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Dawe was born in Vancouver on August 22, 1974. He studied theatre at the University of Victoria, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1997.
Dawe has worked extensively in fringe theatre festivals in Canada and the US. Other festival appearances include the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, Piccolo Spoleto, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Adelaide Fringe.
Dawe wrote and performed the monologues Tired Cliches, Labrador, The Slipknot, Tracks (adapted from Jack London’s memoir The Road), A Canadian Bartender at Butlin’s, The Curse of the Trickster, Maxim and Cosmo, Totem Figures, Lucky 9, Medicine, and Marathon. He co-wrote the plays 52 Pick-up (with Rita Bozi), Toothpaste and Cigars (with Mike Rinaldi), The Power of Ignorance (with Chris Gibbs) and Dishpig (with Greg Landucci). He adapted The Doctor is Sick from the novel by Anthony Burgess. He directed The One Man Star Wars Trilogy, One Man Lord of the Rings, Teaching As You Like It, Teaching the Fringe, Rant Demon, Local Celebrity, Mr Fox and The Big Oops.
A Canadian Bartender at Butlin’s was broadcast on Bravo Canada, and on CBC Radio.
The Slipknot, Labrador and The Power of Ignorance have been published by Brindle and Glass, as well as a Power of Ignorance humor book (also cowritten with Chris Gibbs). Toothpaste and Cigars, A Canadian Bartender at Butlin’s and Tracks were published by 13th Tiger Press. Totem Figures was published in the Winter 2010 issue of Canadian Theatre Review, and is used as the text in an English class at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.
Dawe has written extensively for the group ideas blog BeamsandStruts.com, and delivered a talk at TEDx Manitoba on the subject in February 2012. He has also released numerous podcasts on the subject of personal influence (Totem Figures).
Dawe is working on a stage adaptation of the blog PostSecret, with founder Frank Warren, Justin Sudds and Kahlil Ashanti.
His show Medicine chronicles his experiences with Dr. Gabor Mate and the psychotropic shamanic plant medicine ayahuasca. He has been joined onstage by Dr. Mate for talkbacks after some performances.
His play Toothpaste and Cigars (cowritten with Mike Rinaldi) was adapted into the feature film The F Word (2013), directed by Michael Dowse, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. Dawe and Rinaldi have also written historical comedies for the Wildhorse Theatre in Fort Steele, BC, a spoof history of the city of Vancouver, and the Christmas play Old Nick for the Caravan Farm Theatre.
Dawe is directing Mark Leiren-Young’s stage adaptation of his memoir Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, and directed Leiren-Young’s solo show Greener Than Thou.
Dawe maintains a strong interest in the Enneagram of Personality and has presented at conferences on the subject.
- Blinov, Paul (August 14, 2008). "TJ Dawe - Lord of the Fringe". Vue Weekly. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Walker, Johnnie (July 9, 2008). "Fringe : The World according to TJ Dawe". Torontoist. Gothamist LLC. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Moore, John (May 10, 2009). "52 Pick Up". The Denver Post. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Wilson, Tracy. "How the One Man Star Wars Trilogy Works". Howstuffworks. Discovery Communications. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- "TEDxManitoba - TJ Dawe: An Experiment in Collective Intelligence". March 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-01.