Organizer, Presenter - Technology in the Acting Class
Neil Silcox has been teaching theatre for 20 years. As a teenager, Neil taught free theatre classes to 7-9 year olds at the YMCA. Later he ran one of Canada's largest theatre camps for Original Kids Theatre Company in London, and later still served as Artistic Director of the award-winning Toronto Youth Theatre. Neil has helped guide the development of theatre programs by serving on Professional Advisory Committees for the joint Theatre and Drama Studies program at U of T and Sheridan (where he served three years as chair), and the newly created Theatre Arts and Performance Program at Centennial College. He teaches theatre at Brock University and Sheridan College, and has also taught at U of T and York University. Neil holds undergraduate degrees in Theatre from Sheridan and the University of Toronto, a Bachelor's of Education from Western, and a Masters in Fine Arts from York University.
Leader of Morning Yoga
Soo Garay is a Certified Yoga Instructor with the Canadian Yoga Alliance. She is a retired competitive swimmer and is the Author of Yoga for Swimmers, 7 consecutive articles published in SWIMNEWS, Canada. For the last twenty years, Soo has led classes in yoga studios, corporate institutions, private classes, and classes for those with special needs. Primarily an actor, Soo gained her MFA through York University in performance and teaching and has melded her love of movement technology with her love of working on stage and screen. Soo has a unique ability to read a room and understand what is needed by the individual to bring them into their bodies, minds, and hearts enabling them to be breath in the presence of the day. She is thankful to be part of this conference, and honored to have been asked to participate.
Dr. Marc Richard
Presenter - 'Physical Theatre Masterclass — Viewpoints, etc.' and 'Pedagogical Documentation: Making the learning visible in theatre training'
Marc is the Coordinator of the Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance Program and the Artistic Director of Theatre Sheridan. As a director and choreographer he has worked on over eighty productions across Canada. Most recently:The Last Resort (Drayton Entertainment). For Theatre Sheridan he has directed High Society, Berlin to Broadway, Company, West Side Story, Plane Crazy, Jerome Kern: All the Things You Are, Pippin, Floyd Collins and The Cradle Will Rock. He graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Dance and a PhD in Education both from York University. He has recently (2018) been named a 3M National Teaching Fellow by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE).
Presenter - 'Preparing Students for Uncertain Futures'
Steven is an actor/singer/teacher/academic who has been active in Canada and the UK for over 25 years. Trained at Grant MacEwan University, the University of Alberta and Concordia University, he is now in the final stages of a PhD at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London in Creative Entrepreneurship, looking at issues of sustainability related to UK acting careers. He was a Senior Lecturer at the London College of Music, University of West London, from 2010-2018 and was Programme Leader for the Musical Theatre degree from 2015-2018. Canadian performing credits include work with Stage West Calgary, Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Edmonton Opera, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, while his UK credits include UK tours, West End, off-West End, workshops/readings of new plays and musicals, cabaret, film, concerts and recordings. He has delivered masterclasses and guest lectures in Holland, Lithuania and South Africa.
Presenter - 'Acting the Way I Dance: A Hot Honey Revolution'
Robert grew up performing in musical theatre, with a focus on dance. He moved from Vancouver to Toronto to pursue professional musical theatre performance training in 2001. Soon after graduation he began performing in ensembles of musicals and joined Equity. His performance career took him coast to coast performing in musicals- from the Arts Club in Vancouver to the Charlottetown Festival in PEI. After a decade of ensemble performance, he transitioned into dance captaining and associate choreographic work. Recently he has begun to choreograph and direct musicals.
Robert is also a passionate educator. He has taught for over a decade for top performance programs at George Brown, Randolph College, and Sheridan College. He has developed ground-breaking curriculum in both ensemble performance and swinging and understudying for musical theatre. He is a Masters Candidate in Dance Studies at York University. He also proudly serves on the Board of The Dance Current, a major Canadian dance publication.
Robert strongly believes in arts advocacy and the promotion of musical theatre. He aims to create meaningful theatre, train excellent performers, and encourage musical theatre literacy amongst the theatre-going population.
Presenter - 'The Joy of Teaching Without Marking'
Trained at Theatre Aquarius, Young People's Theatre, The Banff Centre, The Second City and York University, Tracey works in theatre, film and television. She toured the country and taught Improvisation extensively for The Second City Toronto, which eventually led her to producing and performing two fully improvised solo shows: Face Value: Leslieville(Crow's Theatre) and Face Value: West(SummerWorks).Recent credits include the premiere of Cottagers And Indiansat The Tarragon Theatre, the made-for TV movie Christmas Encore and continuing work on the animated series The Cat In the Hat Knows A Lot About That!A voice specialist working in all areas of the business, Tracey created the training program Pirate Voiceat Pirate Toronto in 2007. In the spring of 2016, she launched Tracey Hoyt Coaching & Direction, focusing on commercial voice-over coaching and demo reel direction for trained and experienced talent. www.traceyhoyt.com
Presenter - 'Voice and Acting: How Can we Bridge the Gap?'
Danielle Wilson is an actor, director and educator. She has had a career as an actor working in theatres across Canada and she is the co-founder and co-Artistic Director of Stolen Theatre Collective which devises new work and stages existing plays in unconventional ways. She specializes in teaching Voice and Shakespeare for the actor and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University.
Presenter - 'Directing and Visual Grammar'
Gyllian Raby teaches Directing, Improvisation and Devising, and Scriptwriting at Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. She was the co-founding artistic director of One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre in Calgary (1981-88), chronicled in Martin Morrow's book "Wild Theatre". She was also artistic Director of Northern Light Theatre in Edmonton (1988-93). Before joining Brock U faculty she worked as a director, dramaturge, playwright/adaptor, translator, and teacher across Canada and in the US, for theatres big and small. This year, her adaptation of Nicolai Erdman’s The Suicide has been produced in Ireland and the U.S., and she has directed Lac/Athabasca (Len Falkenstein’s play about the tar sands and the Lac Megantic explosion), We Who Know Nothing about Hiawatha are Proud to Present Hiawatha (an original piece, homage to Jackie Sibblies Drury, exploring Settler ignorance) and Sabina’s Splendid Brain (Carol Sinclair’s play about the psycho-analyst Sabina Spielrein), that will be produced by Stolen Theatre in September 2018.
Samantha Megarry is a theatre artist, actor and teacher. Before moving to Toronto, Samantha had the joy of teaching at Geordie Theatre School in Montreal where she fell in love with making theatre for/with young people. Samantha is currently an artist-educator at Young People's Theatre, The Travelling Stage, and Shakespeare-in-Action. Samantha is also co-founder of Hopegrown Productions, a theatre company dedicated to creating dynamic roles for women. Samantha is a certified yoga teacher, and a graduate of Concordia University’s BFA Theatre Performance program.
Miriam is an instructor, actor, producer and events professional. While studying Theatre Performance at Concordia University, Miriam tapped into a desire to teach the creative process, under the mentorship of Bryan Doubt. Since 2015, she has facilitated an Introduction to Acting workshop offered at Concordia for non-theatre majors. Miriam is passionate about providing the tools and a safe space for students to play, sound and embrace their own presence. Miriam co-founded Hopegrown Productions and with Hopegrown, has workshopped and performed three new plays, which have toured within Canada, as well as to the Edinburgh Fringe. As an actor, Miriam has worked with Repercussion Theatre, In Your Face Entertainment and Passionfool Theatre. She is thrilled to be back at Artscape, having participated in Canada's National Voice Intensive this past May at CIT. She is eager to continue exploring the current training landscape and plans to pursue voice pedagogy at the MFA level. www.hopegrown.ca
Lauren is an actor-writer from Richmond Hill Ontario, and is currently developing a play as the Artist in Residence at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre. She is a recent graduate of the joint Theatre and Drama Studies Program at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College, where she received an Honours Bachelor or Arts in Theatre, graduating with High Distinction, and professional training from Sheridan with a Diploma in Acting (High Honours). Lauren is proud to be an alumni of the Young Innovators Unit at Nightwood Theatre, where she developed the skills to become an ambassador for Canada’s national Women’s Theatre. Since graduating, she has also enjoyed developing her own material in the Writing and Dramaturgy program with Brian Quirt at Tarragon Theatre, and continues to workshop her work. Her recent acting credits include: Selections from Rosamund Small’s Vitals (Paprika Festival), Michelle- White Wedding (The Toronto Fringe Festival) Katrina- Fermata (OPIA Theatre Collective), Thea- Hedda Gabler, Dionyza- Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Mother- The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Theatre Erindale), and Chava- Fiddler On The Roof). After a short but successful run, Lauren will be returning to Vitals once again this November with Theatre Born Between! When Lauren is not acting or writing, she enjoys working as the Program Director and Lead Teaching Artist at Electric Moon Theatre Company, where she runs theatre workshops in schools across the GTA. Follow along at www.laurenwolanski.com.
Anna MacKay-Smith was trained as an actress at The University of Ottawa for her B.A. in Theatre and English and then went on to theatre school in England - The Drama Centre, London - for a three-year acting program. Starting her professional career, she performed at regional theatres across Canada, including The Stratford Festival. Anna began teaching acting at C.A.S.T (Centre for Actors Study in Toronto) in the late 1980’s, She returned to her studies at York University to obtain her MFA in Directing. Upon graduation, she began to teach at York University, as well as, founding a full-time one-year foundation theatre school in Toronto, called The Players Academy which she was Artistic Director for 10 years. Anna co-founded, with actor Ken Welsh, the professional play reading company The Motley Theatre, which ran from 1996 - 2012. Her company MotherTree Projects, creates large performance pieces from the autobiographical writings of women in the community. She was the Education and Development Coordinator for Canadian Rep Theatre. Anna works currently, as well, as a Creativity Life Coach, helping artists find their direction, inspiration and creativity. She has taught acting in theatre and film at George Brown College, University of Toronto Mississauga, Sheridan College, Centennial College, and York University. As well, she coaches and teaches classes privately. Currently for George Brown College, Anna is the Coordinator of a new two-year media acting program - Acting For Media – as well as the Coordinator for a seven week intensive media acting program - Media Acting, Graduate Intensive- for theatre graduates.
Eric Armstrong is the full-time voice, speech and text teacher at York University’s BFA and MFA Acting Programs. His Professional dialect coaching/design for theatre includes work for Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre,Volcano Theatre,Canadian Stage,Crow's Theatre,Buddies in Bad Times Theatre,Soulpepper,Steppenwolfand Court Theatre; recent highlights include work on The Audiencefor RMTC and Mirvish, Chimericafor RMTC/Canadian Stage, and 12 Angry Menfor Soulpepper.Eric has also done significant coaching for film and television, including designing the Belter accents for Seasons 1 – 3 of The Expanse(now on Amazon Prime), as well as coaching Felicity Jones for On the Basis of Sex,Michelle WilliamsandSarah SilvermanforSarah Polley's feature film Take This Waltz, and Tom Wilkinsonfor his Emmy and Golden Globe nominated performance in HBO’s Normal(2003).
Eric’s current research revolves around a large project funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, “Best Practices in Accent Training for Indigenous Actors,” that he is doing in partnership with Shannon Vickers of the University of Winnipeg, Native Earth Performing Arts, and members of the Indigenous acting community. Having identified the needs of the Indigenous performance community with regards to accents, the team is working to develop new resources based on ethical and appropriately sensitive methodologies, and to return the new resources to the community for future development and artistic use through online materials and workshops.
Eric is a former director and board member of The Voice and Speech Trainers Association, VASTA. He has presented countless times at the annual VASTA conference; of late he has focused on accent resources for under-represented groups, most notably Jamaican for a panel on Accents of the African Diaspora, Tamil as part of the panel on South Asian Accents, Icelandic for a panel on Scandinavian Accents, and Japanese for the panel on Asian Accents. He has published numerous articles and reviews in the Voice and Speech Review. He has written a blog on voice training for the actor at voiceguy.ca and was cohost, with Phil Thompson, of the podcastGlossonomia, conversations on the sounds of speech.
Keynote Presenter: The Apple Cart: This Constant Race & A Classroom In Colour
Tanisha Taitt is a director, actor, playwright, eacher, activist, accidental essayist, and the new High School Liaison for George Brown Theatre School, a position in which she will engage with students, educators and community to forward the school's heightened commitment to multiracial and LGBT inclusion in every aspect of its culture.
Tanisha as worked with companies including Obsidian Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, National Arts Centre, Toronto Youth Theatre, Workman Arts, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, and Soulpepper Theatre, and spent two seasons as a Resident Artist-Educator with Young People's Theatre. Over the last decade she has been an arts educator of young people ages 2 to 22. he was Artistic Mentor for the Paprika Festival Creators' Unit and Program Directo/Theatre Directo for The Musical Stage Company's youth training initiative One Song Glory. Also a singer/songsmith, Tanisha is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Awar & Scholarshi for excellence in songwriting, and is currently writing two musical theatrical works. She is a Drama Leader and mentor for tdsbEATES, a Toronto District School Board/Toronto Arts Council initiative that brings professional artists into classrooms to nurture artistic expression in students and educators, as well as an arts educator for the TDSB's EngageArts program which focuses on tilizing theatre i professional artistic development of lementary school eachers. A longtime anti-VAW activist, Tanisha spent seven years as the Toront produce and then the Canadian mbassador for V-Day/One Billion Rising -- the global movement to end violence against women and girls, during which time she also served as ts theatre director. In 2014 she reated Teenage Graceland, a youth theatre collective that challenges societal attitudes leading to gender-based violence. Known by her peers for her fierce commitment to inclusion and racial/cultural representation in theatre, Tanisha also works as a Conflict Transformation and Anti-Oppression Facilitator for the award-winning Children's Peace Theatre, an organization which – through the arts - teaches young people about creating a culture of ustice in the pursuit of peace. She spent ten years as an artist with CPT's flagship Peace Camp program, including five years as Director. Under her leadership, the program deepened its subject matter and saw children as young as six using theatre as a means of exploring subjects ranging from climate change and Indigenous sovereignty to gender identity and media literacy. Tanisha has served on arts council and playwriting juries, and recently sat on the Program Advisory Committee for the creation of the new Arts Education and Community Engagement post-graduate program at Centennial College. She was 'Harolded' in 2013 and in 2015, critic Lynn Slotkin bestowed upon her an inaugural “Tootsie” Award in the “They Can Do Anything” category. Tanisha's play Keeper was published by Scirocco Drama in late 2016. Her approach to directing and teaching theatre can be captured in the following statement: Acting = Stepping into the shoes of another. Empathy = Stepping into the shoes of another. Therefore... Acting = Empathy. Tanisha teaches Contemporary Scene Study at George Brown, was nominated as a director for the Pauline McGibbon Award for Unique Talents and Potential for Excellence, and is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.
Presenter: Intimacy for Stage and Screen
Siobhan Richardson is an Intimacy Director, co-founder of Intimacy Directors International (www.IntimacyDirectorsInternational.com) and the only person in Canada recognized as an Intimacy Director by Tonia Sina, founder of the Intimacy For The Stage method. Siobhan is quickly building an impressive resume in this field, including several directing and teaching credits across Canada, Europe, and the USA. Directing credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Soulpepper), Bunny (Tarragon), Really, Really (Theatre Erindale), Serenity Wild (Tender Container and the frank theatre company), Odd One Out (Human Wick Effect), Love and Human Remains (University Players, University of Windsor) Aunt Dan and Lemon (Shadowtime Productions), The Container (Theatre Fix), The Trial of Judith K (Thought For Food Productions), and assistant to Intimacy Choreographer Tonia Sina on The Bakkhai (Stratford Festival, directed by Jillian Keiley). Recent teaching credits include workshops across Canada, Europe and the United States, including numerous post-secondary theatre programs across Ontario. Siobhan is thrilled to be offering education that is contributing to more joyful, more respectful and safer workspaces, bringing Intimacy Directors into the rehearsal hall to support actors and directors in these sensitive moments which are so vital to plot and character development. Look here for her interview on CBC’s The Current:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1130115139609/ (starts at 22:44).
Siobhan is also an actor/fighter/singer/dancer, and a fight director/stage combat instructor. In all her work, Siobhan is dedicated to the growth and development of the art form and for the artists in order to support a vibrant and healthy artistic community.
Alex Fallis is a Toronto native who has been a part of the Canadian professional theatre for more than forty years. In 2015, he directed the world premiere of the ‘sonic theatre experience’ Dive,which ran with sold out houses at the Arrayspace in Toronto. He also directed the highly acclaimed production of The Play of Daniel for The Toronto Consort. Both of these productions are examples of his interest and expertise in innovative uses of music and sound in relation to theatrical space. Previously, he directed the sold-out Fringe hit, The Wakowski Brothers(chosen for Best of Fringe, NNNN- Now) and co-directed (with Heidi Strauss) the electro-acoustic opera Julie Sits Waiting(“tightly blocked, intricately conceived direction,” NNNN- Now) for Good Hair Day Productions at Theatre Passe Muraille. Julie…was nominated for five Dora awards, including best production in the Opera/Musical Division. At Grenfell Campus, he has directed Three Sistersand Agamemnon/Antigonick (two translations of Greek tragedy by Anne Carson). In the fall of 2018, he will be directing their production of The Wolves.
