checkpoint-300
I took photos from their rehearsal for media use and I am happy to put my learning curve of photography to use: (and a little graphic design to add in the mix!)
Happy Fringing to you all! And let me know what is on your “Fringe Picks” this year, I have some theatre to see 🙂
Once upon a time I wrote about something very close to my broken heart for the stage. I wrote a 40 minute one-woman show about my first year of bereavement after my brother died by suicide. As a theatre creator it was the best way to express myself and to process and understand what had happened. It accomplished some of those things.
I workshopped it, staged it, toured it, and still do it today on request. It propelled me into a new chapter of my life sharing my story and becoming a mental health advocate, smashing stigma around mental illness and most specifically the stigma surrounding suicide. I even trained up and became an ASIST trainer and teach suicide prevention to groups of people.
It has been 9 years since my brother took his life, and I am still rattled. I still get situational depression around his deathaversary every November. I call this seasonal depression the Novembears. I wrote a children’s book about it. I have had strangers ridicule me for my open grief, I have had people leave my circle of friends because I couldn’t “get over it already”, and I have even had fallouts with family who thought the same way. This play is about a sister who loses her brother and someone says to her: “You must love that boy something fierce.” “Death changes nothing,” she replies. This is what the show is about.
It’s also about the guilt, the shame, the sadness, the grief of losing someone and how that stays with you regardless of time. The grief changes, and the grief changes you. It’s not as all consuming, it gets “easier” (air quotes, you get it right?) but it never goes away, not completely, at least not at the 9 year mark for me.
I wanted to write something that felt like my journey through grief to this point. Truthfully I wanted something ready to mark his 10th year of passing. I don’t know why, maybe because like the first year with Everything But the Cat… it would help me start a new chapter of healing.
Scarred Leather is the next chapter – the journey has been laborious just like a cowgirl on horseback – complete with saddle sores and weariness; the pistol is the aggressive blame and shame trying to take down anyone in its path; the Victorian structure is society’s rules around how to deal with death (that’s why my heroine challenges it with dressing like a man, she lives fully outside it’s rules/stigma); and the characters around her are all dealing with death in different ways and their ghosts/memories haunt them in different ways too, because we all deal with death in different ways. It can make us hide our true selves, deceive ourselves and others, it can change us for better or worse, it takes the things we love and leaves a gaping hole, and it can tear us down to build something new in its place.
Scarred Leather gets its name from a cowboy term referring to the imperfections in ones leathers, namely the saddle, which it gets after years of use. The scars are from enduring harsh weather, long rides, and being thrown around the barn. We can see these scars on our own flesh as imperfections, or as a life lived complete with mistakes and regrets and the lessons learned from them.
This workshop production is not traditional in any sense, because what you think grief is from the outside, like this Western seems to be, is very different from what it actually is.
The cast behind my upcoming staged reading of my haunted western “Scarred Leather” all had their photos taken by me in my living room and then I set out to edit them some Deadwood portraits for their characters…
Each character is from 1847, old Upper Canada, in the wilds of the new land called home – the outback of the Western world.