Best known for sparking the global wave of Ginger Pride by marching hundreds of redheads through the streets of Edinburgh, Shawn Hitchins is an award-winning entertainer and author who has toured throughout Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. From stage to page, Hitchins moves his audiences with laugh-out-loud humor and devastating truth as he strives for a greater understanding of love, work, and family.
He is wry. He is irreverent. He is funny.
“Enter human vitamin pill…”The Chronicle Herald
“A one-man flash mob.”Toronto Star
“Hitchins is a funny and gifted performer who could easily host a late-night talk show.”Now Magazine
After years of performing comedy in small theaters and cabarets, Hitchins stepped into the international spotlight during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2013, Hitchins debuted his lauded one-man show Ginger Nation to standing-room-only houses and unprecedented media coverage. Ginger Nation is Hitchins’s fiery account of being a sperm donor to a lesbian couple, a frank examination of the capacities of the modern family. His true and overly personal story was featured in The Guardian Weekend, and the Gay Times UK raved, “A really engaging and wonderful storyteller … quite surprisingly, rather moving.” The show toured across Canada, where it was a Now Magazine Critic’s Pick; The Coast hailed Hitchins as a “polished entertainer.” In its New York debut, Ginger Nation was a Time Out NY Critic’s Pick.
Also in 2013, Hitchins made headlines around the world after parading hundreds of redheads through the streets of Scotland in protest against “gingerism.” The U.K.’s first-ever Ginger Pride Walk went viral and garnered the Canadian ginger the most coverage in the history of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (The Guardian, BBC, BBC World Service, CNN, BuzzFeed, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, RTÉ) and fostered a global conversation about the prevalent bullying of redheads. The walk remains Hitchins’s greatest joke ever told, and the stunt continues to be a featured talking point in his media appearances and interviews.
“…one of T.O.’s best cabaret performers, with great dramatic and comic instincts.”Glenn Sumi, Now Magazine
“He’s like the guy at the party whose mixed prescriptions pills and hard liquor suddenly unload a brutal, self-effacing world view on anyone within earshot.”Encore Pub
“He was snappy. He was snarky. He was funny.”Mooney On Theatre
In 2017, Hitchins’s debut memoir A Brief History Of Oversharing (ECW Press) landed on Canadian, U.S., and U.K. bookshelves to excellent reviews and notices. “Hitchins has a gift for telling outwardly repulsive stories in a way that actually draws people in.” (Foreword Reviews, ✮✮✮✮✮/5) “Hitchins is willing to excoriate himself to amuse –– and, just maybe, enrich –– his audience.” (Quill & Quire) Since the release, Hitchins has appeared and overshared on The Agenda (TVO), The Social (CTV), Here & Now (CBC), eTalk (CTV), and The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers (CBC). CBC Arts included A Brief History Of Oversharing in their round-up of 2017 LGBTQ arts and culture watershed moments. Hitchins received the bronze 2018 ‘IPPY’ Independent Publisher Book Award for Humor.
A live recording of Ginger Nation (a collaboration between Hitchins and Mitch Fillion of Southern Souls) has defied industry expectations. The crowdfunded and guerrilla-shot documentary continues to play film festivals across North America (InsideOut ’17, Cucalorus ’17, SFIndie Fest ’18), introducing new audiences to the would-be tale of fatherhood. “Shawn Hitchins is funny. Really funny.” (Get Reel Movies) “An all-or-nothing experience.” (Encore) “Vastly entertaining.” (Huffington Post) The film begins streaming on various platforms in summer 2018.
Fall 2021, Hitchins returns (after a three-year absence from his career) with the release his second book The Light Streamed Beneath It: a Memoir of Grief and Celebration. This work is a departure from Oversharing, but carries Hitchins’s sense of joy, grit, and trademark candour. The Light Streamed Beneath It chronicles Hitchins’s mid-life unravelling timed with two back-to-back sudden deaths. The author describes the book as, “an elegy of [his] body and a ballad for two man who changed his life.” The Light Streamed Beneath It is expected to arrive in three formats (trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook) and is available for pre-order wherever books are sold in Canada, the US, and the UK.
As a host, Hitchins has welcomed audiences for the Toronto International Film Festival, the Luminato Festival, and Singalonga UK. Select engagers and festivals include: Harbourfront Centre, LOL Sudbury, Pan Am Games, The Duplex Cabaret, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, We’re Funny That Way, Rhubarb! Festival, UNO Fest, Next Stage Theatre Festival, and Atlantic Fringe Festival. Hitchins is an alumnus of the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University and the Second City Conservatory Toronto.
Now a Canadian with a green card, Shawn Hitchins splits his time between Toronto and California. He is in the process of relocating to the Los Angeles area.
“Hitchins rescues cabaret with a heavy dose of twenty-first century sass and sardonic wit.”Torontoist
“Hitchins is not only funny and talented, but very easy on the eyes.”Mx Justin Vivian Bond
“To deliver Marilyn Manson’s signature piece The Beautiful People, and make it sound human, is a miracle.”Scene Changes
“Extremely entertaining, hysterically hip and proudly provocative material delivered with surgically precise comedic timing!”Outlooks Magazine