Born and raised in Toronto, Andrea Donaldson has directed productions for theatres across the country including Soulpepper, Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre Direct, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Festival Players in Prince Edward County, NTS, Summerworks, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in the Ruff, Espace René-Provost, Toronto Fringe, Red Sky Performance, and Nightwood Theatre. For two decades, Donaldson has played a pivotal role in fostering new works for the stage, both in her role as Tarragon’s Associate Artistic Director and as the program Director for Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip program – a unit for exceptional emerging playwrights, in which she developed Rose Napoli’s Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells), Grace by Jane Doe, and Every Day She Rose by Andrea Scott and Nick Green.
Andrea was invited into The Stratford Festival’s Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction, and was honoured with Stratford’s Jean Gascon Award for Direction. She won the Best Director Award at the International Youth Drama Month in Shenzhen, China for Mistatim, which has played to over 750,000 children internationally. Andrea has been nominated twice each for the Pauline McGibbon Award, the John Hirsch Directing Award and the Gina Wilkinson Award, as well as for several Dora Awards. Andrea received a Dora Award for Outstanding Performance & Outstanding Production for performing in the Urge Collective collaboration And By the Way, Miss (Theatre Direct).
Beth Brown has worked in theatre as a Stage Manager, Technical Director and Production Manager for various theatre companies in Ontario, overseeing a multitude of productions including national and international tours. Beth was appointed General Manager of Theatre Direct in 2010 after overseeing Theatre Direct’s creation of a fully equipped theatre and education space in the Artscape Wychwood Barns. As General Manager for Theatre Direct, Beth has supported many award winning productions including Binti’s Journey adapted by Marcia Johnson from the novel The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis, Sanctuary Song by Abigail Richardson-Schulte and Marjorie Chan, Old Man and the River by Lynda Hill and Thomas Morgan Jones and most recently Theatre Direct’s inaugural WeeFestival of Theatre and Culture for Early Years. Beth sits on various committees for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatre (PACT) including the Finance and Labour Committees and is a Board Member for Eldritch Theatre Company. She is a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada.
Artistic Associate and Business Manager
Naz Afsahi (She/They) oversees a portfolio that includes a unique mix that falls across both artistic and management duties. You can find her on any given day focusing on producing to-dos such as contracting, grant applications and bookkeeping, as well as administrating many of the artistic programs offered by Nightwood and even moonlighting as an Assistant Stage Manager on the Lawyer Show! Naz is delighted to start her sixth season with the company and deeply values the unique mission that Nightwood brings to the sector. She is passionate about issues relating to equity, trans rights, as well as race and representation. A intersectional feminist of colour, Naz is addicted to contemporary romance novels, cooking while watching British reality television or makeup declutter videos on Youtube, working on restoring her Tennyson dollhouse, yin yoga and cuddles. Naz believes in community engagement and volunteering: Naz is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Paprika Festival, and a blog-editor with Shameless Magazine. Prior to joining Nightwood, Naz spent five seasons with Theatre Direct in a variety of roles, and has served on two Juries at the Ontario Arts Council and as a Jury Member on TAPA’s 14-15 Dora Juror Committee for the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) category. Naz holds a Masters of Arts in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario, and an Honours B.A. (Film Studies/Religious Studies) from Queen’s University.
Director of Communications & Engagement
Taylor Trowbridge is an actor, educator and arts administrator. As an actor, she has performed in productions for theatre companies such as Canadian Stage, The Shaw Festival, Nightwood Theatre, Bard on the Beach, Thousand Islands Playhouse and SummerWorks Festival. She holds an MFA in Acting from York University and her thesis work explored discovering greater artistic freedom through a practice of personal discipline. As an educator, Taylor’s focus is on connecting students to their inner-worth and interconnectivity, their sense of daring and vulnerability. With her work an arts administrator, her mission is to communicate from a place of community-building rather than commerce, and some of her projects with Nightwood Theatre include the Young Innovators Program, the Conversation Series Interviews and the Social Distancing Care Packages.
Development & Engagement Associate
Amanda Lin 林美智 (she/her) is an emerging Taiwanese-Canadian theatre artist who specializes in writing, performance, direction, and arts administration. She is a recent(ish) 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 particularly interested in cultivating spaces of care and connection within theatre, and providing a platform for underrepresented people and stories. Amanda is an alumni of Nightwood Theatre’s Young Innovators Program and fu-GEN Asian-Canadian Theatre’s Kitchen Playwriting unit. She has also worked with companies such as Why Not Theatre, the Paprika Festival, Ergo Arts Theatre, Single Thread Theatre Company, the Kick and Push Festival, Thousand Islands Playhouse, and Young People’s Theatre. Alongside her work with Nightwood, Amanda also works at Cahoots Theatre as their Development Coordinator. Visit Amanda online at www.amandamlin.com.
Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a genderqueer, multi-disciplinary performer/creator, and first-generation Nikkei-Canadian settler of Japanese and German roots thankful to make Tkarón:to their home. Teiya comes from a background of over a decade of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across North America and Europe, most recently praised as “a force of nature” by the Toronto Star for their portrayal in FAWN’s Pandora. Their new initiative to centre equity-seeking artists, Amplified Opera (co-founded with director Aria Umezawa), launched publicly this October with the inaugural concert series AMPLIFY. Performances this season include The Wager (Theatre Gargantua),Symphony Spooktacular (Toronto Symphony Orchestra), the title role in Madama Butterfly (Windsor Symphony), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Buddies), assistant directing All the Little Animals I Have Eaten (Nightwood), Beethoven 9 (Kingston Symphony), and the world premiere of their operatic-inspired play The Queen In Me (Amplified Opera/Theatre Gargantua) in 2020. Teiya is a co-founder/member of Queer AF Collective, founder/head coach of the Vocal Dōjō, an apprentice with RAW Taiko Drummers, and is a graduate of Generator’s Artist Producer Training, the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, and the University of British Columbia. For more info visit www.teiyakasahara.com or follow @teiyakasahara.
*This position is made possible through the Canada Council for the Arts
ARTIST/ACTIVIST IN RESIDENCE
Sedina Fiati is a Toronto based performer, producer, director, creator and activist for stage and screen. Proudly Black and queer, Sedina is deeply invested in artistic work that explores the intersection between art and activism, either in form or structure or ideally both. Sedina holds a BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Windsor and has been active as a theatre artist for over 15 years. Favourite and recent artistic projects: Children’s Peace Camp (Children’s Peace Theatre, director), Every Day She Rose (Nightwood Theatre, co-director), Switch: The Village (collective member, QTBIPOC street performance, Buddies in Bad Times 2018 & 2019), Feminist Fuck It Festival (multidisciplinary festival, co-creator and co-producer). Upcoming projects: Switching Queen(s) (devised street performance), Last Dance (a web series). Sedina is also a facilitator and panelist in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion. Recent work: Nightwood Theatre’s Feminist Unconference (facilitator), Toronto Fringe (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Audit Co-Facilitator), Stratford Symposium 2019 (panelist), Reel World Film Festival 2019 (panel moderator), Making Space for Conflict with the AFC (facilitator), CTV’s Your Morning (panelist), Woke 2.0 Social Justice Workshop series (creator and facilitator).
*This position is made possible through the Canada Council for the Arts
Write from the Hip Program Director
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (aka Belladonna the Beast) is an emcee, playwright, dramaturge and agitator. Her work has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize, Governor General’s Literary Awards, SATA, Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, Enbridge PlayRites Award and Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. She has been engaged as a dramaturge for Pink Pluto, Native Earth Performing Arts, Factory Theatre, lemonTree creations and Humber College Drama Program. DM is the artistic director of New Harlem Productions, emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, playwright in residence at lemonTree creations and coordinator of the ADHOC Assembly.
Jessica Watkin is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies with research focusing on Disabled artists in Canada and their creation processes, dramaturgies, and support systems. She is a Blind and Disabled scholar, interdisciplinary artist, dramaturg, consultant, educator, and reader. She has been published in the Canadian Theatre Review, The Drama Review, and Theatre Research in Canada. Jessica is working to co-create definitions of what Accessibility Design and Disability Dramaturgy mean in a Canadian context.