tdsbCREATES Artist Roster

The 2018/19 Artist Roster


Teresa Ascencao is a Multimedia Artist and Arts Educator. Her folk and pop inspired artworks employ concept-related media that invite audiences to play with ideas around gender, consumption, and class. Her fifteen-year practice mostly comprises photo and video installations, and more recently has expanded to durational drawings and performance art. For several years, Teresa delivered media art workshops to youth, including to economically and geographically disadvantaged youth, in Toronto and remote northern Ontario communities. Through careful listening, focused questions, and observation of young people’s creative processes, she guides and encourages them with their creations.



Leslie has spent her career creating with community’s large and small. She has partnered with individual teachers, school-wide projects, community groups and theatre troupes. She welcomed all of Toronto to create with her during her Nuit Blanche project, Make Your Mark Upon The Starry Night at the Royal Conservatory. She is a passionate storyteller through visual art. The mediums used to tell the story are varied; collage, painting, photography, printmaking, puppets, and masks. She is a graduate of Montreal’s Dome Theatre School and Banff School of Fine Arts. Currently, as well as working in schools, she leads visual arts workshops with homeless population, with youth in group homes, as well as with adults in health care centres. In these creative learning environments she has the opportunity to accomplish the one on one, artist-to-artist dialogues that are the foundation of mentorship and that she finds so stimulating.


Tobi Asmoucha is a freelance photographer based out of Toronto. She has been working as a commercial and editorial photographer for many years, with photo essays appearing in publications such as Canadian Geographic. Tobi’s documentary images exploring themes of community and the rituals that bind them, have received a Gold National Magazine Award and many nominations, as well as Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Jewish Arts Council grants. Along with her photographic practice Asmoucha teaches photography at Centennial College, the Haliburton School of Art, Toronto School of Art, and Gallery 44. Currently Tobi Asmoucha is a core member of PhotoSensitive, with her documentary photographic work in collections at MOCCA, and the Canadian War Museum. Website:


Mahlikah Awe:ri Enml'ga't Saqama'sgw (The Woman Who Stands In The Light) drum talk poetic rapologist; is Haudenosaune Kanien'kehà:ka & L'sitkuk First Nations, Okwáhowak (Wolf Clan), based in the One Dish One Spoon Wampum Tsi' Tkarón:to. Mahlikah is a SLAM POET, MUSICIAN, HIP-HOP EMCEE, RECORDING ARTIST, ARTS EDUCATOR, KEYNOTE SPEAKER, ARTIST MENTOR, FESTIVAL CURATOR, AND EMERGING KNOWLEDGE KEEPER AND MEDICINE CARRIER. Mahlikah is currently the Director of Programming for Neighbourhood Impact for the Toronto Centre for Community Development & Learning in Regent Park, and founding member of Red Slam, an Indigenous Cultural Arts Movement. Awe:ri is a KM Hunter OAC Literary Arts Award finalist, 2017 TD Diversity Arts Award Finalist, published in 9 literary publications, she is the only Canadian Motivational Speaker for Sonali Fiske's 2018 BIWOC online Master Class; and the only Hip-Hop artist featured in the international digital storytellers project: Biology Of Story, which premiered at the 2016 SXSW Festival. As a Toronto Arts Council Leadership Fellow, Neighbourhood Arts Network Committee Member, one of the New Faces of Feminism, as named by the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Indigenous lead artist for the JAMII & Canada Council Of The Arts Community Connecting Project, Awe:ri utilizes such platforms to lead the charge of art for social change movements across Turtle Island, with a focus on access & equity for BIPOC & LGBTQ2S emerging artists.

BRITTA B - Spoken Word

Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is a Toronto-based spoken word poet, emcee and arts educator. Her writing deals with themes of domestic violence and mental health from the lens of a mixed-race woman. Britta is a graduate of the Spoken Word program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. As a performer, she has featured on several TEDx stages, CBC Radio’s Day 6, The Walrus Talks, Women In The World (in association with New York Times) and poetry scenes across North America. As a slam poet, Britta was a member of the 2012 Toronto Poetry Slam team, a Canadian rep. for the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam and the 2013 Toronto International Poetry Slam champion.In 2017, her sound and poetry installation FLUKE featured as part of Art Gallery of Ontario’s Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood exhibition. Britta is currently working on a forthcoming collection of poetry and is a member of the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab 2018 cohort. Visit her at Twitter/IG: @missbrittab


Vanessa Barnett is a passionate Arts educator who recently retired from the TDSB where she worked as a Visual Arts and Media Arts Instructional Leader K-12 and Acting Arts Program Coordinator, developing curriculum, supporting teachers and creating district wide projects in museums and cultural organizations across the city. Vanessa currently consults with Arts organizations museums and galleries across Toronto including The Canadian Museum for Textiles, The Aga Khan Foundation, and TDSB Museum and Archives. She is a Board Member of Kick Start Arts and sits on the Education Advisory Committee of the Canadian Museum for Textiles. Vanessa is currently pursuing Doctoral work in the Faculty of Education at York University that engages with the creation of an Arts Practice Memoir, the poetics of relationality and the creative knowledge inherent in a personal narrative of arts education.

DAN BERGERON - Visual Arts

Dan Bergeron is a Toronto-based visual artist whose work takes the form of large-scale portraits adhered to architectural elements, functional sculptures, billboard interventions or mixed-media paintings. Blending Street Art aesthetics and a deep engagement with communities, Dan’s work employs urban visual culture’s immediacy to foster reflection upon issues of personal identity, social relationships and the spaces that we collectively inhabit. To that end, each project is highly site-specific: the shape and texture of a wall, the history and human uses of a location, or an individual’s connection to a place dictate its content, placement, and form. While the majority of Dan’s work is exhibited publicly, he also maintains a studio practice that forms the basis of his public art and gallery exhibitions.

LISA BINNIE - Visual Arts

Lisa Binnie is an interdisciplinary artist, and arts educator. In her art practice Lisa investigates her immediate landscape in long-term immersive and experiential projects. These involve close observation, multidisciplinary research, and community involvement. The resulting works can be image-based, sculptural, installation, or even public walking events. She recently exhibited selections from the Leslie Spit Project, one of three streams of investigation focusing on the development of Toronto’s urban waterfront. Lisa also immerses herself in the rewarding role of mentor in the tdsbCREATES program, and as professor of studio-based and academic art classes at Haliburton School of Art + Design (Fleming College), and Centennial College.


A graduate of OCAD University (MFA) and Ryerson University (BFA), Danielle Bleackley is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Toronto, Ontario. With over ten years experience mentoring and educating young artists in community, gallery, secondary and post-secondary institutions, Danielle is passionate about art as an act of generosity, and is dedicated to nurturing compassionate communities through creativity. Danielle has been the recipient of various grants from the Ontario Arts Council for her educational projects and in 2014, she completed The Royal Conservatory, Learning Through The Arts, Artist Educator Foundations course. That same year Danielle founded 1000 Invisible Threads: creative classes and workshops for youth, as well as one-on-one mentoring and guidance for students who wish to develop strong portfolios for entrance to arts based high schools and post secondary institutions. In 2015, she completed her yoga teacher training certification from YMCA Canada and a certificate in Mindfulness for Educators from UBC smartEducation and with this, she has integrated movement and breathwork more intensively into the visual art workshops she offers.


