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Friday, June 14, 2024

20 questions with Donna Spencer

Meet Vancouver theatre professional Donna Spencer.

As Artistic Producer of the Firehall Arts Centre, Donna next welcomes the company of George F Walker’s Dead Metaphor to the Firehall stage until April 23. A dark comedy, Dead Metaphor is the story of a young ex-sniper, recently returned to Canada from Afghanistan. Struggling to find work in a job market for which his ‘talents’ as a marksman aren’t exactly in demand, when moral values collide, he finds himself persuaded to lend his talents as a sharpshooter, in the ideological war at home.

Meet Donna Spencer

Donna is currently the Artistic Producer of the Firehall Arts Centre and the Producer of the Dancing on the Edge Festival. She is an advocate for inclusivity in the performing arts and created one of Canada’s first culturally diverse theatre production programs at the Firehall in 1985.  She is the winner of two Jessie Richardson Outstanding Direction Awards,  and in 2012 she received the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for Theatre, and the British Columbia Community Achievement Award for her work in dance and theatre.

Donna has directed many productions over the years, has collaboratively created three plays – Walking the Tightrope, Mainstream and Opening Doors – and also wrote a contemporary adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People.

Donna has recently begun working in dance dramaturgy and will work with Wen Wei Dance in that capacity during the next season.  She co-founded the Dancing on the Edge Festival of contemporary dance in 1988 and has programmed 27 successful annual festivals since then as well as programming thirty-three seasons of presentations and productions for the Firehall Arts Centre.

20 Questions with Donna Spencer

1. Your first job.

Waitress at the Lamplighter Café.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

To host a children’s program on television.

3. Your pet peeve.

People that whine.

4. Your hero.

Rachel Carson.

5. Your biggest indulgence.


6. One thing no one knows about you.

If I tell you then someone will know.

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

Good books, great wine and a sun hat.

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

Compassionate and silly.

9. If you were not pursuing a career in theatre, what would you be doing right now?

Writing my great Canadian novel.

10. Hero or villain?

Donald Trump.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

Gratitude is better than attitude.

12. Your favourite playwright.


13. The last book you read.

Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water.

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

The Road Runner – he never gives up and survives whatever hits him.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

Be Here Now!

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

Joan of Arc.

17. Your idea of happiness.

Being with those I love.

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

My sons.

19. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20-year old self?

Never forget that you are fabulous!

20. To be or not to be?

To BE!

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