Put your passion on display, even if it scares you

January 1, 2015


Wordsmith. Catalyst. Community activator.

Megan Dart is many things. Playwright. Poet. Spoken word artist. Publicist. Competitive cheerleader. And entrepreneur. The co-owner of Catch the Keys Productions has been a lover of words and a student of cadence, pitch and pace since she entered double digits, but it wasn’t until she was in university that she brought that love to the stage.

“I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t something I started sharing until I was in the professional writing program at MacEwan. That was when I decided that if I was really going to be a writer, I needed to commit.”

So she did. Whether Megan’s writing a press release, a proposal or a poem, she’s always all in.

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“When I told my parents that I was going to be professional writer, my poor stepdad went white as a ghost. He asked if I was sure I could make money doing that. I had no doubt. I knew it was going to work.”

She was right, but it hasn’t always been about plays and poetry. Megan worked in marketing and communications for years, using her talent for language to help her clients. “I used to joke that I was an interpreter—that my clients just needed to tell me everything they loved about what they did and I would translate it into something that spoke to their audience.”

“ You just have to take a risk sometimes. Leaping into the world of performance art is scary, but it’s fun too. 
Megan Dart

Today, Megan spends a lot of time crafting messages for audiences that find themselves in theatre seats, but she says it’s still all about communication—just a different kind. And although it’s been years since she was in university, the memory of what it felt like the first time she penned words that would eventually be spoken by actors is crystal clear.

“It was like kicking a door open and realizing that there was this whole potential for the written word to lead to art and performance. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your work go from page to stage and it’s incredible to see actors uncover gems you didn’t even realize were in your script.”

Megan’s work is filled with those gems. Whether she’s writing poetry about the sound of the west coast beaches she explored as a child—“the comforting crash of water kissing rock outside my childhood bedroom door”—or inspiring the next generation of MacEwan University graduates to “put their passion on display”—you can’t help but be drawn in.

Maybe it’s because her writing goes beyond words on a page—read anything she has written and you can’t help but feel Megan’s energy and passion weaving those groups of letters together.

“I’m pretty energized about my poetry and spoken word right now, and it’s something I really want to focus on,” says Megan, who competed as part of the Edmonton Slam Team at the Canadian Slam Poetry finals last year. “I’ve been writing my whole life, but performing is a new experience for me. You just have to take a risk sometimes. Leaping into the world of performance art is scary, but it’s fun too.”

And having some empathy for what it feels like to take the stage can’t hurt when your lengthy job description includes everything from cheerleading coach to playwright. These days Megan is working with Catalyst Theatre—Catch the Keys is currently their company in residence—spending the year developing new stage work.

It’s a challenge and a step in the right direction. “The end goal for Catch the Keys is to take the work we build and curate here, and bring it out into the world. We also want to own and operate a space in the city—a place where artists can collaborate and perform.”

It’s a big goal, but Megan’s not afraid of the hard work that will come with making it a reality.

“When I coach my cheerleading kids, I’m always telling them that the work is worth it, that putting in all of those hours practicing and sweating can be draining, but when you reach your goal you can see it pay off. It’s something I keep in the back of my mind too. The work is always worth it.”

Megan Dart is an alumna of the Bachelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing program. For more information about the now named Bachelor of Communication Studies program, visit MacEwan.ca/CommunicationDegree.

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