In 2002, Dan Watson graduated from Humber's Theatre Performance program, already knowing that school had changed his life.
We caught up with Dan and asked him what he's doing now, what other projects he's been involved with since graduating, and how his time at Humber changed him, both professionally and personally.
Like a lot of independent artists, I've got a lot of pots on the fire!
At this exact moment in time, the thing that’s really exciting me is a project called This is the Point. It’s a new piece that has been developed through a 2-year residency at The Theatre Centre in Toronto with my artistic collaborator and wife (as well as fellow Humber grad) Christina Serra. It’s a piece that has come out of our life with our oldest son, Bruno, who has Cerebral Palsy. He’s non-verbal and we’ve been looking at how we could use theatre to offer Bruno, and others like him, the opportunity to express themselves in different ways.
Through our work we met a writer named Tony Diamanti. He also has Cerebral Palsy and is non-verbal, so he communicates using a device. Tony’s able-bodied partner, Liz, joins us on stage, sharing stories and perspectives on disability, companionship and love.
We’ve shown it to some invited audiences and it has really affected people, and I’m excited about its potential to provoke discussion and invite people to consider how they relate to those with a disability. The show will be on November 10-27 at The Theatre Centre in Toronto.
Since graduating, I’ve travelled to lots of places, worked with lots of amazing people and had a lot of fun. I’ve been doing a lot of work up in my home town of Huntsville, creating and producing theatre and arts events.
Our biggest event is Nuit Blanche North which has been happening for the past 5 years. The event attracts over 7,000 visitors and features the work of over 120 local and invited artists.
Recently we’ve also had some success with our show Ralph + Lina. It’s an acrobatic comedy inspired by the story of my wife Christina’s grandparents and their immigration to Canada. We’ve performed it 75 times across Canada including a run in Whitehorse Yukon, and more shows to come.
Professionally, Humber gave me so many experiences that have really been the foundation of how I work and what I’m interested in. In particular, it helped me develop a desire to go out and create my own work and an appetite to experience what other artists are doing. We were always encouraged to amass experience, not just artistic, but to be interested in the world around us. It was a launching pad for me, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the program.
Personally, Humber changed my life in the biggest way in that it's where I met my wife and the mother of my children, Christina Serra. We were in the same class, fell in love and have been together for 15 years. Obviously, going to Humber was the best decision I ever made.
Find out more about Edge of the Woods Theatre & Nuit Blanche North at edgeofthewoodstheatre.com, on Twitter @edgewoodtheatre on Facebook at NuitBlancheNorth, and on Instagram at EOTWNuitBlancheNorth. Ahuri Theatre is on Twitter at @ahuritheatre and Facebook at Ahuri Theatre.
Photo credit: Lacey Creighton