Learn more about our panel offerings, and the facilitators for each one. The conference is free and open to all, but advance registration is required. Sign up by day using the registration links below!
All panels will be ASL interpreted.
Scroll down to browse panels, or click these links to jump to a specific panel!
Immigrant Queer Identity
Monday, December 6th 2021
Immigrant queer self. Physical and distant relationships. The idea of belonging. Adaptation in community. Language barrier/enrichment. Culture shock. Longing. How are these notions impacting the work of queer Immigrant theatre creators that have made so-called Canada “home”? What is home, anyway?
Santiago Guzmán hosts panelists Xaiver Campbell, Sammy Chien, Mónica Garrido, khattieQ, Kama La Mackerel, Maher Sinno and Annie Valentina.
khattieQ is a performer from Puerto Rico. Co-creator and star of 2020 Fringe New Play Prize winner ‘Catalina La O Presenta: Ahora Conmigo’ which features original music. khattieQ was the guitarist and vocalist for punk band BLXPLTN. khattieQ has played as a professional musician with over twenty bands, cutting their teeth on the famous Austin, Texas live music scene. Most notably, they toured as drummer for queer femme core band The Tuna Helpers. Professional credits include Denim Doves and Casta for Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, TX, Heaven Born Wind at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and Frank Theatre’s Be-Longing.
Kama La Mackerel
Kama La Mackerel is an award-winning Mauritian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, curator and literary translator. Kama’s work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, ancestral healing and self-and collective-empowerment.
Monica Garrido is a Queer Toronto based Mexican born Artist. She’s the 2018 recipient of the Queer Emerging Artist Award at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. She is one third of a Latinx Drag King and Co-host/Co- Produces Radio Aluna Theatre. She is also a Taurus and wishes you the best.
Born and raised in Jamaica, Xaiver has considered Newfoundland and Labrador home for over a decade. These islands are quite different, but Xaiver feels that living in Jamaica, prepared him for life on the Rock, minus the snow, sleet and lack of sun. Xaiver reflects this love of his past and present life in his writing.
ANNIE VALENTINA (she/her) is a queer artist, director and multidisciplinary storyteller based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. She is presently the Artistic Associate at Neptune Theatre.
As a playwright, Annie is best known for her Merritt-nominated memoir play Alien (2014) which chronicles her immigration journey from 1980s Eastern Europe. She is currently working on a new play, loosely inspired by recent events in Ukraine, titled Ballad of the Motherland.
Sammy Chien is an interdisciplinary artist, director, performer and mentor who’s worked on over 400 projects across the globe ranging from film, sound art, new media and performance. Sammy has been featured on CBC Arts, BenQ commercial, and is the official instructor of Isadora as well as the Artistic Director of Chimerik似不像 collective.
Maher (ماهر) is a multidisciplinary artist and community worker. Maher has worked with companies like Buddies, Cahoots, & Theatre Passe Muraille. Maher is also a filmmaker, gender performer, & slam poet. Maher works in AIDs Service Organizations and volunteers on Pride’s board. Maher’s work centers the racialized newcomer experience, in all its complexities and joys.
Hybrid Forms, Hybrid Selves
Tuesday, December 7th, 2021
How do we make art about in-between-ness? Can a play be non-binary, bisexual, or transcultural in form? For this panel, we’ve gathered artists who live in the liminal: theatre-filmmakers, musician-performers, media artists and more. These interdisciplinary innovators will share excerpts of their work, and, through conversation, queer the conventions of theatre.
Anais West hosts panelists Rebecca John, Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野, Fay Nass, Dasha Plett, Heath V. Salazar, lou sheppard and Donna-Michelle St Bernard.
Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野
Nikkei-Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a queer, trans non-binary, interdisciplinary creator-performer who explores the intersections of identiy through opera, theatre, and electronics. Based in Tkarón:to, Teiya comes from a background of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles and is a co-founder of Amplified Opera. http://www.teiyakasahara.com
Rebecca is a queer, mixed-race, Mad-identifying multidisciplinary artist in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, Treaty 6 territory. With a background in devised and community-engaged theatre, they are a member of the 3.7% Initiative and a company member with integrated dance company CRIPSiE. Currently they occupy space at the intersections of dance, theatre, and performance art.
Lou Sheppard works in interdisciplinary audio, performance and installation based practice. His work pays queer attention to systems of meaning-making and how these systems construct and order our bodies and environments. His research is often evidenced through graphic notations, scripts and scores which are then performed in collaboration with other artists and in community gatherings.
Fay Nass is a director, writer, dramaturg, producer and educator. They are the artistic director of the frank theatre company and Aphotic Theatre, and hold an interdisciplinary MFA from SFU. Fay has over 17 years of experience in text-based and devised work rooted in inter-cultural, collaborative approaches, with presentations at PuSh Festival, SummerWorks Festival, the Cultch, international film festivals, and more.
Dasha is a writer, performer, and sound artist. She is one half of We Quit Theatre with Gislina Patterson, a member of IATSE ADC659, and works with the Winnipeg-based live audio description group V.I.E.W.
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is a playwright, emcee and agitator. Currently, she is 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 also of Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip play development program.
Heath V. Salazar
Heath V. Salazar (they/them) is a Latinx award-winning multidisciplinary performer and writer. Named a ‘prolific trans artist’ by CBC Arts, Heath has developed a body of work in theatre and film that spans the gender spectrum and is also the internationally recognized drag performer, Gay Jesus. Having recently debuted original music via their residency with Aluna Theatre, they continue to develop new work independently and as an Artist in Residence at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
The Token Queer
Wednesday, December 8th, 2021
At a time where institutions are continuing to push themselves to be more “inclusive” it is becoming more likely that a queer artist will find themselves alone during an artistic process, within a heteronormative system, carrying the weight of queer representation. This panel explores experiences of being the token queer in hopes of defining boundaries artists can set to take care of themselves and concerns that should be addressed by the institutions.
Richie Wilcox hosts panelists Dillan Chiblow, Rooks Field-Green, Sarah Garton Stanley, and Jay Northcott.
Sarah Garton Stanley
Director, dramaturg and PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, Sarah Garton Stanley is originally from Montreal, now lives here in South West Nova Scotia. During her tenure as the Associate Artistic Director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre, she led The Cycle(s). Sarah co-founded SpiderWebShow and FOLDA and co-invented SketchSpace. Sarah has worked across Canada and overseas. Most recent directing credits include Everybody Just C@lm the F#ck Down (Artistic Fraud) Marigold (Musical Stage), carried away on the crest of a wave (Arts Club) Fun Home (RMTC) Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes (Tarragon)The Big House (TOFringe) Unsafe (Canadian Stage); Out the Window (Luminato/Theatre Centre. She continues her work with Marcus Youssef and Neworld Theatre, and their co-created and co-performed piece Awkward and Embarrassing Conversations. Sarah received the 2016 Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas’ Elliot Hayes Award, the 2017 Manitoba Theatre Award for best direction for Kill Me Now and the 2018 Honorary Member Award for Canadian Association for Theatre Research. Next up: Calpurnia (RMTC and NAC).
