Taylor Marie Graham (she/her) is a Dora nominated writer, theatre artist, and educator living in Cambridge, Ontario / Haldimand Tract.
Currently, she is a PhD Candidate in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph and is teaching a third year theatre course at Western University. She also has articles coming out this fall with Intermission Magazine and Canadian Theatre Review.
Taylor began writing plays, poetry, and short stories as a young child, splitting her time between the small Lake Huron community of Port Albert, Ontario, on the Huron Tract and Canada’s south-most border city of Windsor, Ontario, on the traditional territory of Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations.
Taylor’s love of telling stories is what brought her to study theatre, specifically playwrighting and directing, at York University in Toronto/Tkaronto. She established herself as a bright young talent early on when she was accepted into Tapestry New Opera‘s Librettist / Composer Lab. Her one act opera The Virgin Charlie created with composer William Rowson and produced by Tapestry was nominated for a Dora Award for Best Opera/Musical in 2009.
Governor general winning playwright Judith Thompson has been a great mentor to Taylor over the years. Thompson named Taylor as the up and coming playwright to watch in Playwrights Guild of Canada’s The Playwright Applause campaign. She describes Taylor’s play Cottage Radio as, “a dynamic, complex, and very funny play with fabulous music set in beautiful and historic Goderich. Taylor Graham has written such rich and delicious characters, people who are familiar and yet presented in an utterly unique way. I am thrilled to see such a powerful play set in small town Ontario – true Canadiana, and yet, universal!”
Taylor’s writing has also been described as “arresting and funny” (Lynn Slotkin), “an uncommonly cool theatrical experience” (Mooney on Theatre), “charmingly twisted” (John Terauds, Toronto Star), “delivering notes of comedy, irony and real feeling” (John Kaplan, NOW Magazine), and “searingly written. . . a significant accomplishment!” (Bill Mandel).
Her latest play Post Alice was produced at the Here For Now Theatre Festival in Stratford, Ontario. Reviewer Lynn Slotkin says, “Taylor Marie Graham has written an arresting and funny play about women and their friendships, coping with a troubled past and supporting each other” (Read Full Review). Review Joe Szekeres notes, “‘Post Alice’ is one of those plays that needs to be discussed later to see how others respond to such fine work. Outstanding and true ensemble work” (Read Full Review). Christopher Hoile‘s 5 star review calls Post Alice “one of the most exciting new Canadian plays I’ve seen for some time . . . What is so masterful about Graham’s play is how in only an hour she uses the simple reunion of four friends to open up a contemplation of enormous themes . . . This is a profound, beautifully crafted play. I hope it has a long life after the Festival” (Read Full Review).
Taylor has had many lovely opportunities to write for opera and theatre, direct theatre, direct television, work as a dramaturg, produce theatre, and work as an educator. Taylor has worked in various capacities with esteemed artistic companies and educational institutions as the Canadian Stage, Assembly Theatre, Theatre Gargantua, b current, The Toronto Fringe Festival, The Summerworks Festival, Hot Docs Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Tapestry New Opera Works, Theatre Brouhaha, Alumnae Theatre, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Tiny Owl Workshop, These Five Minutes, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Humber College, Sheridan College, Artscape, Pat the Dog Theatre Creations, University of Guelph, and Rogers Television.
Taylor holds a BA in theatre from York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She is currently completing her dissertation as a doctoral candidate, while also teaching a third year seminar style course in “post-pandemic” theatre at Western.
In her work as an artist and as an academic, Taylor’s work often examines rural feminist identities and the decolonization of bodies in space. Taylor’s PhD research is focused on the Blyth Festival Theatre found in Huron Country. Using studies of the Irish literary revival as a methodological apparatus for this research, Taylor’s investigation is focused on the theatre’s relationship to questions of nationhood, identity, decolonization, community engagement, and legacy.
AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS, & GRANTS
- 2021 Playwright Commission for Post Alice from The Here for Now Theatre Festival
- 2021 Theatre Recommender Grant for The Soil Horizon, Ontario Arts Council
- 2018 – 2021: Ontario Government Scholarship, Council of Ontario Universities
- 2017 – 2021: College of Arts Graduate Scholarship, University of Guelph
- 2017 – 2021: Board of Graduate Research Scholarship, University of Guelph
- 2020: Canada Council Funded Artistic Associate, Pat the Dog Theatre Creations
- 2019: Region of Waterloo Arts Fund for Frog Song
- 2018: Theatre Creator Reserve Grant for Frog Song, Ontario Arts Council
- 2017: Graduate Entrance Excellence Scholarship, University of Guelph
- 2017: Carole Stewart Arts Graduate Scholarship, University of Guelph
- 2016: Theatre Creators Reserve Grant for Frog Song (x2), Ontario Arts Council
- 2014: Theatre Creator Reserve Grant for Cottage Radio (x2), Ontario Arts Council
- 2012 – 2014: Connie Rooke Scholarship, University of Guelph
- 2010: Theatre Creator Reserve Grant for Drink Up and Drown, Ontario Arts Council
- 2009: Dora Award Nomination: Best New Opera / Musical for The Virgin Charlie, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts
- 2008: Theatre Creator Reserve Grant for The Virgin Charlie, Ontario Arts Council
- 2007: George Ryga Bursary for Excellence in Playwrighting, York University