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).
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Naz Afsahi (she/they) is an arts manager of West Asian descent with over a decade of experience in the Toronto theatre sector, supporting artistic creation and operations. Naz deeply values the unique mission that Nightwood champions and is delighted to transition in her sixth season with the company to the Managing Director role.
Her personal and professional work in the world is grounded in principles of social justice and anti-oppression. Naz is particularly interested in how power operates, who is afforded the privilege to speak from a place of authority – often in contrast to those with lived experiences – and how we can shift and dismantle systems to create more liberated futures. Their definition of feminism hinges on an intersectional approach, with an understanding that there are numerous obstacles faced by individuals, and that these obstacles meet at the convergences of different forms of oppressions, including but not limited to race, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status and age. Naz’s goal is to challenge the underlying assumptions and systems that feed into and foster oppressions faced by those from equity-seeking groups in order to better support artists and arts workers, and challenge how work is created in the sector.
Naz believes in community engagement and volunteering: they are the Chair of the Board of Directors for Paprika Theatre Festival; they sit on the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres’ (PACT) Finance Committee; and they have been a decade-long volunteer editor with Shameless Magazine. Naz is also on the core team for OPEN DOOR, an initiative to build connections, awareness, and a learning exchange within the IBPOC arts administration community, through informal and regularly occurring virtual gatherings for IBPOC arts administrators and managers. OPEN DOOR is run as a free, volunteer initiative. Overall, Naz believes in being an active witness in the world.
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 at TAPA. Naz holds a Masters of Arts in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario, and an Honours B.A. (double major) from Queen’s University. Naz replenishes her joy through chats with loved ones, contemporary romance novels, cooking while watching reality television, time spent in nature and deep heart to heart hugs.
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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
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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.
HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT
Erika Morey (she/her) is an arts manager, stage manager & producer who is passionate about live performance and improving working conditions for artists in the sector. She recently completed a Metcalf Foundation Arts Management internship for both Volcano Theatre and Peggy Baker Dance Projects, and has previously worked for re:Naissance Opera as their Fundraising Coordinator. As a stage manager, she’s worked on productions with the Charlottetown Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Edmonton Opera, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, The Musical Stage Company, Theatre New Brunswick, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Modern Times, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Theatre Gargantua, and many more. Erika currently sits as Secretary-Treasurer and National Stage Management Councillor for the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association. She also studies Arts & Cultural Management at MacEwan University and is an alumnus of York Region Arts Council’s Artrepreneur and Toronto Fringe’s TENT programs. @erikadmorey
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Head of Communications & Engagement
Taylor Trowbridge (she/her) is an actor, educator, emerging playwright 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.
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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.
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ARTISTIC PRODUCER ASSOCIATE
Reva Lokhande (she/her) is an arts manager and advocator, artist, actor, and aspiring stage manager, producer and director. She earned her bachelor’s in Arts Management from Lasalle College of The Arts in Singapore and most recently her Post-Graduate Diploma in Theatre Production from Humber College. She has experience and knowledge in stage managing, gallery managing, exhibitions, art fairs and short films. Her passion for theatre, film, art, and nature is what keeps her on her toes and brings her joy. Her theatre experience includes working on plays such as Shakespeare’s Taming of Shrew, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet in Singapore as well as plays produced by Humber College; Stage Manager for Andrew Penner’s Songs of Class and Dirt, and Assistant Stage Manager for Richard Lee’s Humans. She also is an alumnus of the 2021 TENT program from the Toronto Fringe. Reva looks forward to being a an integral part of all aspects of making conscious and engaging theatre and to working towards being a part of the Canadian Theatre Scene.
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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
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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.
OAC Creators in Residence 21-22
Sadie Epstein-Fine, Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野, and Colleen Snell