Presenters

Click here for the Keynote Speaker bios

Harold Arbuckle, Board Member & Treasurer, Embro Thistle Theatre

Harold is a Founding member and current board member and treasurer of Embro Thistle Theatre. He has acted on stage and also held the jobs of stage manager, set design and construction, lighting design and directing for local community theatres. His two favorite shows to direct were “Queen Millie of Galt” for ITOPA (Ingersoll) and “Trying” for Embro Thistle Theatre. He was a member of the cast and financial manager for Thistle Theatre’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” that was entered in festival and that represented WODL at the Theatre Ontario festival in Sault St Marie in 2004. That undertaking took a cast and crew of 86 people to the Sault. Harold is a retired livestock veterinarian. His past endeavors include Chairman of the Embro Townhall Restoration committee, Chairman of the Embro West Zorra Millenium Celebration committee and a board member of Oxford Creative Connections. He was the recipient of an Agriculture Service Diploma presented by Embro Zorra Agricultural Society and an Ontario Volunteer 40 Year Service Award.

Jordyn Archer, Choreographer & Dance Instructor, Haliburton County, Ontario
Jordyn has been studying dance for 17 years and has performed in three previous Dusk Dances seasons. She has also performed in Patria’s Princess of the Stars at the Haliburton Forest in 2007, in Guelph with Royal City School of Ballet and more recently choreographed a piece in Heritage Ballet’s 2012 Nutcracker (Haliburton, Ontario). Jordyn is currently working towards her Certificate of Ballet Teaching Studies with the Royal Academy of Dance and teaching at Heritage Ballet Studio in Haliburton.

Maja Bannerman, Parasol Productions, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Maja is a published author, singer, storyteller and performer. She is acclaimed from the Yukon to Newfoundland for delighting audiences through original storytelling, theatrical performance and music, creating portrayals of characters, original and historical in theatres, libraries, museums, galleries, historic sites, at festivals, and in educational institutions. Involved since the Niagara Falls Museum’s 2000 inception of the Drummond Hill Cemetery Tour, writing and directing four years of sell-outs, Maja has been an Arts Educator with The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through The Arts program, working extensively in schools teaching through drama and music. She also founded the Niagara-on-the–Lake Story Telling Festival.

Anne Barber & Brad Harley, Co-Artistic Directors, Shadowland Theatre, Ward Island, Toronto, Ontario
Anne was born and trained in theatre in the UK where she toured with their only horse-drawn theatre, Horse & Bamboo. She came to Canada via Bread and Puppet and joined Shadowland in 1992. Anne directs Shadowland’s productions and founded the company’s youth program. She teaches mask and puppetry and uses theatre arts to celebrate seasonal cycles. Brad trained as a visual artist and was a founding member of Shadowland in 1983. He has worked as a theatre designer with companies including VideoCabaret, Callalloo Productions (Trinidad), Horse & Bamboo (UK) and Bread and Puppet Theatre (US). Brad defines Shadowland’s highly visual aesthetic of mask, puppetry, costume, stilts and spectacle arts. Shadowland creates original theatre that entertains, engages, empowers and inspires people to interact positively with each other and their environments. Most recently the company has collaborated with communities in rural Norfolk County to create travelling, outdoor shows based on local histories and nature.

David Barnard, Cultural Consultant, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, Department of Canadian Heritage, Toronto, Ontario
David’s early childhood was spent in the Township of Whitchurch and later in the Township of Medonte in Central Ontario. He attended Ryerson University and has been a Toronto resident for most of his life (there was a four-year experiment with Vancouver). David has worked on many community based projects. He’s been a radio producer/host; event programmer, planner, and production coordinator; journalist; facilitator; publicist and marketer; waiter and delivery driver… Add to that being a spouse and the father of two young boys. When he has time, David loves gardening, bicycling, camping, playing baseball, reading and listening to music.

Jim Blake, Committee Chair, Dusk Dances Haliburton, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Jim is also a storyteller, community animator, curator of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, consultant for the Haliburton County Development Corporation and part-time faculty member at the Haliburton School of The Arts where he teaches courses on business for artists. He is a very active member of the arts community in the Haliburton Highlands, wearing many hats and contributing greatly to the vitality of the community. Jim serves as the president of the Haliburton County Community Co-operative which provides support for a wide range of community initiatives in the areas of the arts, heritage, active living and community based research. In 1999 he co-founded of the U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research and continues to serve on its management committee. Under the auspices of the Co-op Jim also co-founded Dusk Dances Haliburton and the Communities in Action Committee.

Aly Boltman, Theatre Manager, The Roxy Theatre, Owen Sound, Ontario
Aly is a graduate of Concordia University’s Drama in Education program. She’s a seasoned arts administrator, writer and researcher, as well as a former singer, auctioneer and appraiser. Often called a Jill of All Trades, she’s happiest problem solving in the most creative ways possible to feed her inner artist, while appeasing her inner neurotic. Born and bred in the city, Aly sold her 16ft wide downtown Toronto home a decade ago to buy a remote 50-acre farm. She’s never looked back.

Sylvie Bouchard, Curator & Festival Director, Dusk Dances Inc., Toronto, Ontario
Sylvie began her training in Montreal before moving to Toronto in 1983, to study at the School of The Toronto Dance Theatre. She subsequently joined The Toronto Dance Theatre in 1985, performing nationally and internationally with them for 5 years. Sylvie has also performed with Kaeja d’Dance, Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers and Dancemakers and continues to work for many independent choreographers. She was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award for best performance for her solo Cassiopeia, which premiered at the DuMaurier Theatre in 1999. In 1997, Sylvie Bouchard co-founded the company CORPUS with artistic partner David Danzon, and until 2008 she co-created and performed 8 works, touring internationally. She also co-choreographed and starred in the popular children’s TV Series Four-Square on Treehouse TV. In 1993, Bouchard created Dusk Dances, a festival that presents dance in public parks. Sylvie is the recipient of the 2009 KM Hunter Award for dance, and is Artistic Director of BoucharDanse, a company that serves as an umbrella for her artistic endeavors.

Jack Brezina, President, Highlands Summer Festival, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Jack is the President and one of the founding members of the Highlands Summer Festival. In addition to his executive responsibilities over the years he has appeared on stage during the Festival. He also manages the company’s marketing and promotion. He has directed two plays for the local Little Theatre Company and is directing You Can’t Take it With You this spring. Jack is a retired newspaper publisher. In addition to Highlands Summer Festival, he is currently active with Canoe FM Radio, Sticks and Stones Productions, the Conjurors of County Town in Minden, the Arts Council~Haliburton Highlands, Minden Hills Festival of Banners and other arts-related organizations.

George Bridge, Mayor of Town of Minto, Mount Forest, Ontario
Born and raised in Minto, George attended Ryerson Polytechnic Institute and worked for TD Canada Trust for 30 years, managing various branches throughout Ontario. His ties to the Minto community are varied and strong. Mayor Bridge’s support of a business approach to local government, a responsive Council, as well as the strong and fair voice he provides at the County has gained him a justified reputation as an open, honest and approachable member of local government. Dedicated to Minto, its culture and economic development, he is a practical and effectual member of the Cultural Roundtable.

Craig Brockie, Industry Relations Executive, SOCAN
Craig has worked at SOCAN for seven years. Craig is responsible for helping to build awareness of SOCAN, specifically by organizations like those attending SPARC so they understand the obligation when authorizing musical performances at their event or venue.  Craig prides himself on working hard for the betterment of the music industry, music users and of course SOCAN’s 100,000 members. He enjoys discussing any concerns or questions people may have with respect to SOCAN and how SOCAN operates.

Sandy Buck, Director of Education & Community Outreach, Deer Crossing The Art Farm, Gibsons, British Columbia
Sandy is a multi-disciplinary fabric and installation artist with over 10 years’ experience as a costume designer in the theatre and film industry. She received a Genie nomination for her design work on the 2005 film “Eve and the Firehorse”. Six years ago, she discovered the world of puppetry and began creating her own puppets and original shows. In 2006, she formed her own puppet theatre company Rababoo Puppet Theatre. Since that time, she has performed her one-woman show “The Dragon’s Desire” at festivals and theatres along the coast and lower mainland and has performed her puppet show “The Tales of Maggie Rose” across Canada. In 2007, she was the recipient of the Gillian Lowndes Award for her ongoing work as a puppet-maker and puppeteer. Sandy has extensive experience as event designer for arts and event-based organizations including the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Vancouver Film Festival and Whistler/ Blackcomb. She has organized gala events for over 1000 guests, including creating the artistic decor, organizing the production and coordinating the event. Sandy also has extensive experience working with youth and children. She has created programs for youth in many settings and performed/interacted with children in a variety of settings from small classrooms to large outdoor events.

Kate Butler, Curator, Haliburton Highlands Museum, Haliburton County, Ontario
Originally from Toronto, her work in the fields of Celtic Studies, heritage and folklore have taken her to places as far afield as Ireland and Jamaica, but memories of summer visits to Haliburton County brought her back to the Highlands in 2013. She feels it’s important for museums to function as community spaces and to work collaboratively with a variety of other groups.

Roxanne Casey, Manager, CANOE FM, Haliburton County, Ontario
Roxanne is in her sixth year of Managing this not-for-profit local Community Radio Station. This 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 is 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.

