Download Dora Jury List 2018-2019

 

General Theatre

  • Jury Chair: Dave Carley
  • Stewart Arnott
    • Stewart Arnott has been a professional theatre artist for 40 years, with extensive credits as both an actor and director. While his recent work as an actor has been predominantly in the indie sector, working with such companies as Modern Times, Convergence and Single Thread, his past experience includes several seasons at The Stratford Festival and the Atlantic Theatre Festival, as well as many regional theatre credits across the country. His directing work has run the gamut from self-produced one man shows (Title and Deed) to coproductions between the Royal MTC and Mirvish (Seminar). Upcoming, directing Risky Phil on the main stage at YPT.
  • Samson Brown
    • Samson Brown is a self described, Jamal Of All Hustles, with a primary focus on trans advocacy and the arts. He uses the arts (acting, tap dancing, playwrighting, stage and production managing) to create visibility for men of trans experience and to educate the general public on trans issues. An alumnus of The Watah Theatre (Kente Season) where he studied the Sorplusi Methodology with d’bi.young anitafrika, Samson began working on his monodrama, 11:11 A Monodrama in 7D. His monodrama has been published by Sorplusi Institute Press in ‘Black Solo 2: Watah Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Monodrama’. He completed an apprenticeship in Production Management through Obsidian Theatre’s Mentor Apprenticehsip Program (2016-2017). He has also been recommended by Obsidian Theatre Company for a Recommender Grant for Theatre Creators funded by the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).
  • Jasmine Chen
    • Jasmine Chen is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary theatre artist. Her performance credits include: the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Young People’s Theatre, Talisman Theatre, Volcano Theatre, and many more. Jasmine is a director of new creation and opera. She is currently in residence at B Current Performings Arts, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Cahoots Theatre. Jasmine is a passionate arts educator, as well as a movement consultant for opera and theatre.
  • Bruce Gibbons Fell
    • Bruce Gibbons Fell is an award-winning playwright and translator based in Toronto. His plays and translations have been presented in Chile, Argentina, Canada, Cuba, USA and UK. Bruce is artistic director of Cocodrilo Triste, a theatre collective focusing on queer new interpretations of history, infused with pop culture and a Latin American lens, currently in residence at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
  • Jennifer Goodman
    • Jennifer Goodman is a professional freelance theatre designer, working in the set, lighting and costume disciplines.  She has happily called Toronto home for the past two and a half years, and lives in Parkdale with her dog Daisy.  Her work was recently seen at the Shaw Festival, where she designed costumes for 1979, and set and costumes for Wilde Tales. Born in Halifax, but raised in Germany and Ottawa, Jennifer holds a BA (Honours) in mathematics and economics from Queen’s University, a BFA in theatre design from Concordia University, and an MFA in theatre design from the University of Alberta.  Her theatre training includes assistantships at the Banff Centre and the Stratford Festival. Jennifer’s theatre design work has been seen across Canada as well as abroad.  She is a multiple award nominee, and the recipient of a Montreal English Critics Circle Award (MECCA) for best set design for 7 Stories (Tableau d’Hôte), and a Robert Merritt Award for outstanding costume design for The Tempest (Two Planks and a Passion.)
  • Sarah Kitz
    • Sarah Kitz is a theatre director, dramaturg, actor, performance maker and coach. She has worked across Canada in regional theatre, in Toronto at Tarragon, Buddies in Bad Times, Theatre Passe Muraille, Nightwood, Soulpepper and Factory Theatre, Fringe SummerWorks and Next Stage Festivals, in Toronto’s thriving Indie Theatre scene, and at the International Fadjr Theatre Festival in Iran. She is a member of Directors Lab North in cooperation with The Lincoln Centre New York, a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Acting at Stratford, The Neil Munro Directors Project at Shaw Festival, participant in the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at Stratford, is past director and co-director for The AMY Project, mentor for AMY Project and Paprika Festival, and trained in the BFA Acting program at University of Windsor.  She has been awarded project grants from TAC, OAC, the PTTP grant through Theatre Ontario, and is the third recipient of the RBC Crow’s Theatre Rising Star Emerging Director Prize, with her development money focused on creating a large scale ensemble production of senior women called The Crone Show. Sarah has successfully coached actors for major roles, lead understudies and entrance to training programs and festivals in Canada and the US.
  • Lisa Li
    • Lisa Li is a Producer at Soulpepper Theatre and specifically the producer of Mainstage and Concert programming. Additional Soulpepper producing credits include (select): Soulpepper on 42nd Street (NYC, 2017), the inaugural Shen Development Festival (2016), Global Cabaret Festival (2013, 2014). Most recently, as an independent theatre producer, Lisa produced Rob Kempson’s Trigonometry (2017) which was the final play of the series: The Graduation Plays.  Lisa also produced part two of The Graduation Plays, Mockingbird, as part of the 2016 Next Stage Theatre Festival. The production earned a Dora nomination for best ensemble cast. Prior to her life as a theatre producer, Lisa was an actor and emerging playwright. Select performance credits include The M Project (Buzz Festival/Theatre Passe Muraille); The Omnibus Bill, Scum Suite (Rhubarb Festival/Buddies); Fear & Misery of the Third Reich (Deus XM/SummerWorks); 43 Harsh Regulations (ReCurrents/Factory); The Penelopiad (Nightwood/Shaw); The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage); Warehouse 13 (NBC/CityTV); Rookie Blue (ABC/Global). Lisa began writing for theatre in the 2006/2007 through The Kitchen (fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company’s playwriting unit) where her first play All These Things was conceived and developed under the leadership of Nina Lee Aquino. This experience led to a new found passion for play development and through this, Lisa originated the writers’circle - a playwriting unit where Lisa works as a dramaturg to facilitate the creation of new works by emerging playwrights.  The writers’circle culminates in the HOTscrawlsFestival for which she is also the Artistic Producer. For the 2011/2012 season, Lisa was invited back to The Kitchen by David Yee and was part of Tier Two – geared towards furthering a playwright’s skills.  Lisa participated in The Kitchen for a third time for fu-Gen’s 2015/2016 season and developed her second full length play Capture under the dramaturgical leadership of Mel Hague.
  • Jordi Mand
    • Jordi Mand is a Toronto-based playwright who has worked with some of Canada’s most prominent theatre companies. Her work has been produced nationally, internationally and is published by Playwrights Canada Press. Her plays include Between the Sheets (Nightwood Theatre), Caught (Theatre Passe Muraille), This Will Be Excellent (Carousel Players). She is a current Resident in the Bell Media Prime TV Program at the Canadian Film Centre. She has been a Playwright-in-Residence with Theatre Passe Muraille, Carousel Players and Nightswimming Theatre. She is a past member of the Tarragon Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and the Stratford Festival's Playwrights Retreat. Mand is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada's Acting Program. Upcoming: world premiere of her new play Brontë: The World Without at the Stratford Festival.
  • Maria Ricossa
    • Maria Ricossa has worked in Theatre, Film, Television and Radio for over 25 years. She was a series lead in Street Legal and Riverdale, recurring roles in Degrassi, the Next Generation, Missing and Da Kink in my Hair. Recent episodic TV work includes guest starring roles on Flashpoint, Warehouse 13 and Unnatural History. Maria has played leading roles in numerous Movies of the Week, most recently the Hallmark movies Fairfield Road and Taking a Chance on Love and the Lifetime movies The Gathering and Absolution. Feature film credits include The In-Laws in which she starred opposite Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas, the recent release of Cry of the Owl and the independent Canadian Film Some Things That Stay. Maria also guest starred on the BBC Miniseries State Within. Stage roles include four seasons at the Stratford Festival playing leading roles in King Lear, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Love's Labours Lost and most recently Gertrude in Hamlet. Other Theatre credits include work with The Tarragon, Nightwood Theatre and Studio 180. Maria is a private acting coach for film and TV. and theatre and has coached actors on the sets of The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio, Hairspray and The Music Man. She has also been on faculty at George Brown Theatre School, Armstrong Acting Studio and University of Toronto Scarborough.
