Cole Alvis (she/her) is a 2 Spirit Michif (Métis) artist based in Tkarón:to with Chippewa, Irish & English ancestors from Turtle Mountain. She is one of the leaders of lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, and AdHoc Assembly, and is on the board of the Dancers Of Damelahamid. Recently, Cole performed in Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company & National Arts Centre) and directed the Dora-nominated bug by Yolanda Bonnell (manidoons collective & Luminato), Lilies by Michel Marc Bouchard (lemonTree creations, Why Not Theatre & Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) and, alongside fellow Dora-nominated Michael Greyeyes, co-directed an Indigenous opera double bill called Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit (Signal Theatre, National Sami Theatre Beaivváš & Soundstreams). This spring, alongside Samantha Brown, Cole co-directed White Girls In Moccasins by Yolanda Bonnell coproduced by manidoons collective and Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
Keith Barker is a Métis artist from Northwestern Ontario, the former artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts, and the incoming director of new play development at the Stratford Festival. He is a graduate of the George Brown Theatre School and worked as a Theatre Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts. He is a recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, a SAT Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and a Yukon Arts Audience Award for Best Art for Social Change. His play This is How We Got Here was a 2018 Finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Drama. Keith is the Co-General Manager of his Arts League Hockey team, The Friendly Giants, and is a below average player.
Audrey Dwyer is a multi-disciplinary artist with over twenty years of experience working as an Actor, Director, Playwright, Teacher, Artistic Director, Facilitator and Mentor.
As an actor, her theatre work includes Tarragon Theatre’s Theory, Young People’s Theatre’s One Thing Leads to Another (Dora Awards – Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Ensemble), The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Mirvish Productions’ Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Royal MTC’s Good People and The Crucible, thirsty at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Mirvish/Studio 180’s Clybourne Park and The Overwhelming, Canadian Stage’s Dream in High Park – The Tempest, Obsidian Theatre’s Black Medea, Mirvish/Royal MTC’s Medea, and Young People’s Theatre’s Blue Planet. She was also a member of The Second City Touring Company.
She wrote and directed Calpurnia, which was produced by Nightwood Theatre and Sulong Theatre in 2018. She was invited to the NAC’s Investor Series, where she workshopped and updated her script. In 2022, the updated version was produced by the Royal MTC, the NAC and Black Theatre Workshop. Audrey wrote The D Cut, a six- episode series produced by Shaftesbury Films. The multiple award-winning series is now on Crave (Canada) and Shaftesbury’s KindaTV Youtube channel. She is one of the winners of the CBC Creative Relief Fund to create a television pilot called The Gordons. She wrote the musical Come Home – The Legend of Daddy Hall for the Tarragon, which was produced in their 2021 Acoustic Season. She wrote her first libretto called Backstage at Carnegie Hall which will be produced by Bradyworks (Montreal) in 2022. She wrote a radio play called The Ringtone for Imago Theatre. She has been commissioned by Nightswimming Theatre to write The Generations, an epic five-hour drama about the legacy of a Black family over many thousands of years.
Audrey has been working in New Play Development for over fifteen years. She has done dramaturgy with Obsidian Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Factory Theatre, Young People’s Theatre and has also worked with The Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
In 2008, she was the Associate Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre. In 2015, she won the Cayle Chernin Award for Theatre. From 2016 – 2017, she was the Artistic Director of Cow Over Moon Children’s Theatre. She was the Urjo Kareda Artist in Residence at Tarragon Theatre (2018/19) and was also the Assistant Artistic Director during that time period. She is an Artistic Associate at the National Theatre School of Canada. She is the Associate Artistic Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Audrey graduated from The National Theatre School of Canada in 2001.
Santiago Guzmán (he/him/they) is a writer, performer, director and dramaturge originally from Metepec, Mexico, now based in St. John’s, NL. He is the Artistic Director of TODOS Productions, the Artistic Associate for Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre and General Manager for Neighbourhood Dance Works in St. John’s, NL.
Santiago’s work aims to put local, under-represented narratives and characters on the frontlines, whilst inviting audiences to appreciate the vibrancy of Atlantic Canada from a diverse perspective.
He is a member of Playwrights Canada Press’s inaugural editorial committee.
Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho) is a 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), Box 4901 (Buddies in Bad Times), camera obscura (hungry ghosts) (the frank theatre/QAF – Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Production – Small Theatre), trace (Factory Theatre/b current), 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) (Theatre Passe Muraille/Saga Collectif/Architect Theatre co-pro), Antigone: 方 (Young People’s Theatre), and trace (Factory Theatre/National Arts Centre/b current). 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. 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.
Damon Bradley Jang (He/Him/His) is a multifaceted performing arts practitioner and creator. A graduate of Capilano University’s Music Theatre program and Innagural Bachelors of Performing Arts program (and a very brief time at Studio 58) , he finds himself in many different areas of film, tv and theatre in both off and onstage and screen capacities. This year he is a member of the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory as it’s 1st bipoc male directing candidate and will make his debut assistant directing and assistant to the choreographer in All’s Well That Ends Well. Back in Vancouver he is Co-artistic/marketing director of Fabulist Theatre, and there has helmed Once on This Island (Director and associate choreographer (winner of 3 Broadway World Vancouver Awards including Best Direction), Dracula, Songs for a New World (co-director/choreographer).
Other recent directing credits include: Ripe (UBC Players Club); Everybody Loves Dick (OR Festival); Quantum Entanglement (BurlOak New Stages Festival); Cinderella: Broadway Edition, Oliver! (Byrne Creek Theatre) and as an associate director/choreographer: The Christmas Musical (Surrey Holiday Lights); Into the Woods (North Shore Light Opera). As an assistant director: Beneath Springhill (Arts Club); Spinning You Home (Spinners Collective). As a Choreographer: Little Shop of Horrors (Vagabond Players); As You Like It (Bard in the Valley). Select performance credits include West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain (Theatre Under The Stars); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Gateway Theatre); Flower Drum Song (Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Trojan Women (CapU); Love! Valour! Compassion! (Ghostlight); The Threepenny Opera (Theatre In the Raw).
Damon has been involved with the BC Thespian Organization since its beginning and is excited to contribute on this national scale. Damon is also a professional theatre marketer, performing arts educator, administrator, professional set decorator and very proud father of a 4 year old cat. UPCOMING: Assistant directing/ assisting choreographing The Sound Of Music (Drayton Entertainment). @DamonBJang @Fabulisttheatre www.fabulisttheatre.ca
Keira Loughran is an award-winning artist with over 25 years as an actor, director, playwright, dramaturg and producer. She is currently an Associate Professor for the Department of Theatre at York University teaching Acting, Devised Theatre, Play Creation, Playwrighting and New Play Dramaturgy. She is also an Artistic Associate at Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada. From 2012-2018 she was the inaugural Associate Producer for the Forum and the Laboratory at the Stratford Festival where she spearheaded organizational change to support new work, diversity, inclusion. From 2005-2007 she was Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Festival in Toronto. Her company K’Now Theatre produced two original plays which collectively garnered 7 Dora nominations including two for Loughran for Outstanding New Play (Little Dragon) and Outstanding Direction (Pu-Erh). Other selected directing credits include 4 productions at the Stratford Festival (Wendy and Peter Pan, The Comedy of Errors, The Komagata Maru Incident, The Aeneid), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre Erindale), Deportation Cast (York University), and Titus Andronicus (Canadian Stage).
As an actor, Keira has performed in theatres across the country including Alberta Theatre Projects, Persephone Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Nightwood Theatre, Young Peoples’ Theatre and the Stratford Festival. She has appeared in several movies, short films and television, including Good Sam (CBS) and Good Witch (Hallmark). Keira is a 3rd degree black belt (sandan) in Aikido and was Chief Instructor of Stratford Aikikai for ten years. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s B.F.A Acting Program.
Michelle Mohammed is an artist with a primary interest in developing her skills as a performer and director. She is currently working as an Artistic Associate at Suitcase in Point and Teaching Assistant to Cole Alvis at Brock University. In 2021, she worked with the Shaw Festival, Why Not Theatre, Brock University, The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, and Suitcase in Point. She also worked as a dramaturg and actor on an audio drama created by Aria Sharma entitled, The Trick to Walking Backwards. In 2020, she trained in Factory Theatre’s Mechanicals actor training program under the direction of the incomparable Nina Lee Aquino and worked as an Operations Assistant with the wonderful Amrita Kaur-Ratta for Shades of Brown Girl.
Select credits include: Olga in Orphan’s for the Czar (Crow’s Theatre), Betty in A Poem for Rabia (Workshops) by Nikki Shaffeeullah, Villager in Chitra (Shaw Festival), Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare BASH’d), Cora in Margaret Reid (Workshop) (Tarragon Theatre), Devisor/Creator in Mahabharata (Workshops) (Why Not Theatre/Shaw Festival), Ruby and the Well (Shaftesbury) The Handmaid’s Tale (Gilead 3 Prod), Apprentice Assistant Director to Peter Hinton in Oh What a Lovely War (Shaw Festival), Assistant Director to Danielle Wilson in Top Girls (Brock University).
Omari Newton is an award-winning professional actor, writer, director and producer. As a writer, his original Hip Hop theatre piece Sal Capone has received critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a recent presentation at Canada’s National Arts Centre. He has been commissioned by Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) in Montreal to write a companion piece to Sal Capone entitled Black & Blue Matters. Omari and his wife, fellow professional playwright Amy Lee Lavoie, recently received a generous grant from the Canada Council to co-write a new play: Redbone Coonhound. Their latest collaboration is a bold and innovative satirical comedy that confronts instances of systemic racism in the past, present and future. Newton’s work in Speakeasy Theatre’s production of Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment earned him a 2017-2018 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor, as well as a nomination for Best Direction.
Notable film & TV credits include: Lucas Ingram on Showcase’s Continuum, Larry Summers on Blue Mountain State and lending his voice to the Black Panther in multiple animated projects (Marvel). Most recently, Omari has a recurring role as Nate on Corner Gas (the animated series) and a recurring role as Corvus of Netflix’s hit new animated series The Dragon Prince.
Joyce Padua is a Toronto-based costume designer, cutter, and head of wardrobe. A BFA graduate of York University, her work as a designer and assistant has been featured in several productions including shows with the Shaw Festival, the Stratford Festival, and Factory Theatre. In 2021, Joyce was nominated as a Siminovitch Prize Protegée under designer Gillian Gallow. Previous theatre credits include: Costume design: Year of the Rat (Factory Theatre), Desire Under the Elms (Shaw Festival), The Life and Death of Fred Herko (Rendezvous With Madness Festival), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Crescent School), Orlando (Theatre@York); Assistant Costume Design: The Rez Sisters (Stratford Festival), I Am William (Stratford Festival), Serving Elizabeth (Stratford Festival), Much Ado About Nothing (Canadian Stage), Sweat (Canadian Stage); Head of Wardrobe: TOKA (Theatre Passe-Muraille), Trout Stanley (Factory Theatre), Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre), Marjorie Prime (Coal Mine Theatre). Upcoming: Too True to Be Good (Shaw Festival).
Jivesh Parasram (He/Him/His) is an award winning multidisciplinary artist, community activator, and facilitator of Indo-Caribbean descent. His work has played across Canada, and Internationally. Jiv grew up in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) and endeavours to split his time between T’karón:to (Toronto) and the Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver).
In 2009 he co-founded the award winning collective Pandemic Theatre, and currently holds the position of Artistic Director for Rumble Theatre. Parasram is a “Dora Mavor Moore” award nominated artist, and the recipient of two “Harold Awards” for his contributions to the Independent Theatre Community of Toronto, including the Ken McDougall Award for Direction. Internationally he has received a “Herald Angel” from the Edinburgh Fringe for his contributions to the 2018 CanadaHub programming. Jiv was a member of the second cohort of the Cultural Leaders Lab with the Toronto Arts Council and the Banff Centre and was the recipient of the 2018 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award. His play “Take d Milk, nah?” was recently nominated for the Governor General’s literary awards.
From a young age, Mike Payette discovered how the arts can impact both an individual and a community in profound ways, and he is grateful to have learned from and grown with that philosophy since. Born and raised in Tiotià:ke (Montréal), Quebec, that journey has taken him to his current role of Artistic Director with Tarragon Theatre.
Mike is proud to have worked with and appeared on some of Canada’s finest theatres as an actor and director. As an artist who believes in development and mentorship as part of his practice, he is also an educator, as well as a frequent guest artist at the National Theatre School of Canada. He has served on several boards including the Quebec Drama Federation, la Maison Théâtre, MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), and on the Executive of PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres).
Prior to joining Tarragon, he was the Artistic and Executive Director of Geordie Theatre – Quebec’s largest English-language Theatre for Young Audiences company and was earlier the co-founding Artistic Director of Tableau D’Hôte Theatre and past Assistant Artistic Director for Black Theatre Workshop. A two-time Montreal English Theatre Award (META) recipient, some of his favourite moments have been working on shows that uplift and challenge the imagination while embracing the magnitude of the human spirit. Some of those productions include the Quebec premieres of Harlem Duet (Black Theatre Workshop), A Line in the Sand (Tableau D’Hôte Theatre), Hosanna (English premiere) and Choir Boy (Centaur), Reaching for Starlight and Virginia Wolf (Geordie), the French-language premiere of Héritage – A Raisin in the Sun (Théâtre Jean-Duceppe) along with the national tours of The Tashme Project (Tashme Prods/Centaur/Factory/Firehall) and Lorena Gale’s Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop/Tableau D’Hôte/National Arts Centre/Factory/Obsidian).
Miquelon Rodriguez is a sound designer, composer, radio play mixer & editor, digital content creator, actor, and an emerging director and arts leader based in T’karonto. He was the Apprentice Artistic Director at Factory Theatre from 2017-2019, under the mentorship of Nina Lee Aquino, and co-curated Pan-Asian works over two seasons at Soulpepper through the Tiger Bamboo Festival and the Shen Development Series. He is an Artistic Leadership Resident with the National Theatre School of Canada and has worked with a multitude of artists and companies across Turtle Island.
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is an emcee, playwright and agitator. Her main body of work, the 54ology, includes: Cake, Sound of the Beast, A Man A Fish, Dark Love, Roominhouse, Salome’s Clothes, Gas Girls, Give It Up, The Smell of Horses, and The First Stone. Commissioned works include Witness Shift (Obsidian Theatre, 21 Black Futures), Reaching For Starlight (Geordie Theatre), Say the Words (Wrecking Ball), The House You Build (SNTC). Opera libretti include Forbidden (Afarin Mansouri/Tapestry Opera), Oubliette and Nucleosynthesis (Ivan Barbotin/Tapestry Opera).
DM has collaborated on the creation of The Only Good Indian with Jivesh Parasram and Tom Arthur Davis, Hope Is A Story with Sunny Drake, They Say He Fell with Nir Bareket and 501: Toronto in Transit with Justin Manyfingers and Bob Naismith. She is co-editor with Yvette Nolan of the Playwrights Canada Press anthologies Refractions: Solo and Refractions: Scenes, as well as editor of Indian Act: Residential School Plays. DM is currently the emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, associate artist at lemonTree Creations, artistic director of New Harlem Productions, coordinator of the AD HOC Assembly, and of new play development at Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Aquarius. She’s aight.