Job Title: Co-artistic director, The Maggie Tree; Co-artistic producer, Azimuth Theatre; Actor
Why She’s Top 40: She’s supporting emerging talent and helping bring a diversity of voices and bodies to the city’s arts scene.
As a child, Kristi Hansen dreamed of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, but after a production she did at 13 at a local elementary school, she was fascinated by the world of theatre. “I got bitten by the spark of being a character,” she says. “Acting was my first way into it, but I also loved the idea of putting shows and teams together, so producing became interesting to me.”
Along with her friend, now co-artistic director, Vanessa Sabourin, Hansen started her first theatre company in 2007, The Maggie Tree. “It’s focused on providing opportunities for female artists, and that’s expanded as the years have gone by, [to] trans voices, including the female-identifying perspective,” she says. “Our main goal was we just wanted to have cool women work together on projects and to be in power positions, choosing the plays, directing, just having more visibility for women on stage and backstage.”
In addition to her role at The Maggie Tree, Hansen became co-artistic producer at Azimuth Theatre. She’s passionate about collaborations and projects that allow all artists to shine, including emerging artists. It’s a passion that bleeds into her volunteer life as well – she has been a member of the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards Committee for eight years now. “I do have that Pollyanna ideal of wanting to bring everyone together, I’m very interested in community building,” says Hansen. She also continues to work as an actor, recently starring in The Silver Arrow at The Citadel Theatre, a role for which she had to learn aerial silks. She balances her roles on stage and behind the scenes, with the ultimate goal of continuing to grow arts in the city. “What we have here [in Edmonton] is pretty special,” Hansen says.