direction & choreography
nihon buyō & noh

I am a theatre performer, director, choreographer, educator and scholar based in Vancouver, Canada and am the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants from Finland and Great Britain. I was born and raised in East Vancouver - the ancestral and unceded territory of the Tsliel-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam First Nations. I am incredibly grateful and privileged to have been able to grow up on these precious lands where the view of the Coast Mountain Range means home.

I love total theatre - performance that embraces music, dance, story, and spectacle. I love virtuosity and artists who devote their lives to intensive training then create innovative work with their skills. The act of artists coming together to create performance gives me hope in humankind. I also believe that an artist needs to honour each facet of their identity and experience because this it what makes up the stories they share.

I am grateful for the lineages of teachers and mentors in my life: show-person extraordinaire Evelyn Ward, who taught me the magic of musical theatre; many directors, singing teachers, acting coaches and dance instructors; and artists from all over the world who have shared their skills and aesthetics with this wandering Canadian. In particular, I am grateful to master Japanese classical dancer Fujima Yūko with whom I trained for 7+ years in Tokyo. Before she passed away she gave me the professional name Fujima Sayū. Yūko-sensei had a dream that her beloved dance form would someday be practiced and appreciated throughout the world. I founded a dance/theatre company called TomoeArts as my small way of making that happen.

In my scholarly world, I am currently researching avant-garde theatre, feminist perspectives, transmission of praxis, and the use of the body as an archive. In particular, I am working on my doctoral dissertation focusing on angura (Japanese avant-garde movement of the 1960s-80s) playwright and theatre artist Kishida Rio. Why? Tokyo is also a home to me and I love the performing arts scene in Japan. Why angura? It is the epitome of total theatre. It's brilliantly crazy, brave and everything I am often afraid to be. I believe the world could use a little more angura energy. And why Rio? I knew her and she died far too young. She was an amazing artist and her core group of actors are strong, dedicated, and passionate. Rio and her artistic team deserve more attention in the world. They have something to teach us all...