Speakers & Presenters

David Adair has been the Business Manager for the Georgian Bay Symphony for the past nine years. He came to the Symphony from a retail background in marketing and organization. His academic background is diverse having obtained a BA (Hon) in History and Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, a Certificate in Human Resource Management from Seneca and has taken several arts management courses from the University of Waterloo. He has been a guest speaker on the topic of audience engagement for Orchestras Canada at their small budget orchestras conference. Adair is also a certified minor hockey trainer.

Anne Barber, co-Artistic Director, Shadowland Theatre, was born and trained in theatre in the U.K. and worked with the UK’s only horse-drawn theatre and with Bread and Puppet Theater, U.S., before joining Shadowland in 1992. Anne directs Shadowland’s original multi-disciplinary, community-engaged performances that celebrate stories of history and place in our urban and rural landscapes. She is committed to passing on visual theatre and spectacle arts skills to participants of all ages, and especially empowering young people through the arts. Anne founded and runs a weekly youth theatre program that creates Mummers plays and stilt performances.

Jennifer Campbell is the Executive Director of Small Halls Inc., a non-profit in Prince Edward Island. Jennifer’s gained valuable industry experience through her work for the East Coast Music Association.  Initially involved in 2011 as Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator for ECMW, Jennifer was immediately hired as the full time Artist Relations Manager for the Association, a position she held until 2014, when she was offered a senior place at Small Halls Inc.

Small Halls Inc. produces projects throughout the year and has an extensive list of accomplishments which includes over 40- 50 traditional music, dance and storytelling shows per year in their award winning flagship event -The PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls.

The Festival of Small Halls was built around the concept of shining a spotlight on small rural communities across PEI. The Festival is now a fourteen-day, traditional music, dance, workshop and storytelling festival held in June of each year. In 2016 the Festival presented 51 events in 44 venues and 39 Community halls across the Island.

Catherine Carpenko has been involved in the dance and arts community nationally and internationally as teacher, choreographer, performer, coach and advocate for the arts and creativity for over 20 years. She holds an Honours BFA, and MA in Dance, both from York University. She also holds a MA in Education and Psychology, Norwich University, and has a very busy private practice as a psychotherapist. She has initiated numerous outreach arts programmes, including the highly successful and innovative Dance Ontario Youth Board.

As a serial entrepreneur her success has encompassed various business ventures from the development and launch of a successful children’s toy company (Big Mouth Company), to a career in real estate, design, construction and development, business consulting and for many years educational program development, design and implementation utilizing cutting edge research from the field of neuroscience.

Her most current creative project is developing ‘Wild Rose Farm Artists’ Retreat’, an eco-friendly ‘creation’ laboratory set in rural Ontario. She is a member in good standing of numerous dance/art organizations, and is the founding coordinator of Valleyview Artist Retreat Centre.

Catherine has offered workshops nationally and internationally for children, parents and organizations in a myriad of topics ranging from health, arts, business, resourceful life choices and creative parenting. Her presentations and workshops are engaging and inspiring, as she draws from her broad knowledge and experience as a performer, mother, world traveler, lifelong learner and lover of life.

Roxanne Casey, Manager, CANOE FM, Haliburton County, Ontario is in her eighth year of managing this not-for-profit local Community Radio Station. The position requires having close relationships with community stations across the country and the CRTC and countless local community organizations. Roxanne sits on the National Campus and Community Radio Association, the Dysart et al Cultural Planning Committee and was a member of the 2015 Ontario Senior Games Committee. Previously Roxanne was the volunteer manager and the Resource Development Coordinator for the local Community Care organization and she partnered with her husband of many years as the owner, operator/manager of a local resort.

Joan Chandler, Producer, director, writer, arts educator and workshop facilitator, celebrates her 31st anniversary in 2016 as the founding Artistic Director of Sheatre. She has led the collective creation of over one hundred plays across Ontario and abroad, reaching primarily under-served audiences in rural and small urban environments. Joan has a keen ability to work with groups, collaboratively exploring ideas and spinning new plays with, by and about their own stories and concerns. Her work is always rooted in community partnerships.

