Leah is a Toronto-based actor, director, dramaturg, writer and educator. She predominantly works in the creation of new work, and also has a wealth of experience in site-specific and found space pieces. As an educator she teaches workshops on dialect and voice and is a teacher for the Drama School at YPT. Last year Leah wrote and starred in the sold-out production of Mary of Shanty Bay (TBTB). She is the winner of an RBC Emerging Artist Grant (TBTB 2016), is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School, and is originally from New Brunswick.
Q&A with Leah
Name your favourite YPT production:
My favourite YPT production was James and the Giant Peach. It was the first production I had ever seen at YPT. I had a friend who was in it and so had come to see them, kind of on a whim. I came to a student matinee, and the house was full of elementary aged students. Before the show started, the audience was noisy, rustling, teachers were up and down trying to settle their classes. And then the lights dimmed, and suddenly I was also watching through the eyes of a student—about to be transported to an imaginary world.
I hadn’t really every thought much about the work at YPT before that (since I wasn’t a student here in Toronto, nor have kids of my own). But I was amazed at the production values, the acting chops, and the incredible way the show held the attention of a theatre full of young people. It was true magic. And I basically tried to figure out how to work here immediately following that show!
Describe your favourite Drama School memory.
My favourite drama school memory is from Participation Day this past fall. It was my first term teaching here by myself—I had assisted or volunteered until then. I was SO proud of my class (and myself for getting through it!) and remember looking around and smiling at everyone.
What would the central theme of a play written about you be?
If someone were to write a TYA play about me, it would be called: The Girl Who Needed More Time. And it would follow me on a crusade to the Time Wizards, where I am in search of the magic needed to expand the day so that there were more workable hours. And then the Time Wizards would teach me the lesson of working too much, and we would have a dance party instead.
As the 2019/20 Season theme is the Seven Ancestral Teachings, what is something you appreciate about Toronto and why?
I love all the outdoor green spaces and parks in Toronto. When I was growing up in New Brunswick, we spent a lot of time camping, hiking, and visiting National and Provincial Parks. It was instilled in me at an early age that the earth and the land is something that we must take care of, and be grateful for. I lead a busy, hectic, city life, and I am so refreshed by being outdoors, surrounded by grass and trees. My goal is to find more time (where are the Time Wizards?!) and go on more local hikes.