Taylor Marie Graham (she/her) is an award winning playwright, librettist, director, Canadian theatre researcher, and educator. She lives and works in Cambridge, Ontario, on Treaty 3, Haldimand Tract, the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples.
MOST RECENT / ONGOING WORK
Summer 2021, Taylor’s critically acclaimed and award winning play Post Alice premiered at the Here For Now Festival in Stratford. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph writing a decolonial and rural feminist history of the Blyth Festival Theatre. In the past two years Taylor has taught English and Theatre courses at University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, and Western University. Taylor recently co-wrote an article with digital designer Beth Kates for Canadian Theatre Review and wrote The Art of Not Picking A Lane for Intermission Magazine. She also has articles soon to be published with Canadian Literature and a Special Issue of Research in Drama Education/The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, entitled Oral History Performance, Listening and Transitional Justice. Recently Taylor shared her creative and scholarly work at FOOT30: Hopeful Positions or Playing in Precarity, CATR 2022 Conference: Performing Emergence: RePlay, ReCollect, ReExist, SETS Utopias Grad Conference, Escape, Moving Away, Moving Towards, Moving Within: The Inaugural Queens Graduate Conference in Literature, and Sexuality Studies Association Conference 2022. This summer Taylor will be reading from her plays at a Playwrights Guild of Canada PlayConnect event at Tjarnarbio theatre in Iceland. Also in Iceland, Taylor will be sharing her research at IFTR World Congress 2022: Shifting Centres: In the Middle of Nowhere. In July, Taylor will be working at the Lyth Arts Centre in Northern Scotland to facilitate a rural women’s writing circle and develop a new play focused on rural women and climate change. Later this summer, Taylor’s newest short film will premiere at Improvisation Festival 2022.
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. Tapestry produced 4 of Taylor’s opera experiments. 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. She was Taylor’s advisor as she completed an MFA in Creative Writing with the University of Guelph. 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 other plays and operas have 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).
This summer, Taylor will be completing a Canada Council supported international playwrighting residency to write a new play focused on rural women and environmental activism. Also, Taylor is currently developing a new play funded by the Ontario Arts Council with digital designer Beth Kates exploring the connections between rural storytelling and technology. Taylor also has a new Ontario Arts Council funded children’s opera Frog Song in development with composer William Rowson.
RESEARCH / TEACHING
Taylor is also very lucky to enjoy working as an educator and has taught theatre and English classes at the community, college, and university levels. She 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. Her 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.
Taylor has taught English / Theatre / Creative Writing courses at the community, college, and university levels for the last eight years. To learn more about Taylor’s teaching journey and read student testimonials click here.
Taylor is currently on the organizing committee for a new interdisciplinary conference at the University of Guelph focused on Utopias. As part of the fundraising and financial management committee of 2022 Canadian Association of Theatre Research, she is helping to organize Performing Emergence: RePlay, ReCollect, ReExist as well as sharing her own research. She is also moving into a board position at CATR as well. This spring, Taylor has a busy national and international conference schedule. See the top of this bio for conference details and where you can find her next.
Taylor has had many lovely opportunities to write for opera and theatre, direct theatre, direct television, work as a dramaturg, produce theatre, provide arts administration, 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, Western University, and Rogers Television.