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Visionary Actor-Director Mitchell Cushman: Seven Interesting Facts

Shrijan Sun Jan 05 2020
Visionary Actor-Director Mitchell Cushman: Seven Interesting Facts

Mitchell Cushman is an actor, director, producer, playwright, and teacher dedicated to the art of performance theatre. A London-native, he was raised in Canada and cut his teeth in Canadian theatre. He would gain worldwide recognition for his highly acclaimed immersive theatre plays. 

We look at seven facts about the multiple Nora Awards-winner and playwright extraordinaire Mitchell Cushman.

7. Founding Co-Artistic Director Of The Outside the March Immersive Theatre Experience

Mitchell founded the Outside the March immersive theatrical experience in 2009. With co-founder Simon Bloom, Mitchell set out to bring site-specific immersive theatre experience to Canadian mainstream. 

Mr. Burns being performed at Outside the March
Mr. Burns being performed at Outside the March

Source: Mooney On Theatre

He is the visionary behind such immersive plays like The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale and Lessons in Temperament. He directed the 2018 play Jerusalem, which went on to win 7 Dora Awards.

6. Born In England, Raised In Canada

Cushman was born in London, England, but was raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Most of his life was spent in Canada, his alma mater was Canadian, and he made a name for himself in theatres in Canada.

5. His Childhood Influence Was His Father

Cushman was born into a household where the theatre was integral to their livelihood. His father was in the theatre business and took a young Mitchell along with him to plays multiple times a week.  

In an interview with Toronto Arts Report, Cushman said of his childhood:

"I feel really lucky to have grown up in a household that was passionate about theatre. It was my Dad’s line of work, and I grew up going to the theatre two or three times a week at the time, with exposure to work being done in this country and in other countries."

4. Pioneer Of Theatrical Films Like Vitals And Dim The Fluorescents 

Mitchell Cushman has a laundry list of acclaimed plays to his name. A visionary, he understood his craft very well.         

Official poster for Dim the Fluorescents
Official poster for Dim the Fluorescents

Source: IMDb

His prowess was perhaps never more apparent than in his theatrical films like 2016's Vitals and 2017's Dim the Fluorescents.

3. Directed His First Play While In The Tenth Grade 

Cushman said in the interview that he decided early on that he wanted to make a living in theatre, but did not know in which capacity. It wasn't until the tenth grade that his passion for the theatre ignited.

As part of his high school program, Cushman was part of the co-op program with the Tarragon Theatre.

He was one of seven high school students to write a play for the Tarragon Theatre. This turned out to be his first taste of directing a play.

2. Graduate of University of King's College

Once his passion was ignited, Cushman would not be denied. Cushman attended the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.   

He attributes his time at the college as the impetus behind pursuing his career full-time. He was heavily involved in the student-run theatre community, the King's Theatrical Society. His love for theatre was solidified while working with like-minded people and being surrounded by unfettered creativity.

1. Winner Of The Ken McDougal Award And The Toronto Theatre Critics’ Award 

A visionary of the stature of Mitchell Cushman, it is not surprising that he has racked up numerous awards and accolades throughout his run. 

Among his litany of awards, his most distinguished honors include his Dora Award win for his direction in the 2018 play Jerusalem. 

Mitchell Cushman hard at work
Mitchell Cushman hard at work

Source: Now Toronto

He has also won Dora Awards for production in the plays Vitals and Mr. Marmalade. He is also the recipient of three Toronto Theatre Critics’ Awards: a direction award for Terminus, and production awards for Terminus and Mr. Burns.

He has also taken home the Ken McDougal Award for contributions to theatre.  

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