Tanya' Marquardt’s

Stray [2014-2020]

Brutal and beautiful, Stray is the true story of a girl who runs away and finds herself.

Stray is a meta-memoir based on creator Tanya Marquardt’s experience as a sixteen-year-old runaway and BDSM model, and a New York transplant writing about this earlier stage of her life. A punk show with references to Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe and David Wojnarowitz, the show begins on November 1, 1992, the day Tanya runs away from home, and each song careens you through the chaotic years that follow – life with Tanya’s father, a travelling vacuum cleaner salesman, her first attraction to a girl and witnessing her self-cutting, being underage in a BDSM bar, a writing teacher’s praise, which saved her from suicide, and, how art sustained her throughout, poetically describing the pleasure of writing, “a left hand scuffing across the page like a club foot, or a piece of bread smeared in delicious sauce.”

Stray is partially based on Tanya Marquardt’s book Stray: Memoir of a Runaway (Little A, 2018).

Stray is being adapted into a concert/documentary film by Ulla Laidlaw. We aim to show a cut of the film in Vancouver in 2020 prior to Canadian touring, which will be announced in the spring of 2020.

Co-created by Tanya Marquardt, Tim Carlson and Mallory Catlett

Direction – Mallory Catlett
Performed by Tanya Marquardt, Tim Carlson, Jon Wood and Ed Goodine
Text – Tanya Marquardt
Music – Tim Carlson
Dramaturgy – Brian Rogers
Costume – James Joseph
Stage Management – Ilena Lee Cramer

Theatre Conspiracy acknowledges the support of: Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Province of BC, City of Vancouver Office of Cultural Affairs, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Brooklyn Arts Exchange and The Tank (New York). Stray was originally commissioned by Theatre Conspiracy and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver, and received development support from the Brooklyn Arts Exchange and The Tank in New York.

Stray was created on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Watuth) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples (Vancouver, BC), and on the Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland (Manhattan, New York). We acknowledge the damaging effects of colonialism on these lands and its peoples and are committed to reconciliation. We stand for the protection of these territories and homelands, and offer our art as a gesture of care to all of our relations, past, present, and future.


Adrienne Urbanski, Theatre is Easy:

“One of the great joys in seeing Off Off Broadway theater is when you come across a work of dazzling ingenuity and raw self expression that hasn’t been edited and refined and dulled the way larger, pricier productions often are. Stray is one of those works, in which writer-performer Tanya Marquardt adapts her memoir of the same title into a performance piece by merging music and spoken word. … Bottom Line: This compelling combination of memoir and music creates a truly one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

Daryl Reilly, TheaterScene:

“Marquardt is a fine singer, has a likeable presence and a fierceness that infuses the presentation that’s based on her memoir with authenticity...A fitfully entertaining collage of songs and spoken word ruminations often accompanied by the band at varying volume...’

“The accomplished musicianship often recalls the purposefully jagged tones of The Ramones, The Clash and early Blondie. … In addition to performing on guitar, Mr. Carlson also composed the music to Marquardt’s lyrics for the credible original songs. “Fucking Love Letters,” “The Paddle Song” and “The Thesis Song” are some of the titles. … Stray is patchy, spirited, marked by creative aspirations and succeeds on its own terms.”


  • PL 1422 | Vancouver, Canada – June 14 & 15, 2019

  • SummerWorks Festival at The Theatre Centre | Toronto, Canada – Aug 10 & 12, 2018

  • The Tank | New York, USA – July 18-21 & 25-28, 2018

  • Excerpts at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) | New York, USA – Oct - Nov. 2014

  • Club PuSh 2014 (premiered as Duets for One) | Vancouver, Canada – February 2014