Alan Colley, Aboriginal Historian, Guide, Teacher – and Aboriginal Eco Tours – has been a passion and dream of his for a long time. It honors our traditional way of life but allows for mainstream concepts of tourism and experiential learning. My focus is to teach and share with the next generations how to have a sustainable relationship with the environment. My spirit name is Chiichaak (Whooping Crane), I am wolf clan and my ancestry is Ojibway, Blackfoot, Cree, Scottish, Irish and Russian and……. I am a young man with a vision seeking guidance so that 7 generations from now, what we do today is still growing strong. Miigwetch.

Penny Couchie is a dancer, actor, teacher, choreographer and community arts practitioner of Ojibway and Mohawk ancestry from Nipissing First Nation, Ontario. She holds an Honors BA in Aboriginal Studies and Drama from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.

Penny has performed as a dancer and theatre artist in principal roles both nationally and internationally. She has guest taught at universities and colleges throughout Canada and the US, including the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, where she has been a core faculty member since 1998. From 1998 to 2003 she participated in the Aboriginal Dance Project at the Banff Centre for the Arts as a student, choreographer and teacher. Her most recent choreography includes a workshop production of her newest work, When Will You Rage? performed at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation in Toronto, Manaabekwe, a co-choreography with Christine Friday O’Leary developed with Aanmitaagzi and youth from Temagami First Nation performed for the Temagami Gathering in Bear Island, Ontario, the Centre For Indigenous Theatre’s 2010, 2011 student showcase, Outta the Woods and Red Romance, directed by Muriel Miguel, performed at Factory Theatre, Toronto Ontario and A Bridge of One Hair for Jumblies Theatre performed at the Harbourfront Centre.

Since 2001, she has been the administrative leader and co-Artistic Director of Earth in Motion World Indigenous Dance, a dance collective she co-founded with Alejandro Ronceria, committed to the creation of compelling and innovative new dance works, based in Toronto, Ontario. In 2007 she co-founded Aanmitaagzi, an Aboriginal multi-disciplinary community arts company based in her home of Nipissing First Nation, Ontario.

Photo by: Nathalie St-Pierre, Montréal, Québec

Plenary Panel Speaker Dena Davida Photo by: Nathalie St-Pierre, Montréal, Québec

Dena Davida has engaged in various roles in the contemporary dance community as a performer and choreographer, teacher, curator, writer and researcher for over 50 years.  U.S. born into a family of artists, she has lived in Montréal for 39 years where she co-founded and currently curates the artistic season at Tangente, Montréal’s premiere dance performance space.

She taught dance composition, improvisation, philosophy and anthropology at the Université du Québec à Montréal from 1979 to 2010, where she completed a doctorate in dance anthropology in 2006 while editing the collection Fields in Motion: Ethnography in the fields of dance. Other non-profit arts organizations that she co-founded include the Festival international de nouvelle danse, the CanDance touring network and the International Community of Performing Arts Curators. Her current project is to foster a professional field for live arts curation, and so organized an international symposium and is co-editing a first reader.

Jon Farmer is an aspiring storyteller from Owen Sound working to shift cultural narratives with the written and spoken word. He has honed his craft behind keyboards and on stages in Ontario as a performer, host, and facilitator and at Quest University in Squamish, BC where his undergraduate thesis explored men’s perceptions of masculinity through theatre. Jon believes that stories shape human action in the world and is committed to threading more complex and inclusive narratives into his communities. Jon is Sheatre’s Education and Tour Coordinator for Far From the Heart. He is facilitator for Into the Open: Art for Change.

