April’s Featured Artist is Peter Muir, a local playwright and director. Muir earned his Actors Equity and Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists card at 18, and has toured internationally, working with the National Theatre of the Deaf and teaching at Gallaudet University and the George Brown Theatre School.
Muir spent his early years learning in Toronto’s professional alternative theatre scene, such as Theatre Passe Muraille, Factory Theatre, and Necessary Angel Theatre Co. Early in his career he shaped his creative approach by training in what’s called corporeal mime – when an actor applies principles such as pause, hesitation and resistance to their physical movement. This dramatic approach taught Muir how to tell a story in silence with the body as the canvas, thereby breaking theatre down to its essentials, rather than focusing on set, props, and costumes.
He is currently the Artistic Director for Brant Theatre Workshops (BTW), a Branford-based theatre company that works intensively, combining cultural heritage and theatre. BTW actively seeks new relationships and dialogues with local communities to produce original productions each year.
Muir enjoys shining light on the issues, culture, and heritage of Brantford and area, and finds joy in communicating these larger issues with surrounding communities as well. “Brantford has a particular honesty to its people that I like. They tell it like it is,” he says. BTW respects and appreciates Brantford and area’s cultural history, and devotes their performances to the truth and reconciliation process, as well as working toward equal representation of indigenous and non-indigenous cast members in their productions.
The three major tools for Muir’s trade as he continues to develop in his career are perseverance, having strong allies, and training. “Opportunities come with skill,” he notes, and training will only make you enjoy your craft more. He also stresses that it is important for developing artists to stay true to their craft: “Always push your comfort zone and try to create your own original work.”
You can see Peter Muir’s work throughout the year, in a number of productions, including: Veteran of Vimy (April 9, 2017); his version of Merchant of Venice in the 10th annual Bell Summer Theatre Festival (which also includes productions of Snow White and Not The Usual Dwarves, and Walk in my Mocs) (July 1 – August 19, 2017); and his original play about Brantford-born Lawren Harris, The Art of War, which premieres on October 15 (October 15-22, 2017).
For more information about Brant Theatre Workshops, click here to open a new browser window.
Cover photo: Scene from Brant Theatre Workshops’ production of Dracula, A Love Story at Casa Loma in Toronto (2014). Photo by Laura Adkins.
Photograph of Peter Muir under the Sanderson Centre marquee by Robert Ruby.