Today we’d like to introduce you to Mal Malme.
Mal, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Walk… more like a slow crawl… here goes…
Theater artist in the Boston community for over 30 years.
2002, founded Queer Soup Theater (www.queersouptheater.org) with several Boston based queer artists. Our current work is The Pineapple Project, a 30 min theater piece celebrating kids being their wonderful gender creative unicorn selves, www.pineappleproject.org. We tour it to schools, libraries, and community events in the Greater Boston area. We would love to tour it to other states and have kids and caregivers. In 2017, we were awarded a Boston Foundation Live Arts Boston Grant, and the funds helped us to add an ASL interpreted performance, which we toured to several deaf schools in the Boston and Rhode Island area.
I’ve also been a professional healthcare clown for over 20 years, currently working for The Laughter League (www.laughterleague.org) working at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. We are celebrating our work and raising needed funds to continue to grow the work at our Laughter League Live Benefit on Nov. 1st at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center For the Arts.
I’m also a queer and non-binary person, activist and educator. I’m also on the StageSource Board, www.stagesource.org, Boston’s theater connection for artists and theater organizations. With StageSource, we started the Gender Explosion project, to educate the larger theater community about being more inclusive of non-binary and transgender theater artists.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth, then a pothole, then a speed bump, then a critter running across the road…
Some of the speed bumps along the way:
Coming out as queer in the early-mid 1990’s – using theater as a vehicle to change attitudes about lgbtq+ people was the way I could discover and explore who I am and claim my truth. Having Queer Soup allowed me to use the theater for social change.
2009, diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer – surgeries and intense chemo treatments prevented me from working, performing and I am still unpacking that whole experience. Being a non-binary person, and having a very female cancer has given me a lot to ruminate about! But it also gave me the gift of an idea for a children’s middle-grade novel, that now, I am sending out to agents for publication. Fingers crossed. I also used running as a means of reclaiming my body and my strength, so since 2010, I’ve run 4 marathons, Disney, Boston, Chicago, and NY. And many half marathons, including the BAA Half Marathon on Oct. 7th. Having had cancer, also allows me to connect on a deeper level with the patients I meet at Boston and Hasbro Children’s Hospitals through my work with The Laughter League.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Since I’m a theater artist, hospital clown, board member, and activist/educator and wear many hats, and am involved in many volunteer and professional organizations – I’m also on the Cambridge LGBTQ+ Commission, and The Patient Family Advisory Council at BIDMC, and volunteer working with the shelter dogs at The Animal Rescue League, it’s hard to talk about one “business/company.”
I’m a human who considers myself a theater artist, writer, healthcare clown, and activist.
My mission in life is to make the world a better place through performance, theater, activism, and just being who I am. And Being kind.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Here are a few:
Being on my grandparents’ farm in Minnesota and my grandmother bringing in a feral kitten for us to see.
Having a Mom, who when I was young, allowed me to get jeans from the boys’ dept in Sears, so I wouldn’t have to wear the girls’ jeans because they were too girly colors for me.
My birthday is Nov. 1st, so Halloween I call Mal-loween, as it’s been an extension of my birthday, my Mom let me dress up as Batman and made me an awesome costume.
- Website: queersoup.org, pineappleproject.org, laughterleague.org, stagesource.org
- Phone: 617-308-5590
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @mal.malme
- Facebook: @queersouptheater, @pisforpineappleproject, @foundationforlaughterleague
- Twitter: @mmalme, @queer_soup
Headshot – Becca A. Lewis, Pineapple Project – Renee Farster-Degenhardt, Dr. Mal Adjusted – Jeff Smithson