Mary-Dora is a non-binary, multi-discplinary artist currently living and working in Tkaronto. They completed their BFA in 2013, studying performance from Ryerson University. MD channels their creative voice & practice as a dance artist through bodywork, performance, and filmmaking. They also work in the community as a DJ, reiki practitioner, yoga & movement instructor. Exploring movement as a therapeutic tool and healing modality has been a large part MDs artistic practice. They have performed both locally & abroad with appearances in Austria, Germany, Brazil, Louisiana, Montreal and Ottawa. MD has been a founding member with local dance company Rock Bottom Movement since 2012. They also make frequent appearances as a guest artist with FAWN Chamber Creative and work as a part-time contributor with grassroots collective, Toronto Community Love-IN. Mary-Dora is interested in collaborating & exchanging ideas with people of diverse and multi-faced backgrounds. As an individual, MD aims use their art to challenge the biases & inequalities that we are faced with daily, with hopes to inspire social change and dismantle systemic oppression.


Margaret Boersma (OCT) is a creative educational consultant, teaching artist and performer whose specialty areas are Drama and Dance. Margaret consults with teachers to create an inquiry based, cross-curricular unit integrating other curriculum expectations with the Arts. The curriculum comes to life through her innovative ‘first person learning’ approach to teaching. With over 30 years experience teaching kindergarten to grade 8, Margaret is a life-long enthusiast of brain compatible strategies to engage students into a process of learning that incorporates ‘powerful personal expression’ in a way that elevates their performance in school. She also incorporates social and emotional learning skills in her work with students and teachers. Margaret works locally and internationally, bringing learning to life.


James Buffin is a filmmaker with over 30 years experience, working on movies, tv shows, commercials, music videos and documentaries shooting across North America, South America, Asia and the South Pacific. The theme of his work is disaster/recovery, both environmental and personal. Current projects include a feature length documentary about adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Picking Trauma’s Pocket. His last film Jingle Dress – First Dance screened three times at the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Edmonton and is now popular in education circles. Having taught for many years with organizations like Planet In Focus, LIFT Toronto and Workman Arts, James is proud to continue working with the TDSBCreates program. More information at


I started my creative career at OCAD in Toronto, where I discovered my passion for fabric design and silkscreening. These united my love of fashion, sewing, drawing, creating and colour. At 24, I became an indie fashion entrepreneur with my business Peach Berserk. My wildly popular boutique was open 19 years, leading Fodor's travel guide to say I was ‘the undisputed monarch of Queen St. West." Now, from my Toronto studio, I continue to diversify my business in creative ways. I teach screenprinting and design in workshops for the TDSB, colleges and various organizations. My DIY book/DVD, "Silkscreen NOW", sells internationally. I also guest lecture widely and am a board member of the Ontario Arts Education Association. My charity work includes the Dare to Wear Love fashion initiative for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and teaching Screen printing and entrepreneurship with United World Schools in Northern Cambodia.

ELAINE CHAN-DOW - Photography

Elaine Chan-Dow is an Award-winning visual artist and photographer with a Master of Fine Arts degree, specializing in digital and analogue modalities of photography. She is well-connected and experienced in the commercial photography; Travel & Tourism and Culinary Industries with published editorials, exhibitions and commissions by brands like SONY. Creative. Technical. Passionate.

Elaine is dedicated to creating sentimental works that explore the past as a way to bring forth awareness to the present. TheLibraria: The evolution of Literary spaces, 2010 is an ongoing pictorial study of literary spaces from its origin as a reading room for the wealthy elite to a public building of knowledge, open to all. Her award-winning photographs have been on display in multiple exhibits in Ontario and New York. Meanwhile, her conceptual works are on permanent display at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Arts Interior in Toronto.

She is a faculty member of Centennial Collage, Photography Program and teaches at OCAD University, Photography Program.


Tatiana Choulova grew up in Moscow, Russia. She got her first 35 mm camera when she was 7, as a birthday gift from her father and since since then he has been honing her craft in photography and filmmaking. Over 20 years ago she moved to Canada, and started working with children and young adults as a Film Producer and educator with Dash Production Inc., Filmberries Productions, TDSB, Boys and Girls Club of Toronto, City of Toronto Summer Camps, ACE After Four Childrens’ Enrichment, Long Bay Camp, Focus School of Theatre, Arts and Filmmaking and many others educational and kids’ development establishments. She also worked as an Associate Producer at Rogers TV Mosaic / Multicultural Programs, Russian Proud Canadian and became a co-founder of Filmberries Kids Club, Focus International Film Festival and FilmHoodFest - local non-profit event for community. Tatiana and her students have created over 300 of short animated and live-action films, many of which got recognized and awarded at various Film Festivals including Toronto International Film Festival TIFF Kids Jump Cuts during past several years.

KAREN DARRICADES - Multidisciplinary Arts

Karen Darricades is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and writer who’s Never Gallery Ready program uses collage, culture jamming, sound plays, site-specific installations and zine-making to explore the politics of our interactions with images, sound(s) and space. Her arts education projects aim to EDUCATE on the role and function of media, ANIMATE a variety of content, tools and tactics available to message-creators and FACILITATE the creation of works of art driven by individual and community voice. She has facilitated workshops under her Never Gallery Ready banner to thousands of students and community members both inside the classrooms of 6 school boards and through community organizations throughout Southern Ontario since 2006. Her workshops use “collage concepts” to explore how context affects content by working with found images, sounds and existing environments in ways that foster media/visual literacy and the questioning of cultural norms and dominant narratives. Websites: ,


Patrick de Belen is a youth educator, speaker, and an award-winning spoken word artist. He is grateful to have harnessed his inner dopeness at an early age, and hasn't been able to control it since. Known for his hard-hitting, rhyme-slinging punch lines and raw, unedited stories; Patrick delivers a spoken word style that has won him a national championship and earned him the title of the inaugural Youth Poet of Honor of Canada. Off the stage, he spends his time practicing youth mentorship and leadership, encouraging young people to discover and control the power of their voice. Learn more about Patrick:


Toronto Poetry Slam alumni, 4x member of the TPS team. Winners of the 2013 CFSW national competition in Montreal. Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, raised in West Palm Beach, Florida , David Delisca is a spoken word poet, writer, actor and comedian. A versatile artist, he uses stories of the immigrant and diaspora experiences, as well as other various human realities, to bridge realms of communication. As an arts educator/facilitator, he has lead hundreds of sessions throughout Canada with various initiatives using to art to focus of subject of Social Justice, Anti-Bullying, Hip-Hop among other topics. A Founder and creator of art based social engagement projects, Right Beside You and collective member of the Spoke N Heard.


