Donovan King

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Donovan King
Born 1972
Montreal, Quebec
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Acting
Known for Experimental theatre artist

Donovan King is a performance activist and experimental theatre artist from Montreal, Quebec 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) King strives to revitalise theatre as an agent for social change through experimental practice, critical theory, and sustained performance.[3][5][6] The OTL designs interconnected theatrical campaigns such as Car Stories,[7][8] 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]

In 2006, King 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][9] OTL staged a counter-performance called “Sinking Neptune” in Annapolis Royal on the day of the “400th Theatre Anniversary” (November 14, 2006),[10][11] in order to protest the original.[12][13]

In 2012, Donovan King was invited to the first World Fringe Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland, a gathering of Fringe administrators from round the world. Participating with a critical eye to corporate manipulation at Fringe Festivals, King published an article following the Congress called " World Fringe Congress to welcome infringement festival" that examines some of the more contentious issues, such unethical corporate sponsorship, pay-to-play fees and the trademarking of the word "Fringe" in Canada.[14]

King was invited back to the 2nd World Fringe Congress in 2014, again in Edinburgh, to deliver a workshop called "A World Fringe Philosophy" where he called on stakeholders to create policies at Fringe festivals to protect artists, spectators and communities from excessive corporate manipulation.[15]

The 3rd World Fringe Congress in 2016 was moved to Montreal and hosted by the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF),[16] an organization that trademarked the word "Fringe" in Canada. King responded by moving the Montreal Infringement Festival from June to November, to coincide with the World Fringe Congress and also created the World Infringement Congress, held immediately after the original event, to examine issues being ignored, such as the "Fringe" trademark.

This time, all potential World Fringe Congress delegates had to apply to participate. The applications of King along with other organizers at the Montreal and Buffalo Infringement Festivals were rejected without explanation, raising questions about exclusion and censorship at Canadian Fringe Festivals.[17] Buffalo burlesque artist Cat McCarthy wrote an article in Buffalo's The Daily Public denouncing the decision and calling for a resolution to the conflict. King responded by inviting CAFF representatives to a Canadian Parliamentary-style debate at the World Infringement Congress regarding their trademark on the word "Fringe".[18]


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. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2007. 
  5. ^ Brownstein, Bill (2005-10-27). "Terror isn't for the tiny". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Sounds Like Canada interview with Jerry Wasserman". CBC Radio One. 2006-11-16. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  7. ^ Delisle, Raina (July 8, 2005). "Wild car ride is more fringe then Fringe" (PDF). Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ Luse, Mimi (September 7, 2004). "Fringe rejects start their own club: The Infringement Festival kicks off to much incircumstantial pomp". McGill Daily. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  9. ^ Pinto, Ken. "Nova Scotia: Birthplace of Canadian Theatre, 1606-2006". Atlantic Fringe. Retrieved January 15, 2009. 
  10. ^ Sloan, Carolyn (November 7, 2006). "Play challenges Eurocentric perspective of 1606 masque". Nova News. Retrieved January 15, 2009. 
  11. ^ Lightstone, Michael (2006-11-14). "Altering the course of history". Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  12. ^ "400-year-old play stirs controversy in Nova Scotia". CBC News. November 14, 2006. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  13. ^ Posner, Michael (2006-11-14). "Is it racist screed or legitimate history?". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  14. ^ "World Fringe Congress to welcome infringement festival". OTL Blog. 2012-08-01. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  15. ^ King, Donovan (2014-08-10). "World Fringe Congress 2014 - A World Fringe Philosophy?". Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  16. ^ "2016 Fringe World Congress to Take Place in Montréal November 2016 Hosted by the Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal". 2015-06-22. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  17. ^ McCarthy, Cat. "Girl in the Buff: Buffalo Infringement Scorned!". The Public. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  18. ^ King, Donovan. "Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals invited to debate its trademark on the word "Fringe"". OTL Blog. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]