May 9, 2018

Spotlight on Alumni: Kevin Woolridge

Kevin Woolridge
Kevin Woolridge

Kevin Woolridge (MFA Directing/Creation 2017) has kept quite busy since graduating. Some highlights include: Assistant Director for the NAC touring production of Tartuffe, Associate Artistic Director for the Isle aux Morts Theatre Festival, NL provincial tour of his one man show, All The Birds in Their Bird Houses, and Props Master for Into the Woods, Guys and Dolls, and Dead Man Walking. Currently, he is assisting Jillian Keiley on …float…, a choral and art experience designed by York’s own Shawn Kerwin. After that, he is performing in Robert Chafe’s Between Breaths with Artistic Fraud and continuing the development of a portable micro theatre space to be launched in August of 2018 through his own company, Temporary Theatre Company.

What attracted you to York in the first place?

The very first thing that attracted me to York was its location. Toronto has a bustling theatre scene and I was excited to be able to take some of that in while studying. Once I began to look seriously at the program, it seemed to have everything I was looking for—a comprehensive and in-depth training ground with talented, and working instructors. It was really a no-brainer.

What surprised you about YOU by the end of your time at York?

The nature of the program was such that it really opened a lot of personal doors and I found myself looking inwards throughout. By the time I came to the end of it all, I found that I had accepted certain things about myself, and was able to challenge the things about myself that I didn’t like. Being able to do that kind of self-evaluation was definitely the most surprising—and welcoming—thing that I have taken away from my time at York.

Kevin Woolridge in All the Birds in Their Bird Houses, a show he created as his MFA Thesis show while at York.

What did you learn at York that has been of greatest value?

It’s such a cliché but it’s all about the journey. I went to York expecting to continue to develop as a director and while I have done that, I also fell in love with solo theatre performance. I came out of the program not just a better director, but a better actor and creator as well. Setting a goal is important, but it is equally important to pay attention to what happens on the way, understanding what is valuable, and accepting it as a gift. I am tremendously thankful for the discoveris I made along the way.

Do you have any advice or tips for York students just about to graduate? about to join the job market?

Be yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Continue to look for ways to develop as an artist. And at the same time, allow yourself to take a break when you need it. Burn out is real, so pace yourself. You don’t have to do everything. Make sure to find things that you love and can enjoy outside of the theatre. It’s so very important.

Kevin Woolridge on the set of the National Arts Centre's touring production of Tartuffe, on which he served as "Assistant Director"
Kevin Woolridge on the set of the National Arts Centre’s touring production of Tartuffe, on which he served as Assistant Director

What is your fondest memory of studying Theatre at York?

There are so many fond memories. The Shakespeare Project, and the Gathering Project were both highlights for me. Having the chance to work as a TA and teach the first years. Presenting my thesis. Discovering a love of mask and solo theatre. But I suppose my greatest memories are of my colleagues (and I include the instructors in this). Coming from all walks of life, they were a constant source of support, inspiration, and encouragement. I learned so much from them. And I expect them all to be lifelong friends.