Michelle Dias was a well-loved member of the Alberta theatre community. She was an invaluable Dramaworks instructor and a longtime Dramaworks participant – she was a guest speaker at the Dramaworks 50th Anniversary event. Michelle was also instrumental in the creation of Theatre Alberta’s Safe Stages, a vital resource for health and safety best practices in the theatre. Michelle passed away unexpectedly on September 6, 2011, in Edmonton. In recognition of Michelle’s contributions to Theatre Alberta and the wider provincial theatre community, Theatre Alberta created a scholarship in 2012 for our Dramaworks program in her name.
Ida J.K. Edwards owns and operates Rural Notes Music Services and manages Turnabout Avenue Place in the Town of Athabasca, AB. Ida shares her passion for theatre by directing children’s musicals, developing new works, and participating in musical theatre. Her monologues, including The Hunting Widow’s Rant and Karina of the Klondike, feature reflections on life in Northern Alberta. In 2014, Ida directed C’est la Vie, written by Gregg Opelka, a French cabaret dinner theatre production for a local senior’s residence and the Fawcett School PTA. With Rural Notes Music Service, Ida directs children’s musicals each fall and prepares youth for the challenges of festival competitions in speech, musical theatre, and voice along with developing programs for special needs groups such as the Blue Gene Society. In the past, she has written scripts, such as The Jingle Dress for the local Native Friendship Centre. Turnabout Avenue Place provides rehearsal and studio space for arts groups in the Athabasca area.
She is an active community member in the town of Athabasca and supports community events with musical interludes and technical support. In 2013, she was awarded the Lion’s Melvin Jones Fellowship Award for humanitarian effort in the arts and community development. The presenter talked about her 14 years with Athabasca Communities in Bloom, her original productions during the ten year run of the Athabasca Country Fringe Festival, and her volunteerism, as president of the Athabasca and District Music Festival, as well as with other local arts groups. She is currently one project away from achieving her Advanced Communicator Gold with Toastmasters International and has advanced to area contests as a speaker and evaluator.
Ida lives near a lake in the country with her husband Bob and cat Midnight. If she isn’t digging in the dirt, she can be found out on the lake: canoeing or stand up paddle boarding.