(Go here for a shorter bio.)
Chicago born, Toronto-bred, KAREN HINES is an award-winning performer, writer and director. Her independent theatre company, Pochsy Productions, presents Hines’ highly theatrical, absurdist, satirical, neo-cabarets and comedies, including Pochsy’s Lips, Oh, baby (Pochsy’s Adventures by the Sea), and Citizen Pochsy (Head Movements of a Long-Haired Girl). These solo satires have been presented across Canada and in the U.S. at venues including One Yellow Rabbit, Factory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Dallas Theatre Centre and Alice’s in New York. Now published together, The Pochsy Plays (published by Coach House Books) have received numerous production and literary awards and nominations, including multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations and the Dora for performance, two Chalmers nods, the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Alberta Writer's Guild Award, and finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama.
Most recently, Karen has been working on a new dark comedy DRAMA: Pilot Episode which was presented recently at Alberta Theatre Projects, where Karen is Playwright in Residence. Drama has won Calgary's Betty Mitchell Award for best new play, the Calgary Critics' Award for Best New Play, and is nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (Hines's second GG nomination).
Karen also wrote the musical play Hello ... Hello (A Romantic Satire), and co-composed it with her long-time collaborator Greg Morrison (The Drowsy Chaperone). Hello...Hello was presented at Factory Theatre and by the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, and has been nominated for six Dora Mavor Moore Awards, three Canadian Comedy Awards, and for the Chalmers Award for play writing. Hello ... Hello was also the 2007 recipient of the Alberta Writers Guild Award for Drama. Karen was a Tarragon playwright-in-residence (1995-96).
Karen directed and was dramaturge for Alberta Theatre Projects' premiere of Linda Griffiths' Age of Arousal, which went on to many international productions. She has also been a long-time collaborator with Canadian horror clown duo Mump & Smoot, and is the Dora Award-winning director of all of their productions to date, including Something, Caged, Ferno, Something Else and Flux; from the Fringe Festivals to CanStage, from Yale Rep to the La Jolla Playhouse. She has taught clowning and bouffon across Canada, and has given seminars at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and at the Yale School of Drama.
Karen was a series regular on Ken Finkleman’s Emmy Award-winning television series The Newsroom (CBC), she co-starred in his mini-series Foreign Objects (Rhombus), in his teleplay Escape from the Newsroom (CBC), in his NBC pilot (Untitled Ken Finkleman Project with Stephen Colbert) and starred in his cult hit Married Life (Comedy Central/Atlantis), for which her performance was nominated for CableAce and Gemini awards. Other credits include The Second City Mainstage, Angels in America (Canadian Stage) Swollen Tongues (Necessary Angel), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mirvish Productions), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Killer Films). She performed as Douglas Coupland's Goth sidekick in his September 10 (Royal Shakespeare Company) and as Robin Williams' political sidekick in Barry Levinson's Man of the Year.
Karen wrote two short films directed by Sandi Somers: I’ll Believe and Everything’s Falling, which was finalist for Alberta’s Centennial Award in 2006 (both by Road Pictures/Pochsy Productions for Bravo!FACT). More recently, Karen directed her first short, My Name is Pochsy: An Industrial Film, which is has screened at festivals across the continent and overseas, and which has been the recipient of seven international prizes including the Strasbourg International Film Festival award for best experimental short, the Kodak Canada prize for best Canadian Short (Edmonton International Film Festival) the Dawson Lodestar Award for Best Film, and the Boston Underground Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award for best short. Her subsequent short A Tax on Pochsy (a.k.a. The Audit: Line Item Foster Child) has also screened internationally and won or been nominated for numerous prizes includint the NFB FAP Prize for Best Alberta Short.
Karen has been invited to teach, read and/or speak at many universities and series and her plays have been included in many university courses including University of Toronto (Literature for our Times series), Universities of Lethbridge, Calgary (Fundamentals in Canadian Literature), Victoria, Queens University and York University (Writers in Person). Her plays have been studied since their publication under the auspices of Coach House Books. She has read from her works at literary festivals and events including This is Not A Reading Series (Toronto), The Scream in High Park (Toronto), Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, Word on the Street (Toronto), and has had her works published and/or exerpted in Geist, Brick Literary Journal, Ottawa Citizen Literary Page, Taking the Stage, Heaven and Hell on Earth (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and others. She has also contributed to Swerve Magazine and ber pieces there have won Gold and Honourable Mentions at the National Magazine Awards and Western Magazine Awards.
