Resident Artist-Educator Program

The Resident Artist Educator program at YPT furthers the theatre’s leadership in the field of arts education at a professional theatre company. The Resident Artist-Educator Program is planned for each participant to be involved in YPT’s productions as well as work as a teaching artist in residence. As both artists and educators, each participant creates, teaches and learns during their residency thereby embodying the company’s dual identity as a professional theatre and centre of arts education.

The 2015/16 Resident Artist-Educators are:

  • Herbie Barnes

    Herbie is an Anishnabe theatre artist from Aundeck Omni Kaning on Manitoulin Island. Some of Herbie’s stage roles include Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit (YPT, MTYP, Carousel Players), Norvel Morrisou in Copper Thunderbird (NAC), a Wickersham Brother in Seussical (MTYP), and Russell in Russell’s World (MTYP), which he also wrote. He also played Tweedle Dee in Alice Through the Looking Glass as part of his season in the National Arts Centre Acting Ensemble. Herbie has directed a variety of productions across North America including Oliver (Bluff City Theatre), Tales of an Urban Indian (Public Theatre, Autry Theatre) and Someday (Native Earth). Herbie works in front of and behind the camera in film and television as an actor, director and writer. As an artist-educator, Herbie has facilitated programs for elementary to university aged students including a technique he developed called “Dropping the Mask”.

  • Christopher Duthie

    Christopher is a Toronto-based, Calgary-bred actor, playwright, and miscellaneous theatre creator. As an actor he has worked with One Yellow Rabbit, Ghost River Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Quest Theatre, Swallow-a-Bicycle, and The Shakespeare Company. He is a co-creator of and performer in Verb Theatre’s Of Fighting Age, which debuted at the 2014 High Performance Rodeo. He has performed in Vertigo Theatre’s production of his play, n00b, at YPT, Y-Stage, and the Persephone Theatre. He is currently developing a new teen play, Pinky Swear, in workshops with Toronto high school students. He is also pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at The University of Guelph.

  • Roy Fernandes

    Roy is a principal at St. Sylvester Catholic School, part of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. He believes in and promotes holistic education as the way to go – faith, academics and extra-curricular all contribute to creating life-long learners. Roy has a strong interest in inquiry-based learning as he believes the question is often more important than the answer. He considers himself blessed to have developed a close working partnership with YPT as he, like YPT, also strongly believes that drama opens a myriad of learning doors to students and adults alike. Through drama we are able to engage students in a powerful, safe and authentic way on issues that are relevant and meaningful to their daily lives. When he’s not coming up with endless questions to ask the YPT staff, he’s either out for a run, planning various educational adventures with other non-stop learners (you know who you are!), or trying to keep his two kids off their devices. Learning is a privilege that is best realized when we make it a life-long journey. Enjoy the ride!

  • Ramona Gilmour-Darling

    Ramona is an actor, singer, director, choreographer and teacher based in Toronto.  A music education graduate from McGill University specializing in voice (Honours in Music for Children, and Choral Music), she has spent ten seasons at the Thousand Islands Playhouse and has performed at Young People’s Theatre and Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon. In 2006, Ramona took over the role of ‘Loonette the Clown’ on TV’s Big Comfy Couch.  She directed Nobody’s Idol (Toronto Fringe), Weightless (New Ideas Festival), and co-directed and choreographed Forever Plaid (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia).  Ramona choreographed Little Shop of Horrors and Suds, both at the Thousand Islands Playhouse.  She teaches drama, performance practice, and musical theatre at various studios in Toronto. In addition to being a Resident Artist Educator for YPT, Ramona is an Artist Educator in multiple schools and for Studio 180.

  • Britta Johnson

    Britta is an emerging composer, lyricist, music director and performer. Most recently, she was co-composer/lyricist for Brantwood (Sheridan College/Outside the March; Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award 2015), Music Director for Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play (Outside the March) and premiered the role of Margaret Cunningham in Living in the Space (Globe Theatre, Regina). Britta has written five full-length musicals including Big Box Story (Stratford Festival gala performance), Alligator Tears (commissioned by the Blyth Festival), and Life After (Paprika Festival). She has spent a season at the Stratford Festival as a music assistant and has had her work showcased at the Shaw Festival’s Lyric Canada conference. She is thrilled to have penned the new music and lyrics for YPT’s 50th anniversary season production of Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang alongside her amazing sister, Anika.

  • Rob Kempson

    Rob is a theatre artist and educator, working as a playwright, composer, performer and director. Rob was most recently seen starring in his Dora-nominated musical The Way Back To Thursday (Theatre Passe Muraille). As an artist-educator, Rob has worked for a number of major school boards as well as arts organizations such as YPT, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, Pleiades Theatre, Opera Atelier and Casa Loma. He works regularly as a community arts facilitator and curator, collectively creating performances and interactive exhibits with community members. He is currently the Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, ON.

  • Amy Lee

    Amy is a performer, playwright, producer and educator. She is Co-Artistic Director of Up your Nose and In your Toes (U.N.I.T.) Productions and plays Jasp in the Dora Award and Canadian Comedy Award-winning clown duo, Morro and Jasp. Other performance credits include:  Cinderella: A RATical Retelling      (Dora Award), The Invisible Girl and Hana’s Suitcase (YPT), Here to Hear (YPT/Carousel Players), Weather the Weather (Theatre Columbus), Pride and Prejudice (RMTC), November (WJT), Guns & Roses (The Original Norwegian/TCA). Amy has also assistant directed Emily’s Piano and Annie at YPT and The Dog and the Angel with Theatre Columbus. She has been a writer-in-residence at Factory Theatre, and often works as a Resident Artist Educator at YPT. This past year, Morro and Jasp premiered Morro and Jasp: 9-5 as part of Factory Theatre’s season, made their debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and in late November, will perform at the clownin Festival in Vienna.

  • Melinda Little

    Melinda is thrilled to be working at YPT as a RAE. She is an actor, movement specialist and writer. As an actor Melinda has worked with many companies across Canada including Theatre Passe Muraille,  Tarragon Theatre, , Theatre Direct, Carousel Players among many others. Melinda is a Laban Movement Specialist and has taught movement and created theatre with students across the GTA through Te-Amim, a tolerance education organization, as well as at the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory, the University of Waterloo, Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Sheridan College and Second City among others.  She holds a Masters in Movement Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama and has also written two plays, Shiksas Sit Shiva (with Catherine Hayos) which won Patron’s Pick, Best Production and Ensemble at the Toronto Fringe, and The Peace Line.  She was a member of the Tarragon Theatre’s Playwright’s Unit and an inaugural member of Buddies in Bad Times Ante Chamber writing series.  She is currently creating a new physical theatre piece entitled Flow.

  • Mary Francis Moore

    Mary Francis is an award-winning, multi-talented theatre artist.  She was nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Direction of Maja Ardal’s You Fancy Yourself. She also directed Ardal’s critically acclaimed sequel, The Cure For Everything. As a playwright, Mary Francis co-created the smash sensation, bittergirl, which has had sold-out runs in Toronto and across Canada and the United Kingdom. bittergirl the Musical premiered in July as part of the 2015 Charlottetown Festival. As an educator with a BFA Specialization in Drama in Education, Moore has taught at elementary and secondary schools, universities, and many studios and theatres as well as being a regular artist-in-residence at prisons, detention centers and residential facilities across Canada.

  • Sabryn Rock

    Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Sabryn has been living and working in Toronto for almost 10 years. Selected theatre: Obeah Opera (Culchahworks/Pan Am), Once OnThis Island (Acting Up Stage/ Obsidian) as well as Caroline, or Change (Dora nomination); Romeo and Juliet, Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice (Stratford), Ruined (Obsidian/Nightwood). Sabryn will appear in Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang at YPT this season. Guest appearances on several television shows including The DivideThe ListenerAgainst the Wall and recently she completed shooting a recurring role on the new Starz series, The Girlfriend Experience, produced by Steven Soderbergh.  She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre and most recently the Actors’ Conservatory at the Canadian Film Centre.  Sabryn is also an avid arts educator and has worked with children of all ages with many companies such as the Stratford Festival, Shakespearience, Shakespeare In Action and Paprika.