  • Miquelon Rodriguez
    • Miquelon Rodriguez is an actor, sound designer, and music composer based in Toronto. He attended York University for Theatre Studies with a specialization in Devised Theatre, and has been active in the theatre industry for over 12 years. His most recent acting credits include Luke in Banana Boys at Factory Theatre, and Chester in Cowboy Versus Samurai at Soulpepper. His sound design can be heard in the upcoming Girls Like That at Tarragon Theatre. He was a co-facilitator for Paprika Festival’s Creators’ Unit in 2016/2017, and has taught sound design workshops at Soulpepper and Cahoots Theatre. He was a co-curator for both the Tiger Bamboo Festival and the Shen Development Series at Soulpepper, and is currently the Apprentice Artistic Director at Factory Theatre.
  • 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 Toronto credits included the record-breaking hits Flicks, The Relapse, and the original production of Automatic Pilot, as well as Chinchilla and the last national tour of Spring Thaw. Elsewhere the range included Misalliance and Threepenny Opera in Boston, Uncle Vanya and Tobacco Road in Indiana, Windsor in Charlottetown, Dames at Sea in Winnipeg, Hay Fever across BC and Scapin across Ontario, plus guest starring on such TV series as The Great Detective and Night Heat. During the 1980s, he branched into playwriting, directing, and teaching. He is the author of the award-winning biographical plays "Winnie" (also filmed for television), Aimee!, and Abigail, or The Gold Medal, several adaptations of classics, and numerous industrial shows. He has held the posts of Artistic Director of Dalhousie Theatre Productions in Halifax, Director/Dramaturg of the Music Theatre Writers' Colony at the Muskoka Festival, and Associate Director/Playwright in Residence at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre. Teaching includes Waterloo, Dalhousie, George Brown, Humber, and Gaya College in Malaysia. He was the founding Artistic Director of Theatre Erindale and the founding Sheridan Coordinator of the joint (with UTM) Theatre and Drama Studies Program, which he headed for twenty-five years before retiring in 2017. For Theatre Erindale he designed the set for numerous productions and directed 21 – from Pericles and The Country Wife to That Summer and Unity (1918). Directing for other theatres includes The Shadow Box, The Crucible, Jitters, Waiting for the Parade, You Can't Take It With You, Nelly McClung, the second production of Midnight Madness, the World Première of The Growing Season, and more new play workshops than he can count.

Independent Theatre

  • Jury Chair: Joan Burrows
  • Augusto Bitter
    • Augusto José Bitter Hurtado is a Venezuelan-born actor, dancer, and writer based in Toronto. He has a Specialist in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto and was named one of NOW Magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2017. He is a Youth Link Artist at Soulpepper, and a member of Buddies in Bad Times' Salon Group and Aluna Theatre's Interpretation Lab.  Recent credits include The Monument (Factory Theatre), Lear (Groundling Theatre Co.), El Retorno/I Return (Theatre Aquarius), Rope Running Out (lemonTree creations), and Our Town (Theatre Rusticle). He is developing a solo, CHICHO, with Pencil Kit Productions in-residence at Theatre Passe Muraille.
  • Zoe Danahy
    • Is an actor, arts administrator, and storyteller based in Toronto. As an actor her work ranges from the innovative to the classical. After performing in Outside the March’s award winning production of Vitals, she went on to attend the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s MA program in Acting, Classical and Contemporary Text. She completed a residency at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London, training in voice and movement for classical performance. After which, she collaborated with playwright Mike Cullen in Glasgow to develop and premiere a biting new comedy. In addition to performance, Zoe is also a passionate arts administrator. After studying Arts Management as an undergrad at the University of Toronto, she worked for a variety of theatre organizations including Canadian Stage, the Canadian Opera Company, and Crow’s Theatre. Finally back home in Toronto, she has been putting everything she’s learned at home and abroad into telling stories that move and connect audiences with a new perspective on their world.
  • Barbara Fingerote
    • Retired research librarian Barbara Fingerote is a tireless arts supporter, dedicated volunteer and audience member extraordinaire. She contacts Toronto area school to arrange hipTIX Outreach Ambassador information sessions and assists TAPA staff with research and maintenance of outreach databases as well as volunteering for the annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Local performers consider Ms. Fingerote (aka "Front Row Barbara") an integral and invaluable part of Toronto’s cultural life.
  • Roni Hoffman
    • Roni Hoffman is an entertainment lawyer and Director of Legal & Business Affairs at 9 Story Media Group, an industry leading creator, producer and distributor of animated and live action content for young audiences. She is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, and also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Theatre Studies from York University and a Masters of Arts degree in English and Theatre Studies from the University of Guelph. She is an active supporter of the Toronto theatre community, a regular theatre attendee, and has previously served on the boards of the Paprika Theatre Festival (2012-2017, including three years as Chair) and Theatre Passe Muraille (2014-2017, including chairing the nominations/governance committee and serving as Vice-Chair).
  • Michael Man
    • Michael Man is an actor, musician, and theatre maker. Immigrant, Chinese, Foreign, Canadian, Queer: his artistic expression is coloured by the complexities of these identities. Much of his current creative output is dedicated to the Bite Hard Collective of which he is one of its four members: a collective exploring queerness through the works of poet Justin Chin. Michael's acting work has brought him to theatres across the country including Gateway, Magnus, Grand, Sudbury, Kingston, St. Lawrence Shakespeare, fu-GEN, and Canadian Stage. Prior to theatre, Michael trained as a classical pianist and holds an Associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music (A.R.C.T.) in piano performance. He has performed and competed internationally and was awarded Third and First Prize in competitions held in Puigcerda, Spain and Paris, France, respectively. He now works as a collaborative pianist in musical theatre, pop and contemporary, as well as classical genres. Having served on the Ontario Arts Council Skills and Careers Development Jury in 2015, Michael has experience critically and objectively discussing the merit of the works of his peers. Michael is a graduate of Queen's University and George Brown Theatre School.
  • Griffin McInnes
    • Griffin McInnes is a director, playwright and producer in Toronto. His work often explores the relationships between science, art and publics, and has won several writing awards including the Atlantic Writing Competition and the Norma Epstein National Writing Award. Formerly Halifax-based, he is the co-founder and artistic director of Wit’s End Theatre and served as emerging artist-in-residence with Nova Scotia’s 2b theatre company. Griffin holds a graduate degree from the School of Experimentation in Arts and Politics at SciencesPo in Paris, France, where he studied under anthropologist Bruno Latour. Collaborators in Toronto have included Outside the March, Expect Theatre, ReWork, Tarragon, Common Boots, DLT, Fixt Point and many more. He is Director of Development and Communications at Outside the March.
  • Aidan Morishita-Miki
    • Aidan is an arts administrator and stage manager interested in community engagement through the arts. He holds an M.Ed. from OISE in Adult Education and Community Development, and received an OAC Compass Arts Administration Intern grant to work with FIXT POINT in 2016. He is currently the marketing manager for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and a producer at FIXT POINT arts and media, coordinating various aspects of the company's Tale of a Town project, and continuing to grow the company's national oral history database through outreach, interviewing, logging, and creating audio pieces. Stage management credits include. Drift Seeds (RedDress Productions). The Tale of a Town - Barton Street (FIXT POINT), Empire of Night (Bad New Days), To Live in the Age of Melting (Outspoke Productions), SISI (Ars Mechanica/HATCH), A Day on the Shore (Mixed Company Theatre), MacArthur Park Suite: a Disco Ballet (colored lights / Summerworks), A Midwinter Night's Dream, Our Town (Passionate Players), Lysistrata (Canopy Theatre). Other theatre experience includes work with Re:Current Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Hart House Theatre.
