Julie McIsaac

Julie McIsaac

Based in Vancouver, Canada – where she is grateful to live, work and create on the traditional and unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations – Julie is reshaping and revitalizing the stories we sing on stage. With attention to the complex history of the land on which we live, and the diverse composition of the local community, she is a force for change in twenty-first century opera & theatre, staging and creating new works for today’s audiences.

Of French, Scottish/Irish and Scandinavian ancestry, Julie is a stage director, dramaturg, playwright/librettist and multi-instrumentalist. She is the inaugural Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence at the Canadian Opera Company (COC), an Associate Artist with Firepot Performance, and a founding member of the Honest Fishmongers (Critics’ Choice Innovation award nomination, 2012).

As Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence at the COC, Julie is the director and dramaturg of Fantasma, a newly commissioned Opera for Young Audiences by Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy, which will have its world premiere in Toronto next season. As Artist-in-Residence at Pacific Opera Victoria (2016-2018), Julie staged Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Studio (Victoria Conservatory of Music) and created an original series of opera presentations for young audiences, staging excerpts from The Magic Flute, Jenůfa and La bohème. Working alongside Atom Egoyan, Maria Lamont and Peter Hinton, she assisted on new productions of Jenůfa, La bohème, and the 2017 world premiere of Missing (City Opera Vancouver & Pacific Opera Victoria).

Julie is honoured to be Associate Director of Corey Payette’s ground-breaking hit musical Children of God which has travelled to cities across Canada – including the National Arts Centre in Ottawa – and continues to tour the country. Corey, Julie and production designer Marshall McMahen recently followed up their successful community-engaged collaboration with the new musical Les Filles du Roi. Performed in English, French and Kanien’kéha (Mohawk), this beautiful and ambitious reimagining of Canada’s history premiered in Vancouver in May 2018, winning 4 Jessie awards and the BroadwayWorld Vancouver award for Best New Work. Stay tuned for further news, as Les Filles du Roi hopes to return to the stage in 2021.

Julie’s first play The Out Vigil – developed with Firepot Performance (formerly Twenty Something Theatre) – was featured in the 2015 New American Voices Festival in London’s West End; the first Canadian production (Firehall Arts Centre, 2016) received 5 Jessie award nominations, including Outstanding Production. As Musical Director, Composer/Arranger and Co-Sound Designer, Julie and collaborator Jay Clift took home the 2016 Jessie award for Outstanding Sound Design / Original Composition. The production was revived at the Evergreen Cultural Centre and received an all-new staging in 2017 at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. Julie’s one-act play Two Thirds was presented in 2016 as part of Theatre One’s Emerging Voices and Twenty Something Theatre’s Fall Play Reading Series. She is the co-bookwriter & co-lyricist of Les Filles du Roi – 2018 BroadwayWorld Vancouver award for Best New Work – and is now collaborating with composer Daniel Doerksen to create a micro-opera inspired by the 1899 murder trial and execution of Hilda Blake, as part of the immersive, multidisciplinary performance installation At Last.


This page was last updated in November 2020.