Donovan King

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Donovan King
Born 1972
Montreal, Québec
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Acting
Known for Experimental theatre artist

Donovan King is a performance activist and experimental theatre artist from Montreal, Canada who juggles acting, teaching, directing, dramaturgy, and theory,[1] and is a columnist for Indie Theatre Times and Review.[2]


King holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Calgary, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama in Education from Concordia University, a Bachelor of Education from McGill University and a Diplome d’Études Collegiales in Acting from John Abbott College.[1] He is the author of Optative Theatre: A Critical Theory, and he facilitates various activist campaigns and drama classes in Montreal.[3] He has been known to collaborate with other theatre activists internationally such as Augusto Boal, Andrew Boyd of the Billionaires for Bush, Reverend Billy (aka Bill Talen), Stephen Duncombe, Larry Bogad, Kathryn Blume, Kurt Schneiderman, Jason C. McLean, Gary St. Laurent, and many others.[1][4]

As the co-founder of the Optative Theatrical Laboratories (OTL) and creator of the international Infringement Festival,[5] King strives to revitalise theatre as an agent for social change through experimental practice, critical theory, and sustained performance.[3][6][7] The OTL designs interconnected theatrical campaigns such as Car Stories,[8][9] that target instances of oppression, and employs a diversity of cutting-edge activist performance techniques: culture-jamming, Viral Theatre, Sousveillance Theatre, meme-warfare, Electronic Disturbance Theater, and Global Invisible Theatre, to name a few.[3]

King recently took issue with racism inherent in what has been called “Canada’s First Play” – the 1606 The Theatre of Neptune (Le Théâtre de Neptune) by Marc Lescarbot,[3][10] and staged a counter-performance called “Sinking Neptune” in Annapolis Royal on the day of the “400th Theatre Anniversary” (November 14, 2006),[11][12] in order to protest the original.[13][14]


Partial directing[edit]

  • Grease', JPPS, Montreal, 2006
  • The Lysistrata Project, OTL, Montreal, 2003
  • Miss Julie: a theatrical experiment into the psychosis of a. strindberg, University of Calgary, 2000
  • Waiting For God, Nickel & Dime Productions, Calgary, 1999
  • Call Me, Infinitheatre, Montréal, 1999
    • MECCA Award – Best Production (semi-professional)
  • Godspell, Lewisham Operatic Society, London, England, 1996
  • Mrs. Fieldstone’s Water Retention Problem, Greene Pressure Theatre, Montréal, 1995
  • The Tinker’s Wedding, Wahoo Family Theatre, 1994
  • The Misanthrope, Wahoo Family Theatre, 1993
  • Tiger Mouth, Kindergarten Players, Montréal, 1993


  • My Grad Date (2004)
  • Death by Latté (2004)
  • The Legend of Jackie Robinson (2003)

Partial performance theater[edit]

  • La Grande Masquerade, Groupe-Conseil L’Entracte, 2007–present
  • Les Fantômes du Vieux-Montréal, GuidaTour, 2006–present
  • Sinking Neptune, OTL, Montreal, 2005–2006
  • Car Stories, OTL, Montreal, 2001–present
  • Wal*Jam, OTL, Montreal, 2003
  • Quartier des contre-Spectacles, OTL/Place des Arts, Montreal, 2003
  • Stones Scandal, Galway Arts Festival, Ireland, 2001
  • FJOLZ!, Elvagel Performance Festival, Elsinore, Denmark, 2001
  • CorporACT, Auckland, New Zealand, 1997–1998
  • Monsterworld Inc., Chateau Greystoke, Montréal, 1994

Partial traditional theater[edit]

  • The Captives, Knebworth House, England
  • Ever After, Out Of Our Heads & One Yellow Rabbit, Calgary
  • The Tempest, Stage 2 Productions, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Anne of Green Gables, Montreal Concordia Players & ACT, Hong Kong
  • Manhattan, Je Vous Dis, Theatre 21st Century, Montréal
  • Who Ran Off With Dr. Seuss?, Wahoo Family Theatre Co., Montréal Fringe Fest.
  • The Misadventures…., Concordia University Theatre Department
  • Rising of the Moon, Wahoo Family Theatre Co., Montréal
  • St. George & the Dragon, Christmas Mummering Company, Montréal
  • L’Avare (The Miser)', Cleante Thé à l’âtre, Montréal Fringe Festival


  • A Dramaturgical Toolbox for Sinking Neptune, Optative Free Press, 2005
  • Optative Theatre: a critical theory for challenging Oppression and Spectacle, University of Calgary, 2004
  • The Warders Bible, Vardon PLC, London, 1997
  • Strategies to enhance live entertainments at London and York Dungeons, Vardon PLC, London, 1996
  • Doing Theatre in Montreal, Quebec Drama Federation, 1995


  1. ^ a b c "Donovan King bio at Theatrummundi". Theatrummundi. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  2. ^ "Donovan King". Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d Worton, Maria (2006-04-19). "Optative Theatrical Laboratories". Montreal Serai. Retrieved January 3, 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ Beljaars, Irkar (2006-04-19). "Native Solidarity News interview". CKUT. Retrieved November 27, 2007. 
  5. ^ Brownstein, Bill (2004-06-20). "A cultural kaleidoscope on the Main". Montreal Gazette cover story. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ Brownstein, Bill (2005-10-27). "Terror isn't for the tiny". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Sounds Like Canada interview with Jerry Wasserman". CBC Radio One. 2006-11-16. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  8. ^ Lawson, Catherine (June 26, 2004). "Slip into the backseat for some unusual Car Stories". Ottawa Citizen cover story. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  9. ^ Luse, Mimi (September 7, 2004). "Fringe rejects start their own club: The Infringement Festival kicks off to much incircumstantial pomp". McGill Daily. Retrieved May 22, 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ Pinto, Ken. "Nova Scotia: Birthplace of Canadian Theatre, 1606-2006". Atlantic Fringe. Retrieved January 15, 2009. 
  11. ^ Sloan, Carolyn (November 7, 2006). "Play challenges Eurocentric perspective of 1606 masque". Nova News. Retrieved January 15, 2009. 
  12. ^ Lightstone, Michael (2006-11-14). "Altering the course of history". Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  13. ^ "400-year-old play stirs controversy in Nova Scotia". CBC News. November 14, 2006. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  14. ^ Posner, Michael (2006-11-14). "Is it racist screed or legitimate history?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 

External links[edit]