Download Dora Jury List 2019-2020

General Theatre

  • Jury Chair: Dave Carley
  • Dian Marie Bridge
    • Dian is a Toronto-based freelance theatre maker and arts manager. She has trained and worked as an artist and administrator with many organizations across Canada and the US including The Stratford Festival, Obsidian Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, Canadian Stage, Mirvish Productions, Soulpepper Theatre, Playwrights Guild of Canada, and Storytelling Toronto. Dian has ties to theatre companies throughout the country and has been an active member of Canada's theatre and arts community for almost two decades.  Dian is currently the Company Manager for Harbourfront Centre’s JUNIOR Festival and was the Assistant Producer for the Stratford Festival's Forum Series.
  • Katrina Darychuk
    • I am a director, theatre creator, arts administrator, and vocal coach, originally from Vancouver. I am passionate about work that engages with the metaphorical power of language and embraces the personal within the political. I am most interested in work that exposes us through curiosity and that nudges us to experiment with our own perceived stories. I am a recent member of the Soulpepper Academy, and a graduate of Studio 58. My studies have also included residences at the Centre Artistique International Roy Hart and The Banff Centre, and training at the Oxford School of Drama. My career has included devising and producing new work for festivals such as rEvolver and SummerWorks, as well as directing and assisting for companies like Common Boots Theatre,Soulpepper Theatre Company, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Gateway Theatre, Rumble Theatre, Bard on the Beach, Belfry Theatre, and Theatre Replacement. In conjunction with my work as a director, my love of process has led me to teach voice and speech at the Vancouver Film School, The Art Institute of Vancouver, and Arts Umbrella, as well as coach for Bard on the Beach. Coming up this spring, I will direct Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen for Soulpepper Theatre Company.
  • Izad Etemadi
    • Izad Etemadi is a Persian-Canadian performer / creator originally from Victoria, BC. He is best known for his portrayal of the charming, flamboyant and bearded Persian woman, Leila. Love With Leila, Leila Live! and A Very Leila Christmas have performed to sold-out houses, standing ovations and rave reviews from coast to coast. Love With Leila was recently awarded the 2016 Broadway World Award for Best Independent Production. His latest solo show Kooni premiered at the 2017 Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times followed by a run at the Queer Acts Festival in Halifax. Kooni explores life as a gay man in Iran using video and projections integrated with live performance. Last year he was commissioned by McMaster University to create We Are Not The Others: a play based on a research project with women immigrant to Ontario. The show was a hit with critics and audiences at the Hamilton Fringe Festival and will be presented at conferences over the next few months. Izad is the recipient of the 2017 Emerging Queer Artist Award from Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
  • Kat Horzempa
    • Kat Horzempa an arts manager, director and playwright based in Toronto. With an honours BA in Theatre Studies and English from the University of Toronto, Kat has performed, directed and produced work in Canada and Madrid, Spain. She was a member of the board of directors for three non-for-profit organizations and received a Theatre Ontario grant to train in general management and tour coordination with Roseneath Theatre. Currently the General Manager at Cahoots Theatre, Kat previously served as Director of Marketing and Patron Services for Native Earth Performing Arts. (Pronouns: She/Her)
  • M John Kennedy
    • John has toured Canada and the United States extensively, is a regular player with The Classical Theatre Project and has performed on many of Toronto's great stages. Television work includes: Murdoch Mysteries (CBC); The Strain (FX); 11/22/63 (Hulu); Reign, The Listener (CTV); The Transporter (HBO); Beauty and the Beast (CW/CBS); and Team Epic. M. John also voices the Dad on the CBC hit animated series, Ollie, The Boy Who Became What He Ate.  M. John is also a Faculty Member at the Randolph College for the Performing Arts where he teaches Acting.John got his professional TYA start while still in training at York University; he spent the summers touring as Prof. Pruvitt with Mad Science. After university M. John got his first acting jobs at Solar Stage playing a huge range of characters. 15 years later, when he heard Solar Stage might be going to close, he stepped in. He and his wife Dahlia Katz have been running Solar Stage for the past four years. Recent highlights include: his multi-character turn in Treasure Island (returning May 2018); the delightful, cartoonish grump, Krampus; and The Great Wizard FIzzbutt in the table top puppet show, Princess Knight.  As well as being Solar Stage's Artistic Producer and occasional actor, M. John co-directs the annual joyous adaptations of Robert Munsch stories.
  • Jeannette Lambermont
    • Jeannette Lambermont-Moreyhas directed for theatres across Canada and the United States, from the Stratford Festival, to the Virginia Stage Company; including such theatres as The Citadel (Edmonton), The Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa), Atlantic Theatre Festival (Nova Scotia), Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg), Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton), the Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque), Talk is Free Theatre and Theatre by the Bay (Barrie), the New World Theatre Project (St. John’s, NFLD); and Toronto theatres, Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Harbourfront Centre, The Guild Festival Theatre and The Toronto International Fringe Festival, to name a few. She has worked extensively in college and university theatre programs as a director and instructor. Jeannette was Artistic Director of the New World Theatre Project in Newfoundland 2012/13, and served as Executive Director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre of Canada from 1999 to 2015. Jeannette has developed several musicals (for example, Faust with Leslie Arden; and Moving Day with Cathy Elliott) and directed Leslie Arden’s Harvest Moon Rising for the Women of Musical Theatre Festival in Toronto in 2017. Jeannette’s production of Mike Bartlett’s My Child won the 2016 My Theatre Award for Outstanding production in the small theatre category. She is also an avid theatre-goer and likes to support the work of her colleagues as much as her schedule allows
  • Jareth Li
    • Jareth is a stage designer based in Toronto. Select lighting design credits include: The Wolves (The Howland Company & Crows), Punk Rock, Lemons..., Casimir and Carolin (The Howland Company); Iphigenia and The Furies (Saga Collectif); Yellow Rabbit (Silk Bath Collective); Chautauqua (Pearle Harbour); Portia’s Julius Caesar (Shakespeare In The Ruff); Black Boys (Saga Collectif & Buddies In Bad Times) Prairie Nurse (Factory Theatre & Thousand Islands Playhouse); Risky Phil (YPT); Two Birds One Stone (Two Birds Collective); Dusk Dances (Withrow Park, 2015-2018); A Congruence of Arrivals (BoucharDanse). Jareth is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada, and is a stagecraft instructor at York University. He is also a member of The Howland Company. He has also worked as an assistant designer at the Stratford Festival (six seasons), and the Canadian Opera Company (four seasons).
  • Kevin John McDonald
    • Kevin found his love of theatre as a child in St.Catharines and has done duty in nearly every aspect of it on and offstage ever since. In Niagara he founded Pan Theatre known for interactive walk- about characters and 5 highly successful seasons of outdoor Shakespeare in wine country. Productions included Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Standup Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet. Moving to Toronto, he vontonurrd to write, direct, design and act while learning ticketing from from the ground up with TicketKing, Mirvish Subscriptions, Dancap Productions and eventually as the Operations Manager for T.O.TiIX
  • Olivia Shortt
    • Olivia Shortt (Anishinaabe-irish from Nipissing First Nation) is a Tkarón:to-based saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound designer, theatre artist and producer. She had her Lincoln Center (NYC) debut performing with the International Contemporary Ensemble in Michael Pisaro’s A Wave and Waves, her film debut performing in Atom Egoyan’s upcoming film Guest of Honour, and recorded an album two kilometres underground with her duo Stereoscope in the SnoLAB (Neutrino Lab in Sudbury, Canada). Past engagements have included performing as the opening act for Arcade Fire’s violinist Sarah Neufeld and performances with Polaris Prize Winning Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. She is a member of The Velvet Crystals, Dialectica Saxophone Quartet, Stereoscope Sax Duo, and The Element Choir. She is interning in producing with Brittany Ryan at Nightswimming and Signal Theatre. As well, she is a member of the current cohort of Native Earth Performing Arts’ Animikiig training program. She is the curator on an Ear Candy show produced by Soundstreams called Fauxstalgia, this coming May, featuring Cris Derksen, Darren Creech, Smith Purdy, Teiya Kasahara and Grace Scheele. Outside of music she often works in settings involving dancers and actors for companies such as Din of Shadows. Her own performance-art-storytelling work has been featured twice at Native Earth's Performing Arts' Weesageechak Festival. She is also involved with Rare Theatre as a Sound designer and performer. She has participated in various programs such as the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab, Banff Centre for the Arts’ Ensemble Evolution, and the Bang On A Can Summer Music Festival. As an activist, she works in a number of capacities as a consultant, was a member of the 2018 cohort of the artEquity facilitator training program (New Orleans, LA), is a 2019 cohort member of the Toronto Arts Council’s Leaders Lab and is an organizer of the Toronto Creative Music Lab (TCML).
