Artist Feature: Dan Ebbs

Dan Ebbs is an actor, clown, director, mime, playwright, & teacher who studied theatre at Humber College and drama, English, & teaching at Western University. By his own description, he's yet to learn that the arts are fine as hobbies but only a fool would try to make a living at them.

Theatre has led him to Toronto, Halifax, & Banff and teaching to South Korea, the Czech Republic, & the wilds of Southwestern Ontario. He now submits London Fringe audiences to one-hour helpings of his solo talents.

"It's a challenge to condense a long history into a work that is both interesting & entertaining"

"Lecoq's clown instruction encourages seniors to think outside the box and let their intuition guide them"

In addition to directing and acting in London One Act Festival shows over the past three years, I’ve been performing original one-person shows at the London Fringe for several years, including I am My Own Compass (2012), A Different Drummer (2013), Care (2015), In This Corner: Eight Rounds with Tommy Douglas (2017), and this year’s Luddite’s Rant (2018). I’m currently working on my seventh and eighth one-person shows, which I’ll be submitting for inclusion in London Fringe in 2020 and 2021.

My seventh show, Taking Dad Home, is about my August, 2018, trip to return my dad’s ashes to Newfoundland, which he left in 1945 and never returned to. It addresses the rocky parent-child relationships and the realization that we’re more like our parents than we care to admit. I plan to stage it in a dragon boat on Fanshawe Lake, which will be the second time I’ve used environmental staging, the first being A Different Drummer.

My eighth show, Meucci, is about the descendants of Antonio Meucci. It follows the more-than-a-century-long lawsuit against Alexander Graham Bell, passed down through the generations until May, 2002, when the US House of Representatives recognized Meucci as the true inventor of the telephone. It’ll be creatively challenging to travel to the USA to research archives, interview the Meucci family, and create and perform a show involving multiple characters in multiple time periods.

 

I’m also working on Crazy Beautiful People: The Home County History Project, an eight-year-long book project about London’s Home County Music and Art Festival that will be released in 2023, the festival’s 50th anniversary. Because it’s not theatre-related, this is a departure from my previous projects. But as with Meucci, it’s a challenge to condense a long history (50 years) into a work that is both interesting and entertaining.

 

In the near future, I’m continuing to teach theatre in the community. I’ve been leading improvisational theatre workshops in Dorchester through Creative Age since 2014. And through the London Arts Council's Connecting through Art in Dementia Care program, I’ll be using drama to explore storytelling with clients of McCormick Home’s dementia care day program. (I did similar programming through LAC at the Dearness Home in 2016.) For this project, I’ll be drawing on the work of Canadian mime Adrian Pecknold (who studied under Marcel Marseau) and French clown Jacques LeCoq. Pecknold's mime instruction (which I received at Humber in the early 1980s) is easily learned and will enable seniors to visually enhance their storytelling. LeCoq’s clown instruction (taught at his clown school in Paris) encourages seniors to think outside the box and let their intuition guide them in dramatizing their stories whenever fear threatens.

Dan Ebbs is an artist on the London Arts Council's London Arts Live roster and London Artist in Residence roster, through which he has worked in many of our Education and Health programs. He is a six-time recipient of project funding through the City of London's Community Arts Investment Program (CAIP), administered by the London Arts Council. His book Crazy Beautiful People was awarded CAIP project funding in 2018, and his theatrical production company, Behind the Wire, has been awarded CAIP project funding five times since 2005.

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