“Stories are the foundation of everything, including what we think is possible for ourselves and our planet. I aim to unmask the stories that keep us small and create new ones to call us into a different future”
Sunny's inventive and award-winning theatre works have been presented in over 60 cities across the world and translated into 6 languages. His wide range of audiences have spanned international arts festivals goers, queers in underground warehouses and seniors in regional theatres. As a prominent theatre leader, Sunny was selected to write the 2019 World Theatre Day message for Canada. He was awarded the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize 2019 for having a significant impact on performing arts in Ontario.
In April 2023, Sunny launched his theatrical podcast, CLIMATE CHANGE AND OTHER SMALL TALK, in which he brought together over 100 artists in 9 cities across the world to create audio dramas.
Last year, his comedy, EVERY LITTLE NOOKIE, premiered at the Stratford Festival, Canada’s largest theatre. He won a national Canadian comedy award for it. In 2021, he launched a web series adaptation of his project CHILD-ish, where adults speak children’s exact words. It was presented by some of Canada’s most prominent theatres including Soulpepper, Stratford Festival, Oakville Centre for the Arts, the Shadbolt and Prairie Theatre Exchange. Delayed by COVID, the live production of CHILD-ish premieres next year in Vancouver. In 2020, Downstage premiered his comedy, MEN EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS, which was described by the Calgary Herald as “an instant Canadian classic”. He adapted it into a 3-episode audio series in 2021 and it had a second production in 2022 with Zee Zee Theatre in Vancouver.
Sunny has been awarded numerous residencies including: Why Not Theatre (2021), Stratford Festival (2019), the National Arts Centre’s Collaborations (2018-2020), Theatre Passe Muraille (2018/19), Nightswimming (2018), Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources (2017), Yaddo (New York, 2018), Playwrights Theatre Centre (2016), The Arctic Circle onboard a tall ship in the high arctic (2019) and Djerassi (2019).
Sunny is also a proud trans artist.
MORE ABOUT SUNNY
Sunny had an unconventional pathway into theatre, developing a unique approach by using skills learnt from a lifetime of defying conventions. At the time he was beginning his theatre practice, there was no place for him as a trans person in normatively gendered theatre training, so he taught himself through making theatre, then making more – initially putting on shows in living rooms, backyards and warehouses. To afford the rent while he was establishing his practice, at one point he lived in a bathroom with a mattress on top of the bath-tub, careful not to bump the taps!
Later he brought his work and audiences into mainstream spaces, paving the way for other trans voices. Even after he could access cultural institutions, frequently he still chose to take theatre to the people: touring with lighting equipment to rural town halls, youth centres and the like.
He recently completed 3 years of Canada Council multi-project funding – the first individual artist to receive this grant, previously only awarded to companies.
Sunny has over 20 years of producing experience in the arts. He was also the Director of the Emerging Creators Unit from 2015-2018 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – the world's largest and longest running queer theatre.
Born and grown in Australia on Jaggera and Turrabul land, Sunny has lived in Tkaronto (Toronto) since 2011. He is currently also based in Los Angeles.
Photos: Luis Mora. Thanks to the Metcalf Foundation.