Artistic Director, Man Up!; Communications and Outreach Manager, Alberta Emerald Foundation
photography Aaron Pedersen
Why He’s Top 40: He’s opening up the conversation about what it means to be masculine and to feel confident in one’s own skin.
As communications and outreach manager of Alberta Emerald Foundation, Gregory Caswell is dedicated to telling stories about environmental excellence in an oil-powered province. But it’s not the only way that he’s challenging perceptions in our community. He’s also the founder and artistic director of Man Up!, an all-male revue that aims to redefine what it means to be masculine.
The group debuted at the 2015 Edmonton Fringe Festival, selling out its entire run and being held over. The troupe found itself booked for performances across the province, including at the Jasper and Calgary Pride Festivals, IGLA 2016 Championships and La Cité Francophone. “It was just meant to be one show but I knew there was something there based on the success at the Edmonton Fringe,” says Caswell. “Suddenly, we decided that Man Up! was no longer a show, it was a company.”
All of the troupe’s shows are based around four pillars: To broaden the definition of masculinity, to strengthen the expression of sexuality, to be vulnerable and to be authentic. Caswell says that some of his proudest moments are not dancing on stage but after the performances, when audience members, especially those from the LGBTQ+ community, connect with him about their own experiences.
“Sometimes I feel very alone in my experience but I know if even just one person in the audience feels the same way then there’s a connection, and it’s almost like healing through theatre. I think that’s why Man Up! has been so successful.”
This article appears in the November 2018 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.