Patricia Fell is Artistic Director and Production Manager, The Pelee Island Stone & Sky Music & Arts Series. Her career as a professional artist for more than 25years has embraced award winning design for the theatre, education, and the promotion of social injustice issues. Patricia’s extensive background in community based arts initiatives place her in an educated position from which to project a unique and achievable production outcome. Her body of work includes experience in design for the theatre, installation art, performance art, production management, and all levels of theatre administration. Patricia’s role is to plan the overview of the series, scheduling, act as design head, and liaise with the Pelee Island community.

Photo by Michael Bainbridge, Minden, ON

Photo by Michael Bainbridge, Minden, ON

Brigitte Gall is an award winning Performer, Writer and Producer. She completed 52 episodes of the Gemini nominated design and renovation television series Me, My House and I, and 52 episodes of the travel/lifestyle show, The World’s Greatest Spas, covering 3 countries in 4 years (aired on W Network, Discovery Channel USA/Latin America, and in 85 other countries).

Brigitte is the proud owner of a Gemini award for her one woman show Joan of Montreal, a Gemini nod for her dramatic turn as a serial killer for the series Blue Murder, a Genie (Moving Day), a Golden Sheaf (Twisted Sheets), and Gold at the Houston Film and Television festival (Joan of Montreal).

She has been the Keynote Speaker and Guest Speaker for numerous televised fundraising galas and events (Skydome, The Hummingbird Centre etc.) – sharing her experiences of growing up in the small farming community of Creelman, Saskatchewan to living and working in the world of film and television.

Currently Brigitte lives with her husband and two daughters in a century home on the banks of the Gull River in Minden Hills, Ontario.

Gil Garratt is a director, playwright, dramaturge, dora award-winning actor, and theatre administrator who has worked across Canada and internationally. With a career that has been dedicated primarily to the development of new Canadian plays, Gil has been with the Blyth Festival since 1999.

Gil’s varied and eclectic career as a creator has seen him collaborate with such radical play creation companies as DNA theatre and The Cabaret Company, to such mainstream institutions as The Stratford Festival and The Grand Theatre.

As a performer Gil has literally worked all over the country, including: Theatre NorthWest in Prince George, BC, Centaur Theatre in Montreal, Canadian Stage’s St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto, Shakespeare in High Park, Neptune Theatre in Halifax, the Festival Players of Prince Edward County, Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, to name a few.

Gil is also member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, several of Gil’s plays have received multiple productions, toured internationally, and been translated into French. Gil graduated from the National Theatre School’s Playwriting Program in 1998, holds an Honours BA from the University of Waterloo, and an MA from the University of Guelph.

Eric Goudie is a genre-blending artisan enjoying a dynamic career in the performing arts. He spent his teenage years backstage, working his way up from volunteer turnover crew to Equity Stage Manager and Production Manager. He then spent ten years running Grinder Productions, his own theatre company, staging over 70 different plays throughout Centre Wellington, including many in a 160-year-old country library. Achieving a lifelong dream Eric now runs the Fergus Grand Theatre for the Township of Centre Wellington, but he still finds time to write plays, raise goats, and hang out with Julie, the love of his life.

Brad Harley, co- Artistic Director, Shadowland Theatre, is a visual artist trained at York University and NSCAD. Brad became a founding member of Shadowland Theatre in 1984 and remains the company’s chief designer. He has worked extensively as a designer with VideoCabaret (since 1985), in Trinidadian Carnival, Horse and Bamboo, UK and Bread and Puppet Theater, US, as well as with Ontario theatres. Brad’s expressive painting and designs add the distinctive visual style to the masks, puppets, sets, costumes and props that define Shadowland’s aesthetic.

Matthew Heiti, born in a meteor crater called Sudbury, holds a BFA in Acting from Ryerson University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New Brunswick. His plays, which include The Nick Drake Project, Aviatrix, Mucking in the Drift and Plague, have been workshopped across Canada and produced at various festivals including SummerWorks, Lunchbox Theatre and the Sudbury Theatre Centre. He has attended writing retreats with the Stratford Festival and Playwrights’ Theatre Centre.

