Bard Studio

Bard Studio provides free training for theatre professionals at any stage in their career. All classes take place on Mondays at the BMO Theatre Centre. This series celebrates the wide range of talent in our theatre community by featuring guest facilitators from diverse disciplines.

ON SUMMER BREAK: Bard Studio will be back fall 2024. When registration opens, be the first to know: Check this page or follow us on social for the update.

In the meantime, you can view our Winter 2024 schedule below.

Winter 2024 Schedule

View schedule by selecting the days listed below. There are no sessions scheduled for Monday, February 19, 2024.

Winter 2024 Guest Facilitators

Akshaya Pattanayak

Akshaya is an actor and professor based in Vancouver. The name Akshaya means “never ending.” He was born in Montreal, Canada but raised in different parts of India. He graduated in 2019 with an MFA in Acting from the University of Southern California and currently teaches acting courses at the Vancouver Film School. Notable theatre credits include Bad Hamlet, 90 Days, and Macbeth. His film and TV credits include the comedy pilot Last Bite and the short film Digby and Glass. He is slated to be the lead in the short film Wellington and his role in an upcoming television show will be announced soon.

Jeny Cassady

Jeny received her classical theatre acting training at the University of Victoria in 1997, and following that, her puppetry training through professional workshops, mentorships, and apprenticeships. She’s built and puppet directed for Chemanius Theatre, Bard on the Beach, and the Arts Club Theatre where she won a Jessie for her puppet direction in Hand To God. Longtime puppeteer for Art’s Club’s Avenue Q, and Axis Theatres’ Somebody Loves You Mr.Hatch- both Jessie award winning productions. Jeny has been puppeteering in film and television for over 20 years- most recently with the tv series: Chucky, Lost Ollie, Goosebumps, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Charmed. She is a founding member of the Vancouver International Puppet Festival, and is active in production consulting, directing, and performance training for professionals.

Alana Hawley-Purvis

Alana is an actor, vocal coach and arts educator who has worked throughout North and Central America. She is a graduate of the Academy for Classical Acting (MFA), the University of Alberta BFA Acting Program, York University Teacher’s Certificate Program for Artists, and The Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training. She has performed with various theatre companies across the country including: Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage, Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Western Canada Theatre, and Theatre North West. Alana has served as a teaching artist and instructor at the University of Alberta, The Stratford Festival, Michigan State University, Douglas College, Theatre Alberta’s Artstrek, The Banff/Citadel Acting Program, various high schools throughout North America, and Edmonton’s The Speech Studio. She has collaborated with international organization CUSO in the development and operation of El Salvador’s youth at risk theatre program, ES ARTES.

Mike Kovac

Mike Kovac is a certified Fight Director and Fight Instructor with Fight Directors Canada, and has been involved in one form of simulated violence or another for the past twenty years. He loves working with people of all ages and backgrounds in the universal language of movement. For the stage he has been the Fight Director for such Arts Club shows as Noises Off, Misery, Beauty and the Beast, among others. For the screen he has been a stunt performer for series like Supernatural, Kung Fu, Van Helsing, and a myriad of other shows. If you see him onstage or on screen, he's probably about to get beaten up.

Stephanie Elgersma

Stephanie is a London/Vancouver actor, puppeteer, and puppet maker/director. As a puppet maker, she has worked for Wilton’s Music Hall, The Old Vic, Birmingham Rep, and Nick Barnes Puppets (UK), as well as The Cultch, Brock University, Ghost River Theatre, Carousel Theatre, and the National Arts Centre (CA). As a puppeteer, she studied with puppetry icons such as Sue Buckmaster, Mervyn Millar, Sandglass Theatre, Pickled Image, and Blind Summit, and has puppeteered for companies across Canada and the UK. This work has taken her into puppet directing and puppetry movement coaching, specializing in three person puppetry and object puppetry. She is now mostly based in Vancouver where she builds and directs puppets for theatre, and teaches puppetry performance.

