Co-Investigators & Projects
Here is an Introduction to the Co-Investigators in our developing projects, drawing together scholars from across the country, the discipline, and representing a range of performance methodology.
See the link to Our Partners for information on the involvement of our Institutional Partners.
PROJECT MANAGER & CO-INVESTIGATOR
Kelsey Jacobson is a PhD gradaute from the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto and an adjunct lecturer in the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen's University and at Niagara University. Her dissertation is entitled: Feeling Real: Affective Dimensions of Reality in Contemporary Canadian Performance. Her research interests include audiences and spectatorship, perception, the post-truth and post-factual, theatre of the real, and affect theory. She is also passionate about teaching, and especially working with young people. Kelsey is currently a co-Artistic Director of the New Ideas Festival at Alumnae Theatre, was previously a Junior Researcher at Shakespeare’s Globe, and directs, dramaturges, and designs community theatre productions frequently.
Stephen Johnson is a full professor in the Department of English and Drama at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. His university training was at the University of Guelph (BA), the University of Toronto (MA), and in the Performance Studies Department at New York University (PhD). He has published widely on 19th and 20th century popular performance, including in Theatre Research in Canada, which he (co)edited for ten years. He has been active in a number of scholarly organizations, serving on the executive of the Theatre Library Association, the Society of Dance History Scholars, and as president of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research / Association canadienne de la recherche théâtrale (CATR/ACRT).
Justin A. Blum is an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge who teaches theatre history, dramatic literature, and dramaturgy. His published research focuses on melodrama and other popular performance forms, as well as the intersection between theatre history, dramaturgy, and contemporary theatrical production. He holds a PhD in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto, an MA in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Before arriving at the University of Lethbridge he taught at the Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto; the Department of English and Drama, University of Toronto Mississauga; Theatre Studies Program, Western University; and the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, University of Toronto, where he was also a Post-Doctoral Fellow.
Amy Bowring holds an honours B.A. in Fine Arts Studies from York University and a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. She is the Executive and Curatorial Director at Dance Collection Danse where she was mentored by founders Lawrence and Miriam Adams, and has been involved with the organization in various capacities since 1993. She is one of Canada’s foremost advocates for the study and preservation of Canadian dance heritage.
A dance writer and historian, she is also the founder of the Canadian Society for Dance Studies, which she directed for ten years. She has written historical essays and articles for books and magazines including the Canadian Encyclopedia, International Dictionary of Modern Dance, Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada, Dance Chronicle, Right to Dance: Dancing for Rights, Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories, Renegade Bodies: Canadian Dance in the 1970s and The Dance Current, where she was also the copy editor for 13 years. She has curated virtual exhibitions on dance artists Nancy Lima Dent and Alison Sutcliffe and curated several live exhibitions including Dancing Through Time: Toronto’s Dance History, 1900-1980 and Canada’s Pre-eminent Showman: The Artistry of Alan Lund. She guest lectures widely and teaches dance history at Ryerson University.
Amy is a co-recipient of the 2002 Toronto Emerging Dance Artist Award for her work as a dance writer. She was a board member for Dance Media Group, sat on the steering committee that founded the Canadian Dance Assembly, and has served on the Discipline Advisory Committee for Dance at the Canada Council for the Arts and the Advisory Board of the international journal Dance Chronicle.
Amy is the editor of Down to Bowring’s: A Memoir written by her grandfather, Derrick Bowring, and published by Creative Book Publishers in 2015. Amy is currently writing the book Navigating Home: Artists of the NL Dance Project for release in fall 2019. Her research interests are focussed on theatrical dance in Canada in the early to mid 20th century, as well as the dance history of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. This research has led to articles on patriotic performances in St. John’s during World War I, as well as the development of postmodern dance in St. John’s in the 1970s and 1980s.
Co-investigator Seika Boye examines the role of dance in daily life and in performance through archival research, oral history and the close reading of photographs. While her work focuses on dance within Canada’s Black population, her broader interests are in accessing undocumented dance histories and recontextualizing archival ephemera in order to question the legislation of bodies, and dominant narratives of geographic locations and cultural institutions. Seika has worked in various capacities with Gatherings partner organization Dance Collection Danse for fifteen years. In collaboration with a team of researchers affiliated with the Institute for Dance Studies, University of Toronto, this work will continue with a focus on lesser known and accessed collections and archival holdings.
