Art at Home – 20 Questions with Melissa Taylor

This week’s #ArtAtHome is your chance to get to know our final Beyond the Bard Playwright, Melissa Taylor!

What are you currently reading?
Just finished Fleabag: The Scriptures.

What inspires you to write?
I think it’s me seeking connection. I love those moments in the theatre where you feel like you’ve been hit over the head by a line, or by what the playwright’s trying to say. It’s this beautifully unobtrusive and potent form of intimacy, when it’s done right. 

Smarties or M & M’s?
Um, peanut M & M’s. No question.

What’s your favourite sentence of all time?
Currently? “It’s God, isn’t it?” 

If you could have your work performed anywhere, where would it be?
Maybe after having tea and stimulating conversation with Phoebe Waller-Bridge, I could do a monologue in her back garden, or something equally picturesque. 

What’s the last delicious thing you ate?
Almond butter and apple (sorry, boring). 

Do you have any pets?
Back home, a dog and a cat. 

Who is your favourite tv/film character?
I’m going to diverge from the Fleabag fanaticism for a second and say — no, just kidding, Fleabag. Or Mindy Kaling. In anything.

If you weren’t a playwright, what would you be?
Actor. But it’s a divided effort. 

What’s a positive aspect of self-isolation for you?
Finding new routines.

What’s a difficult aspect of self-isolation for you?
The pressure of creating.

What’s your favourite cafe to work in?
In Toronto, I love The Tempered Room or Wallace Espresso. Also, The Gladstone has a public workspace during weekdays which is awesome. In my hometown, Victoria, there’s a great cafe called the Moka House which is right by the water, so if you’re feeling uninspired, you can take a little walk on the beach. Usually helps. 

Dogs or cats?
Totally depends on the breed. Cats generally, but a gentle, loving, bear-sized dog trumps all. 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Life is long. 

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Uh… I can quote along to
When Harry Met Sally, but maybe that’s not very surprising. 

How do you take your coffee/tea?

What was your first job?
I was a hostess at a downtown resto-bar that was way too hip for me. Also during the summers in high school I dressed up as a pirate and made balloon swords at festivals. More my speed.

What fad or trend do you hope comes back?
Power suits with shoulder pads.

What are some small things or acts that make your day better?
Sunshine and reconnecting with old friends.

Who is your favourite Shakespearean character?
I remember seeing the Scottish play for the first time as a preteen and thinking, thank God for Macduff, because everyone else is royally screwing this up. So, him.

Pop-Up Outdoor Theatre Workshops

We are excited to announce that Driftwood will be providing outdoor theatre workshops in a few locations across Ontario this August!

Driftwood’s socially-distant theatre workshops for youth ages 8-16 focus on building a spirit of play, creation, and collaboration. Outreach Co-ordinator and Professional Actor Deivan Steele will lead participants through guided theatre games and exercises, allowing young creators to learn how to strengthen their storytelling and imagination – all from six feet apart!

The health and safety of workshop staff and participants is our top priority. Our workshops will follow guidelines provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Toronto Public Health to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

All workshops are provided free of charge. If you know a young person who would be interested in participating, register online here!

Workshop Dates and Locations:

Thursday August 6th 10am-12pm – Pickering, Esplanade Park
Thursday August 6th 3-5 pm: Bowmanville, Visual Arts Centre of Clarington


NOPEning Night

We want to send out a heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined us for our NOPEning Night Celebration last night. We had a fantastic time discussing Henry Five, Driftwood, and theatre in general, and our hearts are full from seeing so many familiar faces. It was wonderful to have all of our Henry Five cast members together for the first time, and to hear some of their thoughts on the show.

Though we are missing being on the road this summer, we were so grateful for the opportunity to gather as a community and share an evening with all of you. We hope you are as excited as we are about what we have planned for the summer, and what’s to come for Driftwood in the next year. Don’t be a stranger –  we’ll be sharing Ontario Storybook prompts and Community Conversations all summer long, and we would love to hear your stories and have you join in the conversation!

Community Conversations

The time we’ve all been spending away from our regular lives has given us a chance to reflect. The theatre community, like the world at large, is undergoing a huge shift, and we’re starting to have new conversations in forums we’ve never had before. Now more than ever is the time to keep the discussion going, and we want to bring that conversation to you.

In Community Conversations, we’ll be talking with Canadian arts workers about where theatre is currently at, and where it might go in the future. Each week we’ll share a discussion on a different topic, featuring special guests and moderated by our Outreach Co-ordinator Deivan Steele.

Our first conversation took place live during our NOPEning Night Event on July 15th, with Jeremy Smith and Myekah Payne discussing Henry Five, Driftwood, and theatre in general. Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be sharing a new Community Conversation Video every Wednesday starting July 29th.

Read all about our Community Conversations guests here, and check back every Wednesday for more episodes!

Future Community Conversations will include:

Who Funds Theatre, and Why Does it Matter? with Philip Akin

Why Documentary Theatre? with Andrew Kushnir and Lisa Marie diLiberto

Broadening Our Understanding of Classical Theatre – Part 1

with ted witzel and Jani Lauzon

Broadening Our Understanding of Classical Theatre – Part 2

with ted witzel and Jani Lauzon

Broadening Our Understanding of Classical Theatre – Part 3

with ted witzel and Jani Lauzon

Broadening Our Understanding of Classical Theatre – Part 4

with ted witzel and Jani Lauzon

What is Accessible Theatre? – Part 1

with Alex Bulmer and Owais Lightwala

What is Accessible Theatre? – Part 2

with Alex Bulmer and Owais Lightwala

What is Accessible Theatre? – Part 3

with Alex Bulmer and Owais Lightwala