If you’re hoping to win the lottery, maybe start by rubbing your ticket on Jordan Tannahill. The queer theatre artist and co-proprietor of Kensington Market’s Videofag has another accolade to add to the shelf above his stove. Buddies has just awarded him its inaugural Queer Emerging Artist Award. Decided on by former artistic directors Sky Gilbert, Sarah Garton Stanley, David Oiye and current head honcho Brendan Healy, the annual prize acknowledges the efforts of an up-and-coming Canadian queer artist.
When did you find out you received the award?
I was biking down Queen a couple of weeks ago when I got a call from Brendan Healy. When Brendan calls, you pull over and answer because it’s bound to be exciting.
How did you feel about receiving it?
The first creative thing I did after moving to Toronto in 2006 was taking part in Buddies’ Young Creator’s Unit. Since then, it’s been the space where I’ve developed not only my artistic voice, but my sense of personal and political identity, so this award feels like validation that I’ve been able to embody something of that ethos in my work. It also makes me feel I am part of a long, rich legacy of artists who have called Buddies home.
The award is for emerging queer artist, but I don’t know how “emerging” I’d consider you, given the level you’re currently at in your career. How does it feel to be called emerging at this point?
I sometimes find myself contextualized alongside “emerging” artists who are 10 or 15 years older than I am, so I think it has more to do with self-identification than it does with age. I do still feel like I’m just getting started. Like I’m just warming up for the big things I want to tackle with my life.
The award comes with a cash prize. Any plans on how to spend it?
The money will be going to keeping Videofag open and running. The rent monster always needs to be fed!