Ali Joy Richardson | Artistic Producer

ALI JOY RICHARDSON is a director, producer, and writer who’s been joyfully hustling in the Toronto theatre scene since leaving her hometown of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Ali has made theatre in Edinburgh, Vancouver, Berlin, Halifax, Edmonton, and Toronto in museums, office buildings, basements, hospitals, cafés, art studios, defunct record shops, closed schools, kitchens, and harbours. She was part of the inaugural Paprika Director’s Lab and directed the 2016 Regent Park Collective. Ali’s recent work includes co-writing/directing a touring musical about mental health for ages 9-12, and writing/directing a chapter of ANXIETY (Theatre Yes/Outside the March), a large-scale interactive performance installation by six companies from across Canada. She has produced and collaborated on three sold-out Toronto Fringe shows and has assistant directed for Canadian Stage and Tarragon Theatre. Recent directing credits include: Get Yourself Home Skyler James and Still (Binocular Theatre), Liars at a Funeral (Truth’n’Lies Theatre), The Clean House (Alumnae Theatre), and (Paprika Festival). More about her and her work at:

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 is currently the General Manager for Paprika Festival, the Administrator for Chocolate Woman Collective, the Coordinator for the Royal Ontario Museum Youth Cabinet and an Resident Artist Educator for Young Peoples Theatre this season. Leslie currently sits on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum, and works freelance for various organizations in arts administration, facilitation, project coordination and curation. Leslie has been invited by Theatre Direct to conceive and curate a week of Indigenous arts and learning-focused programming for children and their families for WeeFestival 2018.

Some highlight performances include: The Vancouver Winter Olympics Athletes Village and Pavillions (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).

Alexis Eastman | Communications Manager

Alexis  is an artist, pet owner and a proud Paprika ’09 Alum. She studied Devised Theatre at York University and holds a diploma in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. As a creator and director her favourite productions include her site specific work CHRISTCHRISTCHRIST (2012). She is currently writing a play about resurrection.  In her ‘spare’ time she works with the Canadian Opera Company devising Opera with kids at the Scotiabank After School Opera Program and is an administrator and project coordinator at The Theatre Centre.










Hana El Niwairi | Lead Festival Administrator

Hana is a writer and arts manager with a background working in various positions in theatre, film, and literary arts. A graduate of Humber College’s Arts Administration and Cultural Management program, Hana has worked with the Media Arts Network of Ontario, the Book and Periodical Council, Ontario Culture Days, and One Little Goat Theatre Company. She also currently works at a literary agency. Hana holds a BA in Creative Writing and English with a major in Psychology from Western University.



Daniel Pink (Chair)
Adam Gomes (Treasurer)
Patricia Grieco
Lindsay Arsenau
Lois Adamson
Briana Brown
Brandon Lablong
Elizabeth Sheffield
Kendra Stanyon