Julie tamiko manning

ARTIST in residence

“I am struggling with why I want to do this project…I thought I knew why, but now I find myself on shaky ground. My original thought was to create a show about women who find themselves without a physical home: homeless. I came from a privileged home and a close-knit family. These things gave me emotional, financial, physical and mental security. When I first came to the big, scary city from the safety of the country, I could not understand how there were people without homes. It haunted me that there were people in my new community that somehow, didn’t have those safety nets around them. How did that happen to certain people? Why did I have those things and they did not? I probably gave a fair percentage of my student budget to the men on the street because I didn’t know what else to do and how else to solve it. When I think back to that time I don’t ever remember seeing women on the street. I wonder why? Were there none? Were they more timid? More in the shadows? Did I just not want to see them? I didn’t think that they existed.

When I first saw a woman on the street, I didn’t know how to feel. In my experience, women were the holders of family, community, children and culture. Where were their families? Why were they not taking care of them? I never realized until just now that at the time I immediately went to blame. And pity.

Recently I bought this woman a coffee. First I helped her across the street in the pouring rain, then I bought her a coffee and a pack of smokes and a muffin and I awkwardly sat with her at the Café Depot, afraid that if I left her, they’d kick her back out into the rain.I asked her where she was from, where she lived, what her name was…the answers were none to incoherent. She looked like she could be my auntie. If my auntie was alone in a wheel chair, incoherent in the rain, with her infected foot wrapped in some gross bandages, dirty hair and smelly body.

I asked her if she had a family. Children. She started to cry and I thought, “fuck, Julie, asshole, you’ve just opened a can of worms you are gonna walk away from- you’re gonna be late for work”…

about julie

Since graduating from The Dome in 1991, Julie Tamiko Manning has performed across Canada from school gyms in Nunavik to the independent stage in Vancouver to the national stage in Ottawa. Selected theatre credits include: Elena in Butcher (Centaur), Isabella Bird/Win in Top Girls (Segal), Emilia in Othello(META-Supporting Actress, Segal/Scapegoat Carnivale), Titania in A Midsummer Nights’ Dream (META nomination- Best Actress, Repercussion Theatre), Doris Truscott in Innocence Lost (NAC/ Centaur), Clarence in Richard III (META nomination- Best Supporting, Metachroma Theatre), Nancy in Oliver! (National Arts Centre), and Jam in Greg MacArthur’s girls! girls! girls! (Teatro Comaneci). This summer she will reprise her role of Tokyo Rose in Marie Clements’ Burning Vision with Tant Per Tant in Barcelona, Spain. Her first play, Mixie and the Halfbreeds, (co-written with Adrienne Wong) was produced in 2009 (Neworld Theatre, Vancouver) and she is currently working to tour (with co-creator, Matt Miwa) their award winning The TASHME Project: The Living Archives, a verbatim play tracing the experience of the WW2 Japanese Canadian internment, through the memories of their community elders. She is an associate artistic producer of Metachroma Theatre, whose mandate is to address the under-representation of visible minority actors in Canadian theatre.