Robin Kadirgamar is a costume designer, drag performer and multidisciplinary craftsperson. They have a B.F.A. in Performance Production from Toronto Metropolitan University and have worked with multiple GTA-based theatre companies such as Shadowland, Crane Creations, Canadian Stage and Volcano. Robin is also credited as the assistant costume designer for the horror short films Sanguine and Night Terror. When Robin isn’t working, they let their drag clown persona- Andy Fetamean, the lovechild of a theatre kid and a swamp monster- out to play. You can see them perform at venues such as Pegasus and Flash in the Church-Wellesley Village in downtown Toronto. Andy Fetamean will mystify you with magic and skeeve you out with fake blood. Robin Kadirgamar is the founder and driving force behind Gender Tomfoolery– a collective of trans-identifying clown drag artists who create activism-based works. The formation of this collective, as well as the creation of Andy Fetamean, is a product of Robin’s graduating thesis project. Gender Tomfoolery had its inaugural performance, a cabaret show called Assigned Silly at Birth, at the 2023 CREATE showcase at TMU.
Robin Kadirgamar is first generation Canadian, born and raised in Scarborough to Irish and Sri Lankan immigrant parents. They are a strong activist for transgender and neurodiverse communities and believes intersectionality should be at the heart of all forms of activism. Robin’s hobbies include crochet, needle felting and video games. Their favourite colour at the moment is pink. They are Pisces.
Robin Kadirgamar has recently become part of the Crane Creations Theatre‘s prestigious Summer Ensemble 2023 as a Designer. This unique program offers aspiring artists in the Canadian theatre industry unparalleled work experience. The Summer Ensemble specifically recruits talented individuals aged 18 to 30, providing them with intensive, full-time training over several weeks. Participants not only acquire valuable skills but also gain invaluable experience in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.
What Will Robin Gain In This Arts Job?
Artistic Skills: Explore classical and contemporary text, improvisation, and theatre around the world and their relevance and impact on art jobs and society today.
Orientation in Arts Jobs: Honest insight into professional organizations, structures and systems in place and how to navigate them successfully
Financial Skills: Budgeting and financial literacy delivered in a comprehensible and easy to understand way, tailored for theatre artists’ needs.
Leadership: Debate complex questions and develop ideas and strategies on how to build not only your career but the theatre ecosystem in Canada and Internationally.
Touring in Arts: Discover how artists around the world use international touring as a source of income, and learn how to create shows that can allow you to participate in that market.
Digital Skills: Discover how blog/content writing can earn you additional income, and promote your work, while mastering WordPress, one of the most desired skills in today’s job market.
After graduating from St. John Henry Newman Catholic High School with Ontario Honours and Excellence in Drama, Robin Kadirgamar studied Performance Production at Toronto Metropolitan University. They studied costume design and practical wardrobe skills, working under mentors Alex Gilbert, Rachel Forbes and Bronwyn Pel.
About Robin. An Interview with Robin.
Where Are You From Originally? What is your favourite thing about your home town?
I was born and raised in Scarborough. My childhood was interesting- I went through hobbies and extra curriculars like they were tissues. I got bored quickly and didn’t have the attention span for anything that wasn’t creatively-based.
My favourite thing about Scarborough is the food. Hakka Chinese cuisine is one of my favourites and in my option Scarborough has the best. There’s also a lot of amazing parks with great forests to get lost in and if you’re lucky, you may spot a critter or two.
Do You Have A Favourite Book?
I pride myself in my collection of books about airplanes and ships (specifically books about the Titanic). I love any type of non-fiction book that could teach me about a new topic. I’m also very much into comic books including The Umbrella Academy and manga series (Junji Ito is my favourite mangaka!)
Do You Have Any Hobbies?
I love crochet, needlefelting and drawing. I feel lucky to have so many creative hobbies- I’ve also dabbled in sculpting, painting and paper craft. Anything that involves making something- I really enjoy! My hope is to pick up knitting. I’ve tried many times but have never quite been able to get it down. I enjoy collecting different toys, especially stuffed animals and figurines. I also enjoy playing video games- my favorite being the Legend of Zelda series, Professor Layton and Ace Attorney. I’ve also been very much into going to the gym lately- it’s like going to the arcade. I’m unsure if wandering around parks, getting lost and picking up cool rocks and leaves is a hobby but I definitely consider it one. I also really love absorbing random new bits of information from watching documentaries and reading non fiction books. Is doing drag a hobby? I consider it a part-time job/artistic outlet/hobby. Choreographing routines and making my costumes is another way I like to express myself artistically.
What is a new skill you have always wanted to learn?
Another language! I feel it would be super useful. I’m currently trying to learn Arabic and ASL. That and playing an instrument. I used to play piano and I would love to pick it up again. Also would love to work on my co-ordination and pick up a sport like softball or badminton.
What is One Fun Fact About Yourself?
I can recite the script of the movie School of Rock by heart
What is Your Favourite Meal to Eat/Cook and Can You Tell Us Your Recipe?
Fries of any kind. Kimchi fries. Chilli fries. Plain fries with ketchup. Wendy’s has some of the best fast food fries. Better than McDonald’s in my opinion.
To cook – Not trying to brag but I can make a mean risotto. It’s really versatile and you can customize it however you like. A recent favourite of mine to make is broccoli cheddar risotto. 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 1/2 cup of risotto 6 cups of chicken broth 1 cup of shredded cheddar Garlic & onion olive oil, butter, salt and pepper measured with your heart Coat broccoli in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Pop in the oven on a tray at 425 until crispy Season chicken breasts and put into oven at 425 for 25 minutes Heat broth in separate pot. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add risotto and toast until translucent. Add broth 1 cup at a time and stir until absorbed. Season with salt, pepper, butter and parmesan cheese. Add broccoli, shredded chicken and cheddar Chow down.
What is Your Favourite Thing About Mississauga? Tell Us Why?
There are some beautiful parks in Mississauga! The live performance and art scene here is also bumping with a lot of fun events and shows. There’s something for everyone in Mississauga and I feel very honoured to be apart of the theatre scene here. The skyline is also cool- I’m a big fan of the twisty buildings. They look like big shampoo bottles.
What is one project you worked on that you are proud of?
The creation of my drag clown collective is something that exposed me to so many cool artists in the community and has been extremely fulfilling creatively. I was extremely proud of our first original show Assigned Silly at Birth. It was a moment where myself and some like-minded artists had complete creative control and created something that other people enjoyed watching. There’s truly no feeling like that
Do you have any advice for aspiring Designers?
Talk to as many people as possible! In this industry it’s all about who you know. Creating a network is indispensable. A lot of the jobs I’ve had post-grad have been from people just texting me and asking if I was interesting in working with them on a creative project. It’s also important to say yes to any opportunity if you’re able to. Strong emphasis on if you’re able- it’s extremely easy to burn out if you push yourself to be busy 24/7. Make time to take care of yourself and enjoy personal creative projects that are purely for you. If you’re going into wardrobe/costuming, practice your skills whenever you can. Having creative hobbies is a great way to develop hand dexterity. Also stretch your hands, wrist and body! Sewing and making garments can be hard on the joints. For theatre in general, trying to cross pollinate is a great way to network and discover other fields you enjoy that you might not have thought of before. Learning effective forms of communication is another asset, especially if you have communication issues