Rooks Field-Green (He/They) is a white, Jewish, and trans/non-binary theatre artist settled in Kjipuktuk. Rooks has a combined-honours degree in Psychology and Theatre Studies from the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University. Rooks has worked behind the scenes with Zuppa Theatre Co. (City Ditties, This is Nowhere, F.I.S.H.), 2b Theatre (The Bridge), DaPoPo Theatre in association with Shakespeare by The Sea (Queer Theatre Ensemble: Shakesqueer) and The Fountain School of Performing Arts (Don Juan Returns from the War). He has also performed with Zuppa Theatre (F.I.S.H., 50 Things) Villain’s Theatre (M: The Berlin Murders, Isolate Nights, Scene of the Crime), Neptune Theatre (Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures, Jabber) and Ship’s Company Theatre (Good Grief). Rooks produces, writes and directs queer children’s radio plays (Frog and Toad are Together: Ice Cream, A Swim, Cookies). Rooks was enrolled in Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Unit Extended Cohort as he developed his play Translating with Dramaturg Makram Ayache. Rooks is currently in a workshopping period of his play Translating with the help of Arts Nova Scotia, Playwright’s Atlantic Resource Centre, Eastern Front Theatre, and the Bus Stop Theatre’s Writer’s Circle. Rooks’s writing focuses on childhood development, transgenerational trauma (with queer and jewish lens’s), and subversive depictions of gender and queerness. Rooks is also the Chair of Eastern Front Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a trained safe space facilitator, consultant and active listener. To find out more about Rooks please go to rooksfield-green.com.
Jay Northcott (they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on: directing, performance art, playwrighting, burlesque/drag, and producing. Jay works to decolonize their art and practice through storytelling, movement, gesture and joy to create the fundamentals of their work. They continue to grow and make it their mission to uplift projects that put BIPOC Queer artists in the spotlight. Their goals: to make you cry and piss yourself at the same time, they want to bleed, break, grind, make money, fuck, fight and blow some shit up. Inspired my pop culture, aesthetic, lived experience and finding truth to develops techniques and experiences that questions: Why theatre is still relevant?
Dillan is an Ojibwe storyteller from Garden River First Nation. He is a Sheridan Music Theatre Performance grad, as well as having a master’s degree in Musical Theatre from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Dillan is also honored to have been awarded the Musical Stage Company’s Syd & Shirly Banks Prize (2020-2021). Dillan is also known to dip into the education field where he taught Indigenous Education, and currently teaching singing lessons at Sheridan in the Music Theatre program. Dillan is passionate about re-Indigenizing/decolonizing stories and looks to further explore his artistry through this method. Selected credits : Murdoch Mysteries (CBC) Children Of God (Urban Ink, Citadel, Segal Center, Western Theatre Canada, Vancouver, B.C provincial tour) Sedna (Urban Ink/ Caravan Farm) Only Drunks and Children Tell The Truth (Magnus) Weesageechak Festival (Native Earth) Highrise (National Film Board Of Canada)
Avery-Jean Brennan is a Transfeminine actor, director, musical director, playwright, and producer. Over the past five years, they have facilitated workshops on Trans Inclusive Practices in the Arts; which they have led for theatre and film production companies across Canada. Recently, they were nominated for the Bra d’Or Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada for their advocacy work. Avery-Jean received their musical direction training through various Associate and Apprentice positions in theatres across Canada, including a residency through Neptune Theatre’s RBC Chrysalis Project. They have studied writing under Leslie Arden, Christopher Weddell, and through The Musical Stage Company’s NoteWorthy Program, where they are currently the RBC Apprentice Artistic Director. Avery-Jean’s first original musical, THE PANSY CRAZE, was the recipient of Queer Theatre Toronto’s inaugural LGBTQ Fringe Award for pushing boundaries in representation for Queer & Trans characters in musical theatre. They are currently writing the book for multi-award-winning songwriter Gabrielle Papillon’s new musical, MIND THE LIGHT. Their most recent appearance as a performer was for a digital semi-staged presentation of their latest original work, NO COUNTRY FOR THEY/THEMS, produced through Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Festival
2 Spirit Connections
Wednesday, December 8th, 2021
2 Spirit Connections is a panel bringing together folks across generations to chat about joy, representation and what it means to be 2 Spirit. Contrary to the colonial gender binary that exists now, 2 Spirit individuals have been around in various Indigenous Nations and beyond since time immemorial. What can we learn from each other as we work to reclaim our Indigenous/ Afro-Indigenous gender identities now?
