Master Builder, Don Dormady

You might say that Don Dormady has a knack for design. Fresh off of stints in Panama and China where he worked on a museum and a state-of-the-art movie theatre respectively, Don is back in The Garden City and we couldn’t be happier. Among his aesthetic achievements on the home front are his stunning annual stage designs for STRUTT, which have helped establish the cultural event’s reputation as a feast for the eyes. We caught up with Don over e-mail while he was en route from the PRC a couple of days ago to get his perspective on STRUTT.


Don pictured with model, Deanna Jones

RC: When/in what capacity did you first become involved with STRUTT?

DD: Back in the waining years of the last century, Brian (Yungblut) had helped organize a few adult themed party/show events at NAC and at some point–probably over drinks–Steve and Brian and I talked about doing something along that basic premise but that was more about art. I think our first real wearable art show was called “Camouflage”. Somebody had donated a giant camo net that we hung from the ceiling at the old Bond Street space and we put on a show. Those were simpler times. The next year the name was born and we’ve never looked back.

RC: Is there one stage design in particular that stands out for you?

DD: My personal favourite year as far as the set goes, was the show in the Hair Cloth building. It was the first time we didn’t have to do the whole build/tear down thing in 48 hours or less. It also helped that I had a bit of a budget. We bought hundreds of 8 ft. 1×2’s and Mel (MacDonald) was tasked with painting both those and a giant back wall, white. I cut them all up and went to town with a nail gun building a bird’s nest-come-spider web structure that I was very happy with. When lit, I thought it looked awesome. I’ve been trying to top it ever since.



Don’s favourite set design in action

RC: Do you have a favourite memory from STRUTT?

DD: It’s pretty hard to beat having a scantily clad young lady, blinded by the follow spotlight, walk off the end of the runway and land safely in Nick (Treanor’s) lap.

RC: A past piece of wearable art you’d actually wear:

DD: It’s shameless self promotion but I’d wear the mens suit adorned with hundreds of plastic wire ties.