Heidi Taylor’s passion for theatre was ignited when she played a robot in a grade six play. Since then, she has moved from acting to dramaturgy as her primary creative activity. Her background in performance creation with cross-disciplinary company Proximity Arts sparked her beginner-mind approach to dramaturgy. She applies principles learned from early mentors DD Kugler and One Yellow Rabbit, and relies on her hands-on experiences with Public Dreams and Leaky Heaven Circus to maintain a sense of passionate liveness in the work. She is interested in the “how” of theatre – how do we create collaborative relationships and processes that inspire artists to make necessary work with transformative power?
Heidi Taylor is a dramaturg, director and performer, and Artistic and Executive Director at PTC, based on the traditional unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She makes sited, devised, and interdisciplinary work, developing performances from first idea through production. She is a dramaturg for VACT’s MSG Lab, developing new work by Asian Canadian writers, and is currently dramturging two projects with rice & beans theatre, Derek Chan’s yellow objects and Pedro Chamale’s Peace Country. She has also dramaturged for dance, including Amber Funk Barton’s current project How to Say Goodbye. Recent projects include world premieres of Carmen Aguirre’s Anywhere But Here, Kuroko and 1 Hour Photo by Tetsuro Shigematsu (Governor General Award nominee), Public and Private by choreographer Ziyian Kwan, and am a by Amber Funk Barton and Mindy Parfitt.
Heidi believes in the role of theatre in encouraging robust civic conversations. With JD Derbyshire, Heidi spearheaded PTC’s ACK Lab, a project to investigate and spark inclusive practice. She has participated in the National Arts Centre’s Repast for Indigenous Theatre, and in multiple phases of the Republic of Inclusion, learning about Disability/Crip and Mad theatre practice across Canada. PTC was nominated for Vancouver’s first NOW Jessie Award recognizing our intersectional practice in supporting playwrights. Heidi studied theatre and performance at college in Singapore (IB) and at University of Toronto (BA). She received an MFA in Interdisciplinary Contemporary Art from SFU, where she taught acting for 15 years. Her collective, Proximity Arts, created cross-disciplinary projects including podplays, sited dance performance, a community-run side show, chamber opera, cabarets, sound installation and a digital gardening project from 2003 – 2011. Heidi served as Board Treasurer of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas 2017-20, and was the founding president of LMDA Canada.
Melanie loves creating splendid order in support of beautiful chaos. Most recently serving as Operations Manager at Gateway Theatre, she comes to PTC with two decades of experience as a performer, director, and arts administrator, as well as a BFA in Theatre Performance from SFU. Melanie’s artistic practice is the force that inspires her to collaboratively solve logistical and operational challenges. She is thrilled to be joining PTC’s team of dedicated, inspired theatre professionals.
Joanna Garfinkel lives and works on the the unceded and traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlil̓wətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). She is grateful, as granddaughter of refugees, to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this land. Joanna is the co-founder of collectively and socially-driven play development company Universal Limited. She is the co-creator, with Yoshié Bancroft, of JAPANESE PROBLEM, a site-responsive piece about the Japanese Canadian Incarceration, which has been performed site-specifically in Vancouver, at Soulpepper in Toronto, and in several locations in between. Previously, she co-created and directed the pedicab adventure Tour for HIVE 3, produced by the Electric Company, Universal Limited, and the Cultural Olympiad. That site-specific escapade was reinvented for Victoria (Theatre SKAM), and Toronto (SummerWorks). Joanna is struck by the systemic inequities that repeat in Canada, and to troubling those patterns through performance.
Recent dramaturgical credits include Berlin: The Last Cabaret at PuSh 2020, multi-award-winning Poly Queer Love Ballad, which toured to Theatre Passe Murailles in 2019, and Mx, which will premiere in 2021 at the Cultch. She has been nominated for three Jessie awards, winning one (Critics Choice for Innovation); was awarded the Pure Research grant from Nightswimming Theatre (Toronto), and has received the Sydney Risk award for directing. She moved to Vancouver to get her MFA in directing at UBC. Her focus since has been in new play development, multidisciplinary, and site-specific work; she also has trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in New York. Upcoming: The Fringe New Play Prize-winning Catalina La O Presenta: Ahora Conmigo, and development of To the Sea.
Davey Samuel Calderon is a loud and proud theatre maker who can be found either typing furiously on his laptop to dance music, or in the studio on his feet exploring the worlds within, and outside, his imagination. His role as Dramaturg, Public Engagement is a stewardship of the many artists and people who come to PTC, where mutual trust is forged when melding stories into meaningful theatre for our community. That’s the thing: theatre that is rooted in collaboration, community, and connection is what is most important to Davey within the process. Whether it’s his work with his theatre collective (New(to)Town Collective), or with other companies, or with the communities he is proud to be a part of (proudly queer and Canadian of Filipinx descent), Davey can attest to the rich contributions communities can lend to theatre. And on the flipside, he has witnessed the powerful catharsis communities experience, especially those of underrepresented identities, when they see themselves represented on Canadian stages. In the foreseeable future, his dramaturgy and artistic mandate revolves around those values. He is eager to be of service to these folks through PTC.
Davey is an emerging director, curator, writer, producer, drag artist, dramaturg and settler on the unceded territories of the coast salish peoples: the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səlil̓wətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim-speaking Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). He has his BFA in Theatre Performance and Communication from Simon Fraser University and is Co-Founder of New(to)Town Collective, an emerging theatre collective aspiring to provide accessible, experimental training workshops and creating new interdisciplinary works together.
Davey’s first written solo show, Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night!, premiered at the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Produced by Tender Container and associate producers New(to)Town Collective and Neworld Theatre) and was read at the 2020 Tales of the Flipside Festival (Carlos Bulosan Theatre, Toronto). He also wrote the short film RUN, that premiered at the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival. He is the co-creator and assistant director for the award-winning My Name Is Sumiko that premiered at the 2019 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Davey has worked with nationally recognized companies and individuals – including Neworld Theatre, Alley Theatre, Paul Wong, rice and beans theatre, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, and Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Association – that have allowed him to not only work in the arts professionally, but also to make many amazing connections with various communities in Vancouver. He is currently the 2020-21 Emerging Dramaturg for vAct’s MSG Lab series and Co-curator for Upintheair Theatre’s 2020 e-Volver Festival (a festival of new, live-digital performance works by emerging and mid-career artists).
Kathleen believes her biggest strengths are intellectual curiosity and holistic thinking. She calls herself a “closet academic” because she can focus on in-depth research and the big picture. She asks questions, shares stories and imagines words on the page in three dimensions. As a dramaturg Kathleen collaborates with the playwright and other theatre makers to dig into the deep structure and essential story or idea, the soul, of a work, building outward with concrete details and images to manifest a piece of theatre live in space. Her main objective as a dramaturg is to help a piece of theatre become whatever it is intended to be, with the capacity to engage an audience.
She relies on her work as a former producer of radio drama – her claim to fame is as producer of The Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour – and Ideas documentaries for CBC Radio, as well as her experience as theatre director and dramaturg, to help her connect with playwrights and the ideas they are shaping. She has the advantage of being a working class woman from small prairie towns who has lived and worked all across Canada and worked in theatre for forty years – from the ‘happenings’ and collective creations of the early ‘70s through American realism to post-modernism and the post-dramatic. Her formal education includes a BA in political science, a BFA in theatre and MFA in directing. Her dramaturgical work in the theatre began in the early 1980s and included work with Catalyst Theatre, Cahoots, Factory Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Nightwood and Theatre New Brunswick as well as dramaturgy, producing and directing original works for independent small theatre production. She has collaborated with hundreds of writers including Beverley Cooper, Michael Riordon, Adrienne Wong, Kwame Dawes, Ian Weir, Jason Sherman, Greg Nelson, Carol Shields, Betty Kwan, Marie Clements, Myrna Kostash and Thomas King. In the past three years at PTC, she has read more than 250 new plays and worked with SNAFU Dance Theatre, Tim Carlson, Tara Travis, Derek Chan, Briana Brown, Kenneth Williams, Curtis Peeteetuce, Yawen Wang, Leanna Brodie, Dave Deveau, Elaine Avila, Jordan Hall and Deneh’Cho Thompson. Recent projects include editing a book of interviews that were done by Gayle Murphy with theatre veteran Joy Coghill: Joy, in her Voice, and the creation of a new publication foregrounding PTC’s dramaturgical processes.
Fay Nass (She/He/They) is a Vancouver based theatre director, curator, dramaturg, producer and multi-disciplinary artist. She is Artistic Director of the frank theatre company and the founder/AD of Aphotic Theatre. Their work often examines questions of race, sex, and culture, and the challenges these pose to notions of identity. Being an Iranian-Canadian immigrant and a non-binary queer artist, in their work they shine light on liminal spaces in order to shift meanings and create space for cultural exchanges. Fay has been working as a director, dramaturg, writer, producer, curator, educator and consultant for the past 15 years in Vancouver. Her most recent credits include: co-directing Trans Script Part I: The Women (The Frank Theatre and Zee Theatre at Firehall Arts Centre) directing She Mami Wata & the Pussy WitchHunt (the Frank Theatre at PuSh Festival 2020), co-directing Straight White Men (ITSAZOO productions at Gateway Theatre), dramaturgy of Camera Obscura (Hungry Ghosts) (The Frank Theatre & QAF), directing and devising Diaspora: Queer immigrant and refugee stories (The Frank Theatre at QAF). Fay holds a MFA from Simon Fraser University. Currently, they are doing the Artistic Leadership Residency at the National Theatre School of Canada.
David Geary is a playwright, screenwriter, fiction writer, dramaturg and educator. He teaches film studies at Capilano University. He’s been the Senior Lecturer in Scriptwriting at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand; the dramaturg/director for Native Earth workshops in Toronto; and has led Block A for PTC for four years. He also collaborated in mentoring the Julius Caesar Project with PTC, The Cultch and Western Gold as well as working as a dramaturg with several writers. David believes storytelling and scriptwriting are muscles that are best developed through exercises. His yogic mantra is – Life is short, stretch it – and he writes haiku on twitter @gearsgeary. (Photo by Taehoon Kim)
Kit McKeown (they/them) is thrilled to be joining the PTC team as Communications Manager! They are a transmasculine nonbinary poet, playwright, performer, and publisher living on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. They are currently pursuing a Master of Publishing degree at Simon Fraser University. They won the George McWhirter Prize of Poetry in 2020, and were shortlisted for Peach Mag’s GOLD in Poetry Prize in 2019. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Magazine, Room, Peach Mag, Poetry is Dead, The Puritan, and Bad Nudes. Their debut chapbook I NEED NOT BE GOOD is forthcoming in January 2022 with Rahila’s Ghost Press, and they will be performing in Geordie Theatre’s adaptation of Kai Cheng Thom’s book, From The Stars In The Sky To The Fish In The Sea, at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal in May 2022.
Veronique West (She/They) is a non-binary settler of Polish descent, based on the occupied and unsurrendered lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Their work, informed by their lived experience of madness, spans artistic creation and facilitation, as well as mental health peer support and advocacy. Their personal and collaborative projects have taken various forms, including performance, sound art, community conversation, virtual reality, and web-based storytelling. They have facilitated programs on writing, devising, multimedia performance creation, and Mad Arts. Veronique has also been an eating disorder peer support mentor, a crisis responder, and will be a mental health workshop facilitator at post-secondary campuses next spring. In their life and work, they seek to question, complicate, and shift mental health paradigms, making space for multiple, expansive understandings of bodyminds.