In 1994 I got called into office at Studio 58, a professional theatre program in Vancouver, BC to get my final marks. The final marks at Studio 58 come in the form of a discussion with all the heads of department at the school. I had been having trouble at the school, not enjoying my production program and feeling exhausted, depressed and lost. Still I wanted to continue, I had a great time working on shows and felt with more time I could get better.
I was kicked out and knew at that moment I would leave Vancouver and not want to live there again. To say I took it hard would be an understatement, I started balling uncontrollably and felt horrible for weeks after. Still at that meeting I got some of the best advice of my entire life; just do want you want, you’re the only one stopping you. Possibly naive, possibly white male privilege (all my teachers were white) and a bit pie in the sky but still has helped me tremendously over the years. After this spectacular failure I moved back home to Waterloo to my parents place and then to Toronto the next year. I went into directing and then into devised and collective performance but weirdly enough have stayed with Stage Management (what I studied at Studio).
I am now back in Vancouver at the PuSh Festival with a show I love called Concord Floral, Stage Managing and with a company I adore. With waves of nostalgia coming over me as I return to city that is in no way but still familiar and filled with memories. With strong feelings of still wanting to prove my teachers wrong, 23 years after being kicked out of school, I come back proud of somehow making it through 23 years in this beautiful, fucked up and at times unforgiving world of Canadian theatre and performance. The words; “Just go to Toronto and direct if you want to…” still ring in my ear and provide inspiration and comfort. I try to encourage any emerging artist that asks for advice to follow this simple but essential truth. Really with the purpose of encouraging independent thought and not following a leader, who may or may not have any idea of what they are doing.