Meet The 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.

The Directors

Andrea Boyd

Andrea Boyd is the Artistic Director for Festival Antigonish. Last season she directed The Hound of the Baskervilles by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, and Stage Kissby Sarah Ruhl. Previous Festival credits include If You Could Wear My Sneakersadapted from Sheree Fitch’s book and Lighthouse and Other Stories, adapted from the stories of Robert Munsch. Other favourites include The Ash Girl by Timberlake Wertenbaker &Eurydiceby Sarah Ruhl (Theatre Antigonish),The White Snakeby Mary Zimmerman and The Love of the Nightingaleby Timberlake Wertenbaker (Mount Alison University), While We’re Youngby Don Hannah, (Citadel Theatre Young Company) The Piper by Colleen Murphy (University of Alberta), The Blue Lightby Mieko Ouchi (Keyano Theatre), The Paperbag Princess and Other Stories(The Grand Theatre) Kingfisher Daysby Susan Coyne (Covenant Theatre Co-Op) and One Flea Spareby Naomi Wallace. (MFA Thesis, U of A). Her play, For the Love of Gracie Gray, was the first-place winner of the 2013 Write-On-Q! Quebec Playwriting Competition, hosted by Infinitheatre, and Angel’s Riverwas produced by Live Bait Theatre and NotaBle Acts. She holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta, where she also taught in the drama department.  She was also the Crake Drama Fellow at Mount Allison University.

Sharon Bajer

Sharon Bajer is an actress, playwright and director based in Winnipeg, MB. Her play Molly’s Veilwas in the 2007 FAST season. For Festival Antigonish, Sharon has directed Outside Mullingar and Run for Your Wifeand has appeared in Molly’s Veiland Boeing Boeing(for which she was nominated for a Merritt Award for Best Supporting Actress). Recently Sharon directed Fly Me to the Moonand Little Thing, Big Thingfor Prairie Theatre Exchange, The Best Brothersfor Western Canada Theatre and Theatre Northwest and she has appeared as an actress in Kill Me Now at the National Arts Centre and Hand to Godfor the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, for which she won Best Actress – Winnipeg Theatre Awards 2017. Sharon is a graduate of the Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction and the International Directing Masterclass at The Stratford Festival of Canada. sharonlbajer.com

Richie Wilcox

Richie Wilcoxis a multi-talented director/singer/actor whose work has been seen across Canada and toured internationally. Wilcox is an Artistic Co-Producer of Halifax’s live art company Heist where he most recently performed in Princess Rules and his original show New Waterford Boy: A Ceilidh. Wilcox is part of the team that created the award-winning pieces The Princess Show and Princess Rules as well as the multimedia extravaganza Nation.  He is an Artistic Associate for Theatre Outré where he’s directed UNSEX’d, The Confession of Jeffrey Dahmer and more. He has spent almost a decade working at Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre as a director and performer.

The Cast

Gillian Clark

Gillian Clark is the artistic co-director of Keep Good (Theatre) Company and is a theatre creator residing in Montreal, Quebec, with a large piece of her heart in Nova Scotia. She is thrilled to be back in Nova Scotia as part of the wonderful company at FAST. Gillian’s most recent acting credit is playing herself in her solo show Let’s Try This Standing, which has toured across the country. She was the 2015/2016 emerging artist in residence with 2b Theatre Company and was part of Tarragon’s 2016/2017 playwright’s unit.  She is currently a playwriting student at The National Theatre School of Canada.

Gordon Gammie

Gordon Gammie is very happy to be back in Antigonish for his third visit. Previous credits for the Festival include Little Thing Big Thing, Don’t Misunderstand Me, For the Taking, Run for Your Wife, Rope’s End and Criminal Genius. Amongst other theatrical credits, there is:Hogtown (The Hogtown Collective); Shear Madness (Persephone Theatre); Little Thing Big Thing (Prairie Theatre Exchange); The Crazy Time (Drayton Entertainment); Hilda’s Yard, Narnia, A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); Separate Bed’s, The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom (Charlottetown Festival); The 39 Steps, The Affections of May (Summerside Theatre); Cherry Docs (2b Theatre); Skin Flick, Frost/Nixon, Death of a Salesman, Art (Neptune Theatre); Hockey Mom Hockey Dad, Westray (Two Planks and a Passion); UPCOMING… Shear Madness for Drayton Entertainment and Little Thing Big Thing, a remount of the 2016 Festival Antigonish production which scooped up two Merritt Awards in 2017. Outstanding Direction (Jeremy Webb) and Outstanding Actor – Female (Francine Deschepper). See it at Neptune Theatre, May 2019.

Henricus Gielis

Henricus Gielis is an actor and improviser from Regina, Saskatchewan, and who has called Nova Scotia home for the last 7 years, and all of his professional acting career. He is a regular performer with the cast of Hello City!an Improvised show all about Halifax and the people who live in it. Previous Theatre Credits include: Peter Fechter’s 59 Minutes (Matchstick); Nine Interactions with Art (HTYP);Pugwash, The Mystery Play (Ship’s Company Theatre); Strawberries in January (Live Bait Theatre); King Lear, As You Like It, Pinocchio (Shakespeare By the Sea); Seminar (Kick at the Dark Theatre); Girls! Girls! Girls! (Angels & Heroes).

Christian Murray

Christian Murray is an actor and writer based in Halifax. He has performed across Canada and worldwide over the last (gulp) 30 years. Highlights include; being a member of the National Arts Centre’s Theatrical Company, Sugar Mary at Neptune and EFT, his play Bone Boy, tours of Japan and New Zealand, performing for the Queen and having a chat with her.  Christian recently won Arts Nova Scotia’s Established Artist Award.   He co-founded Jest it Time Theatre and Frankie Productions.  Christian is thrilled to be back working at FAST but will so miss his dear friend Buddy Doucette.

Michelle Piller

Michelle Piller is new to Nova Scotia, and delighted to be here. Favourite stage credits include Bluenose (Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Festival), Hogtown (Dora Award nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in Independent Musical Theatre), Street Scene (Long  Reach Opera); Murder in Noirville (Orillia Opera House); I Do, I Do (Stage West Calgary and Tribal Productions); Side By Side by Sondheim (McManus Theatre and Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Assassins (Talbot Theatre); I Love You, You’re Perfect,  Now Change and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (both with Tribal Productions);  Nunsense (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); The Last Resort (Red Barn Theatre); Dads  Theatre in Port); Hair (Althouse Theatre); Toad! (Theatre Aquarius); Toronto The Good (Artword Theatre); The Dance of the Dead (Berkely Street Theatre); Beautiful City and Possible Worlds (both with Hit and Run Theatre); and Anything Goes (Huron Country Playhouse). Favourite film and television: The Stall Boy and The Next Step, respectively.

Ralph Steiner

Born and raised on a Jersey farm in the Eastern Townships, Ralph decided to take up music and acting at the ripe old age of 30 and never looked back. Hank Williams: The Show he Never Gavewas Ralph’s first professional role in 2001 at Theatre Lac Brome. He works as a carpenter by day, plays music at night, and takes the odd acting role to round out the dream life trifecta. Enjoy the show!

Laura Teasdale

Laura Teasdale is an actor, musician, playwright, cartoon voice and teacher.  She made her professional debut right here in the Bauer Theatre, appearing in the very first season of Festival Antigonish.  In the 30 years that have passed since then, she has lived in Quebec and worked for great companies like Centaur Theatre, Geordie & Theatre Lac Brome. She led a women’s choir and was part of clown and comedy improv troupes.  She studied laughter therapy, taught drama and music to elementary school kids, toured to the Arctic, played The Artful Dodger, wrote 8 dinner theatres and 25 children’s plays and grew a lot of gardens. Laura’s best-known plays, include Honky Tonk Blue-The Night Patsy Met Hank, Woodswalker & Home Child;an outdoor show that toured Nova Scotia last summer.  Her favourite plays are inspired by local history. She sings in a band with two friends Sheila and Patricia…They are called The Lovely Brothers. In all these years she has longed for Nova Scotia and she is finally home.

Gina Thornhill

Gina is a Halifax based theatre maker. She is a founding member of the perfectly ridiculous clown troupe; Tea Time Creation Co. She is often teaching musical theatre at Neptune Theatre School. Select theatre credits: Juliet – Romeo and Juliet: A Drink Along (Tea Time Creation Co.) Conni – Pugwash (Ship’s Company Theatre) Grace – Slut: The Play (Luna Sea Theatre) M- The Blazing World (Villian’s Theatre). Upcoming: Some Blow Flutes written by Mary Vingoe.

Sam Vigneault

Sam Vigneault is a Dartmouth born actor and musician, and a graduate from the Fountain School of Performing Arts acting program (2017). Sam is excited to have the opportunity to perform at Festival Antigonish this summer, playing the role of Archie in Mike Kenny’s Big Sister, Little Brother. Having lots of family in Cape Breton, Sam has travelled through Antigonish many times, and is looking forward to finally spending some time there! He is elated to be working with Director Richie Wilcox and cast mate Gina Thornhill. Selected theatre credits: King Arthur (Opera Nova Scotia/ Zuppa Theatre), Bone Cage (Matchstick Theatre), Nine Compositions: Interactions with Art (HTYP), Seasonal Affective Dramas (Taboo Theatre), A Herman Tale/ Goodbye Marianne (TNB). Sam would like to thank his family and friends for their continuing support, and all his mentors for inspiring him to pursue the work that he loves.

The Creative Team

Dana Bidgood

Dana Bidgood is a fourth-year student majoring in Drama at Mount Allison University. She is planning to finish her Bachelor of Arts degree next year with a special interest in stage management.  Throughout high school Dana performed in numerous dance recitals and worked on the school’s musical Footlooseas well as studied Shakespeare at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama.  This year Dana got to work on two one act performances both of which provided their own unique challenges.  In the fall she worked with student director Justin Green on In This Worldas a part of Motyer Fancy theatre’s Night Of One Acts.  While more recently as a part of her independent study, Dana got the opportunity to stage manage [ice land] with student director Jena McLean.  This is Dana’s first time working with Festival Antigonish and is very excited to see what the future holds.

John Briand

This is John Briand’s first year working with Festival Antigonish as the light/sound technician. Currently a student at Mount Allison University, he studies Drama Studies and Psychology. Over the past couple of years he has gained experience from working at; Convocation Hall and The Motyer-Fancy Theatre at Mount Allison; the Spatz Theatre and for Citadel High School in Halifax; and Bethany United Church among other places and events throughout the Maritimes. He is eager to be working with Festival Antigonish this summer to further his experience in theatre in addition to bringing a new and unique skill set to the stage.

Chelsea Conn

Chelsea is excited to be joining Festival Antigonish for her third season, and this year in the Head of Wardrobe role. She graduated with honours in 2015 from Dalhousie University’s Costume Studies program. She has since spent many seasons stitching for Heritage Park Historical Society in Calgary, and just finished touring her second season coast to coast as a wardrobe supervisor with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen. Her past credits with Festival Antigonish include designing for the family stage shows Mission Munschpossible, and Munsch Upon A Time. She also assisted with the build, and backstage running crew for Little Thing Big Thing, For the Taking, Opening Night, Outside Mullingar, and Lungs.

Marianne Dobbin

Marianne DobbinMarianne 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!

Emlyn Murray

Emlyn is a recent graduate of Dalhousie’s Costume Studies Program. She previously enjoyed doing costumes for other Festival Antigonish productions of Opening Night, Outside Mullingar, and Lungs.  She is excited to be returning for another summer. She has had a busy year doing costumes for The Villain’s Theatre’s production of Tyrant and for Thom Fitzgerald’s feature film Splinters. She also did costumes forHEIST’s productionof Princess Rules for which she won a Merritt AwardOther past costume credits include (New Waterford Boy and HowDo I Love Thee (HEIST), Messenger (Home First/Eastern Front), Leaving Wonderland, Ghosts, The Monument (LunaSea Theatre) Two in The Coop, God’s Middle Name, David For Queen (Halifax Theatre for Young People), Bone Boy (Frankie Productions), Halloween Party (Terrifying Movie Inc), Studio Black! S1&2 (PicturePlant Productions).

Sarah O’Brien

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 18 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).

Tessa Pekeles

Tessa is delighted to be returning to the Bauer once again. Previous credits with Festival Antigonish include Lungs, Outside Mulingar, Opening Night, Venus in Fur, Be My Baby, The Motor Trade, Best of Broadway and Magical Mystery Munsch. Other recent credits include ASM for A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick) and stage manager for King of Berlin (Doppler Effect), TreeGirl (Forerunner Playwright’s Theatre), The Spanish Tragedy (The Villain’s Theatre), Redfish (Halifax Theatre for Young People) and FallOut (WillPower/Eastern Front Theatre). Tessa was born and raised in Montreal but now calls Halifax her home.

Anna Shearing

Anna is delighted to be working with the Antigonish Festival this year and cannot wait to see this year’s season come to life on stage. This is her first time working as Head of Props, but she has previously worked in the props department for Fountain School of Performing Arts’ productions of Drums and Organs, Orlando, and Coram Boy. She has also worked in carpentry for their production of The Piper, lights for Man of Mode, and scenic painting for The Magic Flute. She is currently attending Dalhousie University for Technical Theatre.

Anna Shepard

Anna Shepard is an emerging theatre maker whose interests span direction, lighting and projection design, stage management, and theatre’s social and political voice. She is a recent graduate of the drama program at Mount Allison University, and is the current RBC Emerging Artist-In-Residence at 2b Theatre Company. Select stage management credits include The Dumb Waiter (Motyer-Fancy Theatre), 4-H Club (Motyer-Fancy Theatre), and Going West (ASM, Matchstick Theatre). Design credits include Peter Fechter: 59 minutes (Projection, Matchstick Theatre), One Discordant Violin (Co-Lighting, 2b Theatre Company), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Lighting, Motyer-Fancy Theatre), Punch Up (Lighting, AXE Productions), and The Wizard of Oz (Projection and Lighting, TRHS). Directing credits include This Is For You, Anna (Motyer-Fancy Theatre), One Discordant Violin (Assistant Direction, 2b Theatre Company), and The Curse on the House of Atreus (Assistant Direction, Calgary Young People’s Theatre).

Sabrina Stace

Sabrina Stace is a costume designer and tech from Moncton, NB. She is a recent graduate of Mount Allison University with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama. Sabrina was the Motyer-Fancy Theatre’s Wardrobe Technician from 2016-2018 while also working for the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre as the Crake Library Intern for 2016-2017. Costume Design Credits at MFT include [ice land] (Winter 2018), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Fall 2017), Legally Blonde (Winter 2017), Metamorphosis (Fall 2016), Punch Up (Winter 2016), and The Russian Play (Winter 2016).Last summer, she was a General Technician at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Cow Head, Newfoundland. Sabrina is thrilled to be working for FAST this year. In the fall, Sabrina will be attending Fanshawe College in London, Ontario to further her education in their one-year Costume Production Program. Special thanks to her family and friends for their endless love and support. Website: https://sabrinastace.wixsite.com/wardrobe

Zachery Stevenson

Originally from Vancouver Island, Zach recently relocated to Chicago where he is currently performing in a revival of the Buddy Holly Story. Sound design credits include, Burnin’ Love and The True Heroines web series, as well as songwriting for solo and band performance (TheHuman Statues). Select acting credits include: Million Dollar Quartet (Paramount – Carl U/S); Hair (CanStage);Ring of Fire (Chemainus Theatre Festival / Western Canada Theatre); HankWilliams: The Show He Never Gave (Blue Bridge Repertory); Urinetown (Belfry Theatre); RedRock Diner (Arts Club Theatre); Assassins (Quintessence), and over ten productions of Buddy:The Buddy Holly Story throughout the US and Canada, for which he’s been nominated for a Jessie Richardson Award and Ovation Award. Zachary has also had the pleasure of music directing several productions, including Million Dollar Quartet (Arts Club), and Ring of Fire(Chemainus Theatre Festival), as well as performing in countless headlining concerts across North America. Zach is busy writing a one-man show about the 1960s folksinger and activist, Phil Ochs. For more, check out www.zacharystevenson.com.

Tanner Lee Welsh

Tanner had his beginnings in theatre with Mulgrave Road Theatre in 1999 while working as their Tour Coordinator/Administrative Assistant. Since that first experience, Tanner has worked extensively with Mulgrave Road in varying capacities; from building maintenance and improvements, to set design, stage carpentry and numerous maritime tours as Technical Assistant. Some recent projects include the design and build of sets for Mulgrave Road Theatre productions of The West Woods and Watching Glory Die.  Tanner was also the lead carpenter for a full front office renovation of Mulgrave Road Theatre in Guysborough, Nova Scotia. Tanner is thrilled to be working with Festival Antigonish this spring as the Stage Carpenter and looks forward to bringing the sets to stage for Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre this year.