  • Alix Sideris

    Alix is a professional actor, director, writer, movement coach and facilitator.  As an actor, Alix has performed in numerous theatre, TV and film productions and will soon be seen playing the First Lady in the TV Series No Easy Days. A graduate from Concordia University’s Drama in Education Department, Alix has worked as an acting/movement instructor in many institutions across Canada including YPT, The Canadian Children’s Opera Company, Corpus, Opera Lyra, The National Arts Centre and The Stratford Festival of Canada. Alix also enjoys being a mentor to many serious young artists. alixsideris.com

  • Emil Sher

    Emil’s stage works for the young and the once-were-young include Sanctuary, Bluenose, Derailed, Mourning Dove and adaptations of Hana’s Suitcase and Edward the ‘Crazy Man’.  His adaptation of Ian Brown’s The Boy in the Moon premiered at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in September 2014. Works-in-progress include the book and lyrics for a stage musical of Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater; Omega, a play about graffiti art Emil is developing at Roseneath Theatre; and The Book of Ashes, inspired by the true story of an Iraqi librarian who saved tens of thousands of books in the midst of war, premiering at the International Children’s Festival in St Albert, Alberta in spring 2016. As an arts educator, Emil has engaged audiences of all ages with Unpacking the Holocaust: A Playwright’s Journey, in which he shares his experience adapting Hana’s Suitcase.  He has led writing workshops for students, professional playwrights and community groups. This fall his debut novel for young readers, Young Man with Camera, will be published by Scholastic.

  • Noah Spitzer

    Noah is an actor, writer, and educator who holds a BFA (Honours) in Theatre: Performance Acting from Ryerson University. Since graduating, Noah has toured his highly acclaimed solo show, My Second Smile, across the country, from schools in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Richmond Hill, to the Factory Studio Theatre in Toronto, and to the 2013 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Some recent roles include Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird at YPT (Dora Award Nomination: Outstanding Ensemble, Theatre for Young Audiences); Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (Old Flame Brewing Co.); David in The Four of Us  (TNT/ Arts Court Ottawa); Theseus/Jailer in Two Noble Kinsmen (Kinsmen Collective); Basho in The Bundle (The Edward Bond Festival); and Chorus in Yichud (Seclusion) (Convergence/ Theatre Passe Muraille). As an educator, he has been a Teaching Assistant at Ryerson University and YPT as well as a guest artist at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary level. This year, he is playing the role of young George Brady in Hana’s Suitcase, which opened YPT’s   50th anniversary season.

  • Greg Thomas

    Greg has been experimenting with drama for almost 20 years, working with many different communities and age groups to invent and re-invent theatre in the hopes of creating something useful. Greg can usually be found where theatre isn’t – with a bag of games, songs and people and trying to make a stage out of nothing. Greg is a firm believer in letting people make their own art and tell their own stories while trying hard not to interrupt or get in the way. He was the Community Participation Coordinator for Young Peoples Theatre from 2008-2011 and helped co-found and facilitate Nomanzland Theatre, a community-run drama collective from the Jane and Finch community. More recently he has been found wandering the hills of England with the Mash Up Theatre Collective. He has worked extensively in Canada and the UK with young people ranging from ages 5 to 25.

Past participants in the Resident Artist-Educator program include: Shawn Byfield, Mark Cassidy, Marjie Chud, Ramona Gilmour-Darling, Elizabeth Helmers, Kate Fenton, Thomas Morgan Jones, Amy Lee, Dale Miller, Elizabeth Saunders, Tanisha Taitt and Anne Marie Woods.