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 fall series celebrates the wide range of talent in our theatre community by featuring guest facilitators from diverse disciplines.


Bard Studio sessions are free. Spaces are limited.

1. Create your patron login. Note: do this now before you apply, as you will need this in place to apply.
2. Enter payment info. Please see Cancellation Policies for more details. 
3. Fill in the Bard Studio Fall Application.
4. Double-check your cancellation deadline and review the policy below.

We will confirm your workshops via the email you provided 7-10 days before the session. 


View schedule by selecting the days listed below.

Monday, October 24, 2022

10:00am - 1:00pm: Voice, Text and Song with Sarah Rose 

An open gym for the actor’s voice, including vocal training and application through text and song. Please bring one monologue and one song that you'd like to workshop.


2:00pm - 5:00pm: Create Your Own Shakespearean Soliloquy with Jeff Gladstone 

In this class, we will study a few Shakespearean soliloquies, and explore what makes them tick and tock; use of verse, imagery, repetition, consonance, assonance, metaphor, and more. Then we will write our own lines and stories, based on our personal experiences. Finally we'll stage them, and share them with each other. 


6:30pm - 9:30pm: Vogue Fundamentals with VanVogueJam 

In this session, we will learn the fundamentals of Vogue, a dance form the Ballroom Community - founded by Black, Latinx, Trans, and Queer communities.

Bring a water bottle and clothes you can move in.

Monday, October 31, 2022

10:00am - 1:00pm: Free Your Body, Free Your Voice with Victor Ayala 

We begin with some principles from clowning, learning to be 'with' one another, the difference between 'contact' and 'connection', and how laughter connects us to our diaphragm. In the next section, we use Viewpoints to explore our awareness of the space, and then use our voice within the Viewpoints framework. In the last portion of the workshop, we’ll use text to test out our discoveries for the day. Throughout, we’ll discuss anatomical realities of how the voice is produced and how it connects to our emotional life, as well as exploring what 'blocks' us and what sets us free.

Bring a 1-minute monologue for workshop text and yoga mat (if desired) for working on the floor.


2:00pm - 4:00pm: Ourselves be Seen with Moya O’Connell

Allowing ourselves to be seen is one of the biggest challenges of any theatre artist. It requires an enormous amount of spiritual generosity to connect and commune with an audience in a truthful, authentic way. This workshop is designed to gently allow for artists to reconnect to impulse and find connection without presentation. Using breath exercises, improvisations, and selected text we will work towards simplicity and truth. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

10:00am - 1:00pm: Le Jeu and Clown with Chloe Payne 

In this workshop, students will rediscover the joy of performance through “Le Jeu” and clown.

Studying “Le Jeu”, students will learn to play, develop complicity, gain sensitivity and embrace taking risks. As clowns, students will learn how to break down the fourth wall and connect with their audience. They will learn to embrace the “flop” and find the freedom to fail.

Inspired by the pedagogy of the French clown master Philippe Gaulier, this workshop is for all types of performers: actors, clowns, comedians, improvisers… Anyone who wants to get out of their head and follow their impulses.

Participants should bring water and clothes they can move in.


2:00pm - 4:00pm: Critical Response Process: How to Give and Receive Effective Feedback with Brian Postalian

Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process (CRP) is a feedback system based on the principle that the best possible outcome of a response session is for the maker to want to go back to work. Whether you're laboring on a painting or designing a website, drafting a lecture or composing a score, CRP helps you get fresh and useful feedback from peers, laypeople, and experts alike, while giving you the tools to do the same for others' work. Through the supportive structure of its four core steps, CRP combines the power of questions with the focus and challenge of informed dialogue. In use for over 25 years, CRP has been embraced by art makers, educators, scientists, and theater companies, dance departments, orchestras, laboratories, conservatories, museums, universities, corporations, and kindergartens. With a focus on actual works in progress – a dance, a script, a lecture, visual art work, even a cake – this training will highlight participation, conversation, and the flexibility of the Process.

Brian Postalian is a current member of the Liz Lerman Critical Response Process certification cohort. He has spent over 10 years working as a freelance artist, arts administrator, and educator. He has helped support the development of artists and work as well as having been produced in festivals and arts organizations across Canada.

Monday, November 14, 2022

10:00am - 1:00pm: The Art of Performing with Brenda Leadlay  

The Art of Performing is a physical training experience for actors, dancers and other performing artists who want to play between the boundaries of form and formlessness - structure and freedom - and break free of human tendencies that get in the way of creative invention.

