IBPOC Grad Fair 2021: Artist Participants

Artist participants

Panel chair: Tanisha Taitt

Tanisha Taitt is a director/actor/playwright, singer-songwriter, teacher, and accidental essayist who has worked with companies including YPT, Musical Stage, Obsidian, Buddies In Bad Times, Nightwood, National Arts Centre, Soulpepper, and The Theatre Centre. She is Artistic Mentor of the 2018 Paprika Festival Creators Unit, a Drama Mentor with the Toronto District School Board, and an Anti-Oppression & Conflict Transformation educator with Children’s Peace Theatre. An anti-VAW activist since 2006, Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice. She teaches 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study at George Brown Theatre School.

Panelists: Miriam Fernandes, Jeff Ho, Luke Reece and Quelemia Sparrow

Miriam Fernandes is the Co-Artistic Director of Toronto-based company, Why Not Theatre and has worked as an actor, director, and theatre-maker around the world. She trained with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, and is a graduate of Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Directing and creation credits include Nesen, (MiniMidiMaxi Festival, Norway), and The First Time I Saw the Sea (YVA Company, Norway).  She is currently is co-writing/adapting for the stage the ancient epic, Mahabharata (Why Not Theatre/Shaw Festival), is developing a Deaf/hearing production of Lady Macbeth (in partnership with 1S1 Collective), and is co-writing and performing in What You Won’t Do for Love with Drs. David Suzuki and Tara Cullis. Miriam is the recipient of the JBC Watkins Award and was nominated for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize.  

Jeff Ho is a Toronto-based theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. Acting credits: Orestes (Tarragon Theatre), trace (Remount – NAC/Factory Theatre), Ophelia in Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre, national tour: Canadian Stage, PuSh Festival, and National Arts Centre), Hana’s Suitcase (Young People’s Theatre, tour: Toronto, Montreal and Seattle), Unknown Soldier (lemonTree creations/Architect Theatre), Murderers Confess at Christmastime (Outside the March), Kim’s Convenience (CBC), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), and Orphan Black (BBC America).
As a playwright, his works include the critically acclaimed Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land), produced by Saga Collectif; Antigone: 方, produced by Young People’s Theatre; and trace, produced by Factory Theatre, b current, and the National Arts Centre. His work has been developed with the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, Human Cargo, Factory Theatre, Cahoots, the Banff Playwrights Lab, Nightswimming Theatre, and he is the current OAC Playwright in Residence at the Tarragon Theatre. His plays are published by Playwrights Canada Press.
Jeff is the Company Dramaturg with Outside The March. Jeff is grateful to have been honoured with a Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best New Canadian Play (Iphigenia); the Jon Kaplan Legacy Fund Award for a Young Canadian Playwright; the Bulmash Siegel Playwriting Award (Tarragon Theatre); nominated for four Dora Awards, and a Harold Award (House of Nadia Ross). He is a graduate of the National Theatre School.

In a failed attempt to escape Presto Luke Recce left his hometown of Mississauga under the guise of becoming a Toronto-based artist. He strives to share authentic and engaging stories with audiences through his work as an award-winning producer, playwright, poet and educator. Luke is the Associate Artistic Director at Soulpepper Theatre, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres as chair of the Labour Relations portfolio. Through Luke’s work as an artistic leader within the national arts community, he advocates for engaging and nuanced storytelling that challenges Canadian audiences. He is one of Toronto’s most decorated slam poets, and has represented the country internationally. In 2020 Luke was featured performing for former Toronto Raptor and NBA Champion Serge Ibaka on his Instagram Talent Show. Luke has recently been named to York University’s inaugural Top 30 Changemakers Under 30 list.