Seika is a scholar, writer, educator and artist whose practices revolve around dance and movement. She is a Lecturer in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Director of the Institute for Dance Studies, and was recently appointed Adjunct Curator at The Art Museum, University of Toronto. Seika also works as an advocate and consultant for dance across the arts sector.
Assistant Professor: Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies; Transitional Year Programmme; Indigenous Studies (University of Toronto)
As a researcher and theatre-worker, Jill Carter (Anishinaabe/Ashkenazi) works in Tkaronto with many Indigenous artists to support the development of new works and to disseminate artistic objectives, process, and outcomes through community-driven research projects. Her scholarly research, creative projects, and activism are built upon ongoing relationships with Indigenous Elders, scholars, youth, artists and activists positioning her as witness to, participant in, and disseminator of oral histories that speak to the application of Indigenous aesthetic principles and traditional knowledge systems to contemporary performance.
The research questions she pursues revolve around the mechanics of story creation, the processes of delivery and the mechanics of affect. More recently, she has concentrated upon Indigenous pedagogical models for the rehearsal studio and the lecture hall; the application of Indigenous [insurgent] research methods within performance studies; the politics of land acknowledgements; and land-based dramaturgies/activations/interventions.
Apart from her teaching, theatre work and academic writing, Jill works as a researcher and tour guide with First Story Toronto (http://ncct.on.ca/first-story-toronto-app-bus-tour/) for which she also devises land activations, mapping interventions, and personal cosmography workshops.
Jenn Cole (mixed-ancestry Algonquin) researches performance practices and histories that illuminate Indigenous presence, cosmologies, and stories from the Land in her home territory of the Kiji Sibi watershed and along the Odenabe River, where she currently lives, in Michi Saagig territory. She is interested in tracing Indigenous Land/river-based artistic work through relationship, performance as research, oral history and careful study. Her teaching aims to bring students into more aware and responsible relationship to place as they learn together on Anishinaabeg lands. She also programs and supports Indigenous performance and performance-related knowledge sharing in her two communities.
Jenn Cole is Assistant Professor of Gender and Feminist Studies at Trent University, Creative Director of Aging Activisms Research Collective, member of Circadia Indigena Collective and co-editor of Gatherings, a handmade chapbook for theatre and performance scholars to share creative work.
Heather Fitzsimmons Frey is a scholar, director and dramaturge, interested in performance for, by and with young people. She is currently conducting research for her Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the York University, Toronto (supported by Marlis Schweitzer) entitled “Rehearsing Revolutions: Girls, Amateur Theatre, and Encounters Between 19th and 21st Century Girls.” Her research is published in Canadian Theatre Review, Girlhood Studies, and Youth Theatre Journal, as chapters in Nationalism and Youth in Theatre and Performance (2014) and Reflections on Critical Multiculturalism and Dance in Canada (forthcoming) and in her two edited collections Theatre and Learning(Cambridge Scholars Press 2015) and Ignite: Illuminating Theatre for Young People (Playwrights Canada Press 2016). Her dissertation "Victorian Girls and At-Home Theatricals: Performing and Playing with Possible Futures," (2015, supervised by Kathleen Gallagher, OISE) explores nineteenth-century published and unpublished playscripts, juvenile newspapers, "how-to" guides, letters, diaries. She uses these to learn about ways girls could use amateur theatrical activities as powerful thinking tools to challenge the status quo and think about alternate and unconventional identities and futures for themselves. The dissertation was awarded the Clifford Leech Prize for best PhD dissertation relating to drama or theatre studies at the University of Toronto, and the AATE Distinguished Dissertation Award. Expanding on her research by experimenting with ideas “up on their” feet earned her the CATR Outstanding Submission for a Workshop award in 2016, and influences how she is developing her girl-centred approach to her post-doctoral research.
Annie Gibson is the publisher at Playwrights Canada Press. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Annie followed her love of theatre and books to its logical conclusion: publishing plays. She’s worked at Playwrights Canada Press since 2005, and as publisher since 2008. She also loves baseball and baking.