He works as an actor, director, singer and teacher. He is highly experienced in new, collaborative and site-specific/non-traditional work; he directed and co-created Seamless Songswith Madhouse Theatre (Doors Open Toronto, and the Ottawa Fringe Festival), The Immigrant Years(U. of T.), and Johann’s Cabinet of Wonders, (which he also performed at Summerworks). He has been involved in the development of pieces through Native Earth Performing Arts, nightswimming, Canadian Rep, YPT, Praxis Theatre, and the Canadian Stage Company, as well as at colleges and universities. Alex was part of the directorial team (with Fides Krucker and Heidi Strauss) for Unfinished Passageat Humber College. He has also directedThe Caucasian Chalk Circle, using a new Canadian score and translation. He continues to develop a piece based on the letters of Franz Kafka, entitled Her Closely, which incorporates devised theatre creation techniques with shadow puppetry.
He has performed at the Shaw Festival, Canstage, Charlottetown Festival, Young Peoples’ Theatre, the Citadel, the Belfry, VideoCabaret, Gros Morne Summer Music, and other theatres, as well as in Asia and Europe. Throughout his career, he has been involved in site-specific, outdoor and environmental theatre. He has acted in and directed shows in school gyms, parks, and vacant lots, as well as more usual theatre spaces. He received a Dora nomination for his performance as Feste in Twelfth Night(Dream in High Park).
He is currently a Visiting Faculty member at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. He has taught and directed at George Brown College and Humber College, Laurentian University, the Universities of Toronto, Guelph, and Waterloo, Sheridan College, Claude Watson School of the Arts, and the Charlottetown Festival.
Jamie has been a Toronto based professional artist since 1997 as an actor, director, producer, teacher and writer. Selected Theatre acting credits include: Four seasons with the Stratford Festival of Canada, Risky Phil(Young People’s Theatre. Dora Award Winner, Best Actor),Gas Girls (New Harlem Productions. Dora Award Nomination, Best Actor), Title role in Richard III (Metachroma Theatre, META Award nomination, Best Actor),Comedy of Errors (Western Canada Theatre/Theatre Aquarius), Cakeand The Rochdale Project (Theatre Passe Muraille), Objections to Sex and Violence(Fevergraph/Praxis Theatre), Fornes x2(Theatre Asylum), Romeo & Juliet(Canadian Stage in High Park), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot(Birdland Theatre), Medea(Mirvish/MTC), and Escape From Happiness(Factory Theatre). Film/TV acting credits include: Private Eyes(Global), In Contempt(BET),Falling Water(Universal), Conviction(ABC), The Expanse(SyFy), Saving Hope (CTV), Rogue (DircTV), Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury), The Rick Mercer Report(CBC), Against the Wall(NBC), Celeste in the City(ABC), and a recurring role in this year’s new TV series Condor(Amazon TV). Recent director credits include: 365 Days/365 Plays(Theatre Erindale U of T), She Stoops to Conquer, and Romeo & Juliet (Guild Festival Theatre). Jamie holds a Masters Degree in Theatre Directing and Teaching from York University, is Artistic Director of Scarborough’s Guild Festival Theatre, and is professor of acting for York University, University of Toronto and George Brown College. www.jamierobinson.ca
Since graduating from the National Theatre School's Acting section in 1983 Sue Miner has been working extensively in many aspects of theatre across Canada. As well as having acted, directed, produced and written she has also been a designer of costumes, sets and sound. She is versed in new works, classical text, music theatre, puppetry and opera. She has been an instructor and guest director at George Brown Theatre School since 1995 and has been the Program Coordinator since the spring of 2017. She has also been an instructor and guest director at the Sheridan College, Theatre Erindale/UTM, Theatre Ontario, The Toronto Film School and the TDSB. Sue is co-artistic director of Pea Green Theatre Group with her husband Mark Brownell. In 2010 both Sue and Mark received a Harold Award for "Outstanding Contribution to the Toronto Performing Arts Scene." Along with many Dora nominations Sue made the long list for the Siminovitch Prize for directing in 2007, been thrice nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award and has been twice touted as one of Toronto's Top-10 theatre artists by NOW Magazine.
