BACKSTAGE: Beating inner bullies in Physical theatre

Get to know us in our Backstage at CCPA blog. Contributors are students, faculty, and members of our community. 
Krista-Marie Goss talks about creating her Physical Theatre piece in CCPA’s Mentorships Program. 


The Canadian College of Performing Arts has given me the opportunity to create my first ever Physical Theatre piece. At first I thought, how am I ever going to do this? I have an extensive dance background but creating abstract work is unlike anything I have ever done before.  After much reflection, it came to me. I put my creative juices together and formed a piece about a girl who has been suffering with her inner “bullies”, and how her mind is making her very sick. She suffers from anxiety and depression, and these “thoughts” that continuously make her feel inadequate and not worthy of being alive. This issue has been very important to me because I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was very young, and it has affected me my whole life. I have witnessed many people in my life that have mental illness.  I want to show how one can cope with this illness. It will be always part of one’s life, but there are positive ways to deal with this illness.  One has to take the step forward and get support. Counselling was a great help for me, but I am also blessed to have family support and great friends that I have in my life.

I have my three mentees: Rylee Godo and Stephanie Szymanski portray the two bullies, and Alexia Ste Marie portrays the girl. It was so amazing to work with these three. We improved different situations which aided in how I wanted my story to unfold. I had many ideas in my head that would just come to me before I went to bed or at the studio. Seeing what the students could improvise helped connect what I wanted to present.

Treena Stubel, my mentor, gave the performers and me the best advice. She said “Not to be pretty”, which was strange to me at first since I have always been making dance look “pretty”.  I saw my piece in a different light after her suggestion. The piece changed to a whole different dynamic, and made it “real”. I was blocked in my choreography at times, and doubted that I could produce anything that was good.  My experience as a choreographer was limited, as I only choreographed for children. Having to choreograph for my peers was much more difficult, but my mentees were so supportive the whole way through.  It was so amazing to have many days together and we all really bonded.  I would not have been able to do it without them. My mother also played a big part, giving me advice, and helped me complete the final cut of the music. I would not have been able to do this without all the work of others.

I am so excited to present what we have done. My “hope” for the audience is to bring awareness to mental health issues and that there is always help for anyone that is suffering from this misunderstood illness.


See Krista’s Physical Theatre piece, choreographed to Breathe Me by Sia, at the TD New Works Festival on Wednesday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation based on availability of seating. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.


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Krista Goss

Krista Goss

Krista-Marie is thrilled to be part of the Class of 2018. She has been performing her whole life and had the opportunity to choreograph her first ever Physical Theatre piece.