Meet the 2017 Company
Looking for more information on our directors and cast? Take a minute to learn more about the artistic talents on stage and behind the scenes.
Mary Vingoe (Kingfisher Days)
Mary Vingoe is a well-known figure in Canadian Theatre. A director, Artistic Director, Festival Director, playwright, teacher and actor who has worked across the country, Vingoe is celebrated for co-founding four major theatre companies in Canada. She is the founding Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa. She is a co-founder and past Artistic Director of Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre, a co-founder and past co-Artistic Director of Ship’s Co. Theatre in Parrsboro, NS and a co-founder and past Artistic Director of The Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax. Recent directing credits include Wendy Lill’s The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum for the National Arts Centre and Neptune Theatre, Catherine Banks’ Governor General’s Award winning, It Is Solved by Walking, the world premiere of Wendy Lill’s Messenger as well as Christopher Marlowe’s Edward ii for UBC’s Theatre and Film. Vingoe is also a noted Canadian playwright. Her play Refuge about the fate of an Eritrean refugee claimant to Canada, premiered in Halifax at Eastern Front Theatre in 2013 has received productions across the country. Refuge, published by Scirocco Press, was a finalist for the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award and was short listed for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Drama. Mary Vingoe is the recipient of the Portia White Award for artistic excellence and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to Canadian theatre. She is very pleased to be making her directing debut at FAST this summer.
Richie Wilcox (Martha)
Richie Wilcox is a multi-talented director/singer/actor whose work has been seen across Canada and toured internationally. He is an Artistic Associate for Theatre Outré where he’s directed UNSEX’d, Castrati: An Electro Drag Opera, Late Company and more. Highlights include directing Daniel MacIvor’s I, Animal and Gillian Clark’s Understudy. Wilcox is a founding member of Halifax based Heist where he most recently directed Girls! Girls! Girls!, the award winning The Princess Show, Nation and How Do I Love Thee?
This year marks Francine Deschepper’s sixth season here in Antigonish. Previous FAST shows include Outside Mullingar, Lungs, Criminal Genius, Run For Your Wife, Heroine, Caught in the Net, Looking, and Maggie’s Getting Married. She has been nominated for six Robert Merritt awards for outstanding performance; winning for her roles in Little Thing Big Thing (FAST) and When It Rains (2b). Other theatre credits include: The Donahue Sisters (Luna Sea); Miracle on 34th Street, The Comedy of Errors, Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out (Neptune); Glace Bay Miners’ Museum (NAC/Neptune); Speaking in Tongues (DMV); MacBeth, Heroine (Willpower); Marion Bridge (Neptune/VST); A Good Death (DaPoPo); The Contribution (Doppler); and The Odyssey (Two Planks).
Special thanks to all my stage kiss partners: Alex, Andrew, Ben, Christian, Corey, Dominic, Doug, Garry, Gil, Graham, Jeremy, Jody, Joe, Marty, Mike, Sam, Stuart, Taylor, Theo, Wes, and Hugh, and especially to the best partner of all, my Josh.
Sansom Marchand hails from the small village of Chelsea, Quebec where he dreamed of making big theatre. Since graduating from The Fountain School of Performing Arts in 2015 he has been making theatre in Halifax, most recently in Pride and Prejudice at the Theatre Arts Guild. He is grateful to work with such an amazing cast and crew this summer, and thankful to his friends and family for helping get him to this point.
Christian Murray is an actor and writer based in Halifax. He has performed across Canada and world wide over the last 25 years. He was a member of the National Arts Centre’s Theatrical Company in 2012 and recently won Arts Nova Scotia’s Established Artists Award. He also co-founded Jest it Time Theatre and Frankie Productions. Christian is thrilled to be back working at FAST.
Jennifer Roberts is an actor, acting teacher, and emerging playwright. She moved to Montreal after high-school to complete her B.F.A Specialization in Theatre & Development at Concordia University. She has since worked with companies that include Scapegoat Carnivale, Talisman Theatre, The Other Theatre, Geordie Productions, National Theatre School, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, and Imago Theatre, among others. She was an actor in Black Theatre Workshop’s 2014-2015 Mentorship Program and was awarded a Montreal English Theatre Award (Best Supporting Actress) for her role as Simon in Chloe’s Choice by Geordie Productions. She is thrilled to be involved with the Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre for the first time.
