Lianna is currently the playwright and principle performer in Blood of Our Soil
March 6 - 16, 2019 at Tarragon Theatre - Extra Space
Lianna Makuch is a second generation Ukrainian Canadian theatre artist. Lianna has enjoyed a diverse career working as an actor, creator, instructor, and artistic producer. Her main artistic ventures have been as an Artistic Associate and Producer with Pyretic Productions. Lianna has managed audience outreach and communications for several Edmonton arts festivals. And she co-founded, manages, and teaches at a children’s summer theatre camp, Spark! Youth Camp, which provides affordable arts education to youth in Edmonton’s Alberta Avenue Community. She is the playwright and principle performer in Blood of Our Soil, which won the ACUA-URDC Award (2018), the inaugural Rena Hanchuk & Yaroslav Kitynskyy Artist Award (2018), and was nominated for four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards (Edmonton's premiere theatre awards), including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production. Lianna was recognized as a Top 30 Under 30 Artist by the Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts. Lianna is a graduate of the BFA Acting Program at the University of Alberta.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
Looking back, I think I was always a “theatre person” at heart. As a kid, I would take drama lessons and my drama teachers would call me a ham. Looking back on home videos, I’d always be performing for the camera trying to get my dad (the videographer’s) attention. The first time I realized that theatre was actually something I could pursue was in high school. I had planned to do something like law in University, and it was my drama teacher who told me that she felt like I had the potential to make a living doing theatre. I am grateful to her for believing in me like that – but sometimes, I daydream about the rich lawyer that I could have been….
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
I’ve had a lot of really great people who have mentored me. Mike Kennard, of the horror-clown duo Mump and Smoot, took me on as a performer apprentice during their national tour of Mump and Smoot, CRACKED. The whole team really took me under their wing. I got to be a part of their development process from the ground up, which was an incredible experience for me as I was entering my first year of theatre school, and as an aspiring creator.
Most recently artistic colleagues with Pyretic Productions, our production company, have been invaluable in shaping my voice as a producer and as a creator, in particular with writing Blood of Our Soil. My friend and colleague Matthew MacKenzie is the script dramaturge my life-partner Patrick Lundeen is the production director. They both travelled with me to Ukraine to research and develop this new work. They’ve both been invaluable in making me believe in myself as a creator, and encouraging to go deeper and further into my work as a writer.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
We are in our second week of rehearsals for Blood of Our Soil. It’s been really inspiring to see our creative team come together and believe in the project. Three years ago when I first started developing the play, I had no idea it would grow into this massive production employing almost 20 artists. It’s really inspiring to see how people can bring things out in the script that I didn’t even know were there… and I wrote it! And to bring elements of the story to life in a way I never imagined.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?
I have a soft spot for dumplings. Therefore, I have very strong feelings toward Mother’s Dumplings on Spadina.
What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?
New work! People taking risks and creating new and exciting stories. Sharing with new and diverse audiences.