The First Stone
A CO-PRODUCTION WITH
GREAT CANADIAN THEATRE COMPANY
This epic tale unfolds at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, fall 2022 and at Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, spring 2023.
YVETTE NOLAN DIRECTOR
Yvette Nolan (Algonquin) is a playwright, director and dramaturg who works all over Turtle Island. Recent works include the play The Unplugging, the dance-opera Bearing, the libretto Shawnadithit, the short play-for-film Katharsis. From 2003-2011, she served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre, alongside Donna-Michelle St. Bernard as General Manager. They has been making a) trouble, b) work c) change, d) all of the preceding, together ever since. Her book, Medicine Shows, about Indigenous performance in Canada was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015. She is the Company Dramaturg for Sum Theatre. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
SARAH O'BRIEN STAGE MANAGER
Sarah has stage managed across Canada (and a little bit beyond) for over twenty years. She is recently returned from her most recent stint with Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre in northeastern Nova Scotia. Following this project, she will embark on contemporary dance with ProArteDanza, before a winter show at George Brown Theatre School. Sarah is utterly thrilled to be back with some favourite collaborators, having worked with Jackie Chau on She Spreads for Dead Roads Collective, Michelle Ramsay on Theatre Rusticle's Midsummer Night's Dream, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard on Cake, and Yvette Nolan on Giiwedin. She is honoured to be part of this endeavour. All projects are for Dad.
HEATHER BELLINGHAM ASSISTANT Stage Manager
Heather has worked in stage management on 80+ shows throughout Canada and internationally, ranging from small-scale Fringe productions, to pieces in festivals such as World Pride and Panamania, to large scale shows at the Stratford Festival and for Mirvish. She has even stage managed a private performance for royalty. See credits at heatherbellingham.wordpress.com Follow @blue84HB
INDRIT KASAPI CHOREOGRAPHER
Born in Albania, Indrit has made Tkarón:to his home since 2000. He is the Founding and current Artistic Producer for lemonTree creations and Interim Managing Director for Theatre Passe Muraille. With lemonTree creations, Indrit has produced, acted in, choreographed and directed several critically acclaimed and award winning productions, including a national tour for MSM [men seeking men].
As the Interim Managing Director of Canada’s original alternative theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Indrit continues to develop exciting new theatrical voices while also focusing on national and international touring for the company.
As a performer, Indrit has had the privilege to work with many talented writers, directors and companies in a myriad of projects that more often than not are interdisciplinary in nature making use of both his ability with movement and text. Most notably he is a company member of the award winning dance theatre company CORPUS. Through Corpus he has helped develop and premiere two new works (Machina Nuptialis, House Guests) and continued touring other repertoire to North America, Europe and Asia. He’s a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, a 2018 Harold Award Winner and a 2020 Dora Nominated performer (Box 4901, Ensemble).
PULGA MUCHOCHOMA CHOREOGRAPHER
Pulga Muchochoma was born in Mozambique. His dance career and training began in Quelimane with Montes Namuli Dance Company.
In 2006, he came to Toronto with the company for the International AIDS Conference.
With Montes Namuli/Shakespeare Link Canada, he performed in several shows in venues in Toronto and Mozambique. When Montes Namuli returned to Mozambique, Muchochoma stayed in Toronto to study at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre .
In 2009 he joined the company Toronto Dance Theatre where he danced for 11 seasons under the artistic leadership of Christopher House.
With TDT, Pulga worked with many local and international artists and he also participated in the 2015 Opening ceremony of the Toronto Panam Games, with Cirque du Soleil and NBS. He’s also the creator and the founder of Pulga Dance since 2015.
maddie bautista composer
Maddie Bautista is a Bi, Saudi Arabia-born Filipina sound designer and composer based in Treaty 13, Tkaronto (Haudenosaunee, Wendat, Anishnaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit).. Maddie has been nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her sound design in Eraser at RISER 2019, and nominated for the 2020 Pauline McGibbon Award. Selected sound credits: I Am William (Stratford Festival), TOKA (Theatre Passe Muraille), White Girls in Moccasins (Buddies in Bad Times), OIL (ARC), Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers, and Little Brothers (b current).
She was the Artistic Facilitator of the 2020-2022 FIXT POINT Arts & Media's Empathy Squad - a national training program for podcast creators. She is Co-Artistic Producer of Bad Muse Collective with Korean-Canadian sound designer Deanna H. Choi. Bad Muse will present Love You Wrong Time with Nightwood Theatre this Fall/Winter - an explosive theatrical concert reckoning with Asian femininity and sexuality through music, bar games, and sound design. www.maddiebautista.com
SET & PROPS DESIGNER
Jackie has worked as a set and costume designer for over 200 productions and her work can been seen across Canada and internationally. In addition, she is a production designer and art director for film and television. Selected theatre design credits include: Gas Girls, Cake (New Harlem Productions), Sexy Laundry, The Hours That Remain (Theatre Aquarius) Annie Mae’s Movement, Almighty Voice and His Wife, Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, From Thine Eyes, HUFF (NEPA), Antigone Insurgency, Talking Masks, Charge of the Expormidable Moose (One Little Goat), , Romeo and Juliet (TD Dream in High Park/Can Stage), Zadie's Shoes, Lady Sunrise, Wilfire (Factory Theatre), Brown Balls (Fu-Gen), Fish Eyes Trilogy (GCTC), Mini Me Makeover – Designer and Co-host (CBC Kids/Expect Theatre), Moment, Dissidents, Oil, Gloria (ARC Theatre), Cowboy Versus Samurai, 39 Steps, Oraltorio (Soulpepper) and The Komagata Maru Incident (Stratford Festival). Jackie was named in NOW magazine's Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009, nominated for the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design, and has received 8 Dora nominations for outstanding set and costume design. She is also teaching Theatrical Design at the University of Toronto. Upcoming: The Waltz (Blyth/Factory Theatre), Serving Elizabeth (Theatre Aquarius), Martyr (ARC Theatre)
michelle ramsay lighting designer
Michelle is an award-winning lighting designer who works with dance, theatre, and opera companies across Canada. Previous shows with New Harlem include: The Hours that Remain; Cake; Gas Girls; Job’s Wife. Other designs include: among men, (Factory Theatre); The Doctor’s Dilemma (Shaw Festival); RUR: A Torrent of Light (Tapestry Opera); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre Rusticle); Broken Tailbone (Nightswimming); School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian/Nightwood). She was short-listed for the 2021 Siminovitch Prize and is on the board of the Associated Designers of Canada.
A Plains Cree costume designer from Saskatchewan, Jeff’s designs have been seen across Canada. Credits include: Kronborg – The Hamlet Rock Musical (Confederation Centre of the Arts); Honour Beat (Theatre Calgary); Hedda Noir (Theatre NorthWest); Le Wild West Show de Gabriel Dumont (National Arts Centre); Othello (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan); Where the Blood Mixes (Western Canada Theatre); Dreary and Izzy (Theatre NorthWest); and A Man A Fish, God of Carnage, and The Berlin Blues (Persephone Theatre).
CAMERON DAVIS PROJECTION DESIGNER
Selected credits include: projection designer: Bluebeard’s Castle (COC Online); Garden of Vanished Pleasures, Hell’s Fury (Soundstreams); Sweat, Oslo (Studio 180); Secret Life of a Mother (Theatre Centre); Theory (Tarragon Theatre); Gem of the Ocean, Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, Dracula, Sweet Charity, You Never Can Tell (Shaw Festival); You Are Mine Own, Feng Yi Ting (Spoleto Festival USA); Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Pacific Opera Victoria); Up The Garden Path (Obsidian Theatre); Domesticated (Company Theatre); Life, Death, and the Blues, CRASH (Theatre Passe Muraille); Watching Glory Die (Canadian Rep Theatre); The Gay Heritage Project (Buddies in Bad Times/Canadian Tour); Yukonstyle, Cruel and Tender (Canadian Stage); Dance Marathon (bluemouth inc). Cameron teaches and mentors projection design at the National Theatre School of Canada.
DES'REE GRAY COSTUME DESIGNER
Des'ree Gray is a Toronto based Costume Designer with experience in film and theatre. She is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University's Production Design Program and takes pride in her abilities in all stages of the design process.
Work: Assistant Costume Designer for Otîhêw (Shakespeare in the Ruff); Assistant Costume Designer for Little Women (Stratford Festival); Assistant Costume Designer for 1851: Spirit & Voice (SoulPepper Theatre); Designer for Designing The Revolution (Theatre Passe Muraille); Costume Designer for Chloe=Catalyst (Culchaworks Art Collective); Key Makeup Artist for The Barber of Seville (UofT Opera); Head of Wardrobe and Makeup for Transform T.O (ARCA Productions) Online: Instagram @desreegraydesigns; Website www.desreegraydesigns.ca
SARAH WAISVISZ CHORUS CONSULTANT
Sarah Waisvisz is a playwright, director, and multi-disciplinary performer with training in dance and physical theatre (classical ballet, puppetry, acrobatics, stilts, West African dance styles). Her solo script Monstrous, about the Afro-Caribbean-Jewish-diaspora experience and mixed-race identity, was published in Alt.theatre 13.3 and performed at b current’s rock.paper.sistahs festival in Toronto and across Canada and the US. Her epic 2-act, surrealist play Heartlines-- about the life, love, and resistance work of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore-- had a sold-out run at Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Festival (GCTC). She is currently working on Double Helix, an Afro-futurist, magical-realist play about the African diaspora, and she directed Donna-Michelle St. Bernard’s Witness Shift for Obsidian Theatre and CBC Arts as part of the award-winning filmed anthology 21 Black Futures. Sarah is Assistant Professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University.
river oliviera associate sound designer
River is a queer, trans, & disabled multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Ontario. As a sound designer, and composer their work attempts to create a dialogue between physical performance and abstract design in order to create art that is a living, breathing thing. Having studied Theatre and Psychology, River is interested in using art to explore human behaviour, perceptual and sensory experiences, and relationships. He is currently taking courses with Toronto Metropolitan University to help him expand into film, and multi-media story telling.
Most recently, they were Sound & Lighting designer for the ADC’s Design the Revolution Installation at Factory Theatre, Sound Designer for rihannaboi95 at Young People’s Theatre, and Sound Designer for the digital production of 11:11 at Theatre Pass Muraille.
To learn more about River, visit riveroliveira.com
sarah yuen props assistant
Sarah Yuen is a neurodivergent/disabled, bi/pan, Chinese Canadian set and costume designer and visual artist based in the GTA. She is particularly interested in exploring work created by artists with marginalized identities, especially those at the intersections of multiple identities. As an emerging disabled designer, she hopes to explore and introduce greater understanding and implementation of disability politics and care-centred practices in theatre spaces. Recent projects include costume designing for Kinda You, Kinda Me (Past Lives Production Company’s que(e)ries…? Festival), and design assisting for Guild Festival Theatre's 2022 season. Making the Baby was the oddest thing she has done for a show thus far, and she hopes there will be odder things to come.
donna-michelle st. bernard playwright
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is an emcee, playwright and agitator. Her main body of work, the 54ology, includes: Cake, Sound of the Beast, A Man A Fish, Salome’s Clothes, Dark Love, Gas Girls, Give It Up, The Smell of Horses and Diggers. Other offerings include theatre for young audiences (Reaching For Starlight, Geordie Productions) opera libretti (Oubliette, Forbidden and Nucleosynthesis, Tapestry Opera) collaborative works (They Say He Fell with Nir Bareket for Pandemic Theatre, The House You Build with Circle of Voices for Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre) and weird reflections (Thought Residency, Spiderwebshow). DM is currently the emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, associate artist at lemonTree Creations, artistic director of New Harlem Productions, coordinator of the AD HOC Assembly, and of play development at Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Aquarius.
Michael-Lamont is excited to be a part of this production. Born to a performing family in Springfield Ohio, his father Johnny was a jazz vibist and his aunt Ada Lee sang with both the Count Basie And Duke Ellington Orchestras. He moved to Canada over 30 years ago to forge his own path. He has performed with everyone from Cirque du Soleil to Céline Dion. He was also part of the original Canadian casts of both Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, the latter of which he was the first POC actor to perform in the role of Scar. Michael-Lamont dedicates his performances to his mother Barbara Lytle, to his husband D’Arcy McLenaghen, and to every shy child that refused to give in to his fears and allowed his light to shine.
TSHOLO visions KHALEMA
Tsholo Khalema is a South African Actor and Director of Theatre and Film. As a lifelong student of the arts; Tsholo is also a new playwright and is currently writing his first play.
Tsholo is a Man of Trans-Experience, and Arts Eductor centering his teachings on diversifying storylines in media. Storylines which are reflective, of the world we live in today! An exciting journey is unfolding for Tsholo Khalema, you can follow along by heading over to his website www.tsholovisions.com
Uche Ama is a Black queer performer born on the stolen indigenous land Tkaronto. She is passionate about cathartic art that intrigues and makes you ask questions. They are an anti-oppression facilitator, a 2019 Dora nominated graduate of the Music Theatre Performance program at St Clair College and an alumni of 'Broadway Theatre Project'. Her previous performances include 21 Black Futures (Obsidian Theatre),The Negroes Are Congregating (Piece Of Mine Arts) & Obeah Opera (Asah Productions).
DOROTHY A. ATABONG
MAKAMBE K. SIMAMBA
Makambe K Simamba is a multidisciplinary theatre creator who works across Canada. She is a two time Dora Award winner, and the 2020/21 Urjo Kareda Artist in Residence at the Tarragon Theatre. Makambe is a proud Zambian whose intention is to be of service through her ability to tell stories.
DANiel JELANI ELLIS
daniel jelani ellis is a multidisciplinary artist raised in Jamaica by a village of theatre artists, poets, and educators. His art practice includes performance-installation creation, playwriting, dub poetry, and acting. danjelani steers ad-hoc entity Groundwork Redux - a momentary gathering of artists and projects - creating original art, performance, and community activations that challenge colonial cultural authority by examining and exploring the ways this authority clashes, connects, and intersects with Afro-diasporic traditions and methodologies. danjelani is the Metcalf Artistic Director Intern at Obsidian Theatre. He lives in Tkaròn:to with plenty plants and Mosi the dog. www.groundworkredux.com
NAWA NICOLE SIMON
Nawa a Humber College alumni, has performed in UMOJA at Elgin Theatre (Toronto) danced with at the Quebec City's International Faracophonie Festival, toured with Expect Theatre and Mixed Company Theatre worked with Mad Science Productions in Cape Canaveral Florida “Mad Mission To Mars” and starred in “Once A Flame” at Factory Theatre with C Theatre Works. Nawa received a Dora nomination for her work in New Harlem Productions Dora winning play " Gas Girls" and performed in Ballet Creoles' "Cry Freedom". She's played Jean Augustine in "Steadfast - the messenger and the message" to be in the 2022 Caribbean Tales Film Festival.
PAUL E. C. SMITH
Paul Smith (he/il, they/iel) is a Thursday-born actor, creator, and facilitator from Stittsville, ON., based in Toronto, ON. Since graduating from the DAN School of Drama & Music at Queen’s University, Paul uses performance to explore how narratives that center marginalized bodies can be adapted into stories of reclamation, innovation, and protest. Outside of his work at PACT and in addition to The First Stone by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (New Harlem Productions), Paul’s recent projects include BLACKPenTHER (Cahoots Theatre), Blackberry by Radha S. Menon (Red Betty Theatre), Halal by Kais Padamshi (Tarragon Theatre), the Artist Mentorship Program (Black Theatre Workshop & the National Arts Centre), and cepheloparty! (Paprika Festival’s Creators Unit). When not thinking about the symbiotic relationship between theatre and film, Paul is developing his practice through the principles of Sankofa, building his autobio-myth Anansi v. God(s) (TACTICS, 2023), and listening to Frank Ocean (on repeat).
TAIJA SHONéE CHUNG
TAIJA SHONÉE CHUNG is a Jamaican-Chinese multi-disciplinary artist, based in Toronto. A passionate actor, mover and creator, she's enthusiastic about exploring the intersection of theatre and film to highlight the talent and voices of her community. Her theatre credits include: The Green Bird (Humber Theatre), 100 Years of Solitude (Humber Theatre), We Are humans, Aren’t We? (Act Fast Theatre Festival), and A Family Affair (Georgetown Little Theatre). When not on stage, she has extended her talents to TV, commercial work and short films. She has also been known to work behind the camera, acting as an assistant art director, location scout and production assistant on music videos, feature and short films. She is looking forward to amplifying her voice as an artist both on stage and on screen.
Willow Martin is a Jamaican-Portuguese Multi-disciplinary artist. They care deeply about storytelling, and believe that representation is essential to individual and communal growth. They enjoy listening to and exploring stories in and around their communities, and furthermore love to de-construct and demystify unfamiliar narratives by re-envisioning them through familiar aesthetics and spaces: therein allowing new audiences to connect and develop an understanding where they previously have felt friction. Nich is an entirely chill, entirely excitable person: whose curiosity spurs often, and spurs on.
Megan is an actor, mover and director of Ethiopian heritage born and based in Toronto, Ontario. She recently graduated from York University's Acting Conservatory and loves brass in every song she hears. Theatre credits include Black Deer in Blizzard (Hamilton Fringe Festival), Mortified (York University), and performing in the Summerworks Festival for two seasons (Lion Womxn, 2018/ The Breath Between, 2019).
Film/Television: Gone, Fanclub. Other: Incognegro (Springworks Festival)
Directing: BOOM! (Rose Coloured Theatre/Paprika Festival/Obsidian), Swallow This Skin (Toronto Fringe Festival), nowhen (Assistant Director) (Canadian Stage/Summerworks).
Kendelle Parks (she/her) is a black Canadian actor and theatre artist. She is a recent graduate from the acting program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson), where she has had the pleasure of taking on roles such as Lexi in Hookman, and #3 in Untamed. Her art is driven by her deep curiosity for people, power dynamics, and complex relationships, which she believes are integral to engaging storytelling. Kendelle is thrilled with each opportunity to grow in her craft and contribute to the ever-expanding landscape of the arts.
Tavaree is a Toronto-based actor eager to continue immersing himself in the industry. He underwent training at Toronto Met University (formerly Ryerson) in the Performance: Acting program; He holds productions UNTAMED directed by Lisa Karen Cox, and ROMEO and JULIET directed by Tim Welham close to him as he climbs the acting ladder. Tavaree thanks all the souls he's crossed paths with...ever.
NATASHA "COURAGE" BACCHUS
I am Natasha “Courage” Bacchus. I’m a former 3 times Deaf Olympian Sprinter. I began working as an actress in 2019 - and since then I’ve performed in: ‘The Black Drum’, ‘The Two Natasha’s’, ‘21 Black Futures’, and season four of ‘The Corner’ on Netflix. I have participated as an art collaborator with numerous theater and film productions in Canada. I had multiple positions including an interdisciplinary visual artist, art accessibility consultant, and activist for IBPOC Deaf art community in terms of expanding Indigenous, Black, Racalized Deaf artists representation.
alison wong producer
Creative Producer. Director, performer and producer based in Toronto. Recent directing credits include Stormy Weather (IN Series, Washington DC), La fedeltà premiata (Royal Opera House, Mumbai, India), Joshua (Ars Musica, Toronto), The Bremen Town Musicians (Canadian Opera Company), and Béatrice et Bénédict (MYOpera, Toronto). Alison's directing work has taken her to productions in the United States, Italy, India, and the Netherlands. In 2015/2016, she was part of Factory Theatre's inaugural Factory Foremen Program for early-career directors of color. In 2017, she also concluded a five-season term as Artistic Producer with b current, a Toronto-based company with over 25 years of supporting the development of new Canadian plays by artists of color. Over the last two years, she was the Creative Producer for the world premieres of The Empire, a trilogy of modern epics by award-winning playwright Susanna Fournier. These premieres were part of the New Chapter program celebrating Canada’s 150-year anniversary, which culminated at the international LuminaTO Festival.
CHARISSA WILCOX PRODUCTION MANAGER
Charissa Wilcox, Production Manager/Technical Director
Charissa Wilcox is the Artistic Producer and co-founder of FLYING SOLO and the lead designer and fabricator of FLYING SOLO’s cutting edge circus apparatuses. Charissa most recently worked at Iconic Queer Canadian Art Organization, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (BIBT) as the Head of Production. As a Production Manager/Technical Director she has worked with companies such as Aluna Theatre, Tapestry, Modern Times and Nightwood Theatre, Associated Designers of Canada. This is her first production with New Harlem Productions.
SHANAE SODHI ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Shanae Sodhi is an emerging theatre artist who lives and works on the unceded territory of the musqueam squamish and tsleil-waututh peoples. He is a graduate of Studio 58 where he was one of the establishing members and Head Organizer of the school's Student Diversity Committee, a student lead group which works to give strength to marginalized groups within the theatre community by empowering students with the tools and knowledge to engage the conversations of inclusivity around them. He aims to create work that is community oriented and bridges performance with direct action activism.
Recent producing credits include: associate producer on Straight White Men (ITSAZOO Productions), producer on Catalina La O: Ahora Conmigo (winner of the 2020 Fringe New Play Prize); Mx by Lili Robinson (winner of the 2019 Fringe New Play Prize and Cultchivating the Fringe Award); and the marketing coordinator on Coyuntura 2020 (Canadian Latinx Theatre Artist Coallition).