Born in Toronto, Marina Gomes is a storyteller who aspires to create work that is innovative, thought provoking and entertaining! Holding a BFA-Acting degree from the University of Windsor, Marina is excited by Physical Theatre and how to use Theatre in experimental ways to get important conversations started. She has participated in workshops with members of the SITI Company, at Stratford, as well as most recently the Festival Players Academy. Selected acting credits include: Girl in 'Hunted Library' (Shadowpath Theatre), Playwright in ‘Sorry I can’t Come to Your Show’ (Fancy Bits Theatre), Luna in 'Daze at the Park' (New Market’s Ten Minute Play Festival) as well as Gower/Cambridge/Monsieur le Fer in a touring production of 'Henry V' (The Edge Productions). Marina is a huge believer in the importance of Drama and Theatre as a part of children's education and development. She works as an Artist Educator with Young People’s Theatre, Soul Pepper as well as independently in Toronto. As an artist, Marina enjoys performing original work throughout Canada and is continually interested in discovering the unique beauty in Canadian art.
Started out in the MainStage cast of The Second City in the mid 1970s and then worked in TV, Film and a bit of stage over the next 30ish years. Also worked as a freelance writer during that time and returned to Second City teaching improvisation. The past 10 years I have been a full-time Prof in the Niagara College Acting for Film and Television program, the last two years as the Coordinator. I just retired from the college and I’m now contemplating future plans for teaching, acting and writing.
Suzanne is the Head of Acting in the Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance Program at Sheridan College. Research interests have led to publication: “The Dancer of the Future: Michael Chekhov in cross-training practice” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Taylor Routledge, 4:2 (Jul 2013); conference presentation: “Aspects of Contemporary Performance and The Postmodern Musical: Collaboration between the theoretical and the practical” Song, Stage and Screen: Sheridan College 2014; and honours: SSHRC and OSG awards recipient for “Acting for Dance: Cousins in the Field” research (’10). Insatiably curious about the specialized training of actors who sing and dance, Suzanne’s focus highlights creative ways to ignite the fundamentals of acting through embodied methods and free/focused play. Recent professional credits include: writer and voice for Hannah Kiel’s Chasing the Path (Dora for choreography 2018), and, as Gertrude Hubbard in Trina Davies’ play, Silence, at London’s Grand Theatre, to be remounted at the NAC in October.
Emma Love is an actor, singer, voice-over actor and voice and speech coach. She holds a BFA in Jazz Performance, which was begun at The University of Toronto and completed at The New School University (NYC), completed Michael Howard Studio’s Two-Year Acting Conservatory (NYC) and is in training to be certified in voice and speech coaching by Patsy Rodenburg. Emma has worked professionally on stage and in recording booths across Canada and the United States and is passionate about artist safety and clean, focused storytelling that puts the play and the audience at the center of the work. Based in New York City from 2009-2018 she is looking forward to relocating to Toronto in the fall of 2018.
Martha Burns is an actor, arts educator and filmmaker. She is one of many founders of Got your Back, artists working together for positive change in our workplaces, training institutions and CAE association.
Martha has been an actor in Canada for forty years and has been fortunate to have spent much of her career learning from working with young people. She created programs to welcome youth into theatres at the Vancouver Playhouse, Stratford Festival and with the Dufferin Mall. For the Soulpepper theatre company she developed the youth mentorship, youth leadership and Soulpepper in School programs.
Since 2010, Martha has taught first year acting at the National Theatre School.
She is the recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Trafford Tanzi and The Miracle Worker, two Genie supporting actor awards for the films Long Days Journey Into Night and Love and Savagery and two Gemini awards for the series, Slings and Arrows.
She received the 2005 Barbara Hamilton Award for excellence and professionalism in the performing arts and the 2016 Leslie Yeo prize for volunteerism.
Martha has directed two short films and a documentary.
In 2017 she worked with performers from Nunavut’s Qaggiavuut society to create Kiviuq Returns, a play based on elders’ stories about the Inuit’s most beloved Shaman hero.
Liz Pounsett is an arts educator, actor, director and theatre-maker. Liz has been the Drama School Director at YPT since 2012. Prior to that Liz was a YPT faculty member for three years. Liz has taught various aspects of performance including acting, voice, movement, clown and mime to all ages at various schools, theatres and universities; in Toronto and New York City; in both French and English. As the artistic director of the independent theatre company, The Question Company, Liz created and performed new works of physical theatre, including Downtown and You Mean Now? and continues to develop a clown show in her spare time. Liz also directed the Children’s Peace Theatre summer Peace Camp for three years, creating plays on a variety of justice-related themes. In collaboration with the University of Toronto, Liz has developed theatre workshops for teenagers with traumatic brain injury. Liz holds an MFA, Acting, from York University, and spent two years at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris studying theatre creation.
