Arts Leadership Training Program Participants

Date posted: October 4, 2021

In July of 2021, The Belfry partnered with performing arts organizations and training institutions across Western Canada to create an IBPOC arts leadership training program. Entering its second year, the program has provided informative seminars and hands-on internships to 23 IBPOC artists and administrators. Meet our participants, past and present, below. Find out more information about the Arts Leadership Training Program here.

Year Two Cohort

Skyler Anderson

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Sky is a proud father of two boys who he dedicates all his work to. He holds a degree in Theatre from the First Nations University of Canada and is also a sessional theatre and Indigenous visual art instructor at the University of Regina. In Winter 2021, Sky curated, directed, and performed in a play reading series for the Globe Theatre, where he works as both Artistic Associate and Indigenous Liaison. In the following Spring he developed and performed an outdoor walking show alongside Greg Ochitwa that was based on stories from his life titled, Holdin’ on to What’s Golden, which he then performed as a one-person show in the Globe Theatre’s 2022 Main Stage Season. Sky was born and raised in Regina, and he is nêhiyawak, from Treaty 4 Territory.

Sehar Bhojani

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Sehar Bhojani is a Muslim-Canadian artist, producer, arts leader, and dog-mom currently based in good ol’ Hamilton, Ontario. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s acting program. As an actor, she has appeared in various commercials, television shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) and Coroner (CBC), and films Punchline (short) and feature film SLAXX (EMA Films). As a producer, Sehar has worked with a number of Canadian Theatre companies and is currently Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Direct in Toronto.

Jody Bauche

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Jody has always considered herself an artist although her artistic career is relatively recent. Jody has been an uninvited guest on Lekwungen land for the past 20 years. Jody is Metis and has been a part of the Visible Bodies Dance Collective since 2019. Through this dance collective, Jody has been a part of four collaborative dance performances. Jody is also a graduate student at SFU, studying Communications. She believes that supporting Indigenous led artistic movements helps communities reclaim and celebrate their culture.

Alex Chen

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Alex Chen is a baritone, collaborative pianist, and vocal coach whose curiosity brings fresh perspectives on a diverse body of musical works. In the words of his mentor John Hess, he is “an immensely musical and sensitive player” with “a deeply inquisitive mind.”

Alex performs regularly in the Victoria music community, exploring genres such as art song, opera, and choral music. Moreover, as a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory of Music he supports a wide variety of students and young professional singers from the piano. He is dedicated to education and engagement, striving to create lasting impressions with his performances & foster a desire to learn more with his innovative artistic projects. Ever expanding his artistic practice, Alex was a part of the inaugural cohort of the Association for Opera in Canada’s RBC Future Launch Fellowship Program, developing many portfolio artist skills.

Recent professional highlights include performing in solo voice & chorus capacities with Pacific Opera Victoria in their 2022 Civic Engagement Program & mainstage productions, respectively; producing a visual album of Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées as part of the Gay4Nature art song duo; and facilitating the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s 2021 School Workshops. He currently studies voice with acclaimed Baroque soprano, Nancy Argenta.

In a past life, Alex handled birds of prey for educational programs and contemplated the physiological factors affecting birdsong during a BSc in Zoology. To keep in touch with his background in biology, he loves spending time outdoors and spotting local flora and fauna.

Leslie Doe Remedios

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Originally from the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, Seneca and the Mississauga of the credit (aka Toronto), Leslie is a graduate of York University (2008) and Studio 58 (2012). They recently completed an Artistic Associate Internship with Green Thumb Theatre, funded by the BC Arts Council Early Career Development Grant. In addition to assistant directing alongside Rachel Aberle in their 2021-22 season for Like It Or Not, Still/Falling and The Code, Leslie is also set to direct the premiere production of For Now with Green Thumb in the Spring of 2023. Favourite acting credits include “Jane” in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Sam” in Thanks for Giving (Arts Club Theatre Company), and “Bap” in Baking Time (Presentation House Theatre); upcoming shows include Me Love Bingo! (Arts Club Theatre) and Instantaneous Blue (Mitch and Murray Productions).

Anna Garoucheva Gonzalez

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Anna is a Cuban Armenian, Russian – Swedish grown, actor, improvisor and theatre/film maker. She graduated from the University of Glasgow with a MA in Culture and Creative Arts and MLitt in Theatre Practices.

