Laura Astwood-Artistic Director
Laura Astwood is a creator and performer of original theatre works.
As the Artistic Director of the Ottawa Stilt Union, she wrote and directed Beowulf and The Girl Who Was Eaten By The Dark and directed This Is A Very Old Story/C’est une vieille histoire. In June 2010 she collaborated with 5 other artists in the creation and performance of Six: At Home, a site-specific work at the Laurier House during the Ottawa Fringe Festival.
Laura appeared in the NAC’s Snow Show 2007, East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon, playing the Bear and the North Wind. She spent seven winters, from 1997 to 2003, with British Columbia’s Caravan Farm Theatre, developing her skills as a snow-stilter in their annual outdoor Christmas sleigh-ride shows, playing the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in A Christmas Carol, Rolf the Ganger in The Feathered Cloak and The Dark Witch and the White Witch in The Winter Rose.
Laura has an ongoing collaboration with the North American Cultural Laboratory (NaCl), based in Highland Lake New York, with whom she has worked off and on for several years. She created a stilt character for their outdoor show Invisible Neighborhood, which played in parks in NYC and on tour in Eastern Europe in 2002. She more recently collaborated with a group of American and Canadian performers on The Mystery of Lakewood House – a collectively created, site-specific work created and performed at NaCl’s home in the Catskills. In 2002 Laura wrote and performed the solo show The Garden, directed by Karin Randoja and based on the letters of Barbara Gosling-Gray.
Laura’s background includes a three-year performance apprenticeship with Primus Theatre in Winnipeg from 1994-1997. With Primus director Richard Fowler, Laura participated in a three-summer community play project, C’era una voltain Montagna… in Nocelle, a village in southern Italy, and created a bilingual English/Italian performance, Una donna che conosco/A Woman I Know, with Italian actress Alessandra di Castri, directed by Fowler.
Laura also did a two-year stint as a therapeutic clown with Dr. Clown! in Montréal, working in hospitals and extended care facilities, visiting with and playing with hospitalized children and adults. She is currently Dr Right of the bilingual therapeutic clown duo Clown Tendresse/Clown Therapy, based in Ottawa-Gatineau.