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New Ideas Festival 2023

Week 1/March 15-19, 2023

Festival Artistic Director: Cassidy Sadler
Producers: Trisha Harlan, Meliz Posta, and Sonali Sambherao
Associate Producer: JD Joute
NIF 2023 is generously supported by

Watch the trailer!

Director Peron Directs

* Fame for the Femmes Fatales *


Kat Meads’s one-act plays have been staged in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere in the United States by Actors Theatre of Santa Cruz, Northern Arizona University/Theatrikos Theater, Theatre du Mississippi, Silver Spring Stage, Those Women Productions, and Itinerant Theatre. Her plays have won awards from Frostburg State University Center for Literary Arts, the Nantucket Short Play Festival, and the William Faulkner One-Act Play competition. Her novels include For You, Madam Lenin and Miss Jane: The Lost YearsThese Particular Women, an essay collection that examines the lives of literary women, will be published in April.


Sungwon Cho is a Korean-Canadian theatre artist based in Toronto and Hamilton. They hold an Honours BA in Theatre and Film from McMaster University. Sungwon engages in interdisciplinary practice that includes performing, directing, and designing. They are invested in theatre as a means of activism by connecting people of different lived experiences through stories grounded by humour and research. Recent credits include: A Latte for Mahsa (Frost Bites 2023, Director), House Key Project (Hamilton Fringe 2022, Lighting Design), and Riders to the Sea (Brave New Works 2022, Lighting and Sound Design).


​Mathieu Dumas was born in 1997, in Montreal, Quebec, with French as a first language. He performed in various plays throughout middle and high school and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Cinema from the University of Montreal. In 2021, he began the “Acting for Film, TV and Theatre” program at Toronto Film School and graduated in September 2022. Immediately after graduating, he got his first stage managing experience with the 75-minute Toronto Film School play, A Hollywood Christmas Carol, which was presented in December 2022.

The Cast


Marissa Monk is a musician and theatre-creator from Brantford, Ontario. A few of her previous works include If We Were Birds (Theatre Erindale), A Collective Rage in 5 Betties (EDSS Performance Festival) and Indisposable: Devised (Grandview Theatre Company). Marissa also carries an involvement in the live music scene with her band, Miss Mae, performing in festivals such as GnarFest and the Bumaroo Music Festival. As a graduate of the Theatre and Drama Studies Specialist Program at UTM and Sheridan, she now makes her debut in the world of Toronto theatre with this fun and exciting piece! See you there!


Sandrina Nei is an award-winning actress, singer, and dancer who speaks three languages. Young Sandrina attended music school and played the violin from the age of six until she was fifteen. After completing Performing Arts University in Ukraine in 2020, she acted in various national theatrical plays, films, and musicals. Due to the war, she left Ukraine for Toronto to pursue her acting career.


​Catherine Thorne (she/her) is a Toronto-based actor and writer who is so excited to be a part of the New Ideas Festival at Alumnae Theatre. Catherine is a recent graduate of Etobicoke School of the Arts where she was the recipient of the Mary Ann Coles Memorial Scholarship. Some of her work includes performing in shows for Canadian Stage and the Toronto Fringe Festival. She would like to thank the cast and crew for working to tell these amazing stories. Catherine would also like to thank her family for everything. @catiethornee


Johana Piña was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and she holds a Theatre degree from Florida State University. She is glad to be working again with Alumnae after her debut as Ticket Woman in The Trip to Bountiful in 2019. Johana is making all the women in her family proud by taking on the role of Eva Perón. She opened her own children’s theatre company (@PrincessLifeTheatre) earlier this month and is ready to spread magic all over the GTA! You can catch Johana performing various roles at Stranger Things: The Experience and Pirate Life Theatre later this year.


Kevin is excited to be part of the 2023 New Ideas Festival in Director Peron Directs! This is Kevin’s debut in the realm of theatre and plays, and he is thrilled to start this new journey and challenge. Having spent a year of acting in front of the camera in film, television series, and commercials, Kevin wanted to explore and expand his creative palette. His recent credits include appearances in multiple docudramas and award-winning short films.


​Erik is excited to return to the Alumnae Theatre in the 2023 New Ideas Festival. He is trained in the dark art of improv from the Second City where he completed the Conservatory program. He performed with The Assembly’s graduate troupe Karate Kids on the Block and co-starred in the igniteTO short play festival in 2019. Erik has learned so much from his fellow cast members and director of Director Peron Directs, a lot more than from his MBA.

And One More Thing...

