A multidisciplinary creative

Whose House? Reba Terlson’s House

Actor and theatre artist Reba Terlson.

Photo by Callie Lugosi

For Winnipeg creative Reba Terlson, her art is her greatest passion and a constantly shifting mode of expression.

“I’m a multidisciplinary artist, I’m an actor, I’m a producer, and I’m a writer. I’m more primarily an actor, but I do write as well,” she says.

Terlson is a University of Winnipeg alum who “did their theatre program, so (she has) a bachelor of arts degree with theatre and then a minor in English.”

She says that “when I was in high school, I discovered that I really liked acting, and I really liked singing.”

From there, Terlson has been dabbling in various forms of performance art, and her life is a constant whirlwind of activity and opportunities. She is constantly creating, but she also takes classes to expand her craft and broaden her horizons.

“I always tell people I have an ambition problem, because I’m always doing a lot of things, and so post-university, I’ve taken so many classes at Prairie Theatre Exchange, doing workshops ... and I was taking creative writing in university as well,” she says.

Although Terlson now has her hands in many different aspects of performance art, she still feels like there’s more that she can learn. She says that “a few years ago, I never would have accepted a producing gig ... and now I’m helping someone produce something.”

“A few years ago, I applied to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival and (said that) if I get in, I’ll have to write something ... and then my dad mainly wrote the first one we produced, but it was my concept and my idea,” she says.

“If I have imposter syndrome, it’s definitely around being a writer, because I never see myself as one.”

She often says “I’ll figure that out, and I normally do!”

Terlson is also an advocate for mental health awareness and recently produced a show that interrogates the struggles of anxiety and the need to express it.

“One of my fringe shows, the one I did this year called So, Do You Want to Talk About It?, it was about mental health and anxiety.”

She expresses her frustrations around mental health conversations, saying “let’s talk about mental health, and let’s talk about things that we don’t want to talk about, because there’s such a great stigma around it.”

She found herself submitting this idea to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival without any expectations of it being picked up, but she was ultimately offered the chance to produce it.

In her free time, Terlson loves going to concerts, taking baths, baking and travelling. Often, her work will take her to new places, and she says that “I consider it like research, doing other Fringe festivals.”

She currently rents her Wolseley home from her parents and says that “in an ideal world, my art will eventually pay for itself, and I can live on my own ... and that I can be flexible enough to do all of the art stuff that I want to do.”

1) Patti Smith

“One of the first albums my dad gave me was this one ... I’ve actually met her and it was amazing!”

2) Autographed book

Patti Smith “signed it, and I feel like people are always like ‘blah blah blah, I’ve never met my hero’ and well, I’ve met mine.”

3) Lily the cat

“That’s my cat, Lily. She’s very friendly ... I think she’s one or two, because she was a stray, but then we adopted her.”

4) Astrology book

“I just love it so much ... and I love guessing people’s signs.”

5) Psycho art

J.D. Renaud “just did this for me. It’s from another one of my favourite movies. It’s from Psycho.”

6) The gentleman

“I won him from (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer singalong), and he watches me while I sleep.”

Published in Volume 74, Number 9 of The Uniter (November 7, 2019)

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