Even the busiest artists need a break! Take Five with some of the hardest working and celebrated individuals in the performing arts scene today. We ask them a series of five questions to learn what inspires them and how their careers have been influenced by fellow community members.
Alice Lundy is a Toronto born and raised theatre artist who wears many hats as an actor, creator, director, and producer. She completed her BFA in Acting at the University of Windsor. Her journey at Windsor lead her to train with many world-renowned companies, such as the Stratford Festival, the New York based SITI Company, and the Moscow Art Theatre School in Moscow. Select acting credits include: MARRY ME MARRY ME MARRY ME… ( House + Body), Moral Deficit (Skipping Stones Theatre), Private Lives (Pure Carbon Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Seven Siblings Theatre), Fools Gold (Metaphysical Theatre), and Elektra (Toronto Fringe).
Michael Healey trained at the Ryerson Theatre School in the mid-eighties. He started writing plays to augment his career as an actor in the nineties, and his first play, Kicked, premiered at the Fringe Festival of Toronto in 1996. It sold out and was remounted the following year, when it won the Dora Award for best new play. The play then toured nationally and internationally. In the twenty years since, his work has won numerous awards across the globe and at home. His play The Drawer Boy, which premiered in 1999, won the Dora, Chalmers, and Governor General’s awards, and was the most-produced play in North America in 2004. It has been translated into a half-dozen languages, and continues to play to audiences at home and abroad. His other plays include The Road To Hell(written with Kate Lynch), Plan B, Rune Arlidge, The Innocent Eye Test, The Nuttalls, Generous, Courageous, and Proud. In total, his plays have won five Dora awards for best new play. He has adapted classics for the Shaw Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, and the Stratford Festival.
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. Her plays, Red Snow (2012) and Comfort (2016) bring to light the stories of World War Two in Asia. Upcoming she’ll be performing in Modern Times Stage Company’s The Cherry Orchard.
Ann-Marie is an award-winning theatre director, actor and teacher. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally including: The Globe Theatre (Regina), Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary), Festival TransAmériques (Montreal), Under the Radar (NYC), 2b theatre company (Halifax), High Performance Rodeo (Calgary), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Canada), The Theatre Centre (Toronto), Soulpepper Theatre Company (Toronto), Luminato Festival (Toronto), National Theatre School (Montreal), Theatre Smith Gilmour (Toronto), Cork Midsummer Festival (Ireland), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), Sydney Festival (Australia), Carrefour international de theatre (Quebec City), and UNO Festival (Victoria, BC). She teaches Jacques Lecoq work nationally including at the National Theatre School, Dalhousie University, Globe Theatre in Regina and the National Arts Centre. She was the inaugural recipient of the Gina Wilkinson Prize for Female Directors and is the former Artistic Associate at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.
Jennifer Walls is a Toronto based performer, producer and voice actor. Most recently she was a performer as well as assistant to the director in Canada 151: Better Late Than Sorry at Drayton Entertainment. She has received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Liza Minnelli in her one-woman show Liza Live! as well as her autobiographical rock cabaret Jagged Little Me featuring the music of Alanis Morissette. She has also enjoyed four seasons as a performer at the Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia. Jennifer has also produced a number of successful productions at the Toronto Fringe including The Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl series and Baker’s Dozen, Twelve Angry Puppets. This past year Jennifer was featured on the cover of NOW Magazine. As a voice actor she is the voice of the Family Jr. channel as well as a recurring character on PBS’s Peg + Cat and Amazon’s Creative Galaxy. Up next, Jennifer will be returning to the Victoria Playhouse for the 2018 Christmas Jamboree. .
Marion Newman is firmly established as one of Canada’s most accomplished singers. Her operatic roles include Carmen and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.. Upcoming appearances include world premieres of several works, operas and concerts that speak to Marion’s First Nations identity. This season, highlights for Marion include the premiere of Jennifer Butler’s Klee Wyck Woman with Emily Carr String Quartet at ISCM World New Music Days, and the role of Dr. Wilson in the premiere of Missing with City Opera Vancouver/Pacific Opera Victoria.
Veronica Hortiguela is a Cancer-Gemini cusp who grew up in east end Toronto. Raised in a Spanglish household, and with a healthy dose of Scarborough community theatre, she graduated this past spring from the Ryerson School of Performance Acting Program.
Kirsten Rasmussen is an award winning comedian known for her larger than life characters and physicality. She is alumni of the Second City Toronto Mainstage, a teacher/director and performer at Second City Training Centre and the Bad Dog Theatre. She performs and tours regularly with her comedy duos, K$M with Matt Folliott, and The Bloody Marys with Leigh Cameron. Kirsten is also known for her solo sketch shows FULL TIME IDIOT and KIRSTEN, GET SOME FRIENDS which won Just For Laughs PIck at Montreal Sketchfest and Patrons’s Pick at Toronto Sketchfest respectively. Kirsten’s work has been seen on your TV screen the screen in Dino Dana, Odd Squad, The Beaverton, Schitt’s Creek and various commercials selling you things.
Rick Miller is a Toronto-based Dora and Gemini award-winning writer/director/performer/musician/educator who has worked in five languages on five continents, and who Entertainment Weekly called “one of the 100 most creative people alive today”. He is also the founder and creative director of WYRD Productions, and co-creative director of Kidoons.
Jillian Welsh is a Dora nominated actor, comedian and storyteller. Her stories have been featured on NPR’s Unfictional, CBC’s Love Me, and RISK!. Jillian writes and performs sketch comedy with Mein Künt and is a member of the improv troupe The Pepperoni Pizza Cats. She is a graduate of AMDA’s musical theatre program in NYC and the Second City Conservatory in Toronto.