Matthew is the winner of the Tarragon Theatre RBC Emerging Playwrights Award and his play, Mucking in the Drift, was recently shortlisted for the Carol Bolt Award by the Playwrights Guild. An award-winning playwright, he is also a Genie-nominated screenwriter and his novel, The City Still Breathing, is published by Coach House Books. He was recently named one of twelve “Writers to Watch” by the CBC. He is an associate artist with Pat the Dog Theatre Creation and a rep for the Playwrights Guild of Canada. In his spare time, he tinkers with old bicycles.

Frédéric Julien is director of research and development at CAPACOA since 2010. Frédéric has been active in the performing arts for twenty years, as an artist, a cultural manager, a consultant, and an advocate. Frédéric has worked with arts presenters at the department of Canadian Heritage. Then, from 2004 to 2010, he successively held the positions of assistant director and executive director at Réseau Ontario, Ontario’s francophone presenting network.

Frédéric provides research, policy and arts promotion expertise at CAPACOA. One of his key accomplishments is The Value of Presenting: A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada. He coordinated every aspect of this landmark action research from the project design to the communication plan. He also made numerous presentations on this study in Canada and in the United States. Current areas of inquiry include arts and health, aging, and sense of belonging

He has a keen interest in partnership development and cross-sector collaboration. Frédéric is Co-Chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition and chairs its Research and Policy Committee. He also represents the performing arts sector at the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st century, and he serves on the board of the Arts Health Network Canada.

Aline Lilwall was educated in Television Broadcasting and has since worked in various areas. Working in accounting, payroll and fundraising she has also worked in customer service and managed a law firm. Through years of volunteer work fundraising for various charities Aline has found a passion in fundraising and networking.   She has created and maintained websites as well as maintained social media for various employers and volunteer organizations. Aline is also a visual artist in painting and photography. Through her growing love of documentaries combined with fundraising Aline is excited to be a co-founder of Crowd Wise, a company that manages crowdfunding campaigns for artists and filmmakers.

Kirk Lilwall is a filmmaker with over ten years of experience in the industry. He has worked at the IMAX corporation on films like Shine a Light and The Dark Knight, on small independent films like Murphy’s Law, and on films for television broadcast like Echoes (TVO). During the production of Murphy’s Law Kirk took on many roles including running the successful Indiegogo campaign. It was through that experience that the idea for Crowd Wise was formed. Kirk continues to work on films and teach documentary filmmaking at Seneca College in Toronto with the Documentary Filmmaking Institute and the Documentary and Non-Fiction Media programs.

Inga Lubbock was born in England but emigrated first to Peru in 1964 and then to Canada in 1968. After completing a BA in languages, she worked for a photography magazine as the Assistant Editor. In 1981, she returned to England, where she was the Public Relations Manager for a major publisher. After coming home to Canada in 1987, she freelanced as a copywriter, interspersed with EA positions at the Ontario Advocacy Commission and Enwave, a district heating and cooling company. Inga joined the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 1999 as a Program Manager in the Simceo-York catchment area.

Natasha MacLellan is the Artistic Producer of Ship’s Company Theatre, in beautiful Parrsboro, NS. In order to survive in the theatre in her native Nova Scotia, she became adept at being everything from a performer, playwright, producer, teacher and/or director. She toured Canada multiple times in Sheldon Curries’ award-winning show Lauchie, Liza and Rory, with memorable stops at The Yukon Arts Centre and the National Arts Centre. Directing credits for The Ship include After Eepersip Disappeared, Making Contact, Our Eliza, Habit of Murder and The Romeo Initiative. She is honoured to have been twice named the protege of respected theatre artists: Jenny Munday, recipient of the inaugural Mallory Gilbert Award and Mary Vingoe, recipient of the Portia White Prize. In 2010, Natasha received the Mayor’s Award for Emerging Artist. She is a co-founder of Forerunner Playwrights’ Theatre, a member of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, and Secretary of the Board of Theatre Nova Scotia. She is a member of the board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), where and currently she chairs the Professional Development Committee. Prior to this, Natasha chaired its Rural Caucus, which gained much momentum and galvanized rural theatres across Canada.

