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Bios Top Girls

​Caryl Churchill, Playwright
British-born playwright Caryl Churchill wrote her first play, Downstairs, while at Oxford University in the 1950s. In the 1960s, she began writing plays for BBC Radio, and her first professional stage production, Owners, premiered in 1972. Some of Churchill’s well-known plays include Vinegar Tom (1976), Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (1976), Cloud Nine (1979; produced by Alumnae Theatre Company in 1993) and Fen (1983; produced by Alumnae in 1987). Last November, Necessary Angel and Soulpepper presented the Canadian premiere of Churchill’s 2016 drama Escaped Alone. Top Girls (written in 1982) won Churchill an Obie Award in playwriting for its 1983 off-Broadway production, and the play later premiered on Broadway in 2007. Top Girls was previously produced by Alumnae in 1996.

Alysa Golden, Director
Alysa Golden is an actor, director, the Artistic Director at Avalonstorm Theatre and the former Artistic Director at Livingroom Theatre. She most recently appeared in The Makeover Show at the Toronto Fringe Festival and Surrender Dorothy at the Fireworks Festival 2017, Alumnae Theatre Company. As an assistant director, she has worked with Dean Gabourie, Sue Miner, Buddies in Bad Times and Shakespeare in the Rough. She has directed for Avalonstorm, Livingroom Theatre Company, Alumnae Theatre, the Rhubarb Festival and the Tarragon Spring Arts Fair.

CAST

Peta Mary Bailey, Louise
This is Peta’s first show with Alumnae, and she is delighted to have the chance to work with this amazing cast and crew. She has also had the privilege of working with Village Players in Tainted Justice (Maudie), with Amicus Productions in Quiet Courage (May Sexton and others), Sense & Sensibility (Mrs. Dashwood) and Villette (Mme Walravens), with Scarborough Players in Deathtrap (Myra Bruhl) and with East Side Players in Joyful Noise (Mary Pendarves). Many thanks to Alysa, Tina and Lori for this wonderful opportunity.

Alison Dowling, Marlene
Alison is a Toronto-born actor. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s drama program with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Specialist. Since graduating, she has been pursuing her professional career in Toronto with the help of Newton Landry Management and has trained at Canada’s National Voice Intensive, Shakespeare & Company’s month-long intensive (Lenox, MA) and Second City, and honed her voice-over skills with Melissa Altro of Voice Pro Studio. Select past credits include the Fool (King Lear, Mortar & Pestle Productions), Lady Macbeth (Macbeth, Rose Theatre Shakespeare in the Square) and Jack’s mom (Jack and the Beanstalk, Solar Stage Children’s Theatre). Alison is currently working towards completing her certification as a nutritionist at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and can soon be heard on a radio near you, advertising the upcoming Toronto Motorcyle Show!

Jennifer Fahy, Griselda
Since moving to Canada in 2017, Jennifer has relished being a part of the theatre scene here. She has performed in a pantomime and a play with the Nags Players, playing Malabelle the Wicked Witch in Beauty and the Beast and Gloria Rathburn in The Ashes of Forgotten Rain. This summer, she took part in the InspiraTO Festival here at Alumnae Theatre, playing Claire in Welcome Wagon, which won the People’s Choice Award for the Blue Show and the Best Play Award for the festival overall. Most recently, she made her directorial debut as part of the Nags Players’ production of The Coarse Acting Show 2. She is delighted to be working with this wonderful team of women on this thought-provoking and timely piece of theatre. ​​

Charlotte Ferrarei, Pope Joan
Charlotte is thrilled to debut with Alumnae Theatre Company. She is known for her roles as Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde (Curtain Call Players) and Kat McGowan in Titanic (Wavestage). Charlotte also played Esmeralda in the Toronto premiere cast of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Alexander Showcase). She majored in Musical Theatre in high school before moving to Toronto in 2014 to study film, theatre and television at Toronto Film School. She has grown up surrounded by creative outlets, including drawing, singing, snare drums and bagpipes. When not on stage, she can be found dog walking in Corktown or endlessly scrolling through Pinterest. Charlotte wishes to thank her parents, sister, friends and partner for loving and supporting her and allowing her to chase her dreams. She credits the success of Top Girls​ to her director, Alysa Golden, and her cast, who really know how to throw a dinner party.

Estella Haensel, Dancer
​Estella is delighted to be on stage with this talented cast. Past performances include Ballet Jörgen’s Sleeping Beauty and Anastasia. Estella is currently in Grade 9 at Rosedale School of the Arts. When she is not at school, Estella can be found dancing at Pegasus Studios, her “home away from home”. Estella would like to thank all her teachers at Pegasus for giving her the confidence and skills to chase her dreams. She would also like to thank her amazing parents for their unmatched support and encouragement along the way.

Nyiri Karakas, ​Joyce
Training: East 15 Acting School, London, UK. Selected credits, UK: Kimberly in Pie in the Sky (Canal Cafe Theatre); Octavia/Dolabella in Antony and Cleopatra (Outcast Theatre Group); Dunja in 3 Winters (East 15 Acting School); Macbeth and Second Witch in Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe Higher Education Residency). Canada: Melantho in The Penelopiad (Hart House Theatre); Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice (Theatre Nemesis); Ismene in Antigone and Pat Keleman in The Refugee Hotel (Western Arts & Humanities Student Council); Sweet Girl in La Ronde, Johnna in August: Osage County and Deer/Sister Stephanie in The Trials of Robin Hood (London Community Players); Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing (Western Summer Shakespeare); Ally in Guilty Pleasures (London Fringe Festival). @nyirikarakas​​

Claire Keating, ​Win
Born and raised in Co. Dublin, Ireland, Claire recently relocated to Toronto. After completing her BA in Drama and English from University College Dublin, she went on to complete her MA in Drama and Theatre from National University of Ireland, Galway. Selected past theatre credits include Yerma at the Mick Lally Theatre, Galway, The Ward, as a part of the Jerome Hynes Theatre Festival, A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer, Blackrock Theatre, 2thegrave, Bank of Ireland Theatre. Claire was also an inaugural cast member of the long-running Story of the Irish show, from Beyond the Gateway Theatre. In 2017, she was in the Toronto and Hamilton Fringe Festivals playing Sophie in Pencil Kit Productions’ Perfect Couples. She’s delighted to be returning to Alumnae after playing Annie in the 2017 production of Gut Girls.

Naomi Koven, ​Kit
Naomi is currently a high school student at Westmount C.I. in the Arts Vocal Music program. She loves everything about theatre and is constantly performing and training in singing, acting and dancing. Favourite credits include: Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka (The LOT), Big Fish (Wavestage Theatre Company), Charlotte in 13 (CharActors Theatre Troupe) and Baby Louise in Gypsy. She thanks the creative team for this amazing opportunity and thanks her parents for their support and for spending so much time driving her to rehearsals and shows.

Lisa Lenihan, ​Isabella Bird/Mrs. Kidd
Lisa received her training at Concordia University (BFA, Specialization Theatre Performance) in Montreal. She toured with Repercussion Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park over a number of years, sat on the Board of the Montreal Fringe Festival, and played everything from Mrs. Howell in staged performances of Gilligan’s Island, to a burlesque house madame, and even Isabella Bird, whom she’s tickled to be reprising with Alumnae 18 years later! Alumnae audiences last saw Lisa in The Importance of Being Earnest as Lane and as Mama in Sweet Mama and the Salty Muffins for the New Ideas Festival 2018. She would like to dedicate her performance to her own Top Girls—her mom, sister and the women in her life who are her rock and foundation. To you, ladies!

Tea Nguyen, ​Nijo
Tea is an alumna of Niagara College’s Acting for Film and Television Program, and a graduate of Second City’s Improv Program. Since graduating, her work includes No Visible Scars, a two-hander off-off-Broadway play in the New York International Fringe Festival. She also plays Emperor Wu Zetian in NASTY, which went on to win Patrons’ Pick in the Toronto Fringe Festival and was remounted in the Feminist Fuck It Festival. Tea also appears in the TV pilot My Spot and in the musical Pieces of Me. Tea is a 1st degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and her favourite weapon is the Bo Staff. Tea produces her own work and collaborates with other filmmakers to create artistic content. “I want to empower LGBTQ performers, women and artists of colour through film and the arts”.

Jordi O’Dael, ​Gret
Jordi is a Toronto-based trans non-binary performer, director, dramaturg and producer. A UWinnipeg/Randolph College alum, Jordi has based their career on creating queer punk feminist pieces. In 2017, Jordi served as co-writer, dramaturg, producer and performer for the award-winning, breakout hit NASTY at the Toronto Fringe. More recently, Jordi directed The Ghost Light Anthology with Aberrant Theatre, a horror theatre company they co-founded. Select credits include: Julian, The Two Gentlewomen of Verona (Dauntless City Theatre); Oberon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (NonExistent Theatre); and Logainne Schwarzandgrubenierre, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee​ (RCPA).

​​April Rebecca, Shona/Jeanine
Alumnae Theatre debut! April is a graduate of Randolph College for the Performing Arts. Past credits include: Flounder, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Serena, Legally Blonde (The LOT); Serena Katz, FAME Tour (Creativiva). April would like to thank her amazing cast, crew and her loving “husbond”. Enjoy the show!

Rebekah Reuben, ​Angie
Rebekah is from New Orleans, Louisiana and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She has appeared most recently in the InspiraTO Festival and can also be found studying improv at Bad Dog Theatre. She is excited to be a part of Top Girls, and thanks everyone involved for all their hard work, as well as her family and friends for their ongoing support.

​​Grace Thompson, ​Nell
Grace is Toronto-based writer and performer. She has been involved as both a playwright and actress in the SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Toronto Fringe Festival, Paprika, CUTOUTS, Nuit Blanche, Uno Fest and The Muddy Mary Project. Grace’s play My Nightmares Wear White, which premiered at SummerWorks in 2016, has since toured across Canada, including two national medical conferences. Grace’s next play, Wake, will be performed at Soulpepper in May as part of Rare Theatre’s new project Welcome to My Underworld. Grace holds a degree from Guelph University in Theatre Studies as well as Humber’s Theatre Performance Program.

PRODUCTION TEAM

Lori Delorme, Producer
Lori graduated from McGill University with a BA in English/Theatre. Since then, she has acted, stage managed, directed, written and even costumed a few folks along the way. She co-founded No Model Types Productions in Toronto, for whom she directed three plays. Lori is also a co-founder of Just in a Bowl Productions, with whom she co-wrote and acted in two plays, Unsinkable and The Hungarian Suicide Duel, both performed as part of the Fringe Festival across Canada. Most recently, she directed Governing Ourselves as part of Alumnae’s 2018 New Ideas Festival. She is thrilled to be part of the ​Top Girls team!

Tina McCulloch, Producer
Tina has tried her hand at almost everything in theatre (except design): you name it, she’s probably done it! For Alumnae Theatre Company, she has produced several plays, was Director of Marketing for ten seasons, is currently co-manager of the bar and takes out the theatre’s garbage. She was most recently onstage last fall in Alumnae’s The Importance of Being Earnest and The End Is The Beginning (Gay Play Day 2018). Other favourite stage roles include: Mother in Lemons From Life (Ryerson New Voices 2018); Bertha in After Mrs. Rochester and Ruth in Cosi (Alumnae Theatre Company); Mary in Mauritius and Rose in Enchanted April (Village Playhouse); and Jane Eyre (Amicus Productions). Her short plays have been staged in Gay Play Day, Alumnae’s New Ideas Festival, Fringe and SummerWorks. The next challenge is film.

D. Jay Elektra, Assistant Director
Elektra is thrilled to be working with Alysa and the Top Girls crew for Alumnae. She most recently scripted, directed and acted in About Clear for rePLAY after last year’s Waiting for God.TO for Brave New Theatre’s response project. She is an actor, writer, performer, musician, lyricist and euro-style DJ. She has danced jazz pas de deux, hip hop and flamenco with Halifax Dance and The Paula Moreno Spanish Dance Company. She is currently working on an inter-disciplinary emotional mash-up of theatre and dance as well as the art film, Sisyphus.