  • Zachary Moull
    • Zachary is a dramaturg who returned to Toronto in 2017 after more than a decade away. He spent four years with Theatre Calgary as Artistic Associate, working on production dramaturgy, new play workshops, season selection, and audience engagement. His other past positions include Resident Dramaturg at Dancers’ Studio West in Calgary and Dramaturgy Fellow at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from the University of King’s College in Halifax. At Theatre Calgary, Zachary was dramaturg or assistant director for several productions ranging from outdoor Shakespeare to movement-based creation to the world premiere of a new musical adaptation. An active member of the Calgary theatre community, he also worked with indie companies such as Sage Theatre and Chromatic Theatre. He served for three years on the board of the Betty Mitchell Awards, Calgary’s professional theatre awards, and was a juror for the 2013-14 season. Zachary’s dramaturgical interests include new play development, immersive performance, devised creation, and dance dramaturgy. Now back in his hometown, he is building his practice as a independent dramaturg while working in communications and member support for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.
  • Ronit Rubinstein
    • Playwright Ronit Rubinstein lives in Toronto, where her play Sitting In a Tree debuted in the Fringe festival. Her short play Anniversary was produced by the New Theatre of Ottawa and by Vancouver’s Tomo Suru Players. Advice for Women was performed by Chicago’s Fury Theatre, and is being read this spring by LA’s Skylight Theatre Company. Ronit is a co-editor of and contributor to the anthology City Voices: A Book of Monologues by Toronto Artists. She is currently developing the play Vagilantes: A Grand Guignol, Sort Of, through the playwriting unit of Montreal’s Infinithéâtre, as well as Bad. Bible. Bitches., which won the 2017 Cayle Chernin Award. When not writing, she tells her most embarrassing stories at storytelling events, and plays covers of 90s RnB songs on the ukulele. Ronit studied English and Theater at Princeton University.

Theatre for Young Audiences

  • Jury Chair: Brandon Moore
  • Kit Boulter
    • Captain Kit Boulter is the Artistic Coordinator of the Pirate Life theatre collective of the wildly popular Pirate Life adventure theatre cruise in Toronto Harbour. They are a nonbinary trans-identifying activist, writer and performer and they’re interested in utilizing the platform of children and family-accessible theatre to help facilitate social change and representing diverse talent with new and relevant stories. They have been nominated for a Dora award twice for their work in youth theatre, and will continue their initiative to celebrate the diversity of performers in the work they create and support.
  • Jennifer Burak
    • Jen has been working with youth in theatre for the past three decades. Recently retired from her TDSB position as Head of Arts at a Toronto high school, Jen is now the Toronto Co-ordinator for the National Theatre School Drama Festival (formerly Sears Festival). In addition, she is currently a member of the Educational Advisory for Canadian Stage Theatre Company and worked in that capacity at The Tarragon Theatre in the past. Jen has served on the board for Necessary Angel and for Shakespeare in the Ruff and has worked tirelessly to mentor young actors, directors and writers throughout her career. She has a strong understanding of the power of theatre to transform. She is a champion of theatre for youth as well as a mentor for those working with young people. She develops workshops and partners regularly with teachers and theatre artists to provide enrichment opportunities that will support youth in their creative process. An aspiring writer herself, Jen recently received an OAC grant to develop a play for young audiences which she plans to produce in the very near future.
  • Deanna Choi
    • Deanna H. Choi is a Korean-Canadian sound designer, composer, and violinist based in Toronto with a degree in neuroscience from Queen’s University. She co-founded the Badass Brahms Chamber Collective, and has collaborated with artists at the Banff Centre, Stanford University, Kingston Symphony, and National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Recent sound design/composition credits: The Monument (Factory), Ipperwash (Native Earth/Blyth Festival); Chicho (Pencil Kit/TPM); Lo, or Dear Mr. Wells (Nightwood); Fortune of Wolves, The Boat (Theatre New Brunswick); Alien Creature (Theatre Passe Muraille); Rope Running Out (lemonTree), Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua (RISER/Summerworks), Laurier (Confederation Centre national tour). Upcoming: productions with fu-Gen, Young People's Theatre, Stratford Festival, Thousand Islands Playhouse. As a performer, Deanna is developing the cabaret piece Love You Wrong Time with Maddie Bautista and physical theatre project WAKE with Aria Evans. She has been nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award.
  • 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)
  • M John Kennedy
    • M. 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. M. 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.
  • Laura McCallum
    • Laura McCallum is an emerging arts administrator and the current General Manager at Theatre of the Beat. She previously coordinated the inaugural Secret Theatre series at the Shaw Festival and produced two seasons of site-specific work with Theatre By Committee. Laura enjoys volunteering for the Toronto Theatre Database and learning ASL at the Canadian Hearing Society. She is a graduate of the Arts Administration & Cultural Management program at Humber, and the Theatre and Drama Studies program at U of T Mississauga/Sheridan.
  • Mary Francis Moore
    • Mary Francis Moore is an award winning, multi-talented theatre artist and creator. She is the Associate Artistic Director of The Confederation Centre of the Arts.  Mary Francis is the co-creator and director of the Dora Award winning play One Thing Leads to Another at Young People's Theatre. She also co-created, performed in and produced (with Annabel Fitzsimmons and Alison Lawrence) the hit play Bittergirl, which enjoyed hugely successful runs in Toronto, the UK and New York, and has recently been turned into a published musical, that has been performed across Canada. Mary Francis holds a BFA, Specialization: Drama In Education, from Montreal's Concordia University and has taught across Canada for over 20 years. She is the former Theatre in Education Director at Magnus Theatre and Resident Arts Educator at Young People’s Theatre. As an artist in residence she has facilitated bespoke workshops at detention centres, hospitals, libraries, mental health facilities, and numerous community health groups and alternative justice programs - Sick Kids, Wesway Community Service Agency, Ronald McDonald House, The Mino Bimaadiziwin Centre, The Thunder Bay Boys and Girls Club, and the Sioux Lookout Community Centre, to name a few. She is the co-creator and facilitator of the Voices of Young Women program, funded by The Ontario Arts Council, which was implemented for 10 years across Ontario school boards. She has collectively created projects and workshops with and for youth at various theatres across Toronto.  She recently co-created and facilitated The Dream Catchers Project with Mi’kmaq artist Nick Huard and Mohawk carver Watio Splicer. A series of youth workshops took place in every province and territory that resulted in the creation of the national dreamcatcher that hangs in Memorial Hall in Charlottetown PEI and the premiere of the musical The Dreamcatchers which was recently performed for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations.   She is currently curating the inaugural Junior International Children’s Festival at Harbourfront Centre.
  • Jamie Robinson
    • Jamie’s selected TYA credits include: for YPT, Risky Phil (Upcoming this April); Numero Uno; Anne; The Other Side of the Closet (Dora winner). For Roseneath Theatre, The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh (Canada/U.S. Tour). Other acting credits include: Four seasons with the Stratford Festival of Canada, 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), Romeo & Juliet (Canadian Stage in High Park), Medea (Mirvish/MTC). Film/TV acting credits include: 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). Jamie holds a Masters Degree in Theatre Directing and Teaching from York University, is Artistic Director of The Guild Festival Theatre, and is professor of acting for York University, University of Toronto and George Brown College.
  • Fiona Sauder
    • Fiona Sauder is a Toronto based creator/director/educator/performer who has worked throughout Ontario and internationally.  Her primary dedication is to new, devised work with Bad Hats Theatre, of which she is the Co-Artistic Director.  Her experience in theatre for young audiences has afforded her the pleasure of working with various companies throughout the city.  Most recently, after winning three Dora Mavor Moore awards in the TYA division, Bad Hats' adaptation of Peter Pan, co-written by and starring Sauder, saw a hugely successful run in Soulpepper's Family Festival.  While not exclusively generating TYA work, Bad Hats Theatre has several pieces for young audiences in development and holds new works for young people as a major priority.  Bad Hats is also currently developing the educational arm of the company which so far has found them teaching workshops for young people on tools for creation in Toronto, Peterborough and Ottawa.  Fiona is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School where she received the Timshell Challenge Award for Excellence and the Jon Bannerman Scholarship for Theatre, and where she has recently been invited to return as a director/educator.  Fiona looks forward to continuing work for and with young people that challenges, inspires and celebrates.

Musical Theatre

  • Jury Chair: Greg Peterson
  • Robert Allan
    • Robert grew up performing in musical theatre, with a focus on dance. He moved to Toronto to persue 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 Charlottown 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, working for companies such as Toronto’s Smile Theatre. Robert is also a passionate educator. He has taught for over a decade for top theatre programs at George Brown, Randolph College, and Sheridan College. He has developed groundbreaking curriculum in both ensemble performance and swinging and understudying for musical theatre. He holds an MA in dance studies from York University. He also proudly sits 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.
  • Colin Asuncion
    • Colin Asuncion is a Toronto based performer and marketing professional. He is a graduate of St. Michael’s Choir School, where he studied voice, piano, and violin, and the University of Toronto, where he studied English, Political Science, and Public Relations. He has appeared in musicals, plays, cabarets, and concerts. His musical theatre credits include Jack in Into the Woods (Hart House Theatre), Angel in RENT (Fallen Rock Productions), Mitch Mahoney in Spelling Bee (Easy Street Productions), and Berger in HAIR (First Act Productions). Colin has produced a number of solo cabarets and is a featured performer in Chris Tsujiuchi’s Very Christerical cabaret series. He is one third of boundary-breaking Asian Riffing Trio along with Chris Tsujiuchi and Kevin Wong. Colin was also a guest commentator on the final season of MTV Canada’s The After Show. In addition to his performance work, Colin has worked in marketing for a number of arts organizations including Ballet Jörgen Canada, Fallen Rock Productions, and SKETCH Working Arts where he volunteers as a marketing consultant. He is currently the Marketing Communications Manager for myBlueprint, a company that creates online learning and planning platforms for the Canadian education sector.
  • Michelle Bohn
    • Ms. Bohn was born and raised in Montreal. She began designing for the theatre while she was obtaining her DEC at Marianopolis College. From there, she went on to obtain her BFA in Design for the Theatre at Concordia University. During her time at Concordia, she began designing professionally. She then moved to the United States, where she continued her studies at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, graduating with an MFA in Costume Design. She has spent the past 16 years working professionally across the United States, as well as teaching at various universities. For the last 8 years, Ms. Bohn was based in New York City, designing for Off-Broadway & Off-Off-Broadway theatre companies, regional theatres in the USA, and working in film and television, both in the design and tailoring. She has recently returned to Canada, and now calls Toronto home. Last season, she assisted Patrick Clark on Pericles at the Stratford Festival, and this season, she will lend her expertise to As You Like It and John Gabriel Borkman. Select credits include: Off-Broadway: Costume designer: A Four-Letter Word (Classic Stage Company/The Plastic Theatre, also toured to Great Britain). Designer: Richard III, King Lear, Macbeth (New York Classical Theatre). Assistant costume designer: The Forest, Three Sisters (Classic Stage Company). Off-Off-Broadway: Costume designer: Displaced Wedding (New Worlds Theatre Project), Brave Ducks, Revolution on the Roof (Fringe N.Y.C.). Selected Regional: Costume designer: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Relativity, Rising Water, Kimberly Akimbo (Southern Rep); Coriolanus, Henry V (Shakespeare Festival at Tulane); Orpheus (Tsunami Dance). Film/TV: Costume designer: NOLA; The Red Thunder (short); Good Sister (short). She also worked on The Host, The Campaign and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Ms. Bohn taught design at Tulane University for 4 years, and for one year at CUNY – Hunter College and Baker University.
  • Jason Carlos
    • Jason Carlos, a queer Filipino-Canadian, is proud theatregoer, arts advocate, and arts worker. After completing an undergraduate degree in advertising, Jason shifted the focus of his career to his passion and love for the arts. Jason was the lead Contributing Editor for BroadwayWorld Toronto (2014-2016), served on Theatre Ontario’s Youth Advisory Committee (2017) and currently works at Soulpepper Theatre Company, where he is the Assistant Marketing Manager. At Soulpepper, Jason manages social and digital marketing for their robust year-round programming – including Soulpepper on 42nd Street (2017), their Off-Broadway residency at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City.
  • Melinda Doherty
    • Melinda Doherty Griffiths is the current Program Manager of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and the Administrative Assistant for Mass Culture. Melinda has performed and worked in Canada, England and the United States. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Since recently completing the Arts Administration program at Humber College, Melinda has worked with The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), The Toronto International Film Festival and Ballet Jörgen. Melinda is a passionate advocate for the arts and has participated in Arts Day on the Hill, Arts Day in the City of Toronto and is currently engaged with Arts Vote for the upcoming Municipal election in the fall.
  • Robyn Hoja
    • Robyn is an energetic arts worker and aspiring producer in Toronto with a passion for Musical Theatre; she is currently the Production Coordinator for The Musical Stage Company. Robyn is a member of the inaugural graduating class of Ryerson University’s Creative Industries program (2017). In her four years at Ryerson, she founded the Ryerson Musical Theatre Company, a student run theatre company giving opportunities on and off stage for students in major musical productions. Other notable work experiences include being a Marketing Assistant for Mirvish Productions and dabbling into stage management, producing, and dramaturgy for various Toronto Fringe Festival shows. Robyn is an avid biker, reusable container user, and dog enthusiast.
  • Rob Kempson
    • Rob Kempson is a theatre artist and educator, working as a playwright, composer, performer, and director. Most recently, Rob’s play Mockingbird, which he also directed, broke box office records as the highest grossing show in the Next Stage Festival’s history. Selected Writer/Director: Mockingbird (Next Stage Theatre Festival); SHANNON 10:40 (timeshare); explicit (Rhubarb Festival); #legacy (Harbourfront Centre); In My Own Skin(YRDSB); The HV Project (Community); Intersections (TDSB Arts Co-Op). Director: Violet’s the Pilot, Rose’s Clothes (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Songs for a New World (Claude Watson). Assistant Director for The Magic Flute (COC); The Wizard of Oz (YPT); You Are Here, Into The Woods, Dear Johnny Deere, She Loves Me (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Auditing Director for Shakespeare’s Nigga (Obsidian). As a performer, he was most recently seen starring in his Dora-nominated musical The Way Back To Thursday (Theatre Passe Muraille). Selected performer credits: Mekwon (or the other) (Buzz Festival, TPM); Hero and Leander (Common Descent, SummerWorks – NOW Outstanding Ensemble). He was a member of the 2014 Stratford Festival Playwrights’ Retreat, the 2015-16 Storefront Theatre Playwrights’ Unit, and is the past Artistic Producer of the Paprika Festival and the past Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille. As an artist-educator, Rob has worked for a number of major school boards as well as Young People’s Theatre, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, Pleiades Theatre, Opera Atelier and Casa Loma. He works regularly as a community arts facilitator and curator, collectively creating performances and interactive exhibits with community members. He is currently the Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, ON and a Resident Artist Educator at Young People’s Theatre. Upcoming: Writer/Director for Trigonometry (timeshare) and Director of Million Dollar Quartet and Maggie and Pierre (Thousand Islands Playhouse).
  • Briane Nasimok
    • Nasimok graduated from the University of Toronto and began his career appearing with the Canadian Opera Company in non-singing roles. He later toured North America as the Other Servant in Così fan tutte, and the Head Waiter in La Boheme, performing 287 times without singing. Later, he performed the non-singing role Ambrogio in The Barber of Seville at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto before his retirement. His one-person show "Confessions of an Operatic Mute", premiered at the Toronto SouloTheatre Festival in 2013 and played that summer at Totnes England Theatre Festival. In 2014 the hour-long version will be playing at the Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax Fringe Theatre Festivals. He wrote for the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun and was responsible for the guide book Making Out in Toronto (1980). As a freelancer for United Press International, he covered the Toronto Blue Jays for ten years, including their back to back World Series wins. Nasimok was the second feature act at Yuk Yuks Komedy Kabaret and appeared on A&E's "Evening at the Improv" and Showtime's "Spectacular Evening in Canada". He then moved to Theatresports Toronto and was a member of the 1993 Canadian Championship Team. His theatre credits include "Dead Air" at the Charlottetown. In addition, Nasimok was the founder and artistic director of the Grafton Street Dinner Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nasimok created NBA Dunk Street, Don't Lick the Pig and produced Uh Oh, and nanaLa' while writing for the YTV Achievement Awards and YAA to the M@x. He is currently the Executive Producer of the Canadian Comedy Awards Festival, Projects Chair for the Forest Hill Lions Club and the President of the Board of Smile Theatre Company. In 2012 he received a "Gilda's Award" for his ten years of contribution to the "It's Always Something" annual fundraiser which we wrote and produced.
  • Keith Pike
    • Keith is founding Artistic Director of Theatre St. John’s which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 and past Artistic Director of the Stephenville Theatre Festival (2011-2013).   Directing credits for TSJ: ONCE, Mamma Mia!, West Side Story, Little Women,  Mary Poppins, Into the Woods, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Fame, The Last 5 Years, Songs for a New World,   For STF: Mary's Wedding (provincial tour), Proof, Jewel, Canada Rocks! British Invasion, Little Shop of Horrors. Other Credits include: A Man of No Importance, Shrek (Theatre Sheridan), Into the Woods, The Naming of Port Rexton (Rising Tide Theatre), South Pacific (Arts Centre). In 2017, Keith founded the Newfoundland and Labrador Musical Theatre Writers Retreat: a retreat where an emerging Canadian writer is invited to spend 10 days immersed in the place while workshopping new material amidst the beauty and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is a proud alumnus of Memorial University (Bachelor of Music), Sheridan College (Honors Diploma Musical Theatre Performance), York University (MFA Directing). Keith is currently based out of Toronto, Ontario and is a full-time faculty member at Sheridan College.
  • Scott White
    • Scott White has been working professionally in the arts for over 25 years. As a composer he has written hundreds of songs for stage, film and television, including eleven professionally produced musicals. As a musical director his work has taken him to theatres in Canada, the U.S.A and as far away as Singapore. As an actor Scott has workshopped on close to a hundred new Canadian scripts and has played roles in shows across the country. Explore the site and enjoy the many links to samples of music, photos and resumes. Scott is a proud member of SOCAN,The Playwrights Guild Of Canada, and The Canadian Actors' Equity Association.

Opera

  • Jury Chair: Diana Belshaw
  • Michael Barrs
    • Michael Barrs is a Canadian Actors’ Equity Association stage manager of plays, operas and musicals.  After graduating with an Honours BFA in Theatre Production & Design from York University, Michael has stage managed in Toronto and across Canada.  He recently completed his tenth season at the Canadian Opera Company after stage managing their Centre Stage Gala and assistant stage managing The Abduction from the Seraglio and The Magic Victrola.  Other recent credits include The Return of Ulysses (Opera Atelier) and a cross-country tour of Mark Crawford’s Bed and Breakfast (Thousand Islands Playhouse/Centaur Theatre Company/Belfry Theatre).  Michael has also worked on many productions for Mirvish Productions, Dancap Productions, Canadian Stage, Marquis Entertainment, Yonge Street Theatricals, Drayton Entertainment, and Just For Laughs.
  • David James Brock
    • David James Brock is a playwright, poet, and librettist whose plays and operas have been performed in cities across Canada, the US, and the UK. He is the winner of the 2011 Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award for his play Wet. Brock’s debut poetry collection, Everyone is CO2, was released by Wolsak & Wynn in spring 2014 and his next collection, Ten-Headed Alien, is forthcoming in 2018.He has created text for opera and new music with companies that include Scottish Opera, Noise Opera, Tapestry New Opera, the Canadian Art Song Project, FAWN Chamber Creative, and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. Brock is co-creator of Breath Cycle, a multimedia operatic song cycle developed with cystic fibrosis patients that was nominated for a 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Award.He lives in Toronto and has taught writing courses at the University of Guelph, University of Victoria, Humber College and Young People’s Theatre.
  • Marjorie Chan
    • Marjorie is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in Toronto, working as playwright, librettist, dramaturge and director. Her works for the stage have been performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia and across Canada. Her full-length works as a playwright include the plays The Madness of the Square, a nanking winter, Tails From the City, as well as the libretti for the operas, Sanctuary Song, The Lesson of Da Ji, and  M’dea Undone. Marjorie is the recipient of four Dora Awards (three for Outstanding New Opera, and one for performance), the K.M. Hunter Artist’s Award in Theatre, the Entertainment World Award for Best New Work, as well as a Harold Award for her contribution to the Toronto theatre community. Notable nominations include the John Hirsch Prize for Direction, the Governor General’s Literary Award for her playwriting debut, China Doll and the Canadian Citizen Award for her work with Crossing Gibraltar – Cahoots Theatre’s program for newcomers and other marginalized communities. She was recently awarded the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Professional Theatre. She has been artist-in-residence with Factory Theatre, Banff Playwrights’ Colony, Tapestry Opera, Cahoots Theatre, Theatre Centre (with 6th Man Collective), Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York) and Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong). Her most recent premiere is The Monkiest King (Canadian Children’s Opera Company) with composer Alice Ping-Yee Ho, and directed by Nina Lee Aquino as well as contributing text to The Ward Cabaret, concieved by David Buchbinder (Luminato). When not writing, Marjorie is the Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre since 2013, where her focus has been on mentorship, artist incubation and development, community arts access as well as advocacy for a broadening inclusivity in theatre for artists and audiences alike.
  • Jessica Derventzis
    • Began her career in the arts with studies in piano performance at Queen’s University where she simultaneously worked as an accompanist for opera productions and collaborating with singers in the Voice Department.  Following graduation, Jessica taught theatre studies at the High School level for 5 years directing over twenty productions while mentoring her students to achieve a well-rounded theatrical education, including acting, designing, technical theatre, and theatre history.  Leaving teaching to pursue a professional career in opera, her most recent directing credits include:  Die Zauberflöte, La Bohème (Opera Kelowna), The Medium, L’Heure Espagnole (Stu&Jess Productions), Cinderella (Calgary Opera School Tour), Dido and Aeneas (Opera McGill), and La Voix Humaine (Little Opera on the Prairie).  Jessica had the privilege of directing the Canadian premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town with Opera Nuova in 2015. She has also assisted for many internationally acclaimed directors at the major opera companies in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Vancouver as well for Canadian Stage/Tapestry Opera/Vancouver Opera's co-production of "The Overcoat: a Musical Tailoring". Jessica is also very active in the indie opera scene.  Championing new Canadian works and female-driven projects are at the heart of her fiercest endeavours.  She started her own company called Stu&Jess Productions. They have produced 3 productions so far in Montreal in eclectic and unique venues. She is also an executive member of the Indie Opera Toronto collective and Artistic Director of Opera 5. Most recently, she was awarded the Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Internship grant for 2018 to work with Tapestry Opera on directing, dramaturgy, and artistic direction. Coming up, she will be directing "Il Barbieri di Siviglia" with Opera 5, assisting on two projects with Tapestry Opera for Pride Toronto and the Luminato Festival, as well as assisting for Brott Opera in Hamilton.
  • Joel Ivany
    • Represents “the future of opera” in Canada. This season, he returns to Minnesota Opera to direct his new “Powerful, deeply moving” production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, which played at the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival, and also makes his Opera Columbus debut in a new co-production (Opera Columbus Against the Grain Theatre, Banff Centre) of Gluck/Berlioz’ Orphée. His career began when he became a finalist and prize winner in the 6th European Opera Directing prize for his concept presentation of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi alongside Canadian designers Camellia Koo and Jason Hand. He is currently the Artistic Director for Opera at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. He is responsible for leading an internationally respected program by programming relevant content, providing world-class training and fostering professional development. He is changing the way opera is produced and presented in Canada and beyond. He is perhaps best known as "Canadian opera's enfant not-so-terrible" through his company, Against the Grain Theatre (AtG). As its founder and artistic director, Ivany is leading the chamber opera movement by producing industry-changing productions. They have produced La bohème in a bar, Pelléas et Mélisande in an outdoor courtyard, Figaro's Wedding in an actual wedding venue, a staged/choreographed Handel's Messiah (Dora Mavor Moore winner), Britten's The Turn of the Screw in a converted attic and most recently they broke the rules by successfully mashing up Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin with Messiaen's Harawi in a Queen West art gallery. These productions caused NOW Magazine to say, "Against the Grain Theatre proves itself one of the city's most inventive young companies.” AtG has renewed opera by presenting newly translated and adapted librettos by Joel Ivany using "his characteristic bawdy wit.”
  • Larissa Koniuk
    • Soprano Larissa Koniuk ’s artistic concentration is in the collaboration of new opera works. Larissa is the co-founder and artistic director of the Bicycle Opera Project, with which she has promoted and performed over 20 new Canadian opera works. She has performed at TSO’s New Creations, RCM’s 21C Festival, Stratford Summer Music, Westben, and numerous unusual performance spaces all over Ontario. Besides Bicycle Opera, recent projects include Selfie, a new opera by Chris Thornborrow and Julie Tepperman at Tapestry Opera, the premiere of FAWN Opera’s L’homme et le ciel, a new opera by Adam Scime, Soundstreams’ production of Brian Current’s Airline Icarus, and the premiere of Dean Burry/Lorna MacDonald’s The Bells of Baddeck. Larissa was recently heard in a semi-staged version of Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Pax Christi Chorale and made her NYC debut in Sweat by Juliet Palmer and Anna Chatterton for Centre for Contemporary Opera. This summer, Larissa will produce and perform in the Canadian premiere of the same opera. A graduate of Wilfred Laurier University, Larissa holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance.
  • Robert Missen
    • Robert Missen has had a long and distinguished career in the Canadian performing arts as artists manager, agent, producer and promoter.  His artists, who represent some of Canada’s most distinguished performers, have included Maureen Forrester, Veronica Tennant, Sylvia Tyson, Stuart McLean, Jackie Richardson, Louise Pitre, Michael Burgess,  and the Elmer Iseler Singers. As a theatrical  producer he is particularly proud of the 1997 national touring presentation of Timothy Findley’s Piano Man’s Daughter, featuring Mr. Findley, Veronica Tennant, Sylvia Tyson and Joe Sealy. In addition to touring productions of Jim Betts’ Colours in the Storm and The Shooting of Dan McGrew, Greg Robic’s Clouds, and Ain’t Misbehavin’, he co-produced  the highly successful  Gravenhurst Opera House centenary production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever featuring the Follows Family in 2001. He  produced A.R Gurney’s Love Letters in Gravenhurst this past summer with Marilyn Lightstone and Cedric Smith. He is currently developing a play with music with the acclaimed Canadian theatre director Peter Hinton, which is based on the poems and letters of World War One poet Wilfred Owen. His concert tribute to the music of the great American songwriter Cole Porter, created in collaboration with musical theatre Renaissance Man David Warrack, premieres this summer at a number of Ontario festivals. In April 2016, he will be producing the first of two national tours celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Men of the Deeps, the legendary Cape Breton coal miners’ choir, with whom he has had a very congenial association for over twenty years. He is also really looking forward to working next season with Bobby Curtola, the Canadian Sixties pop/rock phenomenon.
  • Karen Olinyk
    • Mezzo-soprano, holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the University of Toronto's Opera Division.  She has also attended the prestigious Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies where she has performed the roles of Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress and Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw for the Aldeburgh Festival.  Originally from Vancouver, Karen has performed in the chorus of Vancouver Opera (The Rake’s Progress; The Merry Widow), concerts with Vancouver New Music and Music in the Morning, and as a chorus member of the Vancouver Cantata Singers.  In Toronto, Karen has performed with Opera in Concert (Sadko; Lakmé), Toronto Operetta Theatre (A Night in Venice; The Bird-Seller), Opera Anonymous (The Consul; The Rape of Lucretia) and Opera by Request (Eugene Onegin; Béatrice et Bénédict).  Karen is currently a member of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Chorus and has performed in several COC School Tours. Karen has held several administrative positions at the Canadian Opera Company including Marketing Assistant, Administrative Assistant to the Music Department, and is currently the Contracts Manager for the Music & Artistic Administration Department.  When not performing, Karen attends as many concerts and performances as possible, especially of emerging small opera companies.
  • Carla Ritchie
    • Carla is an accomplished Production and Stage Manager, Technical Director, Designer, Writer, Director, Technician and reluctant Improvisor, who has done over 100 productions in the last 15 years. She is currently the Production Manager for Tarragon Theatre and before that she was the Technical Director for Artscape, overseeing five venues, including Artscape Sandbox and Daniels Spectrum. Carla has lived and worked from across Canada, mainly in Regina, Calgary, Toronto and Manitoulin Island, and she has toured across the US and to China. The most recent show was Backbone for Red Sky at Canadian Stage. Musical Theatre and Opera has always been a great love, starting with doing Operetta in Regina during University and spending nine years taking vocal lesson form an accomplish Opera Artist, Renee Brad. Some favourite companies she has worked with include; Red Sky Performance, Debajehmujig-Storytellers, Ghost River Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Sage Theatre, One Yellow Rabbit, The Only Animal, The National Arts Centre and of course, the Tarragon.

