When Adam and I met on a patio, it felt like old friends catching up. We had never met before that day, but we chatted up a storm and I was completely blown away with his insights, talents, and humility.
Adam Brazier is many things but is self-described as a theatre creator. Basically, that means he does a little bit of everything as it relates to theatre— actor, producer, artistic director, writer, singer. You name it, and Adam does or has done it.
He attended a performing arts high school in Toronto and completed the classical theatre program at George Brown College. From there, Adam spent 25 years as an actor where he performed many lead and supporting roles at prestigious places like the Stratford Festival and Broadway. It turns out that I likely saw Adam perform in at least two productions during the time that I lived in Toronto: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and We Will Rock You.
Adam moved to PEI in 2014 to take on his dream job: the Artistic Director at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. He still proudly leads this team and his enthusiasm for the arts is contagious.
Theatre is one of the many artistic forms that allow stories to be told in provocative and powerful ways. We all have stories to tell. The entire world is comprised of stories. As Adam mentions, “we often see the same stories told over and over again, but our country is filled with rich experiences from a variety of people and backgrounds.”
This understanding and awareness of peoples’ vast experiences in Canada led us to talk about social responsibility and accountability in the arts. We all have a role to play, and we also need to know when it’s time for us to pass the mic.
“Part of what I am interested in and passionate about is expanding the narrative of ‘Canada’ by decolonizing art.
“We need to think about what we are making, how we are producing it, and why we are creating it.”
Allyship has always been important to Adam, and he brings that awareness and action into his work and family life. “We can lend ourselves to each other and empathize with each other’s experiences, even if they do not impact us directly.
“I do my best to teach these responsibilities to my kids as well. When we have these privileges, we also have responsibilities to our communities.”
It’s not easy to balance our roles and responsibilities when it comes to the economy and the community, and we can find ourselves facing many obstacles in our efforts. While some folks shy away from those conflicts and contradictions, Adam and I talked about the incredible opportunities that arise through those obstacles. The missteps and mistakes we make along the way are often seen as failure, but Adam reminds us that it is in those missteps that the greatest learning and growth can happen.
“Some of the greatest works come from there being a problem to solve,” he insists. “When I was younger, we’d sometimes create an obstacle if one didn’t naturally present itself. For example, we’d say ‘we need a challenge so let’s try writing this song without using the letter ‘g’”
This ingenuity has clearly stayed with Adam, and he was quick to put his experiences and insights into action during the pandemic.
Anyone who works in the arts and entertainment world knows that the audience capacity determines the types of shows that are possible. During the pandemic, a significant change in audience capacity meant additional changes to the programming.
“We all learned just how creative we actually are during the pandemic. Everything was changing rapidly, and the best laid plans still required ongoing revision to meet the shifting public health regulations and restrictions.”
Adam appeared unscathed by the all the shifts and changes throughout 2020/2021 and he enthusiastically notes, “I think this is the Confederation Centre’s most exciting year yet!”
“We have these opportunities to share and hear stories that we may not otherwise have been able to and that’s exciting for all of us.”
Adam still dabbles in a variety of artistic pursuits outside his role at the Confed Centre of the Arts, and you can find him collaborating with other Island creatives—as a backup singer for Tara McLean, as a member of an improv troupe, or dreaming about starting a performing arts school on the Island.