Yolanda Bonnell hosts panelists Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier), Waawaate Fobister, Nenookaasi Ogichidaa, Laureen Blu Waters, and Ravyn Wngz.
Waawaate Fobister – is an actor, dancer, playwright, choreographer, instructor, and a producer, currently residing in Shoal Lake. A proud Anishnaabe from Grassy Narrows First Nation. A recipient of two Dora awards for outstanding actor and play for Agokwe, Humber College outstanding actor, Mark S. Bonham Centre award from University of Toronto for their advocacy and public knowledge in sexual diversity.
Waawaate has performed in many major theatre companies across Canada and their work and research has taken them to many places as an artist, including Japan, UK, US, and many coasts across Turtle Island.
Currently, Waawaate is working for a political organization The Grand Council Treaty #3 as the LGBTQ2S+ Council Coordinator. The mandate of this position is to assemble an LGBTQ2S+ Advisory Council, the first of its kind on a governance level, to include/bring back the 2S voices back in the community in a profound way.
Upcoming, Waawaate will take on the iconic role of VERONIQUE ST. PIERRE of Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg.
Nenookaasi Ogichidaa (She/They/Them) is an Afro-Indigenous 2S Queer Womam fro Treaty 13 Tkaronto.
Activist, truth seeker speaker, singer and song composer, Neno has found a way of sharing her good medicine with others when much needed.
Owner of Toronto based business Hummingbird Spirits, created during the beginning of COVID 19, supporting communities with traditional medicines for both comfort and healing through a harm reduction lense.
Laureen (Blu) Waters
Laureen (Blu) Waters: Istchii Nikamoon: Earth Song, Wolf clan. Cree/Metis/Micmac, Blu is a member of the Metis Nation of Ontario.
Blu’s family is from Big River Saskatchewan, Star Blanket Reserve and Bra’dor Lake, Eskasoni First Nations, Cape Breton Nova Scotia, and the Red River. Blu grew up with their grandmother and learned about traditional medicines, learning healing methods and care of the sick. Their grandmother also shared her knowledge of the great teachings.
Blu is currently working at Seneca College as an Elder on campus providing traditional teachings and one-to-one counselling.
Blu spent 2.5 years working for the National Inquiry for Murdered and Missing Women as a Grandmother to Commissioner Brian Eyelfson and sits on the Grandmother Circle.
Blu sits on the Thunder Women Healing Lodge as a Director of the Board.
Blu also sits as the Ontario representative for Metis people with 2 Spirits In Motion Board.
Blu also provides ceremony, teaching, and counselling for 2 Spirit People of the First Nations, in Toronto.
Blu was also the national caucus representative for the Toronto Urban Aboriginal strategies for five years working with the community of Toronto and the government. They are also a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology receiving their business software micro-computer architecture and A+ certification.
Blu’s gifts include: Traditional teachings, giving traditional spirit names, hand drumming, song writer, creative writings, and full moon conductor. Pipe ceremonies and sweat lodge ceremonies and Traditional counselling.
Blu is a 2 spirit person, a mother of 3, a grandmother of 3, a sun dancer, and a pipe carrier.
Multi-award nominated, winner and loser, creator b solomon is of Anishinaabe and settler heritage, born in Shebahonaning on the North Channel of Lake Huron. His work is multidisciplinary, raw, challenging and full of spirit. He is passionate about helping people relearn the nature of their ancient bodies, and take back the space those bodies occupy as caretakers. More info at: electricmoose.ca
Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier)
Samaqani Cocahq-(Natalie Sappier) is a Wolastoqey Indigenous multidisciplinary storyteller from Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick. She began creating stories through painting and design and is alumni of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. For her, creating awakens her connection to the land and her Wolastoqey knowing and being. Her community and Ancestral landscapes are teachers and is home to where she navigates stories and creativity. She realized early in her painting career that she was not painting just for herself-she was painting for her people and is now creating stories louder than a painting can speak.
She wrote and composed her first play “Finding Wolastoq Voice” which toured Nationally as was part of the First Indigenous Theatre season at the National Arts Centre “Moshkamo”. Guided by the traditional teaching of knowledge sharing for the unborn- her path is led by creating stories weaved with multi-disciplinary art forms that include Visual Arts, Writing, Song, Spoken word, Movement and Dance with guidance and collaboration with many Wabanaki knowledge carriers.
In 2019 she was gifted the name Namkomacomit (the ancestral storyteller that carriers the vision forward) at University of New Brunswick-being the first artist in residency at UNB in 50 years. She is currently developing a series of work titled Stories of Maw with a circle of Indigenous Artists. Aside from her own artistic practice, Samaqani Cocahq dedicates much of her time in the advocacy of Arts, Culture and Two Spirited Sacredness. She carries a passion for Indigenous Youth Mentorship and the belief of Wellness and Art is held in one braid of medicine.
Ravyn Wngz “The Black Widow of Burlesque” is a Tanzanian, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, Queer and Transcendent empowerment storyteller. Ravyn is an abolitionist and co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company. She is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, A co-founder of the Wildseed Centre for Arts & Activism, A Canadian Best Selling Author, Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada recipient of 2021, Ravyn is committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, nurturing Black healing and liberating Black communities.
Carr Sappier (Wolastoqew) is a two-spirited multi-genre filmmaker from Neqotkuk who just returned home from Vancouver after receiving a BFA in film at Simon Fraser University. Carr’s passion for filmmaking stems from an aspiration to decolonize the screen, and to offer an alternative and non-binary perspective of Wolastoqew storytelling. Blending and morphing different genre styles and film mediums provides Carr with methods to express their two-spirited and Wolastoqew identity. Currently Carr is remotely co-instructing the Skoden Indigenous Film Festival course offered at Simon Fraser University. Carr co-founded and co-directed the festival in their final year of study at SFU. Moreover, Carr is sharing their time with like-minded individuals in their community to encourage Neqotkuk to create space and support for the Two-Spirit/LGBTQ+ youth.
Links to films:
APOTAMKIN (2016) (SEA MONSTER)
WASIS (2017) (BABY)
NISUWOK COCAHOQ (2018) (TWO-SPIRITED)
MANAPE MANI (2019) (WALKING SOLDIER)
SAGE FROM THE CITY (2020)
MAW WALKS WITH WARRIOR SPIRIT (Samaqani Cocahoq, Theatre New Brunswick 2021) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duhrus5b56I&t=1s
SAHKI PITIYAHTE-BRIGHT LIGHT COMES FORTH FROM IT- (CBC GEM, 2021) https://gem.cbc.ca/media/sakhi-pitiyahte-bright-light-comes-forth-from-it/s01
Queer Comedy as a Conduit for Joy, Destabilization, and Provocation
Thursday, December 9th, 2021
In this panel, a variety of 2SLGBTQ+ comedians, theatre makers, and artists from across Turtle Island will discuss comedy and humour and its place in their work.
Elena (Eli) Belyea hosts panelists Tyra Banda, Ajahnis Charley, Caleigh Crow, and Stevey Hunter.
Ajahnis Charley (they/them) is a Black, non-Binary comedian based in Toronto. They use comedy to tackle themes such as Queer identity, racism and Italian-American prestige actors. Their solo sketch show ‘THOTS AND PRAYERS’ won the Producers’ Pick Award at the 2021 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. As a director, they wrote, directed and featured in the short documentary I AM GAY, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, which played in festivals including Inside Out, Reel 2 Real International Film Festival, and Caribbean Tales, where it won the 2021 Intersect Award.
