Meet Tracey Erin Smith – Creator of Drag Heals

Tracey Erin Smith is the creator and theatre director of Drag Heals

Tracey Erin Smith is an award-winning, international artist, teacher, and speaker who transforms the individuals and groups who work with her through her company, SOULO Theatre.

Who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?

My drag persona are: The Burning Bush and BuddyThe Burning Bush is my female drag persona She has fiery wild curls, boobs for days and wears a huge rhinestone Star of David necklace. 

She is many parts of me put on theatrical steroids. The Burning Bushes’ journey from drop out rabbi to preacher/stripper has helped me reveal my own path as a teacher/performer. I have never been a stripper (that I know of) but I did take pole and lap dancing lessons for my one woman show called The Burning Bush! which I performed Off-Broadway and across Canada.

Buddy is my male drag persona.  He has long dark hair, wears a navy bandana, a Canadian tuxedo (jeans and a jean jacket) and a handle bar moustache with a goatee. 

Buddy, like Burning Bush, highlights and reveals parts of myself. 

He is a Canadian dude who’s ‘Part Scarborough, part Jewish’. He talks like a ‘hoser’, has a huge heart and teaches kindergarten at a Montessori School.  

I have taught SOULO to pre-teens at a Montessori school, I am ALL Jewish.

Portraying these parts of my own biography as Buddy has revealed a more playful, goofier side to the things in my life that I have taken very seriously (including the Canadian Tuxedo).

Does the idea of drag as therapeutic or being healing resonate with you? Why? 

Yes! I think drag could be called, ‘medicine that sparkles’. My work with SOULO, which I developed when I was an instructor at Ryerson University, is all about using theatre, writing and creativity to make powerful and entertaining solo shows. Along the way, the shows become healing both for the creator and then for the audience. 

In my experience with Drag, I see people finding a persona that, whether they know it or not, comes from a deep place within them. I have heard more than a few drag artists say that their drag persona has saved their lives. 

Doing drag is a great way to get to know parts of yourself and to learn more about how you feel and think about things. As Oscar Wilde said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?

Great question! Based on what we experienced in Season 2, the drag community can benefit hugely from being more inclusive.  More inclusivity means more people to learn from. During our taping, there was some great creative cross-pollination of ideas and skill-sharing among the performers. I saw the participants of Drag Heals 2 become bigger and better artists from having witnessed different genres of drag. If you want to spark your ideas for your own drag, go watch and work with artists who are doing different things than you! 

And on the personal growth side of things, I believe including people/artists who are different from one another, and sharing our stories, enriches our lives more than we know. 

When the group is diverse the benefits to individuals are truly exponential.

What’s been most challenging about Drag Heals for you personally?

When you create a solo show based on your own life, stuff can get pretty real. By this I mean that in order to create something powerful you have be brave enough to face your own dragons. This can bring up fear and resistance for some people. 

I have spent almost twenty years midwifing these shows, as well as having two certificates in Narrative Therapy, so I have experience dancing with people’s fear. It’s normal sometimes to want to quit half way up the mountain and my job, as a creative Sherpa of sorts, is to normalize fear as part of the process. 

The reward on getting to the other side of the fear can be a deep healing that comes from releasing a story that has been locked inside of you.  The show becomes each performer’s gift of truth for the audience, who may, through their tears say; I thought I was the only one.  

What’s brought you the most joy working with the Drag Heals cast?

What brought me the most joy was that the cast became such fast friends. They trusted each other enough to share very personal stories and stay open and vulnerable when things got challenging. And, to do all of that on camera is an astounding act of courage. 

I am so proud of them. 

What has surprised you the most?

What surprised me the most is the caliber of skills and the level of passion of our guest coaches and mentors. Each one is a super star in their field. 

What also surprised (and delighted me!) is how much we all learned from each participant. Each person brought their own form of magic and mastery.  Everyone on this show is a teacher of their own unique lesson. 

What do you hope the TV audience gets out of watching Drag Heals? 

My hope for the audience is enlightenment. I hope they watch and feel enlightened about the amazing variety of lived experiences in the LGBTQ2S community and that they gain exposure to all the different kinds of drag performers that exist now. I would also LOVE if they leave with a desire to try some form of drag themselves!

How has COVID-19 affected your work as a theatre director?

Since Covid19 hit I have taken my SOULO course online. This means that if you enjoyed watching the creative process on Drag Heals and would like to create your own show with me, you can apply to be in a SOULO course…from anywhere in the world!

To apply send an email to: [email protected]

Connect with Tracey Erin Smith at:

Website: www.soulo.ca

Instagram: traceyerinsmith

Facebook: Tracey Erin Smith & SoulOTheatre

Twitter: traceyerinsmith

Drag Heals season 2 casting in Toronto!

Drag Heals season 2 is casting in Toronto

#NoEliminationsJustCelebrations

Drag Heals season 2 is now casting in Toronto. The second season of Drag Heals will showcase 8 drag kings and queens who participate in a 10 class workshop with theatre director Tracey Erin Smith, founder of Soulo Theatre. The ten workshops will culminate in 2 public shows at Buddies In Bad Times cabaret theatre in Toronto.

Each week a guest coach will join Tracey Erin Smith in exploring soul-deep story sharing techniques as well as the unique talents and skills required from a drag king or queen.


We invite self-tape submissions from all genders, ages, and ethnicities. 8 participants will be selected to win this 10 class course with Tracey Erin Smith and join the cast of Drag Heals for two live performances at Buddies in Bad Times cabaret theatre.

There is no payment for participation in documentary TV series. All theatre net proceeds from the performances will be split equally between performers.

We invite all interested parties to view Drag Heals season 1 on OUTtvGo.com (free week trial available) or on Amazon Prime.

How to apply to be part of the Drag Heals season 2 cast

Please email [email protected] with a link to your self-tape (on Casting Workbook, Vimeo or YouTube).

Please include: your name, stage name, phone number, email, confirm you live in Toronto and are available for all dates in the shooting schedule below. Finally be sure to include answers to 2 of the questions found lower down in this post.

Feel free to get creative in your video. We want to see and know who you are and why you want to do this! Walk us through your drag closet, introduce us to your best friend, mother, roommate.

Applicants to Drag Heals season 2 must be available for ALL dates/times listed below:


DRAG HEALS season 2 SHOOTING SCHEDULE
Sat. Jan. 4th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 5th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sat. Jan. 11th/20 2pm to 7pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 12th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sat. Jan. 18th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 19th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Tues. Jan. 2st/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sat. Jan. 25th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 26th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Thu. Jan. 30th/20 6:30pm to 11:30pm TECH RUN
Fri. Jan. 31st/20 Doors 7pm, show 8pm PERFORMANCE
Sat. Feb. 1st/20 Doors 7pm, show 8pm PERFORMANCE

APPLICANTS – Please answer 2 of the following questions:

1) What have you survived and how have you survived it?
2) What excites you most about doing drag?
3) Who doesn’t know you do drag and why haven’t you shared with them?
4) In a perfect fantasy performance, what would you do?
5) If you’ve never done drag before, what excites you about trying it?
6) How do you think the drag king and drag queen worlds could benefit from working together?
7) What scares you about drag and the idea of doing an open-hearted course that will put you on stage in front of hundreds of people?
8) What will you bring to the others in the group?

SEEKING the following people for Drag Heals season 2

DRAG KINGS – Seeking seasoned and newbie DRAG KINGS that live in Toronto, are available for all shoot dates, are excited about bringing their drag and performance to a new level of professionalism and have a great big open heart and mind!

DRAG QUEENS – Seeking seasoned and newbie DRAG QUEENS that live in Toronto, are available for all shoot dates, are excited about bringing their drag and performance to a new level of professionalism and have a great big open heart and mind!

GENDER QUEER PERFORMERS – Seeking seasoned and newbie GENDER QUEER PERFORMERS that live in Toronto, are available for all shoot dates, are excited about bringing their drag and performance to a new level of professionalism and have a great big open heart and mind! Does your performance/look defy categories? Submit here and share why!