Krista Dalby, Co-Artistic Director, Small Pond Arts, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Krista is a playwright, a puppeteer, a producer of theatre and community festivals, and an arts educator. Small Pond Arts is an ‘art farm’ in rural Prince Edward County, Ontario – an artist residency centre, art gallery and art centre that hosts concerts, plays, festivals, workshops, and other joyous creative events. Krista is a volunteer with ArtsCan Circle, travelling to remote First Nations communities to lead school workshops in puppetry, and is the Project Director for Puppets Without Borders, bringing puppetry and art supplies to kids in Ghana. She also teaches closer to home through the Ontario Arts Council’s Artist in Education program.

Ryan Dawson, Youth, Spoken Word Performer & Musician, Haliburton County, Ontario
Ryan caught the bug for public speaking in elementary school during a grade six speech contest and has been spouting words in one form or another ever since. He uses music, poetry and analogy in an attempt to communicate the unadulterated joy of being. Ryan draws inspiration from the inexhaustible bounty of nature and mines the depths of his own restless soul for material. Born under the sign of Leo (surprise, surprise), Ryan is attracted to florescent colors, likes peanut butter and enjoys leisurely strolls along the beach.

Sadie Dixon-Spain, Founder, Artistic Director, Actor, In-house Playwright for The Walking Theatre Company (TWTC), Argyll, Scotland
Sadie has enjoyed a long and creative acting career, with National Repertory theatre, TV and broadcast credits to her name. After a life-changing move to rural Argyll (Scotland), Sadie thought her acting days were through, however the extraordinary wild, beautiful, isolated landscape became home, and started a creative journey of discovery. TWTC was born as a direct creative response to the rural environment, to open up community access to theatre, and deliver work that audiences really want to experience. A true theatre without walls: with a unique brand and methodology, producing award-winning interactive work, pioneering new writing, engagement and project collaboration.

Gordon Duff, Treasurer & Deputy CAO, Town of Minto, Harriston, Ontario
Gordon was born in Waterloo and obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfred Laurier University. He has 20 years of municipal auditing experience and is currently Treasurer/Deputy CAO for the Town of Minto. He is actively involved in economic and cultural development with Minto Council and has volunteered as Treasurer of the Minto Arts Council for 15 years. Gordon attended the first Municipal Cultural Planning Forums in 2004 and is keenly interested in this topic. He presented the experiences of cultural planning in small towns to a Russian delegation assisted by the Ontario Ministry of Culture in 2012.

Curtis Eastmure, Founding Member, Highlands Little Theatre, Haliburton County, Ontario
Curtis is a singer, actor and producer. He, along with key members of the arts community, spearheaded the effort to transform the gymnasium at Haliburton’s local high school, into a theatre – the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion – and then helped raise $450,000 in donations needed to support the work.

Kendra Fanconi, Artistic Director, The Only Animal Theatre Society, Roberts Creek, British Columbia A theatre creator of original, often site-specific work, Kendra has created plays in swimming pools, treetops, on False Creek, and in a theatre built of snow and ice. Playwriting/Directing credits include: NiX, at the 2010 Cultural Olympiad and Enbridge Festival, Alberta Theatre Projects 2009, (Nominated Betty Mitchell Award: Best New Play, Best Production, and Vancouver’s Critic’s Choice Award for Innovation); dog eat dog produced by The Only Animal, PuSH festival, 2007, (Nominated Jessie:  Best New Play), Other Freds produced by The Only Animal, 2005, (Winner Jessie Award: Significant Artistic Achievement). Other playwriting credits include Bonehouse, one-act for Solo Collective, 2003, adapted for CBC radio; The One that Got Away, 2002 remounted at Magnetic North Festival, 2007, (Nominated for 10 Jessies including Best Script, Best Emerging Playwright. Winner of four Jessies including Outstanding Production,); you and the moon, a short play for HIVE2, Magnetic North, 2008, remounted at Cultch 2010 (Winner: Jessie Award Significant Artistic Achievement for HIVE2.) Other Directing credits include: Sugar for Hive 3 and Last Five Years for Roaring Lion. Collectively Written: Transit Lounge, 2005; The Last Stand, 2002, (Nominated: Critic’s Choice Award for Innovation); Box2, 2000, (Winner: Jessie for Significant Artistic Achievement); All Flesh is Grass, co-written and produced with Radix, 1998. Over the last few years she has mentored 50 companies in creating original site specific premieres for the Fringe Festival. Kendra is the Artistic Director of The Only Animal, a company that is uniquely dedicated to theatre that springs from place.

Michael Fay, Professional Writer, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Michael turned to playwriting when he moved to Haliburton County 17 years ago, using his plays to animate the community to a deeper and different understanding of itself.  He tends to see small worlds in large contexts, in art and in life. He was twice president of the Periodical Writers of Canada, and in that capacity a primary negotiator for Canadian copyright agreements, which have brought millions of dollars into writers’ pockets since inception.

