4 Questions: Luke Reece
This article is part of our series 50 Years of Disruption, in celebration of the Department of Theatre’s 50th Anniversary. In it, we’ll ask each participant four questions about themselves and their time at York.
1. Who are you?
My name is Luke Reece (BA Honours—Theatre Major & Creative Writing Minor 2015), and I strive to share authentic and engaging stories with audiences through my work as a producer, playwright, poet and educator. I’m the Producer for Canada’s leading culturally specific theatre company, Obsidian Theatre. I also continually seek opportunities to empower and support young-in-craft artists with my collective Little Black Afro Theatre, creating spaces for artists to develop work with and for the communities they come from. After becoming the Toronto Poetry Slam (TPS) Grand Champion in 2017, I went on to captain the 2017 TPS team that competed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and placed first in the country. I also competed in Vancouver in 2018 at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam and placed 2nd. I have facilitated workshops, performed, and hosted events for Young People’s Theatre, Crow’s Theatre, The Paprika Festival, CANVAS Arts Action Programs, Union Station, Playwrights Guild of Canada and the International Festival of Authors.
2. What was your favourite moment during your time in the Theatre Department, and why?
When I think back to my time in the Theatre Department at York there are several favourite moments that come to mind. There was the time I hung my first LEKO on the grid of the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre, the time I had to write a monologue inspired by a row of lockers, and even the time I snuck into the Atkinson studios to rehearse a Fringe show after hours. If I had to choose just one it would be the times I performed original work at the Playground Festival in both my third and fourth year. In third year it was the first time I performed Spoken Word in a theatrical context, which went on to play a big part in a show I received a project grant for, from the Ontario Arts Council. In fourth year it was a “controversial” and deeply personal piece I had devised with three of my closest classmates. Good times.
3. What comment, quotation, statement, or action that a professor—or classmate—offered had the greatest impact on you?
In my first year at for ‘Prime Time’ the faculty brought in Philip Akin, the Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre, in to speak to us. He spoke about his company, the work they do, and how he offers up his time to sit down with young-in-craft artists. Philip said, “I bet none of you will do this, but please send me an email and schedule a time for us to get tea. I say this everywhere I go, and nobody does it. It’s an open invitation.” and that was the end of his presentation. I went up to him afterwards and told him I would email him. It took me about 8 or 10 months, but I did. Two years after we had tea I started an Apprenticeship with Obsidian, then a Metcalf Internship, and now I work there on staff full time as the Producer. I thank the faculty member who decided to bring Philip Akin in that day.
4. Is there a way you incorporate a particular aspect of your theatre training in your current work?
You don’t get to be a full time theatre producer without knowing a thing or two about theatre. Through the program at York I was able to get at least of taste of every aspect of theatre from design to performance to grant writing and more. This makes it easy to see the big picture for a production, which the producer especially should be able to do. I put my degree to use, I have a career in my field, and I’m confident in my craft. I haven’t really looked back from Theatre since York. It’s great.