From 1992 to 1996, I was one third of a triumvirate running Theatre Passe Muraille -- one of the flagship theatres of Toronto and thereby a key contributor to the theatre arts in Canada.
Susan Serran, the new Artistic Producer, was the first woman to run the theatre; in general, women were sorely absent in artistic leadership positions in Canada. Ken McDougall and I were her trusted Associate Artists. Ken died of AIDS after that first year and I had a baby. Colin Taylor joined us then, one of the first Black Canadian artists to have a position of authority in Canadian theatre.
Many years later I was invited to write about my experience at the theatre by Dr. Martin Julien, who together with Samantha Serles assembled a book of testimonials to mark Theatre Passe Muraille’s fiftieth anniversary.
I have a vivid memory of the very first day Susan, Ken, and I walked into the TPM offices. It was like walking on the moon: a cold, barren, hostile environment. The place looked like someone shouted, ‘The world is ending in five minutes!’ and everyone vamoosed. The place was a shambles.
Susan pulled the theatre back from bankruptcy and opened the stage to an astounding roster of artists, but you’ll never read about it, even though I’ve combed through articles and histories about TPM. There’s a cloak of invisibility thrown over women who stick their head over the parapet.
“Moonwalk”, in Theatre Passe Muraille: A Collective History, Playwrights Canada, 2019.