Matthew MacKenzie is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Alberta and proud father of Ivan (Eevan, Vanya, Vanichka). Artistic Director of Punctuate! Theatre, Matthew is also the founder and an Artistic Associate with Pyretic Productions, a founding member of the Pemmican Collective, as well as Canadian Liaison of the Liberian Dance Troupe. Matt’s plays include First Métis Man of Odesa, Bears, After the Fire and The Particulars.
Genevieve Adam is a graduate of the George Brown Theatre School in Toronto and holds an MFA from the East15 Acting School in the UK.Selected acting credits include Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (CBS), The Big Cigar (AppleTV), Mrs. America (FX), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Stag&Doe (Capitol Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre By the Bay), Annabel (BBC4), Measure for Measure (Thought for Food) and Recall (Toronto Fringe) – for which she was nominated as Outstanding Actress in the 2017 MyEntWorld Critics’ Pick Awards.Her first play Deceitful Above All Things premiered at SummerWorks in 2015 and won several accolades including Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Production, and Best Emerging Artist. It was remounted at the Factory in association with The Storefront Theatre in February 2017.Subsequent plays include Bedsport (Newmarket National Play Festival), New World (Future Theatre Festival), Anatomy of A Dancer (Next Stage 2019), The Boat Show (Lost Souls’ Collective), and If The Shoe Fits, which won second place in the Toronto Fringe 2019 New Writing Contest.Her most recent play Dark Heart was named one of the top theatrical productions of 2018 by the Toronto Star.Genevieve is part of the 2023 Creator’s Units at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope and the Guild Festival Theatre in Toronto.She is also the poet behind the whimsical #haikusofthepandemic series.
Kimberly Beaune is an accomplished event industry professional with nearly 30 years experience. After receiving her Hospitality training at Red Deer College, she began her career in hotel sales. It didn’t take long for Kimberly to fall in love with the magic of event design and go on to explore that passion through senior roles in off-site catering, destination management, décor & design and entertainment. While building her foundation in events in Toronto, she also began to create, produce, direct and design theatre projects for the award-winning theatre company Keystone Theatre. As her worlds of events and theatre began to blend, a passion for telling stories through design and event animation grew. Kimberly continued to hone her design aesthetic and established her approach to event storytelling by leading the concept, creation and design of hundreds of unique projects across Canada. She has served as an industry mentor and leader and spoken internationally regarding event design and logistics. Since launching her boutique event firm Creative Twist Inc. in 2014, she has twice been named one of Canada’s “Most Influential Event Professionals” by Bizbash Magazine and won three Canadian Event Industry Awards for her work. In 2021 family brought her back home to Red Deer. Since moving her headquarters to Alberta, she continued to work with key event clients in both Ontario and Alberta. Never far from theatre, she sits on the board of directors for Prime Stock Theatre in Red Deer and is their acting General Manager. Recently, she took over the day to day management of The Scott Block, a vintage black box theatre and cabaret space in Red Deer. This new venture brings both of her worlds together under one roof; a venue for unique and engaging events, and a creative space for theatre and performance. What stories can she help you tell?
Claren Grosz is a Toronto based writer, theatre and visual artist and Artistic Director of Pencil Kit Productions. She recently published her first illustrated chapbook of poetry, starting with the roof of my mouth (Gap Riot Press, 2022). Some of her favourite theatre projects included directing CHICHO (Pencil Kit Productions/Theatre Passe Muraille, 2019) and co-creating and directing Shadow Girls (Pencil Kit Productions, 2018). She is the recipient of the 2018 Ken MacDougall Emerging Director Award and the 2015 My Entertainment World Outstanding Direction (Small Theatre) Award. When she isn’t making art, Claren teaches children and teenagers math on zoom.
Rena Polley is an actor, writer, producer and teacher. She performed in The Chekhov Collective’s The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I Take Your Hand In Mine which toured Washington D.C. Rena has been involved for over 20 years with the acting techniques of Michael Chekhov (Anton’s nephew) and is a founding member of Michael Chekhov Canada as well as The Chekhov Collective. She sits on the board of The Michael Chekhov Association in NYC and is part of the Michael Chekhov Studio Co-op of independent studio from around the world. She also acted in Don Shebib’s new film “Night Talk” which premiered at TIFF this year.
There has been a topic that has dominated the theatre scene in Canada for several years, and that’s the question of whether audiences are disappearing. This week, host Phil Rickaby convenes a roundtable discussion with indie theatre artists to discuss that very question.
Amy Lee Lavoie is an award-winning playwright and a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program. Her first play, Rabbit Rabbit, received its premiere production with Infinitheatre, earning Amy Lee two MECCA’s for Best Text and the Revelation Award. Rabbit Rabbit has since been produced across Canada and in the US.
Other plays include Me Happy (co-written with Matthew Mackenzie/Summerworks Festival), Stopheart (Factory Theatre) Genetic Drift (Pi Theatre/Boca del Lupo) My Tom (Railtown Lab Series), Scout’s Honour (Radio Play/Imago Theatre) and C’mon, Angie! (Touchstone Theatre/Leroy Street Theatre) which was hailed as “visceral, important, life-changing theatre.”
Amy Lee was also the Head Digital Writer for the CBC drama Strange Empire, which won a Gracie Award (Women’s Alliance Media) for Best Website in recognition of its interactive Storytelling. Amy Lee is currently developing an original play, Women Do Not Go on Strike, with Odd Stumble Theatre, as well as co-writing multiple projects with her husband/fellow writer Omari Newton. They include: Blackfly, an adaptation of Titus Andronicus, originally commissioned by Repercussion Theatre and recently supported by CCA’s Digital Now, as well as an adaptation of Dante’s Inferno for re:Naissance Opera. Amy Lee & Omari’s audio drama Doubletree, commissioned by Factory Theatre, was recently presented on iTunes and Spotify as part of their You Can’t Get There from Here, Vol. 2 series.
Omari Newton is an award-winning professional actor, writer, director and producer. As a writer, his original Hip Hop Theater piece Sal Capone has received critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a run at Canada’s National Arts Center. Omari and his wife, fellow professional playwright Amy Lee Lavoie, received a Silver Commission from The Arts Club Theatre to co-write a new play: Redbone Coonhound. A bold and innovative satirical comedy that confronts instances of systemic racism in the past, present and future. Omari co-directed the first in a series of rolling world premieres at The Arts Club Theatre in October of 2022. The play is set to open at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, followed by a run at Imago Theatre in Montreal. The husband and wife duo have also just completed “Black Fly,” a satirical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus that centers on Aaron and Lavinia. 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. He has recently completed directing critically acclaimed productions of “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall, and “Pass Over” by Antoinette Nwandu. 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.
Redbone Coonhound Out for a walk in their West End neighbourhood, Mike and Marissa—an interracial couple—meet a dog with an unfortunate breed name: Redbone Coonhound. This small detail unleashes a cascading debate between them about race and their relationship that manifests as a series of micro-plays, each satirizing contemporary perspectives on modern culture.
Through its hard-hitting comedic elements, Redbone Coonhound explores the intricacies of subtle and overt polemics of race, systemic power and privilege in remarkable, surprising and hilarious ways.
A wild and subversive journey back through history and into the future.
Redbone Coonhound reveals deep fears, rage, insecurities and, ultimately, hope.
Andrew G. Cooper is a Canadian playwright, director, and puppeteer. As an artist, Andrew’s focus is on the creation of new works with a particular emphasis on storytelling through physical mediums such as puppetry, movement, mask, and stage combat. They hold their Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Thompson Rivers University and are the recipient of the Kamloops Mayor’s Emerging Artist Award as well as a nominee of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award. They won multiple awards for Outstanding Choreography for their work in Musical Theatre with the Academy of Dance and are the founding Artistic Managing Director of Chimera Theatre in Kamloops, BC and the founding and current Artistic Producer of Jupiter Theatre in Calgary, AB. Andrew debuted on television as a puppeteer on Apple TV+ with The Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock. Andrew is a lover of astronomy and animals and currently lives in Calgary, AB.
Amanda Lin 林美智 (she/her) is a friend, playwright, daughter, arts administrator, crochet enthusiast, performer, and director. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, where she studied social psychology, theatre, and business, with her area of research centring on attitudes and social influence. She is interested in using art and storytelling to cultivate compassionate and dynamic communities. Amanda currently works at Nightwood Theatre, where she spends her time fundraising and co-leading emerging artist programs such as the Nightwood Innovators and Rising Moon. Her first full-length play, Between a Wok and a Hot Pot (Asian Canadian Dinner Theatre), is premiering in Toronto with Cahoots Theatre in January 2023.
Bronwyn Steinberg is a theatre director and community builder; she’s passionate about making theatre an inclusive gathering space where stories are shared that celebrate the diversity of human experience. Based in Calgary/Mohkinstsis in Treaty 7 territory, she is the Artistic Director of Lunchbox Theatre, and she recently directed The Importance of Being Earnest for Theatre Calgary. She loves working with the classics as well as new plays, and since coming to Lunchbox in 2020, she has directed both Home for the Holidays, a new musical by Cayley Wreggitt and Alixandra Cowman, and Rebecca Northan’s All I Want for Christmas. She has also directed 6 new play development workshops as part of the Lunchbox Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work and Stage Two, in addition to multiple workshops and premieres with other companies. She was based in Ottawa for 12 years, where she was the founding Artistic Director of the indie series TACTICS. Credits as an award-winning freelance director include The Drowning Girls and Bang Bang (Great Canadian Theatre Company), The Revolutionists and Miss Shakespeare (Three Sisters Theatre), Twelfth Night (A Company of Fools) and Raising Stanley / Life with Tulia—an accessible multimedia storytelling collaboration with Kim Kilpatrick and Karen Bailey. She has worked as an assistant director at the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival and GCTC and is a member of both the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (2018 & 2019) and Directors Lab North (2020).