Concordia University

Jessica Carmichael, MFA, MA

Assistant Professor, Theatre

Office: S-GM 500-57 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2549


Jessica Carmichael is a mixed non-status Abénaki/Euro director, actor, dramaturge, playwright, and educator. Jessica trained at the National Theatre School of Canada (Acting), the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art & King’s College London (MA Text & Performance Studies with Distinction), the University of Alberta (MFA Directing with Distinction) and the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction (Stratford Festival, 2014 & 2016).  

Before coming to Concordia, Jessica spent three seasons as the Artistic Director of Carousel Players, a professional theatre company for young audiences. She is a past artistic associate with Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto and was Program Director of their Playwrights Unit Animiikiig. She was a workshop leader for “The Study” hosted by the National Arts Centre, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance and Debajehmujig Creation Centre

Directing (select): Ipperwash (Blyth Festival), Boys,Girls, And Other Mythological Creatures; Tick; iChildHana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin; Spelling 2-5-5 (Carousel Players), The Aeneid (assistant director, Stratford Festival) Two Indians (SummerWorks), CLGA Unarchived (co-curator, Buddies in Bad Times Rhubarb Festival), Christina, the GirlKing (assistant Director, Stratford Festival), Savage (Native Earth/Stratford Springworks), Treaty No. 9 (Aluna Theatre Rutas Festival), girls!girls!girls! (co-director, SummerWorks). Upcoming: Jessica will remount Boys, Girls, And Other Mythological Creatures in Toronto (January, May 2019) and direct a new staged reading for the Centaur Theatre's 50th Anniversary Season (2019). 

Acting (select)Jessica's work as an actor has taken her across Canada/Turtle Island working with such companies as Guilty by Association (1991, FeministFuckItFestival/StoreFront Theatre and SFU workshop), Native Earth Performing Arts (Aluasa’sit), Suitcase In Point Theatre (The Corporate Western), Thousand Islands Playhouse (Eyes Catch Fire) and Northern Light Theatre (True Mummy).  She has had principle and supporting roles in full length feature Canadian films including A Louder Silence (dir. Nicolette Saina), I Think I Do (dir. Dylan Pierce) and Heart of the Sun (dir. France Damberger). Upcoming: Jessica will be performing in Guilty By Association’s new play 1991 in Toronto (May 2019). 

Playwriting (select): Jessica co-created Ipperwash as part of a commission for the Blyth Festival’s 2017-2018 Season, working closely with community members of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Jessica adapted for the stage Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by author Chieri Uegaki and illustrator Qin Leng (Kids Can Press), with collaboration with Chieri Uegaki and her family. Hana Hashimoto was named a part of The 49. “The 49 is a list of forty-nine plays by women of colour that can be programmed tomorrow”

Dramaturgy (select): Jessica has dramaturged numerous playwrights over the last 6 years. Recently she has worked with Mark Crawford, Sean Dixon, Kate Hewlett, Cole Lewis, Matt Mackenzie and Jordi Mand on their new works. Mark Crawford’s Boys, Girls, And Other Mythological Creatures premiered as part of Carousel Players 2016-2017 Season, which Jessica programmed and directed. Jessica programmed Jordi Mand’s This Will Be Excellent as part of her final season at Carousel Players 2017-2018, and remained dramaturge for the premiere production. Upcoming: Jessica is currently co-dramaturge for Cole Lewis' 1991 which will have its premiere in Toronto (May 2019)

With Native Earth Performing Arts Animiikig Playwrights Unit, Jessica has had the honour of working with both emerging and established artists, as well as collaborating with fellow dramaturges out of Toronto. Jessica helped curate Weesageechak Festival 27, a night of celebrating new Indigenous Work, overseeing the Animikiig Creators evening. Upcoming: She is currently a dramaturge/mentor in the 2018-2019 program, working with playwright Frances Konkan.

Teaching activities

Acting, Directing, Dramaturgy, Playwriting

Research activities

Theatre Directing 
Playwriting and Creation
Experimental Theatre
Indigenous Theatre Practices
Text & Performance Studies
Embodied Landscape Connectivity
Theatre for Social Change

As a director and researcher of theatre I am interested in experimental and contemporary practice, as well as re-examining the body of classic western works in non-traditional adaptations and forms. In my directing work I have developed an interest in process-led work.

As a mixed non-status Abenaki and Euro artist, one of my over-arching goals, regardless of the project, is to explore non-traditional and non-hierarchical storytelling methods. My training is within the Western Canon of work and methodologies, and my current work both expands and pushes against this training. My heritage encourages me to look at Non-Western storytelling and the post-colonial implications of the canon today, as well as experiencing land/s as an embodied teacher in how we approach form and content for creation.

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