A newsletter update: "So Long, 2020..."
As we burn the page on 2020, here’s an update for friends, family and fans who’ve kindly expressed concern about my career and my family’s well-being.
In short, we’re hanging in there. Steph’s working from home as a COVID-19 support line worker for Toronto Public Health. Vivian’s in residence at U Ottawa for her 1st year of nursing, and loves the new world she’s making for herself. Ellen started high school, and is doing her best under bizarre circumstances. We’re all trying to stay healthy - mentally and physically - and in many ways we’re tighter than ever.
When the pandemic became daily news, I was Off-Broadway with BOOM, and I turned 50 the day Ontario declared a state of emergency. My industry imploded, my colleagues suffered, and my community struggled. 5 of our Kidoons productions (on tour or in development) were postponed indefinitely, including BOOM in Taiwan, BOOM X in France, world premieres of BOOM YZ and Frankenstein, and Jungle Book dates across North America.
The Kidoons team (Craig, Jeff, Irina and myself) consulted daily, trying to keep our company afloat, and our creative juices flowing. As a multimedia company, we were well-suited to pivot to a more digital practice, and video editing/production became our #1 priority.
Most of our creative endeavours will launch in 2021, but 2020 was still busy with projects, both personal and professional. I edited show videos with my daughters, gave workshops for high schools, did research with U of T's BMO Lab, raised money for food banks with my band TRAINWRECK, and learned AutoCAD for 3 building design contracts. (More detailed info and links below)
Much of this has been volunteer work, and I’m grateful that government support was there when I needed it most. I’m also eternally grateful to you - my family, friends and fans - who continue to support my efforts, and motivate me to keep marching on.
If I have learned anything in my 50s, it’s that compassion and creativity are the keys to survival. And survive, we will.
Wishing you a safe and happy 2021.
For those of you who wish to know more, here's what's kept me busy over the past 8 months:
-Vivian and I edited a Zoom version of CLUE, the high school play she was producing in her graduating year.
-Kidoons partnered with Broadway on Demand to screen our Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and Jungle Book productions for families.
-My band TRAINWRECK gave 4 porch concerts and created 4 online videos, raising over $12K for food banks and community organizations.
-I learned AutoCAD for 3 building design contracts (tell my mom that my architecture degrees were not a waste!)
-I hosted the WaterDocs 2020 Film Festival - digital edition.
-With WestHill United, I helped launch Third Space Arts, a not-for-profit organization giving voice to BIPOC artists in the Scarborough community and beyond.
-I recorded a zillion self-tape auditions, and booked a few voice gigs from my makeshift “home studio” in the basement.
-I gave online workshops on solo performance and Shakespeare for high school drama classes, and our MacHomer digital educational materials will soon be re-released for schools and Performing Art Centres.
-I’ve been adapting the BOOM trilogy into a multi-platform property, including a podcast series called X-ing The Gap, to be launched in early 2021.
-With U of T’s BMO Lab and Canadian Stage, I’ve been participating in a 5-month research residency exploring the intersection of emerging technologies and live performance.
-Ellen and I are currently editing a production of NEWSIES, which was filmed at her dance studio, The SPACE.