Jessica is a dance artist, educator, youth mentor and certified personal trainer. Originally from Muskoka, Ontario, her dance studies began as a competitive dancer. Now, Jessica is a proud Triple Threat Alumni of Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. Her professional career began as a Cheerleader with the Toronto Argonauts. Select performance credits include; Artists Shawn Desman and Bruno Mars. The Juno Awards, Pan American Games Closing Ceremonies, and Para Pan Am Games Opening Ceremonies. Jessica is also the Founder of Freedom in Dance & Athletics an Educational Partner of the TDSB, a program that focuses on enhancing the dance curriculum through unique and specialized programs that run across the GTA as well as the Bahamas.

ANDREW DUFF - Visual Arts

Andrew Duff is a visual artist and freelance designer based in Toronto. He is a graduate of OCAD (AOCA), NSCAD (BFA) and The Royal Conservatory, Learning Through The Arts, Artist Educator Foundations course. Andrew is a member of the core team of Maker Festival Toronto and an Artist Member of the Loop Gallery co-operative. Andrew's visual art practice is anchored in drawing, incorporating imagery inspired by childhood memories, urban living and exploring themes of technology and reinvention. As a freelance designer, Andrew has built a business on his creative expertise as well as his ability to mentor clients on best practices in digital technology and storytelling.


Miggy Esteban is a contemporary dancer/movement artist, and emerging choreographer based in Toronto, ON. He is the artistic director of Impetus Movement Project, a performance art group that focuses on exploring the intentions behind movement in order to create dance for a reason. He strives to engage with different communities in Toronto through the sharing of his works, as well as through the facilitation of creation labs that allow him to join participants in discovering the potential that dance has as a communicative tool to explore different perspectives. Along with his artistic pursuits, Miggy is an elementary school teacher and program developer who advocates for the importance of the arts to create a holistic educational experience that gives students the opportunity to interact with their world in a creative and critical way. He is currently working towards a Masters of Education in Social Justice at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. His research focuses on the decolonization of pedagogy and the use of the arts in supporting opportunities for intersectional solidarities.


In 2005 Kate completed a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from York University. Since then she has been busy working as a freelance artist and educator. She has worked with several companies and schools including Young People’s Theatre (YPT), Prologue for The Arts, Shakespeare In Action (SIA), Workman Arts, University of Toronto Schools, 4-H Clubs of Saskatchewan, Parks and Recreation of Ontario and the Directors Cut. Kate can design, facilitate, direct, teach and coach a variety of theatre programs (classes, workshops, productions, scenes/monologues, and audition preparation), study guides and teaching manuals. Her pedagogical focus is on developing autonomy for teachers and students in arts programming, encouraging ensemble building and positive collaboration and ultimately inspiring a love of the arts and literature. Artistically, Kate is very story oriented and loves to create work with the students generated from their own ideas and their own perspective.


Jasmyn Fyffe is an award-winning choreographer and performing artist described as "an artist whose body of work is developing in a style all her own" (Sway Magazine, Anya Wassenberg). She was the winner of the 2013 Frankie Award (in Montreal) for most outstanding choreography/choreographer for her 50 min work “Pulse."

She was the director of Jasmyn Fyffe Dance for 8 years and is currently making a transition out of company director and honing her skills as a independent choreographer, creator and performer and she is currently in her 12th year of her professional artistic practice.

In 2012 she was nominated for the first ever Young Center Dance Awards, and has been a guest choreographer and Mentor for Dare to Dance/Dare to Create from 2012-present with the Toronto District School Board. In 2016 she completed a month long residency in Berlin, Germany at Lake Studios with the support of the Ontario Arts Council as well as a three week artist residency in Ghent NY through the artOMI residency program. In addition to this she was one of the Toronto Arts Council leader’s lab participants in 2017. That same year she was featured on CBC’s “HERstory in Black” honoring 150 Black Canadian women making a significant contribution in Canada. “Fyffe is an indisputably talented performer and dancemaker,” Kathleen Smith, The Dance Current.


Monica is a Toronto-based, Colombian artist, producer and director of factual films and videos. She is passionate about the potential for art to tell stories of change, resistance and to inspire action. She has worked in various documentaries concerned with environmental, human rights issues and the power of art for social change, both in Canada and South America. Monica facilitates workshops and classes in media and visual arts, and has worked with the City of Toronto, as well as the TDSB through OAC's Artists in Schools Grants. . She also has experience working with a variety of diverse youth from working in community-centred arts organizations such as: Scarborough Arts, VIBE Arts, Art Starts and Whippersnapper Gallery.


Edz is a three time full dance scholarship recipient at OIP Dance Centre (Toronto ON) and was recently in The Motivating Excellence (Intensive Program) series with world renowned Choreographer Rhapsody James. Edz has also recently completed the Freshman Intensive program run by world renowned choreographer Luam Keflezgy called Rock the Industry in NYC. He has worked with some of the most renowned hip hop choreographers and performers in the Canadian Music scene including Lauriann Gibson, Esie Mensah, Ryan Scheel, Latoya Robinson and many more!


As Co-Founding Artistic Director of COBA, Collective of Black Artists, Charmaine Headley is a champion of Africanist dance. Through her work as an artist, choreographer, teacher and mentor she advocates for the recognition and inclusion of the contributions of ethno-cultural dance practices in Canadian dance history and culture. Headley pushes for a broadened societal appreciation of these art forms and advocates for reflexivity within curricula. A graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and a strong believer in the healing power of dance, Headley holds an honours diploma in Gerontology/ Activation Coordination and has created a movement-based senior’s program for her Master’s thesis at York University. Mother of one, Headley uses her choreographic voice to address socio-political and cultural inequity. The motto, “Our stories move me,” is the impetus in her choreographic work and pedagogy. Headley was recognized, by her peers, as one of this year’s (2018) 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women. She draws on Africanist forms, physically and metaphorically, to speak in a contemporary voice.


Ekaterina Ionova graduated from Toronto Film School in 2007 where she studied Film and TV Production. Shortly after that Ekaterina founded her own production company, FILMBERRIES, that later became Filmberries Film Club for kids, where children write, act, direct and produce their own short movies, cartoons, pictures and art projects. Ekaterina has been collaborating with many artists and production companies and associations, such as "Focus Film School", "Dash Productions", "ACE After Four" Children's Enrichment Program in Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School, "Gilda's Club" Greater Toronto, "SickKids" Hospital, Rogers "TV Mosaic" / Multicultural Programs, Toronto Public Library, TDSB's and TCSB's schools, and many more. Ekaterina believes in the educational, personal and practical value of film-making in the lives of young people.


Candice Irwin is an emerging artist working in dance, film, and performance art. She holds a BFA honours dance from York University with a focus in dance science and performance. Irwin’s creative projects include stage, video and installation work. Presentation highlights include The Toronto Fringe Festival, The SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Chimera Project’s FRESH BLOOD, and by Theatre Passe Murraille. She has collaborated with artists with backgrounds in theatre, dance, music and performance art. As a performer, Irwin has had the privilege of working with artist including Anandam Dancetheatre, Peggy Baker, Susie Burpee, Expect Theatre, Sky Fairchild-Waller, Kaeja d’Dance, Keiko Kitano, Random Acts of Dance (RAD) and Lynda Reino. As well as being an active performer and creator, Irwin is also a dedicated educator and arts administrator. Most recently she has worked for the Toronto District School Board, the Harbourfront Centre, Kaeja d’Dance and the Toronto French Montessori School. For more information please visit


Clea Iveson has been with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen for 24 years including as a full-time dancer. Her work has included the creation of 55 original dance works, 6 full-length ballets, and 4 original children’s ballets. She has appeared on stage in 190 different Canadian communities and danced in over 1400 performances. For the last 13 years Clea has also managed and developed the Education Programming for the company and remains an important part of the creative team for the development of new ballets and dance education presentations. In her current role as Education Manager, Clea is responsible for honing and developing the company’s programs to inspire young dancers and dance enthusiasts. This includes managing the full-time dance programs at George Brown College, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen National Education Programs (Local Participants programs, master classes, workshops) and Summer Programs. She also continues to dance character roles in various company performances. To see the work that I am a part of visit

BETO JANZ - Visual Arts

Mixed Media/Urban Artist Roberto “Beto” Janz was born and raised in Brazil, based in Toronto since 2014. BA in Graphic Design (2003) and post graduation in Multimedia (2004) at Positivo University. Despite a solid career as a Graphic Designer, with 11+ years of experience, recognized by awards and publications, it was in the Arts that he found his true passion. Inspired by rock’n’roll and skateboard movements, the energy and attitude of these cultures gave form to his approach: from carving wood to the graphic arts, the mindset is to go for it and DIY. The outcome has been very well received, being published constantly in books and magazines. Examples include a full spread on “The Skateboard Bible” Thrasher Magazine in 2011 and a full portfolio of skulls in The Mammoth Book of Skulls (Running Press, 2014). His first solo exhibition happened in 2013, as part of the classic Psycho Carnival festival. Since then, his work has been routinely shown in many exhibitions and galleries around the globe. After moving to Toronto in 2014, he also had the opportunity to collaborate in some projects from the alternative high school program Oasis Skateboard Factory, where he discovered an aptitude for mentoring youth through the creative and transformative world of the arts.

BRITTANY KAY - Drama/Spoken Word

Brittany is Dora nominated actress, arts educator, teacher and director. She received her degree from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College joint program in Theatre and Drama Studies. She is also a graduate of the Musical Theatre Intensive at the Banff Centre of the Arts and is an OCT certified teacher, with a BEd from OISE. She is currently at OISE part time, working towards her Masters degree in Theatre and Education. Brittany has worked as an arts educator for the Paprika Festival, York Region District School Board, TDSBcreates and Young People’s Theatre. Brittany is also a regular contributor and organizer, to the theatre blog In the Green Room. Some of Brittany’s past acting credits include: The Wolves (Howland Company/Crows Theatre), Book Club (Port Stanley Festival Theatre), Mikveh (HGJT), Romeo and Juliet Chainsaw Massacre (Toronto Fringe Festival, Winner of Best of Fringe), FITZ HAPPENS! (Lighthouse Festival), 9 Parts of Desire (Seventh Stage-Dora Nominated), and The Lion King (Mirvish). She will appear as Pheobe in As You Like It with Shakespeare BASH'd in April.


Heli has been a classroom teacher, a Drama and Special Education specialist, a Curriculum Leader in the Arts, and an Instructional Leader of the Arts with the TDSB. Her M.A. thesis was an action research study looking at the effectiveness of theatre to actively investigate and collaboratively find possible solutions to the complexities of classroom interactions. She is a respected Drama teacher and teacher educator with a long standing commitment to the arts, to teacher development, and to social justice theatre. Heli has an extensive background in theatre. Her studies in New York City (Herbert Berghoff, Uta Hagen, Sonia Moore) provided her with training and experience in the Stanislavski Method. Before starting a full time teaching career, she appeared on stage, film, and TV in NYC, Estonia, and Toronto. Now retired from the TDSB, Heli has returned to acting professionally while continuing to work as a free-lance theatre arts teacher.


Taya is a highly versatile and intuitive artist and educator who brings her diverse skills and enthusiasm to the classroom to encourage, foster and instill a deep love of the arts in the lives of children. Taya works across many disciplines including fine art, mosaic, printmaking, urban art & installations, sculpture, textiles and indeed anything that sparks and captures her interest. Over the past 10 years, Taya has worked in many TDSB schools with the Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through The Arts Program and is the founder and resident artist for the ‘Fern Avenue PS Arts Collective’ implementing quality arts programming for the Fern community. She is always excited to collaborate, learn and share knowledge with students and teachers. Taya truly believes EVERYONE can be creative and hopes she inspires that belief in others.


Kristin Lindell is an Arts educator from the Beach area of Toronto. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Music from York and her MA from the University of Victoria. Kristin has studied at the National Ballet School and the Young People’s Theatre. She has conducted choirs, taught Drama and Vocal Music, and facilitated arts based workshops for the past 12 years. Kristin conducted the Crofton House Junior choir and both the Junior and Middle School choirs at the Linden School. As an artist educator with the Royal Conservatory of Music and TDSB Creates, she has led over 100 arts based workshops in TDSB and Vancouver School Board classrooms. Kristin is a resident teacher at Artscape and she is currently on Faculty at Centennial College in the Music Industry Arts Program. For details:


Coleen Shirin MacPherson is an international theatre creator and Artistic Director of physical theatre company, Open Heart Surgery Theatre. She studied at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris and the University of Toronto; she has toured work to China, Egypt, US, France, Poland, Spain and across the UK. After a hit run in London (Camden People’s Theatre and Mimetic Festival) her play First Draft was performed at Falaki Theatre in Cairo, Egypt (Studio ZAT). This Is Why We Live premiered at Plateau 31 (Paris, France) at The Theatre Centre (Toronto) and recently toured to Poland as part of the OFF Miłosz Festival (Teatr Nowy). Coleen teaches playwriting and movement-based theatre creation and taught at the International Summer Theatre Program at the University of Toronto and teaches Devised Musical Theatre at Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. Coleen delights in working with children and youth and has led workshops and classes on playwriting and devised theatre for over 8 years. She has developed community-engaged theatre projects in the UK and Canada with companies such as: Haringey Shed (UK), Theatre Direct, Jumblies Theatre, Expect Theatre Company, The Children’s Peace Theatre and DrumARTZ Canada. She has received an Ontario Arts Council Artist in the Schools grant for over six years, facilitating workshops in Poetry in Movement across schools in Ontario. She was part of Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources Program and is currently developing a new play inspired by Glenn Gould.


