Kelley Jo Burke
(Photo by Eric Eggertson, Intro by Shelby Lowe)
email@example.com, BigOcean.ca, Facebook: Kelley Jo Burke, Twitter:@kelleyjoburke
Nothing is better than seeing Kelley Jo, getting a hug, and having her call you “Bunny”. At least that’s the kind of hello I get.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Kelley Jo Burke in 2012 at the University of Regina. I was the set and costume designer for KJ’s play Looking Glass when she was getting her Masters. Since then, Kelley Jo has been my Mama Jo.
One of my favorite memories of Mama Jo is when I went to see her show The Lucky Ones at Dancing Sky Theatre last year. I was there early while the dinner was still being served so I was sitting in the lobby area waiting for the show to start. That was a night when Mama Jo was there. I told her that I didn’t have a chance to eat supper before I left but it was okay because I had an apple and I would just eat once I got home. Mama Jo kept coming to me with salad and bread because she didn’t want me to be hungry.
Kelley Jo Burke is a very caring, loving, talented, thoughtful, and hardworking woman and I always feel very happy and honoured to have her to call my Mama Jo.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it?
Which one?—I’ve got a few. I guess the straightest of my day jobs is I’m
adjunct professor at the University of Regina and St. Peter’s College. What I like about that is my students. I flat out adore teaching—I
love seeing students move forward, and really feel like lights are
coming on. I teach voice, acting, and creative writing, and I think it
teaches me at least as much as I teach to others. The challenge is what
all sessionals are challenged by—and it’s a problem across academia–you
never know what you’re going to teach, you work far more hours than you
are paid for, and what pay there is…is underwhelming.
KC: What’s important to you?
Love, Truth, Beauty, not going out with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose…you know, that stuff. I’m afraid there’s so many things that people
are supposed to get worked up about that just don’t figure in my
KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?
What I love about Regina is the general social contract we have here
that people are supposed to help each other. This place RUNS on
volunteers…but also, unofficially, there’s just this agreement that
we’re a small bunch of people, in a big, generally challenging
environment, and we have to have each others’ back. What challenges me
is people who decide that the agreement shouldn’t extend to those of a
different race or ethnicity or sexual preference…there’s some of that
everywhere, but I get really disappointed and angry when I see it here.
Oh, and I love Library Voices. Saskatoon has amazing bands—but Regina’s
got Library Voices, and they are my favorite band. In Canada. Maybe the
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
Ahhh…it’s where the cool kids hang out! I’m so jealous of the range of
cultural stuff that is happening up there all the time. I love how much
theatre you have up there. Art. Great bands (except for Library Voice.
And Rah Rah. And Poor Nameless Boy….actually Regina does really well on
the music scale) and amazing festivals.
The whole Riversdale thing
that’s happening…this idea Saskatoon seems to have that you can create a
sustainable urban environment that embraces art, and diversity and
alternative practices is really exciting.
And Collective Coffee at The 220—the finest cup of brew in Saskatchewan
for my money—I should have put that into the “What’s Important to You”
section—good coffee is VERY important to me, and Saskatoon has it.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
Deep hatred. Angst. Sitting by the window while the few thin threads of
sunshine filter in, grabbing every bit of light I can get, while softly
Actually, this winter has been great…a complete gift.
KC: (From the Proust questionnaire) What do you most value in your friends?
A sense of humour, because it is the product of so many other things I
value. Empathy. Smarts. A sense of proportion. Logic. The ability to
look at the world without making the assumption that your way of
thinking is the only way of thinking. Rage against willful ignorance,
prejudice and cowardice. Love for our shared humanity.
The people I am nuts about are hilarious.