The Chan Centre Presen­­ts Brain An Acclaimed Work by Spoken Word Artist Brendan McLeod

The Chan Centre Presen­­ts Brain An Acclaimed Work by Spoken Word Artist Brendan McLeod


Author and slam poet tackles mental illness and complex nuances of 
the human mind as part of Chan Centre’s Beyond Words series

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC) presents Brain, a hilarious and heartbreaking monologue about the mind, mental illness, and friendship on November 17 at 7:30pm in the Telus Studio Theatre as part of the Beyond Words series. Written and performed by novelist and slam poet Brendan McLeod, this 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival Pick of the Fringehas been hailed as “soulful, heartfelt theatre that is moving and challenging, skillfully crafted and entertaining.” (Plank Magazine)

Brain is a deeply touching one-man show that takes remarkable risks,” says Wendy Atkinson, Programming Manager of the Chan Centre and curator of the Beyond Words series. “We admire creator Brendan McLeod’s courage to stand up and share his vulnerabilities with audiences, offering his personal reflections on mental health and making this often-taboo subject relatable with lighthearted humour. By shining light on a provocative issue with inspirational ingenuity, McLeod is the perfect artist to take part in Beyond Words, which aims to spark important dialogue through narrative and performance combined.”

The brisk, clever and poignant monologue Brain maps McLeod’s experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder – from a teenager struggling to understand his obsessions, to an adult battling psychosis. An optimistic exploration of human nature and the importance of relationships, Brain is an intense comedy that reduces stigma and reveals new insight on mental illness.

Brendan McLeod is a prolific Canadian writer, spoken word artist, and musician. He is the author of one novel (The Convictions of Leonard McKinley), a one-woman play (The Big Oops), two monologues, and founder of The Fugitives, a folk music group signed to Light Organ Records. As a former Canadian slam poetry champion and world slam runner-up, he has shared his wordsmith expertise with students at Langara College. An active youth mentor, McLeod has worked with a variety of organizations, including Wordplay, Prologue, and the Vancouver Biennale.

In addition to being named a 2015 Pick of the Fringe in Vancouver, Brain was also nominated for The Georgia Straight’s Critic’s Choice Award. At the 2015 Victoria Fringe Festival, where the work was also nominated as Best Solo Show and Best Overall Show, McLeod was honoured as Favourite Male Performer.

In witnessing McLeod’s performance in Brain, local esteemed theatre critic Colin Thomas praised him for his, “rapid-fire delivery so clean and confident, his wit so casual, copious, and reassuring that he makes the journey feel safe for the audience. He gives himself; he feels less alone and we feel less alone. That’s what theatre is all about.”

Chan Centre Connects Events (
A series of ancillary events programmed in conjunction with Chan Centre performances, exploring the role of arts and artists in society.

  • A little OCD? Understanding Compulsions and Intrusive Thoughts – Wed. Nov 9 / 6pm @ Creekside Community Centre (Olympic Village – 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver). The Chan Centre partners with UBC’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and AnxietyBC for a candid, informative panel discussion about obsessive-compulsive disorder featuring writer and actor Brendan McLeod, co-founder of OCDbc Lynn Furlotte, and registered psychologists Dr. Melisa Robichaud and Dr. Juliana Negreiros. Discover everything you wanted to know about obsessive-compulsive disorder but were too afraid to ask! This event is free of charge.

About the Beyond Words series
The Chan Centre’s Beyond Words series was launched in 2012 to explore the power of words in performance as an agent of change and means of igniting conversation. Previous events have focused on literature and poetry, including sold-out engagements by John K. Samson, Shane Koyczan, and Ivan Coyote. In the 2014/15 season, the series paired environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki with Inuit throat singer and Polaris Prize winner, Tanya Tagaq. Last season, three pairs of distinguished BC-based writers and choreographers, Aislinn Hunter and Anusha Fernando, Carmen Aguirre and Olivia C. Davies, and Nancy Lee and Paras Terezakis, came together to create brand new works combining words and movement.

About The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC (
Since 1997, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in UBC’s Arts & Culture District has earned an international reputation for its striking design, stellar acoustics, and exceptional programming. Artists, critics, and patrons alike are unanimous in their praise of the facility, winning it a place among North America’s premier performing arts venues. The Chan Centre boasts three unique venues: the superb Chan Shun Concert Hall, the dramatic Telus Studio Theatre, and the intimate Royal Bank Cinema. From classical, jazz, theatre, and opera to world music, the Chan Centre is a vital part of UBC campus life where artistic and academic disciplines merge to inspire new perspectives on life and culture. Past performers and guest speakers include: Wynton Marsalis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Renée Fleming, Dan Savage, Yo-Yo Ma, Buena Vista Social Club, Sigur Rós, Mavis Staples, Anoushka Shankar, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.

LISTING INFORMATION Chan Centre Beyond Words series Presents: Brain
Date: Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 7:30pm
Ticket prices: From $20
Address: Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
University of British Columbia
6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Box Office: 604-822-2697 /

In person at the Chan Centre ticket office
Open Tue-Sat, 12pm-5pm



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