“A Day in the Life” with Toronto creative Christine Moynihan

You know those people who spend their lives supporting others’ dreams? Christine Moynihan is one of those spectacular people. If you ran into Christine over the last 35 years, chances are you were struggling to get your arts project off the ground. Like a guardian angel, this woman just made it happen, completed the paperwork and got the money in the door. Fifteen years as Executive Producer at Equity Showcase Theatre, ten years as Executive Director of the Dance Umbrella of Ontario and another ten years as independent one woman support system have added up to thirty-five years of making others’ dreams come true.  Thirty-five years! We cheered loudly when the Dora’s honoured her with the well-deserved Brenda Donohue Award awarded to her for outstanding contributions to Toronto theatre. 

Christine started in the theatre as a talented actor. She’s acted all across the country: Saidye Bronfman Centre, Centaur Theatre, YPT, Nightwood Theatre, Canadian Stage and Alberta Theatre Projects to name a few. She was nominated for a Dora Award as Best Featured Actress in Genuine Fakes written by Denis Foon and directed by Richard Greenblatt at Canadian Stage.  Again, we were cheered like mad for her.  

Along the way she has raised three incredible girls. With the daughters launched and thriving, she turned her energy to volunteering with new immigrants. She just rolls up her sleeve and gets it done!

A few years ago, Christine announced that she was going to jump into studying the art of clowning. While most of us are resting on our laurels or watching Netflix, she hit the boards to learn a new set of skills in this demanding art form. And now that she is bringing her one woman show, Outside Ethel: Inside, a clown dramedy to the stage, we are going, once again, be cheering wildly!

Ronalda Jones is a playwright, screenwriter, teacher, mother of two and a gal-pal of Christine’s for over 25 years.


Christine Moynihan
Volunteering at The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) in Regent Park. CSI is a coworking space, community and launchpad for people who are changing the world.


Christine Moynihan
Graduation day with the beautiful Marwa (left) and her mom Howa (that’s me in the middle).  I hang out with Marwa and help her with some of her schoolwork – she is gorgeous and spectacular.
Christine Moynihan
Volunteering with Youth Challenge International in Zanzibar, Tanzania.  Here I am with colleague Sean Braithwaite.
Christine Moynihan
Here I am (alas – still working!) in a strategic planning session with Roberto Campanella, founder and Artistic Director of ProArteDanza, a celebrated contemporary dance company in Toronto.  Roberto would much rather create on the stage – not on the page and it is my job to corral all that creative energy into some rockin’ organizational structures.
Christine Moynihan
With one of my very best work products – my fierce daughter, Vanessa.  She is ready to face the world – I am still wondering what it all means, this life….
Christine Moynihan
One of my proudest moments – the day I became a Canadian citizen! Oh, Canada!
Christine Moynihan
In Italy – volunteering again.  Here I am cleaning up the kitchen of The Agriturismo Pietrantica, run by my friend Marisa, in the tiny and wonderful village of De Contra in the Majella.  We had just served Easter Dinner to 40 hungry hikers – and I was the clean-up crew.
Christine Moynihan
Here I am doing a photo shoot for Outside Ethel: Inside – (with Ethel pretending to be Captain Morgan – you’ll have to come see the show to get the explanation for that.)  And yes, this is the basement of the house I live in: it’s the Fringe – we do things where and when we can!

Photo credit: Marylyn Quan. All other photos by Christine Moynihan or family

What ‘hood are you in?

Greektown ( the best town!) on the Danforth!

What do you do?

I am desperately trying to stay retired, and am mostly succeeding.  I fill my time by volunteering: for Regent Meals, a Sunday lunch program run by The Muslim Welfare Centre that takes place every Sunday at the CRC (Christian Resource Centre) in Regent Park; volunteer tutoring;  volunteer childcare…having just generally looking to help and to have good time – doing well while I am doing good.

What are you currently working on? 

I am creating and performing in a one-woman clown show, Outside Ethel: Inside for the 2019 Toronto Fringe  Festival. I am one of the new cohort of “ElderFringers” – a special category, new this year, that the Fringe has created for creators over 60 – and I am way over 60!

Where can we find your work?

I will be performing Outside Ethel: Inside July 5 – 14 at Streetcar Crowsnest Scotiabank Studio, 345 Carlaw Ave (at Dundas St East). Complete info here.



About Joel Levy 2599 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography