17/18 Season Updates!

We had the privilege of looking at over 90 applications for this years' programs and can't wait to tell you who will be part of the Fest this season. Until then, we're honoured, thrilled, chuffed and psyched to announce some of the very talented artists who will be working with this years' participants. (With more to announce soon!)


Yolanda Bonnell
Indigenous Arts Program Mentor

Yolanda Bonnell is an Ojibwe/South Asian performer and playwright from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, ON.  Now based in Toronto, and a graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Performance program, Yolanda was named one of NOW Magazine's Theatre Discoveries and most exciting artists to watch in Summerworks 2016.  Her solo show bug, directed by Cole Alvis is currently set for a world premiere at the Luminato Festival in 2018, followed by a tour. She was also a part of Factory Theatre’s The Foundry, a creation program for new career writers, where her play, Scanner continues to be developed. While another of her projects, White Girls in Moccasins is currently under development with the Animikiig Creators Unit at Native Earth Performing Arts with mentorship by Clare Preuss.Recent credits include: Ipruq/Atugauq in The Breathing Hole (Stratford Festival), Fanny/Robert in Treasure Island (Stratford Festival), Roe in Two Indians (Summerworks 2016),Theresa in The Crackwalker (Factory Theatre). www.yolandabonnell.com

(You just missed Yolanda at Stratford this season!)

Jeff Ho
Writers' Circle Facilitator & Mentor

Jeff is a theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. Most recently, he played Ophelia in Why Not Theatre’s Dora-Nominated Prince Hamlet. Select Acting credits include: Hana’s Suitcase (Tour: Toronto/Montreal/Seattle/YPT), Unknown Soldier (lemontree/Architect Theatre), Murderers Confess at Christmastime (OutsideTheMarch), Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet (Repercussion Theatre), Incorporated (SyFy/CBS), Orphan Black (BBC America). As a playwright, Jeff is premiering his first play, trace, as part of the 2017-2018 Factory Theatre season, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, in association with b current. He has held residencies with the Stratford Playwright’s Retreat 2016, Nightswimming, Cahoots Hot House Unit, The Banff Playwrights Colony, and Factory Theatre. Jeff is a graduate of the National Theatre School. 

(Plus! Jeff's show Trace is coming up at Factory in November!)

Tanisha Taitt
TD Creators' Unit Facilitator & Mentor

Tanisha is a director/actor/playwright/educator/activist and accidental essayist. She has worked with Obsidian, The Musical Stage Company, National Arts Centre, Nightwood, Buddies In Bad Times, and Soulpepper, and spent two seasons as a Resident Artist-Educator with Young People's Theatre. Tanisha is a Drama mentor for tdsbCreates, a TDSB/TAC initiative that brings professional artists into classrooms to nurture artistic expression in students and teachers. She is an Anti-Oppression facilitator and Director of the Peace Camp program for Children's Peace Theatre, an organization that teaches young people about conflict transformation through theatre. Also a singer and songsmith, she is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award for excellence in songwriting. Tanisha spent 7 years as the Toronto and then the National producer for V-Day/One Billion Rising -- the global movement to end violence against women and girls. In 2014, she founded Teenage Graceland, a youth theatre collective that challenges societal attitudes leading to gender-based violence. Tanisha was 'Harolded' in 2013 and in 2015, critic Lynn Slotkin bestowed upon her an inaugural “Tootsie” Award in the “They Can Do Anything” category. She is currently writing two musical theatrical works.  As of January 2018, she will join the part-time faculty of George Brown Theatre School, where she will teach 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study.  Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

(Tanisha just directed  The Seat Next to the King  at The Theatre Centre!)

Luke Reece
Training Day Facilitator

Luke Reece is a storyteller, arts administrator, and artist-educator from Mississauga. He loves engaging with artists that are as diverse as the community he lives in. Along with being the Producer at Obsidian Theatre Company Luke is the Artistic Director of Little Black Afro Theatre, co-creator of Dark Nights, and captain of the 2017 Toronto Poetry Slam Team.

(Obsidian Theatre & Paprika Fest Industry Partners, Cahoots Theatre are producing Amanda Parris' The Other Side of the Game at AKI STUDIO, right now!)

Clare Preuss
Directors' Lab Mentor

Clare has has collaborated with innovative companies across Canada and in Germany, Lebanon, Switzerland, Uganda and USA including: Alameda, Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, bcurrent, BeMe, Blyth Festival, Buddies in Bad Times, Buffalo Infringement, Cahoots, Carlos Bulosan, Driftwood, Dynamo, Factory, Friction Group, fu-GEN, Gwaandak, Native Earth Performing Arts, New Harlem Productions, National Arts Centre, Nightwood, Paprika, Stratford Festival, Sundown, Theatre Direct, Theatre Centre, Theatre Monnot, Volcano, Why Not Theatre and Young People’s Theatre among others. She has appeared on TV and in feature films, including her role as Caroline Kraft in the cult classic, Mean Girls. She is a certified yoga instructor and part-time faculty at Humber College. Clare is a recipient of the Houselighters of the Citadel Theatre Award and was named an outstanding director by NOW Magazine for Salome’s Clothes. Clare is an Associate Artist with Volcano Theatre and Resident Artist at KABIN.

 (Plus! Coming up in November, Clare is directing Cake at Theatre Passe Muraille!)