#299 – Neurodiversity & Mental Health in Theatre
Neurodiversity & Mental Health in theatre, a conversation with Alia Ettienne, Emerjade Simms, and Victoria Urquhart.
Emerjade Simms is a Jamaican-Canadian actor and storyteller. She is a graduate of the Acting program at the University of Windsor and holds a BFA degree. Emerjade is also a 2016/17 graduate of the Mechanicals program at Factory Theatre. In her career as an actor so far, she has worked with many wonderful people and companies. Select theatre credits include Peter Pan (Bad Hats/Soulpepper), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian/Nightwood), Wounded Soldiers (4th Line), The Bird Killer (Let Me In). Television credits include Forbidden, Fear They Neighbor, See No Evil and Paranormal 911. Emerjade enjoys napping in her down time and thanks her family for inspiring her daily.
Alia Ettienne is a theatre writer, actor, performer and facilitator from Toronto, ON. Ettienne is of Afro Caribbean descent which often influences her performances and writing. Initially, she studied Performance at Sheridan College, moving on to explore Creative Writing and Arts Marketing. Her first solo piece, YellowZoned, premiered in The 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival, remounting in Hamilton,ON on two separate occasions. This led to her being featured in Hamilton’s View’s Magazine. Her creative wellness program, Chill N Do Art, has been running for a total of four years. This workshop series then inspired her to start the Creative Coping Kits Initiative, which attracted the attention of Toronto blog She In The City. Currently, she is most focused on The Creative Coping Kits Initiative, and writing her second full length piece Allow For Release: The Xiety Complex.
Victoria Urquhart is a queer, triple-invisibly-disabled neurodiverse artist hailing from Caledon, living and working professionally as an actor, director, artistic director of the Spur-of-the-Moment Shakespeare Collective and all around creator in theatre and film across Toronto and Ontario. Favourite credits include acting in Chloe Whitehorn’s Dressing Amelia, directing Theatre Orangeville’s 2019 TYA production of Treeboy and the fringe production, _The Girl In The Photograph. _Tune in to find her playing Vivian in the debut episode of Web of Darkness on T&E this spring.