Her practice often leans towards themes of identity and belonging, in different ways. Working a lot with devising, improvisation, and movement, often playing with elements of magic, realism, and borrowing stories from her own life. Theater has always been a great vehicle for explorations of where is home? Where do we belong?

Select stage credits include Dear, Europe (National Theatre of Scotland), AN/NA, The Cabaret of Identity, Mid/Sommar and The Improv Ninjas Save the World at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Since moving to Vancouver and Canada Anna has been working in between the booming film industry and the local theatre scene. Most recently she Production Managing “The Mystics” a docufilm with Kim Harvey.

Anna is thrilled to be part of this wonderful cohort for this year’s Arts Leadership training!

Kristy Janvier

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Kristy Janvier is born and raised in Flin Flon and is of Dene (English River First Nation) and mixed European decent. At the age of eighteen she began working overseas as a professional actress/dancer. After 15 years of working in the entertainment industry with Disney, Kristy returned to Canada relying on her presence/meditation practice to guide her work. Performances are influenced by improvisation yet structured from personal story incorporating images, installation, sound recording, and/or video. In addition to her performance work, Kristy has been sewing beadwork since 2018. Sales from her beadwork, Secret_Life_of_Beads, goes towards funding her family’s bush cabin started in 1934 for future generations. Past Highlights: She had an opportunity to explore her research on water, the rivers, bloodlines, and healing with the support of Young Lungs Dance Exchange in Winnipeg (winter 2016-17). Her first solo work “Forest Floor” showed with Free Flow/Saskatoon (Sept ’17), Weesageechak Begins to Dance/Toronto (Nov ’17), Nocturne/Halifax (Oct ’18), and Nextfest/Edmonton (June ’19). The video work from the E|MERGE artist residency at Earthdance, Massachusetts (Feb ’18) has screened at 5 film festivals in Canada. Her current solo work, Hide, has been supported by the Made in BC Re-Centering/Margins Creative Residency (2019) and shared in Edmonton (Feb’20) at the Expanse Festival. She has toured as an invited guest with Dancers of Damelahamid with Flicker (Oct-Nov ’17) and the national and international premier of Mînowin (Sept-Nov ’19). She has also worked with Raven Spirit Dance in The Gift (2019), presented solo work at IndigDIV (2019) and Confluence (2020).

Anahita Monfared

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Anahita Monfared (they/she/he) is a (gender)/queer and Iranian actor, writer and spoken word poet with multidisciplinary curiosities. They are passionate, and driven by storytelling that requires risk, demands honesty and is intentional in making space for stories we have not heard before, or have only heard single stories of.

Most recently part of Frank Theatre’s Telling It Bent Poetry and Playwriting Cohort and the Arts Clubs LEAP Playwriting Intensive! They are currently co-writing “Beyond Consent: Transforming Rape Culture into Queer Trans Nurturance Culture” with Angelic Goldsky, forthcoming 2024 with Thorntree Press and studying Theatre, along with a minor in Psychology at New York University.

Passionate about the possibilities of love and connection that theatre holds- Anahita is so excited to be part of this year’s IBPoC Arts Leadership training program!

Natércia Napoleão

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Natércia Napoleão (she/her) is a multifaceted Brazilian theatre artist.

Over the past eighteen years, she has notably contributed to the Albertan theatre community and beyond, with experience in site-specific theatre, dance theatre, multimedia performance, television, musicals, and a wide range of classical and contemporary theatre. Performance highlights include the acclaimed Fado: The Saddest Music in the World (JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award) at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver.

Directing credits include Hummm (Climate Change Theatre Action/ New Harlem Productions); Orange Skies (Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Unit); and the multidisciplinary theatre piece, Threshold (The Lobbyists collective/2021 Chinook Series). Dramaturgy credits include Hot House Crossing, a playwriting program for newcomer and refugee artists, for Cahoots Theatre.

Natércia is a producer with Dora Award nominated manidoons collective, having just supported the premiere production of esteemed playwright Yolanda Bonnell’s White Girls in Moccasins. She is also a 2021-2022 Innovator working with Nightwood Theatre and a 2022 ThisGen Director Fellow with Why Not Theatre.

As a writer, she is currently developing her first full-length play, Michener Park, alongside renowned Chilean author, playwright and activist, Carmen Aguirre. Natércia is also an essayist, and her recent works include, “Reimagining Community and the Workplace of Theatre” (Culture Days AB) and “2020: Year of the Iconoclast” (Theatre Alberta).

