Call for Proposals

Partner: Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network

Re: Traumatic brain injury in the workplace: Innovations for prevention

Date: August, 2015

Description of the work:

We are looking to collaborate with a creative, socially-minded animator or animation company with an interest in social change.   As a group of clinical and health services researchers, we are looking to use animation as a form of ‘knowledge translation’ which will help make our research on work-related traumatic brain injury accessible to members of the community.

We have two complimentary animation projects.  One is immediate: a 2-3 minute information/’explainer’ animation about traumatic brain injury/concussion geared towards adults and the work place (as opposed to sport or children).  The second is a longer-term project: we are looking to make a series of short animation vignettes based on the experiences of individuals who experienced a brain injury at work.  Likely, this second project will be more nuanced and artful than the first.  For the time being, we’re focusing on the Explainer Video, but there is the possibility to collaborate on the Vignettes in the future.

Who you are:

We are looking for someone who is an exceptional animator, with the ability to work in a cross-disciplinary team.  Additionally, you must be attentive to the needs of people with disabilities and accessibility standards.

Who we are:

You will be collaborating with a team of international leaders in brain injury research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network, and arts-based knowledge translation specialist, Julia Gray.

The Traumatic brain injury in the workplace: Innovations for prevention research study will improve our understanding of occupational brain injury, and inform future initiatives designed to improve workplace safety by helping prevent work-related brain injury. Please visit the Acquired Brain Injury Research Lab website for more details:

Julia Gray is a writer, theatre director and arts-based researcher in health.  She has collaborated with health and social scientists for 10 years and has developed several artistic projects based on research as a way to engage members of the community.  Julia is currently collaborating with the research team to develop the explainer video script and is spearheading the coordination of the project.

What we need:

Please submit a quote for the 2-3 minute explainer video ONLY, including details about process (e.g. script consultation/feedback, sketches, story board, animation, voiceover/sound/music) and costs.  Please also submit a short biography, 2 references and a link to portfolio.  Please make submissions by October 9, 2015 at 5pm to Julia Gray at

Call for Submissions!

We are looking for actors/theatre creators to be involved in the development of a new play about dementia.

Who we’re looking for

We are looking for actors of all cultural backgrounds and ages, with a particular interest in actors who are over 60 years of age – don’t be shy about submitting if you are NOT over 60!  We are also particularly interested in actors who bring other performance abilities, such as movement/dance and music (vocal and/or instrumental). We are looking for intelligent, creative, compassionate individuals who are interested in collaboratively developing this new play.  We are interested in submissions from both CAEA members and non-members.

A bit about the project

This project is being produced by MAREP (Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program, based at the University of Waterloo) and involves a team of health researchers from MAREP, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and York University.  The play’s playwright and director is Julia Gray.

If you are interested in social change and lessening the impact of stigma and suffering surrounding Alzheimer’s disease, this project will appeal to you.

We plan to hold a short research/development session in mid-May, and further play development workshops over the summer and fall months (dates TBD), to be held in Toronto.  Auditions will be held April 10, 2012.

To submit

Please send expressions of interest, including photo and resume, to Julia Gray at:

Seeing the Forest

I’m currently working on the re-mount of a project about patient safety culture in hospitals; this is a project I initially worked on in 2007 with researchers from York’s Faculty of Health, namely Drs Gail Mitchell, Deborah Tregunno and Liane Ginsberg.  The team was so inspired by the project and process, they wanted to re-work the play and present it at several hospitals during patient safety week in early November of 2010.  The new title of the script is “Seeing the Forest” and the play focuses more clearly on the importance of communicating among interdisciplinary team members to draw out potential problems and issues before they manifest themselves as safety hazards for patients.  The team wants to acknowledge the importance of systems and check lists already in place for patient safety, but also wants to stress the importance of going beyond these measures; to encourage health professionals not to rely on or assume the system will catch potential problems.  But to use creativity and problem solving and clear communication to assess each situation as a unique thing; not to get caught up in ones own track but to “see the forest from the trees.”

We are using the story of Heather as our frame to explore these ideas; we watch a patient, encouraged by health professionals to engage closely in her own health care, trying to bring concerns to light, only to have her health care providers so caught up in their own track, unyielding on their path, to lose sight of what is really in front of them: a specific patient with specific needs.

We have a fantastic creative team on board: director LJ Nelles and actors Sarah Machin Gale, Melina Nacos, Tim Machin and Mark Prince.  I will be lingering around rehearsals too as writer/producer, although not in full swing because of the birth of my second child at the end of August.  I’m sure everyone will be deeply disappointed when I bring her to rehearsal.