Aengus Finnan, Touring and Audience Development Officer, Ontario Arts Council (Toronto, Ontario Office)
Aengus is a visual arts graduate of Pearson College, studied theatre at Concordia University, and specialized in Aboriginal and Northern education at Nipissing University. As a singer-songwriter he released three albums and toured internationally for eight years. He taught in Moosonee, Ontario, and Inuvik, Northwest Territories; and worked as a Program Manager for Community Futures prior to the OAC. He is past President of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, co-founder of the Northumberland Arts Council, and founder of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival.

Randy Glynn, Choreographer and Dance Professional, Toronto
Randy Glynn’s 37 year history as a dance professional began in Halifax in 1977 as dancer/manager of the freshly minted Halifax Dance Co-op Dance Company. A year later he was on stage in NYC with Toronto’s Danny Grossman Dance Company with whom he danced and toured all over the world. In 2008 he was invited to Berlin to direct a Circus Cabaret Show called MyLife. The successful show, which ran at the Chamaeleon Theatre in the heart of Berlin for a year, was seen by over 100,000 people. In the summer of 2013 Randy created a full evening piece called Dancing in the Third Act on 12 untrained seniors in Annapolis Royal, NS. The success of this remarkably moving dance grows daily as it garners both national and international attention.

Laura Good, Programming Coordinator, TIFF, Toronto; Ming-Jenn Lim, Senior Coordinator, Film Circuit, TIFF, Toronto
Laura books films for Atlantic Canada, Quebec, DVD locations and all short programming and Ming-Jenn oversees guest bookings, new group inquiries, group development. TIFF is a charitable cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. Founded in 1989, Film Circuit is TIFF’s successful film outreach programme, bringing the best of Canadian and international films and artists to communities across the country.  Through an alternate model of grassroots distribution, marketing and exhibition, Film Circuit encompasses over 180 groups in over 160 communities across Canada, and helps TIFF lead the world in building markets and audience for Canadian cinema.

Byron Hermann, President, Calabogie & Area Business Association, and CEO, Genesis Music Productions Canada, Calabogie, Ontario
Byron was born, raised and educated in Southwestern Ontario. Upon graduation from University of Western Ontario he moved to the Montreal area completing a Masters Degree in Music at McGill University followed by further graduate work at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Byron has pursued an active career in music education, conducting, and composing and church music ministry. After working overseas in Taiwan for ten years Byron and his wife Cathy moved to the Calabogie to operate “The Fans of Calabogie B&B”. He is currently music minister for the United Church of Canada, CEO of Genesis Music Productions Canada – an independent music producer – and is a champion for all aspects of the creative economy and tourism at the local, county, provincial and federal levels of government. He serves as president of the Calabogie and Area Business Association and is on the board for the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association.

Chad Hershler, Artistic & Executive Director, Deer Crossing The Art Farm, Gibsons, British Columbia
Since the art farm society was officially formed in 2008,Chad has helped develop and oversee its unique art-plus-nature education programming for children and adults. He has produced five years of high quality arts-in-nature programming, catalyzed the launch of FUSE Community Work Hub, (a shared work space for creative and social entrepreneurs), and developed an outdoor festival that draws more than 2000 people over two days to the Gibsons, BC region every August. Currently, Chad is working on the Art Farm’s largest initiative yet: The Smart Farm Project. Chad has also worked as a professional actor and writer for the past 15 years.  He has been a company member and collaborator in theatre companies across Canada and self-produced numerous theatrical productions throughout his career. As a writer, Chad is an award-winning freelance journalist – as well as a writer of short stories, novels, plays and narrative non-fiction.  In 2001, Chad took a break from the arts to take a small-business course at the British Columbia Institute of Technology to learn the basic skills of business planning, management and operations. Since then, he has applied these skills to his work as a self-employed artist and collaborator and with his work on The Art Farm.  Chad is a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate, specializing in Theatre Performance, from Concordia University in Montreal.

Valerie Hopper, Manager, Cultural Development, Arts & Heritage, Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, Ontario
Valerie has been involved with arts presenting as a volunteer since her pre-teen years, when she lived in Sault Ste. Marie. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and lived in Toronto for 7 years. She could not resist the call of the north, and returned to the Sault to raiser her 4 children. Her first paying gig in the arts was the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie, where she was an events co-ordinator and editor of the Council’s publication, ARTiculations. While working there, she started a presenting series for young audiences called “Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment”. Having chaired that series for 7 years, Valerie is very familiar with the challenges that rural and remote presenters face. For the past 22 years, she has worked for the Department of Canadian Heritage, with many of the department’s programs. She is currently the Ontario Regional Manager for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. She currently lives in Ottawa (but misses the Sault).

Shelley King, Owner/Chief Executive Puppeteer, Puppeteria, Wilberforce, Ontario
Shelley uses the magic of puppets as a workshop facilitator, entertainer, educator, social change agent, and shift disturber. Over the past two decades, Shelley has used her playful and interactive approach to teach and entertain thousands of people of all ages and abilities. She brings together her training in social work, clowning, puppetry and expressive arts to create a unique blend of workshop experiences custom-designed for each group. Her creative presentations have been enjoyed at conferences, children’s camps, women’s retreats, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, not-for-profit organizations, hospices, seniors residences, and festivals.

Allan Kirby, Musician in Residence, Lang Pioneer Village Museum, Peterborough County, Ontario
Allan is Musician in Residence at Peterborough County’s Lang Pioneer Village Museum where he facilitates traditional music workshops and provides music for special events. He has a BA from Queen’s University, Kingston, a MAdEd from St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and a PhD in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa. Allan’s primary interest is in rural Ontario traditional music. He has lectured at Queen’s and Carleton Universities; and written for scholarly publications. Allan co-wrote and produced Fowke Tales, a musical-drama about scholar Edith Fowke’s search for rural Ontario folk songs. In 2006, he received the Peterborough County Award for Arts Leadership. His performance experience includes many studio recording credits and years of playing pedal-steel guitar with country/rock bands Matchbox and Bandanna, and banjo with bluegrass bands McCormick and Solina Road. Allan currently plays banjo with the bluegrass band SweetGrass and instrumental folk music group Nassau Mills.

Kevin Korchinski, Executive Director, Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, Regina, Saskatchewan; Laurie Gillis, Executive Director, Atlantic Presenters Association, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Ann Barker, Director of Business Development, Ticketpro, Barrie, Ontario
This is a partnership of three colleagues from across the country with years of experience in not just the non-profit performing arts world, but also event planning, marketing, ticketing and the music business. The individuals in the group have planned some of the largest events on the East Coast and have worked for some of the largest organizations in their fields. Collectively, they also have an understanding of rural and small city Canada.

Nancy Kovachik, Drama Teacher, Powerview High School, Pine Falls, Manitoba
Nancy is the Manitoba Project Coordinator – the Canadian contact – for The Walking Theatre Company (TWTC), her love of Scotland encouraged a visit in 2010, where she travelled to the stunning Isle of Lismore in Argyll – a rural island in the Western Highlands. While her visit was arranged to attend a fiddle workshop, Nancy was swept into a TWTC performance, and blown away by the concept. She met with Sadie after the performance, and the TWTC’s transatlantic adventure began. Nancy’s vision to create a project with her Drama Students in Manitoba came to life, and after fundraising over $100,000CAD, the dream became a reality!

Susan Lake, Manager, Arts & Cultural Services, Municipality of Meaford, Meaford, Ontario
In 2007 Susan was hired as Manager of Meaford Hall Arts & Cultural Centre following its extensive renovation and reopening. In 2013, she was promoted to Manager of Arts & Cultural Services which includes both Meaford Hall and the Meaford Museum in her portfolio. Susan has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and is the former Manager of the Meaford Chamber of Commerce.

Colleen Laverdiere, Grimsby Museum Assistant Curator, Grimsby
Colleen has worked for the Town of Grimsby for 19 years as the Assistant Curator of the Grimsby Museum, developing programmes and special events for the Grimsby community.The Grimsby Museum was part of “A Walk through History, Niagara 2012- Cultural Capital of Canada. New to the world of performing arts, Colleen served as the Director and Site Coordinator for the Grimsby Museum “A Walk through History” Cemetery tour. The Cemetery Tour, offered at Queens Lawn Cemetery in Grimsby was a huge success due to the help of Museum staff and a great group of volunteer actors. This tour, with new scripts was offered in 2013 and is part of the Grimsby Museum’s annual event schedule.

Loree Lawrence, Community and Multidisciplinary Arts Officer, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Office
Prior to joining the OAC in 2009, Loree developed collaborative theatre performances, film and video projects, art installations and arts-based research projects with communities in Toronto and Vancouver for 20 years. During this time she was the Theatre Director at Kensington Youth Theatre and Employment Skills (KYTES) in Toronto and the Creative Director at Projections, a film and video mentorship project for street-involved youth in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Loree has also worked extensively with several performing arts companies including Jumblies Theatre, Public Dreams Society and Leaky Heaven Circus and is the founding member of Red Wagon Collective, a community-engaged arts initiative that is active in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto.

Colin Little, Actor, The Walking Theatre Company, Argyll, Scotland
Colin’s first role with The Walking Theatre Company (TWTC) was that of Macbeth, playing alongside Sadie’s Lady Macbeth with fine aplomb. An established, diverse, creative member of our core company, Colin has taken to the challenge of such roles as Long John Silver and Robert Burns, often going to great lengths to “get his character just right”. He has led a 100-strong Battalion of ‘High School’ Roman Legionnaires, through The Inch Public Park (Perth), and collected ‘Fish Gutters’ on the Shores of Loch Fyne. Further credits include Film and TV work, performances with No Limit People Theatre, Baldy Bane Theatre, Hopscotch Theatre, and regular Edinburgh Fringe appearances.

Katherine Lockhart, Cultural Coordinator, Creative Gros Morne, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland & Labrador
Katherine is an experienced administrator with a background in event and project planning with a strong passion for the arts and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Katherine is the coordinator for the implementation of the Gros Morne Cultural Blueprint.

Nichola McEwan, Educator/Artist, Community Representative, Minto Cultural Roundtable, Harriston, Ontario
After receiving an Honours BA in languages, Nichola studied Furniture Design at Sheridan College before obtaining her teaching qualifications. She currently teaches high school English, French and Art, maintains a small rural studio and runs a blog which spotlights local businesses and events. Her decision to move to a rural community grew from a desire to enjoy a higher quality of living and a stronger sense of community. As an artist she has experienced the unique challenges of living in a rural community and as an educator she understands the importance of knowledge and the power of people.

David Maggs, Founder & Director, Gros Morne Summer Music, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland & Labrador
David has spent the past decade building a wide variety of arts activities and has learned how to engage with the larger economic context in doing so. David is an accomplished pianist, having performed throughout Canada, the US and in Europe, and has been fortunate to collaborate with some of the most exciting players of his generation. He is also completing a PhD in Environmental Studies at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

Philly Markowitz, Economic Development Officer for Local Food, Grey County, Owen Sound, Ontario
Philly has urban interests and rural sensibilities. Drawn to Grey County for a “one-year experiment” in 1991, she and her family put down deep roots in the area and have founded or facilitated several cultural and community events over the past 20+ years. A graduate of Ryerson University, Philly was a programmer and director at Toronto’s community radio station CLKN before working as a freelance host and programmer for CBC Radio for 17 years. She currently works for Grey County as the Economic Development Officer for Local Food, where partnerships drive the vast majority of her projects. She is also on the Mudtown Festival’s steering committee.

Barrie Martin, President of Haliburton County Folk Society, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Barrie 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.

Fay Martin, Co-Founder, Conjurors of County Town, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Fay came to Haliburton County to create a broad-spectrum children’s mental health agency, and persistently worked to integrate art into the roster of interventions, which included consistently making room for children and youth in Conjurors’ activities. As Coordinating Producer of Conjurors, she ensured that it was fiscally viable as well as socially inclusive.

Pam Mundy, Amateur Performer, “Walks Through History”, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario            Pam has been designing, creating and making historical costumes since she was 10 years old which was aeons ago and during that time she has costumed over 30 major period productions winning four awards at Theatre Ontario. Her skills were hone at Niagara College’s Theatre Arts Program. She currently spends her time making reproduction clothing for individuals, museums, short films and theatrical productions. She also gives talks on Costume and Historical Food and is an amateur performer in ‘Walks Through History’ in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Lou O’Hara, Regional Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (Peterborough. Ontario Office) 
Lou serves as the local connection to the Province’s programs and resources (including grants) that support the culture, sport and recreation sectors. His coverage area includes the Counties of Haliburton, Peterborough and north Hastings. Within the ministry’s Regional Services Branch, there is a network of Regional Advisors across the Province that provide ongoing information and advisory support to municipalities, First Nations communities and not-for-profit organizations at the local and regional level.

Jude Ortiz, Research Coordinator, NORDIK Institute, Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Jude has been conducting culture research across Northern Ontario for the NORDIK Institute, Algoma University’s community-based research institute, since 2004. Her research foci include resilience; holistic (cross-sectorial) community economic and social development within and between cultures; and, education and training. She maintains a studio goldsmithing business and brings her knowledge and understanding of the realities and context of rural artists to her research. Jude’s is a PhD candidate (ABD) and her presentation is based on her doctoral research.

Daniela Pagliaro, Committee Member, Dusk Dances Haliburton, Haliburton County, Ontario
Daniela has worked as a choreographer and community animator in Haliburton County since 2001. She has taught contemporary dance and has offered many Artist in Education Projects in rural communities in Ontario. She trained at the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre (now Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre) , Toronto Dance Theatre and the York University Dance Program. Throughout her career she has combined community development and dance including working with youth in Bella Bella, B.C, on Manitoulin Island, and Haliburton County. Daniela created the piece “The Hat” with 8 local youth for the first Dusk Dances festival in Haliburton in 2006, which was remounted for Dusk Dances in Toronto in 2007. In 2011 she coordinated a local commission with Toronto choreographers Meredith Thomson and Kate Franklin who mounted a new work for Dusk Dances Haliburton that involved 6 professional dancers and 32 community members. In 2013, Daniela teamed up with members of the Highland Roller (Derby) Girls and Kate Franklin to create a community piece for Dusk Dances Haliburton.

Sean Pennylegion, Producer & Musician, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Sean arrived at “The Forest” with a checkered past. His most recent academic pursuit was the study of Ecotourism Management at Fleming College in Haliburton. After graduation in 2000, he was offered an annual, seasonal position at Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve that included guiding the “Walk in the Clouds” canopy tour and piloting a fresh water tour submarine. Sean has been involved in the music “business” for a long time both as a musician and producer. He was the General Manager of the Forest Festival for the past 5 years and the Artistic Director of the Haliburton County Folk Society for longer than that!

Tammy Rea, Principal, Sticks and Stones Productions, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Tammy has spent the last 20 years in the computer world – and then the last 10 of those working with digital video. She runs the Haliburton 48 Create Video competition for ages 7 to 70. Tammy has taught video creation at all school levels and also produces corporate and creative videos. Sticks & Stones Productions, a Haliburton based media arts company, works with some of the best video production personnel in the business and is able to provide field producers, PAs, grips/utility, lighting directors, teleprompter operators or any additional positions your project may require. “Sticks & Stones brings stories to life – around the world – with vibrant, high-quality imagery and professional video production. From every corner of the world, we capture the images that tell your story- beautifully and effectively.”

Lyn Royce, Principal, Royce Public Images, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Lyn has worked with Toronto’s Mixed Company Theatre, Waterloo’s Creative Enterprise Initiative and more recently with A Walk Through History, Niagara 2012 – Cultural Capital Of Canada. She has passion and experience with one-on-one mentorships and multi-project management of tourism product development (Norfolk County); cross-pollinating programming (Heritage Toronto), funding submissions (Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund; Ministry Of Tourism, Culture, and Sport); personal missions championing accessibility to the arts; 360° audience stewardship; and breaking down silos that separate arts disciplines. Her colleagues branded her as “best plug and play person”. She has also served as Audience Services Director for seven seasons with the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Dan Rubin, Principal, Second Stage Creative Arts, Pouch Cove, Newfoundland & Labrador
Dan is a retired educator (teacher, school principal and curriculum developer) who has worked in community development in three provinces. Since moving to Newfoundland in 2002 he has primarily been an arts manager, supporting performing artists, writers and visual artists through his company Second Stage Creative Arts. Living in the small outport community of Pouch Cove, about 17 km north of the capital (St. John’s), he has been increasingly involved in programs that honour the history and heritage of the town, while using the arts to celebrate and extend local history and culture. Over the past ten years he has organized concerts, performed with local musicians, worked with the town’s community development committee to develop a park in the middle of the town, he has founded a community heritage committee and has helped organize a series of celebrations and local commemorative events. Most recently he is coordinating efforts to establish a community garden, as an educational and seed saving site that honours traditional agricultural practices. Dan is also active as an author, editor and performing musician.

Peter Schleifenbaum, Manager, Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Preserve, Haliburton County, Ontario
Peter was born, raised and educated in Germany. Peter and his wife Elke came to Haliburton in 1988 to take on the management of their family’s company, The Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Preserve, the following year. With a PhD in forest history and forest economics, Peter’s focus was the vast timber resources of the company, which had been neglected for decades. But the task and operation at hand was almost purely tourism related, which was a new experience for him. His lack of previous exposure to common tourism operations allowed him to think outside the box and venture into some of the innovative tourism products Haliburton Forest is known for today. In addition, he and Elke love good music!

Claude Schryer, Coordinator, Inter-Arts Office, Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa
Claude studied composition at Wilfrid Laurier University (BAMus), interdisciplinary arts and new music at The Banff Centre for the Arts and composition at McGill University (Master Mus). His professional artistic activities are principally in the fields of electroacoustics, interdisciplinary art, acoustic ecology and the media arts. Since 1999, he has been a member of the management team at the Canada Council for the Arts as Coordinator of the Inter-Arts Office, whose mandate is to foster and support creative diversity, vitality, recognition and continued excellence of integrated arts, contemporary circus arts and artist and community collaborative practices that are related to these arts. It achieves its mandate through the delivery of funding programs for professional artists, collectives or groups, and organizations. These programs work in complement with the other funding programs of the Canada Council for the Arts. In addition to its programs, the Inter-Arts Office seeks to share and generate knowledge and information about current and emerging artistic practices within its scope, both within the Canada Council and with artistic communities.

Deb Sholdice, General Manager, Blyth Festival, Blyth, Ontario
Deb Sholdice spent “many happy years in my youth” as a volunteer usher at the Blyth Festival. In 2000, she went with her son to a volunteer orientation session and became fixtures ever since, first as a member of the community company for all three productions of The Outdoor Donnellys and as a member of the Board of Directors. In 2007, the organization was searching for a General Manager and Deb was ultimately selected for the position.  Since that time, she has worked closely with many organizations and businesses to promote arts and culture in their rural region.