Trevor Malcolm is Programme Manager and Composer, The Pelee Island Stone & Sky Music & Arts Series and past winner of a Palme D’Or. Trevor’s career as a performer, composer, and band leader has had a chameleon-like intrigue stretching form from punk rock, to orchestral and electro-acoustic work; this speaks volumes to his collaborative ability. Trevor possesses a unique insight into the world of music which transposes into greater participatory performance art. His reputation as a musician’s musician has garnered a professional respect that translates as enthusiastic agreement to participation from artists who would otherwise be unaffordable. Trevor’s role is to garner the musicians and lead the development of compositions for finalé productions.

Barrie Martin, President of the Haliburton County Folk Society and SPARC Network Steering Committee Member, has been active helping to shape the music scene in the Haliburton Highlands for many years. The Folk Society presents a concert series in venues throughout the Haliburton Highlands, house concerts, monthly open stages and a Winter Folk Camp. The Society works closely with other community partners to present, produce and promote all genres of music and nurture the growth of local performers. The Society supports local musicians by providing them with opportunities to perform, selling their music, offering recording subsidies, scholarships for youth, producing a compilation CD, and maintaining a database of local artists. Barrie also owns and operates Yours Outdoors, a company that specializes in experiential tourism to create unique adventures in art, culture and nature that often include the performing arts. He also provides consulting services in environmental and ecological education, tourism and community development.

Randy K. Miller is the National Manager of the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, one of four funding programs supporting arts and heritage organizations in Canada, under the responsibility of the Arts Policy Branch at the Department of Canadian Heritage.  Randy joined Canadian Heritage in 2001, following contract positions with the Theatre Section and the Audience and Market Development Office at the Canada Council for the Arts.  Prior to his experience in the delivery of arts funding, Randy worked in arts administration for theatre companies in Halifax, NS (Jest in Time Theatre) and Toronto, ON (Theatre Passe Muraille; Toronto Workshop Productions).  Randy is originally from Nova Scotia, where he was raised in the rural community of Port Williams in the beautiful Annapolis Valley.

Hugh Neilson is an arts administrator who has been the General Manager of Theatre Passe Muraille (Toronto), YPT (Toronto), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), and is currently the Managing Director at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa.

Hugh was the Deputy Director at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT 2001-2007) in charge of Professional Development and Labour Relations where he advised the PACT membership on various issues including touring, HR and everything in between. Hugh has also served on or chaired 10 negotiation teams between PACT and CAEA, ADC, PGC and APASQ, helping to set minimum terms and conditions and working standards for arts professionals on behalf of the national theatre community.

Hugh also just finished his second term on the PACT board as Director with the Labour Portfolio. His experience gives him a unique understanding and perspective on Canadian theatres and their individual needs and challenges across the country.

Rebecca Niblett is a visual artist, educator, and social media specialist. She has a BSc from Trent University in Psychology, a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, and a Visual and Creative Arts Diploma from Fleming College’s Haliburton School of The Arts. She has helped to set up and run websites and social media for a variety of organizations both professionally and as a volunteer. She volunteered to take over the Social Media and promotional aspects of Murphy’s Law (a documentary film made by a friend) and became fascinated with crowdfunding. Rebecca is one of the founders of Crowd Wise, a company that manages crowdfunding campaigns for artists and filmmakers.

Lisa O’Connell is the founding Artistic Director of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation (PTD), Ontario’s only inclusive playwright development centre. Work created at PTD has been presented at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre, SummerWorks Theatre Festival, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Theatre Aquarius, The Grand Theatre, among others. Artists working with PTD have received or been nominated for the RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwright Award, the Carol Bolt Award, Governor-General’s Award (Drama), RBC Emerging Director’s Award, among others.