Erica May/Wood is a professional actor (UK & Canada trained) and artist-educator. She has performed in comedies, dramas, classics and musicals, on radio, television and in award-winning independent films. She has written and performed in Toronto Fringe and Summerworks Festivals and is Co-Artistic director of a small Toronto theatre company. As an artist educator she has worked with children and youth in schools, community settings and at Young People’s Theatre, Crows Theatre, Travelling Stage/Mirvish and Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. She loves making theatre with people of all ages!


Jordan McTavish has produced over a century of films in just ten years! They have screened at festivals, on television and on the Internet. For the past ten years he has freelanced as a producer, director, writer, videographer, photographer, editor, and grant writer. Phew! Stop motion animation and western films are the genres that influenced him most, so watch for one coming soon!


Esie Mensah is an award-winning dancer and choreographer who has worked with some of the industry’s biggest icons such as Rihanna, Drake, French Montana, Janelle Monae, Nelly Furtado, as well as Coca Cola, Luminato, TIFF, Estée Lauder, FIFA, WE DAY and more. Esie is the 2019 National Ballet’s Sharing Dance Day co-choreographer; an initiative to expand and connect the country thru the power of dance. Esie was the choreographer of the 2015 Pan Am Games “Panamania” event, and choreographer of the CHFI commercial “Mornings are a little different” for the Erin and Darren show. In 2016 she was a featured dancer in the FOX TV remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show directed by Kenny Ortega and Lou Adler. She is the choreographer/dancer for up and coming Pop Soul artist Francesco Yates who is the opening act for Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods Tour. Esie is committed to bringing a new fresh genre of dance into the industry. Afrofusion is her own unique style of dance that includes movements from Traditional and Contemporary African, Commercial, Urban and Contemporary styles. Esie also works in theatre and produces her own work. She was the movement director for the Shaw Festival’s 1837: Farmer’s Revolt directed by Philip Akin and Soulpepper’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa. She has produced several art pieces; Shades, Zayo and Akoma. Her work has toured to the US and the UK.


Heather Mills is a captivating performer and an inspiring teacher. She grew up in Langley, BC and completed her BFA Honours in Dance at York University in Toronto. Over the course of her dance career she has studied as many techniques as she could, focusing on Ballet, Modern, Lyrical and Jazz with some Hip Hop, African, Latin, and Tap thrown in. During her University education she was the artistic director of Impact Dance Collective for two years where she gained experience teaching, choreographing and performing. With Impact Dance she produced Elevation, an evening-length work of her own choreography. Since completing her BFA, Heather has worked with various choreographers, companies and artists in Toronto, including Kaeja d’Dance, Hanna Kiel, The Garage, The Parahumans, LR Productions, the CMW Fest, and CPA Centre. She also acted in the musical The Big Picture and starred in the indie film One End of Heaven. She has greatly benefited from a 2 year mentorship in choreography with Karen Kaeja. During this time Heather choreographed a solo titled “Satiate Me” which toured southern Ontario in 2015 as well as a duet titled "Connection" which premiered at New Blue Dance Festival in June 2016. Heather's passion for dance inspires her to continue moving and creating.


Patrick Moore is a visual artist and arts educator. A graduate of University of Guelph (BFA) in painting and printmaking, Patrick has extensive experience mentoring and educating young artists in primary and secondary school settings. He holds certification from The Royal Conservatory, Learning Through The Arts, Artist Educator Foundations course, and has been the recipient of numerous Ontario Arts Council grants for his specifically designed art projects with children and young people. He was Chairman of the Board at Artspace, one of Canada’s longest running artist-run centres. Patrick’s practice involves working in painting, printmaking, sculpture and set design. His work explores the connection between individual identity and landscape.


Miss Coco Murray is a dancer, community arts programmer and dance instructor that spans across 20 years. This MEd candidate holds a Sociology BA from the University of Toronto, a Specialized Honours BA in Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity and a Certificate of Anti-Racist Research and Practice from York University. Currently, her graduate research explores the experiences of culturally responsive teaching from the perspective of cultural artists. This 2013 recipient of the Canadian Dance Assembly’s I love dance Community award offers culturally-responsive education, using her academic background, to create arts-based experiences. She had opportunities to teach abroad in South Africa, Costa Rica, Trinidad and performed in Senegal with Pape N'Diaye. As former dance faculty and guest choreographer among many youth performance groups and community arts organizations, her mobile, dance education business ( offers classes/workshops, performance and consultation services. She is Artistic Director of Coco Collective, an intergenerational, multidisciplinary arts collective. She designs and delivers funded projects that make cultural arts accessible to diverse communities. She supports Cultural Pluralism of the Arts Movement Ontario as a Research Assistant and is a contributing writer of The Dance Current magazine.

EBTI NABAG - Photography

A graduate of Ryerson University’s MFA program Documentary Media in Film and Photography, Ebti is a visual artist who works with photography, video, and installation. She is a digital and analogue photography instructor. She teams up with galleries and community centers to develop art programs that provides opportunities for creative self-expression and aid in the development of identity. Her documentations focus on telling stories of the everyday person who we often neglect. She also uses her work to connect with her home country, Sudanese and, the people and culture of Sudan.

Her previous exhibits include Movement in Tradition: Tobe (2016), Vitiligo at the AGO (2015) and, Intersections (2014) featured in the Contact Photography Festival. Her work is motivated by stories from the average human, and hopes her documentations serve as bridges between people and communities.

DIANA NAZARETH - Photography

Diana Nazareth is a certified teaching artist, professional lifestyle photographer and the founder of Project Kids & Cameras, a social enterprise that empowers kids to explore their voice and the world around them through photography, literacy, visual thinking skills and social action. Her programs are informed by an extensive study of key progressive methods such a Literacy Through Photography, PhotoVoice and Visual Thinking Strategies and she has facilitated photography workshops for schools, community art centres, libraries and community-engagement initiatives to over a thousand children, teens, and adults across the GTA. She received her B.A. in Communications/Photojournalism from Temple University, and her Teaching Artist Certification from The University of The Arts, Philadelphia, PA. She always looks forward to working with a new group of students!


Debbie began her formal training with Coba (Collective of Black Artist) in 1997 where she studied Modern, Ballet and Traditional West African and Indigenous Caribbean Folk dance forms. As an actor, her professional theatre experience began in 2003, which propelled her into the lead role as Harriet Tubman in Seth Adrian-Harris’ full-length film When Moses Woke, aired on Bravo. She is also an Artist Educator with Learning Through The Arts Program where she is a role model choreographer/mentor to middle school and collegiate/secondary school students throughout the GTA.


Cathy Nosaty enjoys a diverse career as a musician, composer, musical director and artist educator. She began her musical training as a classical pianist and her love of creative collaboration led to her to dance, theatre and scoring to picture. Over the past thirty years she has created scores for over 100 productions for regional and independent theatre companies across Canada and a dozen documentary films.

