EMERGING BIPOC ARTIST PROFILES : Alessandra Tom

Alessandra Tom is a Chinese Canadian artist based in Montréal whose professional theatre credits involve roles as a director, dramaturge, and devised creator. Having graduated from Concordia University in Performance Creation with a minor in Human Rights, she has combined the two passions in the aim of staging socially relevant works. Productions at the Montréal Fringe include stage managing ‘Adoration’ (Tantalus), directing ‘Bite Your Tongue’ (SortOf Productions), and most recently directing, producing and co-creating the Frankie-nominated ‘Attempts in Flight’ (Dai Bao Productions).

On the kind of art that shakes her to the core, she shares that “what I am interested in seeing and making is often set by the process and practice,” she begins. “I’m also interested in non-hierarchical creation methods and what that can look like – meaning: what are the hierarchies that exist within the team? Is the design as important as the text and the performance? How do we collaborate within the room? I like pushing the boundaries in that way.”

Alessandra then considers her ethnocultural background in relation to her artistry. “My desire to direct and create stems from wanting to present socially engaged theatre, and part of that is making it more inclusive and expansive. It’s about making it so that the people behind the scenes and on stage actually reflect the world we live in.”

In contemplation of the impact of the current global crises on her practice: “As artists we always strive to make art that feels important. And, at this moment, I’m grateful for the opportunity to slow down a bit. Being in quarantine has given me the time to be introspective – to sit with myself and the uncomfortable question of ‘what do I need to change in my own life?’. That then translates outwards to my art to pose hard questions to the audience as well. We can all listen better and be more compassionate. And a reflection on that in a communal space like the theatre is very precious.”

FRINGE FIRE ROUND
Favourite Fringe show you’ve seen?

‘Docile Bodies’ by Wig in a Box. Their lighting design was insane. I was shocked how something like that could be accomplished in just 3 hours.

Annual Fringe Tradition?
This isn’t an annual one, but something I miss this year is going to Ice House after a show and getting a drink to celebrate.

Most memorable moment at the Fringe?
This is a little bit of a double edged sword, but for two years my Fringe show’s venue was the MainLine Theatre. That rush of it setting things up and taking it all down and sweating out of our minds with Bruce (Lambie) as our Technical Director there for both times is a beautiful memory.

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