Artistic Director

Laurie Steven is an award-winning director, writer, and founding artistic director of Odyssey Theatre. She builds imaginative worlds to take audiences on journeys that stir creativity and bring a fresh perspective to the human experience.

Laurie’s medium is mask and the Italian artform of Commedia dell’Arte, which she has enriched with bouffon, puppetry and international forms of dance-theatre. Incorporating these arts, she has staged a ribald comedy of Goldoni, a comedy of wit by Marivaux, a romance by Benavente, comic fantasies by Gozzi, social and political satires by French neoclassical playwrights and the tragicomedies of Molière, Giraudoux and García Lorca.

In 1995, she began collaborating with Asian dance-drama choreographers on original work inspired by folktales. These collaborations in Peking Opera, Indian Kathakali and Indonesian Wayang Wong led to groundbreaking productions, including The Wedding, for which Laurie won the Capital Critics’ Circle Best Director award.

Laurie has written the scenarios for and directed the collaborative development of plays exploring themes of class conflict, empowerment, sibling rivalry, and social justice, including the madcap comedy Moonlight Mischief, the comic fantasy The Czar’s Daughter in Law Was a Frog, the adventure Kamalay and the comic drama Turandot. A Guy Named Joe, her first sole-authored play, is a contemporary social satire about the vicissitudes of homelessness. Laurie has also co-translated and adapted seven Spanish and French theatre classics.

In 2017, the Ontario Arts Council awarded Laurie a Chalmers Fellowship to explore myth and folktale in the contemporary world. This led to the creation of The Other Path, a podcast series featuring original fantasy audio dramas set in the contemporary world. Laurie also directed season one’s five audio plays.

She has delivered in-depth workshops on a wide range of subjects, including mask-based acting; Commedia; writing, directing and dramaturgy for physical theatre forms; and artistic directing for independent theatres. As the leader of Odyssey’s new play creation program, Laurie has directed more than 30 play development workshops and brought 29 new plays and original translation-adaptations to full production.

Laurie is currently writing A Girl With No Hands and episodes of The Other Path podcast’s second season, collaborating with members of the Sri Lankan State Dance ensemble on a co-production of The Blue Demon and launching Odyssey’s digital mask museum.