O’Connell serves on the Advocacy Committee of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Caucus Chair and member of the Artistic Practices Committee of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. She is the recipient of both a Special Jury Award and the Literary Award from Arts Waterloo. She delivered the closing Keynote address at the Canadian Association of Theatre Researchers Conference (2013). O’Connell has been published in Canadian Theatre Review, The Toronto Star, Chatelaine, among others. Lisa divides her time between her artistic homes in Waterloo, Ontario and Sudbury, Ontario with her partner photographer Mark Walton.

Keynote Speaker Inga Petri Photo by: Inga Petri

Plenary Speaker Inga Petri Photo by: Inga Petri

Inga Petri founded Strategic Moves in 2007, after sixteen years in sales and marketing, including ten years as an account executive at major Ottawa advertising agencies.

Strategic Moves thrives at the crossroads of research, strategy and marketing. With experience in diverse sectors – from the performing arts, publishing, museums and arts services organizations to government, international trade promotion organizations, national membership associations, and technology companies – clients benefit from an uncommon breadth of experience and expertise.

In addition to hundreds of corporate sector and federal government projects, Inga has built an extensive portfolio of achievements in the arts and cultural sector. It spans from her work in Canadian book publishing during the 1990s to a series of significant research, strategy, branding and marketing projects for the National Arts Centre, Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, Storytellers of Canada, Canada Dance Festival, Canadian War Museum, Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Alianait Arts Festival and many others. Starting in 2011, Inga has been working with Canada’s regional arts presenting networks and rural and remote arts presenters from Yukon to Newfoundland in more than 60 workshops, keynotes and presentations.

Inga’s work is nationally recognized for the landmark study exploring The Value of Presenting:  A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada (©2013) and for providing strategic insight, championing contemporary marketing practices, and delivering practical training in the arts sector. She has recently consulted on two other sector-wide national projects: one exploring Dance in Canada, the other Canadians’ perceptions about the value of Canadian books and book publishers.

Inga frequently presents at national and regional conferences in the performing arts, research and marketing communities and operates her marketing and consulting practice from Ottawa, Ontario and Whitehorse, Yukon.

Plenary Panel Speaker PIneda Photo by Renan Ortiz

Plenary Panel Speaker Roselle Pineda Photo by: Renan Ortiz

Roselle Pineda is a teacher, independent researcher, activist, community organiser and artist. She teaches at the Department of Art Studies in the University of the Philippines and is a proud member of an activist organisations Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) and Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP), as well as Save Our Schools Network (SOS).

Her current projects dabble in the fields of contemporary performance, performance curation, hip-hop theater, art community organizing and activism, among others.

david sereda is one of Canada’s most distinctive voices. For over 30 years he has woven elements of folk, gospel, soul, jazz and pop into compelling songs. His music and evocative voice have been heard coast to coast in concerts, festivals and music theatre. Since 2002, he has worked with Sheatre as Associate Artist and Co-Producer, responsible for tours of Far From the Heart and Be Our Ally, a Forum play about homophobia with music and a photographic exhibition. His most recent project with Sheatre is The Dementia Play.

Baeden Shedebray began playing music at the age of five on family percussion items, and has continued down a path of music, currently playing piano, drums and ukulele. He met Steve Wright during a local arts festival in 2011 and has since been coming to “The Sound Space”, in Schelt, B.C., for weekly sessions. Baeden has been invited to perform with Steve over two years (14 shows each year) as a collaborative musician. He annually performs with Steve and other local musicians of various ages at small festivals and gatherings.

