Aaron Willis is a Dora nominated director and actor, as well as a sought-after dramaturge. He is the co-Artistic Leader of Convergence Theatre, with Julie Tepperman.
Aaron’s interest as a director is focused on text-based work—from Shakespeare to twentieth-century classics, and on working dramaturgically with playwrights on the development of new Canadian plays. He has directed plays that have appeared on mainstages with 1,000 seats, as well as plays for much smaller audiences in a myriad of surprising venues. He particularly enjoys creating site-specific work for intimate audiences.
Aaron is also an actor, and has performed on stages across Toronto, including: Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Roseneath Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Crows’ Theatre, Shakespeare In The Rough, Theatre Gargantua, Kaeja d’Dance, as well as Fringe/Next Stage and SummerWorks Festival productions.
Aaron co-edited The Canadian Theatre Review issue on Immersive Theatre in Canada (Volume 173, Winter 2018), was a Metcalf Foundation Producing Intern at Canadian Stage, and was the artistic producer for Theatre Passe Muraille’s “Beyond Walls” season. Aaron was elected second vice president at Canadian Actors’ Equity Association for a three year term, having been on the advisory council for the previous three years. He was also a proud co-producer for the political pop-up event The Wrecking Ball.
Aaron continues to be a teaching artist with The Stratford Festival (where he was also a member of the inaugural Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Theatre Direction), and is a regular arts educator with the Luminato Festival, Ryerson University's ACT II Studio, Humber College, Sheridan College, and George Brown Theatre School, where he himself is a graduate. Aaron holds a BA Honours Drama from The University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he was born and raised.
Aaron is currently the Associate Artistic Director of The Musical Stage Company.
For Convergence Theatre, Aaron has directed:
Athabasca (by David S. Craig & Richard Greenblatt)
The Unending (The Stronger by August Strindberg, adapted by Julie Tepperman; Play by Samuel Beckett; What Doesn’t Kill You… by Julie Tepperman; The National Post & Slotkin Letter “Best Production” of 2016)
Passion Play – Part Two (by Sarah Ruhl; co-produced with Outside the March/Sheep No Wool; one of NOW Magazine’s Top Ten Productions of 2013)
YICHUD (Seclusion) by Julie Tepperman (co-directed with Richard Greenblatt; Theatre Passe Muraille’s 2010 & 2011 seasons – one of NOW Magazine’s Top Ten Productions of 2010; was the headlining production for the 2011 Magnetic North Theatre Festival where it received a Capital Critics’ Circle Award nomination for “Best Production”)
The Gladstone Variations – The Tearful Bride (Dora nomination for Outstanding Direction; one of NOW Magazine’s Top Ten Productions of 2007 and the Decade)
AutoShow (Toronto Fringe & Kick and Push Festival; one of NOW Magazine’s Top Ten Productions of 2006; both co-directed with Rebecca Benson)
Other Selected Directing credits:
The Preposterous Predicament of Polly Peel (Polly Peel Collective/Fringe 2018; Awarded “Patrons’ Pick” and “Best Director” in NOW Magazine’s “Fringe Wrap-Up”)
Another Sunrise/Farewell Auschwitz (Electric Bond Opera/Beth Tzedec Congregation)
Meet Cute (Roseneath Theatre – Dora Nomination for Outstanding Direction with co-director Jill Harper)
Stupidhead! A Musical Comedy (performed and written by Katherine Cullen and Britta Johnson; Theatre Passe Muraille, Kick and Push Festival)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (George Brown Theatre School)
Miss Caledonia (by Melody Johnson, co-directed with Rick Roberts: Tarragon Theatre, National Arts Centre, international tour including Edinburgh)
The Thing Between Us (mcguffin company)
The Crucible (Sheridan College/University of Toronto - Theatre Erindale)
Who's Your Daddy? (Crow's Theatre, East End Performance Arts Crawl)
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Baro Theatre)
When The Ice Breaks (Down‘n Out Productions/Campbell House Museum)
Other People (Mutual Friends Co-op; starring Tatiana Maslany)
Selected Assistant Directing credits:
EVITA (The Stratford Festival, directed by Gary Griffin)*
Much Ado About Nothing (The Stratford Festival, directed by Christopher Newton)*
*as part of the inaugural Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Theatre Direction
Selected Acting credits:
The Cherry Orchard (Modern Times/Crow’s Theatre)
Murderers Confess At Christmastime (Outside the March/Summerworks)
YICHUD (Seclusion) (Theatre Passe Muraille/Convergence/Magnetic North Festival)
The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh (Roseneath Theatre)
Zadie’s Shoes (GCTC, Ottawa)
Abattoir (Kaeja d’Dance/Harbourfront Centre)
The Russian Play (Factory Theatre; also SummerWorks and Harbourfront’s World Stage)
Wrecked (Roseneath Theatre – Dora Nomination for Best Performance, Theatre for Young Audiences)
The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare in the Rough)
(nod) (Theatre Gargantua)
Waiting for Lefty (The CO.)
Awake and Sing (The CO.)
Well, (Tarragon Theatre)
The Piper (Factory Theatre/Necessary Angel)
Private Eyes, Reign, Flashpoint
Available upon request.