Taylor is a writer, theatre artist, and educator living in what is now known as Cambridge, Ontario, which is located on Treaty 4, also known as the Haldimand Tract, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral indigenous peoples. She holds a BA in theatre from York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph.
Currently, she is a PhD Candidate and Sessional Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. The class she is currently teaching is called Literature in History: Identity and Canadian Theatre Playmaking Histories – ENGL 3960. As part of the class, she is experimenting with her students to develop a Rural Feminist Digital Translation of The Farm Show for the Rural Women’s Studies Association’s 14th Triannual Conference. She is also taking a devising graduate class with Judith Thompson and another graduate class with Daniel Fischlin in critical studies of improvisation. Taylor’s current writing projects include a new upside down fairy tale opera and a play featuring the complicated lives of women from Huron County.
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, which is the traditional territory of the Saugeen First Nation and Canada’s south-most border city of Windsor, Ontario, which sits on the traditional territory of the 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 and had 3 short operas produced with Tapestry at the beautiful Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery District even before finishing her degree.
Since then, 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.
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. Her work as an opera librettist and playwright puts marginalized peoples in a protagonist role and asks audiences to investigate use of space, at times through site specific theatre.
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 and described 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 “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).
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
- 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
Want to get in contact with Taylor?
School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph
Playwrights Guild of Canada profile