“A Day in the Life” with Toronto performance artist Yolanda Bonnell

Yolanda Bonnell is one of the playwrights for The Election, along with Natasha Greenblatt. The Election sparks urgent dialogue just as Canadians take another swing at the ballot box. Exploring the realities of Indigenous, Settler and Newcomer experience with the political process, this play asks: Do we have a voice and does that voice count?

The Election is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille October 9 – 27, 2019. For this production, audiences with diverse access needs are recognized and performances have been specified to provide open captioning, touch tours, relaxed performance, and childcare.

For more information visit commonbootstheatre.ca.

Yolanda Bonnell - I never used to be a coffee drinker and sometimes I still just drink green tea, but usually my day starts with a coffee. I love my Americanos and lattes.
Yolanda Bonnell – I never used to be a coffee drinker and sometimes I still just drink green tea, but usually my day starts with a coffee. I love my Americanos and lattes.
Yolanda Bonnell - My darling Cole Alvis, directing me in a rehearsal of bug. The work I do is oftentimes quite physical and requires a good warm up. I try to stretch in some form every day, but some days are harder than others.
Yolanda Bonnell – My darling Cole Alvis, directing me in a rehearsal of bug. The work I do is oftentimes quite physical and requires a good warm up. I try to stretch in some form every day, but some days are harder than others.
I’ve been so incredibly fortunate as a creator to have the opportunity to travel for my work. This was taken last spring in Norris Point, Newfoundland for the Gros Mourne Playwright’s retreat. One of the best experiences of my life. I’ve also been lucky enough to be part of the Banff Playwright’s Lab in 2018. As a land-based creator, writing in the mountains and near water is so healing and helpful.
I’ve been so incredibly fortunate as a creator to have the opportunity to travel for my work. This was taken last spring in Norris Point, Newfoundland for the Gros Mourne Playwright’s retreat. One of the best experiences of my life. I’ve also been lucky enough to be part of the Banff Playwright’s Lab in 2018. As a land-based creator, writing in the mountains and near water is so healing and helpful.
It can be weird to see your face on posters, but I’m always proud to be a part of Buddies in Bad Times. It’s still unbelievable to me that I get asked to do these shoots and that I get to do these residencies.
It can be weird to see your face on posters, but I’m always proud to be a part of Buddies in Bad Times. It’s still unbelievable to me that I get asked to do these shoots and that I get to do these residencies.
Photo shoots used to make me nervous and they still do. On my journey to loving my body and myself, I find doing these incredibly helpful. It’s part of why I do amateur strip, why I’m so loud about saying FAT is not a bad word. I wear crop tops, I wear pasties, I wear lingerie, I wear short skirts and shorts and I do it in public. And I always hope that there is another fat human out there who might just think that they can do it, too when they see me just being me. The journey is hard – really hard in this world that wants me to hate myself for everything that I am, but I gotta keep trying. Harness by: Panther Daze Designs Photo by: @vic_shmik
Photo shoots used to make me nervous and they still do. On my journey to loving my body and myself, I find doing these incredibly helpful. It’s part of why I do amateur strip, why I’m so loud about saying FAT is not a bad word. I wear crop tops, I wear pasties, I wear lingerie, I wear short skirts and shorts and I do it in public. And I always hope that there is another fat human out there who might just think that they can do it, too when they see me just being me. The journey is hard – really hard in this world that wants me to hate myself for everything that I am, but I gotta keep trying.
Harness by: Panther Daze Designs
Photo by: @vic_shmik
I always have this moment right before I go on stage where I think “why the hell did I choose to do this? I have to pee. I’m gonna throw up. I should have become a therapist or something.” And then I get on stage and it just melts away and I remember how fun it can be out there. bug at Luminato Festival, 2018 Photo by: Gilad Cohen
I always have this moment right before I go on stage where I think “why the hell did I choose to do this? I have to pee. I’m gonna throw up. I should have become a therapist or something.” And then I get on stage and it just melts away and I remember how fun it can be out there.
bug at Luminato Festival, 2018
Photo by: Gilad Cohen
Opening night of The Unnatural and Accidental Women at the NAC, directed by Muriel Miguel. Working with and meeting Indigenous matriarchs that have cleared the way so that we can do the work we can do now. I mean, we’re definitely still fighting, but I am honoured as heck to be in the presence of these women.
Opening night of The Unnatural and Accidental Women at the NAC, directed by Muriel Miguel.
Working with and meeting Indigenous matriarchs that have cleared the way so that we can do the work we can do now. I mean, we’re definitely still fighting, but I am honoured as heck to be in the presence of these women.
Yolanda Bonnell - My family is really important to me – we’ve been through a lot together. I’m fortunate enough to have this little monkey, my niece Raina and my sister Nathenia and my Mom with me in Toronto. My sister, Sheena is back in Thunder Bay with my two nephews. I have a family full of strong Kwe. It’s hard with my schedule to see them as often as I’d like, but we do our best. That’s all we can do.
Yolanda Bonnell – My family is really important to me – we’ve been through a lot together. I’m fortunate enough to have this little monkey, my niece Raina and my sister Nathenia and my Mom with me in Toronto. My sister, Sheena is back in Thunder Bay with my two nephews. I have a family full of strong Kwe. It’s hard with my schedule to see them as often as I’d like, but we do our best. That’s all we can do.

What ‘hood are you in?

I live in the College and Ossington area on the west side of Toronto. I love it so much – it’s so close to everything. And it’s great because I can be at that corner where it’s bustling and then turn the corner onto my street and it’s so quiet. Lots of trees. It’s beautiful.

What do you do?

I am a performer – actor and dancer. I am a writer – playwright and poet. I am a producer and co-artistic leader of manidoons collective. I am a workshop facilitator. Director. Storyteller. Creator. Artist. I do a lot of things!

What are you currently working on?

Right now, as an actor, I’m performing in The Unnatural and Accidental Women by Marie Clements at the NAC. It’s the first production as part of the “Indigenous theatre” sector of the institution. I’m also writing a grant to workshop a new play I’ve written and getting ready to bring my solo show, bug to my hometown of Fort William First Nation and Thunder Bay (Superior-Robinson Treaty) directly after we close. Very rarely am I ever only working on one thing.

Where can we find your work?

You can find more information either at www.yolandabonnell.com or www.manidoons.com.

 

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1749 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography