A member of the Mattagami First Nations with French-Canadian and Irish ancestry, Corey Payette grew up in small-town Northern Ontario, and at the age of 16 – when his music teachers admitted they had run out of things to teach him – he moved to Ottawa, then to Toronto where he earned a BFA in Music Composition from York University. Next was the West Coast, where he worked as a musical theatre performer, found inspiration and community, and began writing musicals. In 2014, he took on the leadership of Urban Ink Productions. Centring language revitalization and community engagement, he has brought 4 new musicals into the world: Children of God, Les Filles du Roi, Sedna, and Starwalker – ground-breaking artistic events that have provided revolutionary opportunities for Indigenous and diverse artists. During the pandemic, he became a feature filmmaker, forging an aesthetic that is both land-based and theatrical. Corey has opened the hearts and changed the perspectives of tens of thousands of audience members who have witnessed his work. He is a change-maker and a really fun friend. He loves Beyoncé, lakes, and lounging with his nearest and dearest. He adores his twin nieces and lives with his husband Marshall and their sassy cat Mabel. Their home is full of art, laughter, and plants.
-Written by Julie McIsaac, Co-Writer/lyricist and Actor in Les Filles du Roi
Which ’hood are you in?
East Van Rez. Very grateful to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl’ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples for being such good caretakers of this land I’ve called home for 14 years.
What do you do?
I write musicals, usually on stage but more recently on film. I’m also the Artistic Director of Urban Ink and Raven Theatre.
What are you currently working on?
Les Filles du Roi a feature musical film, is receiving its Canadian Premiere at VIFF 23! I’m also currently in post-production for a new musical feature film I’ve written/directed called Starwalker. I’m always writing new musicals that will premiere years from now.
Where can we find your work?