“A Day in the Life” with local Toronto Actor Kelli Fox

Kelli Fox is a powerful actor, passionate theatre director, avid hiker, loving daughter, and takes excellent care of house plants. She is the 2016 recipient of the Gina Wilkinson Prize for an Emerging Female Director. Winner of The Ottawa Critics’ Circle Outstanding Lead Actress award for playing Virginia in A Room of One’s Own and winner of The Toronto Critics’ Award for playing Odysseus in The Penelopiad.

We met on our first day at Studio 58 in Vancouver in 1983. We were all asked to perform our audition piece. I remember Kelli started with her back to us and then exploded with focused intensity as she turned to face us. Her talent was undeniable and her down to earth, no nonsense, straight-talking personality was my kind of gal. We bonded immediately and she has stayed a loyal friend.

There is no denying Kelli always speaks from the heart. An early highlight in her glowing career was playing Keely in Keely and Du, a Canadian Stage/Arts Club coproduction directed by Janet Wright for which she won A Jessie Award. Christopher Newton cast her in a Playhouse Production of A Cherry Orchard at the urging of Nicola Cavendish and then we on the west coast lost our buddy to Shaw and Stratford for years!

So many performances I kick myself for not flying out to see! She played the part of Hamlet at Geva Theatre in New York, for goodness sake! At least I saw her play Beatrice with Chicago Shakespeare Company. Also, Major Barbara at The Shaw Festival. She lit up the stage. More recently, our mutual buddy Brodie and I flew out to Shaw to see her play Empty In Tony Kushner’s play The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Her fire burns ever bright.

-by Denyse Wilson

Kelli Fox - When I was at Theatre Calgary a couple of years ago, playing Margaret Thatcher in The Audience by Peter Morgan, we were all enthralled by the first couple of seasons of The Crown, also created by Morgan. I understand Gillian Anderson will be playing Thatcher in season four. Here's our version, created with the help of our Riverside costume designer, Michelle Bohn.
Kelli Fox – When I was at Theatre Calgary a couple of years ago, playing Margaret Thatcher in The Audience by Peter Morgan, we were all enthralled by the first couple of seasons of The Crown, also created by Morgan. I understand Gillian Anderson will be playing Thatcher in season four. Here’s our version, created with the help of our Riverside costume designer, Michelle Bohn.
Kelli Fox - This is the kind of ephemera my phone tends to get filled up with when I'm directing. These images are all relevant to the work, and conversations with the creative team on Between Riverside and Crazy. You'll have to see the show to understand the relevance.
Kelli Fox – This is the kind of ephemera my phone tends to get filled up with when I’m directing. These images are all relevant to the work, and conversations with the creative team on Between Riverside and Crazy. You’ll have to see the show to understand the relevance.
This is the kind of ephemera my phone tends to get filled up with when I'm directing. These images are all relevant to the work, and conversations with the creative team on Between Riverside and Crazy. You'll have to see the show to understand the relevance.
This is the kind of ephemera my phone tends to get filled up with when I’m directing. These images are all relevant to the work, and conversations with the creative team on Between Riverside and Crazy. You’ll have to see the show to understand the relevance.
My favourite way to start the day is with the walk to work, and some time on the mat. My morning view these past weeks, before anyone else arrived at rehearsal.
My favourite way to start the day is with the walk to work, and some time on the mat. My morning view these past weeks, before anyone else arrived at rehearsal.
In my happy place. This was taken on my last long walk through Spain on the Camino del Norte. I think this was day 3 or 4 of a 20 day hike through Basque and Asturias in northern Spain.
In my happy place. This was taken on my last long walk through Spain on the Camino del Norte. I think this was day 3 or 4 of a 20 day hike through Basque and Asturias in northern Spain.
Kelli Fox - The move home to BC this year was largely about getting closer to this great lady. We celebrated my Mom's 90th birthday a month early this year, just before I flew back to Toronto to start work. The big day is actually November 27th, our opening night on Between Riverside and Crazy. So this one's for you Mom!
Kelli Fox – The move home to BC this year was largely about getting closer to this great lady. We celebrated my Mom’s 90th birthday a month early this year, just before I flew back to Toronto to start work. The big day is actually November 27th, our opening night on Between Riverside and Crazy. So this one’s for you Mom!
Kelli Fox - I'm not fantastically comfortable in front of a still camera, so it's been a challenge finding photos of myself in my files. This was shot recently during a break in rehearsal at Coal Mine, by producer Diana Bentley.
Kelli Fox – I’m not fantastically comfortable in front of a still camera, so it’s been a challenge finding photos of myself in my files. This was shot recently during a break in rehearsal at Coal Mine, by producer Diana Bentley.

What ‘hood are you in?

Right now I’m staying in the Beaches. Over the years I’ve lived in nearly every neighbourhood in Toronto except this one, and now that I’ve moved back to the west coast, this neighbourhood, in the home of a good friend, is my regular Toronto landing spot. And I love it. I can’t believe how I missed out on the Beaches experience for 25 years.

What do you do?

I make theatre when I’m given the chance. For the last few years I’ve travelled a lot in my down time. Now I’m sticking closer to home (back in BC) and nearer to family.

What are you currently working on? 

Currently I’m getting ready to open a show at Coal Mine Theatre on Danforth. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner by Stephen Adley Guirgis called Between Riverside and Crazy. I am honoured to be directing a stellar cast, led by Alexander Thomas as Walter “Pops” Washington.

Where can we find your work?

The Coal Mine Theatre is at 1454 Danforth Ave in Toronto. It’s an amazing indie company that has rapidly earned a reputation for producing challenging, current material by great writers. Once Riverside opens on November 27, I start with CanStage and Studio 180 on Lynn Nottage’s play, Sweat. That will open in the New Year, and this time I’ll be an actor, happily led by director David Storch.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1815 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography