Actor and Musician
Currently based in Vancouver
B.Sc. (Combined Hons Chemistry & Theatre), Dalhousie University and the University of King's College, 2003
Upon finishing my degree at Dal, I spent a year continuing to work with Dr. Alison Thompson on the project to which my Honours Thesis contributed. My passion, however, has always been in the performing arts, much to the detriment of both my Chemistry career and perhaps the stability of my bank account. I left Halifax in 2005, in pursuit of acting opportunities, briefly in Toronto and then in Vancouver. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to work with a number of excellent groups including Vancouver's Arts Club, in the Canadian Premiere of the Tony-Award winning play, The History Boys. Apart from this, I have spent just over half of the last three years working with Green Thumb Theatre, one of Canada's strongest voices in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences, touring a production called CRANKED. We have traveled all over BC, across Canada, and around the world with this production, which uses hip hop and spoken word to educate teenagers about the dangers of crystal methamphetamine. Fall 2009 saw the conclusion of our third and final tour of the show, which began with a run Off-Broadway in New York, and finished up in the Studio Theatre of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia.
Chemistry in Action
You cannot imagine the look on people's faces when, after seeing me perform, they discover that I have a chemistry degree. They range in expression from shock and awe, to confusion, to startled bemusement, to complete disbelief. I also feel that, aside from the pleasure of a quirky anecdote, it is useful to any human being to be as well-rounded as possible because you never know when your hidden skill-set will become useful. Touring a performance about methamphetamine, for example, and having to field questions from teenagers after every performance, my knowledge of chemistry helped me to infuse my explanations with the authenticity of a scientific background.
One of the greatest things for me about chemistry is something I learned from my thesis advisor, Dr. Alison Thompson. She encouraged us all to understand that chemistry is a fundamentally creative science. Of course, as with any science, there is a core of literature and history and extant knowledge that has to be learned, but in chemistry (particularly synthetic chemistry, in which I specialized for my Bachelor's) there is so much room beyond all that for creative problem-solving. In many situations there is no wrong answer, at least in theory. This, I think, is an extremely valuable life lesson – something that can be applied to any field. There are many paths to any outcome, and success comes down to figuring out what options you have, and trying them out till you find one that works.