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Christine Brubaker

  • Assistant Professor

Research Interests



 Christine Brubaker is new to Calgary having only recently joined the faculty in the School of Creative and Performing Arts in July 2016.  Originally based in Ontario, she studied acting at the University of Waterloo and the National Theatre School of Canada. She has been worked professionally on major stages as an actor and director in Canada for twenty-five years and continues to balance her professional life with both conventional theatre work and new creation practices. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Goddard College in Vermont where her research focussed on professional rehearsal hall culture and the training of the young actor. She is deeply curious about the relationship of actor to story and audience through the lens of Encounter, and the nature of leadership in the creation process. Her artistic practice has expanded to include durational work and alternative performance possibilities which she calls ‘domestic theatre’. Current/recent projects include: 7th Cousins, Co-creator/performer (700 km durational walk and performance with collaborator Erin Brubacher); Oh For A Muse of Fire, Creator/Co-director/Performer (Interactive game performance for 100+ participants); Consider This, Writer/Director (video); and Hamletshare Writer/Director (video); Her theatre direction includes:Alice Through the Looking-glass Co-director with Jillian Keiley of the National Arts Centre (National Arts Centre, Charlottetown Festival, Manitoba Theatre Centre and The Citadel Theatre); Elle, Director (Theatre Passe Muraille, Waterford Town Hall, Prairie Theatre Exchange and The Firehall in Vancouver)and Wilde Tales at the Shaw Festival. She was a dramaturg on Celeste Sansregret's new play Ursa Majoris as part of Native Earth's Animikiig program. She spent three seasons at the Stratford Festival where she Assistant Directed on Alice Through the Looking-glass and The Diary of Anne Frank and was the Associate Director on As You Like it. Selected acting credits include: Tartuffe, Sound of Music, Enron, Vaudevilles of Checkov (National Arts Centre); Fear of Flight (Artistic Fraud); The Penelopiad & The Danish Play (Nightwood Theatre); A Comedy of Errors (Canstage); The Trials of John Demjanjuk (Theatre Asylum) and two seasons as a series regular on the A&E miniseries Nero Wolfe.  She was the Resident Director for the Toronto's Eldritch Theatre where she directed Madhouse Variations & Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show. Christine is a 1995 Fox Fellow. She has been nominated for six Dora Mavor Moore Awards and won twice for her performances in The Babysitter (Eldritch Theatre) and The Penelopiad (Nightwood Theatre).  She was the 2013 winner of the J.B. Watkins Prize, the 2014 Gina Wilkinson Prize and the 2015 Ken McDougall Prize for Emerging Director.  She's the mother to two children, loves to ski, cycle, play piano, accordion and commune around large tables with good people.  


Educator, activist and scholar bell hooks in her book Teaching to Transgress asserts “the classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy”.  As a theatre maker, I open up the aperture in this statement proposing that the classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the performance community.  The classroom is a space to challenge inherited practices, disrupt assumptions, forward expectations, and to lay down the foundations of what we want our community to look like, sound like and be in the next 40-60 years. Given the seismic shifts in our political and cultural landscape, it is not hyperbole to say that we are living in a transformational time. Our culture makers are being looked to not just for artistic excellence and entertainment, but for leadership in communities. Questions about the role of culture in equity, in social inclusion, in creating a sustainable and ethical future for our world are in tandem with the creation of our artistic programming. Theatre, as an immediate, shared art form, demanding presence from both the makers and the audience, is an  ideal forum for asking and tackling these questions together, and the classroom is the laboratory and field to grow this work. 

As a theatre educator, I strive to train fearless, articulate artists who contribute to a relevant and distinctive Canadian culture, and who will present themselves, their ideas and their work with confidence in shared community. Central to my approach is practice-based learning within a methodological context, where student-driven inquiry is privileged alongside skills acquisition. The aim is to create a dynamic and exciting exchange between working with and understanding theoretical contexts, existing forms, methods and techniques, while also welcoming the productive critique of established practices in order to develop an authentic authorial voice.



Review Wilde Tales

Review Elle 

Preview 7th Cousins  


As a theatre artist I am motivated by the possibility of affecting one another through exchanges that engage, challenge, and ask something of all who participate. I want to create work that leaves a mark on the hearts and minds of those who are present.  Through interdisciplinary sleuthing and self-reflection, I have adopted a strategy through which I can anchor my aesthetic idealism;  it is what theologian Romano Guardini describes as Encounter:  “an amazing meeting with the reality of the Other….where one is touched by the essence of the opposite”.  I have embraced Encounter as a guiding artistic vision with which I can address the alienation I experience in both the actor/audience configuration, and as an artist in the creative making of the work.  Encounter is a word that is vast enough for my idealism and specific enough for my practice.  

My research interests have centered around the following questions:

What does Encounter look like in my practice?  

How do I engage with reflexive dramaturgy? (a dramaturgy that not only contemplates the world of the play, but the shared space of the theatre) 

How do I consider, embrace, maximize the live relationship, not only with the audience in performance, but with the co-creators in the work? 


Canadian Theatre Review, Volume 172, Fall 2017; Artistic Research: An Articulation, pp.87-97

Canadian Theatre Review, Volume 172, Fall 2017:A Practicioner's Attempt at Quantifying the Actor's Experience pp.58-62

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