As a community advocate, Natércia spearheads and contributes to grassroots initiatives regularly. She has worked as a strategic planner with institutions and companies exploring equitable practices, such as Musical Stage Co. and Outside the March.

Natércia is a graduate from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program and is the incoming CAEA representative for the Alberta North/N.W.T. region.

Gail Nyoka

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Gail Nyoka’s favourite art forms are theatre and oral storytelling. She enjoys writing and telling stories to both adult and young audiences.

Her plays have been performed in theatres in Ontario, Quebec and Ohio and she has taken her storytelling performances to Britain, the USA and Canada. Recently, she recorded stories for Young People’s Theatre in Toronto as part of their Storyteller Series.

The play, King of the Animals, opened the season at Talespinner Children’s Theatre in Cleveland in 2020 and returned for a full run in 2022.

Other works include the TYA production, The Oba Asks for a Mountain, Chalmers Award winner, Mella Mella, and plays written for adults, In Plain Sight, and The Waters.

Gail enjoys writing for radio. In 2021, Playwrights Local in Cleveland ran her radio play, Love and Ecstasy.

Gail is currently working on a hybrid memoir, Oceans Carry Us.

Kodie Rollan

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Kodie Rollan is a Philippine-born, Scarborough-raised, Moh’kins’tsis-based playwright, dramaturg, lyricist, and producer. He is excited to return as the Assistant Dramaturg for the Playwrights Lab. As an arts leader, Kodie is passionate about community-building, creating spaces for shared storytelling, and arts equity within the nonprofit sector.

He received his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and his Masters in Arts Leadership from Queen’s University. He is currently the Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre and is also currently a facilitator of the Rozsa Admin Fundamentals Training program with the Rozsa Foundation. He is excited to be part of this cohort to continue his journey in arts leadership.

Sangeeta Wylie

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Sangeeta Wylie is a Vancouver-based actor and writer, with several credits in film, television, and theatre. She worked with Oscar nominated Deepa Mehta (Beeba Boys), who called her ‘exceptionally talented, genuine and fearless.” Her first full-length play, the critically acclaimed we the same, premiered with Ruby Slippers Theatre at The Cultch, Vancouver 2021. It received 6 Jessie Award nominations, winning two awards, and is part of the curriculum at University of Victoria’s Theatre department. Sangeeta has been developing her writing through Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Teesri Duniya, and Green Thumb Theatre. She had a recent publication in Font Magazine. Sangeeta acts on the Board of Directors for the Cultch Theatre, plays classical piano, and holds degrees in Chemistry with a Music Minor and Dentistry.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.me/sangeetawylie.


Year One Cohort

Andrea Lemus

Born and raised in Mexico, Andrea’s love for performing arts began at a very early age. She graduated from the National Ballet School of Cuba “Fernando Alonso” and later from the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Andrea has been performing with professional theatre companies in Victoria.

Some performance credits include Twelve Angry Jurors, The Penelopiad, Sweet Charity (Company C), Countess Maritza, Flight (POV), La Sylphide (Ballet Etoile), Mamma Mia (VOS), The Rocky Horror Show, Mind the Gap (Atomic Vaudeville).

Andrea is also a faculty member of Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People.

Charles Umeh

Charles (he/him) is a Nigerian-Canadian filmmaker (Writer/Editor/Director), film curator, street photography enthusiast and currently Southern Artistic Director at Common Weal Community Arts in Regina Saskatchewan. Born and raised in Nigeria, he got his start in Nollywood —the Nigerian film industry—at a very early age as an actor, but later found his calling behind the camera. Charles is passionate about using film as a tool to create positive social change in his immediate community and the world at large. A hardcore community activist, Charles believes in the power of arts, culture, and entertainment media to drive community development. He is the founder and Executive Director of 1st Rate Pictures, an Afrocentric production company dedicated to fresh approaches to creating films, commercials, documentaries, and new media content. His works as a Director include Sorelle, Strangers, Black Vision, Bad Drop, and Amonye Bu Onye, and he is the recipient of many industry awards including Realtime International Film Festival’s Best Social Issue Film (2020), African Film for Impact Festival’s Best Film on Human Trafficking (2020), and African Magic Viewer’s Choice Award for Best Indigenous Movie (2017). In 2020, he worked with the Saskatchewan Filmpool to curate Regina’s inaugural NOLLYSHORTS, a film festival featuring contemporary Nigerian independent cinema. Prior to joining the team at Common Weal, Charles held the position of Creative/Programme Director with the African Caribbean Network in Glasgow. His hobbies include playing board games, travelling, and learning about other cultures, spending time with family, and friends, and watching soccer. Charles has been with Common Weal since 2021.

Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf is a Métis performer, theatre-maker, and activist from the North-East of Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary), AB on Treaty 7 Territory. He graduated with a BFA in Performance from the University of Lethbridge in 2014 and then spent the next 5 years making theatre, independent and professional, all over the prairies. His theatre work has focused on the development of new, Indigenous, and politically relevant theatre. Colin co-founded Thumbs Up Good Work Theatre Collective with his sister Caleigh Crow in 2014 when they recognized a gap in the Theatre industry for independent, Indigenous, and working-class artists – he continues to work with the Thumbs Up circle whenever possible. Their most recent project, The Born Again Crow, explored themes of racism, capitalism, and violence on a supernatural scale. Colin is working on the development of a number of projects in collaboration with other artists including Coy Wolf, Big McCoy, The Tree Play, and Hucksterland – you should ask him about these! Since October 2019 Colin has served as the Artistic Director at Gwaandak Theatre Society in Whitehorse, Yukon – The Territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.

Justin Francis Lee

Justin is a writer, director, and sailor. He is passionate about exploring the stories of everyday people caught between subcultures. Intent on spearheading a closer relationship between the Canadian theatre and film industries, he hopes to make quality art more accessible. As the project manager for the Canadian Play Thing, he runs The Apartment of Writing, a writer’s room for emerging playwrights. Currently, he is a research assistant at the University of Victoria’s Department of Writing for new play development.

Recent credits: Co-producing Theatre SKAM’s SKAMpede Festival, writing The Open Gate (SKAMpede), producing A Way Out (Apartment of Writing), writing Ngaii Duk (SATCo), acting in I and You (Langham Court Theatre), and assistant directing on the film sets of Dream Book, Bubba Lou, and All in Madonna.

Justin is currently based between Calgary AB, (Treaty 7) and Victoria, BC (unceded territory of the Lekwungen peoples).

Kevin Takahide Lee

Fourth-generation Chinese Japanese Canadian, Kevin Takahide Lee descends from a family who experienced the head tax and the Japanese Canadian Internment of WWII. Growing up in BC’s Lower Mainland he witnessed the challenges his family and immigrants faced regarding accessibility to services and preservation of their culture. This led him to work in the performing arts and advocacy.  

As a firm believer that the arts must be interwoven with social needs, he created and directed the Newcomers’ Choir as a way to bridge divides between immigrants and established Canadians.  He has participated in panels and conferences in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa concerning Truth and Reconciliation, disability, as well as exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

During the pandemic, he has been exploring Japanese culture with thanks from grants from the provincial government and the Arts Club and supporting his spouse who is a doctor working the frontlines of the pandemic.

khattieQ

khattieQ is a performer from Puerto Rico. Co-creator and star of 2020 Fringe New Play Prize winner ‘Catalina La O Presenta: Ahora Conmigo’ which features original music. khattieQ was the guitarist and vocalist for punk band BLXPLTN. khattieQ has played as a professional musician with over twenty bands, cutting their teeth on the famous Austin, Texas live music scene. Most notably, they toured as the drummer for queer femme core band The Tuna Helpers. Professional credits include Denim Doves and Casta for Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, TX, Heaven Born Wind at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Frank Theatre’s Be-Longing.

Ming Hudson

Ming pays rent and primarily works on the lands stolen from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver). She is a performer, deviser, facilitator, director, producer, and teacher who specializes in physical theatre and the creation of new work as a collective ensemble. A graduate of the Advanced Devising Practice program at LISPA (now arthaus.berlin), Ming also holds a MA in Ensemble Theatre (Rose Bruford), and a BFA in Acting (UVic).

Select performing credits include Noises Off and The Penelopiad (The Arts Club), Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare in Love, Timon of Athens, and Lysistrata (Bard on the Beach), East Van Panto – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Theatre Replacement), Blisskrieg (Atomic Vaudeville), PostSecret: The Show (The Firehall Arts Centre), and Big Bad and Fall Away Home (Boca del Lupo).

