March 8, 2021 – To mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, the Montreal branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) is proud to recognize the achievements of Julie Tamiko Manning, naming her the 2021 ACTRA Montreal Woman of the Year.

Julie is an award-winning theatre artist, mentor and voice actor from Montreal. After graduating from Dawson College’s theatre program (The Dome) exactly 30 years ago, she became the self-appointed queen of TYA tours. From the cavernous gymnasiums of Quebec to the independent stages of Vancouver and Montreal, to the national stage in Ottawa and the international stage in Barcelona, Julie has built a substantial career in theatre performance over the years. When, at some point, she wondered where all of the stories about biracial Japanese Canadian women were, she thought she should make some.

Her first play, Mixie and the Halfbreeds (with Adrienne Wong), about mixed identity in multiple universes, was originally commissioned as a radio play by CBC, then adapted for the stage for Neworld Theatre in Vancouver. Her second play, The Tashme Project: The Living Archives (with Matt Miwa), a verbatim retelling of the Japanese Canadian internment experience during WWII, recently toured to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa and was published by Canada Playwrights’ Press in 2019. Julie is currently adapting The Tashme Project (with Matt Miwa and PJ Patten) into a graphic novel as well as completing her third play, Mizushōbai- The Water Trade (commissioned by Tableau D’Hôte Theatre), which will premiere in the 2022 theatre season.

Along with her 30 years of theatre credits, Julie’s ACTRA credits include the voicing of Frost from Rainbow Six Siege, Caitlin Murphy’s web series Mother’s Try and upcoming feature film, Devotion (Broken Hill). Some of the work that she has been the proudest of has been with the arts and cultural communities as a mentor for ARTISTA, Imago Theatre’s mentorship program, Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program and co-facilitator for the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process with Diane Roberts. She sits on the Quebec Drama Federation’s board of directors, and the National Association of Japanese Canadians (Quebec chapter). During this pandemic year, Julie co-created the Daily One Song Isolation Dance Party as a means of rallying the community’s spirits and has been homeschooling her three incredible nieces.

“Julie is an absolute gem in Montreal. As an actor, mentor, teacher, friend, she supports, encourages, and strengthens the community. Julie and I spoke on Zoom when I offered her the award. We spoke about her mentoring, the Daily One Song Isolation Dance Party, her extensive theatre resume, voice work. and accolades. But when we discussed other aspects of her acting work, specifically in film and television, the conversation shifted into something very different.

See, if you asked me to list Julie’s on-screen acting credits, I wouldn’t be able to do it. That part of her resume is essentially empty. Except it isn’t. It’s full of invisible credits–roles and auditions Julie turned down over the years because they placed her in painful categories. Her film and television resume can better be described as all the times she said “no”. No to portraying a stereotype. No to being asked to “pass for” other races. No to being told she wasn’t “Asian enough”. No to being told she was “too Asian”. No to feeling like her body wasn’t “correct”.

In our conversation, Julie stressed that she made these decisions to protect herself and does not begrudge any actor who chooses work. She knows that others share her experience and hopes to be able to shine some light on the difficult decisions that actors may have to make to keep themselves afloat…and why that even happens The painful truth is that so often it does still fall to actors to make these choices.

Julie gave me her permission to share all this in today’s announcement. I want to thank her for being so generous and candid with me in talking about her experience, and for taking this opportunity to raise awareness.” – Elizabeth Neale, ACTRA Montreal Women’s Committee Chair.

The mandate of the ACTRA Montreal Women’s Committee includes exploring the concerns of and supporting women within ACTRA and in the audiovisual industry as a whole. Julie joins past recipients of ACTRA Montreal’s Woman of the Year Brittany LeBorgne, Eramelinda Boquer, Erika Rosenbaum, Lucinda Davis, Joanna Noyes, Jeannie Walker, Jacqueline McClintock, Danette Mackay, Felicia Shulman, and Dawn Ford.