(RE)SETTING THE STAGE
Jani Lauzon is a multidisciplinary artist of Métis ancestry. She is a nine-time Dora nominated actor/director/writer, a three time Juno-nominated singer/songwriter, an award-winning screen actress, a Gemini Award winning puppeteer and a Toronto Theatre Critics award-winning director. She has fond memories of playing Grannie on the Mr. Dress-Upshow and Pa Foley on the Big Comfy Couch. Memorable theatre appearances include: Cordelia/Fool in the NAC Aboriginal production of King Lear, Shylock in Merchant of Venice (SITR) and the COC’s production of Louis Riel (directed by Peter Hinton). Her company Paper Canoe Projects producers her own work including the award-winning Prophecy Fog as well as I Call myself Princess and A Side of Dreams. Television guest appearances include Saving Hope, Hard Rock Medical and Conspiracy of Silence. Recent directing credits include Almighty Voice and his Wife (Soulpepper), Rope (The Shaw Festival) and The Monument (Factory Theatre). Jani began her career as an artist educator at the Claude Watson School for the Arts: Junior campus in the 1980s. She honed her skills as AD/Principal of The Centre for Indigenous Theatre and has worked extensively developing a pedagogy of actors training based on interdisciplinary training and circular communication. She was co-founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble, a Native women’s theatre collective and is currently the Associate Director English Acting at the National Theatre School of Canada. for the 2020-2021 school year.
Beatriz Pizano (Actor/ Director/Playwright) is the founder and Artistic Director of Aluna Theatre, a company recognized for its unique approach to creation, its daring political work, and its experimentation with multi-language productions.
She has received a number of prestigious awards including the John Hirsch Prize, the Chalmers Fellowship, the K.M. Hunter and numerous Dora awards and nominations. She is the first Latinx actress to win a Toronto Critics award and a Dora for her performance in Blood Wedding. In 2019 she was named one of TD’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians.
Beatriz has appeared in the acclaimed productions of Alien Creature (TPM), Dividing Lines (Aluna Theatre), and Four Sisters (Paradigm Productions/Luminato).
She has recently directed radio plays for Aluna Theatre’s Studio Series in English and Spanish including The Cunning Linguist by Monica Garrido, El Retorno by Marilo Nuñez, and The Walls by Griselda Gambaro for Soulpepper’s Around the World in 80 plays.
Walter Borden is an internationally acclaimed African Canadian/Mi’kmaq actor, poet and playwright and a nationally recognized activist and teacher. Trained at Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York, his work has been met with critical distinction in Europe, the United States and throughout Canada. He performed for five seasons at Stratford Festival and now serves on the Festival Conservatory Advisory Board. His theatrical accomplishments have been prodigious including the great roles in Shakespeare, Molière, Pinter and Beckett; the Greek Classics and Contemporary Modern Classics. His recognitions include: the Order of Canada, the Order of Nova Scotia, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, two Honorary Doctorates and listing in Who’s Who in Canada!
Carmen Aguirre, Core Artist at Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre and Artistic Associate of New Play Development at The Stratford Festival, is an award-winning theatre artist and author. She has written and co-written over twenty-five plays, the #1international bestseller Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (winner of CBC Canada Reads 2012), and its bestselling sequel, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution. Currently, she is writing an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, Moliere’s The Learned Ladies for Toronto’s Factory Theatre, Fire Never Dies: The Tina Modotti Project for Electric Company, and an adaptation of The Multi-Headed Hydra for The Stratford Festival’s seed commission program. Her digital piece Floating Life, commissioned by Stratford, can be viewed on its website. Carmen is a 2020 Siminovitch Prize finalist, Canada’s most prestigious theatre award. She is a graduate of Studio 58. carmenaguirre.ca
Kimberly Rampersad. As an actor, Kimberley has appeared across Canada including Mirvish, RMTC, Stratford and Shaw Festivals.
Her work as a choreographer has been recognized with Dora nominations for Passing Strange (Musical Stage/Obsidian) and Seussical (YPT), and an Evie Award for Matilda (RMTC/ Citadel/ Arts Club).
As a director, Kimberley was featured in the New York Times for directing a full- length production of Man and Superman at the Shaw Festival. Other credits include The Color Purple (Neptune & Citadel/ RMTC) (Sterling & Merritt Awards), Intimate Apparel (WJT), How Black Mothers Say I Love You (GCTC) (Prix Rideau Award), and hang (w/ Philip Akin) (Obsidian).
In the community she contributes to the work of the Philp Akin – Black Shoulders Legacy Award, Gina’s Prize, and sits on the board of AFC.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Kimberley is the Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
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 (PACT). She has directed at theatres across the country and has won the Ken McDougall Award, the John Hirsch Prize, the Toronto Theatre Critics Awards for Best Director, and three Dora Awards for Outstanding Direction. Nina has also directed projects at various educational institutions in Toronto and was recently appointed Adjunct Professor at York University. She was the 2019 winner of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Margo Bindhart and Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award.
David Yee is a mixed race actor and playwright, born and raised in Toronto. He is the co-founding Artistic Director of fu-GEN Theatre Company, Canada’s premiere professional Asian Canadian theatre company. A Dora Mavor Moore Award nominated actor and playwright, his work has been produced internationally and at home. He is a two-time Governor General’s Literary Award nominee for his plays lady in the red dress and carried away on the crest of a wave, which won the award in 2015 along with the Carol Bolt Award in 2013. He has worked extensively in the Asian Canadian community as an artist and an advocate. He has been called many things, but prefers ‘outlaw poet’ to them all.
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 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 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.
Kevin Hanchard is a veteran Canadian actor best known for his role as Superintendant Joe Donovan on the wildly successful television series Hudson and Rex, and Detective Art Bell on the hit drama Orphan Black.
Despite now working primarily in film and TV, Kevin’s first love has always been theatre, where he has been recognized with three Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for his work in Miss Julie: Freedom Summer, TopDog/UnderDog and most recently his extraordinary portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the critically acclaimed play The Mountaintop. Kevin has also received a Betty Mitchell nomination for a second production of The Mountaintop in Calgary Alberta.
Kevin boasts two Canadian Screen Award nominations including a win for his work on Orphan Black.
Marjorie Chan 陳以珏
Marjorie was born in Toronto to Hong Kong immigrants who arrived in Canada in the late 60s. She is currently the Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille, where she places access, community, innovation and collaboration at the forefront of the company’s approach. As a theatre and opera artist, she works variously as writer, director and dramaturge as well as in the intersection of these forms and roles. Her work has been seen and performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia and across Canada. Marjorie has been nominated for 9 Dora Awards and is the recipient of four (3 for writing, 1 for performance). She has also received the K.M. Hunter Artist’s Award in Theatre, the Entertainment World Award for Best New Work, a Harold Award, as well as the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship. She has been artist-in-residence with Factory Theatre, Banff Playwrights’ Lab, Tapestry Opera, Cahoots Theatre, Theatre Centre (with 6th Man Collective), Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York) and Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong).
Emma Ferreira is a queer Dominican-Canadian artist. Her personal work explores stories told from peripheries. Trained at York University’s Acting Conservatory, selected performance credits include Copy That (Tarragon Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing/Measure for Measure (Canadian Stage SiHP), Pygmalion (Guild Festival Theatre), rochdale (Theatre @ York). Directing credits include; Summer of Semitism (Paprika Festival 2021), Let’s Have an Orgy (PlayGround Festival), The Day Donald Trump Died (PlayGround Festival). Emma has recently wrapped shooting in her first feature film role and is currently working on her first book of poetry.
Augusto Bitter is a Venezuelan-born, Dora Award-winning performer, writer, facilitator and artistic producer based in Toronto. They have been a Resident Artist at Canadian Stage, Aluna Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, and hub14. They’ve trained with Teatro delle Radici, Manifesto Poetico, Canada’s National Voice Intensive, Aluna Theatre’s Interpretation Lab, and the University of Toronto. Augusto’s first play, CHICHO, is being produced into a short film this summer, and they are developing a second dance-theatre piece, Reina, with musician Y Josephine. They’ve been an artist educator with Soulpepper Theatre and the Paprika Festival, and facilitate creative-writing workshops across the GTA with Story Planet. Food is Augusto’s love language. More at www.augustobitter.com.
Mike Payette is a Montreal-based actor and director who has worked with many great companies from coast to coast. Directing work includes Hosanna and Choir Boy (Centaur), Reaching for Starlight and Virginia Wolf (Geordie), Burning Vision and Indecent (National Theatre School), the Quebec premiere of Héritage – A Raisin in the Sun (Théâtre Duceppe) and the national tours of The Tashme Project (Tashme Prod/Centaur/Factory/Firehall) and Lorena Gale’s Angélique (BTW/Tableau D’Hôte/National Arts Centre/Factory/Obsidian). Mike is a two-time Montreal English Theatre Award (META) recipient and was the co-founding Artistic Director of Tableau D’Hôte Theatre and past Assistant AD for Black Theatre Workshop. He is an educator and sits on the boards of PACT and la Maison Théâtre, and has served as the Artistic and Executive Director of Geordie Theatre for six seasons, currently transitioning into his new role as Tarragon Theatre’s incoming Artistic Director.
Tara Beagan is a Ntlaka’pamux and Irish “Canadian” halfbreed. She is cofounder/codirector of ARTICLE 11 with Andy Moro. A11 has worked across Turtle Island, in Aotearoa, Australia and Scotland, and is based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary.) Beagan served as AD of Native Earth Performing Arts (Toronto) from Feb 2011 to Dec 2013. She’s been in residence at Cahoots (Toronto), NEPA, the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Berton House (Dawson City) and now at Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg.) Seven of her 32 plays are published. Two plays have received Dora nominations, with one win. In 2020 Honour Beat won the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award and Beagan the Siminovitch Prize for Drama, playwriting.