Emily Dix is Bygone Theatre’s Artistic Director and one of the founding members of the company. She is directing “Dial M For Murder” as well as working on costumes alongside her mother, Karen Henderson, and managing all the social media and promotions elements.
Emily is a Toronto based actor and director who has also dabbled in costume design, makeup and stage management. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, drama and cinema studies, and had the opportunity to work with on-campus drama groups, including Victoria College Drama, St. Michael’s College and the UC Follies. Emily has been passionate about theatre since a young age, and in 2012 furthered her dream by founding Bygone Theatre along with current Producer, Matt McGrath, and former Producer Tom Beattie. Emily is thrilled to be directing Bygone’s second major production, “Dial M For Murder”, and looks forward to the same sort of success she saw with January’s “Doubt: A Parable” and the “Retro Radio Hour” fundraiser Bygone hosted in May.
1. How did you get started with Directing?
While the first real shows I directed where in high school, I think I was always sort of drawn to directing. I remember being 4 or 5 years old and making up a script to act out with the other kids in the neighbourhood, insisting on following the lines and blocking. In grade 4 I wrote and directing a “happy retirement play” based on Snow White for my teacher- hopefully my style has advanced since then, but I think it was always an area I had a passion for.
2. What is your favourite part of the creative process?
I love discussion. There’s nothing better than being with a good cast and working through a text. When you have great actors (like I’m lucky to have here) you don’t need to over-analyze things because they have great instincts, and so I love to ask questions and see all the great ideas they come up with. It’s interesting and an amazing bonding experience as well.
3. What are some challenges you face working as a Director?
It is a LOT of work. I’ve never just directed. I’m always doing a dozen things at once, in this case, working on costumes, designing the poster, advertising the show, booking the venue, creating lobby displays, updating social media, dealing with production issues, and then of course all the usual directing roles. It takes up a huge chunk of your time, it really is like a 20 hour- 40 hour a week commitment, depending on how close you are to the show. So while I love doing it, it can be really draining.
4. Any advice for other people looking to pursue Directing?
I’m not sure how qualified I am to give device on this, as I’m still working at an amateur level, but I guess I’d say just keep doing it. Everyone starts somewhere, and every play (regardless of how small or bad it may seem) is good experience, ultimately. If you can’t find shows that other people want you to direct, produce your own! That’s what I did and so far it’s going great!
5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M For Murder”?
I love seeing it all come together. I’m the only person who sees the actors through the entire process, from when they first walk in the door at auditions to when they first perform on opening night. It’s always an amazing and very rewarding experience. Dress rehearsals, while stressful, are always the best, because you finally see them there in their costumes with the set, and everything falls into place – it’s awesome.