Diana began her association with theatre in her hometown of Winnipeg as an apprentice at Rainbow Stage and The Manitoba Theatre Centre. As a young adult, she was active as an actor, designer, director and producer in that city’s vibrant amateur theatre scene. Subsequently, she trained at The Canadian Mime Theatre School (becoming a company member of Theatre Beyond Words), The National Theatre School of Canada, The Centre for Actors' Study in Toronto (CAST), The University of Toronto and York University. As an actor, Diana is best known to television audiences as Stephanie Long on CBC's Riverdale and Lucy Ramone (Busy's mom) on Ready or Not for Global/Disney. She has appeared in over forty TV series, movies of the week and feature films and worked with such esteemed directors as John Huston, Robert Altman, Allan King, Lee Grant and Kinji Fukusaku. Theatre highlights include: The Diary of Anne Frank (Manitoba Theatre Centre); Amadeus, The Little Foxes (Asolo State Theatre); Top Girls (Arbour Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire (Theatre Aquarius); A Doll’s House (Banff Centre); Hedda Gabler (Magnus Theatre) and Charlie's Aunt (Capitol Theatre). Diana’s directing credits include: Loose Ends (The National Theatre School of Canada); Under the Skin, If Betty Should Rise (Grand Theatre, London), Amadeus (Theatre Sheridan) and over 30 concert play readings for The First Stages Theatre Company of which she is the former and founding Artistic Director. In addition to her long-time association with George Brown Theatre School and now with George Brown College’s new 2-year Acting for Media Program and Graduate Intensive (a 7-week program designed for graduates of theatre training programs to train for acting in media), Diana teaches acting at Sheridan College and Ryerson University. She has also taught and directed at Florida State University, Humber College, The National Theatre School of Canada, The National Ballet of Canada, and at her own professional theatre training workshop. Diana holds a Masters degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from York University.
Chantal Forde is an educator, writer, director and performer in the GTA. She and her husband, Tim Cadeny, are the creators of the Oakville Holiday Pantomime currently preparing to enter their sixth year. She has been found performing and creating for the stage and screen in Ontario and BC and currently lives in Toronto. Chantal’s passion for the arts has led her to share it with students aged 9 - 95 and to create works for all levels of performers.
Mike Griffin has worked across the country as a theatre educator and director. He has taught at Mt. Allison University, The University of Calgary, Red Deer College and currently teaches acting, directing, movement, mask and commedia dell’Arte at Brock University. Mike received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia, as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Calgary. He has also trained with Antonio Fava in commedia dell’Arte and Paola Coletto/Amy Russell in Lecoq mask pedagogy and physical theatre. He has a chapter on the rival playwrights Carlo Goldoni and Carlo Gozzi in The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte and recently wrote and directed a new commedia play Pantalone’s Palace for Brock University. Mike has also studied with and served as an Associate Faculty with Canada’s National Voice Intensive. As an artist, Mike has worked with an array of different theatre companies across the country including: Vertigo Mystery Theatre, Ground Zero Theatre, Beyond the Brink Productions, Calgary Young People’s Theatre, Bard on the Beach, and Theatre Calgary. For more information check out his website at www.mgriffin.ca
Taliesin works in English and French as a director, producer, performer, writer/translator, and arts educator. Much of her career has been devoted to creating new works with an approach informed by object theatre, clown, corporal mime and ensemble devising with her company Lucid Ludic. Her work has toured internationally in Europe, Mexico, the US and Canada. In Las Vegas, she was Producing Director at Cockroach Theatre, where she directed The Lyonsand Stage Kiss. In Toronto, she wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning Fringe hit Brain Storm, directed a reading of the Franco-Ontarian play, Toile,at Summerworks, and was producer for Shakespeare in the Ruff’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She spent the last year as Dramaturg and Associate Artist at Canadian Stage where she worked in programming and mentorship of the RBC Emerging Artist program. She is a graduate of Generators’Artist-Producer Program, the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre and she has her MFA in Directing/Creation from York University. Currently she is Associate Producer at Pleiades Theatre, who commissioned her translation of Emma Haché’s Exercice de l’oublie.