I studied a bit of directing at the University of Alberta.
But how I really learned directing was by just putting on shows, many, many of them. You wanna put on a show? I can help you with that. I’ve also done some Equity Stage Management gigs- I’m a very good organizer.
I began creating and putting on shows in 1980, working with David Cassel and Black Box Theatre. I learned through trial and error, taking risks, making mistakes and trying to avoid their repetition. The first few plays were terrible- Trilogy for a Chair and The Edifice – but what the hell, we were having fun. That’s what this choice of lifestyle is supposed to be about- maximizing the fun quotient.
From 1987 to 1993 I put together gigs and plays with my rock band Big Inc. which played at the Fringe Theatre Festival and the Multipurpose Rumpus Room in Edmonton. Big Inc.’s motto was “Fortissimo, Presto, Bruto! (Loud, Fast and Ugly)” and so were our shows, including Virtue Vs. The Vixens From Hell (1990), our greatest triumph, Elvis in Wonderland (1993) and a musical adaptation of Crowley’s Ghouls (1993). The band broke up before the end of 1993- that can happen when you work on The Beast’s material.
I have also directed comic opera and modern classics. In 1988 . I directed Opera Theatre of Alberta’s touring production of Menotti’s The Telephone and The Old Maid and the Thief. In 1990 I worked with many of the same people in a Fringe Festival production of The Four Note Opera. In 1994 I directed an Equity Co-op production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. This was a site-specific production playing in Alberta’s historic Rutherford House mansion.
In April 2003 I directed an Equity co-op production of my play The Happy Anarchist, a site-specific black comedy at the New Amsterdam Café in Vancouver. I spent the summer in the land of black gold- Ft. McMurray, AB where I directed a three-week summer drama camp production of My Sister- The Dragon (age 9 to 15) and an adult collective- The Estrogen Experience, for the InterPlay Festival. Most recently I directed a stellar cast of 20 pros in the Burr Theatre’s Halloween show – Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost. I’m very pleased with this funny show and we put many bums in seats with sell-out shows.
Since 1988 through to the present I have been leading Summer Drama Camps, directing from 10 up to 45 students in three-week intensive crash theatre production courses- “Let’s put on a play!” With student actors, I have directed 5 full productions for Theatre Festivals, 10 full productions for Camp performances in theatres and dozens of plays for in-class final projects.
Some of my favourite student productions that I have directed include: MacBeth: The Musical (2002), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (2000), The Other Party (1999), Gone With the Breeze (1995) and Last Chance High (1992).
>> Directed and stage-managed the re-mount of The Book of Ruth (The Babe Ruth Story), travelling to The New York International Fringe Festival in August, 2004.