Annie is passionate about the book industry and the supply chain that gets books into the hands of readers. A former member of the board of directors of both the Association of Canadian Publishers and eBOUND Canada, Annie currently sits on the board of the Book and Periodical Council and the management board of Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théâtrales au Canada. She is an active member of the BPC’s Freight and Distribution Committee, the ACP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Ontario Creates Book Industry Advisory Committee, and the professional advisory committee for Sheridan College’s Creative Writing and Publishing program.
Gabrielle Houle holds a Ph.D. from the Centre for Study of Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her primary research area is the recent staging history of the Commedia dell’Arte, contemporary mask-making practices, and masked performance. Gabrielle has trained in Canada, Italy, France, the United States, Costa Rica, and Denmark before working as an actor and a creator of masks. She has taught in several Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, Glendon College of York University, and the University of Calgary. She is a member of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition at the University of Lethbridge, where she is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor.
Martin Julien is an actor, singer, writer, and educator with over three decades of experience in Canadian theatre. He made his stage debut at age ten for the Factory Theatre Lab in Toronto, and has been nominated for three Dora Mavor Moore Awards as best performer. Martin was listed as “#1” in The Top Ten Toronto theatre artists in 1995 by NOW Magazine. Martin was Playwright-in-Residence through the Ontario Arts Council with Nightswimming Theatre in 2012/13, and his subsequent work with the company has been produced in Toronto, Berlin, Calgary, and Victoria. His play The Unanswered Question was produced in Peter Hinton's inaugural season as Artistic Director of Ottawa's National Arts Centre in 2007. He recently played Sir John A. Macdonald in Sir John A .: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion to open the National Arts Centre’s 50thanniversary.
Recently, he successfully defended his PhD dissertation on subjectivity and acting methodologies for the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies in the University of Toronto, where he held a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship for 2015-2017. He has been an instructor of acting, theories of acting, acting through song, theatre history, and modern play study at such institutions as the University of Toronto, York University, Humber College, Sheridan College, Randolph Academy, and Soulpepper Academy. His work has been published by Routledge, TDR, Stanislavski Studies Journal, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Intermission, Playwrights Canada Press and Canadian Theatre Review. He is the senior editor of the groundbreaking publication Theatre Passe Muraille: A Collective History, to be published by Playwrights Canada Press in December 2018 as part of the theatre's 50th anniversary year.
Dr. Alexandra (Sasha) Kovacs is an Assistant Professor of Theatre History in the Department of Theatre at the University of Victoria. Her research focuses on Canadian theatre historiography, with a specific interest in the construction of the performance history of late Mohawk (Kanien'kehá:ka) Six Nations writer/performer E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake). Her essay related to Johnson, published in the Playwrights Canada Press collection Canadian Performance History and Historiographies (2017; Edited by Heather Davis-Fisch), was awarded the 2018 Canadian Association for Theatre Research Richard Plant Award for the best English-language article on a Canadian theatre or performance topic. Kovacs’ research work is also published in Performance Research, Shakespeare International Yearbook, Canadian Theatre Review (where she also edited the issue “Performance and Human Rights in the Americas” with Jimena Ortuzar and Natalie Alvarez), and the collection Space and Place: Cultural Mapping and the Digital Sphere. Her research work is always informed by her decades of experience as an arts professional—working as an actor, director, curator, and arts manager.
Allana Lindgren’s research projects currently include the Oral History Dance Collection, an online oral history archive at the University of Victoria. This project seeks to understand the career trajectories and working conditions for professional dance artists.
She is also working on a monograph about dance in Canada during the twentieth century. The research for this book dovetails with Gatherings’ interest in performance-related documentation in non-traditional archival collections. For instance, she has found important dance material in a number of unusual repositories, including the Canadian Pacific Railway Archives in Montréal.
As the Chair of the Gatherings’ Gallery Committee, she is overseeing the creation of exhibitions about performance archiving in Canada.
Mark David Turner is the Manager of Audiovisual Archives and Media Literacy for the Tradition & Transition Among the Labrador Inuit Research Partnership and an Adjunct Professor of Music and Memorial University of Newfoundland. His work lays at the intersection of media, performing arts and archival practice in Newfoundland and Labrador. Writings on aspects of this research have appeared in popular and scholarly journals in Canada and the United States.