Quelemia Sparrow

Quelemia Sparrow is a First Nations actor and writer from the Musqueam nation. She is the playwright and performer of Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey, which played at the Cultch in Vancouver in early 2020. Select acting credits: Our Town (Osimous Theatre), The Edward Curtis Project (GCTC/NAC), The Penelopiad (Arts Club Theatre), Where the Blood Mixes (Playhouse/WCT) and The Fall (Electric Company). Writing credits: Ashes on the Water (Neworld Theatre/Raven Spirit Dance). Short screenplays: Love, The Girl in the Green Beret and Mosquitoes, for which she won an award for her unique voice. Various Film and T.V: Fringe, Blackstone, Cable Beach, The Letter, Da Vinci’s City Hall, V, Unnatural and Accidental, and Da Vinci’s Inquest which she won a Leo Award for Best Female Guest Appearance. Quelemia is a graduate of Studio 58.  

Breakout Rooms

Acting: Ghazal Azarbad and Akosua Amo-Adem

Ghazal Azarbad is an actor, creator, and story-teller born in Mashhad, Iran and raised in Vancouver, BC. Selected stage credits include The Seagull, Wedding at Aulis, La Bête, Innocence Lost (Soulpepper); Shakespeare in Love, Taming of the Shrew (Bard on the Beach); It’s a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Arts Club); and Entrances and Exits: An Improvised Farce (Howland Company/Bad Dog Comedy). Digital theatre credits include: Unexpected (Arts Club), Divine Darkness (Bard on the Beach), The Seagull (Soulpepper). Writing credits include: Dear Konstantin (Spotify/Apple Podcasts), REAL (Babelle Theatre), and Divine Darkness (Bard on the Beach). TV credits include: Charmed (CW), Kim’s Convenience (CBC), and WatchTV with Kelly&Kelly (CBC Gem). She is a graduate of the UBC BFA and the Soulpepper Academy; a Jessie Award nominee; and the recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award.

Akosua Amo-Adem is an actor, writer, and director based in Toronto. Throughout her career Akosua has appeared in a variety of productions around the city. Her selected credits include Obsidian Theatre’s School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play (Head Mistress Francis), Venus’ Daughters (Venus/Sarah); Soulpepper Theatre’s A Streetcar Named Desire (Eunice), For Colored Girls…(Lady in Green), Father Comes Home From The Wars…(Leader/Runaway), The Crucible (Tituba);  Canadian Stage’s Tartuffe (Dorine) and Theatre Passe Muraille’s The Middle Place (as Kaaliha/Dee). She was the director of “Every Minute of Every Day” (a radio drama for Factory Theatre) and has appeared on the cover of NOW Magazine. Akosua is a published author with an article called “See Me” in Intermission online magazine and she is currently developing her first full length play! Her on screen credits include appearances on Odd Squad, Bitten, Frankie Drake Mysteries, 21 Black Futures, and American Gods. You can  also see her as a series regular on the TV show Kim’s Convenience via CBC gem and Netflix!

Directing: Nina Lee Aquino

With a string of firsts in Asian Canadian theatre, Nina Lee Aquino was the founding Artistic Director of fu-GEN Asian Canadian theatre company, organized the first Asian Canadian theatre conference, edited the first (2-volume) Asian Canadian play anthology, and co-edited the first (award-winning) book on Asian Canadian theatre. She became Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre, currently holds the same position at Factory Theatre, and is President of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. She has directed world premieres and revivals at theatres across the country and has won the Ken McDougall Award, the John Hirsch Prize, the 2018/19 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards for Best Director, and three Dora Awards for Outstanding Direction. Nina has also been awarded the Filipino of Distinction Award in Theatrical Arts and Entertainment and is an honorary member of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. Nina co-wrote Miss Orient(ed) and her monologues have been published in Beyond the Pale (edited by Yvette Nolan) and She Speaks (edited by Judith Thompson). Nina has lectured, taught and directed innovative projects at educational institutions such as Humber College, University of Guelph, University of Toronto Mississauga/Sheridan, Ryerson University, York University, and the National Theatre School. She was recently appointed Adjunct Professor at York University’s Department of Theatre. Her leadership has extended into mentoring theatre students and emerging artists, and was the 2019 winner of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Margo Bindhart and Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award.

