Thursday, 9 April 2015

Member Profile: Meet Joanne Williams

By Rachel Stableford, Development Coordinator

Joanne Williams
If there is one thing Joanne Williams could tell young theatre artists starting out it would be to “get out there and see as many shows as possible, be an audience member.”  After moving to Toronto from Kingston, Joanne immersed herself in the Toronto theatre scene, and claims it’s one of the best ways to network.  “It’s not about handing out business cards,” Joanne says, “it’s about developing relationships and seizing opportunities.”  It can be hard to break into theatre in Toronto if you don’t already have connections and are new to the city.  So what did Joanne do?  She volunteered.  People starting out in their careers are probably tired of being told to volunteer, but Joanne claims it is not only a great way to gain experience and connections but to also find out where you fit in, and where your passions lie.

Joanne first started volunteering at Nightwood Theatre in Toronto as a production assistant and at other theatres as an usher.  After one year, (the minimum amount of time she feels is enough to feel integrated into the theatre scene) she knew one thing for sure, she would not be pursuing acting as a profession.  Laughing she tells the story of one of her professors telling her class that “if you like anything else (besides acting), do that!”  So what else did Joanne like? Directing.  Joanne tells me that “theatre artists have to decide where they want to put their effort.”  Directing, Joanne knows she’s doing what she’s supposed to do.  It pumps up her adrenaline, lights up her brain and she says that when she’s directing, she “feels the most articulate.”

After working at Canadian Stage as the Artistic and Company Manager, and now at the Toronto Fringe Festival as the Interim General Manager, Joanne is interested in leadership positions and enjoys arts administration.  She says that she would one day (as would most directors) like to direct on the main stage.  For now, she is having a fantastic time in indie theatre with a long list of shows under her belt and will continue working on productions that challenge her.


  1. I have an upcoming show in The Fringe Festival 2015 (Hey Good Lookin' Productions) and having communicated with Joanne and attended recent seminars I can only say good things about her! She is calm, patient and well informed. I feel she is an excellent leader in the Arts and that she has a very bright future ahead of herself. j.m