Welcome to Equity in Theatre

Chandler, Joan


Producer, director, writer, arts educator and workshop facilitator. Joan Chandler’s work focuses on interactive productions about social issues, and on plays that celebrate community and the creative spirit. Joan has a keen ability to work with groups, collaboratively spinning new plays with, by and about their own stories and concerns. She is also an award-winning script writer. Joan has produced, directed and co-facilitated the collective creation of over 110 plays across Ontario and abroad, reaching audiences of about 86,000 primarily reaching under-served audiences in rural and small urban environments. Writing credits include FAR FROM THE HEART film and stage play, SOUL CAGES (screenplay), the musical plays A DESPERATE ROAD TO FREEDOM, SNOW WONDER, and TOM. (these three with songwriter david sereda), PTERODACTYL DELIGHT and THE BALLAD OF KENNEDY’S. She is currently the director/facilitator for Sheatre’s touring theatre forum production, BE OUR ALLY. Joan was Artist-in-Residence with Lakeshore Arts during the project FOOD FOR THOUGHT. She has moved into the broad world of the internet with the ground-breaking digital interactive film FAR FROM THE HEART and onto airwaves with the audio drama series MISHOO MIINWA NOKI ~ YOU, ME AND WRINKLES which was aired on aboriginal radio stations across Canada and on PRX. She has dramaturged nume rous new works. Joan celebrates her 30th anniversary in 2015 as the founding Artistic Director of Sheatre, a professional community arts company located near Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. She was honoured with the Phil Hartman Arts and Humanitarian Award for her over 25 year career in the arts. For her screenplay SOUL CAGES, Joan received Best Original Screenplay Award at The International Film Festival Ireland, awards from The Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, Best Shorts Film Festival, the Accolade Film Festival and was a Finalist in Fantastic Planet Film Festival (Sydney, Australia). She received a nomination for the prestigious Yorkton Film Festival Golden Sheaf Awards for the ground-breaking digital film FAR FROM THE HEART with co-producer Stephen Gardner. She received The City of Owen Sound Cultural Award for Theatre. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General conferred a Victim Services Award of Distinction to her and her company for FAR FROM THE HEART, the unique Forum Theatre production about dating violence in 2008. A specialist in the unique style of Forum Theatre, Joan is featured in the book Playing Boal: Theatre & Therapy, Cohen-Cruz, Ja n and Mady Schutzman, Eds. (New York: Routledge,1994). Joan has produced small and large events, including the Womenfolk Festival (Sauble Beach), Bread and Butter / Du Pain Sur La Planche! International Popular Theatre Festival (Guelph), and Billy Bishop Heritage Days Aviation and Military Heritage Festival (Owen Sound). She was one of the founding members of ASTRO (Association of Summer Theatres Round Ontario), several arts councils, Cobblestone Theatre for street people in Toronto, and Mixed Company's Forum Theatre program. She has facilitated and directed hundreds of community arts projects for a diverse range of organizations including Lakeshore Arts, Mohawk College, Chippewas of Nawash, Ontario Neurotrama Foundation, Age Exchange (London, UK), Southampton Art School, Grey Bruce High Risk Team and Mixed Company Theatre. She has represented Ontario as a cultural ambassador to the UK in the community arts field. She is currently serving on the Advisory Committee regarding community engagement with Ontario Presents , and has served on juries with the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council. Joan is a seven-time recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Artists in Education award. She was a T.A. for the University of Waterloo Department of English in the 1970’s, and has been an arts educator in grades 1 through college since 1986. She was contracted as a teacher trainer by the Scarborough Board of Education to pass on skills of Forum Theatre in 1990-92. She has co-written two educational guides. The Bluewater District Board of Education honoured her work with Awards of Excellence in Education for the projects SNOW WONDER (2008) and BE OUR ALLY (2014). Her academic credits include a B.A., M.A. (English) University of Waterloo and 3 years study in Play & Art Therapy (University of Western Ontario). Not a graduate of any theatre school, she was mentored in theatre by Augusto Boal, Janet Amos, Miles Potter, Richard Rose, Mary Vingoe, Richard Greenblatt and others, apprenticed at The Blyth Festival and Theatre New Brunswick, and has attended many workshops. She is a graduate of Robert McKee’s Story seminar, and an alumnus of ScreenwritingU ProSeries. 

Professional Role(s): 
Playwright. Director
Arts Educator