The work is based in ‘plastiques’ - a methodology developed by Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski.* Plastiques are simply physical isolations - movement explorations of each body part in every direction it can move – integrated with full-body gestures. The plastiques evoke body memory, feelings, images and sound that surprise the performer. The work encourages emotional risk-taking, dynamic expression and breath-based movement directed from internal impulses. It builds heightened awareness and confidence that gives people the freedom be who they are in a safe, supportive and fun environment.

Identifying and responding to impulse is at the heart of the exploration and an external key to help bring your emotional life into your work. The workshop also investigates physical and vocal practices to build group dynamics, spatial awareness, improvisational skills and rhythm.

Participants should bring clothes they can move in.


2:00pm - 5:00pm: Dreaming Chekov with Moya O’Connell 

Using one of Chekhov's plays to guide us we will step inside the hearts and minds of these deeply human characters through Etudes. Etudes was a method developed by Konstantin Stanislavski to get closer to the emotional life and psychology of a character. Through the given circumstances you will explore, through guided improvisations, the psychological, physical and verbal universe of the character. Gentle, improvisational, deep and joyous, this workshop is designed to help actors trust their impulses and get closer to the heart of what makes these characters live.

Participants will need something to write with, as well as some familiarity with Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard.


6:30pm - 9:30pm: Shakespeare Bath with Michelle Fisk 

Shakespeare has left myriad clues in his text - let's dive in and find the ways to bring him and his glorious words from the page to the stage.

Please bring 6-10 lines of text from any play, something to write with, and water/snack for break.

Monday, November 21, 2022

10:00am - 11:30am: Self-Care for Theatre Professionals with Robin Willis

Theatre professionals face unique challenges in their careers: late night shows and midnight change-overs, long rehearsal days, grueling tech weeks, physically and vocally demanding performances and that unspoken evil - reviews. And this is when we are lucky enough to be working  - lest we forget survival jobs, rejection, making ends meet, keeping the faith - did we mention rejection? Your mind and body are your currency and your livelihood. Caring for your mental, physical and emotional well-being is paramount in sustaining your passion and thriving on your chosen path.

In this discussion, Robin shares tools and resources for incorporating self-care practices into your daily life. Learn how to nurture healthy, uplifting and fulfilling habits so that you can wholeheartedly pursue and ENJOY the profession you love.


2:00pm - 4:00pm: Alexander Technique for Performers: Honing your Skills with Gabriella Minnes-Brandes 

In this session we will explore how principles of the Alexander Technique support performers. We will learn to observe our habitual responses to stimuli and try out new ways of responding. We will then learn to make choices based on efficiency and thought.  We will work with daily movements as well as text to enhance our observation skills and our ability to make choices in real time.  The session may include hands-on work, individual work, pair work and group work.

Participants should bring a yoga mat, a book, and have some text to work on.


6:30pm - 9:30pm: Elevating Your Performance Work with Brechtian Gests with Will Weigler

In this hands-on workshop, participants will develop a capacity to create, refine and incorporate gests into performance work. Introduced by Bertolt Brecht, Gestus or Gest is a combination of a physical action—or GESTURE—that perfectly embodies the GIST of a relationship, a feeling, a place, or an attitude. A gest has the potential to pack a surprisingly powerful wallop when it comes to conveying complex and even paradoxical ideas on stage. Fluency with the concept of gests is useful for actors, directors, playwrights, and even designers.

Participants are asked to bring a monologue or scene you are currently working on, or a scene or show you are currently writing, workshopping, or designing. In the first half of the workshop we will focus on developing fluency with the use of gest in general. Then, after a short break, everyone will take a turn going over the material they've brought so that the entire group can collectively generate ideas for gests that could be incorporated into the performance work, writing, or design. Bringing material to work on during the 2nd half is not a requirement, you may simply choose to learn by contributing your ideas to others in the group and by observing some practical applications of gests in staging.

Participants should bring water and a snack for break.

Monday, November 28, 2022

2:00pm - 4:00pm: Movement as Textual Analysis with Anna Kuman

In this workshop, we will look at conventional ‘table work’ through action, using embodiment as primary tool towards textual analysis. Through task-based physical improvisation, observation, and reflection, the actor will develop an acute awareness of their autobiographical movement patterns and how to bring these unique qualities to embodying a character with strength and nuance. This method will enable the actor to get out of their head and free the body to trust impulse and instinct.

Please bring clothes you can move in, a notebook/paper and something to write with.


