Coffee with Allison Grant

Article Written by Stephen Bell- Marketing-Development @coffeescreative

Follow us on Twitter! Like us on Facebook, and check us out at


At Coffeeshop Creative we are not only passionate about designing and developing a unique web presence for our clients, but also sharing their story. We are super excited to continue our new series of blogs- Grabbing Coffee. Today’s feature, director and choreographer, Allison Grant!  We recently caught up with Allison, discussed her story, and asked her questions while designing her upcoming website launch.


So sit back, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and get ready to meet director and choreographer – Allison Grant


AG jumps over Ephesus

Allison trying out the Roman theatre in Ephesus

What inspires you with operatic directing?


When I travel I am inspired by exotic locations, the people, the scenery, the theatre and dance, the art, the politics  and especially, the history.  Indonesia, Egypt, Italy, Cambodia, Turkey and Thailand are all places where I’ve taken movement classes or seen performances which still light a fire in me.
I am also inspired by great directors. A few years ago I took a director’s workshop with the incomparable Yael Farber, a South African writer and director (Nirbahya, Mies Julie, a visceral production at the Old Vic of The Crucible are some of her internationally acclaimed works).  She changed the way I look at every single piece of theatre.  Everything is political. Even if you are doing “Cats” in South Africa, (especially if you are doing “Cats” in South Africa…) it is a political statement. Finding the political hook in an opera or a play and how that relates to your audience is the key.

Caracalla Allison Grant
Allison at Caracalla in Rome, seeing Madama Butterfly

Being a dancer yourself, how do you mix choreography and movement into your stage direction?

I love the elegance and ritual of everyday movement. In this, I think I am greatly influenced by the choreography of Pina Bausch.  Every moment of movement in a theatrical piece is telling; the quality with which two characters first touch, the way in which a character picks up a knife or a gun, the drinking of a glass of wine, each movement holds a world of information about that character and the way they relate to the world around them.

I was fortunate to work with choreographer Ramses Sigl on the recent production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Canadian Opera Company. He too is a Pina Bausch advocate, and the production was fascinating in ways that were mesmerizing and psychologically profound. The movement was integral to the success of this production. Staging in opera can be realistic and modern and still contain elements of stylised movement.

With conductor Peter Dala in rehearsal with Edmonton Opera

Favourite production you have worked on?

My favourite production is always the one I am working on right now – and every production informs and influences the next.





Allison directing rehearsal with Edmonton Opera

What are your influences for directing and stage choreography?

For many years I was part of the Stratford Festival Acting Company and I worked with the great director and choreographer Brian Macdonald. I was lucky to be an actor, a dance captain and later an associate director with him.  He would treat a theatrical piece like a ballet. From him I learned how to build a number, a scene, a curtain call. It was very physically based, even the scene work. As a performer it was extremely exciting and satisfying to work with him. We toured England, Canada and the States with his productions. More recently I have worked with Australian director Neil Armfield, who I greatly admire. His quiet control of rehearsal and the staging was extraordinary. I saw his Exit The King on Broadway and I worked with him on a number of opera productions. I try to see everything he does, (his latest play is coming to Toronto – The Judas Kiss)  Perhaps someday I’ll be able to describe that ineffable quality he shares in a rehearsal hall!  I find him a magical thinker.






And, most importantly…Favourite type of coffee?

Alas, I drink only decaf. You don’t want to see me on caffeine…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s