Vancouver Theatre Guide

Starting the day off with Opening Remarks from Executive Director Kenji Maeda and guests.

The day-long conference kicks off with a panel discussing "lessons learned" from organizations that faced exceptional challenges and decisions. Vicki Stroich, Executive Director of Alberta Theatre Projects will speak about their recent $400k fundraising campaign, due in part by the 77% reduction in corporate sponsorships, while also exploring their steps toward a more sustainable business model. John Wright, former Artistic Director of Blackbird Theatre, will share his experience about their recent closure after 12 years of producing classical theatre to Vancouver audiences.



Vicki Stroich is Executive Director at Alberta Theatre Projects (ATP) in Calgary, Alberta. Before becoming Executive Director in 2013, she was a member of ATP’s Artistic Team for 12 years.    As Executive Director, her focus is leading ATP’s organizational vision.  She freelances as a dramaturg, facilitator and director and has a BFA Drama from the University of Calgary.  Vicki is currently Treasurer of Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT).  She is a Past-President of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and was a Director of the Banff Centre’s Banff Playwrights Colony (2009 -2012).   Vicki is the proud recipient of a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Achievement for her contribution to new Canadian theatre and was named by Avenue Magazine as a Top 40 Under 40 in 2013.  She contributed an article about Dramaturgy and Leadership to the Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy.



Currently Managing Director of Urban Ink, Dawn has led a variety of arts and arts service organizations in Vancouver including the GVPTA, Actsafe Safety Association, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company and Vancouver International Writers Festival. Dawn also provides Consulting, Facilitation and Organizational Development services to non-profit organizations.  Dawn holds a Masters in Leadership (Royal Roads University), certificates in Good Governance for Indigenous Councils and Boards (Banff Centre), Public Participation (IAPP), Meeting the Leadership Challenge (UBC Executive Education) and is a graduate of the National Theatre School. The founder of Vancouver’s Theatre Cares, Dawn has received the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards’ Mary Phillips Prize for Unsung Heroes and a Canada Council John Hobday Award in Arts Management.


John was co-founder and Artistic Director of Blackbird Theatre. His career spans more than 50 years working in theatre and film. At the Vancouver Playhouse, as assistant to Artistic Director Joy Coghill, John developed stage 2 for the presentation of new Canadian plays. His work in film and television in the 70's and 80's has included directing episodes of The Beachcombers, as well as award-winning dramas and documentaries. In 1985 he accepted a faculty appointment at UBC, and was Head of Theatre and Film from 1994 to 1999. John holds a BA from UBC and an MFA from Stanford.



Steph Kirkland is the Founder and Executive Director of VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society, the first live description service for the blind in Canada. Steph has studied with arts access professionals in New York, London and Washington, DC. In 2014, she was honoured with the Achievement Award in Audio Description International from The American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project “for outstanding contributions to the establishment and/or continued development of significant audio description programs.” Steph has more than 25 years experience as a theatre director and holds an MFA in directing from York University.

An Artists' and Administrators' guide to Health and Wellness. How do we work toward a balance to reduce the risk of emotional and physical burn out? When and how do we make decisions about volunteering our time and artistic practice? What practical options are their for administrators to create a more efficient and productive work place?



As Co-Artistic Producer of Patrick Street Productions, Peter’s directing credits include Into the Woods, The Light in the Piazza, Floyd Collins, Best Laid Plans, and A Little Night Music. Other directing credits include Rock of Ages and Avenue Q (Arts Club), Les Misérables and Fiddler on the Roof (Chemainus Theatre), and Emperor of Atlantis (City Opera). His musical adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life has played Chemainus Theatre, Persephone Theatre, and Theatre Aquarius. A passionate educator, Peter is the Program Director of The Arts Club Musical Theatre Intensive, a guest teacher at Capilano University, and teaches Master Classes through PSP.



David has a bachelor’s degree in Drama for Human Development from Concordia University in Montreal and a Masters degree in Directing from Ohio University. He has worked at the Vancouver Fringe since moving to Vancouver in 2004, and has been the Executive Director since 2006. He served as the President of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals from 2010-2016. He has been involved in Executive Director education programs at Vantage Point as a participant and mentor.  He is passionate about the Fringe vision of “Theatre for Everyone”:  accessibility for artists and audience alike. He lives in East Vancouver with his wife Bethan and their children Owen, Max and Jasper. 

mia susan amir 

mia susan amir works at the intersections of creative and community practice as an educator, dramaturg, cultural organizer, curator, publishing writer, and theatre artist creating immersive interdisciplinary works. She lives and works on the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh. mia is the Creative Director of The Story We Be, and the Associate Dramaturg at PTC. She teaches Creative Writing in Continuing Studies at UBC. In her creative work, mia explores the way sociopolitical events are manifest intergenerationally in the spaces of the home and the body; the narrative hauntings that emerge when our stories go untold; what she calls Dybbuk Consciousness. mia is a Jew of mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardic descent, and is disabled by chronic illness.


Donna wears many hats in the theatre world. As a performer, recent credits include: The Drowning Girls (Vertigo), Half Life (Theatre Northwest), Salmon Girl (Raven Spirit Dance), Green Lake (Solo Collective), and King of the Yees (Gateway). She is the Volunteer Co-ordinator for VocalEye and a Front House of Manager for Granville Island Cultural Society and Roundhouse Community Centre. She serves as treasurer on Theatre Replacement’s board of directors. Donna has provided project coordination for companies such as: Mammalian Diving Reflex, Projet in Situ, Theatre Replacement and Progress Lab. She was the general manager of The Elbow Theatre for two years.

How we do ensure that theatre is accessible to artists and audiences? What do companies and other artists need to consider when opening up the space for everyone to feel welcome and invited to create, participate, and observe? This session will provide practical advice for those working in theatre, including directors, performers, marketing professionals.



Steph Kirkland is the Founder and Executive Director of VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society, the first live description service for the blind in Canada. Steph has studied with arts access professionals in New York, London and Washington, DC. In 2014, she was honoured with the Achievement Award in Audio Description International from The American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project “for outstanding contributions to the establishment and/or continued development of significant audio description programs.” Steph has more than 25 years experience as a theatre director and holds an MFA in directing from York University.



Carole is in her 15th season as Artistic Director of Carousel Theatre for Young People, with many directing credits under her name. Over the years, her directing work has been honoured with two Jessie Awards and six nominations. 


Originally from Newfoundland, Adam’s career in theatre, film, dance, and the literary arts spans more than 15 years. Since moving to Vancouver in 2008, he’s appeared in stage productions including Frank Theatre’s All In, Touchstone’s Scene/Change, Theatre Terrific’s adaptation of I Love Mondays, and Real Wheels Theatre’s landmark production of Creeps. Adam was also the director and librettist behind Pipedream Theatre’s Pick-of-the-Fringe winner, CAPS LOCK!: The Musical. Produced by rice & beans theatre, his new solo show, Last Train In, recently premiered at UNOFest, before coming back to Vancouver for this year’s rEvolver Festival. For more about Adam, visit


Jessica is DeafPOC (Person of Colour) - Asian Taiwanese and Chinese, gender neutral person currently and acknowledging, as a settler living on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish Territories, the importance living with indigenous peoples (Vancouver, BC). Jessica is a poet, movement, and visual artist, with hopes of learning movement combined with sign language (American Sign Language), with a focus on their intersectionality being, whether in hearing and Deaf world. Jessica is excited to open dialogue on the perspectives on how to empower and have an understanding where and why DBIPOC(Deaf, Black Indigenous People of colour) should have courage to grow into art intersectional communities.


How do you effectively incorporate multimedia and technology in performance? What is the value of using it in performance, and how has it changed the world of storytelling? What impact does the use of this new artistic tool have on traditionally multimedia-less performances and expectations of audiences?



Kim is a Director, Creator, Teacher, Actress and the co-founder of Electric Company Theatre where she was Artistic Producer for 15 years and continues to work as a Co-Artistic Director.  With Electric Company she was the co-creator / director of a large body of work that toured nationally including: Tear The Curtain, Studies in Motion, The Score, The One That Got Away, Brilliant and No Exit; a live film adaptation of Sartre’s classic play. The last few years she was Resident Artist at Canadian Stage and the inaugural director of their new MFA in Directing with York University. Kim is the recipient of the prestigious Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize for Directing; 4 Jessie Richardson wards and a Sterling Award for Direction.


June Fukumura is an emerging, Japanese-Canadian theatre artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance and a Certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Simon Fraser University. June is the Co-Artistic Director of Popcorn Galaxies, an emerging theatre company interested in re-enchanting the everyday through unconventional site-specific works. June is also the Co-Founder of New(to)Town Collective, an emerging artist collective with a mandate to provide on going accessible physical theatre training and experimental research workshops for artists in Vancouver. The Collective’s core intension is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas in the artistic community. In 2016, June received the Early Career Development Internship Grant to work with Theatre Replacement as the Associate Producer Intern. Her artistic training includes physical theatre, clowning, contemporary dance, performance art, directing, dramaturgy, and devised theatre. Her artistic practice is a unique blend of experimental contemporary theatre, site-specific community engaged arts, and somatic performance techniques.



Lois is a Vancouver-based stage manager, production manager, and theatre administrator. Some memorable projects include: (Itsazoo/Savage Society), Re:Union (Pacific Theatre/Horseshoes & Hand Grenades), Leftovers (Neworld), This Stays in the Room  (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades), You Will Remember Me (Gateway / Ruby Slippers Theatre), and Ride the Cyclone (Atomic Vaudeville). Lois was the stage manager for the Richmond Olympic Oval during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and spent two years running the Vancouver Fringe Festival's site specific development program. She is the president of the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, sits on the board of the SpiderWebShow & the CAEA national stage management committee.


Carey is a multidisciplinary artist whose work involves sonic arts, interactivity, installations, sound design, projection design, site-specific work and performance. He specializes in developing novel sound and projection systems for live performance and installation work. Carey has a keen interest in creating new and exciting immersive experiences. He has been Boca del Lupo's Technology Director and for over 5 years and continues to work there. He started teaching sound design at UBC in 2017.


Keely O'Brien is an interdisciplinary artist who holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Simon Fraser University. She is also Co-Artistic Director of emerging theatre company Popcorn Galaxies. Her art practice incorporates intricately handmade objects with immersive, innovative theatre creation. Recent projects include Paper Dream, Apocalypse Parade, New Narratives, Wonders of the Ancient World, Invisible City, Hold On Tightly, and Elk Walk. Through a playful DIY approach and unexpected use of space and structure, Keely's work aims to celebrate the potential for creativity and wonder in the everyday.


In this session we will interrogate value-added programming (eg talkbacks) and the value they bring to a performance and audience. How should they be structured, who leads them and who benefits from them? Explore social media and other traditional and non-traditional marketing techniques and ways of communicating with your audience. What does real community engagement even mean?  



Rohit is the Artistic Director for Diwali in BC. Prior he was Apprentice Director at Bard on the Beach 2016, Producer in Residence at the National Arts Centre - English Theatre 2015/16, General Manager for Touchstone Theatre 2013/14 and for urban ink production 2012/2013. He recently launched a sector development initiative called Project SAT (South Asian Theatre project) to create a network for developing, touring, producing and presenting national and international South Asian themed theatre projects in Canada.



Bonnie Sun is the Communications Director at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Over the past 15 years, Bonnie has built up extensive experience working and volunteering in the non-profit arts sector. Her career in the cultural industry began at The Glenbow Museum in Calgary, and continued after moving to Vancouver in 2005, at The Dance Centre. This was her gateway to the world of performing arts and led to marketing and communications roles at New Works and Eponymous, Vancouver's leading artist management agencies, where she worked with some of Canada's highest profile contemporary dance companies.


David Ng is a queer feminist social justice activist. He has co-founded and worked on numerous campaigns and projects including youth sexual health initiatives, feminist anti-violence campaigns, anti-racist projects, and other forms of fun, radical, anti-oppression work. He is the Outreach Coordinator for Theatre for Living, and the co-founder of the queer media arts project Love Intersections.


Andrea has been with Pacific Theatre for nine years, starting as an apprentice with the current title of Director of Marketing and Publicity and Interim General Manager. Over the past several years she has served on the board of the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, currently in her last year as Outgoing Board President. She is taking part in the Cultural Human Resources Council’s Talent to Lead program, writes for a number of online publications, and occasionally moonlights as a choreographer. She is passionate about connecting the arts to Vancouver’s community at large.

What does it mean to be a working theatre actor? Do actors really do theatre for the passion and film & tv for the money? Is working in film a requirement now to try and survive? Let's explore lessons learned from industry professionals on what it means to be a performer where the product is you. 



Kim Barsanti is a senior talent agent and artist manager at Lucas Talent. She created and successfully ran Muse Artist Management prior to her merger with Lucas. Kim began her close working relationship with actors and performers as a professional stage manager in theatre and dance. With more than 20 years of experience representing actors for film, tv, and theatre, she is happy to share her knowledge and insights on the “business of performing”.



Alison Kelly is an award winning actress and playwright. She has performed across the country and as far a field as Australia. She is one of the creators of the international hit Mom’s The Word and the sequels, Mom’s The Word: Unhinged, Mom’s The Word: Remixed, and Mom’s The Word: Nest Half Empty. Alison is also a theatre instructor. She teaches at Studio 58, the Vancouver Film School and through Langara College Continuing Studies program. Alison is a graduate of Studio 58.


Omari Newton is a professional actor & writer who's work can be seen on stage and screen. He's been a series regular on critically acclaimed television shows like Showcase's Continuum (Lucas Ingram) and cult comedy classic Blue Mountain State (Larry Summers). He has made appearances on hit shows Supernatural, The X files, Fringe and is currently a recurring role on YTV's remake of classic animated series "Reboot." Fans of animation may recognize his voice from projects such as Disney XD's Max Steel, Marvel Knight's Wolvernine VS Sabertooth (Black Panther) and Netflixx original Animated series “Tarzan & Jane” (Chief Waziri) As a playwright, his critically acclaimed Hip Hop theatre piece Sal Capone has toured Canada and is preparing for an east coast remount in 2018 at Canada's National Arts centre in Ottawa Ontario. 


A fast and furious crash course on private sector sponsorship, including an understanding of the sponsorship cycle from planning and prospecting, making an approach, pitching, and stewarding.



Kenji is the artsVest B.C. Program Manager for Business for the Arts, which is a sponsorship training program for arts organizations across the province. He has had the opportunity to lead workshops and work with more than 100 arts organizations to strategize private sector partnerships within the arts. For five years he was the Executive Director of DOXA Documentary Film Festival. He has worked in film, tv, and theatre, is a Jessie Award recipient, and is also currently the Executive Director of the GVPTA.

Invited contributors were asked to take a moment to look back at the history of Vancouver theatre, and look forward to what is to come.


Born to a West Vancouver family involved in the fishing industry, Bill Millerd graduated from the UBC with a BA in Political Science and International Studies, and later from the National Theatre School.

Since 1972, Bill has been the Artistic Managing Director of the Arts Club Theatre Company. During his tenure, 500 plays have been produced, over 100 of which Bill has directed. Under Bill’s leadership, the theatre has staged over 120 Canadian works, including more than 80 premieres of new Canadian plays During his time at the helm,  four theatres spaces have either been renovated or created and two have closed including the original Seymour Street Arts Club. 


He is an actor, director, and multi-discipline theatre artist. He is a graduate of Douglas College and Capilano University. He recently directed Spring Awakening (Phantom Moon Collective) and The Nether (Redcurrant Collective/Firehall Arts Centre). He will performing two roles this summer with Ensemble Theatre Company: A Prayer for Owen Meany and Master Class. He is also the founder and artistic director of West Moon Theatre.


Proud of her French and Indigenous ancestry, Emilie is a bilingual actor and theatre creator living in Vancouver. Recent credits include Redpatch (Hardline Productions), Bonjour, là, Bonjour (Théâtre la Seizième), A Charlie Brown Christmas (Carousel Theatre for Young People, Jessie Nomination), Mathieu Mathématiques (Théâtre la Seizième, Jessie Award) and John & Beatrice (Vortex Theatre). Emilie co-created Patrice Balbina's Chance Encounter with the End of the World and the Award-winning performance iShow (Les petites cellules chaudes) both of which she toured internationally. She’s currently developing her new play Anonyme. Emilie is a graduate of Studio 58 and holds a B.A. from McGill University.


Since 2003, Maiko has been an Artistic Director of Theatre Replacement, a company she formed with fellow artist James Long. The company’s work has focused on building performances that react to contemporary existence through a highly evolved and extended process of collaboration, and explores unique and challenging ways of using content and staging material. In addition to her work with TR, Maiko directs, writes, teaches and creates performance for a diverse range of companies and venues. She holds a BFA in Theatre from Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts and a MAA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance  |  Vancouver, BC, Canada  |

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