Current and Upcoming:
Karen is currently working on a screen adaptation of 'Drama,' entitled 'Crazy like a Girl,' now in development under the AFA's Screen Writer's Grant program and with the support of the Canada Council. She is writing a book, 'Red Light,' a literary anthology of imaginary pitches for impossible television shows. Karen is in pre-production on a companion piece to 'My Name is Pochsy' and 'A Tax on Pochsy' entitled 'Anagram of Pochsy,' to shoot this summer and to be completed this fall. She will be directing Linda Griffiths' newest play, Heaven Above (2013) at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille.
Karen Hines is an award-winning writer, director and performer and the artistic director of Keep Frozen: Pochsy Productions, which develops Hines’ dark comedies for stage and screen. She is the author of Drama: Pilot Episode, Citizen Pochsy, Hello…Hello (A Romantic Satire), Oh, baby and Pochsy’s Lips as well as several short plays and the Neo-Cabaret Pochsy Unplugged, which have been presented across North America and in Germany at venues such as Alberta Theatre Projects, Tarragon Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Joe's Pub (Public Theatre, NYC), Word Stage, Factory Theatre, Magnetic North, One Yellow Rabbit and Beme Theatre in Munich.
Hines is a two-time finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama for her trilogy of Pochsy Plays and for Drama: Pilot Episode. Other awards and citations for her productions include a dozen Dora Mavor Moore nominations, the Betty Mitchell Award for New Play, two Alberta Writers Guild Awards, and twice finalist for the Chalmers Award for Playwriting (Hello...Hello, Oh, baby). Karen is also a Dora Award-winning director and performer.
A Second City alumna, Karen is a long-time collaborator with fellow alums Sandra Balcovske and composer Greg Morrison. Their prize-winning short films, featuring the character Pochsy, have screened at festivals around the globe. At Second City, Karen also met horror clown duo Mump & Smoot and has directed all their shows to date from Canadian Fringe Festivals to Yale Repertory, Off Broadway, across America and overseas. She was director and dramaturge of the inaugural production of Linda Griffiths’ Age of Arousal (Alberta Theatre Projects), and she will be directing Linda’s upcoming production, HeavenAbove/HeavenBelow (Theatre Passe Muraille).
Karen has performed in film, television and onstage and co-starred in Ken Finkleman’s Emmy Award-winning (Canadian) satire The Newsroom, as well as his Foreign Objects and Married Life for which she was nominated for Gemini and CableACE Awards.She has written for magazines, anthologies and literary journals and has won Western and National Magazine Awards. She has spoken at universities and literary festivals and teaches also in conservatory settings. All of her plays are published by Coach House Books.
Karen has been playwright in residence at Tarragon Theatre and at Alberta Theatre Projects. She was born in Chicago, raised in Toronto and now lives in Calgary, where she is writing a feature film, Crawl Space, and a new play, ILK.
Greg Morrison: Original Music/Composer (all projects)
Greg Morrison received 2006 Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Backstage West Garland Awards for his work on Broadway’s The Drowsy Chaperone. Canadian credits: composer/ musical director for Hello…Hello (by Karen Hines -Tarragon Theatre); Pochsy’s Lips; Oh, Baby; Citizen Pochsy and Pochsy Unplugged (Toronto Fringe, Canadian/U.S. tours); The Drowsy Chaperone (Toronto Fringe, Theatre Passe Muraille, Mirvish Productions, Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto); Mump and Smoot in Something Else (Canadian Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre); Mump and Smoot in Flux (Canadian Stage); An Awkward Evening With Martin & Johnson (Tim Sims Playhouse); The Age of Dorian (Artword Theatre). TV songwriter credits: “Slings & Arrows” (Rhombus Media for Showcase/Sundance) and “Getting Along Famously” (CBC). Other: musical director for the Second City National Touring Company and The Alumni Café (Tim Sims Playhouse). Score for the short film My Name is Pochsy:An Industrial Film (BravoFACT)
John Turner: Collaborator, Co-producer
John Turner is best known as the “Smoot” half of the award winning Canadian clown duo Mump & Smoot, who have delighted audiences throughout North America, from Fringe festivals to the La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep and Off-Broadway, for the past 16 years. He is also the director of Karen Hines’ Citizen Pochsy, one of the acclaimed trilogy of Pochsy Plays, on which John has collaborated for over a decade, and which were recently nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Drama.