Hugh Thompson is a Gemini and two-time Merritt Award winner, and has twice been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Some favourite roles on stage include Neil in “The Glace Bay Miners Museum”, Auto in “Whale Riding Weather” and Himself in “MacBeth”. He has no proof, but Mr. Thompson feels that some or all of Mr. Webb’s Merritt awards may be result of Russian hacking. Hugh will next appear in the lead role of the feature film Touched, which will be released later this year. He was raised in West River, Antigonish County and would like to thank his former drama teacher, Eleanor Mutimer, and former Artistic Director, Addy Doucette for their faith in him. As always, love to Mum and to those who have gone before. For RMD and Djef.
Naomi Vogt is a theatre-maker with a love of coastal communities and efficient public transit. She is the Artistic and Associate Producer of Touchstone Theatre in Vancouver, developing a solo work and producing In Tune 2017, a Canadian musical theatre festival. Recently, she performed in the sold-out run of Babelle Theatre’s production of Movements 1 and 2. Select credits include: Faroe Islands (Dirt Road Productions), The Fourth Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide (Rumble Theatre) and Ubu Roi (Theatre at UBC). In various capacities, she has worked with Rumble Theatre, the Arts Club, Mortal Coil Performance Society, The Cultch, and many other theatre companies and presenters. She completed her BFA in acting at UBC.
Jeremy Webb has run his company Off The Leash Creative since 2009. He moved to Canada, from his native UK, in 1998. He grew up in Cambridge and trained at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He is the Artistic Producer of Halifax’s Eastern Front Theatre. Most recent Canadian stage appearances include ‘Cogsworth’ in Neptune Theatre’s Beauty and The Beast (twice), ‘Jaggers’ in Great Expectations (Neptune Theatre), ‘Jack’ in Broadway on Argyle St (WillPower/OTL), ‘George’ in I’ll Be Back Before Midnight (Valley Summer Theatre), ‘Macbeth’ in Macbeth (WillPower Theatre), ‘Max Bialystock’ in The Producers (Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg,) ‘Riverdale/ Churchill’ in Rexy (Neptune), Under Milk Wood (touring since 2013,) ‘Paul Fisher’ in his own play Fishing (touring since 2012,) ‘Beowulf’ in Beowulf (Two Planks & A passion), ‘Iago’ in Othello (Shakespeare By The Sea). For FAST he directed Little Thing, Big Thing (2016) winning the 2017 Best Director Merritt Award and appeared in Sleuth, Humble Boy, Stones In His Pockets and The Woman In Black amongst many others. He directed (and wrote) The Chuckle Hour and directed The Wizard of Oz, Joseph, Godspell, The Wind In The Willows, and Til It Hurts, I Do! I Do!, Double Double, Les Miserables, The Hobbit and Oliver. He is most proud of two ‘productions’ Dylan (2 years) and Samuel (5 years.) www.easternfronttheatre.com
The Creative Team
Ryan Billington is a versatile vocalist, arranger and conductor. Since 2004, he has taught private voice, choral/vocal jazz ensembles and various classes in the music department at St. Francis Xavier University including, Songwriters and their Songs, Songwriting Workshop and Women and Popular Music. His main areas of interest are jazz/pop vocal performance, vocal pedagogy, choral ensemble direction and arranging for small vocal ensemble settings. In 2011, his student vocal ensemble EXTRA from StFX was featured nationally on CBC Radio 2 Choral Concert with host Peter Togni. Ryan completed a Master of Music in Voice performance and Jazz at Western Michigan University in 2002. Prior to his appointment at StFX, Ryan performed as a professional choral singer in Toronto with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and other professional choral ensembles. In recent years, Ryan has performed across Atlantic Canada in jazz, oratorio, musical theatre and choral settings. He has held the position of assistant director for the Halifax Camerata Singers and has also performed and recorded with the Canadian Chamber Choir. A recent of composition of Ryan’s written for mezzo-soprano Ali Garrison and piano, “Atacama, Gateway to the Stars” was premiered in Toronto in 2015. Ryan directs the Antigonish Choral Ensemble, and will begin his first season as Artistic Director and Conductor for the Cape Breton Chorale in September 2017.
Rachelle Bunbury (Wardrobe) is excited to be here designing Martha this season for Festival Antigonish, and working in wardrobe for the Festival’s Main Stage. She is a student of Costume studies at Dalhousie University. An avid painter, Rachelle’s work can be seen in Halifax at Lady Luck boutique as well as here on stage.
Sydney Cavanagh’s work includes, Head of Wardrobe: Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured play with Music (The World Stage), Head of Wardrobe; Shaw Festival Theatre, Head of Wardrobe; Bard on the Beach, Assistant Head of Wardrobe; Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening/ Closing Ceremonies. Sydney is also a Jessie nominated Costume Designer and the recipient of a Leo Award for Best Costume Design; Dramatic Short; Hop The Twig. She is a graduate of Studio 58.
Alison Crosby is thrilled to be a part of Festival Antigonish’s thirtieth summer season! Originally from Sydney River, Cape Breton, Alison is a recent graduate of Mount Allison University with a degree in Drama Studies. She spent her last two summers as an apprentice for Ship’s Company Theatre. Recent stage management credits include Sucker, Vigil, Criminals in Love, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Highland Arts Theatre), Art, Salt Water Moon (Sackville Student Theatre), and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Motyer-Fancy Theatre). In her spare time, Alison enjoys writing about
herself in third person.
Marianne Dobbin (Movement Director), born and raised in Antigonish, discovered her love of the art of dance at an early age. Her interest in movement led her to a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University, graduating with First Class Honours. She then found art in a different form and went on to complete her Doctor of Dental Surgery at Dalhousie University in 2012. Marianne has enjoyed the stage through acting, dancing and choreographing for many years and is excited to be involved with Festival Antigonish this year!
Chelsey Jenkins (Head of Props) is currently a student of the Fountain School of Performing Arts Technical Theatre Program, and this is Chelsey’s first season working in theatre. She is looking forward to working as Head of Props for all four shows at Festival Antigonish and hopes to do those who have helped her proud. A builder and a problem solver, she is glad to put her knowledge to use while constantly learning from those around her.
Olivia McGinn received her B.A. in Technical Scenography from Dalhousie University. Previous Stage Management credits include SM Apprentice on The West Woods – (Mulgrave Road Theatre), Heathers: The Musical – (WhaleSong Theatre), The Songs of the RatPack – (Neptune Studio), Seminar, Story of a Sinking Man – (Kick at the Dark Theatre), The Advent Show 2015 & 2016 – (Spatz Theatre), Dark Matter – (Atlantic Fringe Festival), Many Loves – (Queer Fest), Evening of Ives – (Lion’s Den Theatre), SM Apprentice on A Christmas Story – (Neptune Theatre). She is so happy to be spending the summer with Festival Antigonish for the first time, and to be working with such a wonderful team.
Sarah O’Brien is a native of Ottawa, a resident of Toronto and a child of Maritimers. Starting with the 2001 Young Company, she has been a company member of Festival Antigonish for 17 years. Some favourite FAST credits include Outside Mullingar (2015), Little Thing, Big Thing (2016), Woman In Black (2006), Joni Mitchell: River (2005), and Caught In The Net (2011). Recent credits include Brave New World (Litmus Theatre), As You Like It (George Brown Theatre School), Our Town (Theatre Rusticle), and Assemblée Internationale 2017 (Canada’s National Ballet School). Following this season, Sarah will be going out on the trail with Mulgrave Road Theatre to points west. Congratulations to everyone who has made these 30 years in the Bauer possible.
Robert Seale has been a professional (ACTRA, CAEA) since 1974, directing or acting in over 160 professional productions in the major theatres across Canada, and in the U.S. As a professional Fight Director for stage and film, he has worked on more than 320 productions, beyond North America in Australia and Europe, through his company Fights Unlimited RGS. His Canadian credits include the National Ballet, Shaw Festival, National Arts Centre, Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet, and both the Toronto and Atlantic Film Festivals. An internationally ranked Fight Master, Robert is the only foreign national ever to compete in the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas and win the prestigious award for Best Fight.
Anna Spencer is thrilled to be spending her summer with Festival Antigonish. Originally from Glace Bay, Cape Breton Anna is a recent graduate of Ryerson University’s Performance Production Program in Toronto. Anna’s previous credits include Apprentice Stage Manager with both Tapestry Opera (Oksana G.) and Toronto Operetta Theatre (The Chocolate Soldier) Assistant Stage Manager with Opera York (L’Elisir D’Amore) (Don Pasquale) Assistant Stage Manager with the Savoy Theatre (The Summertime Review) (Into the Woods) (Chicago) (Les Miserables). The fall Anna will be returning to Toronto as Production Intern for the Ryerson School of Performance and as part of Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror Stage Management Team.