Jordan Tannahill is a Canadian playwright, author, and filmmaker. In 2016 he was described by the Toronto Star as being “widely celebrated as one of Canada’s most accomplished young playwrights, filmmakers, and all-round multidisciplinary artists.” Jordan’s plays have been translated into multiple languages and honoured with various prizes including the Governor Generals Award for Drama, the John Hirsch Prize, and multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards.
Born in Ottawa, Jordan moved to Toronto at the age of eighteen, where he began making short films and staging experimental plays, often with non-traditional collaborators like night-shift workers, frat boys, preteens, and employees of Toronto’s famed Honest Ed’s discount emporium. His work frequently draws on queer and feminist politics, postdramatic theatre, autobiography, and mythology.
In 2012, in collaboration with his then-partner William Ellis, Jordan founded and ran Videofag, an alternative arts space operated out of a defunct barbershop in Toronto’s Kensington Market. The space doubled as the couple’s home and became an influential hub for counterculture in the city, until its closure in 2016. Jordan’s production of Sheila Heti’s All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, produced and directed with Erin Brubacher, premiered at Videofag in 2013 and went on to sold-out productions at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage and New York City’s The Kitchen in 2015.
In 2017, Jordan’s play Late Company transferred to London’s West End to wide acclaim. In the same year, his virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, co-produced by London’s National Theatre and The National Film Board of Canada, premiered at the Venice Biennale.
As a filmmaker and media artist, Tannahill’s work has been presented in galleries and festivals across Canada and internationally, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto International Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival. In the field of dance, Tannahill choreographed and performed with Christopher House in Marienbad for the Toronto Dance Theatre in 2016, wrote the text for The Dietrich Group’s This Is a Costume Drama, which premiered at Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage, and wrote the text for Xenos, a new production by dancer-choreographer Akram Khan, currently touring internationally.
His non-fiction book Theatre of the Unimpressed: In Search of Vital Drama, was published in 2015 by Coach House Books and was called “essential reading for anybody interested in the state of contemporary theatre and performance” by The Globe and Mail. His debut novel Liminal, a work of autofiction, was published in January 2018 by House of Anansi Press.
Tannahill has been described in the press as ‘the future of Canadian theatre’ (NOW Magazine), ‘the hottest name in Canadian theatre’ (Montreal Gazette), and ‘the posterchild of a new generation for whom ‘interdiscplinary’ is not a buzzword but a way of life’ (The Globe and Mail).