  • Rouvan Silogix
    • Rouvan Silogix is a queer, mixed-race (Pakistani / Tanzanian) writer, director, actor, producer, and classical pianist who has worked professionally in New York City and Karachi prior to Toronto. During his time in Toronto he has notably worked at the SummerWorks Festival twice - 2017 as a director (NOW Rating: 'NNNN', and awarding in 3-categories), and 2018 as a performer, producer, and assistant director for "The Private Life Cabaret" (directed by Esther Jun, adapted by Ted Witzel & Susanna Fournier). He was also writer and director of "Grab 'Em By The Pussy; Or How To Stop Worrying & Love The Bomb", playing at the TPM Backspace in Oct 2017, Susan G. Cole of NOW writing "You won't be bored for a second. And Rouvan Silogix is a gifted talent. You'll walk out not knowing what hit you". He is a multiple grant-winning playwright, and part of Factory Theatre's Writer-In-Development program (The Foundry) for 2018-2019. During his time in NY, he notably worked with the Brooklyn Lyceum, Ugly Rhino NYC, The NY Neo-Futurists, Drunk Shakespeare NYC, and the Horse Trade Theater Group. In Karachi he worked under Pakistani-icon Zia Mohyuddin at the National Academy For Performing Arts adapting works of the Sufi-poet Rumi.

Independent Theatre

  • Jury Chair: Elizabeth Asselstine
  • Aldrin Bundoc
    • I am a theatre and television actor. I studied Theatre Performance at George Brown College and have been acting professionally since graduating from the conservatory in 2011. I am of Filipino decent and a part of the LGBTQ community - among being a supporter for many other communities. I have had the privilege of working with some incredible artists in Toronto and am very proud to call this city my home. As an artist, I continually strive for better representation in media and for supporting the voices and artistry of marginalized people and artists. I’ve had the honour of performing in productions that have been nominated for Dora Awards under various categories. I would be delighted to put my name forward as a potential juror for next year’s Dora Awards and contribute to the very important category of Independent Theatre.
  • Claire Burns
    • Claire Burns is a Toronto based queer actor, director, producer and theatre creator. Claire holds an HBA in Political Science and History from the University of Toronto as well as a degree in Classical Performance from George Brown Theatre School. Claire is the Artistic Managing Director of the Storefront Arts Initiative (The Storefront Theatre) and a member of the Red One Theatre Collective. Claire is committed to reducing how discrimination based on race, gender expression, sexuality, ability and mental health manifests in theatrical ecology and practice.Acting credits: I Cook, He Does the Dishes (Sky Gilbert/Cage Collective), The Chance (Leroy Street/The Assembly), Pride and Prejudice (Grand Theatre), The Mail Order Bride, The Nuttalls (Blyth Festival), Reefer Madness, Rocky Horror Picture Show (Hart House Theatre). Playwright credits: Eggdonorama (Feminist Fuck It Festival/Storefront), The Numbers Game (Pulp Collective/Storefront), Human Furniture (Red One Theatre Collective/Triangle Pi), Hatched (Triangle Pi). Upcoming: Margaret, Ms. B and the Murder of the Blackridge Witch, Drunk(en) Love- a solo show. Producing credits: Krapp’s Last Tape (Singing Swan/VideoCabaret/Theatre Passe Muraille), Chasse Galerie (Soulpepper/KABIN/Storefront), After Wrestling (Factory Theatre/Storefront), Feminist Fuck It Festival (Storefront) Upcoming: The EMPIRE trilogy (Paradigm productions), 1991 at Riser (Guilty by Association) Follow on insty: @clairzies
  • Tom Carson
    • Tom Carson is the current Executive Director of Smile Theatre, a unique Toronto-based company, that since 1972 has been dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors in care through innovative theatre projects.  Tom has been working in theatre for over twenty-five years as a director, producer/administrator, teacher and writer. His productions have touched audiences in theatres, schools, churches, synagogues, seniors’ centres and community spaces from Vancouver to Charlottetown. He has received nominations for awards, including three times for “Outstanding Production – Theatre for Young Audiences” at the Dora Awards.  Tom has a special interest in creating for, and working with, vulnerable people who are often marginalized. This focus has led him to projects with adults with special needs, children of all abilities, pre-schoolers, and seniors with dementia. He is most interested in theatre that is truly accessible, and that finds ways to reach beyond perceived limitations.
  • Isidra Cruz
    • Isidra Cruz is a Mexican/ Cree Arts Administrator and Costume Designer. Isidra has focused her attentions to working in the Indigenous arts community with organizations such as imagineNATIVE Film+ Media Arts Festival,  Native Earth Performing Arts and as the Indigenous Arts Program Manager at the Toronto Arts Council as well as the Associate Indigenous Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. Isidra is currently the Program Manager for the Indigenous Community Performing Arts Fund at Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance.
  • Jill Harper
    • Jill is a Dora award-winning theatre director and the co-founder of Cue6 Theatre. Selected Cue6 directing credits: Dry Land (Globe and Mail’s Top 10 Theatre shows of 2018); pool (no water) (Dora for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Performance – Ensemble); Dry Land; We Three; Byhalia, Mississippi (as a part of a 7-city World Premiere Conversation); Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up; and Pieces. Elsewhere: Meet Cute (Roseneath Theatre - Dora nomination for Outstanding Direction with co-director Aaron Willis); Hazardous Materials (Equity Library Theatre Chicago); Cottage Radio (The Livery Theatre); The Fox Sisters (The Quickening Theatre); Twelfth Night and Macbeth (The Classical Theatre Project).
  • Steven Jackson
    • Steven Elliott Jackson is an award-winning playwright and AD of Minmar Gaslight Productions.  His play, The Seat Next To The King won Best New Play and Patron's Pick at The Toronto Fringe in 2017.  The State Of Tennessee placed second in the same contest in 2007.  The Seat Next To The King was published by Scirocco Press in April 2018.  Playwriting credits include: Brothers And Arms (Toronto Fringe), The Dark Part Of The Snow (Yankton, SD), Real Life Superhero (Winchester Street Theatre), The State Of Tennessee (Theatre Passe Muraille), Rapunzel (adaptation from the work of Geri Gans, Toronto Fringe), Threesome: An Evening Of One Acts (Red Sandcastle Theatre), Point And Click (Gay Play Day 2018).
  • Indrit Kasapi
    • Indrit Kasapi was born in Tirana, Albania. He moved with his family to Toronto, Canada on July 3, 2000. He started training in ballet and Albanian Folk Dancing at a very early age through the Children's Cultural Centre in Tirana and then went on to tour with the Young Company to various International Children's Festivals in Russia, Morocco, Italy, Macedonia and Turkey. Indrit is an ensemble member of the award winning CORPUS Dance Projects (Les Moutons, Flock of Flyers, Nuit Blanche, Machina Nuptialis). He is the Artistic Producer for lemonTree creations and Associate Artistic Producer for Cahoots Theatre Company. With lemonTree creations Indrit most recently choreographed and directed MSM [men seeking men], which had a critically successful run at the 2013 Fringe Festival and premiered as part of the WorldPride Festivities in June 2014. Indrit also launched the lemonTree {studio} in 2012, a rehearsal space that serves as a creative hub for the independent theatre community with various programs in place, including the RESIDENCY PROGRAM and ENERGY EXCHANGE Program. Indrit is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.
  • Janet Kish
    • Janet successfully taught Drama for the Toronto District and legacy Scarborough Boards of Education for almost 34 years. She retired from her position of Curriculum Leader of the Arts at the renowned Claude Watson Art Program at Earl Haig in 2012.  Since then, she’s remained active and engaged in the theatre community working as a freelance director, playwright, adjudicator (NTS and Theatre Ontario Festivals) and a dramaturge (CSARN). She was part of the original 2012 cast of the Fringe and Nuit Blanche immersive event ZED.TO. Recent directorial credits include The Penelopiad, Antigone and Love and Other Major Organs. In 2018, Janet’s dark clown play The Kiss was produced by the juried Newmarket National Play Festival where it placed second in their playwriting competition.  Janet has always been a strong advocate for new Canadian theatre and holds a special affinity for emerging artists and independent companies.  She is a strong supporter of the Toronto Fringe and SummerWorks Festivals.
  • fina macDonell
    • between the ages of 6 and 17 I saw every show the Manitoba Theatre Centre and Rainbow stage produced - Pinter and Shakespeare and Rogers and Hammerstien.Also went to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers - so have this great exposure to all kinds of performance art. Had a small theatre company for a year when I was 19 From 20 to 30 worked primarily as an actor and puppeteer - Canadian Puppet Festivals, Theatre Passe Muraille - lots of original scripts, Young People's Theatre. the time between spent stitching away in various theatre Wardrobe departments At 30 fell into the job of Head of Props at YPT, worked with the COC, Theatre Plus, Marlene Smith, At 36 started Rabbit's Choice with Don McGoldrick. Still here, still love theatre the most.- all forms of theatre.
  • Celeste Sansregret
    • Celeste Sansregret was born in Winnipeg's legendary North End and has worked as a writer, producer, arts manager, theatre blogger and performer. She first went on stage at age 3 1/2, appearing in over 30 plays, numerous films, and two national Fringe tours with her solo shows: WONDERBAR! and IN A MAGIC KINGDOM. Other writing includes: FAMILY JEWELS, THE MISTRESS TRILOGIES, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL and two features film scripts: VOODOO and NATURAL JUSTICE. She co-created 5-star Winnipeg Fringe hit, BREAST FRIENDS and has two works in development: URSA MAJORIS & PREDATION, both supported by Native Earth Performing Arts.  She is the recipient of a Banff Fellowship and a Harold Greenberg Award and is a graduate of both the University of Winnipeg (Theatre) and The Canadian Film Centre. Currently Celeste is the Managing Director at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre.
  • Chiamaka Ugwu
    • Chiamaka G. Ugwu (she/her) is a Halifax-born, Toronto-raised, Igbo-Canadian actor-creator. Her theatre credits include acting in the world-premiere of The Bridge (2b/Neptune Theatre, The Bonds of Interest (Odyssey Theatre, workshop), Osia (Kuka Productions - Summerworks ‘16 Outstanding Ensemble), Dark Love (New Harlem, workshop), and Blood Wedding (Modern Times / Aluna Theatre). Her directing credits include The Disappearance of Laura May (fu-GEN Theatre Potluck Fest), Broken Windows (bcurrent & Theatre Inspirato), and The Twelve-Forty (Theatre Inspirato - Audience Choice Award). Chiamaka also produced Cardinal Direction, an experimentation-based lab for emerging POC female directors, and is a proud Chalmers Fellow. She is currently a playwright in Factory and Obsidian Theatre’s Playwrights Units.

Theatre for Young Audiences

  • Jury Chair: Brandon Moore
  • Bryna Berezowska
    • Bryna Berezowska holds a Masters degree from North Park University in vocal performance and pedagogy. In addition to her extensive performing career, she has worked for over ten years in the field of arts and music as a teacher, mentor, administrator, and artist-educator. She performed with Chicago Opera Playhouse, and taught for many years with the Chicago Opera Theater's outreach program and Chicago Arts Partnership in Education (CAPE). Through the CAPE program she had the pleasure of working with a fifth grade class in partnership with Renee Fleming's outreach through the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Bryna strives to bring opera and performing arts to children and youth to enhance learning, build lifelong creativity, self-empowerment, and a genuine love of the arts. She has appeared in Murdoch Mysteries, in the Musical NINE in New York City, and various music videos, film and theater shows around the world. Her background includes opera, musical theater, jazz, pop/rock music as well as dance, acting, composition and more. She currently works with the Canadian Opera Company as the Children, Youth and Family Programs Manager, and is fulfilling a grant through Egale Youth Outreach teaching Trans-youth voice techniques, researching future strategies and facilitating a stronger voice for the queer and trans community.
  • Arthur Burrows
    • Arthur Burrows is a Toronto-based theatre artist. He has worked professionally as an actor, as an educator, and at the intersection of these two worlds. His work as an actor has included touring to schools in Metaphysical Theatre’s theatre for young audiences production Fool’s Gold which also appeared in the Toronto Fringe Festival. As an educator, Arthur is a passionate advocate for social justice. He has developed equity-focused units for students of all ages, works to bring the plays of underrepresented artists into the classroom, and delivers workshops, most recently at the TDSB’s EnVision Conference. He has also worked to support teachers as Publications Chair for the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators. Arthur holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of Education from York University where he is a Master of Education student. This has led to work at the intersection of drama and education including as a guest artist and adjudicator for the Ontario Drama Festival and as a study guide developer. Recent projects include the study guides for Roseneath Theatre’s Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls and Head À Tête.
  • Christine Jackson
    • Christine Jackson has provided arts leadership in a variety of contexts, as a teacher and Arts Coordinator at the Toronto District School Board, Arts Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, and faculty member at OISE/UT, York University, and Brock University.  Christine advocates for the arts as pedagogies of connection, civic engagement, and empowerment in all initiatives, and in her frequent talks and workshops. She is inspired by bold creative collaborations with teachers, students, and artists.  Christine has partnered with many theatre and dance companies in the city of Toronto to expand equity of access to quality performances for all children and youth. These partnerships include Prologue to the Performing Arts, Can Stage, Tarragon Theatre, The Theatre Centre, Roseneath Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, and Theatre Direct.  Through a partnership with the Toronto Arts Council, Christine established tdsbCREATES- a festival of art, film, dance, theatre and spoken word, celebrating student voice, creativity, and culture in the City of Toronto. She was a member of  inaugural Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leader’s Lab and serves on boards/advisories for Theaturtle, Canadian Stage, Kaeja d’Dance, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Currently, Christine is working on her PhD with a focus on research-creation, performance, and Applied Theatre.
  • Riley Kelk
    • Riley Kelk is a young nonbinary theatre artist. In high school, they were in a production of Dogg’s Hamlet. They were part of the ensemble that created and performed The Youth/Elders Project (2017), and the ensemble that created and performed Clamorous Concords (2018), both at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. They have been attending youth programming at Buddies for the past two years. Last year they graduated with honours from Centennial College’s Performing Arts Fundamentals program. In that program, they performed in an end of year show containing entirely original content created by the class. They completed Foundation in Acting I at Ryerson University. Currently they are enrolled in their first year of Centennial’s Theatre Arts program. As part of their education, they have written several theatre reviews. They were also involved in creating several art shows at Central Toronto Youth Services, and was twice on the planning committee for their annual Pride party. In addition to being a theatre artist, they are also a writer, musician, dancer, and visual artist.
  • Jung-Hye Kim
    • Jung-Hye is a Toronto based set and costume designer. Her other design credits include Now You See Her (Quote Unquote Collective), Shirley Valentine (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Maggie and Pierre (Tarragon Theatre), Prairie Nurse (Factory Theatre), Flying Heart (set-Theatre Direct), The Birds And The Bees (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Kiss (Theatre Smash), Snow Queen (Theatre New Brunswick), Tideline (Hart House Theatre and Canadian Rep Theatre), A Grand Time In The Rapids (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Das Ding (costume-Theatre Smash), Armstrong’s War (costume-Canadian Rep Theatre), Don’t Dress for Dinner (set-Thousand Islands Playhouse), Durango (Fu-gen theatre and Theatre Smash), Small Axe (Project Humanity and The Theatre Centre), Driving Miss Daisy (set-Thousand Islands Playhouse), Minotaur (set-YPT), Pacamambo (costume-Canadian Rep Theatre), Passion Play (set-Outside the March, Convergence Theatre and Sheep No Wool Production), Boblo (Kitchenband Production and The Theatre Centre, Dora nomination for outstanding set design), The Great Mountain (set-Red Sky Performance with YPT), Pub Opera (Tapestry New Opera), After Akmatova (Tarragon Theatre), Montparnasse (Theatre Passe Muraille and Groundwater Theatre, Dora nomination for outstanding costume design), The Middle Place (Canstage, Project Humanity, Belfry Theatre, GCTC), The Big League (Young People’s Theatre), If We Were Birds (Tarragon Theatre and Groundwater Theatre).
  • Amber Melhado
    • Amber Melhado is a graduate of the Arts Administration & Cultural Management post-graduate program at Humber College. The program highlights the inner workings of the not-for-profit sector, specifically within performing arts organizations. Prior to her time at Humber, Amber achieved a B.A. in English Literature at Carleton University. Throughout all levels of schooling, from primary through post-secondary, Amber has involved herself in theatre and other performing arts in varying capacities both professionally and on a volunteer basis. Her true passion lies with working to support artistic development through the broad spectrum of arts education. Participating in community theatre throughout her youth left an indelible impression on her, and it is what lead her to pursue a career in the not-for-profit arts and culture sector, specifically as an administrator for the same types of student programs she once so enjoyed. Amber is currently the Marketing & Outreach Coordinator for Esprit Orchestra, Canada’s only full scale professional orchestra devoted to promoting and performing new orchestral music. She creates and implements a detailed, robust Marketing plan for each concert season, and leads several education and mentoring programs geared toward students and emerging artists each season.