​​Shannon Farrell, Stage Manager
Shannon is a young playwright/stage manager from Mississauga. her latest credits include The Vagina Monologues (York University), Brain Storm (Lucid Ludic), hang (Obsidian Theatre), Bloom (York University Dancers Association) and Nocturnal Space (Emily Rapley Productions). Shannon is enthusiastic about her involvement in Top Girls and would like to thank Alysa Golden, the cast and crew, as well as Alumnae Theatre and all its inhabitants!

​​Viv Moore, Choreographer
Born in England, Viv has danced, choreographed and acted both collaboratively and as a solo artist since 1979 (Australia, England, Sweden, Canada). Selected: Sashar Zarif, Allison Cummings, Fujiwara Dance (dance performance); Theatre Rusticle (acting); Theatre Direct (choreography); Damien (A&E Television); movement coach and outside eye for dance and theatre productions; community dance teacher; National Coordinator, Fight Directors Canada (Advanced Actor Combatant); festival curator and presenter, 60×60 and Body Percussion Festival; solo show: Worcestershire Saucy; Dance and Movement Professor, Humber College. Paula Citron (1999) fFIDA Award; Harold (1998-99); several Dora nominations. Chalmers Arts Fellowship: English step (Kent); bullwhip, knife, tomahawk, archery (LA); Butoh (Vienna). Viv is one of the Resident Artist Educators at YPT for 2018/19 season (Under the Stairs, Antigone​). www.vivmoore.com

Teodoro Dragonieri, Set Designer
Teodoro is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator who has developed acclaimed programs for all levels of education. He has worked with arts organizations, cultural institutions, museums and theatre companies. Teodoro has served Indigenous communities, individuals with special needs, LGBTQ, at-risk and street-cultured youth. He has led workshops, given lectures and shown his artwork internationally. He is artistic director of Zanni Arte, a company dedicated to promoting inter-disciplinary arts and fostering the use of masks in theatre and education. Teodoro is currrently part-time faculty/visiting artist in the theatre programs of University of Toronto Erindale Program, University of Waterloo, Sheridan, Humber and Centennial Colleges. He is the recipient of several Exemplary Practices Awards for arts programming, the Theatre Ontario Michael Spence Award and The Harold Award (from Toronto’s Independent Theatre and Dance Communities). Director: Honest Aesop’s Fables (Toronto Fringe Outstanding Production, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Design, NOW Magazine “Artists to Watch”), A Funeral for Clowns (Critics’ Pick, Patrons’ Pick, Best of Toronto Fringe – Honourable Mention), Toronto Festival of Clowns, The Travelling Salesman and His Magical Suitcase of Desires (Best of Toronto Fringe), Carnival: The Spirit and Soul, Luminato Firewalk, Luminato Festival. Stage Design and Scenography for Alumnae Theatre: Omission (Anne Harper); Antigone (Janet C. Kish; concurrent site-specific art installation).

Sara Ahmadieh, Set Design Assistant
Sara is an Iranian-Canadian artist based in Toronto. She has been exploring the common language of the arts through literature, theatre, visual arts and music. After gaining a Bachelor’s degree in Persian Literature, she moved to Canada to pursue her dreams in the arts by attending Humber College’s Theatre Production program. After graduation, Sara started her professional career in Toronto’s vibrant theatre community as a scenic painter, prop builder and stagehand. She is currently a full-time carver at the Loonie Times Mascot Company. Her other experience includes scenic painting and prop building for some of Canada’s renowned theatre companies, such as Soulpepper (The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom); Hart House Theatre (Spelling Bee); Roseneath Theatre (Meet Cute); Opera Atelier (Medea); National Ballet of Canada (Pinocchio); Theatre Aquarius (Beauty and the Beast); Banff Centre for the Performing Arts (The Rape of Lucretia); Crow’s Theatre (A & R Angels); Alumnae Theatre (Antigone, Omission). Her recent experience as a set painter was on Big Brother, which has introduced her to the fascinating and exciting world of the television industry. Sara has enjoyed working with the great team on Top Girls and looks forward to working on Alumnae’s next mainstage production, Impressionism.