Lys Stevens is a researcher, writer, consultant and arts administrator based in the Outaouais region. Between 1999 and 2013 she worked for the contemporary dance and interdisciplinary arts centre Studio 303 in various capacities: as curator, board member and Associate Director. Lys has also worked for cie Par B.L.eux/Benoit Lachambre and the Regroupement québécois de la danse. She participated as a main researcher on the Dance Mapping Study, and has written for various magazines, including Dance International and The Dance Current. Her Master’s thesis looked a b-boying/b-girling in vernacular and performing arts settings. Lys Stevens is currently a Program Officer at the Inter-Arts Office of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Kelly Symes has over 12 years’ experience working in the Canadian live music industry. She is the General Manager of the Ontario Festival of Small Halls, an organization under the umbrella of the Bluesfest and CityFolk Festival in Ottawa. Kelly is also the Special Events Coordinator at the iconic Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec. The Ontario Festival of Small Halls is about sharing a love of music in a beloved place. Brought to you by the Team Behind Bluesfest, the Festival of Small Halls brings exceptional Canadian and international musicians to 24 rural communities across Eastern Ontario. The festival runs from September 14th to October 2nd in buildings that communities hold near and dear. Churches, barns, old town halls, community centres, open their doors to first rate musicians from near and far. This year’s lineup includes various musical genres including Celtic, folk, roots, blues, old-time, indie pop and more.

Greg Thomas is the Network Coordinator for SPARC. He began his position in March 2016. He was raised in the country bumpkin heartlands of England. For the last 18 years he has been working in the performing arts from a community engagement perspective. He has worked extensively within rural and urban communities both in the UK and Canada.

Prior to working with SPARC he was designing sustainable rural transport initiatives in Derbyshire, UK including ‘Open Bike’ rides, which involved an off road bike tour complete with a microphone, a sound system and intermittent panoramic performances of splendour in the Peak District. He was the Community Participation Coordinator for Young People’s Theatre, Toronto. It was here that he co-founded Nomanzland Theatre, a for-youth-by-youth street theatre project for marginalised and racialized young people in Toronto’s Jane-Finch community.

Having witnessed the many barriers that reduce access to the performing arts both in the heartlands and the hinterlands, he’s committed to bringing people together to ‘gently’ remove these barriers as quickly as possible. Greg can often be found in all types of weather on provincial highways between Haliburton and Barry’s Bay riding a fold up bike much to the amusement of those who have a full driver’s license.

Plenary Panel Speaker Clayton Windatt Lindsay Sarazin, Wolf Eye Productions, North Bay, Ontario

Plenary Panel Speaker Clayton Windatt Photo by: Lindsay Sarazin, Wolf Eye Productions, North Bay, Ontario

Clayton Windatt was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, but has lived in the Northeastern region of Ontario for most of his life and is a Métis Multi-artist. After previously working as Director of the White Water Gallery Artist-Run for 7 years he now works as Interim Director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and as an independent curator. Clayton holds a BA in Fine Art from Nipissing University and received his Graphic Design certification from Canadore College. He works actively with several arts organizations locally, provincially and nationally on committees and boards of directors including working with the National Arts Service Organization planning committee, Visual Arts Alliance and CARFAC Ontario.

Clayton maintains contracted positions with various theatre programs and works as a writer for the North Bay Nipissing News, Muskrat magazine and Dispatch magazine. He works with the ON THE EDGE fringe festival, is a mentor member of the Future In Safe Hands Collective and currently works with Business for the Arts as a Mentor for their ArtsVest program. He aids Aanmitaagzi with their different community arts events and contributes actively as a writer, designer, curator, performer, theatre technician, consultant and is an active visual and media artist.

Steve Wright is a musician, performer, artist and music workshop facilitator, based on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. For over 30 years, he has performed live, recorded hundreds of hours of music and worked with all age groups in diverse styles. Steve has conducted music workshops with kids and youth since 2004. In 2012 he opened “The Sound Space”, an engagement based studio in Sechelt, B.C. This work led to doing weekly music workshops with adults with developmental disabilities.

In 2014 Steve received the Gillian Lowndes Award for excellence in music, from the Sunshine Coast Arts Council.