4 Questions: Rohan Kulkarni
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?
I’m Rohan Kulkarni (BA Honours Double Major Theatre & Political Science, 2014) and I like to think of myself as an all-round arts advocate with experience as a dramaturg, academic, arts administrator, public speaker, and instructor. After completing four years at York, I jumped straight into graduate studies (in Alberta no less) and soon found myself working for Edmonton Opera. Here, my daily tasks involve taking our artistic product beyond the stage and getting everyday people to actually care about the arts, be it theatre, music, dance, or opera. I initiate projects, seminars, performances, and collaborations between arts companies to reach new audiences, especially those belonging to diverse communities.
Overall, I just love talking passionately about the arts. Whether this involves lecturing on Butoh performance to my university class, writing grant proposals to get urban Indigenous kids interested in music, engaging in panel discussions about #MeToo in opera, or even hosting a talent show at a mall, I find fulfillment in it all.
2. What was your favourite moment during your time in the Theatre Department, and why?
In my second year Playwriting class, I wrote a short piece that featured Indian-Canadian characters. Immigrants, like me. Sharing these words with my classmates was a big deal, since up until that point in life my MO had been to assimilate as much as possible – to cause the least amount of disruption. But seeing everyone’s genuine interest in my story caused a switch to flip. I realized my perspective was unique and seldom heard, so I should share it more often!
3. What comment, quotation, statement, or action that a professor—or classmate—offered had the greatest impact on you?
Judith Rudakoff always talked about her philosophy of keeping things “flexible and hilarious”, which really articulates the core of my personality. I have quoted this mantra at every job, project, or class since then because it is so useful.
4. Is there a way you incorporate a particular aspect of your theatre training in your current work?
My York theatre training is pretty much omnipresent in my everyday work. I learned the basics of good, solid performance criticism and understood the importance of clear, accessible communication in many of my classes.