  • Nam Nguyen
    • Nam Nguyen is a 21-year-old playwright from Mississauga, Ontario. This is the rare theatre bio where he can list his experience acting in Hazel McCallion Senior Public School's 2011 production of "ths phne 2.0" and his work in the Sears Ontario Drama Festival preceding the day his first musical, "Mapleman: Canuck Crusader!" got picked out from Sears to perform at the 2015 SummerWorks Festival. He was on a high school drama council presumably much more recently  than his peers in the industry (The Woodlands School, 2014-2015), seeing as he was a literal child four years ago, giving him a lot of recent experience making and judging theatre for frequently-underestimated high school audiences. Earlier this year, Nam's second musical, "A Perfect Bowl of Pho" was presented by fu-GEN Theatre Company, having earlier won Best Production at the 2017 UofT Drama Festival; Nam was previously the youngest member of fu-GEN's Kitchen Creators Unit XV.
  • Kwaku Okyere
    • My name is Kwaku  Okyere and I am a Ghanaian-Canadian actor and emerging director. My interest in TYA began when I had the great privilege of working on a devised TYA piece with my 2nd year class at Humber, entitled To Me in 10 Years, directed by Richard Greenblatt. Prior to this, I had no experience performing in any TYA, but after touring our Little-Show-That- Could to a few Toronto middle schools, I was able to witness, firsthand, how truly transformative Theatre for Young Audiences can be. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work as an artist educator with Story Planet and RARE Theatre Company, facilitating storytelling workshops in elementary schools. I have also worked with Theatre Direct, touring a reading of Andrew’s Tree to Cedarvale Community School and performing in the company’s WeeFestival twice. As an actor beginning to explore the realm of directing, I am constantly taking myself on excursions to the theatre. I am confident that the discerning eye and openness to new and experimental forms that I’ve gained as a theatre-goer, coupled with my experience with TYA as a performer would make me an ideal candidate to be considered for one of the jury positions in the Dora TYA Division.
  • Tyler Sloane
    • Tyler J Sloane is a multidisciplinary theatre/performance artist. Their mandate is to emphasize marginalized voices that intersect: race; fluid sexualities; trans, non-binary, and fluid gender expressions; non-monogamous relationships; and class. They’ve explored the aforementioned themes through various disciplines and projects, including: Mixed-media (Self in Response), Photography (Self In Response to Influence of Violence & Community, Light Our Bodies ), Visual Art (Self in Response, Breath On One Land), Community Arts (Facilitation at SKETCH Working Arts in performance; 'Flying Solo', 'It’s All An Act' for queer youth, visual arts, and mentorship), and Theatre/Performance. Selected theatre credits include: a creator/performer in Youth/Elder’s Project (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre); workshop actor in White Noise, Ruby Comfort, and Ursa Majoris (Weesagachuk Festival 30); director of Witness of Obsession and Desire PT1(Paprika Festival);  workshop actor in Scanner by Yolanda Bonnell (Factory Theatre); a creator/performer in Switch the Village (Switch Collective); a creator/performer in Spectrum Phase ONE (Prizm Collective); and, a featured playwright in the Animikiig Creator’s Unit at Weesagachuk Festival 31 for their play, Liminal. Recently Tyler's been developing a new performance piece titled Crystallize through Assembly Theatre Lab and is thrilled to be the new Indigenous Arts Program Producer at Paprika Festival
  • Robert Watson
    • Robert Watson is a Victoria raised theatre artist who has called Toronto home for the past 18 years. Having worked as an actor, producer, publicist, makeup artist and sound designer for various theatrical productions, it is playwriting that gives him the most artistic satisfaction. Selected writing credits include the sold-out Fringe hit Chasing Margaret Flatwood at Toronto’s historic Campbell House, Desperate Housepets at the Montreal and Toronto Fringe Festivals, adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and Phoebe Gilman’s The Balloon Tree both at the Toronto Fringe Kids Venue. For Roseneath Robert has written The Money Tree and Birds of a Feather, which were both nominated for Oustanding New Play in the Dora TYA Category.  In addition, he has been a script adjudicator for students written plays for the Sears Festival Wayne Fairhead New Play Award for several years.  Robert is playwright-in-residence at Theatre Awakening, where he developed The Ladies Room and Chasing Margaret Flatwoood.
  • Paula Wing
    • Paula Wing is an actor, playwright, dramaturge, and translator whose work has been internationally produced. In 2018, her Risky Phil, premiered at Young Peoples Theatre and her translation of Stefano Massini’s Intractable Woman was part of the PEN International Playreading Series at CUNY. Intractable Woman received its U.S. Premiere with The Play Company in New York City. Paula’s musical adaptation of Margaret Mahy’s The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate toured Eastern Ontario with TIP in 2018. Her  adaptation of Ben Rice's novella Pobby and Dingan was published in 2016 through the Kennedy Centre. She is a Resident Artist at Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto, where she is active in their youth and community programming. She runs playwriting classes for emerging writers at the Tarragon Theatre and she is proud to be Rose Avenue and Sprucecourt Schools’ Playwright-in-Residence through YPT, where she also facilitates 3-Up, their international playwriting program for young people. Paula is a sessional professor at the University of Windsor in both the Acting and Drama in Education and Community departments. She is currently working on an adaptation of Lena Coakley’s Wicked Nix for Young Peoples Theatre. Paula’s “Canadianization” of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist won a Best Production Dora Award in 2015.

Musical Theatre

  • Jury Chair: Greg Peterson
  • Thom Allison
    • Two time Dora nominee Thom Allison can be seen as “Pree” in the hit series, KILLJOYS, on Space Channel/Syfy Network.. Thom has appeared on Broadway in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and in the original Canadian companies of Miss Saigon, The Who’s Tommy and Rent. At The Stratford Festival, Thom has appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, Threepenny Opera, The King and I, Hello, Dolly and King Henry VIII, and Into the Woods. At the Shaw Festival, he received critical for his performance in Ragtime, as well as performing in Wonderful Town, A Little Night Music, Guys and Dolls and Follies: In Concert. Some other credits include The Drowsy Chaperone (Vancouver Playhouse, National Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre), OUTRAGEOUS (CanStage), Cabaret (Theatre Calgary), My Fair Lady (Manitoba Theatre Centre), Evita (Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre Calgary), Elegies, A New Brain (Acting Up Stage) and Take Me Out (CanStage). Film/TV: Judge on CBC’s Over The Rainbow, Leaving Metropolis, I Me Wed, Road to Christmas, Kim’s Convenience, Murdoch Mysteries, Private Eyes, Your All-Time Classic Hit Parade. Directing: Seussical, Mary Poppins (YPT).
  • Michelle Bouey
    • Michelle Bouey hails from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and is a proud graduate from the Music Theatre Program at Sheridan College. She has been working in the industry for seven years and has met with good success in theatre,TV, and in the music scene. Some of her favourite Theatre/TV credits include: Marnie/Cellist in Rose (Soulpepper); Featured Singer in UnCovered (Musical Stage Co); Frenchy in Grease (Winter Garden Theatre); Dorothy in Wizard of Oz (Grand Theatre); Mimi Marquez in RENT (CAA Theatre); Jasmine in Aladdin! The Panto (Drayton Entertainment); The Moblees (CBC); Odd Squad (PBS/TVO); The Handmaid’s Tale (MGM/Hulu); Japanizi (YTV/DisneyXD); and Top Ten on Over The Rainbow (CBC). She's currently working on her own music and has two singles out on iTunes, Spotify and other media platforms. She was also a 2018 Juno Award Nominee with her show The Moblees and is the recipient of the 2018/2019 Syd & Shirley Banks Prize with the Musical Stage Company. The Theatre community in Toronto means so much to her, and she looks forward to getting to know this wonderful world of artists even more.
