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Gervais, Jesse

Actor, dancer, street performer and voice-over artist, based in Edmonton, Alberta. Jesse Gervais has a BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta (2001). He has performed with most of the professional theatres in Edmonton and across Canada in a wide variety of roles.

In 2011, he played Birnam Wood in the Edmonton Fringe Festival production of Forsooth My Lovely, a hilarious Shakespearean who-dunnit by David Belke. In 2012, he played a Slovakian ice dancer in 6.0:How Heap and Pebble Took on the World And Won, trying to make comeback with his partner (played by his wife, Amber Borotsik) after five years in a world without ice, the consequence of global warming (Northern Light Theatre). Again with Borotsik, he played an anguished older brother in an outstanding production of Little One by Hannah Moscovitch (Theatre Network 2014).

In 2015, he played an upper class twit in One Man, Two Guvnors (Citadel Theatre); a gay man who gets his revenge on his persecutor in Full Frontal Diva by Donn Short (Blarney Productions); a Chicago beat cop with significant personal and buddy problems in A Steady Rain with John Ullyatt (Blarney Productions); a Roman general in Coriolanus (Free Will Players). Also for Free Will he played a verbally and physically agile Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost (2016), an hilarious Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice (2017); Polixenes in The Winter's Tale (2019); and various comic roles in Two Gentlemen of Verona.

In March 2016, he played with exquisite irony the role of a husband avoiding the reality of his imminent mortality in Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses for the indie company, Wild Side Productions (dir. Jim Guedo). In 2017, he played a disgruntled oil worker after the Fort McMurray fire in Bust by Matthew MacKenzie (Punctuate! Theatre/Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts).

Jesse Gervais and Julian Arnold in Forsooth My Lovely
Jesse Gervais (left) and Julian Arnold in Forsooth My Lovely

For six years, Gervais has been a regular cast member of Die Nasty, a weekly live improvised soap opera, performing in Edmonton.

He has received a Sterling Award nomination for Best Actor in Buddy, Sterling Awards for Best Supporting Actor in The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide, and Best Actor in Let the Light of Day Through by Collin Doyle (Theatre Network 2013).

He has appeared in ATPN’s sketch comedy series Caution May Contain Nuts, Bite TV’s E-Town, and played ‘Jesse’ in season one and two of Tiny Plastic Men on Superchannel. He voices videogame characters in Bioware’s Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Neverwinter Nights.

During in Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when theatres were closed across Canada and around the world, Gervais devised a series of videos called "Isolation Scenes" that enact famous scenes from popular movies using blue-screen technology to make it appear he is acting opposite his "brother" Jiffy.

He is on the drama faculty for the Banff Centre for the Arts.

With his partner, actress Amber Borotsik, he formed the dance company, Windrow Performance, co-creating four dance theatre pieces such as Backwater, which have toured across Canada.

Source: Liz Nicholls. Edmonton Journal. 29 May 2015: C3.

Profile by Anne Nothof, Athabasca University

Last updated 2021-01-04