The Playwrights

Sharon Bajer

Sharon Bajer is an actress, playwright and director based in Winnipeg, MB. Her play Molly’s Veilwas in the 2007 FAST season. For Festival Antigonish, Sharon has directed Outside Mullingar and Run for Your Wifeand has appeared in Molly’s Veiland Boeing Boeing(for which she was nominated for a Merritt Award for Best Supporting Actress). Recently Sharon directed Fly Me to the Moonand Little Thing, Big Thingfor Prairie Theatre Exchange, The Best Brothersfor Western Canada Theatre and Theatre Northwest and she has appeared as an actress in Kill Me Now at the National Arts Centre and Hand to Godfor the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, for which she won Best Actress – Winnipeg Theatre Awards 2017. Sharon is a graduate of the Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction and the International Directing Masterclass at The Stratford Festival of Canada. sharonlbajer.com

Norm Foster

Norm Foster has been called Canada’s preeminent comic playwright, and he is also one of the most prolific and most produced of all Canadian playwrights. Halifax Chronicle-Herald columnist Ron Foley writes ‘Foster’s stage writing remains one of Canada’s greatest theatrical treasures’, and The Calgary Herald describes him as ‘one of the funniest writers of intelligent comedy in Canadian theatre today’. Mr. Foster has over fifty-five plays to his credit including Ethan Claymore, The Foursome, The Melville Boys, The Affections Of May, Wrong For Each Other, Outlaw,Jenny’s House Of Joy, and Mending Fences. He was honoured by Theatre Ontario for his ‘distinguished service to Ontario’s theatre community’, he is the recipient of a Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award, and in 2016 he was named an Officer to the Order of Canada.

Michael Hollinger

Michael Hollinger’s plays include Opus, Under the Skin, Ghost-Writer, Tooth and Claw, Red Herring, Incorruptible, and An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Boeuf, all of which premiered at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company and have subsequently been produced around the U.S., in New York City, and abroad (London, Paris, Tokyo, Athens, Poland and Slovenia).  Plays premiered elsewhere include: Hope and Gravity at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre; Cyrano(translated, and co-adapted with Aaron Posner) at Washington’s Folger Theatre; and A Wonderful Noise(co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl) at Creede Rep. Awards include an ATCA/Steinberg New Play Citation, an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy, four Barrymore Awards, nominations for Lucille Lortel and John Gassner awards, and multiple fellowships from the Independence Foundation and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  Michael is a Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists.

Mike Kenny

Mike Kenny is one of the England’s leading writers, specializing in young people’s theatre. He is the recipient of numerous awards, was included in the Independent on Sunday’s list of Top Ten Living UK Playwrights and his plays are performed regularly throughout the UK and all over the world. In 2013 he was given an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Nottingham University, England. AWARDS & NOMINATIONS Arts Council of England – first ever recipient of The Children’s Award for playwriting for children (2000) Cinderella: 2013 Dora Mavor Award for Outstanding Musical Theatre Production and 6 other awards by Young People’s Theatre Diary of an Action Man: Best Children’s Play (Time Out Critics Choice) Electric Darkness: Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Best Children’s Play Award, Winner of the 2012 Kindertearpreis, Moliere Award (nominee) Flags and Bandages: Best Children’s Play (British Theatre Institute) The Gardener: shortlisted for Deutschen Kindertheaterpreis The Last Freak Show: Edinburgh Festival Pick of the Fringe Manchester Evening News nom. Best Fringe Show Mind the Gap: Barclays TMA Award for Special Achievement in Regional Theatre (2002) The Railway Children: Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 2012, Dora Mavor Audience Award 2012 Scarecrow: Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Best Children’s Play Award (short list) Sink or Swim: Best Children’s Play (Time Out) Stepping Stones: Best Children’s Play (Writers’ Guild of Great Britain) Stuck: short listed for Writer’s Guild Best Children’s Play Walking the Tightrope: 2009 Dora Mavor Award for Theatre Direct’s Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance for Theatre for Young Audiences

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