TJ Dawe (BFA’97)

Aerial view of the UVic campus.

“The name “TJ Dawe” has become ubiquitous at the Fringe. In any given summer, it seems like not only are we bound to see one of his famous one-man shows, but probably when we search through our programs at the end of various other shows we will undoubtedly discover that he has directed them or been in some way involved.“   (Torontoist, 2008)

The above quote sums up the amazing career of alumnus TJ Dawe, the award-winning and published writer, performer, and director.

Born and raised in Vancouver, TJ came to UVic’s Department of Theatre and graduated in 1997 with a specialization in acting. While still a student, he toured the Canadian Fringe Circuit and did his first solo show shortly thereafter. He has been writing, performing and touring ever since.  Along the way, he developed his directing and dramaturgy skills and has become a sought after collaborator for many other artists’ projects.

His solo plays are must-see shows at Fringes across the country that regularly garner awards and acclaim. In 1999, Tired Cliches won the Vancouver Jessie Richardson Award for Best New Play or Musical - Festival Category. In 2001, the popular show The Slipknot was invited to the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival and in 2002, TJ and this play became the first ever “Spotlight on Alumni” presentation, where theatre grads return to the Phoenix to present their work as part of the mainstage season.

In 2002 TJ paired up with another alumni, Charles Ross (BFA’98), to direct and dramaturge the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy. This show became an outstanding hit, first on the fringe circuit, and now it has been performed in more than 180 cities across four continents. He has since directed two other one-man shows by Charles Ross, as well as collaborating with other alumni like Mark Leiren-Young for the stage adaptation of Never Shoot a Stampede Queen that also featured alumni Zachary Stevenson.

In 2004, Canadian publishing company Brindle and Glass published TJ’s plays Labrador and The Slipknot. In 2013, his play Toothpaste & Cigars (co-written with alumnus Mike Rinaldi (BFA’96)) was adapted into the feature film The F Word, directed by Michael Dowse, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.

While continuing to write, perform, direct and tour plays, TJ has also developed interests in podcasting, blogging and social media. He is a co-creator and has written extensively for the group ideas blog, and delivered a talk at TEDx Manitoba on the related subject of collective intelligence in 2012. (

In 2010, the Canadian Theatre Review published the play script for Totem Figures along with a scholarly article about him and autobiographical theatre where he was referred to as “Canada’s most prolific writer of autobiographical monologues.”

TJ has written at least fourteen plays and, to celebrate over 20 years of participating in Fringe Festivals around the country, he performed six of his one-man shows during the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival. During this festival he premiered his newest play Marathon, which follows the life story of a terrible long distance runner in high school while exploring The Enneagram personality type system.

TJ is returning to the Phoenix with The Slipknot as part of our 50th Anniversary Alumni Festival.