Stafford Arima is the Artistic Director at Theatre Calgary. Born and raised in Toronto, Arima thrived in the New York theatre scene for over 20 years. In 2015, he became the first Asian Canadian to direct a musical on Broadway when Allegiance opened at the Longacre Theatre, starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. Arima was also nominated for a 2004 Olivier Award for his direction of the West End premiere of the musical, Ragtime. Additional directing credits include productions of Altar Boyz (Off-Broadway) Carrie (MCC Theater, Off-Broadway), Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris (Stratford Festival),The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Roundabout Theatre Company), The Secret Garden – In Concert (Lincoln Center), Abyssinia (Goodspeed Musicals), A Tribute to Sondheim (Boston Pops), Poster Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Mary and Max – A New Musical, The Secret Garden, A Christmas Carol (2019), and Billy Elliot (Theatre Calgary). Arima has shepherded new musical development at the Toronto Fringe Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, New York Stage and Film, and the SPF Festival. He is a graduate of York University, where he was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Creative Work. He also serves as Artistic Advisor for Broadway Dreams, and is an Adjunct Professor at UC Davis. staffordarima.com

Arthi Chandra is a Vancouver based director, writer, and performer. Her practice is rooted in text-based devising new works and adaptations of contemporary and classical plays. Her work examines ways in which identities of race, gender, class, and queerness intersect with one another, and how people and ideas are shaped by systems and institutions. Recent works include an adaptation of King Lear, told through the lens of the three sisters, and Passenger Seat, a collection of written songs and monologues centering on queerness and being seventeen. Arthi is the current Artistic Producing Intern at Theatre Replacement, and is working on a new commissioned play with Bard on the Beach. She has performed in Vancouver and New York, and is a graduate of the theatre performance stream from Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. 

Producing: Owais Lightwala and Matthew MacKenzie

Owais Lightwala is an arts leader and creative producer. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Performance, Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University, where his teaching and research focuses on creative producing and arts management. Prior to that, he spent eight years as the Managing Director for Why Not Theatre, where he produced sold-out runs of award-winning new works, national and international tours, presentations from around the world, and co-helmed the creation of innovative new producing models like RISER. He advises many arts organizations (including theatre and dance companies, music presenters, film festivals and more) as a strategic consultant, particularly on finding better ways of doing things, changing who’s on stage and in the audience, and anything to do with numbers.  He is currently on the boards of TO Live, AMY Project, and Art Ignite. Along with his work in the arts, he is a prolific web and graphic designer. A lifelong learner, he was selected for the Impact Program for Arts Leaders (Stanford Graduate School of Business), has completed the CORe program (Harvard Business School), was a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow (CivicAction), a fellow in the 2018 Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council/Banff Centre), is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program, and currently pursuing his MBA at Ryerson University.

Matthew MacKenzie (Métis) was raised in Edmonton, Alberta and is a graduate of the Playwriting Program at the National Theatre School of Canada (2009) where he was the winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s award for excellence and community involvement. He is artistic director of Punctuate! Theatre in Edmonton and the Baillie Artistic Fellow at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto. His plays include Bears (winner of the Carol Bolt Award, Dora Award for Outstanding New Play, and Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best New Canadian Play, all in 2018), The Particulars, and The First Métis Man of Odessa. He is involved in a number of mentorship and teaching projects with emerging Indigenous theatre artists, and taught Indigenous Theatre at Brock University in the 2020-21 academic year.  