“Fit for Dialysis” almost there…

Shooting in the Dialysis Unit at Toronto General

My collaboration with researchers from Toronto Rehab and Toronto General about exercise for wellness with dialysis patients has a new title – Fit for Dialysis.  The editing is coming along very well (thanks to Claire and Mark of Marchlight Films!!) and I just received some photos of the shoot by the talented Scarlet O’Neill.

Shooting in the Dialysis Unit at Toronto General

‘Watershed’ underway!

‘Watershed’ (the film’s working title) has been shot and we’re launching ourselves into editing!  ‘Watershed’ was initated by researchers at Toronto Rehab and University Health Network to expose the barriers and facilitators to exercise for wellness with dialysis patients.  The process has gone extremely well, in great part due to the fantastic team of researchers and artists on board.

Drs Pia Kontos, Gary Naglie, Vanita Jassal and Dina Brooks have been incredible to work with – not only have they provided excellent research material from which to work, but also provided phenomenal feedback and amazing support to get this project up and running.

Our film production team, Claire Muir and Mark Huisman of Marchlight Films, have also been incredible – their patience, diligence and creativity has brought ‘Watershed’ to the next level.

And I also had the honour to work with some truly talented actors: Jack Berke, Patricia Garnett-Smith, Alan K Sapp, Megan Dennis, Lisa Karen Cox, Caroline Azar, Joyce Ballantyne, Neil Naft and nisha ahuja.

I’m in great hands with Claire and Mark guiding the editing process.  It’s been an exciting venture and it’s not over yet!

New Collaboration with Mt Sinai

Possible Arts’ has begun a new collaboration with The Cyril & Dorothy, Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training through Mt Sinai Hospital in Toronto.  The Centre is committed to creating support and training programs for family members and caregivers of people with dementia.  The program promises to provide practical, hands-on training in everyday activities (such as bathing, feeding, toileting), as well as experiential learning about the disease.  A parallel program for people with dementia is also underway.

Connecting this program with the arts is very exciting, and Possible Arts will be contributing to the philisophical and practical approach to the program.  Using a variety of learning tools including arts approaches, primarily theatre-based improvisation as well as movement, visual art, music, among other art forms, the parallel programs focus on the acquiring of skills and new perspectives, not just imagining the skills.   I am very excited to be involved in this innovative program!

What is an artist?

They are flexible, adaptable, resilient and committed… And they are not a separate breed of human.  In fact, our artists are also often our health directors, our firefighters, our teachers, our fishing guides and our mill workers…  Our artists are the animators of our communities, the voices of our ancestors, and the most highly regarded mentors of our youth… The artists are the eyes, the ears, the voices, the storytellers of the people.

Artists are individuals willing to articulate in the face of flux and transformation.

  • From A Director Prepares: seven essays on Art and Theatre by Anne Bogart

Picasso said that an artist’s task is to discover things and then find out what they are.

For Westerners, thinking only involves the head.  But in Japan, the heart is the driving force for thought.  The ideogram for the word ‘thought’ displays a field over a heart.  The heart nourishes and helps ideas grow in the field.  This image is very close to what for years I’ve called the intelligence of the heart.

It’s a question of openness…  This ability to admit to your mistakes, to give up on earlier convictions, inevitably involves doubt, a primordial condition of creation.  People think you have to find the answer,  but what you need is to create the question.

Few people in theatre know as much about this art form as Peter Brook, but he seems convinced that he knows nothing about it…  Personally, I haven’t yet reached that level of doubt.

  • From Connecting Flights, by Robert Lepage


Possible Arts is the creative and professional home for theatre artist Julia Gray.

I am a playwright, theatre director, and award-winning health humanities and performance studies scholar and researcher.  In my current position as a Visiting Scholar at Sensorium, a research centre embedded in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University, my program of research crosses the arts, humanities, social sciences and health sciences to elucidate social experiences and overturn cultural assumptions of disability/ability and aging. This work is oriented to real world change through the overlapping interests of 1) drawing on theatre and other art forms to explore the complexities of disability and aging and 2) exploring the ways people make art as part of being in health settings and in the world.

My past projects in brain injury, dementia, hemodialysis, and patient safety culture have instigated change in health settings and have moved and inspired the general public.

I look forward to collaborating with members of the community and fellow researchers who want to change the world with their work.