During Naked State, I am thinking of creating a solo performance piece incorporating movement, choreography, music and original scripted text that explores my own complicated relationship to my queer body and the shame of it and its functions with which I was indoctrinated through a strict religious upbringing. I wish to explore my relationship with my penis as the primary source of this shame and the overwhelming taboo of male nudity instilled in me from a young age resulting in a particular fetishizing of the appendage and its functions.
My creative work is interested in the crossover between scripted theatre and performance art and the staging of provocative images and text that incorporate live performance, language, and various forms of media. Frequently using nudity as a powerful image, my work has long explored human’s relationships to their own bodies and to each other’s, particularly in relation to sexuality and shame, both religious and cultural. As a queer man having been raised Mormon in a particularly conservative region of Canada, my work is both a deliberate and perhaps unconscious reaction to the deep shame instilled in me from a very young age surrounding my natural body and its desires and in particular the taboo and resulting mystification of the penis as an object of titillation.
Jay Whitehead is a trained theatre artist, actor and writer based out of Lethbridge, Alberta where he is a faculty member in the Department of Theatre at the University of Lethbridge. As a native Albertan, he holds an MFA in acting from York University and has been a professional artist in various capacities for over 15 years. In 2012 he founded a theatre company in Lethbridge called Theatre Outré, whose mandate is to “provide an uncensored and uncompromising voice to those in our community who are considered to exist beyond the fringes of social propriety, sexual norms and gendered expectations.”