First she was his student. Now she’s his assistant director, helping him bring Wajdi Mouawad’s Tideline to the stage.
Dorcas Chiu is no stranger to challenges. A self-identified queer, Asian theatre artist, Dorcas came to Canada just over four years ago, ready to learn as much as she could in one of the world’s top universities. She has since worked as an actor, producer, stage manager and director, and currently serves as Tideline’s assistant director under Ken Gass, a man whom Toronto Life once called “one of the most powerful figures in Toronto theatre.”
I actually met Ken years ago when he was my instructor in Drama 200. He’s amazing. He’s engaged in a lot of dialogue with me, which is something that a lot of directors wouldn’t necessarily do.
Assistant directors are like a third eye. You’re facilitating someone else’s vision, whether you agree with it completely or not, and that’s really exciting.
Theatre is home. My profs and colleagues and classmates are my family.
I took theatre in high school, but I did not realize it was a viable career option—in Beijing no one ever said you could make a career in theatre. But things are so different in Toronto, which has a really strong theatre community.
I was interested in drama therapy when I enrolled at U of T, so I took Psych and English. But I failed stats, so I switched my major. Failing that course may have been the best thing that happened to me.
My advice to students? Don’t take statistics (laughs). I’d say, don’t get ahead of yourself. My friends know I’m a workaholic, so I get burnt out. In a creative career, that’s the worst. You get jaded and you quit. So even though it’s okay to try a lot of things, I recommend you really spend time considering which projects you’ll benefit from the most, and say yes to those. Also, theatre is a small, close community, so make sure you’re easy to work with, because word gets around.
I really appreciate technicians. Their work is so important. Always respect their work.
I love the theatre program at U of T. Classes are small, so you get to know everyone. The profs really look out for you.
The U of T Drama Coalition provides incredible opportunities to students, and yet many of them don’t realize how lucky they are to have something like this available to them. They give you the chance to do things that are so difficult to do in the outside world.
The auditions for Tideline have been fantastic. We’ve had so many talented people come in, it’s tough to decide who the best fit is.
Tideline is this epic, unbelievable, imaginative journey that resonates with real, guttural, painful experiences. You really should come see it.