Jill Raymond

A Geordie lass with a heart of gold and will of iron, Jill has never been afraid to roll her sleeves up and get into the grit of being an artist. From humble roots as a performer in TYA and cabarets across the UK, to international contracts across three continents, to founding her now-award-winning theatre company and becoming a regular in the arts scene in the Lower Mainland; Jill has taken every challenge and created opportunity, and proven her breadth and versatility as an artist and entrepreneur. As the current Artistic Director of Direct Theatre Collective, Jill spends most of her time researching and developing new works that will provoke and inspire conversation. With eleven awards for the company since it was founded in 2018, their work and words have received critical acclaim and heartfelt audience feedback. Relentless in her passion to forge the best possible path in her one wild life, she continues to search for truth and love in all elements of her work.

Damion LeClair

Damion LeClair is an award winning Métis, Two Spirit multidisciplinary artist who currently lives on the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Sel̓íl̓witulh nations. Since graduating from Studio 58 in 2023, Damion has toured nationally with Axis Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, Savage Society, Rumble Theatre and RealWheels Theatre. Recent credits include: Th'owxiya The Hungry Feast Dish (Axis), They Know Not What They Do (NEPA), Rougarou (NEPA, RealWheels Theatre) and Braiding Peonies (Rumble Theatre).

Larisse Campbell

Larisse Campbell (she/her) is a neurodiverse and disabled director, dramaturg and teaching artist based on the ancestral territory of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem First Nation). She is a dual, American and Canadian citizen. She is a 2021-2022 Kennedy Center for the Arts directors fellowship artist and a 2020/23 Directors Lab North cohort. In 2018, she was nominated for Broadway World’s “Best Director for a Small Budget” for Women and War at JAC (The Ordinary Productions). Recent credits include: Wolves Are Coming For You (Pacific Theatre), Palimpsest (Stone’s Throw Productions), The Hunger Moon (The Ordinary Productions), Hiding with Company (BNPR), Doors and Windows (OR Festival), A Table For Two (BNPR) and Bonnie and Clyde (Vancouver Fringe Festival). In 2020, she founded PIPAC - Parents in Performing Arts Canada, as a safe space to explore and establish fair and non-exploitative practices in performing arts for those who identify as caregivers.

Cathy Wilmot

Cathy Wilmot is a faculty member of the Theatre Department at Capilano University and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre with an emphasis in Vocal Pedagogy from The Boston Conservatory. She is an experienced interdisciplinary artist and educator with extensive theatre training in all major dramatic forms, including voice work across speech, text analysis, vocal pedagogy, singing, movement, acting disciplines, and devised theatre, she is able to use her extensive toolbox to promote physical awareness, release tension, and free your voice. Cathy is a proud member of Canadian Actor’s Equity, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).

Kyra Soko

Greetings Folks, my name is Kyra Soko. I have spent seven years as the Head Sound Technician and A1 Mixer for the Vancouver East Cultural Centre (The Cultch) and Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS). I was originally trained as a musician, a recording/mix/video post engineer and a studio technician. Along the way my training expanded to include acoustic/audio system design for studios and live performance venues. Today my skill set includes digital audio networking, broadcast mastering for video streaming/recording and advanced remote show control programming. With a special focus on musical theatre sound design/mixing and Qlab remote programming. During Covid I spent much of my time at the Cultch mostly centred around video streaming and video/audio recording/mixing of theatre shows and live music. I was originally hired in 2015 to mix musical theatre (East Van Panto) on their Digico SD9 digital audio mixer. Funny the turns life takes. As of May 2020 the house crew were back on full time regular theatre schedules with the season being extended a month to July 2021. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, we “lead the country” in online theatre. That was largely due to a very talented tech crew and video designer/editor. All of this is to say that I have very special skills to offer a production and a great deal of experience with cutting edge theatre tech. With a studio and film audio background my bar for production quality is set very high. I do not however strive for perfection in my shows but rather just plain excellence. Mostly I try to figure out how to have as much fun as possible while doing a crazy wonderful job with crazy wonderful humans. Seven years at the Cultch has taught me plenty about working with other departments too. We were mostly all venue techs so we cross trained and learned respect for each other’s skills pretty quick. I can now run a fly rail, hang/focus lights and video projectors and rig speakers and drops safely. I have a recently updated OFA Level 1 first aid, fall arrest training and a LPEC certificate. Kyra Soko e. [email protected] c. 604-230-5459 pronouns - they/them

