“A Day in the Life” with Toronto Actress/writer/artistic director Kaitlyn Riordan

A three-time Dora nominated actress, entering her second seasons as artistic director with Toronto’s east end outdoor theatre company Shakespeare in the Ruff, Kaitlyn Riordan is also a playwright. Just a few months after completing a successful second run of her Dora nominated performance in the one person play Maggie & Pierre, her full-length play Portia’s Julius Caesar will take the al fresco stage in Withrow Park, opening August 16. An ambitious undertaking, Kaitlyn was inspired by current conversations to rework the classic political thriller by introducing new iambic pentameter to explore the role of women in Ancient Rome. This is the first time Kaitlyn will see one of her works performed.

Kaitlyn Riordan - Performing as Imogen in Shakespeare in the Ruff's 2014 production of Cymbeline
Performing as Imogen in Shakespeare in the Ruff’s 2014 production of Cymbeline
Kaitlyn Riordan - Performing as Juliet in Shakespeare in the Ruff's 2016 production of Romeo & Juliet (photo credit Cylla Von Tiedemann)
Performing as Juliet in Shakespeare in the Ruff’s 2016 production of Romeo & Juliet (photo credit Cylla Von Tiedemann)
Kaitlyn Riordan - On set after performing a death scene in the film Nightshooters, 2017
Performing as Margaret Trudeau in Maggie & Pierre at The Thousand Island’s Playhouse, summer 2017
Kaitlyn Riordan - On set after performing a death scene in the film Nightshooters, 2017
On set after performing a death scene in the film Nightshooters, 2017
Kaitlyn Riordan - Some of the books Kaitlyn used for research while writing Portia's Julius Caesar
Some of the books Kaitlyn used for research while writing Portia’s Julius Caesar
Kaitlyn Riordan - Portia's Julius Caesar workshop, March 2018 (Kaitlyn is in the stripes in the back)
Portia’s Julius Caesar workshop, March 2018 (Kaitlyn is in the stripes in the back)
Kaitlyn Riordan - With Ruff's original Artistic Director, Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, when he came to visit us during rehearsals, 2017
With Ruff’s original Artistic Director, Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, when he came to visit us during rehearsals, 2017
Kaitlyn Riordan - Kaitlyn and her mom swinging overlooking Lake Huron on Christmas Day, 2016
Kaitlyn and her mom swinging overlooking Lake Huron on Christmas Day, 2016

What ‘hood are you in?

At the moment, I’m on the Danforth almost all of the time. I like that many of the businesses there have been around for decades. They hold the history of the place, and I like experiencing that. My faves for food on the Danforth are Mocha Mocha (for their amazing brown rice salad), Athens (for the honey balls), and The Auld Spot (for all their food). For me, the Danforth feels like summer, and especially in the past couple of weeks, it’s been more vital than ever to come together as a community.

What do you do?

Primarily, I’m an actor. Last year, I was a bank robber in a Western feature film, both Margaret & Pierre Trudeau in a one-person show about their relationship, and a single mom in a Tim Horton’s commercial. It’s never the same, and I love that about my career. More recently, I’ve also ventured into writing, with my third play now in the works.

What are you currently working on?

In addition to my acting, I am the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruff, an outdoor theatre company based in Toronto’s east end. Right now we are rehearsing our annual summer production, an adaptation of Julius Caesar. About half the work is the original Shakespeare, and the other half is my own writing, where I explore the agency of the women in Rome. Our aim is to leave the audience reconsidering who gets to tell the stories of these epic moments.

Where can we find your work?

Portia’s Julius Caesar is pay-what-you-can, and runs outdoors in Withrow Park at 7:30 PM every night but Monday, from August 16th to September 3rd.

 

For more information visit¬†Shakespeare in the Ruff‘s website.

 

 

Joel Levy
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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography