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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

20 questions with Anoushka Ratnarajah

Meet Out On Screen's co-artistic director

Meet Out On Screen’s co-artistic director, Anoushka Ratnarajah.

Meet Anoushka Ratnarajah

Anoushka is a queer, mixed race femme of Sri Lankan and British ancestry, and an interdisciplinary and transnational artist and arts organizer. She has worked as a producer, performer, writer, facilitator and arts organizer with cultural and arts organizations in Vancouver, Montreal and New York.

Anoushka is invested in creating and supporting work that shines a light on histories and contemporary stories that are underrepresented in mainstream theatre and performance, and in collaborating and creating work with other women artists of colour, other queer and femme artists, and trans artists. Anoushka’s solo written and performance work focuses on her queer, femme, mixed race body and identity as a site of contradiction, marked by histories of violence and silence, but also a canvas for play, questioning and empowerment.

Anoushka is the co-artistic director at Out On Screen, which produces the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. This year the festival celebrates 30 years of queer film programming, from August 9-19th in various venues throughout Vancouver. Visit for more information.

20 Questions with Anoushka Ratnarajah

1. Your first job.

Theatre usher, cleaning up fake blood from Evil Dead The Musical.

2. The job you always wanted as a child?

Horse whisperer.

3. Your pet peeve.

Being trapped inside of pack of people walking slowly on a sidewalk.

4. Your hero.

Right now it’s every woman calling out all the predatory men and taking them down.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

Using Elaine Benes memes to express my inner life and, also, cheese.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

Some people do know this, but I was once a child model until the age of six.

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

Books, my childhood dog, and an extensive playlist of 90’s hip hop/musical soundtracks.

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


9. If you were not the co-artistic director for Out On Screen, what would you be doing right now?

I’d probably still be working as a contractor for arts organizations and working on my own writing and performance and sleeping way more.

10.  Hero or villain?

I guess it’s up to the people around me to decide which one I am.

11.  Your life’s motto/mantra.

If you made a mistake and nobody died, you don’t have to obsess about it for 50 years, but you probably will.

12.  Your favourite filmmaker.

Right now it’s Ryan Coogler, who made Fruitvale Station, Creed and Black Panther.

13.  The last film you watched.

Rafiki, a new queer film out of Kenya which was stunning. Or maybe it was Infinity Wars? Clearly I have a wide film palate.

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

Lisa Simpson. We’re basically the same person already.

15.  What will it say on your grave marker?

No grave! I want to be scattered into the wind. But if there was one, it would probably say, “Classic over-achiever, was never satisfied by anything she ever did.”

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

Wanda Sykes and Maya Rudolph. Or Lin Manuel Miranda, and all we do is sing the entire Hamilton soundtrack the whole night.

17.  Your idea of happiness.

Being near an ocean in a warm place, and spending 80 percent of my time only thinking about and making art, and the other 20 percent eating delicious food and laughing with the people I love.

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

Chill out and grow out your hair.

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

That I have meaningful friendships that have lasted decades.

20.  To be or not to be?

I think Shakespeare is over-read and overrated and we should all be reading more Toni Morrison.

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