J. Kelly Nestruck is
the theatre critic at The Globe and Mail, and has been so since 2008. His
writings about the arts and theatre have also appeared in such publications
as the National Post, the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, The Boston Globe and The
Guardian. He has appeared on
The National, been heard on CBC Radio’s Q, and tweets all the live-long day
In addition to work, Nestruck is currently pursuing a Master’s from the Centre
for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. He
likes to garden, cycle around the city, and the J stands for James.
careers were on the horizon?
No – when I was five, I wanted to be a firefighter. But from my teens on, my
twin passions were theatre and newspapers. The newspaper business seemed like
the wiser route financially at the time…
Where would you like to be five years from now?
I prefer to go where life takes me, but I’d be happy to still be here doing
what I’m doing now. It’d be nice have a kid to take to Young People’s Theatre.
Or at least a dog to take to Young Dogs’ Theatre.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Have you considered the skilled trades?
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Theatre-wise, I love to read all my competitors at the Toronto dailies and
weeklies, plus online voices such as Lynn Slotkin, Stage Door and the
Charlebois Post. Scott Brown in New York Magazine; Chris Jones at the Chicago
Tribune; the whole theatre package in The Guardian. I subscribe to the NewYorker and The Onion, listen to This is That and Q on CBC Radio, and watch The
Bachelor and Dragon’s Den. I read Garth Turner’s blog every day to get over my
renter inferiority complex.
Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Best – playwright John Mighton in 2004. His pet rat Cookie escaped and I got to
watch him scramble around with his daughter to catch it. Worst –
playwright Michael Frayn. I accidentally unplugged my computer with my foot
while interviewing him over the phone.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t go to journalism school.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
I do not have a body; I am a body.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Add your theatre openings to my online calendar: cantheatre.wikispaces.com.
I can’t keep track of emails any more.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Ann Swerdfager at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is a real delight to work
with – and I have to work with her a lot, so thank goodness!
Stickers. They creep me out.
Seeing a show I loved find an audience.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Best place on earth?
Mount Royal when the leaves turn.
Christopher Hitchens, RIP.
Nick Auf Der Maur, RIP.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
“iAnnotate” is the reason I own an iPad.
Pool or ocean?
Voicemail or email?
Theatre show in the fall season you’re most looking forward to?
Alligator Pie at Soulpepper!