Joyce Rosario

Joyce Rosario is a performing arts curator and consultant living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, Canada), her family is from Pangasinan (Philippines). Joyce’s practice is guided by values of collaboration, rigour and care and over her career has gained broad exposure in interdisciplinary, experimental and community-based performance. She is a certified facilitator of the Critical Response Process and is currently a Cultural Planner at the City of Vancouver. Early in the pandemic she was a freelancer with organizations such as The Cultch, Museum of Vancouver, Canada Dance Festival, and Fascinator Management. Previously, Joyce spent over 15 years in programming and senior leadership positions in Canada, including PuSh Festival, New Works and Made in BC - Dance on Tour. She studied Theatre Production/Design at UBC following her first foray in performance as a teenage participant in a ‘new genre’ public art project by Suzanne Lacy. 

Gordon White

Gordon is an actor, a physical comedian and a writer who’s been ‘treading the boards’ for 40+ years. For over 15 of those years, he travelled the world as a featured clown at Cirque du Soleil. Other credits include numerous writing & directing collaborations plus performing principal roles for stage, television, and international festivals & corporate events. His one-man physical comedy shows have been featured on the main stages at Montreal’s Just for Laughs, the Singapore International Arts Festival, The Vancouver Comedy Festival, Seattle’s Bumbershoot, The Winnipeg International Mime Festival, and Festival d’ete in Quebec City. Gordon has taught Clowning, Physical Comedy, Improv and Mime at various schools, festivals and theatre companies across Canada.

Brian Postalian

Brian Postalian (Բրայն Փոսթալյան) is a performance creator, educator, and creative producer born and raised in Toronto/Tkaronto by way of Armenia, Ireland, Wales, and the Czech Republic. Brian is the founding Artistic Director of Re:Current Theatre which is dedicated to creating work that reimagines gathering. He recently toured their interactive playable performance of New Societies across Ontario, and presented a translated production of the Online version with the National Theatre of Taipei. His work co-creating Access Me with the Boys in Chairs collective was recently published by Playwrights Canada Press as part of Interdependent Magic: Disability Performance in Canada. Brian has been a sessional instructor within the School of Performance at Toronto Metropolitan University and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto and Simon Fraser University.

Cristiana Ripeanu

Cristiana is a Romanian-Canadian theatre director and educator. Her work has been staged at several state theatres in Romania and performed in multiple languages at festivals across Europe, such as Balkan Theatre Festival, International Theatre School Festivals (Greece, Netherlands, Albania), and Freistil Festival (Germany). In Canada and Germany, Cristiana has worked as an acting teacher and director for independent theatre companies and organizations. She also works in community-building and social outreach programs with sociocultural organizations in Germany. After spending the last 14 years in Germany, Cristiana has now relocated to Vancouver, where she looks to join other creators in the effort of enriching the Canadian theatre scene.

Gabriella Minnes-Brandes

Gabriella Minnes Brandes, Ph.D. maintains an active practice at the Alexander Technique Centre in Vancouver for over 30 years. She has run Alexander workshops for actors, musicians, singers, horseback riders, and engineers (among others). For over a decade she taught the Alexander Technique in the Theatre department at Capilano University. Gaby works extensively in collaboration with musicians, voice, movement and acting instructors. Gaby’s workshops and private lessons are experiential, encouraging students to explore, experiment with, and reflect on their habitual patterns, and seek effective and efficient ways of using themselves in any activity. Informed by her Ph.D. in education, Gaby's current work and research focuses on creativity and the links between Alexander Technique and mindfulness. She is an active member of different organizations of Alexander teachers: ATC, AmSAT, STAT and ATI where she currently serves as a Board Director. More information:

Mario Matias

Mario started his formal dance journey in 2008 with PraiseTEAM Studio in Surrey, BC. He wanted to further his vocabulary within the dance world, so he co-founded Epiphany Dance Crew and Epiphany Workshops just a year after starting his formal training. In 2012 Mario joined Studio 604 in Burnaby, BC and a year later he brought Epiphany to the studio where it became a competitive dance company. In 2015, Mario travelled and lived in Auckland, New Zealand, where he trained with various street dance companies and studios. He later moved to Auckland in 2017 to further his artistic development. It was in Auckland where he trained under current and former members of the world-renowned Royal Family Dance Crew. Mario has travelled to Los Angeles, San Francisco (USA), Toronto (Ontario), and Calgary (Alberta) for training.