* Some days, you just gotta laugh. Make me laugh. *


Lonnie McGuire has worked as a janitor, a mailroom clerk at an international bank, a computer programmer for an insurance company, a curator in the museum at the Statue of Liberty, a forest firefighter in California, Oregon, and Washington, a reading instructor and teacher of preschool and first- grade children. He currently teaches dance in the PE program at public school for three- and four-year-olds. There was not much left to do except run for public office … or write plays. He would like to thank everyone, but with 7.9 billion people in the world, it would take too long.


​Erin Jones is a director, playwright, poet, and actor who is passionate about theatre. She debuted her first digital play, Lovingly Yours, Olive in the Toronto Fringe Festival. She also wrote and produced the award- winning Time Limits Dropped on Easter Sunday. Her poem Whispers was published in Black Hare Press. Erin also co-wrote a children’s musical play and welcomes her next adventure. She also supports performing arts behind the scenes with publicity, articles, social media, grant writing, governance, photography, and respect in the workplace committees. She is currently working on scripts based in Canadian Black history.


Garima, working in the field of IT and injecting creativity in everything she can, found Alumnae while Google searching ‘acting in Toronto’.

The Cast


After several decades of severe FOPS (fear of public speaking) and a couple more where her job occasionally demanded it, Rowena cliff-jumped into the Act 2 Studio program at TMU in 2017. What a rush! Since then, she has performed in many different shows, both live and (during COVID) over Zoom, and has an ongoing role in the Moving Scenes I’m Still Here! play about dementia. She is thrilled to be performing as Rose in And One More Thing …, her first play at Alumnae Theatre.


Morris is very pleased to be working with everyone connected with the New Ideas Festival. He has performed with several arts organizations in and out of Toronto, including The Village Players, Theatre Etobicoke, The Town Hall Players Newmarket, Encore Productions, and Spotlight Productions. He also served on the board as president of The Medina Theatre Ensemble and performed with them in several productions. He has written plays and directed, and he has also taught various aspects of stagecraft. He worked as a radio broadcaster and interviewer for several years. Since 2016, he has taken roles in various productions with Act 2 Studio.

Inflections in Greatness

​* The best pattycake player in the world makes an earth-shattering decision. *


Barry Eitel is a New York City-based playwright and screenwriter. His screenplay The Clarinet was a 2022 quarterfinalist for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship. His play The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident was produced by San Francisco’s FaultLine Theatre and considered the “Best New Work” of 2016 by Theatre Arts Daily. His immersive jazz musical The Cool had a sold-out run in San Francisco in 2017. He was the head writer for The Speakeasy, leading a team to create a breathing novel set in the 1920s. He graduated with an MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch.


Sophi is a multi-purpose theatre artist, focusing on theatre for young audiences and comedic and improvised work. She holds a BFA from the University of Victoria and works as a director, actor, stage manager, and drama instructor all over Toronto. Since moving to Toronto in 2021, she has worked with a number of companies, including Young People’s Theatre, Canadian Stage, The Second City, Theatre Direct, Shakespeare in Action, and more. Upcoming shows include: Mouse on the Move (TYT Theatre) and a brand-new project called Princess Life Theatre ( This summer, she will be rejoining the cast of Pirate Life Theatre.


Haley is so excited to be part of her first Alumnae Theatre and NIF production. She is a Music Theatre graduate from St. Clair College in Windsor and is actively working in the field. Currently, she has been working with Pirate Life Theatre as a co-artistic director. Other theatre credits include: The Mistletones and The Pumpkin Patches (Canada’s Wonderland); Beauty and the Beast, Annie, and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (Lower Ossington Theatre); Short of Thirty and Grace Mission (Fridge Door Live Theatre Company); Into the WoodsPeter and the Starcatcher, and The Pajama Game (St. Clair College); Heather and She Loves Me (Music Theatre Productions); Little Shop of Horrors and Wonka the Musical (Iglesia Productions).


​Christopher is ecstatic for his first ever show with Alumnae Theatre. His most recent credits include Castle Secrets, A Cold War of Spies (both on Super Channel), and two short films (Forced Friendships and The Bored Room) currently in the festival circuit. He is a Meisner actor, having studied the technique with Playhouse North Acting Studios and The William Esper Studio, as well as an alumnus of The Toronto Academy of Acting for Film & Television and The Second City. When not acting, Christopher can be found recording music.


