4 Questions: Andrew Gaboury
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 Andrew Gaboury (BA Honours—Theatre Studies, Ensemble/Playwriting, 2008). I identify as an artist, educator and artistic director based in Port Credit. I am an independent artist embracing devised theatre, durational performance, physical improvisation and clown. I am one of 4 co-Artistic Directors of hub14 art & performance works, a studio and artist residency in Toronto. I am the Director of a field of crowns, a performance-based company with an interest in collaboration and community arts.
I also teach school workshops, outreach workshops and community courses in drama, dance and writing with the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.
Most recently, I have become one of 10 students in North America’s first Therapeutic Clowning Certificate program at George Brown College. Ideally after this I will be able to operate as a professional therapeutic clown within pediatric wards and alongside elders at short- and long-term care facilities across Ontario.
Some recent credits: Awkward Stories for Adults (Hamilton 7, Hamilton Fringe Festival); Checkmate (Frog in Hand, Living Arts Centre); Rutherford Takes Flight (Day of Delight 2018, Clay and Paper Theatre); Tell Me What it’s Called (RISER Project, Theatre Centre); Four Lands: Mississauga (Jumblies Theatre, AGM); Home (MWF, Frog in Hand Productions).
2. What was your favourite moment during your time in the Theatre Department, and why?
The last class of Creative Ensemble in second year. There was a moment when Mark Wilson, our teacher (we called him Dad), brought us together with a ritual and a group cheer that just validated all of our experiences from that demanding class. I think that might have been a key piece in establishing a family that I still see to this day. Some of the best relationships of my life came out of that group.
I still use that ritual today, at the end of a process that feels like it has captured that same spirit.
3. What comment, quotation, statement, or action that a professor—or classmate—offered had the greatest impact on you?
Michael Greyeyes always talked about listening but in the context of the body. To constantly be aware, in an improvisation, of the group dynamics. To listen to the world around you with not one sense but your entire essence. I think this idea of full-body listening has made me a more sensitive human being. I apply it all the time, as a teacher, in a collective, on a panel (and imagine I’ll be using it nonstop on the hospital wards). It’s such a great reminder that different situations demand different interactions. Michael spoke about how not everybody can be the lead singer – that sometimes you need to be the bass player, keeping the song together. I loved that.
4. Is there a way you incorporate a particular aspect of your theatre training in your current work?
All of it. All the time. I still hear my playwriting teacher Judith’s voice in my head when I write and reassuring me when I feel like I’m not doing enough. I hear McKinnon, Fothergill, Laura and Marlis everytime I see a new performance. I hear Mark when all of a sudden I am a leader and Michael in my body when I need to stop and listen.