Jessie Lutness is a Canadian actor, artist, and musician originally from Airdrie, Alberta now based in Toronto, Ontario. They are a 2022 graduating student of York University’s Acting Conservatory program and have also trained in classical piano and voice, studying with the Royal Conservatory of Music for 10 years. Jessie is passionate about movement-based theatre and performance art that questions societal norms and seeks to break boundaries. After finding a strong affection for acting and music at a young age, Jessie has grown to become an eccentric performer in all aspects of their work.
Jessie is a 2022 Graduate of York University’s Acting Conservatory Program, completing their studies with a Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in Acting.
Past Theatre Experience
Jessie has been preforming on stage for over 10 years for both theatre and classical music festivals. Throughout Jessie’s high school career, their love for performance was strengthened leading her to study acting professionally in Toronto. At York, Jessie’s credits include: Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Dir. Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster), Christopher Chen’s The Late Wedding (Dir. Jamie Robinson), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. By Alice Birch (Dir. Mandy Roveda), The Gathering Project (Dir. Monica Dotter), and The Coda Project (Dir. Phillip Geller). As well, Jessie has received several awards including the 2018 Creative Airdrie Up and Coming in the Arts Award and the 2018 Bert Church Theatre Award of Excellence in Fine Arts.
Jessie Lutness was part of the fourth annual Summer Ensemble. They are a member of Crane Creations Theatre Company’s 2022 Summer Ensemble.
The Summer Ensemble is an 8 week training program for theatre artists. In this paid working opportunity artists learn skills required to be a professional artist in Canada, and gain valuable insights into the theatre industry in Canada and abroad. To apply, artists must be between 18 and 30 years of age.
Jessie Lutness is an Actor. What is It Like to Be An Actor? Let’s Ask Jessie
Why did you decide to become an actor?
I’ve always felt I’ve had the spirit of preforming in my body. There is no time I feel more free or alive than when I am acting. Preforming provides a vehicle for my own personal experience but also by necessity requires my curiosity and imagination, and I love incorporating that into my work. By playing different characters, I am able to express myself in ways I often didn’t even know were part of me. Growing up I was fortunate enough to see people who looked like me and had similar lived experience in the media I viewed, however part of becoming an actor for me, is knowing I am able to provide representation for other LGBTQ+ and nonbinary people on the stage/screen that otherwise might not have been included.
In your opinion what does being an actor mean?
Being an actor means you are not only able to memorize lines, do character work, and have a wheelhouse of techniques ready at your disposal, but also be able to transform fully. An Actor must be able to be in the present moment of the scene, and live it as if it were real. Actors allows the audience to see themselves represented on stage which connects the viewers, the performers, and the story.
How do you prepare for a role?
I prepare by first reading the script/sides, researching the original cast (who originated my role?), memorizing lines (with a scene partner if needed), doing script work (actioning lines, objectives, desires, goals, secrets), daydreaming and journalling in character, building a playlist of music for the story/character, and rehearsing in shoes and costume pieces as soon as available.
How do you become an actor?
Anyone who has a desire can get into acting! I would start by reading some scripts and watching movies/shows that you would want to be in. If you can, take some classes wether they are improv, sketch comedy, or classical, immersing yourself with other actors can be very valuable! And by starting off more small scale, by joining a community theatre or participating in classes it gives you an opportunity for yourself to decided if acting is something you want to advance with. From there, I would recommend a professional training program, even an intensive if you decide this is something you want to pursue. I have found intensives to be the best way to experience the busy skill juggling and necessary time management needed in the professional world.
What is the difference between acting for film and acting for theatre?
Acting for film requires an extremely active internal world/dialogue. The face and body must react at a much lower physical level, in order to portray the thoughts through the eyes. As well, the voice has no need for projection at the level of theatre, since the camera/mic is often within arms reach. I sometimes view the difference as a sprit vs a marathon. Acting for theatre requires the performer to be on stage for a long period of time, using the entire body to the fullest extent, whereas film is intense short scenes repeated until the desired result.
An Interview With Jessie Lutness.
What is your favourite part of the Summer Ensemble?
My favourite part of Summer Ensemble so far has been connecting with other emerging young artists! It’s such a special gift to be able to share our time and the space together, especially after the last two years. Coming out of school, It’s been fabulous to have a new community where we are constantly learning, growing and sharing our knowledge with one another.
How can you describe Summer Ensemble in one sentence?
Summer Ensemble is Crane Creations young artist training program, where digital/financial skills, performance, and community are combined.
Where are you from?
I am from Airdrie, Alberta
What is your favourite thing about your hometown?
My favourite thing about my home town is the open fields and the Rocky Mountains.
What are your favourite plays and why?
My favourite play is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. This play follows a grieving widow after the passing of her husband, as she try’s to collect the pieces of her life once again. It is a touching and honest story that always reminds me to cherish my loved ones and this life we have.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies include playing piano, writing, painting, baking, rollerskating, playing with my cat Valentino and karaoke. I am passionate about movement-based theatre that disrupts typical societal conventions, as well as pushing to make theatre and performance art more accessible for all audiences.
What is your favourite food?
What is your favourite food to make?
Where is your favourite place to eat?
What is a new skill you want to learn?
I have been slowly learning Italian over the pandemic but I would love to become fluent!
Where would you travel if you could?
I would travel to Italy! I love the language and the delicious food would just be a bonus!
What is a fun fact about you?
My first car was a 1986 Volkswagon Westfalia that I bought when I was 15!
Why do you love theatre?
I love theatre because it connects me to the most primitive human emotions and allows me as an actor to embody a character that I see a little bit of myself in, but is also a completely different person. I love the play that live theatre invites and the spontaneity that is allowed by the form. Theatre allows us to connect as the onstage performers with the audience in a vulnerable intimate way that film doesn’t always allow.
How did you get into theatre?
I started theatre at a young age, continuing to perform in high school and community productions as I grew up in my hometown. After graduating, I moved to Toronto to study at York University in their Acting Conservatory Program. Over my 4 years I learned acting fundamentals and techniques, a variety of movement forms, as well as voice studies. Now I am finished my degree and beginning my professional acting career.
Why is theatre important?
Theatre is important because it encourages community between the audience, space and onstage performers. Live theatre is a magical never the same experience, and often interacts with more of the human senses then film or movies may be able to.
What is one production you were proud of?
I was recently in a production of Everybody by Brandon Jacob-Jenkins at York and it was an extremely rewarding experience! After working with my peers for 4 years and spending 2 years of class online, we finally got to preform all together for a live audience! It was fulfilling to see all of our work pay off and also so exciting to watch my peers/myself succeed.
Do you have any advice for aspiring theatre artists?
Follow your dreams!!! Trust in yourself and work hard! Use your own personal lens of the world to discover your calling and individual unique pathway to art.