Meet the Editor: Jessica Watkin
Meet the editor of the exciting new anthology Interdependent Magic—Jessica Watkin!
Describe yourself in one sentence.
I lead my life in direct relationship to how cozy I am.
Tell us a little bit about your new book.
When I was in my undergraduate theatre studies at the University of Guelph, there were very few Disability plays that I was exposed to. As a Blind theatre student, I was interested in developing and learning from Disability arts, but my instructors didn’t have access to published work by Disabled artists. When I came into Disability arts community, I found a vibrant community of artists and approaches to art making that I could only dream about. This book is a very small snapshot of Canadian Disability performances, because some of them just cannot be captured in text, or due to time constraints and episodic Disability some artists could not contribute in ways that I’d wished them to. This book is a collection of pieces that speak, sign, and roll through Disability joy, pride, sexuality, methods, writing, and identity. Interdependent Magic is a step towards integrating this vibrant Disability culture and community with a wider audience, and no theatre students in this country should go without reading contemporary Disability work.
What’s something unique about you or something you like to do?
I’m a Disability dramaturg, tactile nonvisual artist, and a graduate student! Since moving to Toronto in 2015, I’ve found a strange but beautiful career of thinking, teaching, and creating in community.
What does your happy place look like?
Sweater weather, bare feet, no rocks, water (lake or ocean), warm cup of tea, a great ebook.
What is something you’re curious about?
I feel I’m always curious, but as a PhD candidate I’ve been working on this dissertation for six years, getting curious about Disability performance creation methods and care. After doing all this research and thinking, I have become very curious about how Disabled people come into Disability community, particularly through Disability arts culture and creating art. Since this was part of my experience of being welcomed into Disability community (and, I’ve found, similarly for other Disabled artists), I wonder if there is a more meaningful or intentional way to be curating, welcoming, and facilitating Disabled folks into community.
What are some of your favourite plays?
Smudge by Alex Bulmer, Sound of the Beast by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, China Doll by Marjorie Chan, and Crave by Sarah Kane.
What are you reading these days?
Crip Kinship by Shayda Kafal, On Freedom by Maggie Nelson, and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.
What’s something that makes you laugh?
This piece by Amy Amantea for Pandemic Postcards in 2020.
Learn more about Jessica Watkin:
Jessica Watkin is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies. Her research is engaged in Disability artists and the way they create performance. She is a Blind multidisciplinary artist, accessibility designer, Disability dramaturg, and educator. She lives in Toronto.