Co-Artistic Directors, Lauren Gillis and Alaine Hutton


Lauren Gillis is an actor, director and deviser. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in theatre and neuroscience. She is also an Artistic Associate at the independent Toronto theatre company the red light district, where she has been performing in (and more recently, directing) inventive, physical re-envisioning of classical texts since 2008. Lauren’s favourite things about theatre are transformation, simultaneity and terrible fun. To access these on a regular basis, she is currently studying butoh-based embodiment training under scholarship with Denise Fujiwara.

Selected Credits
Director, The Misunderstanding (Lester Trips (Theatre), Director, FIREraisers (the red light district); Young Wife in la ronde (the red light district, dir. Ted Witzel); Torturer/Judith in The Possibilities (Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, dir. Banuta Rubess); Director, Alkestis (Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse); Anne Somerton in the witch of edmonton (the red light district, summerworks 2010, dir. Ted Witzel and Catherine Dunn); Marie in woyzeck (the red light district, dir. Ted Witzel)


Alaine Hutton is a performer and deviser. Alaine received training at the University of Toronto’s drama program, École International de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France. There she was also able to study design and mise en scène with Pascale Lecoq in the Laboratoire d’Etude de Mouvement (LEM). Alaine continues to train in Toronto with Fides Krucker ‘emotionally integrated voice’ and with Denise Fujiwara in butoh based embodiment. With Lester Trips she creates devised theatre with rigorous dramaturgy featuring a bouffonesque approach to character and intense physicality and vocalization stemming from our training in butoh dance and extended range vocal practice.

Alaine is also a company member of Open Heart Surgery Theatre, who will be touring, This Is Why We Live, which has been performed in Toronto at the Theatre Centre in 2017, and in Paris, France in 2015. Now they are traveling to Poland as part of the Czeslaw Milosz Festival in Krakow June 2018, and then to LAMA Experimental Theatre in New York City in 2019.

Selected Credits Dancer in Moving Parts (Fujiwara Dance Inventions, choreo. Denise Fujiwara); Performer in This is Why We Live (Open Heart Surgery, dir. Coleen MacPherson); Aunt Em, Idiot, Golem, Tree lady, Fawn in Intangible Trappings (Lester Trips (Theatre), dir. ted witzel), Martha in The Misunderstanding (Lester Trips (Theatre), dir. Lauren Gillis); Brigade in FIREraisers (the red light district, dir. Lauren Gillis)


Lester Trips (Theatre) is an independent Toronto-based collective of theatre artists dedicated to the creation of original Canadian work in bold, visceral forms of physical theatre. Through uncomfortable, thoughtful, and playful tragicomic creations that teeter on the edge of the grotesque, we investigate contemporary moral ambiguities that surround our collective relationship to desire, consumption, and personal identity.

While studying at the University of Toronto (2007-2011), we discovered common interests in physical disciplines that inform and support theatre creation including butoh-based embodiment, Pochinko clown, and Lecoq-based physical theatre. We sought a platform to simultaneously expand our training and create original work, resulting in the formation of Lester Trips (Theatre).


Lester Trips. Lester… Trips?

Yes, exactly.

Lester Trips (Theatre) takes its namesake from the glorious fall of a fictional robot named Lester- the most advanced bipedal humanoid robot on earth. To reveal this to an audience, he takes the stage and prepares to ascend. He takes a step. He takes a second step. He takes a third step, and he trips. He falls down the stairs. Technicians run on stage with screens to hide his failure (their failure). No one is sure what to think of this, but it might be funny. We had great hopes and glorious expectations for this moment, and Lester trips. For us, Lester is not only a bipedal humanoid robot but anything or anyone who says:

I hope and expect this to go well.

I present myself.

I trip.

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It is this exhilarating and confusing experience as an audience member, as a performer, and most importantly as any conscious being walking the planet with hopes and inevitable falls, that fascinates us as artists and is encapsulated by our name.