GEMMA JAMES SMITH
Gemma James-Smith was born in Vancouver, grew up in Calgary, lived in Montreal for a while, and is now based in Toronto.
Since 2001 she has been a studio assistant for
the internationally acclaimed Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes , helping to create puppets for "Street of Blood","Provenance", “Ten Days on Earth”,
“Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy”, and “Penny Plain”. Most recently, Gemma assisted with the build of "The Daisy Theatre" which had it's world premiere at Toronto's Luminato Festival in June of 2013.
While associated with Montreal's award-winning SideMart Theatrical Grocery,
she co-wrote and performed 'Whiteman's Whiskey Comedy Revue' (Just For Laughs Festival) , ‘The Mark of All Genius’, and 'Trying for the Kingdom' (SegalCentre).
Her latest collaboration with Gil Garratt brings another work of Derek McCormack's to life through puppetry, music, and stage fright.
"The Show That Smells (The Last Temptation of Jimmie Rodgers)" had it's first workshop presentation in March of 2014 with the support of Canadian Stage's RBC Bash Program.
Selected acting work includes:
My Treasure Island (Johnson Girls),
Sean Dixon's The Notorious Right Robert and His Robber Bride (Festival Players of Prince Edward County),
Greg Kramer's adaptation of Sherlock Holmes (Segal Centre),
Pride And Prejudice (National Arts Centre / Theatre Calgary) , Metamorphoses (NAC),
The Game of Love and Chance (CanadianStage / Centaur),
The Glass Menagerie (Soulpepper), Michael Mackenzie's 'Instructions to Any
Future Socialist Government Wishing to Abolish Christmas' (Crow’sTheatre / Centaur), Linda Griffith's Age of Arousal (ATP/ Nightwood/ Centaur)
Gemma is also a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada (2004).
Gil Garratt is a director, playwright, dramaturge, dora award-winning actor, and theatre administrator who has worked across Canada and internationally.
His career has been dedicated primarily to the development of new Canadian plays.
In November of 2015, he became the Artistic Director of the Blyth Festival,
one of Canada’s premier houses for new work.
To date Gil has directed over 50 world premieres, performed in more than 40, and participated in literally hundreds of play development workshops.
Gil’s varied and eclectic career as a creator has seen him collaborate
to such mainstream institutions as The Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Grand Theatre.
With an insatiable curiosity for innovative theatre practice, Gil recently completed his Master’s degree at the University of Guelph with an emphasis in Site-Specific and Environmental Theatre, including a performed thesis that took place almost entirely within the one hundred serpentine kilometres of the Maitland River, in Ontario's Huron County.
In 2011, Gil founded a new performance development company: Clawhammer,
dedicated to creating and producing innovative, interdisciplinary performance.
As a performer, Gil was seen most recently onstage in
Sherlock Holmes (The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)
The Notorious Right Robert & His Robber Bride (Festival Players of Prince Edward County),
The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum (NationalArts Centre/Neptune),
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CanadianStage, Dream in High Park),
and The Game of Love and Chance (CanadianStage/Centaur).
A member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, several of Gil’s plays have received multiple productions, toured internationally, and been translated into French.
His play St.Anne's Reel will be published in the Spring of 2015.
Gil is also an accomplished musician, having learned to play old time music on banjo, guitar and fiddle while living in Huron County, and has competed throughout South Western Ontario on the Highland Bagpipes.
Gil’s work as a visual artist has also afforded him the opportunity to work in scenic design and installation, collaborating with such designers/artists as Sherri Hay and Ken MacKenzie.
Gil’s work with puppets in performance has been a regular part of his practice, including:
a family of cereal box puppets for Buddies in Bad Times’ Peep Show, an enormous black light snake operated by 18 actors for the Blyth Young Company’s Free/Quincy, and most recently as a puppet builder for the Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes’ production of The Daisy Theatre.
Gil graduated from the National Theatre School’s Playwriting Program in 1998.