We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Mior and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kate, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Prior to the pandemic, I was a street performer who traveled all over the world doing shows in festivals, theatres, circuses and on literal streets for audiences of all kinds. I have always believed my job was a vocation and not just a source of income: I believe that art and entertainment should be accessible, and not just reserved for people who pay $150 for a ticket to Cirque Du Soleil, or are educated enough to understand deeply complex work that may alienate others. I always strove to provide a balance in my work between artistic and easy to understand, especially considering I would perform in many countries where English was not spoken. I believe art should belong to everyone, and we are better off as a culture by embracing live theatre because it brings us together for a common reason. Street theatre, specifically, is a very active engagement art form. I do believe we, as entertainers, have the power to not only transform spaces that may have once been sites of death or destruction into spaces of laughter and community, but we also have the power to change lives. If I can inspire even one person to quit a job that makes them unhappy to pursue their passions, then I’ve done my job.

When the pandemic hit, I obviously couldn’t assembled crowds of hundreds on the street anymore, or, get on a plane to go on tour for that matter, so I developed a Twitch channel with my DJ partner with whom I spun in the Before Times at a local bar in Toronto with our night Darkness Forever. I was enjoying it so much, I fleshed out my own channel with two shows: a vinyl listening party focusing on the history of popular music through the lens of the goth subculture, and a show called Day Drunk. When I started Day Drunk, I wanted to create a community where people could come together and forget the horrors of our economy and society collapsing for even just an afternoon. So many people were confused, scared, feeling anxious and existential dread from quarantine, so I leaned into those feelings, giving my community a space to share with others and not feel so alone, while providing a soundtrack along with lots of character work and prop comedy allowing us all to embrace the absurdity of the situation together. My primary concern was ensuring people stayed safe and well entertained during lockdown: just because I may have lost a huge component of my job (touring, live theatre) didn’t mean I lost my vocation. I truly do treat performing to be a service to my audience. I never think of what they can give me, but rather, what can I give them to keep them happy and laughing.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started street performing as a teenager to effectively get out of a bad home life situation and have the autonomy to afford an apartment and university on my own. To be perfectly honest, I never expected it to become a career and I suffered from a lot of resentment towards what seemed like an amazing lifestyle to others on the outside. I think a lot of the challenges I had mostly stemmed from that resentment, because the reality was, within maybe a year or two of working I was scouted for international festivals and even working for a circus by the time I was in my last year of university. By the time I graduated, I wasn’t even interested in finding work in my field (animation), because I was already touring and enjoying my work so much.

One of the biggest challenges with having a background like mine was always finding the balance between building new material but still being able to earn a living, as well as competing against people who came from a more privileged background to me. I feel like it took me a lot longer to build the show I wanted to feel creatively satisfied with because I had practical responsibilities to attend to. Balancing training with working was also a challenge, and I did feel stagnant for a few years before I threw myself into development. I was very VERY fortunate, though, to have the support of many festival directors who knew me from my previous work and gave me opportunities to build my new show in their spaces. It is truly a privilege to be able to say I performed at Christchurch World’s Busker Festival in New Zealand with brand new material.

Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is how to effectively socially network. Touring life is not easy, and quite often is glamourized, but the more I did it, the more I began to understand the reasons why I was working a lot more than other people I knew: the ability to be adaptable, easy going, maintain professionalism on little to no sleep, or while sick, work your routines around local customs so as not to offend people, learn how to read your audience’s cultural attitude towards humour, learn how to party with your clients/booking agents with grace, understanding teamwork with crews that may not have a person on it that you get along with… all of that stuff really took me years to grasp and have all definitely contributed to my successes in the Before Times.

I think the biggest component to contributing to the success of my Twitch channel has been just fundamental street performer logic, utilizing the very stripped down basic principles of crafting a good street show, but online. Being able to read the audience (in the chat), deliver the gags they love, make genuine connections with each and every audience member who wanders into my stream, make them feel welcome, special and included in an intimate performance.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in the historic/bohemian part of town in Toronto called Kensington Market. It’s already a tourist destination, but, to be honest, one of my favourite things about my job and being able to travel (or.. was…) was connecting with real people and enjoying doing what folks who live in a city do. I would probably just have get togethers and BBQs at my house with all my friends. (This question is also pretty timely, considering my city JUST exited a 172 day lockdown and I barely even know what would be open anymore….)

Some of the local places I would take them would be my local bar, Last Temptation because not only is it cheap and the food is good, but the regulars are some of the most welcoming an awesome people and any colleague I’ve brought there who has crashed with me on tour always had a good time.

Because most of my friends were involved in my industry/community, I would take them to our home pitch (where street performers do shows) so they could have a crack at a show and make some money. That is considered a handshake in our industry.

If they weren’t involved in that line of work, I’d probably just do urban exploration tours, pick a part of town and just wander with them.

To be honest, this is a difficult one to answer because I can’t imagine being in a position to host an out of town visitor given the current pandemic climate.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shout out to my life partner Matt Servo, who has always supported me in my pursuits, encouraged me to do better in my work and has always championed me to live my best life, even if it meant being away from him for months at a time.

Website: www.katemior.com

Instagram: @hatemior

Twitter: @hatemior

Facebook: facebook.com/hatemior

Youtube: hatemior

Other: www.hatemior.com for twitch related stuff

Image Credits
Hate Mior Matt Servo

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