​Shannon Pitre is a multidisciplinary actor/creator from Goderich, Ontario. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA in Acting program (2019). Now living in Toronto, Shannon has worked across the GTA as an actor and teacher. Her passions include new play development, devised theatre, classical works, and making new connections with artists of all skill sets. Previous works include: Fatalia/Capitano, Commedia Noir; Juliet, Measure for Measure; and Annette, God of Carnage. Upcoming: various roles in Alumnae’s April production of String of Pearls and an exciting new radio play with Imperfect LibrariansExcited to get started and to get wild.


William MacGregor is a performer and scholar based out of Toronto, with a keen interest in political theatre, verbatim and documentary performance, and Shakespeare. Recent performance highlights include Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at the Dartmouth Players and Duke Frederick in Theatre Zed’s production of As You Like It. His doctoral work focuses on equity issues in the field of health and disability policy, and he has a keen interest in developing arts-based research projects that both examine and stage the experiences of PWDs with poverty, policy, and marginalisation. Enjoy the show!


* I deny nothing, not your suffering, not the tainting of our clouds.*


Barbara Blatner’s Secret Places was produced in 2022 by Manhattan’s New Circle Theatre Company. Hamlet Leaves England was a Main Stage production at Pittsburgh New Works 2022; Two Sisters was presented at the Inge Festival 2022. Years of Sky, produced at the 59E59 Theatres, won the Columbia-Greene and New Works of Merit contests. No Star Shines Sharper, produced for radio by New Voices/Public Media Foundation and published by Baker’s Plays, aired on National Public Radio stations and was acquired by the Museum of TV and Radio. NYQ Books published two full-length poetry collections, The Still Position and Living with You.


​Marijke Reinink is thrilled to join the New Ideas Festival as a director. Marijke is a Toronto-based theatre creator, performer, and writer with a lifelong passion for music and dance that she implements in her work. Since she graduated from George Brown’s Conservatory Theatre program, her theatre highlights include working with Alumnae Theatre, Dufflebag Theatre, OCADU, and the Toronto Fringe Festival, as well as performing in tours across British Columbia, The Yukon, Ontario, and Alberta. She co-runs the theatre collective The Night Garden Theatre focusing on curating and sharing community stories through abstraction and shadow play.


​Janice Lewis is a new member of the Alumnae Theatre, and Spell is her first show as an AD/SM. Janice has a background in music theatre/opera/performance and a long career in the field of music education. She is looking forward to building her acting portfolio as she continues to learn and grow.

The Cast


Sandy is excited and thankful to be part of the New Ideas Festival in the play Spell. She developed her love of acting and theatre when she enrolled in theatre class to overcome extreme shyness. Her love of the art form has only developed and grown since. Sandy has been in productions of MacBethRomeo and Juliet, and, most recently, Albertine in Five Times for Alumnae Theatre. Sandy would like to thank her wonderful director, Marijke, and the wonderful cast and crew of Spell. Thank you for the experience, insight, and growth.


Olivia is an actor and theatre-creator based in Tkaronto. Olivia is currently exploring who she is as an artist and how she fits into the tapestry of the city’s theatre scene. She is extremely excited to be a part of the New Ideas Festival and this production of Spell. Olivia is currently working on music creation/direction for the Fringe production of Morning After, a new play by Katarina Fiallos, as well as furthering any other projects she is invited to lend her voice to. Look out for Olivia on CBC Gem’s upcoming short series, I Hate People, People Hate Me. 


Saskia Muller (she/her) is a Toronto-based actor/creator and microwave meal aficionado. She graduated in 2021 from the Theatre and Drama studies program at Sheridan/U of T into the pandemic–and is stoked to be back onstage for the 2023 New Ideas Festival in Spell. (It’s been three years since the in-person stuff … Please be gentle?)  Recent credits include Moll Cutpurse in The Roaring Girl and Dolly in Anna Karenina (Theatre Erindale)She also participated in Fempocalypse: Neostalgia (Nightwood Theatre) and workshopped a new play in development, HAIR (Reclamation Media).

Click Here for Music/Sound Attributions

Festival Artistic Director


A director, actor, and producer, Cassidy began working with Alumnae Theatre at age 17 in the 2012 New Ideas Festival. She is passionate about new works, immersive experiences, and experimental theatrical forms. She has performed in London and New York, and across the Canadian Prairies. She is a permanent company member of Live History, whose site-specific work can be seen internationally. Cassidy is the Associate Producer at Roseneath Theatre. Additional credits include: A Tonic for Desperate Times (Theatre Gargantua); The Curious Voyage(DopoLavoro Teatrale/Talk is Free Theatre); and The Pride of Life and Mankind (Poculi Ludique Societas/Stan’s Cafe/Metropolitan Museum of Art).


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