4 Questions: Dave Deveau
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?
Dave Deveau (BFA Creative Ensemble/Playwriting, 2005). I am an award-winning Vancouver-based playwright. My plays have been produced across North America and in Europe. My primary focus is on intelligent work for young people. I have four plays for young audiences that have toured extensively over the past seven years through Green Thumb Theatre, Roseneath Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, To Be Determined Theatre and nephesh theatre (Israel), and am currently developing two more. I received my first TYA commission from Toronto’s Theatre Direct while still doing my undergrad at York. In fact, I used a play I produced in playGround to get my foot in the door. Never underestimate the work you are doing right now as being powerful stepping stones to an amazing future career. In total my plays have been nominated for 4 Doras and 21 Jessies (Vancouver professional theatre awards). I am the Playwright in Residence for Vancouver’s Zee Zee Theatre, founded by my husband Cameron Mackenzie, which is mandated to amplify the voices of those on the margins. I’m currently working on new plays for the Arts Club, Belfry Theatre, Zee Zee Theatre, Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Green Thumb, and Nashville Children’s Theatre.
2. What was your favourite moment during your time in the Theatre Department, and why?
In all honesty, taking Peter McKinnon’s Professional Aspects of Theatre and having to write my first Canada Council grant as an assignment. You will spend you life writing grants as a theatre maker, and I’ve become quite good at it, in part thanks to that early introduction to the often-daunting task. That and the time I spent at the helm of playGround.
3. What comment, quotation, statement, or action that a professor—or classmate—offered had the greatest impact on you?
I had a life changing experience in the three years of Creative Ensemble—it instilled a rigour and flexibility to work with artists who have different vantage points/practice. I left a term early as I felt I had been gifted with all I needed: more powerful than discovering what you want to do, is probably discovering what you don’t want to do, and it became clear to me that I did not want to further pursue acting, especially as my commitment to playwriting cemented itself. I would not be a playwright (and dramaturg) today without the continuous support and diligence of Judith Rudakoff. Her class continuously reminded me that I was pursuing the write path and that I should be undeterred and unwavering in my determination to pursue it.
4. Is there a way you incorporate a particular aspect of your theatre training in your current work?
I continue to use playwriting exercises that Judith taught me in my own practice as well as the playwriting teaching I do. “This is a story about” should be a tool in every playwright’s belt, whether senior or emerging.