Hines in My Name is Pochsy, photo by Greg Woodbury, 2008.
Hines in My Name is Pochsy, photo by Greg Woodbury, 2008.

Karen Hines

Karen Hines' lush satires have traveled the globe: from Toronto to Boston, Calgary to Kuala Lumpur, her productions and ‘little films’ have won critical acclaim, charmed and horrified her audiences, and cemented her reputation as “One of the most original artists in the city” (Toronto Life) and "One of the gems of Canadian theatre" (Toronto Star).

Hines’ award-winning solos include the immersive real estate horror Crawlspace and The Pochsy Plays. Her “Ingenious, acidic comedy” (Globe and Mail) has been twice finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and for the 2020 Siminovitch Prize. Her singular style, an alchemy of magical realism and high performance satire, has won her reputation as an auteur and conduit of biting, hilarious, provocative entertainment.

She began her theatrical career as an underground comic and emerged as the author of seven award-winning plays which have been presented across North America at venues including One Yellow Rabbit, Tarragon Theatre, Boca del Lupo, Alberta Theatre Projects, Factory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Dallas Theatre Centre, Soulpepper and Joe’s Pub (Public Theatre). She is a two-time finalist for Canada's Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, and a recent finalist for the Siminovitch Prize for Playwrighting.

She is a Dora Award-winning performer and director and has collaborated on the play creations of other Canadian theatre artists such as Linda Griffiths (Age of Arousal), Michelle Thrush (Inner Elder) and adult horror clowns Mump & Smoot (Mike Kennard and John Turner), whom Hines has directed since their inception, from the Poor Alex to La Jolla Playhouse and beyond.

Karen is an actor in Canadian and American television and film, and her own short films featuring the character “Pochsy” have screened around the world. Hines is the daughter of scientists, and since 1992 her plays have included darkly comedic meditations on environmental peril; her performances aim to reflect North American consumer culture in what seems to be a perilous time. Chicago born, Toronto bred, she currently lives in Calgary where she has been resident with One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and Alberta Theatre Projects.

She has recently performed new works including “Pochsy IV” (2023: Calgary’s High Performance Rodeo and Edmonton’s Theatre Network Mainstage). Her real estate horror “Crawlspace” has toured to micro theatres across Canada. “Crawlspace” had a translation for its 2023 French premiere at Théâtre Francais de Toronto, and is now available as a CBC Podcast on Radio One.

Hines’ singular style, informed by an alchemy of the principles of clown and bouffon used as literary tactics, along with scientific influences on her since childhood, has won her a reputation as an "auteur and prophet" (Siminovitch jury) and a conduit of biting, hilarious, provocative entertainment (press can be found at www.pochsy.org and www.keepfrozen.org).