Education: Lisa Karen Cox and Jamie Robinson

A graduate of Concordia University’s Interdisciplinary Studies program, Lisa Karen Cox relishes work that combines music, movement and heightened language. Often playing men and other mythical creatures, theatre performance credits include: Flo in Now You See Her (Quote/Unquote Collective/Why Not Theatre/Nightwood); The Penelopiad (Royal Shakespeare Co/NAC); Friar Laurence in Romeo & (her) Juliet and Manfred Karge’s Man to Man (Headstrong Collective); Horatio in Hamlet (Beyond the Cubical Productions); Brutus in Julius Caesar (Spur-of-the-Moment Shakespeare), Katherine in Das Ding (CanadianStage/Theatre SMASH), and two seasons at the Stratford Festival of Canada. Lisa was also the choreographer for Nightwood Theatre’s Bear with Me and Comedy of Errors, the Assistant Director for We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia…(Theatre Centre), and Salt-Water Moon (Factory Theatre), and the associate director for Why Not Theatre’s Like Mother, Like Daughter.
A deep believer in the power of the future, Lisa works extensively with students and educators, with emerging playwrights and artists through classes, dramaturgy, playwriting units and festivals.
Lisa is also on the Teacher Advisory for the Canadian Opera Company, a Board member for Theatre Direct and an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University. As a director, she is also one of the 63 Black creatives included in Obsidian Theatre’s 21 Black Futures. http://21blackfutures.com/

Jamie Robinson is an assistant professor of Acting and Directing in the York University Theatre Department. He has been a Toronto-based professional artist since 1997 as an actor, director, producer, teacher and writer. Recent director credits include: Spanish Golden Age Period Study (George Brown Theatre), Copy That (Tarragon Theatre), Scotian Journey (Black Theatre Workshop), 365 Days/365 Plays (U of T Mississauga), She Stoops to Conquer and Romeo & Juliet (Guild Festival Theatre, also as Artistic Director), and was Obsidian Theatre’s coordinator for their mentor/apprentice program. Select Theatre acting credits include: Four seasons with the Stratford Festival of Canada; Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure (Canadian Stage in High Park); Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre. Dora Award Winner, Outstanding Performance); Gas Girls (New Harlem Productions. Dora Award Nomination); title role in Richard III (Metachroma Theatre. META Award nomination); Comedy of Errors (Western Canada Theatre/Theatre Aquarius); Cake and The Rochdale Project (Theatre Passe Muraille); Medea (Mirvish/MTC); Escape From Happiness (Factory Theatre). Film/TV acting credits include: Hudson & Rex (Rogers), Private Eyes (Global), In Contempt (BET), Falling Water (Universal), Conviction (ABC), The Expanse (SyFy), Saving Hope (CTV), Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury), The Rick Mercer Report (CBC), Celeste in the City (ABC), and a recurring role in Condor (AT&T). Additionally, Jamie has taught acting for U of T Mississauga, George Brown College and The Armstrong Acting Studio. jamierobinson.ca

Playwriting: Marilo Nuñez and Tetsuro Shigematsu

Marilo Nuñez is a Chilean Canadian playwright, director, actor and academic. She was the 2018 recipient of the Hamilton Arts Awards for Established Theatre Artist and was recently nominated for the Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize.  She is the recipient of the prestigious Graduate Fellowship for Academic Distinction and the Susan Crocker and John Hunkin Scholarship in the Fine Arts among countless other grants and scholarships. She is the 2021-22 Playwright in Residence at Aluna Theatre (Toronto) and was a member of Natural Resources, Factory Theatre’s playwright’s unit for established writers in 2019. She was Playwright-in-Residence at Aluna Theatre in 2016 and was McMaster University’s first Playwright-in-Residence in 2018. She is the only Canadian workshop facilitator using the Fornes Method to teach playwriting at theatres and universities across the country. She was founding Artistic Director of Alameda Theatre Company, a company dedicated to developing the new work of Latinx Canadian playwrights. She is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School’s Acting Program, has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and is currently obtaining her Ph D. in Theatre & Performance Studies at York University. Her play El Retorno/I Return has been turned into a podcast for Radio Aluna Theatre which will be released in May 2021.



A former writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Tetsuro Shigematsu became the first person-of-colour to host a daily national radio program in Canada, when he became host of The Roundup on CBC Radio, where he voiced nearly a thousand hours of network programming, as well as writing, producing and voicing over 50 pieces of radio drama.
Dubbed “the voice of our Azn generation” by Ricepaper magazine, Tetsuro’s theatrical solo-work Empire of the Son was named the best show of 2015 by the Vancouver Sun, and has been touring continuously throughout Canada, and beyond. It has played in 18 cities to over 20,000 people, and was described by theatre critic Colin Thomas as, “one of the best shows ever to come out of Vancouver. Ever.”
His other solo-work, 1 Hour Photo garnered five Jessie nominations, winning for Significant Artistic Achievement, and was named as a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Drama, and is currently touring virtually. Vancouver’s Georgia Straight declared him to be, “one of the city’s best artists.” Follow him at shiggy.com

Dramaturgy/criticism: Jordan Laffrenier and Shaista Latif

Jordan Laffrenier is a theatre director, producer and dramaturg based in Toronto. He has held musical theatre development roles in New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto, including Amélie on Broadway, Paradise Square/ Hard Times (Berkeley Repertory Theatre California), Sousatska (Tiberius Entertainment). Currently, he works as the Co-Program Coordinator for Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre Program, The Associate Artistic Director at PrimeMover, as dramaturg for Cahoots, and as a Metcalf Intern Artistic Director at The Musical Stage Company (paused). He is the founding Artistic Director of Then They Fight Theatre, a dramaturgically based theatre company dedicated to developing new work by artists from the initial spark of an idea into a fully realized production. Through Then They Fight, Jordan has produced work that has continued its development with Cahoots, Factory and Soulpepper. He is an advocate of theatre that supports the community on and off stage and has partnered theatre productions directly with local charities such as The Mental Health Coalition in Hamilton. As an educator, he teaches a unique drama program he developed with Vibe Arts that he based on his previous work teaching musical theatre at Innovative Arts.

Shaista Latif is a Queer Afghan multidisciplinary artist and facilitator. Her works and collaborations have been presented by Koffler Centre of the Arts, Ontario Scene Festival, SummerWorks, Why Not Theatre, Blackwood Gallery, Mercer Union Gallery, the AGO, Halifax Queer Acts Festival, Cahoots Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Undercurrents Festival and Ontario Presents for the tour of her work The Archivist. She is a published playwright (Playwrights Canada Press) and voiced the character Soraya in the Oscar-nominated film The Breadwinner. She is a 2016 Siminovitch Protégée. Latif has an upcoming exhibit at the Art Gallery of Guelph (September 2021-December) for her work How I Learned to Serve Tea. You can follow her works and writings on Instagram @shaistalatifmakes

Production/design: Jeff Chief, Kat Chin and Erin Macklem

Jeff Chief is a Cree costume designer from Onion Lake First Nation on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan. He currently lives in Saskatoon. Jeff began his career in fashion design before starting to work in theatre wardrobe. He has been a costume stitcher and cutter for theatres across Canada, including The Stratford Festival, The Banff Centre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Citadel Theatre, and the National Arts Centre. Here in Saskatchewan, he has worked at Persephone Theatre, Globe Theatre, Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre (GTNT), La Troupe du Jour, and Dancing Sky Theatre. While working in costume construction, Jeff began designing costumes in Saskatoon for GTNT and has continued to work in indigenous, and non-indigenous, costume design across the country. His costume design credits include Being Here: The Refugee Project (Belfry Theatre); Leave it to Weavers (Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre); Life After Hockey (La Troupe du Jour); Ahtoyakwin 4 (The Crossing Theatre); Ministry of Grace (Belfry Theatre); Kronborg: The Hamlet Rock Musical (Confederation Centre of the Arts); Honour Beat (Theatre Calgary); Hedda Noir (Theatre NorthWest); Le Wild West Show de Gabriel Dumont (National Arts Centre); Ipperwash (Blyth Festival); In Care (GTNT); Popcorn Elder (GTNT/Dancing Sky Theatre); Dreary and Izzy (Theatre NorthWest); Othello (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan); Where the Blood Mixes (Western Canada Theatre); Migration (Red Sky/Black Grace); A Man A Fish, God of Carnage, The Berlin Blues (Persephone Theatre).


