DIRECTOR - PLAYWRIGHT - DRAMATURG
Aaron will be directing Liz Flahive's FROM UP HERE at the University of Winnipeg in the spring of 2023.
Tablework Workshop with Made In Exile Theatre
Photo taken by Rinchen Dolma
Headshot on cover page by Graham Isador
Aaron Jan is a Hamilton born, Toronto based playwright, bookwriter, director and dramaturg. He has worked as a creator with Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Native Earth Performing Arts, Theatre Aquarius, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Boca Del Lupo, The School of Performance at Toronto Metropolitan University, York University, Theatre Sheridan and Theatre Erindale. Aaron is a member of the critically acclaimed, Silk Bath Collective, whose production of Yellow Rabbit enjoyed a sold out run as a part of Soulpepper’s 2018/2019 season. He is the 2019 winner of the Ken McDougall directing award, the 2021 co-winner of the Rita Joe Playwriting Award, a 2021 co-recipient of Musical Stage Company's Aubrey and Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals, a 2021 Johanna Protege Recepient, and the 2022 winner of Tarragon Theatre's Urjo Kareda Award for Emerging Artists.
As a director, I love creating vivid and stunning worlds for audiences to lose themselves in. My direction engages the imagination, drawing story from the text and realizing it in spectacular ways, including genre bending worldbuilding, visual choreography, stunning transitions and desperately high stakes. I draw inspiration from pop culture, anime, video games and "unstageable" concepts that I realize in low fi ways through my productions.
As a playwright, I'm fascinated by re-contextualizing villains as protagonists. I'm interested in second and third generation Chinese-Canadians and what stories we have to tell beyond migration. I'm interested in the ugliness that can come with that - the dirt, the shame and the laughter. I seek to disrupt the model minority in my work. Let's be villains together!
As a dramaturg and mentor, I am passionate about new play development and nurturing young in craft voices. I believe in the potential of new artists, and have been fortunate to be invited to teach at institutions such as Sheridan College, U of T, The University of Windsor, Humber, The Toronto Fringe, Hart House, York University, Laurier, the Paprika Festival, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir High School, the Musical Stage Company and Made in Exile theatre company.
I'm fascinated by bad people trying to do good things. I love impossible situations, awkward encounters and high stakes scenarios. My plays dream big and put my underdogs, loners and outsiders in very strange worlds with unexpected consequences. I'm interested in positioning villains as heroes and challenging my audience to root for them.
DRAMATURGY, TEACHING AND PRODUCING
I love new play development. I love the feeling of discovery that comes with it, that big AHA! moment. I love the collaboration that happens when folks are dreaming of a new story.
My process as a dramaturg is led by the artists, as is my producing and mentorship. I want to empower the artists I'm accountable for, so we can all get to the truth and specificity of the work.. My dramaturgy mentor said that the dramaturg is the advocate for the play that could be, which is something I've always taken to heart. Below are some projects I've been lucky enough to have been a part of (and a few that are still cooking!). Please click on them to learn more!
Let's make something together!
I love working with new people and am always looking for new collaborators!
Shoot me a message, let's have coffee and let's build something cool!
Photo of Silk Bath Collective by Fio Yang