Select teaching credits include The Canadian College of Performing Arts, Bard on the Beach, The Arts Club, CircusWest, BC Drama Festival, Rose Bruford College, Gateway Theatre, StageCoach, Langara College, Cleveland Elementary School, Parkgate Community Centre, South Surrey Youth Theatre Company, ASSIST Community Service Center, and the Citadel Theatre.

Some recent projects include co-creating/co-directing an international outdoor roving production for Right Angle Productions titled Art Heist, directing the virtual theatrical reading and book launch for The Milk of Amnesia, and facilitating the creation of A Shakesperiment with the Bard on the Beach Riotous Youth.

Some upcoming projects include directing the online reading of Misadventure at the Lighthouse for Green Thumb Theatre and the BC Summer Reading Club, facilitating the creation of Bright Young Things for the fall Risky Nights at Studio 58, and a second development workshop of ANTIGONE (a new adaption of the classic written by Kate Besworth and conceived by the pair.)

Pedro Mario Almeida Siqueira

Pedro is a Brazilian artist and producer based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is a multidisciplinary professional who has produced internationally known events such as the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Games and the International Film Festival of Rio de Janeiro in the same year. Pedro gained a degree in Engineering through the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, showcasing his final project titled “Applying Engineering Skills in Cultural Events”. His curiosity is the ground from which he leaps into the unknown. He ignites the imagination to illuminate the path to artistic realization.

Pedro graduated from the Canadian College of Performing arts where he further developed his studies in acting, singing, and dancing. Recently Pedro has been assisting the Theatre community in Victoria with his tech theatre skills, artistic talent, and unique perspective. He has worked for Puente Theatre, Theatre SKAM, SNAFU Dance Theatre, Story Theatre, VOS, CCPA and Atomic Vaudeville locally.

Rosemary Jeffery (she/her)

Rosemary was born in London UK and immigrated to Canada in her primary years. Initially residing in Calgary AB, she trained at the Mount Royal College theatre arts program in Calgary AB and the University of Calgary BA music program in vocal studies. Eventually, settling on Vancouver Island where she raised her family.

Her introduction to Attitude Theatre In 2018 began when she was cast in their debut show, Shakespeare’s Will by Vern Thiessen playing the role of Anne Hathaway.

Upon invitation to be a collaborative partner, Rosemary was thrilled to accept the opportunity to join a new company committed to welcoming and creating equal opportunities for artists to participate collaboratively, to take risks, and to advocate for new and diverse voices reflective of our community.

Sima Saxena (she/her)

I was born and grew up in India and immigrated to Victoria, Canada over 30 years ago. I am a mother of two children and work full time as an administrator. I always had a passion for a show business that took a back seat as I was raising my children. In 2016, I entered a Miss BC pageant, and it was held in Langley, BC. I won the title of Mrs. Vancouver Island and that opened the doors to community work. I started volunteer work and gave it back to the community.

My children have grown up and I started thinking about my passion. I took some acting classes and my husband supported me. I have done some short films and am looking forward to pursuing my passion in the film/television industry. I also host a weekly radio program called Bollywood India at the CFUV 101.9 FM community radio station along with my husband.

Yulissa Campos

Yulissa Campos is an Ecuadorian emerging theatre artist and founding artistic director of Ay, Caramba! Theatre, currently based in Saskatoon. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. Yulissa teaches drama and works with the newcomer community when she is not writing, acting, or producing. Yulissa has been nominated for the 2021 RBC Emerging Artist Award and the 2020 SATAwards for Outstanding Emerging Artist. She loves to write stories that connect with the underrepresented voices, and she celebrates her Latinx heritage in her plays and her podcast on Spotify “Latinas in Stoon”. Moreover, Yulissa did her international debut with her play I, Frida at the M1 Singapore Festival in January 2021. Selected theatre credits: Turn, Turn, Turn; Earth Diver (SUM Theatre), Prairie Nurse (Station Arts Centre) I, Frida (Ay, Caramba! Theatre), The Penelopiad (FerrePlay). Playwriting credits: The Newcomer (Saskatoon Fringe Festival 2021), The Ungrateful Immigrant (This Is Not That Festival 2020 by 25thStreet Theatre), Trapped (National Theatre School 2020, Short Cuts Festival 2020) I, Frida (MF1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2021, Saskatoon Fringe 2019). You can find her play Trapped this fall at the virtual edition of Caminos Festival by Aluna Theatre in Toronto.