GUEST COACHES – Are you a seasoned pro in the fields of performance, singing, dance, make-up/hair, costuming, entertainment business, etc? We are looking for professionals to join us who will share their wisdom and experience! Tell us about yourself and what you can offer in coaching drag queens and drag kings.

Drag Heals season 2 is looking for cast!

Drag Heals season 2 further details

NETWORK: OUTtv Canada Drag Heals season 2 will air on OUTtv in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India giving participants the opportunity to raise their profile and be seen by millions around the globe.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Charlie David

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Philip Webb, Brad Danks for OUTtv Canada

HOST/COACH: Tracey Erin Smith

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Border2Border Entertainment

WATCH season 1 here to help prepare your video submission! 1 week free trial available on OUTtvGo.com or watch on Amazon Prime.

I’m a Porn Star documentary

documentary I'm a Porn Star

I’m a Porn Star is a feature documentary exploring the lives of men working in the gay adult entertainment industry.

There are an estimated 370 million pornographic websites online.  Porn is now a thirteen BILLION dollar business.  So who’s doing all this moonlighting?  Turns out – probably some people you know.  I’m a Porn Star is a documentary revealing the inner workings of the gay adult industry.

I like to make films about sexuality – how we as a society embrace or are repulsed by it, what some see as artistic expression and others view as pornography, and where the seeds for these often very visceral reactions begin.

I’m a Porn Star is entertainment but it also delves into a provocative new era of sexual liberation and expression.  Living in a domestic post gay liberation era we are now bombarded with the male form undressed for pleasure, for provocation, and as a catalyst in advertising and media.  I wanted to explore how young men are being conditioned to perceive their own bodies, their constructs of masculinity, and the disintegration of labels around sexuality.

A decade ago we consumed pornography in magazines or buying DVDs and VHS tapes.  Today the studio giants in the adult industry have been gutted by the Internet auteur and are struggling to reinvent themselves before it’s too late. 

I'm a Porn Star documentary Brent Everett

A millennial gay porn star could make a living with film and was truly the star of the community in a time when Hollywood was still afraid to come out of the closet.  Today a gay porn star likely has another job to pay the rent, which usually includes ‘club appearances’ or online hustling. 

At the turn of the century we were still shocked by the AIDS epidemic and many studios began routinely testing their stars and only filming safe sex.  Today in spite of rapidly rising rates of HIV transmission in youth – bareback scenes are in vogue and receive special promotion on many websites. 

In 2000 it was risky business getting into adult entertainment. Today in a volatile economy, more and more young people are using it to ‘put themselves through school’ or because like the new Queen of Pop they’ve also been bitten by the Fame Monster. 

I'm a Porn Star documentary on set

‘Boys will be boys’ as the saying goes and we were invited onto a pleasure island while filming I’m a Porn Star.  As a young twenty-something, I witnessed several handsome friends suddenly working in the adult industry – either as strippers or in adult video.  I always wondered how much was enough for them to say yes to that world and the lifestyle that went with it. 

I'm a Porn Star documentary Rocco Reed

To what extent will a young person push their body, their will, or their sexual preference in order to grab some quick cash? The answer of course is not easy and each subject we worked with presented their own set of motivations – everything from lust for dollars, an addiction to attention, or simply loving to have sex!

Directing the I’m a Porn Star documentary was such an adventure because I was able to immerse myself outside my comfort zone, grow and be challenged by the experience.  There were many times while interviewing when I had to keep my fist planted firmly under my jaw so it wouldn’t fall to the floor.  These guys are shocking, competitive, profane, relatable and endearing.  Perhaps they’ve made choices that there’s no turning back from or perhaps they’re brave enough to live the sexually liberated lives we all secretly fantasize about.

I'm a Porn Star Johnny Rapid

Following the interest in the first documentary, we decided to do a sequel, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay which explores the lives of straight men who work in the gay adult industry. 

INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR CHARLIE DAVID, Director of I’m a Porn Star documentary

What was the genesis for I’m A Porn Star? Was this your brainchild or were you approached by someone else to take part?

I was approached by OutTV Canada to create a film that somehow reflected a change in the queer experience over the past few decades.  I decided to look a little beyond the obvious political landscape and explore adult entertainment and how it’s been impacted by technological, social and consumption advances and new norms. 