  • Avery Jean Brennan
    • Avery Jean Brennan (she/her) is a playwright, composer, lyricist, music director, actor, and educator residing in the GTA. She is a graduate of The Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA), the Canadian Musical Theatre Writers Collective, and a current participant of The Musical Stage Company’s Noteworthy program. Most recently, she completed a residency at Neptune Theatre through the Chrysalis Project for emerging artists as an assistant music director and musical theatre writer. After spending a year as Artistic Director Intern at the CCPA, she moved on to study under playwright/dramaturge Christopher Weddell, and composer/lyricist Leslie Arden. As an educator, she facilitates a workshop series for businesses & arts teachers to promote and support gender diversity in the workplace and classroom, originally developed for Young People’s Theatre. Her most recent writing, The Pansy Craze: A New Musical, premiered in 2018 at the Toronto Fringe, where it was the recipient of Gay Theatre Toronto’s LGBTQ Fringe Award for pushing the boundaries of LGBTQ characters and themes on stage. She is currently working as a mentor for the Artists Mentoring Youth (AMY) Project, and freelance vocal coach & writing teacher in the GTA.
  • Peter Fernandes
    • Peter Fernandes is Toronto based performer and graduate of the University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting Program and the Soulpepper Academy. Prior to his arrival in Toronto, his experience was primarily in Theatre For Young Audiences, where he toured the world premiere of The Last Tree of Rapa Nui with Manitoba Theatre for Young People and workshopped and toured multiple productions with Concrete Theatre and Alberta Worker’s Health Centre. Having spent three seasons at Soulpepper, he’s been involved with both the development and performance of a number of productions including the Dora Award winning Spoon River, Father Comes Home From the Wars (parts I, II, III), and Incident at Vichy to name a few. Soulpepper also gave him the opportunity to perform in their programming for young Audiences including the  Western Canada Tour of Alligator Pie and concert production of Rose. Peter maintains his commitment to Theatre for Young Audiences, most recently playing the title role in MTYP’s Charlie Brown Double Bill, and taking mentorship roles at the various companies he works for (mentoring the Youth Academy at Soulpepper, Mentoring an Artistic Accomplice for Outside the March, and acting as an Instructor for Camp Ooch). He is looking forward to performing in Love and Information (Canadian Stage), Romeo and Juliet/Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in High Park), and Vietgone (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)
  • Tracey Flye
    • Tracey is one of Canada’s busiest and most respected directors and choreographers with credits that span over 200 productions. She a broad range of experience in all areas of the industry and continues to work on a large range and scope of productions-from small workshops, new work development and regional theatre to large commercial and international touring productions as well as the Stratford Festival. While a good deal of her work is in Musical Theatre, she also directs non-musical productions and plays. As an educator, Tracey is committed to the mentorship and development of young artists and has held an Asst. Professorship in the BFA program at the University of Alberta and has taught at colleges throughout Canada. Some of her credits include: A 12-year association with the legendary rock band QUEEN and its production of We Will Rock You, which she has directed and choreographed in Toronto, South Africa, Asia and the recent US. National/Broadway Tour. ONCE (The Grand Theatre/RMTC), Million Dollar Quartet (Charlottetown Festival), Cabaret (RMTC), West Side Story (Rainbow Stage), Evita (Vancouver Opera) Rock Of Ages (StageWest Calgary), Buyer & Cellar, Venus in Fur (ATP), Jane Eyre, The Penelopiad, The 39 Steps (RMTC) and Hairspray (Rainbow Stage/Mayfield). Recent choreography credits include: Billy Elliot (RMTC), Kiss Me Kate and Evita for the Stratford Festival, The Drowsy Chaperone (TC/RMTC) and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Boys in the Photograph (Mirvish). Tracey continues to be very proud of her 18-year association with Ross Petty Productions and their Annual Toronto tradition of the Christmas Panto. She was the Resident Director for Once and War Horse (Mirvish Productions), the Associate Choreographer for Peggy Sue Got Married (West End) and from the time of its North American debut, Tracey was Asst. Choreographer for the Canadian production and US. National Tour of Mamma Mia!. Tracey recently staged Neil Patrick Harris’ HBO Special, Circus Awesomeus.
  • Alan Forsyth
    • I started working in the performing arts in Toronto, in 1984 at the O'Keefe Centre as an usher. I continued to work front of house at such venues as Roy Thomson Hall and Pantages Theatre. I then moved to working in box office / ticket sales : in 1986 at BASS tickets, followed by working as a client service rep at Ticketron 1988-1991. Which lead me to my current position as Phone Operations Manager with TicketKing/Mirvish Productions, a position I have held since 1991.  I am a member and board secretary for OPTA, (Ontario Professional Ticketing Association)
  • Lucy McPhee
    • Lucy McPhee is a Stage Manager and Producer. She has worked as an Apprentice SM on Anne of Green Gables (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Dear Evan Hansen (Mirvish), and The Abduction from the Sergalio (Canadian Opera Company), and was on the Stage Management team throughout the development process of Dr Silver: A Celebration of Life (Musical Stage Company, Outside the March) and Life After (Musical Stage Company, Canadian Stage Company, Yonge Street Theatricals). In 2018 she produced a workshop of Fatuma Adar’s new musical Dixon Road. She has also worked with such companies as Crow’s Theatre, ARC, and Theatre Smash, and on many wonderful new works at Toronto Fringe and the Next Stage Theatre Festivals.
  • Victor Pokinko
    • Victor is an award-winning producer, actor, theatre-creator, and musician who has entertained audiences on stages ranging from parks to museums, from stone amphitheaters to the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India. He is best known to Toronto audiences for his work in Pea Green Theatre's critically-acclaimed Three Men in a Boat, which continues touring after five consecutive years. Other recent credits include: Peter Pan, Princess Frownsalot (Bad Hats Theatre), Murder for Two (Globus Theatre), Clique Claque (Pea Green), Romeo and Juliet Chainsaw Massacre (Bain & Bernard), Munsch Mash, The Princess Knight (Solar Stage), Gorboduc (Shakespeare BASH’d), Out of the Lens (Theatre 20/Musical Works).  As a producer, he is a strong advocate for creating space for multidisciplinary theatre and works closely with Bad New Days and with The Cave Collective, as well as being the proud Co-Artistic Producer of Bad Hats Theatre. Victor shares Dora Awards with the ensemble of Bad Hats Theatre’s Peter Pan, and a Dora nomination with the ensemble of Pea Green Theatre’s Three Men in a Boat.
  • Mike Ross
    • SLAIGHT FAMILY DIRECTOR OF MUSIC, RESIDENT ARTIST, SOULPEPPER 2018/19: Co-creator: Rose. Sound Designer & Music Director: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. FOR SOULPEPPER: Selected: Sound Designer & Composer: Of Human Bondage. Composer, Co-Adaptor, Music Director & Performer: Spoon River. Composer: The Dybbuk. Sound Designer & Composer: Of Human Bondage. Composer, Arranger, & Music Director: Marat/Sade. Co-Creator: Alligator Pie. Actor: Angels in America, Glenn, True West, Alligator Pie, Death of a Salesman, Oh What a Lovely War. Co-Creator: (re)Birth: E.E. Cummings in Song. OTHER THEATRE: Assassins (Talk is Free/Birdland); Fire, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre Calgary); No Great Mischief, Molière(Tarragon). OTHER: Five Dora Awards, two Robert Merritt Awards. Graduate of the Soulpepper Academy.
  • Patrick Young
    • PATRICK YOUNG graduated in English from Victoria College, University of Toronto, trained in Theatre on a graduate scholarship at Indiana University, and was soon a well-known actor across Canada. His musical credits alone include Threepenny Opera in Boston, The Donnellys in London ON, Dames at Sea in Winnipeg, Charlie Brown in Hamilton and on tour, Flicks in Toronto, Windsor, The Legend of the Dumbells, Anne of Green Gables and On a Summer's Night in Charlottetown, South Pacific in Grand Bend, and Spring Thaw across the country. He has written book and lyrics for Aimee! for the Charlottetown Festival, The Class for the Group of Several, Abigail, or The Gold Medal for the Lighthouse Festival Theatre -- all with composer Bob Ashley -- and numerous industrial shows. In addition, his directing includes the world première of The Growing Season, and -- as Director-Dramaturg of the Muskoka Festival Musical Theatre Writers' Colony -- more new musical workshops than he can remember. After three years as Head of Actor-training at Dalhousie University and several more teaching and directing in the Music Theatre Performance Program of Sheridan College, he became Founding Artistic Director of Theatre Erindale and the joint Sheridan-UTM Theatre and Drama Studies Program, for which he personally directed (and often designed) twenty-something play productions from William Shakespeare to David French. Retired in 2017, he has kept up his interest in new musicals, and now enjoys a combination of travel and freelancing along with his Dora Jury obligations.

