Conference Panellists, Presenters & Organizers

MODERATOR: ROOM FOR EVERYONE PANEL

Lara Arabian is a trilingual Dora nominated Toronto-based performer by way of Beirut, Lebanon, upstate NY, and Paris, France.  Most recently she was a member of the Banff/Citadel Professional Theatre Program.  Favourite Theatre credits include: The Silver Arrow (Citadel), Blood Wedding (Modern Times/Aluna Theatre- 6 Dora awards including Outstanding Production) and Theatre Fix’s The Container.  Recent TV credits include The Handmaid’s Tale, Murdoch Mysteries, Kim’s Convenience, Taken, Dark Matter and STiR, which has been showcased at numerous international film festivals. She’s currently developing her first one-woman show as a member of Nightwood Theatre’s “Write from the Hip” program. Lara is also a passionate arts educator and is on the faculty of Sheridan College in both the Musical Theatre and the Performing Arts Preparation programs. She recently moderated a panel titled ‘Reflections, Representation and Empowerment’ as part of their Diverse Voices in Theatre Speaker Series. She is a member of Directors Lab North, a sister organization to the Kennedy Centres Directors Lab.

PANELIST: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Eric Armstrong teaches voice, accents, and text in the Acting programs at York University in Toronto; he has taught full-time at universities for 22 years in the US and Canada. His professional practice focuses on accent coaching/design, with numerous credits on productions for theatre, television and film, such as this past season’s Towards Youth (Project Humanity/Crows). He has presented frequently at the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) conference and has published articles and reviews in the Voice and Speech Review. His research interests lie in accent training for diverse populations, and his current project, in collaboration with Shannon Vickers and funded by Canada’s Social Science & Humanities Research Council, focuses on working with Indigenous performers.

PANELIST: MENTAL HEALTH – TEACHER AND STUDENT

Marie Beath Badian is a playwright, performer, director and arts educator. As a playwright, Marie Beath’s work includes Prairie Nurse [Blyth Festival], The Making of St. Jerome [Next Stage Theatre Festival], Mind Over Matter [part of AutoShow, Convergence Theatre], and Novena [UnoFestival Victoria, Toronto Fringe Festival]. Marie Beath spent two seasons as Director of the Blyth Festival Young Company, two seasons as Co-Director of Youth Programs at Nightwood Theatre and two seasons as Associate Artistic Director/Associate Artist at Theatre Direct Canada. She spent five seasons as the Program Director for the Play Creation Unit at Carlos Bulosan Theatre. She is an instructor at the Humber College School of Performing Arts. Marie Beath will be joining the 2019 Banff Playwrights Lab. There, with the support of The Blyth Festival, she will be developing two plays exploring the post-immigration dynasty of the two Filipina nurses introduced in her play Prairie Nurse.

WORKSHOP LEADER: SAFER ARTISTIC SPACES

Viktoria Belle is the founder and Executive Director of the Dandelion     

Initiative, grassroots not for profit by survivors for survivors of sexual violence and abuse.  She has been an educator for 10 years, with an expertise in public policy and gender-based violence prevention. She prioritizes working with diverse organizations and movements to develop and implement feminist and trauma informed practices that prevent and respond to sexual violence. She developed the Safer Bars & Spaces Program, delivering safer spaces training across Canada, transforming workplace and industry cultures. Viktoria is a Roma woman and LGBTQ community member and musician in the city of Toronto where she lives with her partner and pup, Buffy.

PANELIST: ROOM FOR EVERYONE

Brefny Caribou is a Cree/Irish-Canadian performer and creator from Toronto, ON. Holding an MFA in Acting from York University, she finds the best use of her passion and skill in collaborating on new creations, and storytelling from the heart of her own experiences. With curiosity, patience, and lots of humour, Brefny intentionally puts her focus towards works and subject matter surrounding identity, culture, decolonization, and strives to interrogate and evolve her own practice on the regular. Brefny has had the privilege of working across the country including Montreal (Infinithèâtre), Kingston (Theatre Kingston), and Armstrong B.C. (Urban Ink/Caravan Farm Theatre).