​​Bec Brownstone, Costume Designer
Bec has previously designed costumes for the Alumnae productions of Thirteen Hands (2017), Stepping Out (2016), Burying Toni (2014), You Have to Earn It (2014), Measure of the World (2013), Gloria’s Guy (2013) and The Drowning Girls (2012). She also coordinated props for The Underpants (2013). When she isn’t absorbed in artistic pursuits, she can usually be found curled up with a good book and one of her cats.

Jay Hines, Lighting Designer
Jay is a lighting designer and technician based in Toronto. He is a graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Production program; while there, he was co-set designer (with Ann Maisuradze) for fundip. Productions’ show Life Underground. His lighting design credits include Lost in Yonkers (Teatron Theatre), The Penelopiad and Mamma Mia! (Sir Oliver Mowat Drama Club). Jay is an avid reader and writer of fantasy, sci-fi and the occasional script.

​​Madison Madhu, Video Projection Designer
Madison is a theatre production student in her final year at York University, specializing in lighting and media design. She is excited to be working with Alumnae Theatre as projection designer for Top Girls. Current/recent production credits include: lighting designer and actress for The Vagina Monologues (V-Day at York, February 2019); lighting designer and builder for EVREN (So That Was Fun! Theatre and Yuffa Fringe, 2018); lighting designer for Ashley Burton’s Ode to Isadora and Carol Anderson’s Allegro Mysterioso (York Dance Ensemble, 2017); and lighting designer for The Vagina Monologues (V-Day at York, 2017).

Richard Campbell, Sound Designer
Richard is a veteran ensemble performer for the legendary Toronto company, VideoCabaret, and has done 13 productions for them. Other selected productions: Art (Theatre North West); Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life (Theatre New Brunswick and Sudbury Theatre Centre); The Taming of the Shrew (Theatre by the Bay); three seasons with the touring company of Driftwood Theatre, including The Tempest, King Lear and Hamlet, Ruined (Obsidian/Nightwood); The Graduate (The Grand Theatre); Sideshow of the Damned (Eldritch Theatre); Audience Unveiling Protest and Waiting for Lefty (The CO). He also spent several wonderful summers in Withrow Park with the original Shakespeare in the Rough. Film and TV? Yes, including Suits and Murdoch Mysteries​.

Angie Ho, Props
Angie is an aspiring arts manager based in Toronto. She is currently the marketing and development assistant at Nightwood Theatre. She is a graduate of the Arts Management post-graduate program at Centennial College. She has obtained her MA in Literary Studies and BA in English from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Acting credits (Hong Kong) include: Beth, What’s my fortune? (School Tour by Navigate Learning (HK) Company Ltd.); Mad Woman/Nun/Lady Pescara, The Duchess of Malfi, Gladys, The Skin of Our Teeth and Abigail, The Crucible (The Absolutely Fabulous Theater Connection); Ping Ping, New Heights (3 Arts Musical Institute); Adela, The House of Bernarda Alba (The Seal); Ballet Dancing Performer, Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade. Backstage credits (Hong Kong): Julius Caesar (Shakespeareforall). Angie is a recipient of the Award for Outstanding Actress from The Hong Kong School Drama Festival.

​​Arlene Stanley, Lighting Operator
Arlene, photographer and former member of the Alumnae Theatre lighting crew, returns after 15 years and is very excited to venture into production and writing at the Alumnae. You will see Arlene occasionally working the box office, as well as behind the scenes–and perhaps one day in the scenes! All in good time, however, as there is so much to do! Arlene is delighted to be back, daring to do what she loves most, and is eager to contribute her wide variety of experience and knowledge to the production team.

​​Andrea Nesbitt, Set Build
Andrea is an artist, storyteller and teacher whose passion lies in creating immersive environments. She has exhibited installations but this is her first foray into set design. This production has given her the opportunity to learn, create with a team and see her work come to life night after night. Look for her name in upcoming productions—​she might just be hooked.

​Set Build /Light Hang/ Top Notch Crew: Jarrod Dunlop, Coltrane Campbell-Golden, Loukas Donovan

Bios Top Girls

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