6:30pm - 8:30pm: Production 101: Taking Your Show from Conceptual to Actual with Jessica Chambers 

For myriad reasons, it is becoming increasingly necessary for artists to self-produce. In this workshop, we’ll cover a basic understanding of production/project management, as well as the tools to self-produce in a successful, safe and sustainable way. 


Cancellation Policy 
Due to the popularity and capacity of these classes, we have a very strict cancellation policy. All cancellations must be made before noon on the Wednesday prior to the workshop date. There is a $20 fee that will be applied if you are absent without notifying us. To cancel, please email by the deadlines below.

Why the cancellation fee?
The $20 fee will be directed to the Education Bursary. We want to continue offering this training for free, and to do this we must ensure that the classes will be filled. When someone neglects to notify us that they can’t make it, they are in effect holding the spot from another person and altering the experience of those who do attend. In the spirit of honoring the time of our facilitators and the participants, we have put this policy into place. If you cancel by the deadline (see below), you will not be charged.

Fall 2022 Cancellation Deadlines

Workshop Dates Cancellation Deadline
October 24, 2022 October 19, 2022
October 31, 2022 October 26, 2022
November 7, 2022 November 3, 2022
November 14, 2022 November 9, 2022
November 21, 2022 November 16, 2022
November 28, 2022 November 23, 2022



Sarah Rose is an award-winning theatre director and voice coach working in Vancouver, BC and New York, NY. Select directing credits include DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Studio 16, co-directed with Jay Brazeau; Broadway World Vancouver Award Winner for Best Director and Best Play), HAPPY DAYS (presented at Pacific Theatre), and LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING (Vancouver Fringe Mainstage Dramatic Works Series). Sarah is currently developing new works including the musical comedy FALL RISK (three-time Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Award Winner) with writer Nicole Kohr and composer Beth Falcone (Kleban Prize Winner; Drama Desk Award Nominee). Sarah is an alumni of the Advanced Directing program at the National Theater Institute, where she was awarded the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Scholarship, and she completed a Bachelor of Arts and graduate coursework in English Literature at the University of British Columbia. Sarah is a Certified Voice Instructor with the Institute for Vocal Advancement.

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.

Ralph Escamillan (aka Posh Gvasalia Basquiat) comes from a background of street, commercial, and contemporary dance. Drawing from these roots, this workshop encapsulates the diversity of styles that create his unique perspective. VAN VOGUE JAM is a Vancouver based non-profit organization helping to support, build, and nurture the Vogue/Ballroom scene within Vancouver, BC, Canada. By facilitating pay-what-you-can and open-to-all-levels weekly Vogue jams, VVJ seeks to help contribute towards building a culture of dance and competition with the accessibility and safety of the LGBTQIA2S+ BIPOC community at its core.

Victor Ayala has been an actor for twenty years and taught at Vancouver Acting School as part of their full time conservatory program for five years. He combines physical theatre, clowning, and ‘method’ approaches to help actors free their voice.

Chloe Payne is a physical theatre performer, theatre creator and educator. She is a graduate of École Philippe Gaulier. She teaches movement, physical theatre, physical comedy and improv for organizations across Canada including the Vancouver Film School, Arts Club, The Cultch, Rumble Theatre, Axis Theatre, Tight Rope Impro Theatre, Sweet Action Theatre, the University of Toronto and Havergal College. Recent performance credits include Zivier in Crisis on Planet Z (Monster Theatre), Wipple in Dead Drone (Fox Queen), Camille in Configurations of a Divine B*** (Goat Howl), Sabaz in Caribou Cave (Theatre by the Bay), Dove in Northern Lights (Theatre by the Bay), and Olive Fallowfield in Fake Nerd Girl (Wild Talk). Recent direction and creation credits include ColliderVR (Single Thread Theatre Company), Roughhousing (Wild Talk), and The Five Points (Theatre by the Bay).

Brian Postalian (Բրայն Փոսթալյան) is an arts administrator, educator, and creator 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 and recently toured their interactive playable performance of New Societies across Ontario after premiering it in Vancouver. 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 in Spring 2022. 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.

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. 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.

