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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

20 questions with TJ Dawe

Meet teacher, writer, musician and theatre artist TJ Dawe.

TJ Dawe next appears in Marathon as part of The Fringe Presents series that brings programming outside the Festival. Based on his short stint running track and field as a means of connecting with his high-school-principal-dad, Dawe links his actions and emotions to his understanding of the Enneagram, and his Fringe career—giving audiences insight into the man who’s been delighting Fringe crowds since 1998’s Tired Clichés. Marathon plays Studio 1398 (1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island) March 17-29. Visit for tickets and more information.

Meet TJ Dawe

TJ Dawe was actually born and raised in Vancouver. Like, for real. He went to school in Mt Pleasant before it was a cool part of town. He makes his living writing, directing and performing new theatre. When he’s not on stage or on tour, he’s biking the seawall, doing tai chi at the Roundhouse, eating at the Wallflower and picking salmon berries. He teaches a course on developing solo shows at Langara. He and his girlfriend Lindsay run workshops on making creativity a part of your everyday life, whether you consider yourself a professional artist or not. TJ puts this into  practice by playing guitar and singing at the open stage Lindsay hosts at the Cottage Bistro on Main. He likes the rain, and walks around in it without an umbrella, a hat or a hood.

20 Questions with TJ Dawe

1. Your first job.

Paperboy for the Vancouver Sun in Burnaby. If that doesn’t count, then worker bee in a packaging plant, putting caps on bottles, putting bottles in boxes.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

Movie star. Second choice: cartoonist.

3. Your pet peeve.

People talking to each other at the movies, people texting at the theatre, people filming concerts with their iPhones. There are people around you, dammit!!

4. Your hero.

Pete Seeger. Fearless, creative, productive, with unblemished integrity.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

Graphic novels. It is very difficult to be in the neighbourhood of RX Comics and Pulp Fiction Books without dropping a lot of money.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

I’m really self-conscious about my round little belly.

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

Books, writing materials, food.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.


9. If you were not a performer what would you be doing right now?

Working a day job and at quitting time: writing, writing, writing. Just to stay sane. Even if no one was reading it, much less paying me.

10. Hero or villain.

Hero. In my mind, I’m Luke Skywalker.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

How does this fit into the bigger picture?

12. Your favourite playwright.

Daniel MacIvor. Once I drove to Calgary to see him do one of his one man shows.

13. The last book you read.

“I, Claudius” by Robert Graves. A reread. So good. Rereading a favourite book is like enjoying a bottle of fine wine.

14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be, and why?

The little green alien on Futurama. In my mind I’m also low status, and terrified, and weird like him.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

This’ll do for now.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Joseph Campbell.

17. Your idea of happiness.

The moment when I get a new creative idea. All four of my limbs go straight and my face makes the cartoon-light-bulb-over-the-head look.

18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty year old self?

Keep writing, reading, seeing stuff, listening, thinking, paying attention, connecting the dots.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

Having built up a sizeable body of work, which keeps growing. Close second: having a full head of hair at forty.

20. To be or not to be?

Oh, to be, I guess.

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