Dance

  • Jury Chair: Pat Fraser
  • Shawn Byfield
    • Shawn Byfield As a GEMINI AWARD™ nominated performer and a sought-after dance choreographer, coach and entrepreneur, Shawn Byfield’s unique perspective is enjoyed by thousands who dance, train and mentor with him every year. Whether talking about dance classes, choreography, motivation or marketing, Shawn’s message is fun and energetic: two things that are lacking in today’s world. From Toronto Canada, Shawn Byfield is a DORA MAVOR MOORE AWARD™ winning choreographer (Canada’s version of a TONY Award™,) a GEMINI AWARD™ nominee, a two-time BLACK CANADIANS AWARD™ nominee, and a leading force in Canadian entertainment. He’s a veteran TV & film performer and actor, an internationally renowned dance instructor, and creator of Canada’s #1 dance studio for adults BYFIELD DANCE EXPERIENCE. Shawn is a certified public speaker, and a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker. Shawn is in partnership with John Maxwell, who has sold more books on leadership than anyone in history, and is ranked the #1 leadership and management authority. As the Author up upcoming book “SPEAK UP!” and a speaker with the BYFIELD BARTOLO INSTITUTE, Shawn offers actionable tips, advice, motivation and an inspiring message to new and aspiring business owners, dance instructors, entertainment professionals and our next generation of leaders and performers. Not only has he worked directly with Adam Sandler, Andrea Martin, Barry Lather and Jason Priestley, he’s coached thousands of dancers and artists nationwide. Shawn travels as a highly respected dance choreographer & instructor, entrepreneur coach and outstanding adjudicator and host for dance competitions and dance festivals. Film & TV credits include: Working The Engels, Make Your Move (with Dancing With The Stars champion Derek Hough and international recording artist BoA), Turn The Beat Around, HAIRSPRAY, Blues Brothers 2000, Taal, Bojangles, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, The Music Man, The Ladies Man, The Juno Awards, Beauty & The Beast, Slings & Arrows, Royal Canadian Air Farce, Instant Star… TV commercials for Dentyne, Best Buy, The Bay, Got Milk, Rogers Video, McDonalds, Molson Canadian, Joe Fresh. Featured in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, Now Magazine, Eye Weekly, Toronto Sun, Canadian Living Magazine, and his engaging appearances on CP24, SLICE Network, Much Music, CBC’s The National, Rogers TV, Breakfast Television and numerous radio programs left listeners and viewers delighted and entertained.
  • Annemarie Cabri
    • Annemarie Cabri trained in Ottawa and later graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School, Toronto.  After seven seasons with The Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam, Annemarie moved to Vancouver dancing as independent artist and company member with Judith Marcuse Dance.  Annemarie is mother of two, director of Cabri Creative Dance in Victoria, BC, and guest teacher/choreographer across Canada.  Annemarie’s specialty is in Brain-compatible Dance Education for all ages, abilities, and in diverse environments in the community.  The school year 2014/15 Annemarie was Head of Junior School Professional Ballet Division, School of Alberta Ballet, Calgary, and received a Canada Council Grant for Teacher training at School of Paris Opera, Paris.
  • Danielle Denichaud
    • A native to Toronto, Danielle graduated from the Professional Program of the National Ballet of Canada in 2002. There she worked with highly respected teachers: Bob McCullum, Lindsey Fischer, Veronica Tennant and Martine van Hamel. Danielle also trained and worked with the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, receiving Limon training with Donna Krasnow and performing works by such celebrated choreographers as Tedd Robinson, Darryl Tracy and Holly Small. After her studies, Danielle spent two years working with Robert Desrosiers followed by three seasons with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, giving her the opportunity to perform premier works by Aszure Barton, Rodrigo Pedeneiras and Crystal Pite. Danielle has also performed with ProArte Danza and Dreamwalkers Dance Company. In 2006, she became a member of ezdanza, a part-time contemporary company, where she works as interpretive artist and artistic assistant to choreographer and director Edgar Zendejas. In addition to her dance career, Danielle is an honour graduate from Concordia University where she completed a BA in Child Studies. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Teacher Trainer of the Aeküus Functional Movement technique. Danielle currently teaches holistic health and movement classes to youth and adults in Ontario and Quebec. She is also pursuing a Master’s in Education from Toronto’s prestigious Ontario Institute for Studies in Education where she is exploring the role of the arts in holistic health preservation and environmental stewardship.
  • Kumari Giles
    • kumari is a multi-disciplinary artist, dancer, storyteller, curator,logistics nerd, aerialist, food enthusiast and community cook. As a queer non-binary mixed maker of many things, they believe in art and movement as a tool for empowerment, transformation and healing. They are committed to nurturing overlooked brilliance, working collectively and challenging systemic power in the arts. They bring love, intention and integrity to independent and collective projects including CATALYST(2017), Sarap (2017) and their one-person play things i cannot speak(2015). They are past collective member of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company FIRE (2015), Unapologetic Burlesque
      and are currently in the QSAY collective who support acolourdeep.ca an online community for queer and trans south asians.
  • John Gzowski
    • Composer, sound designer, musician and instrument maker John Gzowski worked on over 200 theatre, dance and film productions for which he has done composition, sound design, live foley, live music and as musical director. He has played banjo for opera in Banff, studied Carnatic classical music in India and played oud and guitar in jazz and folk festivals across Canada and Europe. His theatre work has won him 6 Dora’s, from 18 nominations for companies like Stratford, Shaw Festival, Luminato, National Arts Centre, the Mirvishes, MTC, the Arts Club, Canstage, Soulpepper, Dancemakers, Red Sky, Tarragon, Factory Theatre and YPT. Gzowski has played on numerous CD’s, with recent releases with Patricia O'Callghan, Tasa, and Autorickshaw as well as a Juno nomination with Maza Meze. He has run Canada’s first microtonal group, touring Canada playing the works of Harry Partch, composed and performed with several new music groups and worked as co-artistic director of the Music Gallery.
  • Sebastian Hirtenstein
    • Originally from Aurora, Ontario, he began dancing at age of twelve by immersing himself within Toronto’s hip - hop and street dance culture. He began his professional training with the O.I.P. Dance Company, and was an original member of semi-professional street jazz company Dance Addiction before entering the esteemed School of Toronto Dance Theatre. His versatility as a performer has allowed him to work with a wide spectrum of choreographers such as Puja Amin, Michael Caldwell, Emilio Collalilo, Scott Fordham, Lenny de la Pena, Rodney Diverlus, Darryl Hoskins, Denone Isaacs, Hollywood Jade, POV Dance Project, Omar White, Irvin Washington, and at the School with Nova Bhattacharya, Marc Boivin, Susie Burpee, Peter Chin, Jennifer Dallas, Robert Desrosiers, Danny Grossman, Christopher House, Allen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté, Sharon Moore, Julia Sasso, and Darryl Tracy. He has toured within Ontario as well as Quebec and Qatar.
  • Tamar Ilana
    • Tamar Ilana grew up dancing Flamenco since the age of seven at the Esmeralda Enrique Academy of Spanish Dance. Tamar has lived, studied and performed extensively in Barcelona, Seville and Paris, and has studied with such masters as the Farruco family, Rocío Molina, Adela Campallo, José Maya, Isabel Bayón, Mercedes Ruiz, Javier LaTorre and at the Fundación Cristina Heeren. Tamar is a key member of the Toronto Flamenco community, having performed and recorded with Esmeralda Enrique, Jesse Cook, Carmen Romero, Benjamin Barrile (Dora winner for composition 2017), and many more. Tamar has been featured in flamenco festivals across the country, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, and most recently, Chicago. When not on tour with her world music ensemble Ventanas, Tamar teaches flamenco dance and singing in her hometown of Toronto.