Cathy is an enthusiastic and passionate artist educator for tdsbCREATES, the Canadian Opera Company, Corporation of Massey Hall/Roy Thompson Hall, Tapestry Opera, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Theatre Direct, Swallowing Clouds, Jumblies Theatre, Community Arts Guild, and numerous programs with the Ontario Arts Council.


Zita Nyarady is a dance, theatre and circus artist. With degrees and advance training in dance, theatre, circus arts, environmental studies, international development and performance studies she brings an interdisciplinary approach to her performance making and teaching. Her interdisciplinary performances have been presented at Rhubarb, Toronto Festival of Clowns, Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, NBacts Theatre Festival, Clay & Paper Theatre, Nightwood Theatre and Harbourfront Centre. Internationally she has worked with the National Gallery in Jamaica, Dance House in Scotland, Pilobolus Dance Theatre in Connecticut, Odin Teatret in Denmark and Klintkalaset in Sweden. She is in the Cirque du Soleil database. Zita is co-artistic director of The Grand Salto Theatre

PAULINA O'KIEFFE - Drama/Spoken Word

Paulina O’Kieffe is a Toronto writer, performer, arts educator and producer who has been working and performing across Toronto for the last 15 years and is a member of the Canadian League of Poets. Her poetry appears in print in ‘Guerillas of the Word’ and “If I Ran the School.” Notable performances include When Sister’s Speak (March 2017) and competing on the finals stage at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (October 2015 & 2017). Paulina has been using spoken word to teach young people in a number of communities about self-education, expression and empowerment In addition to teaching at Harbourfront Centre, where she developed the SLAM Poetry program for the Schools Visits department, she has and continues to develop curriculum and teach workshops for schools, community centers and community organizations such as Lakeshore Arts where she is a senior educator for the Shazaam! In Focus Program. For more info on Paulina visit her at


Patrick Parson is the Executive/Artistic Director of Ballet Creole which he founded in 1990. The company is recognized as a Forerunner of Blacks in Dance in Canada. Mr. Parson has received numerous awards for his pioneering work in the field of dance in Canada. He holds a Masters degree in Dance Ethnology and is active in an advisory capacity with funding bodies and other Arts organizations. Mr. Parson teaches and lectures in Universities and Colleges in Ontario, and is currently course director at York University in Toronto. Teaches at Humber College in the theatre department He also conducts residencies in dance and music for district school boards throughout Ontario. Mr. Parson conducts dance workshops which cover the aesthetics of Modern dance Dunham, Graham and Horton. African dance forms from Guinea, Senegal, Ghana, and the Caribbean. Participants are provided with an understanding of the musicality that is involved in polymovement structure of African and Caribbean dance, and its connection to the music.


Charlie C Petch is an award winning playwright, spoken word artist, theatre director, lighting designer, host, workshop facilitator and musical saw player. Petch is touring two spoken word theatre pieces, their multimedia piece "Daughter Of Geppetto and their vaudeville play "Mel Malarkey Gets the Bum's Rush" which got "Best of 2017" from Electric City Magazine for the radio play accompanying album "Odes & Acts". Petch is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and was one of the National Poets of Honour for Spoken Word Canada in 2017. They have published books with Wordpress and LyricalMyrical and poems with Descant, The Toronto Quarterly, Matrix and Oratorealis journals. Petch is the creative director of "Hot Damn It's A Queer Slam" a multi-city touring poetry slam series. Find out more at


Andrea Piller graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1983. Her sculptural hand built ceramic works are ongoing investigations of natural form that evoke a primitive quality, aiming to synthesize the organic world and human experience. A recent move from city life to the countryside is informing her studio practice. Her work is shown nationally and internationally and has been the recipient of numerous art awards and Ontario Arts Council grants. As a mentor artist educator she shares her enthusiasm and knowledge for visual arts and creative fluency, including the facilitation of numerous indoor and outdoor mural installations, and at teacher professional development workshops. “I try to imbue what I believe is essential in all of us, that which connects us to the world; a courage to create on a personal level and challenge the imagination. Finding this is often a life journey. Sharing this is a joy.


Janice Pomer has been performing and teaching dance, music and physical theatre since 1976. She is the author of Perpetual Motion, Creative Movement Exercises for Dance and Dramatic Arts (Human Kinetics USA 2002) and Dance Composition, An Interrelated Arts Approach (Human Kinetics USA 2009); recommended resources by Ministries of Education throughout Canada and movement specialists in the U.S., Britain, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. (‘When movement is investigated in this dynamic and holistic way it raises a lot of interesting questions about the concept of movement, experience, and meaning in education and life.’ Lis Engel, Institute of Exercise & Sport Sciences, University of Copenhagen). Janice is a guest artist in schools throughout Ontario, mentors emerging dance artists, has designed resources for organizations including the Royal Ontario Museum, CanAsian International Dance Festival and Dusk Dances Festival, and creates site-specific work with sound artist Barry Prophet (‘Mesmerizing, an aural/visual spectacle’ NOW Magazine).


Ann Powell has been co-artistic director of Puppetmongers Theatre since she and her brother established the company in 1974. With the company she creates critically acclaimed, award winning shows for both young and adult audiences, and has toured with them around the world. Outside of Puppetmongers, Ann’s solo puppet play, Bed & Breakfast, was awarded a Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry by UNIMA-USA, and she collaborates on projects with other theatre companies and artists. She has also illustrated a number of books for children and written one, and was a founding member of Kids Can Press publishing company. As a teacher of puppetry and related theatre arts to children and adults, Ann has conducted workshops and programs in elementary schools and universities, at summer camps and conferences across Canada, in the US and the former USSR, and teaches at Puppetmongers’ Toronto School of Puppetry.

BARRY PROPHET - Multi-Arts: Sound Art for Dance, Drama, Film & Media Arts

Barry Prophet is a sound artist, composer, installation artist and photographer whose works have appeared in galleries and theatres in Canada, United States and Europe. Creating unique sounds since 1979, Barry's sculptures and glass instruments have been featured on recordings including his CD 'Crystal Bones' and more recently on guitarist William Beauvais’s ‘Invisible Cities’. Barry’s interactive sound sculptures include ‘A Gathering of Quivers’ The Tree Museum Muskoka, ‘Black Quiver’ at MacLaren Art Centre Barrie, ‘Synthecycletron’ a seasonally permanent sculpture commissioned by NAISA on Toronto Island, and ‘Sound Booth’ in “Ice Follies 2010” W.K.P. Kennedy Gallery, North Bay. Prophet has performed Sound Art and Electroacoustic Music on numerous occasions at the ROM who also commissioned Prophet to compose for Janice Pomer’s choreography presented in the Greek Gallery. Barry’s latest recordings, ‘Sound as Instrument & Art’ Volumes 1 & 2 are available on line and CDs released by The Sublunar Society, Stockholm.

