Even the busiest artists need a break!
Take Five with some of the hardest working and celebrated individuals in the performing arts scene today. We ask them a series of five questions to learn what inspires them and how their careers have been influenced by fellow community members.
Michael Healey trained at the Ryerson Theatre School in the mid-eighties. He started writing plays to augment his career as an actor in the nineties, and his first play, Kicked, premiered at the Fringe Festival of Toronto in 1996. It sold out and was remounted the following year, when it won the Dora Award for best new play. The play then toured nationally and internationally. In the twenty years since, his work has won numerous awards across the globe and at home. His play The Drawer Boy, which premiered in 1999, won the Dora, Chalmers, and Governor General’s awards, and was the most-produced play in North America in 2004. It has been translated into a half-dozen languages, and continues to play to audiences at home and abroad. His other plays include The Road To Hell(written with Kate Lynch), Plan B, Rune Arlidge, The Innocent Eye Test, The Nuttalls, Generous, Courageous, and Proud. In total, his plays have won five Dora awards for best new play. He has adapted classics for the Shaw Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, and the Stratford Festival. His adaptation of Hecht and MacArthur’s The Front Page will play the Festival Theatre at Stratford in the summer of 2019. As an actor, Michael was a regular on CBC’s This Is Wonderland, and has appeared on numerous series, including Republic of Doyle (CBC), Saving Hope (NBC/CTV), and the upcoming Coroner (CBC). He was twice nominated for the Gemini award for his work on This Is Wonderland. His latest play, 1979, was commissioned by the Shaw Festival, and premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects. A second production ran at Ottawa’s GCTC and the Shaw Festival in the spring and summer of 2017.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
I had been an actor for a while. Small character parts. I played a lead in a summer theatre show with a very generous director and realized how responsible I was for the entire part, beginning to end. I went from thinking of myself as a craftsperson to thinking of myself as an artist.
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
As a playwright: Jason Sherman, Judith Thompson, George Walker, George Bernard Shaw.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
Our tech time was very tight on 1979. The actors and director had already done the show in Calgary, but it was new to designers and stage management. Watching them heave the show into existence on a very short timeline was amazing.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city to visit?
There’s a place at Ave and Dav called L’Unita that we go to quite a bit. They hosted my mother’s 80th birthday party. It’s a great spot
What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?