Vanessa Porteous, Jury Chair
Vanessa is a director and dramaturg based in Calgary. From 2009 – 2017 she was Artistic Director at Alberta Theatre Projects. Most recently, she directed the world premiere of Bronte: The World Without by Jordi Mand (Stratford Festival), the world premiere of To the Light by Siminovitch Recipient Evelyne de la Chenelière, translated by John Murrell (ATP), and The Humans at Theatre Calgary. Other selected directing includes the world premiere of Gracie by Siminovitch Recipient Joan MacLeod (ATP/Belfry Theatre); the world premiere of Cockroach by Jonathan Garfinkel, based on the novel by Rawi Hage (ATP), Christina The Girl King by Michel Marc Bouchard, translated by Linda Gaboriau (Stratford Festival), Charlotte’s Web (ATP), You Will Remember Me by François Archambault translated by Bobby Theodore (ATP), The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (ATP and Arts Club Theatre), When That I Was (The Shakespeare Company), The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan (ATP, twice) and Pinocchio by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop (ATP, Magnetic North Theatre Festival), The Syringa Tree (ATP twice, and 1000 Islands Playhouse), and L’enfant et les sortilèges (Calgary Opera).
Awards: Two Betty Mitchell Awards for Outstanding Direction.
Coming up: Amahl and the Night Visitors (Calgary Opera).
Originally from Mexico City, Carmen earned her MFA degree in Theatre Design at the University of British Columbia and has been a Vancouver based designer with more than 80 production credits since 2006. Some of her recent ones include: Stickboy (Vancouver Opera); Crazy For You, The Wizard of Oz and The Music Man (Gateway Theatre); Good People, Peter and the Starcatcher, Bittergirl and Topdog/Underdog (Arts Club Theatre Company); Pericles, The Winter’s Tale and As You Like it (Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival). Carmen is the recipient of three Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards (Outstanding Costume Design in the Large Theatre Category in 2015 and 2017 and Small Theatre Category in 2017) as well an Applause Musical Ovation Award for Outstanding Costume Design in 2013.
Playwright and director Olivier Kemeid has written, among other plays, Five Kings (2015, Leméac), based on the historical saga of Shakepeare’s kings, a five-hours play created at Espace Go in Montreal and National Arts Center in Ottawa, Women On Top (2015), created at 7 Stages in Atlanta, Icare (2014), created at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in Montreal, Œdipe (2013), a personal take on Sophocles’play, created at the Théâtre du Parc in Brussels, Bacchanale (2008), created at the Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui in Montreal, and The Aeneid (2007), his personal adaptation of Virgil’s epic poem, that he directed himself. The Aeneid is published in French by Lansman editor, and has been translated in English, German, Hungarian and Italian. He is a three-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award for French-language drama: The Aeneid in 2009; Me, in the red ruins of the century in 2013 and Five Kings in 2016. The production of the Red Ruins toured all across Canada in 2013 and 2014, and won the award for best production in Montreal by the AQCT – Quebec’s Theater Critics Association. The Aeneid has been produced or read in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, United States and United Arab Emirates. In July 2008, the play was read at the celebrated Avignon Festival, and played at Stratford’s Festival in 2016. Olivier Kemeid was also guest professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) from autumn 2014 to spring 2015, and the artistic director of Théâtre Espace Libre in Montreal, from 2006 to 2010. Since October 2016, he is the artistic director of Théâtre du Quat’Sous in Montreal.
Anita Rochon is a director and theatre maker. Since 2006, she’s been the artistic director of The Chop with Emelia Symington Fedy. The Chop is an award winning Vancouver-based company whose work is known for its sophisticated experimentation with authenticity and involves non-traditional collaborators and some of the finest artists working in Canada. The Chop tours nationally and internationally with past presentation in Toronto (Factory Theatre), Victoria (Belfry) Burnaby (Shadbold Centre for the Arts), Richmond (Gateway Theatre), Whitehorse (Pivot Festival), Ottawa (Magnetic North), Halifax (2b Theatre), Stratford (Stratford Festival), Montreal (Usine C and Segal Centre), Portland (TBA Festival), Seattle (On the Boards), Edinburgh (Edinburgh Fringe), Dublin (Abbey Theatre, Dublin Fringe), Brighton (SICK Festival) and London, England (Battersea Arts Centre).
As a director, Anita has worked at The Shaw Festival, Electric Company Theatre, Bard on the Beach, Theatre Replacement, Belfry Theatre, Théâtre la Seizième, Globe Theatre and Vancouver Opera. She is a graduate of Studio 58 (Acting) and the National Theatre School of Canada (Directing). She is the recipient of the Ray Michal Prize for an Outstanding Body of Work by a New Director, a Mayor’s Arts Award (awarded by Donna Spencer) and the Siminovitch Protégé prize (awarded by Kim Collier).
Joey grew up in a very small hamlet called Ste. Marthe in Southeast Saskatchewan. He received a B.F.A. in Drama from the University of Regina (1987) and a diploma from the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School (1989). After working several years as a freelance actor, Joey co-founded Noises in the Attic, a theatre company mandated to produce and create new Canadian plays on the fringe festival circuit across Canada. From 1996 to 2002, Joey became Artistic Co-director of Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton where he wrote, directed and produced (and sometimes performed in) the following plays: Electra, The Abundance Trilogy, My Perfect Heaven, Elephant Wake, Songs for Sinners, The House of Pootsie Plunket, The Blue Orphan and Carmen Angel, which, combined, have garnered over 30 awards and nominations for outstanding work: including two Scotsman Fringe First awards for outstanding writing. Currently Joey is living in Regina and is the Artistic Director of Curtain Razors, a company dedicated to incubating and nurturing a theatrical ecology of new work that expresses the experiences of living in Saskatchewan.