Kat Chin is a Chinese-Jamaican Equity Stage Manager based in Toronto, Canada, and a 2003 graduate of the Ryerson Theatre School.
Credits include: 21 Black Futures (Obsidian Theatre/CBC Arts) August: Osage County, Bed and Breakfast, Cowboy Versus Samurai, & 11 other productions (Soulpepper); The Snow Queen (CCOC); Grease (Irregular Ent.); acquiesce (Factory/fu-GEN); Something Rich & Strange, Don Giovanni, Idomeneo, & 10 other productions (Opera Atelier); acha bacha, CRASH (TPM).
Career highlights include: stage managing Kim’s Convenience from its humble beginnings at the Toronto Fringe Festival, across Canada on its National Tour, to off-Broadway at the Signature Theater, NYC; ASMing at the Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles Spectacles in Versailles, France. She has also worked at the Stratford Festival, the National Ballet of Canada, and TIFF (for 15 years).
Kat has taught at Ryerson University and at the S.M.Arts Conference. She has been a member of the CAEA Stage Management Committee since 2013, and is a member of the US Stage Managers Association International Cohort.


Erin Macklem is a playwright, costume designer and beader of Métis (Laderoute and St Arnault families, St Norbert settlement), Irish and French ancestry. She is grateful to live, work, and raise her daughter on Lkwungen territory, traditional lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. Working in professional theatre for over 25 years, she was the Artistic Associate & Outreach Coordinator for the Belfry Theatre (Victoria BC) for 12 years before becoming a Program Officer at the BC Arts Council in 2018.  Erin’s costume designs have been seen in Victoria for the Belfry Theatre, Pacific Opera Victoria, Kaleidoscope Theatre, and Suddenly Dance Theatre. Her costumes have toured Canada with Theatre SKAM, Story Theatre Co. and The Other Guys Theatre. Elsewhere her designs have been seen in Vancouver (Arts Club Theatre), Winnipeg (Prairie Theatre exchange), Armstrong (Caravan Farm Theatre), Kelowna (Viva Musica) and New York (Dual Minds). She was part of the design team representing Canada in the international competition of scenography – The Prague Quadrennial 2015.

PR/publicity: Aidan Morishita-Miki and Tarndeep Pannu

Aidan Morishita-Miki is a stage manager and arts administrator interested in community engagement through the arts. Previous work as stage manager includes: All for One for All (xLq), Access Me (Boys in Chairs Collective), Specimen (Specimen Collective), Drift Seeds (RedDress Productions), The Tale of a Town (FIXT POINT), To Live in the Age of Melting (Outspoke Productions), SISI (Ars Mechanica/HATCH), and MacArthur Park Suite: a Disco Ballet (colored lights / Summerworks). Aidan completed a Masters of Education in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE – U of T. Recently he worked as a managing producer for FIXT POINT Arts and Media, coordinating various aspects of the company’s The Tale of a Town project. He is currently the manager of communications and outreach for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.  

Tarndeep Pannu – I have always known three things about myself; I strive to deeply connect with people, I bring creativity to everything I do, and I am passionate about storytelling. My fascination with social engagement and entertainment led me to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts and a Minor in Political Science at Brock University. I was heavily involved in my program through my roles as Student Representative for the Dramatic Arts Department, collaborator and performer in We Who Know Nothing About Hiawatha Are Proud to Present H…, and Assistant Director for Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. After graduating from university, I was looking to combine my love for theatre into a career with a big social impact, creativity, and leadership. This pursuit led to Humber College, Canada’s leading training program for public relations and marketing professionals. The Public Relations program at Humber College allowed me to pivot my creative and transferable skills with a focus on strategic communications and digital marketing. I was able to apply these skills through my internship at NKPR, leading to secured coverage in Seventeen magazine, The Zoe Report, Dwell, and Holr Magazine. I held an internship with NATIONAL Public Relations where I was a part of the team spearheading the Pfizer vaccine campaign; and currently am the Marketing Assistant and Project Manager at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