Opera

  • Jury Chair: Diana Belshaw
  • Andrew Bennett
    • Executive Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. The British-born Bennett has worked for three decades around Europe, eight years as general manager of a 94-piece orchestra in Portugal and ED of KWS since 2015.
  • Jason Hand
    • Jason has lit operas for the Canadian Opera Company & Vancouver Opera (Carmen), Edmonton Opera (The Tales of Hoffmann), Minnesota Opera (Macbeth), Tapestry Opera (M’Dea Undone, Oksana G.), The Banff Centre and Opera Lyra. As Resident Lighting Designer for Against the Grain Theatre, has lit La Bohème, Turn of the Screw, Figaro’s Wedding, Pelléas et Mélisande, Death and Desire, #UncleJohn, AtG’s Messiah, A Little Too Cozy, Ayre, Bound, and most recently Kopernikus. He has lit productions for directors such as Paul Curran, Tim Albery, Joel Ivany, Tom Diamond, Morris Panych, Allen MacInnis, Matthew Jocelyn, Antoni Cimolino, and Richard Rose. His theatre designs include designs for Young People’s Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Grand Theatre, Canadian Stage, the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival, Theatre Calgary, and Soulpepper. He has been nominated five Dora Awards (Toronto), won a META (Montreal) for Outstanding Lighting Design, and is a protégé recipient of the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.
  • Teiya Kasahara
    • Nikkei-Canadian soprano Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a queer, gender non-conforming multidisciplinary artist -- praised for being a “magnetic performer” (Opera Canada), creator, and co-artistic director of Amplified Opera. They have performed leading roles in major opera houses across Canada, the US, and Europe including the Queen of the Night/The Magic Flute. Teiya combines opera, theatre, and taiko (Japanese drumming) in their artistic practice and strives to centre equity-seeking artists and their works. Their opera-inspired theatre piece The Queen In Me, directed by Andrea Donaldson, is currently being developed by Amplified Opera and Theatre Gargantua’s SideStream Cycle.
  • Amanda Smith
    • Amanda Smith is a Toronto-based stage director and Founding Artistic Director of FAWN Chamber Creative, with whom she commissions, produces and directs new Canadian operas and interdisciplinary works that correlate classical music with other contemporary art forms. Described as a “visionary” by LUDVIG VAN, Amanda finds excitement in exploring the potential of audience experience with classical music through alternative musical events, be it staged concerts or opera. Amanda’s repertoire interests span from Early Music to the very new, and everything in between. Regardless of musical era, her work is created to impact an eclectic audience, as demonstrated by her collaboration with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra to help develop their late-night concert series Haus Musik. Amanda has created many other innovative performances, including Opera Lyra Ottawa’s Nuit Blanche production of Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot by Peter-Maxwell Davies, Emily and Waking Dreams - two immersive, interdisciplinary art song music-theatre performances for Open Spaces: Opera in the 21st Century at the Banff Centre - as well as the University of Toronto New Music Festival performances of Ghost of Gunby Hall by Gabreil Prokofiev and The Killing Flower by Salvatore Sciarrino. Amanda has also enjoyed creating work for Opera Laurier, Against the Grain Theatre, Cowtown Summer Opera Academy and the Stratford Summer Music Festival.  Due to her personal interest in underground electronic music, Amanda has developed an extensive collaborative partnership with modular synth artist ACOTE. Together they build musical platforms for electronic and classical music to tell stories together. This season, Amanda and ACOTE are joining forces again, this time with dancer/choreographer Joey Eddy, to develop a dance-theatre performance for Nuit Blanche in Toronto. Later in the season, Amanda looks forward to directing Note of Hope, a new opera by the Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto, Massenet’s Cendrillon with Opera Laurier and Suites d’une ville morte - a new, short opera by composer Margareta Jeric and librettist Naima Phillips - as part of the Next Wave Workshop by Musique 3 Femmes. This will be followed by the production of FAWN’s most recent creation project, an opera-ballet triple-bill, titled Pandora, by librettist David Brock and three Canadian composers: Joseph Glaser, David Storen and Kit Soden. Amanda has an Opera Diploma in stage directing from the University of Toronto and previously graduated from Wilfred Laurier University, where she studied voice and directing.
  • Wayne Vogan
    • Wayne Vogan studied at Mount Allison University and the Eastman School of Music.  He is currently the music librarian for Canadian Opera Company; prior to that he served as a member of the music staff for the COC, and worked as a free-lance pianist and organist in Toronto.  He has also worked for Chautauqua Opera Association and for Canada Opera Piccola.
  • Aria Umezawa
    • Aria Umezawa is a director/consultant whose practice is focused on innovation and social impact. She recently completed an Adler Fellowship with San Francisco Opera (SFO)– the first stage director to be awarded the fellowship in fifteen years. She was the first Canadian to participate in the Merola Opera Program as an Apprentice Stage Director in 2016, where she directed the Grand Finale to critical acclaim. In 2019, Aria will lead a Design Thinking Sprint for Opera.ca around addressing the perceived gap between artist training and professional opportunities. She was recently named a Consultant of Opera Innovation for Opera McGill (Schulich School of Music), where she will work with the students on developing innovative opera experiences for the public outside of the classroom. During her time as an Adler Fellow, Aria was involved in developing ancillary programming in support of SFO’s initiative to reach new audiences. She curated and directed three off-site SF OPERA LAB POP-Ups in night clubs around the Bay Area; developed an Intro to Opera Talk for the Bravo! Club (SFO’s Young Professional Group), and participated in Design Thinking Sprints focused on audience engagement. She also led a Design Thinking Sprint around activating the War Memorial Opera House for SFO’s production of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and specifically focused on highlighting the company’s Community Partnership Initiative, Earn Your Wings. An advocate for social change in the opera industry, Aria recently developed Safe to Run: Bystander Intervention Training for the Rehearsal Room with Opera McGill and the San Francisco Opera Center – she will present her learnings at the OPERA America Conference in June 2019. She was engaged as an artistic consultant on a new production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly co-produced by Opera in the Heights and Pacific Opera Projects. In 2018 she was a speaker on the Gender Equity in Opera panel at the inaugural Opera.ca Opera Changing Worlds Education Summit. Aria’s writing on the practice of whitewash casting in opera was published in The Globe and Mail in 2015. In 2012 Aria co-founded the independent opera company, Opera 5, and served as its Artistic Director until 2017. She is the creator and writer of the web series Opera Cheats, which deconstructs operatic plots and conventions. Her work in bringing new audiences to opera prompted a feature on Flare.com entitled Screw the Status Quo: Meet the Millennial Who Made Opera Cool. Selected directing credits include: (La) voix humaine (Against the Grain Theatre), Christmas With SOL3 MIO (San Francisco Opera); Hamlet (West Edge Opera); and an immersive interpretation of Die Fledermaus (Opera 5).
  • Alaina Viau
    • Alaina’s passion for classical music and opera was ignited at the age of 11 when she participated in the children’s chorus for Opera Hamilton’s production of Tosca. Several years of choir and vocal studies led her to complete a Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa in vocal performance with a special interest in conducting and artistic direction. Following two years of working at London’s Royal Opera House and studying at the Royal College of Music, Alaina settled in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). During her three year residence at the RCM, she has been the Opera and Orchestra manager overseeing over 20 presentations including full scale Opera presentations. Alaina is continuing her journey into excellence in performance having finished apprentice directing and conducting at the COC’s production of Die Walküre with Johannes Debus and Aton Egoyan. Alaina has recently joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as their Assistant Production Manager.
  • Catherine Wiltshire
    • Catherine Willshire is the Adult Programs Manager, Education & Outreach for the Canadian Opera Company where she oversees programming aimed at providing access to opera and opportunities for lifelong music education in the GTA. Her other work includes consulting with small arts organizations to help create and foster music series and programming, and she has previously worked and volunteered with such organizations such as Toronto Summer Music Festival, Mississauga Festival Choir, Dixon Hall Music School and Roy Thomson Hall. She holds a Masters of Musicology from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne IV, and a Masters of Arts, Communication and Culture from York University in addition to bachelor degrees in music from Western University and the Université de Strasbourg. These degrees have brought together her passions for arts advocacy and access, historical musicology, and flute performance. Her research includes studies of listening and best practices for facilitating diverse audiences in live classical music, the historical role of music in identity-formation, and French music of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Dance

  • Jury Chair: Pat Fraser
  • Emily Cheung
    • Emily Cheung is an educator, performer and choreographer. She is a professional Chinese dance artist specialized in both the Chinese classical and contemporary styles. She received her dance training in China, the United States and Canada. With an active performing schedule, Emily has won many prestigious dance awards including three grand prizes from the North American Chinese Dance Competition for her excellent dance technique and interpretation. She is an educator, performer, and choreographer with a B.F.A. and B. Ed. and Master of Fine Arts (M.A.) in Dance from York University. Cheung is involved in preserving traditional Chinese dance, creating contemporary dance that honours the Chinese traditions, and collaborating with artists from other disciplines and ethnic backgrounds to create works with unique aesthetic sensibilities. Her latest performance‘Bitter Tea’ in company’s annual show was critiqued by Paula Critron as ‘Radiant’ dancer.