Porn is ubiquitous now – creation and engagement are high across all social classes and so a deeper look at the people who make it their career despite it still being a taboo fascinated me. 

This isn’t your first documentary, but it’s the first with people who are fairly well known, at least in the porn world. Did you have an easier or harder time getting them to open up for the camera?

I’ve been really fortunate with my documentaries that my subjects have been extremely comfortable and forthcoming with me.  I also do interviews in the casting and vetting process so I won’t work with someone if I think they’ll be flat or problematic in a show. 

For this project, there are many great looking guys who take awesome photos or make great sex videos but in an interview situation or to follow them around in real life with a camera would be a terribly boring experience both for me and for an audience.  Those early interviews and doing some research before considering production is very important.  It’s casting essentially and a dynamic story line and compelling characters are tantamount to having any entertainment experience succeed. 

Working as a host on the travel show Bump for 6 years really cut my teeth as an interviewer.  We filmed 120 episodes all around the world and there were some great interviews and some that were painful teeth pulling experiences.  I think that process of learning how to get a person comfortable with me and asking the right questions so they share freely and openly was like boot camp for becoming a film director – especially of documentaries. 

Were there any revelations you had while making this or any moments that really stood out to you as being eye-opening? 

I went to some shoots with various companies prior to filming and seeing the use of injectables like Caverject to get erections for filming was certainly eye-opening.  There really are a disproportionate number of straight identifying men working in gay pornography.  Some of the feedback on my doc and on blogs I’ve read, the comments seem to obsess with who’s straight, who’s gay, is it subconsciously homophobic that we have so many straight guys doing gay work, etc. 

Honestly I don’t understand the obsession with these questions or lines of thinking.  It seems so old-school to me to be labeling sexuality so rigidly.  There’s a continuum of sexuality and these guys along with all humanity fall somewhere on the spectrum.  However, because of the obvious fascination, I decided to do a follow up documentary, I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay which explores this.

Coming from a fairly liberal place like Canada to the US, do you find that there’s a more puritanical view of sex here in the US than there is in Canada or is the opposite true?

While we may vary on other norms in terms of sex within culture my experience living in Canada and the USA has been that we’re fairly similar.  Our countries are geographically immense and there are plenty of pockets of conservatives, progressives and moderates in both.

You wear a lot of hats, but where are you most at home? Is it performing, producing, writing, directing, or something else?

At this point on my journey I love directing and producing.  The documentaries are really fun but I’m looking forward to directing some scripted films & TV as well.  I’m certainly open to being contacted by studios or independents to direct.

You said in an interview with Out Visions that your work resides in “a little niche within a niche,” but do you see the audience for what you do expanding more rapidly now than it was even a year ago?

Yes, I think there’s a growing hunger for content and the type of sexy, off-beat, gay-centric shows and films I make.  There are emerging markets and growing populations that want to watch compelling films about the gay experience and that’s what I do. 

You also mentioned in that interview that you have received communications from people whose lives were impacted by your work. Would you care to share any one of those with us?

Most of the emails and letters I receive come from either a Dante’s Cove fan or from someone who has just watched my film Mulligans.  I think with Mulligans the inter-generational relationship between the father and his son’s best friend is compelling, arousing or relatable in some way to a lot of people.  It’s also a story about a family man who comes out in his forties and for a lot of men living in those more conservative pockets of the country I think this also strikes a chord. 

Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you’re dying to work with?

Of course, there’s a huge list here!  We’re actually preparing I’m a Porn Star: Gay4Pay, which will dive deeper into the lives of the straight dudes who work in gay porn since that seems to be such a fractious topic.  So in the adult world we’re starting to compile a wish list and are certainly open to your readers input. 

 In the mainstream I’m a huge fan of Xavier Dolan’s work as director, writer and actor. 

Anything else you’d like your fans to know or perhaps anyone that’s discovering you for the first time?

I love when an audience interacts with a film.  So I invite your readers to watch our work and rate it, review it, share it, comment on it and discuss it.  My documentaries are meant to be kindling and I hope they start a conversation. 

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