ROD PROUSE - Visual Arts

Over 30 solo exhibitions (including the McMicheal Gallery, Klineburg ) and as many group exhibitions. Included in corporate and private collections in North America, Asia and Europe. Canadian grants for visual arts, video/new media, exhibition, education. Active in OAC’s “Artists in Schools,” “Artists in Schools and Communities” and “CAIS” programs. Artist in Residence, workshop presenter, instructor at various professional, public institutions including Georgian, Fleming and Centennial Colleges, Open Studio, Inter-access, OAC, Claude Watson School of the Arts, Toronto, North York, Simcoe, Trillium, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Toronto Catholic B of Eds. Currently: creating work for a solo exhibition at Quest Gallery, Midland and for commercial galleries in Ontario, BC and Alberta. Instructing at The Haliburton School of the Arts, Fleming College.... courses in “Design” and “Experimental Studio."


Since moving to Canada in 2011, Samyuktha has gained invaluable experience in teaching, performing and working on reputed projects with organizations such as DTRC, Sunny Artist Management, Toronto Arts Foundation, lbs/sq" performance, Tapestry Opera, LeSage Arts Management and most recently, The Musical Stage Company. As part of leadership development and her keen interest in cultural policies, she worked on projects such as the Canadian Arts Summit 2018. She is an artist educator for TDSB, Peel School Regions and conducts community engagement workshops for various festivals across the GTA. Along the way, Samyuktha won several awards and recognitions to her credit. Currently, she works as an Administrative Producer for Jaberi Dance Theatre, Lua Shayenne Dance Company and Canadian Dance Assembly as an Administrative Manager. She has also launched her company Infinite Arts Projects, which is primarily a Dance Arts Management Company.

SHEENA ROBERTSON - Art & Film (Grades 7-8)

Sheena D. Robertson is an expert artist-educator and a certified teacher with over twenty years experience collaborating with youth, and training teachers and artists. She is an experienced director with a professional resume that includes work in film (documentary, fiction, dance), theatre, and photography. She also has taught drama to teachers at OISE for many years, and has over twenty years experience doing drama projects in grades 4-12 classrooms across the TDSB, nationally and internationally. Sheena is the Artistic Director of Kick Start Arts Society - a not-for-profit company that engages youth in creation and collaboration opportunities. Sheena's approach to working with young people is one based in questioning and critical thinking, connection and trust. Please visit: for a sense of her work.


Lauren Schaffer hails from Montreal and received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and her MFA from Concordia University.Inspired by the intersection of human and animal behavior, Lauren’s art work encompasses sculpture, installation, audio and video. In addition to exhibiting across Canada, Lauren has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. She has received a SEED award for her installation, Studio Series at Grow Op in 2018. Her film, “a blind” was awarded ‘Best Experimental Film’ at the 2015 Toronto Urban Film Festival. She developed a Kinetic Sculpture and Experimental Film Project with Withrow Public School which was also selected as one of the finalists at the TIFF Jump Cuts 2012's Young Filmmaker's Showcase. Lauren is currently an instructor at OCADU’s Continuing Studies Department, has taught as a sessional instructor at Seneca and NSCAD and develops art, animation & sound projects (in collaboration with other artists), through her community program, Click Camp. In 2016, Click Campers were artists-in-residence at the Artist’s Newsstand Collective’s Chester Subway Station kiosk. at


Tyler J. Seguin is a Toronto-based theatre-maker. As a director, actor and puppeteer, he loves to create theatre that delights an audience’s imagination.

He has worked with companies such as The Stratford Festival, Theatre New Brunswick, the Sudbury Theatre Centre, The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, and Common Boots Theatre. His puppetry experience includes working with The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and The Puppetmongers as well as his own creations. Tyler has also developed educational entertainment for the Ontario Science Centre and Brainy Activity.

Tyler is a passionate educator and loves facilitating classes and workshops for learners of all ages and backgrounds. Some favourite experiences include working with Soulpepper’s Youth Academy, the World Festival of Children’s Theatre, the Ontario Art Teacher’s Association, and the Ontario Arts Council’s Artists in Education Program.

Tyler is also the producer and resident director for Thought For Food Productions.

RINA SINGH - Spoken Word

Rina Singh is an internationally published children's author and has written fifteen books for children including A Forest of Stories. She wrote an award-winning biography on the Inuit artist, Pitseolak Ashoona. Her most recent publications are Holi Colors, Diwali: Festival of Lights and Nearly Nonsense, and Guru Nanak. Her upcoming book A Meeting in the Sky is a World War II story. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Concordia University, and a teaching degree from McGill University, Montreal.

Rina has done readings and workshops in schools, libraries, and literary festivals across Canada, including TD Children’s Book Week in 2012 and 2018. In 2014, she also presented at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and Reading for the Love of it in Toronto (2015).

She is an Ontario Certified Teacher and has taught visual arts, drama, and creative writing in Toronto for 25 years.


Autumn is an artist innovator, director, curator and educator and is currently the Curator and Producer of Community Engagement and Education for Canadian Stage. Autumn holds an MFA from York University in Theatre Direction with an Emphasis on Teaching and is also a conservatory trained actor (Oxford School of Drama/UK). Ms. Smith is a member of faculty at AMPD (York University) and Centennial College. As a director and educator Ms. Smith led the Dora Award winning company MacKenzieRo for over a 9 year period in addition to working with companies such as: the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, U of T/Sheridan, The National Ballet/Stratford Project, The Shaw Festival, The Tarragon Theatre, George Brown Theatre School and Stagedoor Manor in Association with the American Theatre Wing, The Shaw Festival, StageWest Mississauga, Theatre 20, The Druid Theatre/Galway and the Oxford Playhouse/UK

CHARLES C. SMITH - Drama/Spoken Word

Charles C. Smith is a published poet, playwright and essayist who has written and edited thirteen books, won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, edited three collections of poetry, published four books of poetry – including Partial Lives- Williams Wallace Press, and travelogue of the bereaved, Mawanzi House (formerly TSAR Publications) - and has work in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry Canada Review, the Quille and Quire, Descant, Dandelion, the Amethyst Review, Bywords, Canadian Ethnic Studies and others. he has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council for both his poetry and for his work with the ‘wind in the leaves collective’ where he is artistic director of a multidisciplinary performance group involving dance, image, recorded and live music based on his poetry. Cultural Liaison in the Dean’s Office at the University of Toronto Scarborough, he lectures in Creative Writing. he is Executive Director for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario and a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives where he has published four books ranging in subjects from racial profiling to anti-racism in education, his most recent book titled “The Dirty War: The Making of the Myth of Black Dangerousness.”


Paul Stewart began his pottery carrier in 1985 as a second generation potter. He has also had the good fortune to have been an arts educator for twenty years. In that time he has delivered hundreds of workshops in dozens of schools, community centres, health centres, libraries and in his own studio. He has worked with a variety of groups in different contexts; children, youth, people marginalized or at risk, and seniors. In the past 7 years he has become active in facilitating community arts projects with a number of groups, primarily in community health care centres and libraries.