  • Lilia Leon
    • Lilia Leon is a Mexican-Canadian performing artist with Mestizo heritage, whose artistic practice is deeply connected to her experience as a Latin American immigrant, living in Canada for over a decade.  She has collaborated with a number of Indigenous, Canadian and Latin American artists as a performer, arts educator and choreographer in both dance and theatre. As an arts educator, Lilia’s pedagogy is rooted in empowerment and social justice. She enjoys working in multi-disciplinary and community-engaged projects involving participants of a wide range of ages, cultural backgrounds and abilities. As a choreographer she is drawn to themes of identity, home and ancestry. She holds a BA Degree in Dance from York University (2004), and is a graduate of the Professional Training Program at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2007). Lilia’s artistic practice is deeply influenced by her work in community- engaged arts. She has developed a strong relationship with Jumblies Theatre, and The Community Arts Guild, participating in several projects and productions since 2011. She has taught for different theatre companies and grass- roots organizations including: ExpressARTE 2012 program for Pan-American youth and for Aluna Theatre’s Young Panamerican Vo(i)ces. She has been a core dance teacher with Kaeja d’ Dance since 2009, teaching their successful EXPRESS DANCE method to hundreds of children from JK to grade 12, as well as the Kaeja partnering technique KAEJA ELEVATIONS.
  • BaKari Lindsay
    • BaKari Ifasegun Lindsay has been perfecting his crafts for the past 30 years. He is a dancer, choreographer, singer, musician, costume designer/ maker and researcher. Trained at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre on scholarship and with various teachers from the Caribbean and the African Continent. Bakari holds a craftsman diploma in Style and Design and Masters Degree in Dance Ethnology and Bachelors in Education, from York University, Canada. In completion of his masters thesis BaKari researched and developed "A-Feeree - The Physical Language," an innovative training method for dance practitioners working in an Africanist movement aesthetic. He co-founded COBA Collective Of Black Artists in 1993, and danced for the Danny Grossman Dance Company (Canada), Jubilation Dance Co (USA), Toronto Dance Theatre (Canada), Artcho Danse Repertoire (Haiti) and several independent choreographers in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. BaKari also appeared as an original cast member of Disney's The Lion King from 2000 to 2002. BaKari was nominated for Dora Mavor Award in Best Performance in 2017. As choreographer, BaKari as created and directed works d’bi Anitiafrika notable the Dora Award winning play “Eshu Crossing.” He also created works for Les Enfants Dance Company in Trinidad and Tobago, Entre Duex in Moncton New Brunswick, The National Dance Company of Trinidad and Tobago, and various schools in the Toronto District School Board while also creating over 30 works on COBA Collective Of Black Artists where he also designed and constructed most of costumes. BaKari has served on the faculty of Ryerson University, York University, Humber College, Lester B. Pearson School for the Performing Arts, and several dance schools, and institutions and community groups. Along with his many artistic endeavors BaKari teachers full time with the Toronto District School Board and continues to research pedagogical strategies supported by African history and legacy. Bakari's artistic vision is to create a harmonious balance between artistic practice and traditional cultural values.
  • Robin McPhail-Dempsey
    • Toronto native, Robin McPhail-Dempsey holds a BFA in Dance from York University and is a graduate of The CREATE Institute (Centre For Expressive Arts Therapy Education). With a performance career of over 30 years, and as a former dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre, Robin has had the opportunity to work and collaborate with many exceptional artists. Combining her passions and skills in both dance and the expressive arts, Robin has facilitated arts/movement based programs for a diverse range of groups and organizations throughout the GTA, most notably, Dancing with Parkinson’s since 2012.
  • John Newton
    • John Newton has been a recipient of Dance Ontario's Community Service Award, along with numerous other recognitions of his volunteering for Dance in Toronto. His first exposure to Dance was in the early-1980s, attending various types of Hip-hop Dance battles.  Since 1991, beginning with Youth Dance Competitions, he has been a consummate attendee at Dance performances, heavily focusing on a diverse range of performance styles and presentations, from Folk dance to Burlesque. John, as well, co-ran the Sunday Contact Improv Jam for more than a decade.He was administrator and primary contributor to a email listserv sharing information about Dance within Toronto for approximately 10 years; John then aligned his passion with serving the community as the content creator and moderator of the "Toronto Dance Events" Facebook Group, and now moderates the "Toronto Dance Shows" Facebook Group. Noted for his work, John Newton has been recognized by Toronto Fringe Festival, Series 8:08, DUO, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and others.
  • Carmen Romero
    • Carmen Romero is a recipient of the prestigious Chalmers Award and the K.M Hunter Emerging Artists Award and she continues to forge new paths in her career. Her previous work, CARMEN COMPLEX, was a seamless hybrid of different dance and music genres, used as character portrayals. Collaborations with Ryan Boorne, principle dancer of the Canada National Ballet, Argentine Tango and Malambo master Rubem Bustamante and Spain’s acclaimed flamenco dancer Domingo Ortega demonstrated that, according to dance critic Paula Citron,  “in the final analysis, Romero showed that she could create a full-length, themed flamenco story that could also be a compelling showcase for her dancers.”   At present, Carmen Romero is in the R&D phase of a new work and has recently received project funding from the Canada Council and the Toronto Arts Council. As artistic director of Compania Carmen Romero and The School of Flamenco Dance Arts in Toronto, Carmen Romero has created a foundation of teaching the art of flamenco as a language of expression as opposed to sequential movement.  The content of the professional company’s work is always in search for a means of communication and being relational with each other on stage and to the audience.

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
  • 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.
  • Chris Reynolds
    • Chris Reynolds is the lead Producer of the SummerWorks Exchange: an industry platform bringing together local, national and international artists, producers and presenters during the SummerWorks Performance Festival, a curated festival recognized nationally and internationally as a launching pad for new and experimental work. Taking place over 10 days every August in Toronto, SummerWorks is interested in continuously re-imagining and innovating the possibilities for performance- how it is created, presented and experienced. Chris also works in a market development role with other arts organizations including Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre which, about to celebrate its 40th anniversary, is the world’s longest-running and largest queer theatre. He possesses a unique range of professional experiences including: curating and presenting large scale international performing arts projects in Toronto, commissioning and supporting the creation of new work by local artists, market development projects to introduce national and international presenters to local artists, and brokering deals and producing tours in Canada and several countries around the world. Chris was Senior Artistic Associate in the Performing Arts department at Harbourfront Centre from 2009-17. He was a core member of the programming team for World Stage, Toronto’s annual festival of boundary-pushing contemporary performance projects from across Canada and around the world. He has traveled scouting work or as an invited delegate to festivals and showcases in Montreal, Vancouver, New York City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Brighton, Helsinki, Dusseldorf, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Tokyo. He was a member of the Programming Advisory Committee for the 2014 Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, curated by festival director Laura Nanni, as well as a youth mentor for the 2015 Paprika Festival. In August 2015 he led a workshop on touring for the SummerWorks Leadership Intensive Program.
  • Jessica Whitford
    • Jessica Whitford is an independent arts producer and dancer, having worked in both Toronto and London, UK. Working with dance, music and theatre on home and touring productions, Jessica’s clients have included Peter Chin, Sasha Ivanochko, Public Recordings, Dusk Dances, and Gandini Juggling, among others. Her passion for live events has led her to also work in the community with An Honest Farewell (2017), Pan Am/ParaPan Am Games (2015), Hot Docs Film Festival and Toronto’s summer theatre festivals. Trained in classical and contemporary dance, Jessica now dedicates herself to the world of flamenco. Jessica has trained in Spain, UK and Canada with foremost artists such as Nuria Garcia, Javier LaTorre, Ana Morales and Olga Pericet. Interested in the creative potential of combining contemporary expression with the traditional form of flamenco, Jessica has pursued recent training intensives with Peggy Baker and Katherine Duncanson (2015) and Juan Carlos Lérida (2016). Jessica holds an MBA in Arts & Media Administration from York University and a B.A. in Dance from the University of Calgary.
  • 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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