Meet Halifax-based filmmaker, playwright, actress, multidisciplinary artist and singer Tara Taylor.
The second in our special #20Questions series, Tara is among the participants in Eastern Front Theatre’s inaugural RBC Emerging Playwrights Program. Her new play is the story of Lila Johnson who takes over the legacy of her grandmothers’ salon and renames it, “Love, Peace and Hairgrease” Hair studio plus; an Ebonics term meaning “bye”. This venture has come at a great cost. When they told her she couldn’t, she did anyway. How does one find love and peace in the midst of Hairgrease and life storms? Guided by a dramaturge, an established playwright mentor, and other theatre professionals, Eastern Front Theatre (EFT) will present Tara’s new work at a public reading at EFT’s annual Stages Theatre Festival in May 2020.
20 Questions with Tara Taylor
1. Your first job.
Telemarketer for Prime Cut Food Services at 16 years of age.
2. The job you always wanted as a child?
To be a painter.
3. Your pet peeve.
When people assume they know who you are without talking to you first.
4. Your hero.
Black women who have 2-4 positive legit hustles-jobs to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.
5. Your biggest indulgence.
6. One thing no one knows about you.
I create resin jewelry and sculptures; not sure why I am afraid to reveal the work.
7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.
Dragon fruit, sketch pad/pencils and memory foam mattress.
8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.
9. If they made a movie about your life, who would it star?
Taraji P. Henson.
10. Hero or villain?
11. Your life’s motto/mantra.
Don’t let YOU get in your way.
12. The last book you read.
Hair Story – Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd and Lori L. Tharps.
13. The song that is getting the most play on your Spotify playlist right now.
PJ Morton’s version of How Deep Is Your Love featuring Yebba.
14. If you were a cartoon character, what cartoon character would you be?
I would be Raven from Teen Titans. She’s badass, could care less what people think about her but still cares for her friends and has powers.
15. What will it say on your grave marker?
She never gave up, always fighting for what’s right.
16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
17. Your idea of happiness.
Working in all the fields I was blessed to have talent in – playwright, singing, acting and visual art – and therefore providing for my family without struggle so I can be with them whenever I want to. I am close!
18. What do you see yourself doing 20 years into the future?
Playwrighting, singing, acting and visual art, travelling to build shows and continuing to instill social justice change through my work, helping others realize their potential.
19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.
I make sure my children feel loved, appreciated and supported. I don’t hide the truths about myself they need to see in order to make better decisions and realize mistakes shape and sharpen your character. Their behaviours, accomplishments and choices make me proud.
20. To be or not to be?
That is the question, lol!
Meet Tara Taylor
Tara Taylor, currently the co-founder and volunteer Festival Director for The Emerging Lens Film Festival, filmmaker, playwright, actress, visual artist and singer; has been a full-time filmmaker and worked in the film industry as a whole for 19 years in various roles. A current member of AFCOOP, Program Committee and Board Member for Centre for Art Tapes and Bus Stop Theatre, Vice-Chair for Link Performing Arts society, Co-founder for the Melanated Artist Collective board member of Screen Nova Scotia. A graduate of the Centre for Art Tapes’ media scholarship program, Tara has screened her short films in various places, casted local talent in features and TV shows and has co-coordinated youth
media arts March Break Video Camps.
Tara has also sung tenor with the former group called “Chosen” who had their debut performance at the Alderney Landing Theatre, under the direction of Erin Jordan and Eric Crookshank; as well as produced and in some cases starred in, “Dreamgirls”, “The Color Purple” and “The Wiz”, and wrote an original musical about the life of Viola Desmond staged at The Spatz theatre in 2018.
Tara is currently working on the organizations’ second original musical entitled “Hood Habits” in collaboration with creator Curtis Bell, former CFL player and co-founder of 9 Heavens Academy and NSCAD animation students.
By day she is an entrepreneur and multidisciplinary artist; by night a mom. Her vision for upcoming filmmakers, artists and musicians from marginalized communities is to see them continue in the industry professionally and successfully. She has successfully worked with Screen Nova Scotia’s Executive Director to give 8 new Black filmmakers complimentary memberships to pursue their film dreams, April 2019.