Nayana Fielkov

Nayana Fielkov is a critically acclaimed performing artist dedicated to the work of play. She is based on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Beginning with scripted plays and musicals over two decades ago, she evolved through the creation and wearing of masks, into the worlds of clown and devised theatre. ​ Nayana has performed at recognized festivals and venues across the nation with her genre-bending approach to theatre. She is co creator of multi-award winning RAGMOP Theatre, Habitats, Underbelly and The Myrtle Sisters. She brings together the mediums of clown, dance, mask, and physical comedy. Along with her touring duo and solo shows, she creates ensemble work, roving acts, hosting characters, variety acts, and is an active and founding member of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret. She teaches contact dance and clown internationally, and has facilitated youth in theatre creation for many events including The International Children's Festival. Nayana is also a maker of puppets, clothing, costumes, and is a proud mother of a thirteen year old boy. ​ “Nayana Fielkov is”… “immensely charming.” - Collin Thomas, reviewer for the Georgia Straight Vancouver. ​ “Nayana Fielkov show(s) off an impressive range of skills.” CBC “A chance to see an expert clown at work” - Liz Nichols

Anjalica Solomon

Anjalica Solomon is a genderfluid Desi singer, songwriter, lyricist, pianist, loop pedalist, poet, spoken word artist, organiser and multi-disciplinary performer based in what is colonially known as Vancouver, BC on the stolen and unsurrendered territories of the Coast Salish, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. Their poetic work often seeks to proclaim the possibilities of love and resilience. Anjalica is a poet of startling emotional intellect and candour whose work testifies to a deep faith in beauty, the power of nature, and ultimately, the human capacity to salvage integrity, radiance and joy from moments of struggle. In this way, Anjalica Solomon's poems and performances offer robust visions of hope, tenacity, and love. Follow @Anjalicrush on Instagram to learn more about upcoming poetry collections, short films, experimental fringe productions, virtual workshops.

Brenda Leadlay

Brenda Leadlay is a professional theatre artist, educator and producer with an MFA in directing who has studied performance techniques with internationally acclaimed theatre practitioners Andre Gregory, Yurek Bogayehevich, Linda Putnam, Yoshi Oida , Monica Pagneaux and Stephen Wangh. Her unique approach to theatre creation was evident in her early artistic collaborations: Coming Apart, Woman and House, Raw Materials, and Wet Dreams. “Wet Dreams is one of the most original pieces of work I’ve seen in a long time. Although barely a word is spoken, it explores sexuality through physical metaphor using the set and the actor’s bodies in remarkably evocative and often nonliteral ways.” Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight Brenda taught movement to aspiring actors for ten years, performed stand-up comedy in a feature documentary and is a certified hatha yoga teacher, having studied with Sandra Sammartino over 4 decades. She was the artistic executive Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the artistic and managing director of Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver, the founding artistic and managing director of the Chutzpah! Festival and the artistic director of Tamahnous Theatre in Vancouver.

Amy Amantea

Amy Amantea (she/her) identifies as a white settler on the stolen lands of the Squamish first peoples. Living with blindness, dyslexia, chronic pain and chronic illness, Amy’s ultimate goal has been to increase representation of disability within the Canadian theatre landscape. Amy is an artist/creator and Accessibility Consultant/Strategist and has spent the last 15 years working with theatre companies and individual artists on increasing access in the arts by using traditional methods and explore creative access. Amy teaches about the Disability Justices Movement to further equity for folks in the Disability Community. Amy’s recent artistic practice has been to “Edutain”. Her current work, “Through My Lens” with Theatre Replacement, explores the intersection of her lived experience of blindness and photography and seeks connection while asking random strangers to describe to her the photos she has taken but never seen.