  • Allison Cummings
    • Allison Cummings is a performer/choreographer/art maker, who operates under the umbrella name Sore for Punching You. She is based in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals across Canada since 1996 including The Theatre Centre, Hysteria, Edgy Women/Montreal, Toronto Dance Theatre’s ‘Four at the Winch’, SummerWorks,  M:ST Performative Art Festival, 7a -11d, Canada Dance Festival, Fluid Festival, Moving Pictures Festival and Trinity Square Video, Older and Reckless, School of the Toronto DanceTheatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Porchview Dances, Bright Nights (Citadel et Cie) among many more.  She has produced her own multidisciplinary full length works, Quiver ’02, Clutch ’06, Devouring Lions ’09, Final Savage Land ’13 and Exhale ’18. Residencies and International engagements include Compeung-Chiang Mai '10, Compeung group show commission at the Arts and Cultural Centre Chiang Mai '11 and commission with Okotobrigya Danse in Ghana, West Africa presented by the Canadian High Commission as part of Le Semaine de la Francophonie '08. Awards include the 2000 recipient of The Toronto Emerging Artist Award in Dance, twice shortlisted for the K.M. Hunter Award '06 and '08, Chalmers Professional Development Grant '10, and the John P. And Susan D. Fellowship in recognition of her residency at Djerassi Resident Artists program in Woodside California '12.
  • Hollywood Jade
    • Hollywood Jade is one of Toronto's greatest visionary talents who continues to find new and exciting ways to present his timeless creativity to the masses. This dancer turned choreographer turned director has showcased his multidimensional artistic creations on both the big and small screen, local and international stages and his work with many organizations, companies, artists and talents. He works continually to cultivate new and exciting collaborations and push the boundaries of his creations. Hollywood Jade has worked in the industry for over ten years. He began his journey as a dancer supporting many artists on stage and screen including Nelly Furtado, Divine Brown, Rihanna, Hillary Duff, Canadian Idol finalist Gary Beals and Danity Kane. Hollywood Jade has also been a featured dancer in several movies including Save The Last Dance 2, Camp Rock 2, Make Your Move and the smash hit blockbuster Hairspray starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah and Nikki Blonski. Hollywood Jade’s ability to excel as a dancer on these projects combined with his natural leadership skills opened up opportunities for him to start choreographing and assisting other choreographers including Jae Blaze, Jamal Sims, Luther Brown and Eboni Nichols. He worked with these choreographers on various projects and artists such as Massari, Keshia Chante, Snoop Dogg, The Dream and Estelle. Hollywood Jade was also the only contestant in the history of the hit show So You Think You Can Dance to go from a contestant to assistant in the same season. As a choreographer, Hollywood Jade quickly became sought after by some of Canada's leading performers and artists. His attention to detail and knowledge of the industry set him apart from his peers. His interest and career led him to begin dabbling in video direction. This curiosity has led to a full blown career in this field resulting in a handful of videos under his belt and his own successful performance company "Hollywood Presents". This performance company has orchestrated several sold out Urbanesque shows which fuse the classic style of Burlesque with modern and contemporary music and movement. These projects and career moves led him to secure the position of artistic director and choreographer to Canada's Queen of R&B -Jully Black. The future looks bright for Hollywood Jade as he continues to find new ways to expand his array of talents. He continues to find new opportunities to dance, act and entertain. He is currently involved in various artistic productions – both as a dancer and choreographer. He is also involved in various hosting events, artistic consultations and video direction projects. He reminds himself daily of a quote he heard from one of his idols. "If you stay ready, you never have to get ready" and this is exactly what he is doing - remaining constantly ready for the next phase of his career.
  • Nikolaos Markakis
    • Nikolaos Markakis was first introduced to dance at the Cretans’ Association of Toronto, where he studied Cretan Folkloric dance. He followed his passion of movement to York University where he completed his BFA in 2013. Post his undergraduate degree, he has performed and choreographed with Half Second Echo and performed for; Susie Burpee, Valerie Calam, MarieJosée Chartier, Alison Daley, David Earle, Hanna Kiel, Shannon Litzenberger, Tracey Norman and Peter Randazzo. Recently Nikolaos completed his MFA at York University where he researched the possibility of hybrid choreography between Cretan Folkloric and Contemporary dance practices. His main objective is to use his two embodied dance recourses in his creative practice to allow an organic approach, and a cultivating environment for his two worlds of dance to live in his choreography. Currently he is the Co-President of CADA-ON, contract faculty at York University and Dance Director of the Cretans’ Association of Toronto.
  • Gdalit Neuman
    • Gdalit Neuman BFA, B.Ed, MA, NBS TTP (dip) has extensive experience in dance performance, choreography, artistic direction, education, adjudication, writing and academia, both in Canada and abroad. She began her performance career in Tel Aviv as a member of the Rina Schenfeld Dance Theatre and later as a performer with the Israeli Opera. While there, she immersed herself in all things Batsheva and completed the 2010 Gaga Winter Intensive as well as the Gaga in the Desert weekend workshop. She has taken part in professional development training at the Martha Graham School, Alberta Ballet School and with Christopher House during his week-long Deborah Hay workshop in Toronto in 2016. Gdalit's choreography was featured in three BravoFACT shorts, at Adama Festival in Mitzpe Ramon, Negev Desert, and twice as part of fFIDA (Fringe Festival for Independent Dance Artists), where it received critical acclaim. As an Artist in Residence at Spazju Kreattiv last spring, she taught dance improvisation and composition to young dancers in Gozo, Malta. Gdalit has experience in rehearsal management as rehearsal assistant to Karen Kaeja in her Wedding Threads production for both Dusk Dances (2008) and Dance Weekend (2010), as well as Teaching Assistant for the York Dance Ensemble in 2014/5, under the direction of Holly Small. She has been on faculty in the Associates, Adult and Teacher Training Programs at Canada's National Ballet School and has taught ballet technique and dance pedagogy courses at York University's Department of Dance. Most recently Gdalit directed a dance reconstruction project with Israeli dance students, as part of her PhD research into the little-known early repertoire of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company's founding Artistic Director, Yehudit Arnon. Gdalit's scholarly work on dance has been published both in English and Hebrew, and she is a regular contributor to Dance International Magazine. Originally from Tel Aviv, Gdalit grew up dancing in Toronto where she earned a BFA and an MA in dance from York University. She is a graduate of the Teacher Training Program at Canada's National Ballet School and has taught in the school's Associates, Adult and Teacher Training Programs over the past 15 years. Gdalit has also been on faculty at York University's Department of Dance, where she is currently completing a PhD in Dance Studies. In addition to her passion for dance education, Gdalit has extensive experience in dance performance, choreography, artistic direction, adjudication and writing. Highlights include her season performing for the Israeli Opera, writing for Dance International Magazine, and her Spazju Kreattiv artistic residency in Malta last spring, where she taught dance improvisation and composition to young dancers on the remote island of Gozo.
  • Orianna Pagnotta
    • Oriana Pagnotta is a dance artist making Toronto her home. Formerly based in Calgary, she choreographs, performs, rehearsal directs, teaches, and produces, with a passion for facilitating somatic practice and collective social change. She is currently a Lover/Co-Artistic Director with the Toronto Dance Community Love-In, and Membership Manager with the Canadian Dance Assembly. Recent roles include as creative producer (Amanda Acorn), rehearsal director (Gerry Trentham, lbs/sq”) and arts manager (Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Metcalf internship). She was Artistic Director for Dance Montage, Dance Curator for Ignite! Festival, and Artistic Associate with both W&M Dance Projects and Momo Mixed Ability Dance Theatre. Her choreography credits include being presented at Springboard Performance’s Fluid Festival, Dancers’ Studio West, and W&M Dance, and she has rehearsal directed for Milan Kozanek, Iris Heitzinger, and Tania Alvarado. She holds a B.A. with Distinction in Dance from the University of Calgary and is a certified DanceAbility® International teacher.
