Version 2

Darwin Lyons | Artistic Producer

Darwin Lyons is an Actor, Producer, Director and Teacher. As an actor she has performed all over Ontario, at The Magnetic North Festival in Kitchener/Waterloo; Theatre by The Bay in Barrie and The Ottawa Fringe.  Favourite roles include:  MacDuff/Ross/Weird Sister in Macbeth (Theatre by the Bay); Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Hart House Theatre); Tina in Tough! (Factory Theatre at The Magnetic North Festival).  A film she associate produced and starred in, 9 9 . 7 %  was an Official Selection at the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2014.  Favourite Directing credits include: Desperately Seeking Something (Toronto Fringe); Something Unspoken (Inaugural Playwright Project). She created the inaugural  Acting program at Centauri Arts where she still teaches.  She received OAC funding to co-run a theatre program for students at at Heydon Park Secondary School; a school that aims to be the preferred secondary school in Toronto in vocational and experiential learning for female students.  In 2012 she was a facilitator for the inaugural theatre program for BluePrints for Life, one of the worlds leading companies using HipHop as both a community development tool and as a model for alternative education and healing.  In 2014 she finished two internships with Canadian Stage: Artistic Intern and the inaugural Dramaturgical Internship. One of Darwin’s favourite credits is as a member of The Artists Lab in the 2006 Paprika Festival.

Leslie McCue | General Manager

Leslie McCue is Mississauga, Ojibway from Curve Lake First Nation. Leslie is an arts administrator, artist, performer, and educator who over the years has fought for Indigenous rights by breaking stereotypes and raising cultural awareness. Her work is driven by her past, passion to educate and the motivation to empower others.

Leslie also works as the Administrative Director for Red Pepper Spectacle Arts and as a Facilitator for the Royal Ontario Museum Youth Cabinet. Recently, Leslie completed a contract as General Manager for Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, an internationally renowned contemporary dance organization that explore the intersection of Indigenous and new dance performance. Leslie sits as Chair for Access Empowerment Council and sits on the Indigenous Advisory Council at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Leslie has been asked to perform and speak at many venues across North America and Europe, some highlights include: The Vancouver Winter Olympics Athletes Village and Pavilions (British Columbia), Museum of Civilization (Quebec), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Holland) and Juno Beach Museum (France).


Polly Phokeev | Artistic Programs Manager

Polly Phokeev is a writer and actor. Her critically-acclaimed play Seams was produced at the SummerWorks Festival in 2015. She is the recipient of the 2016 Safe Words New Canadian Play Award for How We Are. As an actor, selected credits include Mankind and Pride of Life (Poculi Ludique Societas: New York, Toronto and UK tours), Much Ado about Nothing and The Loyalists (Single Thread Theatre Company), and The Tempest (Hart House Theatre). Polly is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a BA in Drama. She is currently working towards her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia (optional residency).

Stephanie Caldeira | Community Arts Manager


Caldeira is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist raised in her Latin roots of Brazillian and Peruvian culture. With her intended nature to intertwine multimedia visual arts with dynamic physical movement, Stephanie aims to academically research the relationship between contemporary – urban art and music, within her visual art productions.

Stephanie has been invited to national and international urban dance events as a guest battler, performer and judge. She has worked for organizations such as the Family Channel, Ford, Luminato, Macleans, the Canadian Arts & Business Awards, the Canadian Music Awards, Gadfly and more.

Stephanie has remained active throughout the years in hosting and managing integrated urban art events, including “Blurred Minds” and “Love is Hip Hop”. Aiming to reframe and redefine the conventional standards of marginalized sectors of society.


Sabah Haque | Development Officer

Sabah Haque, a recent graduate from York University’s Devised Theatre & Playwriting program, has always lived in her imagination. It was too late in life that she realized supporting it is expensive. Instead of changing the path of her destiny, Sabah took on the dreaded and noble mission of fundraising. As Paprika Festival’s Development Officer, Sabah works to support the imaginations of Toronto’s youth and emerging artists, who will show their gratitude by offering themselves as faithful followers in her ultimate mission of world domination. Sabah would not be the artist she is today without the Paprika Festival, and she hopes her work will allow the festival to support many more generations of brilliant artists such as her colleagues, and of course, herself


Alexis Eastman | Communications Manager


Alexis  is an artist, pet owner and a proud Paprika ’09 Alum. She studied Devised Theatre at York University and recently completed the Arts Administration and Cultural Management program at Humber College. As a creator and director her favourite productions include her site specific works CHRISTCHRISTCHRIST (2012) and MAN’S SON (2014). Most recently she has been working as a designer, producer and administrator with Outside the March and the Canadian Opera Company’s Scotiabank Summer Opera Camps.



Sofia Rizzo | Advisory Board Leader and Festival Associate


Sofia is a recent graduate of Bishop’s University, with a degree in Arts Administration. Throughout her four years at Bishop’s, Sofia was involved with many theatre productions, primarily as a Stage Manager. Her most recent show was A Dream Play by August Strindberg, directed by Rebecca Harries. Last year Sofia got the chance to complete an Arts Administration internship with Paprika Festival under the supervision of the General Manager, and also took part in the 2015/16 Advisory Board program. Sofia thoroughly enjoys being a part of Toronto’s theatre community and hopes to continue contributing to amazing projects like Paprika Festival.



Roni Hoffman (Chair)
Tudor Lupea (Treasurer)
Hartley Jafine (Secretary)
Lois Adamson
Briana Brown
Brandon Lablong
Daniel Pink
Andrea Scott
Kendra Stanyon