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Jessica Carmichael, MFA, MA

Assistant Professor, Theatre

Jessica Carmichael, MFA, MA
Photograph by Brooklyn Melnyk
Office: S-GM 500-57 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2549


Jessica Carmichael is an artist of mixed Abénaki/Euro heritage. She specializes in directing, acting, creation and dramaturgy. 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): Medicine Wheel, Dream Girl, Across This Body, Dark Matters all responding to the 2019 report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls for Embodying Power and Place (New Harlem Productions in association with Nightwood Theatre and Native Earth); Apathy (Concordia University Theatre Department); Boys Girls, And Other  Mythological Creatures (Harbourfront Centre, Carousel Players)Ipperwash (Blyth Festival), 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 Girl King (assistant Director, Stratford Festival), Savage (Native Earth/Stratford Springworks), Treaty No. 9 (Aluna Theatre Rutas Festival), girls!girls!girls! (co-director, SummerWorks). 

Upcoming: director of Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters as part of the Stratford Festival  of Canada's 2021 Season. 

Acting (select)Jessica's work as an actor has taken her across Canada/Turtle Island working with such companies as Guilty by Association (1991, Why Not Theatre Riser Project/FeministFuckItFestival/StoreFront Theatre and SFU workshop), Native Earth Performing Arts (Aluasa’sit), 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). 

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 Reneltta Arluk, Frances Konkan, Jordi Mand, Cole Lewis, Mark Crawford, Kate Hewlett and Matt Mackenzie on their new works

Currently: Working  with Jani  Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan on their new play1939, commissioned by the Stratford Festival of Canada, as well as Corrina Hodgson's Sex Garage with Playwrights Workshop Montreal.

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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