PANELIST: MENTAL HEALTH – TEACHER AND STUDENT

Nathan Carroll  has performed on stages across Canada, from Vancouver to Charlottetown.  His credits include: Next to Normal (Musical Stage Co./Mirvish), Hook Up (Tapestry/Theatre Passe Muraille), Vimy (Western Canada Theatre), Buddy in The Buddy Holly Story (1000 Islands Playhouse/WCT), Terry Fox in Marathon of Hope (Drayton), The Drawer Boy (Port Stanley), Once (Mirvish), Two Gentlemen of Verona/The Tempest (St. Lawrence Shakespeare), Floyd Collins (TiFT/Patrick St.), and The Book of Esther/Bordertown Café (Blyth Festival).  He has been a member of 3 Dora award winning ensembles (Once, Chasse Galerie, The Wizard of Oz), music directed multiple productions of Peter Pan (Soulpepper/Bad Hats), and is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School.  Nathan feels strongly about the need for wider access to mental healthcare and safe, intentional, and inclusive rehearsal spaces.  He wrote a piece for Intermission Magazine, The Problem with ‘The Show Must Go On’, which was one of their ‘most read of 2018’ and spring-boarded him towards further advocacy. In his spare time, he loves lake swimming, third-wave coffee, and queer lit.   

PANELIST: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Michelle Arvizu is a tri-lingual actor, based in Toronto since the summer of 2000. After years of acting on stage in Mexico City, she graduated from the Randolph Academy’s Triple Threat Program and has continued her training for Film & TV ever since. After acting as manager at the LB Acting Studio for more than five years, and training with Lewis Baumander for nine, she was invited to teach her first group class in 2013. Currently, Michelle teaches at the LB Acting Studio three group classes on a weekly basis, and one-on-one coaching, for both actors’ growth and development, and audition preparation. As an actor, Michelle has worked alongside Mickey Rourke in Killshot, and had a recurring role with Christina Hendricks and Taye Diggs in the series Kevin Hill. She shared the screen with acclaimed actress Tatiana Maslany in two episodes of Orphan Black, and, more recently, she worked with award-winning actress Rosie Perez in the first season of CBC’s PURE. Other credits include Beauty and the Beast, The Bridge, Tilt, Billable Hours, Rainbow Kid and the award-winning film Kidnap Capital as the Female Lead. 

WORKSHOP LEADER: DEMYSTIFYING THE EMOTIONAL BODY: MENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY IN THE ACTOR TRAINING STUDIO

Tanya Elchuk is a term lecturer at Simon Fraser University, where she teaches voice and acting. She recently received an SFU Faculty Inquiry Grant to offer a mindfulness and compassion program for theatre performance majors, exploring the benefits of these practices to their lives and work. Tanya is an Associate Editor of the Voice & Speech Review (VSR), the academic journal published by the Voice & Speech Trainer’s Association (VASTA). She has joined Canada’s National Voice Intensive as Associate Faculty since 2015 and is a member of the Guild & Masterclass of Embodied Practice. Tanya holds an M.F.A. in Theatre and a postgraduate diploma in Voice Teaching from York University, where she received a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for her research on neuroscience and acting. As an artist, she has written and performed original work throughout Canada and the United States.

PANELIST: MENTAL HEALTH – TEACHER AND STUDENT
WORKSHOP LEADER: MENTAL WELLNESS FOR ACTING EDUCATORS

Matt Eldridge, (MSW, RSW) is a registered social worker, having completed his Master of Social Work degree in 2013. Prior to joining the Artists’ Health Centre, he held social work positions at Credit Valley Hospital, OakMed Family Health Team, Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre, and Belleville General Hospital. Matt has a background as a competitive trampolinist/gymnast, and prior to becoming a social worker, he performed as an acrobat in the Cirque du Soleil production of Dralion. Matt’s professional experience includes co-ordination, program development, and individual/group psychotherapy. The Artists’ Health Centre is a perfect fusion of 2 of his passions: the arts and healthcare. He is honoured to be a part of a team that works to help keep artists healthy.

MODERATOR: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Tracey Hoyt trained at Theatre Aquarius, Young People’s Theatre, The Banff Centre, The Second City and York University. She works in theatre, film and television. She toured the country and taught Improvisation extensively for The Second City Toronto, specializing in Character and Monologue classes. A voice specialist working in all areas of the business, Tracey created and ran the commercial voice-over training program Pirate Voice at Pirate Toronto in 2007. In the spring of 2016, she launched Tracey Hoyt Coaching & Direction, focusing on commercial voice-over coaching and demo reel direction for trained and experienced talent. Her clients work in theatre, film, TV, radio, broadcasting and journalism.  www.traceyhoyt.com

PANELIST: HARASSMENT, INTIMACY & CONSENT IN THE CLASSROOM
PANELIST: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Joanna Areti

MODERATOR: ACCOMMODATING ACCOMODATION PANEL


Marcia Johnson
is an actor, writer and dramaturg from Toronto. She created an introduction to playwriting course at Sheridan College where she taught for 12 years in the Music Theatre program. Recently she taught a storytelling class at George Brown College’s Theatre School. Selected acting credits include The Miracle Worker (Drayton); The New Canadian Curling Club, 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt (Blyth) and The Real McCoy (Factory/GCTC). She has also made brief TV appearances in American Gods (Amazon) and The Swap (Disney) and others. Marcia’s latest play Serving Elizabeth will have its world premiere at Western Canada Theatre inFebruary 2020.

PANELIST: ACCOMMODATING ACCOMODATION PANEL

Tal Katz has been performing on stage, singing, dancing and acting in musicals, plays, concerts and official state ceremonies both in Hebrew and English from the early age of six. She is a proud graduate of George Brown Theatre School. Her George Brown credits include: Grusha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Empress Elizabeth of Russia/Cynthia/Mrs.Cole in Monsieur d’Eeon is a Woman, Bernice Trimble in The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, Lady Narborough in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Singer/Parlour Maid/Waitress in You Never Can Tell and Taly in Munch on the Moon. Recently, Tal performed at the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Fundraiser Concert, Streisand x9, celebrating the music and career of the icon Barbra Streisand. Additional selected theatre credits: Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie, Young Frankenstein, The Wiz, Seussical, 13: The Musical and Was It a Dream. She has been a member of the Judy and David Theater Troupe performing for children and families all over Ontario in BeanStock, GoldiRocks, PigMania and Chanukah Live for three years. Tal is excited to be part of such an important discussion that can benefit theatre school students, educators, colleges, universities and the artistic community.

PANELIST: ACCOMMODATING ACCOMODATION PANEL

Jeannette Lambermont-Morey has directed for theatres across Canada and the United States, from the Stratford Festival, to the Virginia Stage Company. Jeannette directed the World Leaders Tributes to Harold Pinter and Robert Rauschenberg as part of the internationally acclaimed series produced by Harbourfront at the Liberty Grand in Toronto in the fall of 2001. She has worked extensively in college and university theatre programs as a director and instructor. Among them George Brown College, York University, the Juilliard School (NY), the University of Alberta, Ryerson University, Dartmouth College (NH), the University of Victoria, and, Grenfell College (Memorial University) in Corner Brook, NL. Jeannette was Artistic Director of The New World Theatre Project in Newfoundland 2012/13, and served as Executive Director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre of Canada from 1999 to 2015. Jeannette continues as Awards Officer for the organization. Her production of Mike Bartlett’s My Child was nominated for three 2016 Toronto My Theatre Awards, including Outstanding Direction, and won Outstanding Production.

PANELIST: HARASSMENT, INTIMACY & CONSENT IN THE CLASSROOM
WORKSHOP LEAER: CULTURE & PRIVILEGE: HOW OUR INDIVIDUAL IDENTITIES IMPACT US IN THE CLASSROOM

Niki Landau is an actor, playwright and producer, and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre PANIK with her husband, Paul Lampert. She teaches acting at York University and in Seneca’s Acting for Voice and Camera program. She is also a trained mediator and Conflict Resolution trainer. Niki has mediated family and community conflicts, and has entered organizations at the highest levels to help resolve disputes. She has given talks, led workshops, offered training and coaching to law firms, medical personnel, universities, art organizations, unions and financial institutions on a wide variety of workshop subjects, including basic and advanced mediation skills, empathetic listening, win-win problem solving, managing angry clients, setting healthy boundaries, and diversity and communication. Niki was the past Coordinator of Training for the St. Stephen’s Conflict Resolution Camp; Training Program, and is a co-founder of the new MPath Group, a group of female mediators who emphasize empathy as a key to managing and resolving conflicts. After travelling to the Middle East as part of the Compassionate Listening Project, a grassroots peacemaking initiative, Niki was trained as a Compassionate Listening Facilitator. Her emphasis on compassion informs her teaching and her style of dispute resolution, and is extremely effective in dealing with people caught in escalating conflicts. She is trained in screening for domestic violence, and was a co-author on The Family Mediation Handbook, 3rd, 4th and 5th editions.

PANELIST: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Catherine McNally has been an arts educator/coach/actor for over 30 years. She has a Drama degree from Queen’s, an acting diploma from LAMDA, and is an International Fellow of Shakespeare’s Globe. She is a Professor at both George Brown College/ Media Performance  and Toronto Film School. She was formerly an instructor and resident coach at Armstrong Acting Studios. She has coached many actors privately and in studios for self tapes, on-camera developmental, and theatre auditions. Along with her husband actor/ coach Robert Kennedy, they recently created McNally Kennedy Studios, and coach actors one on one and on Skype.

PANELIST: ROOM FOR EVERYONE

Andrew Moodie is a multiple award winning actor/playwright/director and has performed in countless productions all across the country. Some selected acting credits include: Better Living (Great Canadian Theatre Company), Macbeth (Stratford), Satchmo Suite (Eastern Front), Death in New Orleans (One Yellow Rabbit), Hamlet (Soulpepper), Race (Ground Zero), Othello (Shakespeare in the Rough). Selected Playwriting credits include: Riot, (Factory Theatre, GCTC, 1995), directed by Layne Coleman (winner of the 1996 Chalmers Award for Best New Play). Wilbur County Blues, (Blythe Festival, 1998). A Common Man’s Guide to Loving Women, (Canadian Stage and the National Arts Centre, 1999). Winner of the WGC award for writing for ‘Afghanada’. His other screenwriting credits include Drop tha Beat (CBC) and A Winter’s Tale (Caribbean Tales). For many years he was the host of TV Ontario’s Big Ideas, and he has appeared in many film and television productions including; The Strain, Orphan Black, Dark Matter, Star Trek: Discovery and The Handmaid’s Tale. His film directing credits include short films Forgiveness, and Danny and May (Modern Entertainment Productions).

PANELIST: ROOM FOR EVERYONE

Alex Norton is a trans artist and stage manager with a focus on inclusion and education. PREVIOUS MANAGEMENT CREDITS INCLUDE: The Secret Project (Playground Festival), Toronto Beaches Choral, Mississauga Choral Society, All Shook Up (Drayton Entertainment), Ergo Pink Fest (Ergo Arts). He is also known as Alexandher Brandy, Toronto’s high(eye)browed lowbrow performer, and hosts shows in Toronto as a part of the House of Kings.

WORKSHOP LEADER: HOLDING SAFE SPACE FOR CREATIVE PRACTICE THROUGH INCLUSIVITY, INTERSECTIONALITY AND EMBODIED PRACTICE

Valerie Planche is an award-winning actor, director and instructor with over 35 years’ experience on Stage and in Film and Television. She has facilitated post-secondary classes in the integration of voice, movement, and text at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and Ambrose University as well as many community-based workshops. Selected credits as a Director include the Canadian Premiere of Sweat for the Arts Club Theatre in a co-production with the Citadel Theatre, Constellations for Alberta Theatre Projects, Bad Jews and Skylight for Theatre Calgary. Valerie was awarded the Michelle Dias Award in 2018from Theatre Alberta and the Gina Wilkinson Prize from the Shaw Festival in 2015. She seeks to cultivate a sense of wonder and discovery while exploring deep biological processes producing human behaviour. 

MODERATOR: MENTAL HEALTH – TEACHER AND STUDENT

Sean Quigley has worked as an Artistic Director, Director, Actor, and Executive Director Over the last 20 years. He is fortunate to have co-founded a conservatory acting program with Jennifer Wigmore at an Ontario College where they created the programs curriculum and shepherded it through approval with the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. Sean has advocated at national, provincial, and local levels from mental health including the Canadian Mental Health Commission and The Ontario Select Committee on Addictions and Mental Health. Sean was awarded the Champion of Mental Health Award by Parents for Children’s Mental Health and he has served on a number of boards that serve the most vulnerable. Currently is a chair of the Board for the Largest Social Housing Provider in London, Organizational Mentor to a non-profit focused on Art and Mental Health and wellness, and is so close to finishing his MBA at the University of Liverpool he can taste it.

ROUNDTABLE MODERATOR: BOUNDARIES: PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL LEVELS OF INTIMACY WITHIN THE CLASSROOM

Lori Ravensborg is coordinator and full time professor in the Acting for Film and Television Program at Niagara College. Previous to Niagara College she was an acting instructor at Toronto Film School (2015-2016) as well as part time in the Advanced Television and Film- Script to Screen program at Centennial College in Toronto (2016). She relocated from Alberta to the greater Toronto area from Alberta in 2015.  While in Alberta, Lori taught acting in the Motion Picture Arts Program at Red Deer College from 2007-2014 as well as numerous classes, workshops and coaching in Meisner Technique, Scene Study and Auditioning for Film and Television.  She is a long standing member of ACTRA, Equity and Women in Film and Television (Alberta and Toronto chapters) and as an actor has done theatre, t.v. and film in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.  She is a graduate of Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in NYC as well as Theatre Studies at Red Deer College.  She attained her Master of Arts Practice in Directing performance for Television and Screen in 2012. Her short film The Long Road(Wrote, Produced and Directed) enjoyed some positive feedback screening at Oceanside International Film Festival 2012, won a Rising Star Award at the Canada International Film Festival 2013 in Vancouver as well as being nominated for a Rosie at the Alberta Media Production Industry Association (AMPIA) award in 2013.

PANELIST: HARASSMENT, INTIMACY & CONSENT IN THE CLASSROOM
WORKSHOP LEADER: MANAGING INTIMACY & CONSENT IN THE CLASSROOM

Siobhan Richardson is an Intimacy Director and co-founder of Intimacy Directors International. She was the first person in Canada recognized as an Intimacy Director by Tonia Sina, founder of the Intimacy For The Stage method. Siobhan has built an impressive resume in this field, including several directing, choreography, and teaching credits across Canada, Europe, and the United States. Intimacy Directing credits include Hadrian (Canadian Opera Company), The Brother’s Size, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Soulpepper), and Bunny (Tarragon) Othello (Stratford Festival) Sex, (Shaw Festival). Siobhan is also an actor, fighter, singer, dancer, and a fight director/stage combat instructor through FDC. | www.siobhanrichardson.com/intimacywww.teamidi.org

PANELIST: ACCOMMODATING ACCOMODATION PANEL

Jenny Richmond-Bravo is Director of Student Services at Randolph College for the Performing Arts (RCPA). Jenny earned her M.Ed. in Adult Education and Community Development at the University of Toronto (OISE) in 2010. She also holds an Honours B.A. in Psychology from York University. Jenny has studied a variety of approaches to learning, teaching, coaching and personal development, and has worked extensively in wellness promotion, student/teacher support, educational administration, program coordination and facilitation. Jenny works from a self-determination approach to promote student wellness and success.

PANELIST: MENTAL HEALTH – TEACHER AND STUDENT
WORKSHOP LEADER: MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID FOR EDUCATORS

Suzanne Ross is the Owner and Lead Trainer for Elevation Mind Aid, a Mental Health First Aid training company in the Toronto area. Through her business, she educates diverse groups of people in the skills needed to effectively support someone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. Suzanne is a trained Emergency Medical Dispatch Operator and a passionate advocate for Mental Health. She is an active member of the Addictions Recovery Community and an engaging and charismatic presenter. Suzanne studied Visual Art and Film at Western University, dabbles in Comedy Writing and has a long history with Improv; where she was a founding member of the Kaslovian Players in British Columbia. If she could be any fruit in the world she would be a nectarine. 

PANELIST: HARASSMENT, INTIMACY & CONSENT IN THE CLASSROOM
PANELIST: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Victoria Shen is a labour and humans right lawyer.  She works on issues of harassment and human rights for ACTRA.  She sits on various film and television industry health and safety committees, the working groups of the Canadian Creative Industry Code of Conduct, and the Respectful Workplaces in the Arts Coordinating Committee for Cultural Human Resources Canada.  She is a frequent speaker on issues of harassment in the film and television industry.  Previously, she worked at the Canadian Media Producers Association, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, and one of the largest private sector unions in Canada. Her litigation experience includes appearing before the HRTO in sexual harassment cases, labour arbitrations, and appeals on WSIB, EI, and CPPD.  She has been on the boards of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and President of the Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto Chapter.  She is the Executive Producer of the award-winning, Wexford Plaza.

PANELIST: ACCOMMODATING ACCOMODATION PANEL

Talia Singer, RN, RP, MSc is a Registered Nurse, Registered Psychotherapist, and Art Therapist. She is a PhD student at Walden University in the Department of Psychology studying the ethical challenges of online therapy. She is currently working as a therapist and coordinator of mental health counselling services to post-secondary students at the Toronto Film School and Yorkville University.

WORKSHOP LEADER: I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

Steven Sparling is an actor/teacher/academic who has been active in Canada and the UK for over 25 years. Trained at Grant MacEwan University, the University of Alberta and Concordia University, he is currently finishing a PhD at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London in Creative Entrepreneurship looking at barriers to sustainability in UK mid-career actors. After working as an actor across Canada for a decade, he moved to England in 2002 where he spent 16 years working extensively as an actor (West End, Off-West End, UK tours) and was also a Senior Lecturer and Programme Head for the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre degree at the London College of Music, University of West London. Post-Brexit, he moved back to Canada in 2018 and currently teaches at Sheridan College and Randolph College. He has delivered masterclasses and guest lectures at institutions in Canada, the UK, Europe and Africa and is the founder of www.thethrivingcreative.com.

PANELIST: ROOM FOR EVERYONE

Karlie Starchuk is a musical theatre actress from Burlington, Ontario. She is a graduate from Sheridan Colleges Preparation of the Performing Arts Program (2012) and St. Lawrence Colleges Musical Theatre Program (2015). Karlie had learned a great deal from theatre, using it as tool to overcome obstacles in her everyday life, from facing social anxiety, to obtaining her physical health. She had found her passion right in her hometown at Burlington Student Theatre, where she had trained from age 7-18.  Karlie has participated in the Rotary Music Competition from age 15 to 18, where she achieved high honours in provincials. Her credentials include Burlington Student Theatres Productions of Cabaret, A Chorus Line, and Urinetown, as well as St Lawrence Colleges Productions of Anything Goes, Les Miserables,and Rent. She has also participated in the 2017 Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival in Red Pants Production’s latest musical, Jilted. Karlie is continuing to follow her passion for theatre and music, through her determination to break down the barriers of accessibility within the theatre community. She will not stop until the world stops seeing her and other performers’ disabilities as a limitation and embrace it more as an opportunity. 

PANELIST: SETTING UP A SAFE COACHING PRACTICE IN THE POST #METOO ERA

Ausar Stewart is one of Canada’s leading voice, speech, dialect and communications coaches. An accomplished actor, teacher and coach, he has brought his unique approach to a number of Toronto’s most respected institutions such at York University, Randolph, George Brown and Centennial Colleges. Drawing from a wide range of training and experience, Ausar integrates performance principles with energetics as well as voice, speech and dialect coaching practises. As the owner of Free Your Voice, he works with private and corporate clients; his coaching develops confidence, power and impact so his clients can speak, inspire and lead. To learn more about Ausar visit: http://www.freeingourvoice.ca

WORKSHOP LEADER: CONTEMPORARY & IN COLOUR

Tanisha Taitt is a director/actor/playwright, teacher, singer-songwriter, activist and accidental essayist, Tanisha is a theatre artist and anti-oppression educator who has worked with such companies as YPT, Obsidian, Buddies In Bad Times, The Theatre Centre, Paprika Festival, Musical Stage, NAC, Children’s Peace Theatre, Nightwood, and Soulpepper.  She is Program Director for the Toronto Fringe’s TENT (Theatre Entrepreneurship, Networking & Training) program, a Drama mentor for the Toronto District School Board, and an audiobook director for Penguin Random House publishing. Tanisha has been nominated as a director for the Pauline McGibbon Award for Unique Talents, and is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award & Scholarship.  She was the keynote speaker for the inaugural Canadian Theatre Educators Conference, and teaches 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study at George Brown Theatre School.  Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

MODERATOR: HARASSMENT, INTIMACY & CONSENT IN THE CLASSROOM

Jennifer Wigmore is a multidisciplinary artist: Actor/Visual Artist/Writer/Educator. She has performed on main stages across the country, including the Citadel, Stratford and the Tarragon Theatre in addition to having a successful film and television career. Recent Acting Credits: Anne with an E, Impulse, Designated Survivor, Killjoys, Sheets; Theatre Center. Her paintings are in private collections across Canada, US and the UK. She completed musical theatre program at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton, and her BFA and Masters at OCAD University. She began teaching acting in 2004 and co-developed the theatre training program at Fanshawe College. She has also taught at Ryerson University, Randolph College, George Brown College, and teaches visual art at OCAD University and Sheridan College. With a keen interest in first year training, she works closely with master teacher Perry Schneiderman, and they are currently collaborating on a book about the Zone of Silence and its contribution to Canadian Theatre pedagogy. Recently she co-wrote the article; Acting Training in Canada: An Appeal for Change for Intermission Magazine and is the process of working on her first play Measure². www.jenniferwigmore.com

OUR TEAM 

Jeannette Lambermont-Morey has directed for theatres across Canada and the United States, from the Stratford Festival, to the Virginia Stage Company. Jeannette directed the World Leaders Tributes to Harold Pinter and Robert Rauschenberg as part of the internationally acclaimed series produced by Harbourfront at the Liberty Grand in Toronto in the fall of 2001. She has worked extensively in college and university theatre programs as a director and instructor. Among them George Brown College, York University, the Juilliard School (NY), the University of Alberta, Ryerson University, Dartmouth College (NH), the University of Victoria, and, Grenfell College (Memorial University) in Corner Brook, NL. Jeannette was Artistic Director of The New World Theatre Project in Newfoundland 2012/13, and served as Executive Director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre of Canada from 1999 to 2015. Jeannette continues as Awards Officer for the organization. Her production of Mike Bartlett’s My Child was nominated for three 2016 Toronto My Theatre Awards, including Outstanding Direction, and won Outstanding Production.

Actor, director, and playwright Rebecca Applebaum is ACTRA Toronto Vice-President Internal Affairs, and Co-Chair of the ACTRA Toronto Conference Committee. She received an MA in English from the University of Toronto, facilitated Youthdale Treatment Centres’ drama program, and also sometimes makes music.

Catherine McNally is an award winning actor, producer, arts educator and acting coach for 32 years. A Queen’s University grad, LAMDA alumni, and Fellow of Shakespeare’s Globe, Catherine has performed on stages in Canada, US, and England with numerous TV/Film credits. Catherine with her husband, actor/coach Robert Kennedy launched McNally Kennedy Acting to create a safe environment celebrating the  authentic voice of the actor while applying respectful teaching practices.

Chantal Forde is a writer, director, educator and performer in the GTA with a passion for new works and theatrical opportunities that challenge and inspire. Chantal’s most recent plays include Greyand Perceptions of Love in the Pursuit of Happiness. Recent directing and choreography credits include And Then … She Did! (directing, Goldenberg Productions), Little Shop of Horrors (choreography, BOTG), and Shrek the Musical (choreography, BOTG).Chantal and her husband, Tim Cadeny, are the creative team behind Oakville’s Holiday Pantomime for the last six years, where they have created hilariously twisted up versions of Aladdin, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, and more.As an educator Chantal has had the opportunity to work with performers as young as 8 and as old as 94. She is on the faculty at Sheridan College, works at Centre Stage Theatre School and is a workshop instructor for Shadowpath Theatre Productions.

Liz Saunders is an actor, theatre director, acting instructor and coach.  She has performed extensively in theatres throughout Canada. Highlights include 4:48 Psychosis, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It,  Glengarry Glen Ross, Dancing at Lughnasa and several seasons at the Shaw Festival. Her extensive media credits include: Mary Kills People, Alias Grace, IT, Orphan Black, Slings and Arrows, Murdoch Mysteries, and the long-running cartoon Franklin the Turtle, Directing credits include A Good Death, Holy Mothers, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Remote, Prince of Denmark, and AS IF (her own re-imagining of As You Like It).  Liz holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta and and MA in Theatre and Performance from the University of Toronto. She has twice been shortlisted for the Gina Wilkinson Prize, and received a Theatre Ontario Grant to assist and study with Peter Hinton. As an Educator she has taught for numerous arts organizations including George Brown College, Randolph College for the Performing Arts; Soulpepper, Ryerson Act II, Shakespearience, and has been a resident artist-educator at Young People’s Theatre. She is currently in the process of writing her one woman play M0nstress, and her first short film screenplay. Liz lives in Toronto with her husband, actor Cliff Saunders and her two inspiring daughters, Alberta and Bridget.

Franny McCabe-Bennett is an actor, playwright and producer with a passion for theatre education reform. Franny has extensive experience offstage as a box office and front of house manager and is thrilled to offer her services to Got Your Back’s first conference. www.frannymcb.com | www.popupboxoffice.com 

Annemieke Wade received her undergraduate degree in theatre and drama studies through the joint UTM/Sheridan College program and, later, a graduate degree from Champlain College. She holds a diploma in Acting, an HBA in Theatre & Drama Studies, and an MBA. After university, Ms. Wade toured TYA shows as an actor throughout the US and Canada for seven years. After touring, Ms. Wade was hired as a box office representative at Tarragon Theatre, and quickly found herself promoted to the theatre’s Administrator, and then again promoted to Tarragon’s Company Manager within the span of two years. After a total of four years with Tarragon, Ms. Wade was selected to take on the role of General Manager at Theatre Direct Canada, and in January of 2016, she was appointed Managing Director of Roseneath Theatre. Currently, Ms. Wade sits on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) as the Secretary.

Niki Landau is an actor, playwright and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre PANIK. She has acted in theatres across Canada, in Los Angeles, New York and in Germany. While in Los Angeles, Niki lived and studied with the legendary Ms. Uta Hagen. Selected credits include:Unholy (Nightwood/Buddies/Zoomer Ent.), Within the Glass (Troubadour) Mikveh(HGJT), strangers, babies(Theatre PANIK), PEEP (PANIK/Nuit Blanche), Other People’s Children(Tarragon/PANIK), Gone With The Wind (MTC),little tongues (blood projects/Fringe), The Corpse Bride (PANIK/Young Centre/Ashkenaz), My Name is Rachel Corrie (PANIK), Problem Child (BeMe),House of Many Tongues(Tarragon), Apple (Factory), Reading Hebron(Factory), Comedy of Errors(CanStage), Territories (Passe Muraille/PANIK, Dora nomination), After the Orchard(National Arts Centre), Mating Dance of the Werewolf(MTC/Rubicon), The Last Night of Ballyhoo(MTC), If We Are Women(Persephone), Suburban Motel(Factory), and Kindertransport (PTE/Persephone). Niki teaches acting at York University and Seneca’s Acting for Camera and Voice.

Sarah Robbins is a PhD student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (CDPTS). Her research interests focus on equity in theatre, particularly equitable training practices at Canadian post-secondary theatre arts institutions. She holds a B.A. Hons. and a diploma in Professional Actor Training from the theatre and drama studies program jointly held at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College, and an M.A. from CDTPS. In addition to acting as a Core Member of Got Your Back Canada, she is currently working with the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Equity and Diversity in the Arts Department at the University of Toronto Scarborough on the P.L.E.D.G.E. Project (http://www.pledgeproject.ca/). Her article “A Conversation with Hope McIntyre: FemFest 2017, Filling the Gaps & Adapting to Change” appeared in the May 2018 issue of alt.theatre magazine. 

Thalia Gonzalez Kane is an Ecuadorian-Canadian, multidisciplinary artist currently based in Dublin. She has worked as a performer, playwright, designer and producer. She is the creator and host of the podcast Stage Door Confessional. In 2017, Thalia co-founded the advocacy and support organization, Got Your Back Canada with actress Martha Burns. She is an advisor to [de]centre, the queer creative network for Atlantic Canadians and the Artistic Producer of Crave Productions. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Theatre Practice. TGK has two new plays premiering in Dublin in May and June 2019. 

Tracy Hoyt rained at Theatre Aquarius, Young People’s Theatre, The Banff Centre, The Second City and York University, Tracey works in theatre, film, television and voice-over. She toured the country and taught Improvisation extensively for The Second City Toronto, then created & ran the commercial voice-over training program Pirate Voice out of Pirate Toronto. Now working independently, Tracey specializes in coaching & directing commercial voice talent. Tracey embraced the opportunity to join the GYB Acting Training Conference Committee to help facilitate the discussion surrounding Harassment, Consent and Intimacy. http://www.traceyhoyt.com 

Martha Burns is an actor, arts educator and filmmaker. She is one of many founders of Got your Back, artists working together for positive change in our workplaces, training institutions and CAE association.
 Martha has been an actor in Canada for forty years and has been fortunate to have spent much of her career learning from working with young people.  She created programs to welcome youth into theatres at the Vancouver Playhouse, Stratford Festival and with the Dufferin Mall. For the Soulpepper theatre company she developed the youth mentorship, youth leadership and Soulpepper in School programs.  Since 2010, Martha has taught first year acting at the National Theatre School. She is the recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Trafford Tanzi and The Miracle Worker, two Genie supporting actor awards for the films Long Days Journey Into Night and Love and Savagery and two Gemini awards for the series, Slings and Arrows. She received the 2005 Barbara Hamilton Award for excellence and professionalism in the performing arts and the 2016 Leslie Yeo prize for volunteerism. Martha has directed two short films and a documentary. In 2017 she worked with performers from Nunavut’s Qaggiavuut society to create Kiviuq Returns, a play based on elders’ stories about the Inuit’s most beloved Shaman hero. 

Neil Silcox has always been a teacher. At 16, few months after he started performing, he began teaching theatre to 5 & 6 year olds at the YMCA/YWCA. Later he would lead and mentor dedicated young artists through youth arts organizations like London’s Original Kids Theatre Company, and the Toronto Youth Theatre. Throughout this time he also worked as an actor, director, producer, and photographer — this work has allowed him to work with incredible theatre companies large and small including The Canadian Stage Company, Common Boots Theatre, the Humber River Shakespeare Company, Binocular Theatre, and more. Neil continues to make art while teaching acting, directing, and theatre-making — he has taught for York University, U of T, Sheridan College, and has just finished his third year as an Instructor at Brock University.

Marcia Johnson is an actor, writer and dramaturg from Toronto. She created an introduction to playwriting course at Sheridan College where she taught for 12 years in the Music Theatre program. Recently she taught a storytelling class at George Brown College’s Theatre School. Selected acting credits include The Miracle Worker (Drayton); The New Canadian Curling Club, 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt (Blyth) and The Real McCoy (Factory/GCTC). She has also made brief TV appearances in American Gods (Amazon) and The Swap (Disney) and others. Marcia’s latest play Serving Elizabeth will have its world premiere at Western Canada Theatre inFebruary 2020. Marcia is a core member of Got Your Back.

Jennifer Wigmore is a multidisciplinary artist: Actor/Visual Artist/Writer/Educator. She has performed on main stages across the country, including the Citadel, Stratford and the Tarragon Theatre in addition to having a successful film and television career. Recent Acting Credits: Anne with an E, Impulse, Designated Survivor, Killjoys, Sheets; Theatre Center. Her paintings are in private collections across Canada, US and the UK. She completed musical theatre program at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton, and her BFA and Masters at OCAD University. She began teaching acting in 2004 and co-developed the theatre training program at Fanshawe College. She has also taught at Ryerson University, Randolph College, George Brown College, and teaches visual art at OCAD University and Sheridan College. With a keen interest in first year training, she works closely with master teacher Perry Schneiderman, and they are currently collaborating on a book about the Zone of Silence and its contribution to Canadian Theatre pedagogy. Recently she co-wrote the article; Acting Training in Canada: An Appeal for Change for Intermission Magazine and is the process of working on her first play Measure².

Other core team members include Shannon McNally