History and Bio

Julia Gray

Julia Gray – Artistic Director

I have been working in professional theatre for over 15 years in a number of capacities, including artistic work, administration, education and production.  Since 2005, with the development of After the Crash: a play about brain injury which was commissioned by Toronto Rehab and University of Toronto, I have been working with health researchers, community members and clinical practitioners integrating the arts in health care research and practice.  In 2008 I launched Possible Arts’ affirming a commitment to the connection between health care and the arts.

I am a Toronto-based theatre director, playwright, physical theatre creator, teacher and artist-researcher (BFA, MA; York).  I have worked with companies such as CanStage, Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, Mirvish Productions, Tarragon Theatre, The Charlottetown Festival, and many Toronto-based independent theatre companies.

I have published several articles in peer-reviewed, professional and social media forums, in addition to two book chapters. Currently a Doctoral Candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, I was the recipient of a CIHR‐STIHR Doctoral Fellowship in Health Care, Technology, and Place.  My scholarly writing and conference presentations focus on theoretical underpinnings and methodological ambitions of arts-research (or arts-based research); specifically opening up the ways the arts are taken up methodologically within the health and social sciences.

I have created many research-informed theatre projects in the area of health and health care. Most notably, I am the primary playwright for the collectively created After the Crash: a play about brain injury (Ruckus Ensemble / Toronto Rehabilitation Institute) and co-wrote the play Seeing the Forest (York University), a play about patient safety culture, with Dr. Gail Mitchell.  My current project, co-produced by Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance at University of Waterloo, is called Cracked: new light on dementia, and challenges how we come to understand dementia as irrevocably tragic.

My research and artistic interests include research-informed theatre, performance-as-research, devised theatre, socio-cultural perspectives on aging, arts-based knowledge translation, embodiment, movement and physicality, imagination, educational arts and theatre, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and arts and health initiatives.

I am a founding member of both Ruckus Ensemble, a theatre company committed to producing After the Crash, and The Question Company, a company dedicated to the creation of new, innovative theatre pieces, with a particular focus on physical work.

photo credit: Dahlia Katz

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