John began teaching the Pochinko style of clown in 1991 at Equity Showcase in Toronto. He taught there for 7 years before opening his own studio, The SPACE, with Michael Kennard (Mump) where he continued to teach, direct, and work on Mump & Smoot and Karen Hines’ shows for the next 6 years. He currently teaches primarily at Laurentian University in the innovative Programme en arts d’expression and throughout the summer on his farm on Manitoulin Island.
Sandra Balcovske: Collaborating Writer
Sandra Balcovske joined The Second City in Toronto in the early eighties, and directed eight Mainstage shows nominated for numerous awards, and was the director/collaborator on the first non-Fringe production of The Drowsy Chaperone. Sandra has also worked as a director and collaborating writer on a number of other original productions, including Karen Hines’ Pochsy’s Lips and Oh, Baby.Sandra was a writer/performer on CBC Radio for three seasons in the weekly spot, The Neighbours, and wrote on 26 episodes of Go Girl for S&S Productions and WTN, and two episodes of Supertown Challenge for S&S Productions and the Comedy Channel.
Recently, Sandra has worked as Creative Consultant for the movie Expecting and the television pilot The Joe Blow Show.
Benny Zenga: Cinematographer/DP - My Name is Pochsy
Benny Zenga is an award winning filmmaker known for his strong creative vision, inventive approach and visceral translation of energy to the screen. In 2000 he instigated ‘The Winking Circle’, a creative youth collective that exists to encourage self-expression and promote positive social change. The group became an instant sensation and through his documentary film The Winking Circle’s legendary status continues to grow. Benny’s films have aired on CBC, TVO, The Movie Channel, Music Plus! and have screened in film festivals worldwide.
Greg Woodbury: Cinematographer/DP
Greg Woodbury has worked in the Media Arts community in Toronto for over twenty years as an administrator, an educator, a technician, a producer and as an artist. He has currently co-directs Charles Street Video and teaches at Ontario College of Art and Design. His work is primarily based in collaborative practices.
Jamie Francey: Picture Editor (All films)
James Francey’s award-winning work as editor includes a variety of genres and clients: documentaries for NFB, Discovery Channel, Global; music videos for Bravo and Much Music; many short narratives and dance films for Bravo; award winning commercialls; music specials for CBC, CMT, MTV including Avril Lavigne, Finger 11, Tegan and Sara, Fred Eaglesmith, Oh Susanna; television programming for Life/Slice, Outdoor Life Network,ESPN and ABC.
Richard McDowell: Technical Supervisor
Richard is One Yellow Rabbit Theatre ’s resident composer and sound designer, webmaster, Mac computer guru and digital media guy. He has produced and performed scores for over 26 works including Down With Up With People, Liberators, Occupiers and Population, Heavens to Murgatroid, Dream Machine, Featherland, Thunderstruck, Doing Leonard Cohen, Permission and So Low and has toured and performed with the company across Canada and to Scotland, Germany, Holland, the Czech Republic, Mexico and the United States.
Darren O'Donnell is a writer, director, actor, designer and artistic director of Mammalian Diving Reflex. His credits include pppeeeaaaccceee, White Mice, Boxhead, Radio Rooster Says That's Bad, Who Shot Jacques Lacan?, Over, Poopy-Pants Meets a Maker, and Mercy! He was the 2000 recipient of the Pauline McGibbon Award for directing, a Dora Award for his co-design of the White Mice set, a Gabriel Award for Like a Fox, and was nominated for a Chalmers Award for Boxhead. He published his first novel, Your Secrets Sleep With Me, in spring 2004 with Coach House Books, and has since published Inoulations and gone on to travel the world with his own company's activites.