Jasmine Chen is a Chinese-Canadian multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto and Vancouver.
Jasmine was born in Tkaronto (the place in the water where the trees are standing), where from an early age she was immersed in arts based education. An alumni of the Claude Watson Arts Program, Jasmine studied Music, Art, Dance and Theatre for nine years. She majored as a dancer for four years, training and competing in ballet, jazz and modern. In high school she majored in Theatre, where she was president of the Arts Council. Her time spent in extracurricular shows and performances led her to continue her post-secondary training in the Theatre Performance: Acting Program at Ryerson University, graduating with a BFA. Jasmine has worked extensively as a performer in Theatre and Film/TV. She is a director, performer, educator, movement coach and producer. Jasmine has engaged with audiences across Canada in repertory festivals, independent theatres, site-specific spaces, regional theatres and outdoor venues.
My work starts with listening. I pay attention. I observe the micro details of everyday life and how a single movement, thought, or action can affect everything around it. I am fascinated by the minuscule grains of earth that when multiplied by the billions create a panoramic vista. Similarly, how one thought can spark a revolution.
I bring my sensitivity to the world into rehearsal halls, classrooms, design meetings, public spaces and any place where people connect. I lead by listening. My strength is in bringing collaborators together and creating an environment where every contributor feels empowered to bring their ideas to the mix. I have learned that the best processes come from conditions where each person is given agency, trust and an active role in the creation of the work.
I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to leave no stone unturned - to take a question and venture into the dark in search of an answer. The artist creates a space where courage, creativity and investigation can flourish. I bring a deep sense of curiosity and discipline to my work. In my commitment to unearthing truth, I endeavour to push myself and my collaborators to discover the edges of our understanding.
I want to get to know discomfort. I want to become adept at sitting inside the unfamiliar with my creative team and feel confident in my instincts to facilitate, even as we explore the unknown.
In addition to performing and directing works, I develop multilingual interdisciplinary pieces that push for linguistic and formal diversity on our stages and look inward to answer larger societal questions. The Mother Tongue Project (Cahoots) addresses cycles of silence and trauma between mothers and daughters; Bite Hard: The Justin Chin Project (b current) puts racism in the gay community under scrutiny; and Yellow Rabbit (Soulpepper/Silk Bath Collective) uncovers the ways in which we cannibalize our own cultures. Each of these are culturally specific stories tackle universal quandaries that demand the audience member to question their own values, politics and personal history.