“A Day in the Life” with Performance Artist Rae Takei

Rae Takei (they/he) is an artist and performer born and raised on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. They grew up in Richmond, BC – land of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem nations – and since 2012, home for Rae has been Vancouver – land of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

With a style and sensibility that follows the pursuit of gender euphoria, Rae’s better-known alter ego is their drag persona, Rose Butch (they/them) who has been a staple of Vancouver’s performance art and nightlife scene since their debut in 2014. Their playful and theatrically-informed work has brought non-binary visibility to stages across Vancouver and beyond – winning crowns in bar pageants, gracing the pages of art magazines, and as the subject of an episode of CBC Gem’s docuseries Canada’s A Drag.

As a theatre artist, Rae was nominated for a Jessie Richardson award for Outstanding Performance their role of Finn in Carousel Theatre’s 2022 production of Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls by Dave Deveau. They love to work as a creative collaborator and consultant and have gotten to work with many companies in this capacity, including Shameless Hussy Productions, The Arts Club, Happy/Accidents Theatre, and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.

Rae is a lover of clouds and flourishes in springtime’s cherry blossoms and post-rain night air.

Rae Takei
Photo of me by my talented friend, Ray McEachern (@jesserayphotography), one of my consistent artistic collaborators for the past 6 years
Rae Takei
Best way to start my day is with coffee at home surrounded by pictures, art and objects that make me happy. I love thrifting and collecting, and my partner Chandler has a green thumb and keeps all the plants thriving
Working on Granville Island is one of the best parts of working with Carousel – so many things to look at! And I love looking at things
With my hilarious castmates in the Papa Penguin Play – Jeffery Follis, Kosta Lemermeyer and Katie Voravong. Working with them has been so much fun!
Eating ice cream in Portland with my incredible boyfriend Chandler. This was at a place called Fifty Licks, and my favourite was the flavour at the top of my double scoop – Brownie vs Blondie. So good
Poster from The Darlings’ 2023 production called ARCHIVE, styled and shot by Marchel B Eang. That’s me in the middle with Continental Breakfast, Maiden China and PM
Rae Takei
A lot of my life involves socializing, so I like to balance out my social battery by being a part-time homebody, and a lot of that involves cooking at home. It’s like making a craft that I get to eat after. This was a spring pea pasta with lots of fresh herbs and burrata that I made for dinner this weekend
Rae Takei
Beautiful sunset sunset sky from the balcony


Which ’hood are you in?

I live in the West End, recently transplanted from Mount Pleasant. I loved living in East Van, but am also loving waking up every day to views of the mountains, ocean, trees and sky.

What do you do?

I’m a performance artist who wears lots of different figurative hats! My roots are in theatre – I went to theatre school and graduated in 2013, and my focus was on collaborative devised theatre. I somehow found myself in the world of drag, which has been a huge part of my life since 2014. I get to perform regularly in Vancouver, travel for shows outside of the city, and for the past 5 years, I’ve been creating work that I love with The Darlings, an experimental drag theatre collective that I perform in with my co-founders, Maiden China, PM, and Continental Breakfast. I’ve recently come back to doing more traditional theatre in recent years, and have also been doing some acting on camera. For fun, I like learning ASL, cooking at home, eating ice cream, playing bar trivia, and listening to podcasts.

What are you currently working on?

Currently in rehearsals for The Papa Penguin Play by Dave Deveau for Carousel Theatre for Young Audiences and the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, co-produced by Zee Zee Theatre. It’s a very, very sweet play for people of all ages about a penguin chick’s first birthday party, and tells the story of her two dads and how they became her parents. I get to play the narrating Zoo Keeper, Mister Sister. I remember the first script workshop that I participated in for this play over Zoom in 2020, and it’s very heartwarming to see it coming to life for the stage and an in-person audience.

Where can we find your work?

Come see The Papa Penguin Play at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island, running May 15th-June 2nd! You can also keep up with me and my other artistic ventures (mostly drag, let’s be honest) on Instagram.


About Emilea Semancik 143 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: