Kathleen believes her biggest strengths are intellectual curiosity and holistic thinking. She calls herself a “closet academic” because she can focus on in-depth research and the big picture. She asks questions, shares stories and imagines words on the page in three dimensions. As a dramaturg Kathleen collaborates with the playwright and other theatre makers to dig into the deep structure and essential story or idea, the soul, of a work, building outward with concrete details and images to manifest a piece of theatre live in space. Her main objective as a dramaturg is to help a piece of theatre become whatever it is intended to be, with the capacity to engage an audience.
She relies on her work as a former producer of radio drama – her claim to fame is as producer of The Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour – and Ideas documentaries for CBC Radio, as well as her experience as theatre director and dramaturg, to help her connect with playwrights and the ideas they are shaping. She has the advantage of being a working class woman from small prairie towns who has lived and worked all across Canada and worked in theatre for forty years – from the ‘happenings’ and collective creations of the early ‘70s through American realism to post-modernism and the post-dramatic. Her formal education includes a BA in political science, a BFA in theatre and MFA in directing. Her dramaturgical work in the theatre began in the early 1980s and included work with Catalyst Theatre, Cahoots, Factory Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Nightwood and Theatre New Brunswick as well as dramaturgy, producing and directing original works for independent small theatre production. She has collaborated with hundreds of writers including Beverley Cooper, Michael Riordon, Adrienne Wong, Kwame Dawes, Ian Weir, Jason Sherman, Greg Nelson, Carol Shields, Betty Kwan, Marie Clements, Myrna Kostash and Thomas King. In the past three years at PTC, she has read more than 250 new plays and worked with SNAFU Dance Theatre, Tim Carlson, Tara Travis, Derek Chan, Briana Brown, Kenneth Williams, Curtis Peeteetuce, Yawen Wang, Leanna Brodie, Dave Deveau, Elaine Avila, Jordan Hall and Deneh’Cho Thompson. Recent projects include editing a book of interviews that were done by Gayle Murphy with theatre veteran Joy Coghill: Joy, in her Voice, and the creation of a new publication foregrounding PTC’s dramaturgical processes.