Kayla Dunbar

i. I work as a:
ii. I do this creative work because:
Well, I definitely don’t do it for the money! I love it. It’s important,
and exciting.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
I have a spirit of collaboration, I can communicate a vision well to
others, I am able to create fun and safe spaces for artists, I love
problem solving, I stay calm under pressure, I have great spatial
awareness and I’m very positive.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Even though I love being in charge, it can be exhausting to be the
person that every aspect of the process funnels through. Every artist
works in a different way. So as a director, I have to be able to work
with many different processes and still try to create something that is
streamlined and cohesive.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
When I was a kid, I would line up all of my teddy bears and dolls like
an audience and perform for them in my room for hours. My parents put me
in dance and acting classes after that. I took up to 20 hours a week of
dance classes on evenings and weekends during high school.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
– Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot) – choreographer.
– Meg Roe – director, actor.
– Julie McIsaac – writer, director, actor.
I look up to these three women and they constantly inspire me in my
vii. Training that has helped me in this career:
Growing up I trained as a dancer, and then I graduated as an actor from
Studio 58 at Langara College. I also spent some time assistant directing
at companies like Bard on the Beach. In 2016, CTYP gave me the
opportunity to learn about artistic direction and directing through a
year long ECD grant.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Thinking they know everything or have all of the answers. I want to
continue growing, remain teachable and humble, and always maintain a
spirit of collaboration and openness.
ix. Some proud career moments:
– Doing around 250 performances of Avenue Q for the Arts Club.
– Writing a play for the Bee Stage at CTYP and watching the 0-3 year
olds take it all in with wonder and awe.
– Meeting Margaret Atwood when I choreographed a few pieces in her
opera, Pauline.
– Going back to my Alma Matter, Studio 58, to direct a play.
– Choreographing on the Stanley stage for the first time last year when
I did Movement direction for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Go to school! Train! Read books! Take Classes! Apply to assistant direct
as much as you can! Create your own work! Invite the people who will
hire you to come see your work! Have something to say! Be brave, bold,
and put yourself out there!
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
To be an Artistic Director of a theatre company.

xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In a Play”

Header: Annie Spratt

Article Photos:

Photographer – Tim Matheson

Kayla Dunbar + Cast Members – Tom Pickett (Gerald) and Kelli Ogmundson (Piggie)


Milstein In Toronto


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Elizabeth Newton