Moya O’Connell is a director, actor, educator and theatre maker. Eleven seasons at the Shaw Festival, eight seasons at Bard on the Beach. Moya recently completed an MFA in directing at UBC department of theatre and film. Moya is an acting instructor at Vancouver Film School and the UBC BFA conservatory program.  Next up Moya will direct Hedda Gabler for United Players in Vancouver in March 2023 and star in The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp at Coalmine Theatre in Toronto. Moya has worked in theatres across Canada. A member of Canada’s theatrical community for over forty years, Michelle Fisk has performed on stages across the country, from studios to regional main stages to the major festivals including, Shaw, Blyth, Charlottetown and ten seasons at the Stratford Festival. She was happy to join the Bard company in 2018 for TIMON OF ATHENS AND LYSISTRATA. She has been on the teaching faculties of George Brown, St. Clair and Fanshawe colleges and, for five terms, the University of Waterloo.  Born and raised in Burnaby, trained at UBC, Michelle is beyond thrilled to be back living on the west coast.

Robin Willis is a psychotherapist in private practice here in Vancouver. She specializes in anxiety, self-esteem, people-pleasing, perfectionism and the unique challenges that accompany a professional career in the arts. Robin holds a masters degree in counselling psychology and art therapy from Adler University and a masters degree in musical theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Before becoming a counsellor, Robin worked as an actor at theatres across Canada and the US, including recurrent seasons at The Shaw Festival, The Stratford Festival and Mirvish Productions. To learn more about Robin’s counselling practice, please visit

Jeff Gladstone is an actor, improvisor, musician, director and educator. He has performed 4 seasons at Bard on the Beach, including Parolles in Alls Well That Ends Well (2019) and Le Beau/Guitar/Hymen in As You Like It (2018), and has been a Bard teaching artist since 2015. He is artistic director of the International Theatresports Institute, and Co-Founder and Director of Education at the new Tightrope Impro Theatre. Film credits include Kingsway (TIFF, VIFF 2018), Bones of Crows (TIFF, VIFF 2022). TV credits include Virgin River, The Twilight Zone, The Killing. Jeff is a passionate advocate for mental wellness through arts education.

Will Weigler is a theatre director, playwright, producer, and storyteller, known internationally for developing innovative ways to help people turn their personal insights and cultural knowledge into dynamic and evocative theatre performances. Will is a graduate of the National Theatre Institute and Oberlin College (in the U.S.), and has a doctorate in Applied Theatre from the University of Victoria. Recent projects include co-directing a devised play about LGBTQ+ communities in India, collaborating with young people navigating cancer to support them in creating performance pieces that will give caregivers a felt understanding of their challenges, and mentoring the Artistic Director of a theatre company in Madagascar. As a guest instructor for Café Comedy, India’s acclaimed stand up comedy training academy, he taught aspiring comedians how to use jokes to promote intercultural peace. In 2016, Will collaborated with Grammy award winning jazz musician Esperanza Spalding, co-creating a fusion concert/theatre production based on her album, Emily’s D + evolution.

Anna Kuman is a movement-based interdisciplinary director, choreographer, intimacy professional and educator. Over the span of her career, Anna has worked for some of Canada’s largest regional theatres such as The Citadel, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and has been part of over 15 productions at The Arts Club. Anna Co-Created, Co-Directed, and Choreographed Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell which toured to 13 cities, garnering 11 award nominations and winning 4 including an Ovation Award for Best Production and an SAT Award for Best Choreography. Internationally, she has worked as a Mass Movement Choreographer for mega-events such as the Rio 2016 Paralympic Opening Ceremony with casts of over 8,000 performers. Over the last year, Anna worked as Resident Director and Choreography Team for daily productions at Expo 2020 Dubai; an event which spanned 6 months and featured a cast of 60 dancers, actors, and puppeteers. Anna is a trained Intimacy Director and holds an MFA in Movement Direction and Teaching from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Her thesis research surrounded how consensual practice and collaborative devising are fundamental towards building an anti-oppressive and culturally responsive rehearsal practice. Since graduation, she has been a guest faculty member at prestigious post-secondary arts conservatoires in the UK and Canada such as The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Ed, Capilano University, and Studio 58. She was recently named the incoming Program Director of The Arts Club’s summer Musical Theatre Intensive.

Jessica Chambers: My career in live performance and events has spanned 30 years, during which I grew from an audio and lighting technician to producing large scale corporate events in international locations. I have toured internationally and worked locally as an Equity stage and production manager and a Cupe local 23 member, and for a decade, was the Technical Director of the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at the city of Burnaby. I believe that the performing arts are an invaluable part of our society and in 2017, formed JHCconsulting to share the knowledge I’ve amassed and contribute to the growth of the next generation of production professionals. From 2020-2022, I had the great pleasure of lecturing in the Production & Design programme at the School for the Contemporary Arts, SFUW. I recently took on the roles of Production Associate and interim Artistic Company Manager at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, where I will become Production Manager in the fall of this year.