Sheila Simpson, Program Manager, Ontario Trillium Foundation (London, Ontario Office)
Sheila has worked with the Ontario Trillium Foundation for 15 years.  She is also the Strategy Lead on Capacity Building for the Foundation and brings to that work a strongly rural view.  Sheila grew up on a family farm in Middlesex County and although she currently lives in the city of London, she has never lost her view of issues through a rural lens.  She volunteers for a number of organizations within her community.

Heather Smith, Theatre Manager/Booking Manager for the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion,  Haliburton, Ontario
Heather has been involved in theatre productions for the past 15 years, working mostly behind the scenes as stage manager and ASM. She has been manager of the public use of the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion for the past five years.

Laurel Smith, Artistic Producer, Classic Theatre Festival, Chair of the Board, Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization
Laurel is a theatre producer, director and performer with an MBA in Arts and Media Administration from York University, Toronto, and theatre training at both the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Drama Studio in London, England. In 2010, Laurel launched the Classic Theatre Festival, the Ottawa Valley’s only professional theatre company, in Heritage Perth, Ontario.  Over the first four years of operation, the Festival has grown exponentially, attracting thousands of visitors to Perth, and encouraging visitation to the surrounding area through partnerships and strategic alliances.  She has enjoyed a 30-year career as a theatre artist and professional arts manager, and for the past four years has served as a Board Director of OHTO, two years as Governance Committee Chair, and this past two terms as Chair of the Board.  Laurel has been instrumental in creating an accountable and transparent governance process for the OHTO, with a focus on policy development, the setting of strategic priorities and operational performance evaluation.

Julianne Snepsts, General Manager, Festival Players of Prince Edward County, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Julianne is the General Manager of Festival Players of Prince Edward County, a professional summer theatre company producing contemporary Canadian plays in beautiful Prince Edward County. With more than a dozen years’ experience as a theatre producer, manager, programmer and promoter, Julianne has worked in a variety of theatre contexts – rural, urban, non-profit, commercial, theatre for young audiences, live comedy and the avant garde. For five years, Julianne was part of the producing team at The Second City in Toronto where she managed tours that played across Canada. She served on the Board of Theatre Ontario for eight years, and is the Founding Co-Artistic Producer of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival.

Keith Strata, Owner, Highlands Cinema, Kinmount, Ontario
Keith Stata is a small town construction worker who had big ideas for a cinema in his hometown of Kinmount, Ontario – population 300. He built and operates a five screen, first-run movie complex called the Highlands Cinema. Unlike your average chain theater, the Highlands comes complete with bears eating popcorn, a collection of projectors numbering in the thousands and a room full of mannequins dressed in period costumes.

Fay Wilkinson, Registered Expressive Arts Consultant/Educator, Haliburton County, Ontario
Fay is a registered, independent Expressive Arts Consultant/Educator, storyteller, and artist working out of her Creative Cocoon studio in Eagle Lake, Ontario. She is a member of IEATA (International Expressive Arts Therapy Association) and the Global Alliance for Arts & Health. She is a graduate of and now teaches in the Expressive Arts Post Graduate Program at Fleming College. Fay designs and delivers expressive arts experiences for both individuals and groups of all ages, and continues to research the impact of this work on health and wellbeing.  Her Visible Voices programming engages both seniors and the community at large to make the invisible, visible. Founder of the Haliburton Highlands Community Playback Theatre troupe in 2006 she has led Playback training and performances. Her storytelling credits include performing in festivals in Toronto, Ottawa, Bringelly, Australia and Edinburgh, Scotland. Awarded the Fellowship of Applied Education from Fleming College, her current focus is using the creative process to contribute to the mental health of seniors and expanding the storytelling facet of her services in new and innovative ways.

Kendra Wishlow, Youth Social Entrepreneurship & Marketing Intern – Haliburton County Folk Society & Sticks and Stones Productions, SPARC Working Group Member, Haliburton County, Ontario
Kendra recently completed her studies at the University of Waterloo, earning a degree in Fine Art and Psychology focused on Digital and Performance Arts. She spent her youth in the small town of Bancroft, Ontario where she worked with theatre companies to gain experience in all facets of the dramatic arts. Kendra also actively contributes to Passion8 magazine, a publication created by youth, for youth. She is thrilled to be involved with SPARC as a working group member, a co-performance producer, and youth program coordinator.

Marie Zimmerman, Executive Director, Hillside Community Festival, Guelph, Ontario
Marie did her PhD work in literature and cultural studies, which she taught at the University of Western Ontario for many years. For the past 12 years, she has worked for several different festivals in the capacity of Artistic Director, planner, publicist, MC, grant-writer and risk-management consultant for both urban and rural events. She recently created emergency preparedness plans for two festivals and events and took on the role of treasurer for the Guelph Dance Festival. She is one of the founding members of the Guelph Fab 5, a collective of local arts festivals.