  • Sara Porter
    • Andrea Roberts is a rehearsal director, arts administrator, dance historian, and database enthusiast. She spends her days at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and has been involved in the creative process of more than twenty choreographers in as many years. She also holds an MA in dance studies from York University. Most recently she was on the artistic team for Sylvain Émard's Le Grand Continental, coaching community members and performing in Toronto's 2018 Luminato Festival.
  • Andrea Roberts
    • Sara Porter is a contemporary dance artist: choreographer, performer, vocalist, writer and teacher, working since 1990. Previously based in Montreal, and Edinburgh, she has worked as an independent artist in Toronto since 2000. Porter has created over 25 stage works, recently touring Sara does a Solo – created with collaborators Gerry Trentham and Katherine Duncanson – across Canada and US between 2015-2017.Porter’s writing has been published for 25 years in print and online publications. She has taught in university + colleges dance programs in Canada and Scotland. Porter has an MA (Dance Studies) from University of Surrey (England) and a BA (Hon, Fine Arts) from Acadia University. She has sat on juries, done peer assessments for art councils in Canada and Scotland, sat on boards of directors for fFIDA, CADA and IGAC Collective. Porter is associate artist at lb/sq” performance, member of CADA, TAPA, and the Intergalactic Arts Collective. Recent recipient of Chalmers Arts Fellowship, Sara is researching the intersection of Memoir and Movement in 2019.

Touring

  • Jury Chair: Vinetta Strombergs
  • Shawna Green
    • Shawna Green has been involved in theatre for a long time.  She has a BA in Theatre Arts from McMaster University.  After graduating she went on to work on Cruise Ships for several years as a Production Manager for the live shows being presented to the guests onboard.  After returning to Toronto, she worked for 8 years at the Canadian Opera Company in the Production Department as the Assistant Production Manager.  She has recently taken a position with the Director's Guild of Canada, Ontario.  Shawna is also very involved with the community theatre group, Curtain Call Players and is currently on the Executive Board.  Shawna was a jury member for the 2017/18 Dora Awards serving in the Opera/Musical/Tours category.
  • Judy Harquail
    • Judy Harquail is the Director of Programs at Ontario Presents, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA). Judy has over 30 years of experience working in the performing arts including organizational development, strategic planning, financial management, arts marketing, funding, and tour management, working in collaboration with an extensive range of arts organizations and arts professionals across Canada, the United States, and throughout the world. Judy is the Director of Programs for Ontario Presents where she manages the Ontario Dances and Theatre Connects programs, the Audience Demographic Mapping program, and the Block Booking Program. In 2011 Judy produced the ISPA Congress in Toronto and produced the 2016 Toronto IAMA Conference.  She is the 2007 recipient of the National Arts Centre award for distinguished contribution to touring in Canada and the 2011 Sandra Tulloch Award for Innovation in Arts and Culture in Ontario.
  • John Karastamatis
    • John Karastamatis began working in theatre in 1981. He founded a small theatre company out of the Palmerston Library Theatre (built in the 1970s but never used; John convinced the Toronto Public Library system to let him use it). Among the shows that got their start at the Palmerston was a new play based on a series of column stories. That play was entitled LETTER FROM WINGFIELD FARM and it was the beginning of a theatrical franchise that became a phenomenon. John went on to work in PR and marketing for many companies, including Factory Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Desrosiers Dance Theatre, Crow’s, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Theatre Columbus, Cahoots and many others. In 1992 he was hired by Mirvish Productions to start an in-house PR department. He is now the company’s Director of Communications and Marketing. Also at Mirvish, John began to scout shows. Among those shows he brought to the company are THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, which he transferred from the Fringe to Theatre Passe Muraille, and MY MOTHER’S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING. He founded the Off-Mirvish series and is the main programmer for it.
  • Clayton Lee
    • Clayton Lee is a Toronto-based performance artist, curator and producer. He is currently the Rhubarb Festival Director at Buddies in Bad Times. Previous performances include (◕‿◕✿) at The Performance Arcade in Wellington, New Zealand and Chapter’s EXPERIMENTICA in Cardiff, Wales; Duets for Beginners (SummerWorks Performance Festival); Chew, Chew, Swallow, Spit (Buddies in Bad Times’ Rhubarb Festival); and Informal Beginnings (Katzman Contemporary’s Duration & Dialogue II). His publication Brandy, the Virgin Slayer – Missed Connections appears as part of the BOOK MACHINE Project at Centre Pompidou in Paris, now part of its permanent Kandinsky Collection. Clayton is also the Managing Producer of Selfconscious Productions. Selfconscious Productions is primarily focused on the internationalization of Canadian artists, producing international tours for productions like Counting Sheep and We Keep Coming Back. It also annually presents CanadaHub at the Edinburgh Fringe, the first nation-based venue at the Fringe which serves as a showcase for 5 Canadian productions.
  • Sara Meurling
    • I graduated with a BA in Theatre (1985), with a first professional position in the Toronto community at the Theatre Centre that year. As General Manager (then producer) I was also very active in volunteer positions such as Secretary of the Toronto Theatre Alliance (TTA) Board of Directors, and Chair of the TTA’s Small Theatre Caucus, a member of the Steering Committee for STAF – the Small Theatre Administrative Facility (now Generator), and a member of the original ArtsVote project in the late 1980’s. As an independent producer in the 1990’s, I worked with such artists/companies as Death Waits/Candid Stammer, Theatre Gargantua, Solun Theatre, Company of Sirens, Threshold Theatre, the Ontario Puppetry Association, and many others. In 1995, I joined the Dance Umbrella of Ontario where my clients included Peggy Baker, Denise Fujiwara, Lata Pada, Carmen Romero, Norma Araiza, and Bill James. Then, I veered off course from 1998 to 2006, when I was General Manager of Carbon Computing, one of Canada’s largest independent Apple Computer resellers where I managed Carbon’s growth from single office to a multi-location, $18.5 million sales and service operation. I returned to theatre in 2007, beginning again as General Manager of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District. From 2009 to 2014, I was Managing Director of the Factory Theatre. I have been President of the Board of STAF and for Theatre Gargantua and a member of the Board of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and the Toronto Arts Council Theatre Committee. I became Executive Director of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) in the fall of 2014 and stepped down in 2019.
  • Aislinn Rose
    • An active member of the Toronto theatre community, Rose is the Creative Producer of The Theatre Centre. Also well known for her work as the artistic producer of Praxis Theatre, and co-editor of their website. She produced their five-city national tour of You Should Have Stayed Home, followed by the critically acclaimed adaptation of Rifles by Nicolas Billon at the Next Stage Theatre Festival. She worked as a consultant & online creator for the sold-out Toronto run of Michael Healey’s Proud, and developed “The Brain”, the online counterpart for Liza Balkan’s Out The Window for The Theatre Centre’s Free Fall Festival in 2012. Rose joined the producing team for the Luminato festival, and produced projects with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Atom Egoyan, Ronnie Burkett, Pina Bausch Dance Company’s Kontakthof, Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno, Live on Stage, and the 6 hour epic new film by Matthew Barney, River of Fundament.
  • Lilie Zendel
    • Lilie Zendel has spent over three decades translating vision into action in the arts, culture and entertainment sector. Prior to recently joining The Shoe Project, a unique initiative connecting women refugees and immigrants with theatre artists and professional authors, she worked at the City of Toronto where she launched StreetARToronto (StART). Under Ms. Zendel’s direction, StART developed a distinctive and award-winning approach to facilitating artwork in the public realm. In less than five years, StART developed six different initiatives, all focused on how artists together with community can explore civic values, evolving histories and make Toronto’s streets more beautiful, inviting and reflective of its cultural diversity. Before launching StART, Lilie served as Senior Cultural Affairs Officer at the City of Toronto where she focused on innovative strategies for cultural civic planning. For 14 years, Lilie lived in New York City where she led the Cultural Affairs section at the Canadian Consulate General. Lilie has been a tireless advocate for countless artists, festivals and organizations and has earned recognition for being the driving force behind many major special initiatives, trade missions and cultural exchanges. With a background in theatre performance, Lilie began her career in the 1980s at Toronto’s Harbourfront where by producing over 150 events of the highest artistic standing including Founding Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed World Stage, she helped grow Toronto’s waterfront cultural park into one of the country’s most celebrated and popular arts venues.

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