Stevey Hunter (they/them) is a queer genderfluid actor, comedian, and writer based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS.) They are a versatile performer known for their work improvising with award winning improv company: Hello City and has taught and performed improv across Canada. They have worked with numerous theatre companies in Nova Scotia including: Neptune Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Ship’s Theatre Company, Zuppa Theatre, and more. In Spring 2021, Stevey performed and wrote their first comedic solo show exploring their relationship to gender called When You Leave Please Say Nice Things About Me produced by the Bus Stop Theatre Writers’ Circle and funded by Arts Nova Scotia. In Fall 2021, Eastern Front Theatre and Shakespeare by the Sea produced the premiere production of their play FAT JULIET. The play is a contemporary retelling of Romeo & Juliet through the perspective of a fat Juliet. Stevey starred in the role of Juliet and the production had a very successful premiere run, selling out before opening night. Select TV/Film: Diggstown, Moonshine (CBC); FROM (EPIX); Look At Me (AfroViking).
TyraBanda got her start in comedy in 2014 when she joined the University of Alberta Improv Group, and her love of the art was immediate! From there, she performed in many improv festivals around the country, as well as internationally (Seattle Festival of Improv Theatre – 2019). She was part of Rapid Fire Theatre from 2017 to 2019, until moving to Toronto to pursue a diploma in Comedy Writing and Performance at Humber College. While in Toronto she was cast in a Season 7 Featured Players with Bad Dog Theatre, as well as Improv College’s Narrative
Mainstage Team. She is currently teaching improv classes on character at the Grindstone Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta.
Friday, December 10th, 2021
The emerging Queer history narratives on the stages of our theatres are helping to reconceptualize the history of the nation. Join several theatre writers who have made LGBTQ2S+ history a focus as they share stories of the challenges of Queering historical assumptions.
Darrin Hagen hosts panelists Chris Gatchalian, Nick Green, Dev Janke, Daniel MacIvor, and Natalie Meisner.
Born and raised on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh peoples (colonially known as Vancouver), C.E. Gatchalian is a queer Filipinx author and theatre creator. He was the 2013 recipient of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. He is Co-Founder of Q2Q and co-organized Q2Q-1 in Vancouver in 2016.
Devanand Janki is an award winning Director-Choreographer based in New York City. As a performer Dev has appeared on Broadway in Cats, Miss Saigon, The King and I and Side Show and tours of West Side Story and A Chorus Line. He is the Director of the Musical Theatre Division at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and the Artistic Director of Live & In Color, which develops new plays and musicals that celebrate diversity.
Nick Green is a Dora Mavor Moore, Elizabeth Sterling Haynes, and Tom Hendry Award winning playwright in Toronto, and the creator of The Social Distancing Festival (socialdistancingfestival.com) Featured writing credits include Every Day She Rose (co-written with Andrea Scott, Nightwood Theatre); Happy Birthday Baby J (Shadow Theatre); In Real Life (Theatre Sheridan, recipient of the Tom Hendry Award, with Kevin Wong); Body Politic (lemonTree Creations/Buddies in Bad Times, Dora Mavor Moore Award); Fangirl (Musical Stage Company, with Barb Johnston and Anika Johnson); Poof! The Musical (Capitol Theatre, with Darrin Hagen); and Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom, and the Fabulous Buddha Boi (Guys in Disguise, Sterling Award).
Natalie Meisner is an award-winning multi-genre author and 5th Poet Laureate of Calgary. Her work deploys the power of comedy for social change. She is a wife and mom to two great boys and a full Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University where she works in the areas of creative writing, drama and gender/ sexuality studies. http://www.nataliemeisner.com
Daniel MacIvor is a queer theatre and film practitioner born and raised in Unama’ki – colonially known as Cape Breton Island. Upcoming is a feature length theatre-process documentary The Work, and the touring solo performance developed with Daniel Brooks, Let’s Run Away.
Queer in our Homeland
Friday, December 10th, 2021
In light of the recent anti-LGBTQI+ law being proposed to parliament in Ghana, a group of queer art practitioners in the Global North engage in a panel conversation about their relationships to their Ghanaian homeland in work and practice.