Marsha has a BA in Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario; studied visual art at the Slade School of Art in London, UK.; painting , drawing and print making at the Banff Centre and the Three Schools of Art in Toronto. She has taught visual art at the Banff Centre, the ROM, the AGO, The Avenue Road Art School as well as the University of Calgary and Presentation House in Vancouver. She has worked with the Ontario Arts Council’s Artist in the Schools programs and as well as Inner City Angels and the TDSB. She has worked extensively with children at risk, and many communities creating murals based on literacy, the environment and multiculturalism. Marsha leads workshops and courses, gives public talks and coaches individuals on the healing value of art and the creative process. Her paintings have been shown in galleries across Canada and in Jakarta, Singapore and Mexico.

TANISHA TAITT - Drama/Spoken Word

Tanisha Taitt is a director, actor, playwright, teacher, singer-songwriter, activist and essayist. Tanisha is a theatre and anti-oppression educator who -- in addition to being a Drama mentor for the TDSB -- has worked with theatre organizations including Obsidian, Buddies In Bad Times, The Theatre Centre, Paprika Festival, Musical Stage, Children's Peace Theatre, Workman Arts, NAC, Nightwood Theatre, and Soulpepper Theatre. She is the incoming Program Director for the Toronto Fringe Festival's TENT (Theatre Entrepreneurship, Networking & Training) program, and a Resident Artist Educator at Young People's Theatre, where she also teaches Audition Technuque and Directors' Lab in the Drama School. Tanisha has been nominated as a director for the Pauline McGibbon Award for Unique Talents, and is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award & Scholarship. She was chosen as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Canadian Theatre Educators Conference, and is a faculty member of George Brown Theatre School where she teaches 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study. Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

Meredith Thompson


Meredith Thompson is a Toronto-based dance artist, maker, and arts educator, originally from Huntsville, Ontario. She has performed throughout Canada and beyond with Sylvie Bouchard, Dancetheatre David Earle, the Danny Grossman Dance Company, Yvonne Ng, and Santee Smith, among others. A core performer with Dusk Dances, she has also been performing and touring with this outdoor dance festival for over a decade. As a maker, Meredith works both independently and collaboratively, and past projects have been presented at a number of festivals and events across Canada - more recently SummerWorks, Halifax Fringe, and the Sunrise Festival in Inuvik, NWT. Meredith has been working as a teaching artist with the TDSB in a variety of capacities since 2000. She has also taught and facilitated dance and movement workshops for a number of arts organizations and companies. Among them is Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre where she is also the Director of the Young Apprentice Program. Meredith is a graduate of York University’s Department of Fine Arts and Faculty of Education.


Diana Tso is a theatre artist, playwright, storyteller, artist in education & Dora award winning actor. She’s a graduate of the University of Toronto with an honors BA in English Literature & of Ecole Internationale de Théâtre de Jacques Lecoq in France. She’s worked with diverse theatres internationally for over 18 years. Most recently she performed in Les Misérables with Theatre Smith-Gilmour and at the 2017 Stratford Festival in Bakkhai and The Komagata Maru Incident.

As artistic director of Red Snow Collective her theatre vision merges east & west storytelling art forms through music, movement & text. Her plays, Red Snow (2012) and Comfort (2016) bring to light the stories of World War Two in Asia and are available at

Her new play, The Monkey Queen premieres November 16- December 2, 2018 at the Theatre Centre Upcoming she’ll be performing in Modern Times Stage’s The Cherry Orchard


Tereka has spent 4 seasons with Kashedance, most recently performing the successful Facing Home: Love and Redemption (choreo. Kevin Ormsby and Chris Walker) including tours to Kingston, Jamaica, New York, Wisconsin, Madison and Carifesta XIII Barbados as well as a presentation of Recalcitare at the Re:generations Festival in Birmingham UK.

She has also worked with various Contemporary, Afro Diasporic, Musical Theatre and Burlesque artists including Jose Carret (DanzaCorpus), Arsenio Andrade (Kashedance), Ronald Taylor (Ronald Taylor Dance), Ballet Creole, Adrianna Yanuziello (Dance Migration) Victoria MataSoledad (MataDanze Collective), Jasmyn Fyffe, Wind In the Leaves Collective and Expect Theatre. Highlights include Shades (Esie Mensah) Tribute to Harry Belafonte (Melissa Noventa), White Light Folliesand Portrait of a Scandal (High Society Cabaret), Sister Act (Lower Ossington Theatre) and Shameka Blake’s Artists in Motion in a 2018 Dance Ontario Commission of Child Soldier. She is a recipient of a Dora Moore Award for Best Ensemble (Dance) with the cast of Holla Jazz Floor’d.


Pavla Uppal, M.A., is a theatre artist and an educator facilitating dialogue in the diversity of our modern society. Her creative process consists of two main methodologies: Theatre of the Oppressed to and devising/play-building. Pavla is passionate about human stories and encourages active art-making as an expression of civic engagement. Her practice is based in participant-centered philosophy and critical pedagogy. She graduated with an MA in Applied Theatre degree in New York City and is expanding the use of theatre arts as a tool for social change.


As a trained visual artist who has worked in the large-scale painting industry for many years, in outdoor advertising in a commercial mural capacity also painting scenic for the Film and Television industry, I have discovered the love for community based projects. I am passionate about the way a large scaled public art project can bring together the community and the youth within this community. The power of art, it amazes me.


Lorna Wilson is a professional actor, an educator, a director, an adjudicator and a writer. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A.) and the University if the West Indies (M.Phil. in English). After teaching Drama and English at Riverdale Collegiate in Toronto, Lorna worked as an Assistant Professor at Queens University at the Faculty of Education and later as a Course Director at the Faculty of Education at York University. She has written and performed a one woman show and contributed to Treasures for Teaching published by the TDSB. As a director, Lorna has twice supervised the Drama Co-op Production for the TDSB. However, her passion is professional acting. In the last 30 years, she has appeared in many theatres across Canada including Stratford, Shaw, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Theatre Passé Muraille.


Paula Wing is a teacher, playwright, actor, and translator. In 2018, her original play RISKY PHIL, premiered at Young Peoples Theatre in Toronto and her translation of Stefano Massini's INTRACTABLE WOMAN had its American debut at Play Company in New York City. Paula's “Canadianization” of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Soulpepper won a Best Production Dora Award in 2016. Paula toured nationally and internationally teaching creative writing and literacy skills with the Royal Conservatory of Music for 15 years. She runs playwriting classes for young people and adults at the Tarragon Theatre and Young Peoples Theatre. She's a Resident Artist at Soulpepper Theatre, where she writes program notes and website content, and runs programs for youth. She is a sessional professor at the University of Windsor, where she teaches the acting class graduates, as well as aspiring drama teachers in the Community Education program.