How to handle the first year out of theatre school: Davinder Mahli and Sanskruti Marathe

Davinder Malhi is an actor, playwright, director, and a recent graduate from York University’s acting conservatory. His art explores the meeting place between realism and surrealism, with a special focus on bringing Queer bodies into that space. He hopes to use his process to foster communities that work towards a Brown Queer future. Davinder was a member of Shakespeare in the Ruff’s Young Ruffians Apprenticeship Program, Shadowland Theatre’s Summer Internship program, and Theatre Ontario’s Youth Advisory Committee. Some credits include Concord Floral (Canadian Stage), Elizabeth Rex (York University), and he is currently directing Just Pervs at the Toronto Fringe as well as developing a South Asian Emerging Playwrights Unit for the summer of 2021. 

Sanskruti Marathe is a Indo-Canadian multidisciplinary artist. She is a recent graduate from York’s Acting conservatory and has been training in Indian classical dance for 15 years. Some of her recent works include Jill (Just Pervs), Matt (Elizabeth Rex) and currently she is co-writing a Southasian family drama titled choti choti batein (Little little things). She has also worked as an educator for young people in several high schools and arts camps. Sanskruti’s work focuses on joining the dots between her ancestral artistic wisdom and connecting it to the eurocentric theatre training to develop holistic theatre that actively invites the BIPOC community into theatre spaces. 

Creating/producing/activism: Jivesh Parasaram and Syrus Marcus Ware

Jivesh Parasaram

Jivesh Parasaram is an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist and facilitator of Indo-Caribbean descent. His work has toured nationally and internationally. Jiv is the founding Artistic Producer of Pandemic Theatre, and became the Artistic Director of Rumble Theatre following three years as the Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille. He was a member of the Cultural Leader Lab with the Banff Centre and Toronto Arts Council. His public service work has included collaborations with the Ad Hoc Assembly, The Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and as an advisor to the National Arts Centre. His current cultural practice centres decolonization through aesthetics.

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Canadian artist, activist and scholar. He lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is currently an CLA Assistant Professor in the School of the Arts at McMaster University. He has worked since 2014 as faculty and as a designer for The Banff Centre. Ware is the inaugural artist-in-residence for Daniels Spectrum, a cultural centre in Toronto, and a founding member of Black Lives Matter Toronto. For 13 years, he was the coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s youth program. During that time Ware oversaw the creation of the Free After Three program and the expansion of the youth program into a multi pronged offering.
He has published four books and in 2020 co-edited (with Rodney Diverlus and Sandy Hudson) Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada, a collection of reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada

Event host: Malina Patel

Sometimes: Director, Stage Manager, Producer, Workshop Leader, Creator, Performer
All of the time: Theatre Educator and Advocate
Malina Patel completed a BFA in Acting at the University of Windsor, and a BEd from OISE – University of Toronto, before becoming a stage manager for Soulpepper Theatre Company, Canadian Stage, Mirvish Productions and many other companies across Canada. But this was all many moons ago… Over the last twelve years, Malina has lived and worked in India, Ukraine, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan as a teacher of Drama and Theatre. During this time she has participated in learning world theatre traditions and has become an artist and board member for the International Theatre Schools Association. Recently, Malina was the Production Coordinator for 21 Black Futures (Obsidian Theatre/CBC Arts), and is the Assistant Stage Manager for TOKA (lemonTree/Theatre Passe Muraille). Other ongoing projects include outreach work with BIPOC Canadian theatre students (Seeding the Future/CBC Arts), developing and delivering theatre workshops (ISTA), and hosting fundraising events on Zoom (Grandmothers Partnering with Africa / Stephen Lewis Foundation).