Artist of the Month-January-Maggie Blue O'Hara

January's Artist of the Month is Maggie Blue O'Hara. You may have seen her at Freespace Fest last month. She's one of the dynamic duo that runs local theatre troupe, All Theatre Art Association. Known for their unique style and fusion of music and clowning techniques into their works; their shows are always super fun.


1. Name, Birthplace, Age

Maggie Blue O'Hara, Victoria B.C., Plenty One

2. How does where you were raised affect your work?

As I was raised in the west coast of Canada I'm always interested in our connection to nature, sometimes my work has an eco conscious theme or the story is about how to reconnect with our human nature again. I also love to do site specific dance and ritual theater out in the elements. The ocean has deep emotional meaning for me, as I learned to walk while living on a boat as a toddler

3. Where did you train?

I got my acting training on professional sets. Voice training from doing lots of CBC radio plays, I got into Actra and UBCP, Canadian actors unions when I was eleven. Being on a CBC teen drama for four years taught me a lot about set etiquette and being a professional actress.

As a clown, I studied with David Macmurray Smith, an amazing performer who taught me a lot about staying curious and imaginative. Then as a dancer I trained with many dance companies in jazz, contemporary and contact improvisation.

4. What is your favorite style of acting? Why?

My favorite style of acting is the Method. To be as connected to the character as possible, to go deep and live/breathe as you truly are that person is as exciting and authentic as possible.

5. What was the best show you EVER saw?

My favorite performance EVER that has inspired me most may be Pina Bausch's Vollmond dance theater. It's set was minimal with one large boulder and one stream through the stage floor. Their movements had passion, strength, beauty, humour and the whole show inspired me how to blend dance, acting and a love for wild nature.

6. What was the best show in HK you EVER saw? (You cannot say your own.)

Chun Ying Theater puts on great Chinese theater with powerful sets and strong actors. Their Journey to the West was impressive and Hoi Chiu, my husband, wrote the contemporary script they worked with.

7. What piece of work are you the most proud of?

I'm most proud of writing and directing our clown show MoMo Jaja- a sense u all clown show about remembering your childhood dreams and following your bliss. Then I'm most proud of performing in our latest big production Spiral of Life, a multimedia dance theatre about life, love and the afterlife. I sang two songs, one in Mandarin and one in Cantonese which was a big challenge and accomplishment for me. Also my daughter, who is 3, performed with me, and that was such a joy!

8. What is your process like?

My artistic process usually starts with a crazy idea, song, image or concept I'm interested in. Then I do research, gather images, words, articles to inspire me...then I write a script and many drafts later, I work with my husband, usually, who illustrates the characters and set designs/costumes; together we pitch it to funding/grants/festivals and then cast everyone...go into rehearsals and VOILA! Our idea is manifested!

9. What is your dream project?

One of my dream projects is to have a full time theatre, funded annually, so we can do long runs of our shows - a nice, professional theatre where my company, All Theatre Art Association, can go deeper, have the chance to develop our works and share our cool productions with a wider audience.

I also want to have land, with our own black box theatre, healthy restaurant, holistic nature resort and performing arts school - somewhere in a lovely paradise with lots of green trees and rivers or ocean to connect to our inner nature, of course!

10. If you could change one thing about the art scene in HK, what would it be?

I'd like to see HK develop more of an "off broadway" area, where people - locals and tourists - know they can go and see many little theatres with options of long running NYC or what I saw in Seoul, Korea. But rents are so high it's hard to afford the rents to have such a maybe these places would have to be funded by the govt or privately funded....??? But HK could use this "artsy" kind of culture!


You can find out more about Maggie's work at her website.


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