We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Raymond and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
For me, this was not a choice. It was (and is) something so deeply ingrained in me that I cannot see my life any other way. For a while, in London, I was working in what I, at the time, considered to be a “real job” – company car, dress code, corporate ladder (or slippery pole) to climb… I thought I was finally doing it right. That at the grand age of my mid-twenties I was ready to cast asunder my childlike dreams of being an artist, or pursuing the arts as a career. But I was miserable. Money is seductive, and I am not immune to the allure of grandeur; but whilst I was making more money than I had been I felt more lost than ever. What was I really doing with my time? How was this nurturing my soul? Was this really how I was meant to spend my life? Once I decided that I had to find my own path, that it wasn’t my place to fit into those boxes already set out, the journey really began. Now not a young fresh-faced graduate, but as an adult with more of a sense of self and truth, actively and purposefully choosing the road less taken. It is a struggle and a triumph, and a constant place of learning, but I sleep very well knowing that I am following a true course of purpose, with all its ebbs and flows. I could not and would not have it any other way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a creative and actor, and a couple of years ago founded my theatre company Direct Theatre Collective. We have won six awards including the 2020 Award for Artistic Innovation at the Richmond Arts Awards. Our first production, Hysteria, was an exploration of a dystopian reality post-“#metoo”. It played around with blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, and the imagined future and the present we are living in. I’m incredibly proud to have written, produced and performed in this show. Overall, however, the path has not been linear. My ‘career’ has had more branches than a forest. What has kept me afloat, and alive, is the versatility and breadth of my skillset, and my willingness to adapt in order to thrive.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh gosh… many hidden gems. In Non-Covid Times: Brunches at The Little Wooden Shoe (Cambie / 17th) and Medina (Robson). Coffee at Small Victory. The long walk around Stanley Park with a stop in at Hook at English Bay for their seared tuna salad and a delicious cocktail. Bowling and Snooker at the Commadore. Vintage browsing on Main Street. A seaside trip to Steveston. Granville Island Market (of course). Nightcaps at The Morrissey. Gosh, so much stuff. And, of course, meeting my friends who are just *amazing*. In Covid Times: Why are you travelling right now? 😉
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am the product of so much influence and help from others around me. My family are hugely supportive, and here in Vancouver I have a very tight, solid group of friends who keep me motivated, lift me up and challenge me consistantly. I would be remiss to not mention Moy Covalin and Isa Sanchez, as well as Jenna Grubaugh (both of the latter are founding directors on the board of my theatre company: Direct Theatre Collective). It’s really important to have the right people around you, and you learn when you’re older quality trumps quantity every time.
Most: Personal/Candid All Group Shots: Rae MacEachern-Eastwood