Camille Intson started writing when she was a child growing up in Hamilton. “I got off on writing stories about our neighbours,” she said. “I also wrote scripts for my grandma. I’ve always been writing something or other.”
Intson was thrilled to be the 2021 winner of the The Robert Beardsley Award for Young Playwrights for her one-act drama, We All Got Lost. The play is heavily inspired by growing up a closeted queer femme in Hamilton. “Being queer is an important part of all the work I do. As a storyteller that is important to me.”
After graduating from Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton she went on to earn a degree in English and Theatre from Western University in London, Ontario. She then moved to the other London (UK) to complete a Master’s degree in performance practices research at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Intson joins an illustrious list of alumni including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Laurence Olivier and Harold Pinter.
In September 2020, she got an offer during the pandemic, including a Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral award, to begin the PhD program at U of T within the Faculty of Information Studies. Her ultimate career goal is not firm yet. “I may want to teach. I am always interested in the research aspect. And I’ve always been a creative person so I’ll always do that, too.”
Although she has been writing since she was a child, her playwriting took off when she finished high school. “I had acted a lot as a teenager in Hamilton,” she said. “I decided to stop being creative and do something practical. I said, ‘No more art. I’m done with that.’”
She was in a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, playing Candy the sex worker. “The other cast members, all men, were talking about writing and I wasn’t included. I was being cast in roles I didn’t like. I wanted to be Javert and not Cosette.”
“I like to follow my instincts creatively and that has worked out.”
When she was 18 years old, she started writing plays seriously as a form of self-expression which coincided with her coming out as a queer femme. Success followed quickly.
“I got my first show chosen for a one-act play festival at Western. The Grand Theatre’s PlayWrights Cabaret picked my 10-minute play,” she said. “That was cool – it won the Newmarket National Play contest in its first year.”
Intson went on to produce a number of her plays on the Fringe circuit in both Hamilton and Winnipeg. We All Got Lost won the 2019 Hamilton Fringe Festival new play contest and it was supposed to be produced at a regional theatre but then COVID happened.
In addition to her doctoral work, she is working on another play, currently called Jane, which is funded by Toronto Arts Council. “I spent the past year focused on music – also write queer feminist alternative folk music.” She has an EP out called Troubadour available on Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/album/2GxCg101ZEaRRQv200YXbt?si=O8Sgw0jGTxq7sxd6mEBtKA) and YouTube (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mBT5fvlM0TJ0ZB0uYQS-E2rb85il-7OsA).
“I needed an outlet coming back from the UK. That’s how I process things … through my writing and music.” She also had a show called Patchface streamed from London, ON by Allswell Productions in August 2021.
“If you had asked me five years ago where I would be today, I would never have predicted where I am now,” she said. “I like to follow my instincts creatively and that has worked out. My dad says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” He may have meant that as a warning, but for me it’s been a good thing. I have a saying, “If the self was a bath it would always be overflowing.” I like to skip between boxes and I’ve always found that most generative.”
To follow her and her work on social media, check out:
Website: camilleintson.com; Facebook: @thecamiliad; Twitter: @thecamiliad; Instagram: @thecamiliad