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Artstrek 2022 Curriculum Team

Artstrek 2019
Photo Credits

Theatre Alberta recruits leading theatre educators and working professionals from across Alberta to teach at Artstrek. Our instructors bring extensive practical and academic knowledge to the program and connect participants directly to the theatre scene in Alberta.

Jenna Rodgers
Artstrek Director

Jenna (she/her) is a mixed-race Director and Dramaturg who gratefully resides on land called Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary), on Treaty 7 Territory. She is the founding Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre – a company dedicated to producing and developing work by and for racialized artists.She is a passionate arts equity advocate, a graduate of the NTS Artistic Leadership Residency (2020), the Banff Centre’s Cultural Leadership Program (2019), and a member of the artEquity National Facilitator Training cohort (2018).

Linette J. Smith
Curriculum Director

Linette J. Smith (she/her) is thrilled to be a part of the Artstrek team this year. Smith is a theatre/improv teacher at Strathcona High school and artistic director for the Scona Alumni Theatre Co. A freelance director/choreographer in Edmonton Smith can be found as a part of The Vanguard Theatre Collective and choreographer for the Cappies Chorus for Cappies of Greater Edmonton. She is president of the Zone 8 High School One Acts and teaches the teen Acting Intensive at the Citadel’s Foote Theatre School. Smith coaches four high school improv teams and tries to incorporate improv into each day. (life is short do improv) A lifelong student of improv she is currently studying with The Upright Citizens Brigade. Select credits include: direction and choreography for the Edmonton premier of Lizzie the musical (UniformTheatre) Xanadu, Heathers, Dogfight, Hedwig and the Angry Inch American Idiot, RENT (Edmonton Fringe) directing the Canadian premier of Calvin Berger (three-form theatre). Singin’ in the Rain (Festival Place) Big Fish, Nevermore, In the Heights, Les Miserables, West Side Story (Scona Theatre Co.) Rocky Horror, Jane Eyre, Avenue Q, Chicago, Cabaret (TOWTTB)

Karen Johnson-Diamond
Administrative Director

Karen (she/her) is an award-winning actor and director working in Western Canada for over 30 years. As a professional improviser, she co-founded, and is the Artistic Producer of Dirty Laundry-The Completely Improvised Comedy Soap Opera. Karen is the co-host of three different podcasts; “SCAMTIME”, “The Breakfast Dish” (with her son Griffin) and “Bridging the Gap Between Generations Who Assume Things About Each Other.” Her Film and TV credits include Heartland, Fargo, and the multi award-winning web series Abracadavers. Karen is the recipient of two Betty Mitchell awards for Outstanding Performance, as well as the Duval Lang Theatre for Young Audiences award. Karen lives in Calgary/ Moh’kinsstis with Kevin and their dog Dwayne.

Sue Goberdhan

Sue Goberdhan Assistant Administrative Director

Sue Goberdhan (she/her) is an Edmonton performer, arts administrator, advocate, playwright, and educator.  Sue has dedicated her career to advocating for the revitalization of the foundation of Edmonton’s theatre community to include and celebrate the stories and voices of people from marginalized communities. Some of her favourite acting credits include Sue in E DAY (Serial Collective),  Leah in Marnie Day (Could Be Cool Theatre), and Pluto Krasinski in What’s the Deal? (Success 5000). She is also co-founder of the new musical theatre company Could Be Cool Theatre (www.couldbecooltheatre.com for more information.) She graduated from MacEwan University with a diploma in Arts and Cultural Management, and she attended the University of Alberta in pursuit of a degree in Drama. She has spent her arts administration career thus far working for several theatre companies in Edmonton including Grindstone Theatre and SkirtsAFire Festival; in October of 2020, Sue began her tenure as Co-Artistic Producer at Azimuth Theatre. 


Jessica Eckstadt

Jessica (she/her) is a Calgary-based performer, choreographer, arts educator, and private music teacher. She loves working as a resident choreographer for the Youth Singers of Calgary as well as helping students from across the city to hone and discover their passion for the performing arts. She’s had the pleasure of performing across Canada, Europe, South America, and the United States. Jessica is a Betty Mitchell Award nominated performer and her recent theatre credits include Care Takers (Lunchbox Theatre); [title of show] (Birnton Theatricals); and Brave Girl (Lunchbox Theatre/Forte Musical Theatre Guild). She holds a performance diploma from Mount Royal University (Calgary, AB) and BFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC). Jessica is thrilled to be able to work with the teams and students at Artstrek this summer and can’t wait for the fun to begin!

Melissa Mayville

Melissa (she/her) is super excited to be returning as an Artstrek instructor! She is currently a Theatre and Humanities teacher at Victoria School of the Arts, and was proud to film a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this year with students from grades four to twelve…what a learning experience! Past theatrical highlights include commissioning Edmonton playwright Ellen Chorley to write two pieces for us to play in, Wildwood and The World’s Circus.  Melissa loves all things that involve theatre, dance, and sharing those passions with students. She also enjoys trying new adventures; circus, gymnastics, rock climbing, and hiking to name a few. This year, coincidentally, Melissa dove into the exciting world of D & D where she killed monsters and along with her trusted friends, conquered! Now, as the true Dragon Born that she is, Melissa is ready for this adventure to begin!

Andrew Ritchie

Andrew (he/him) is a director, theatre maker, and teacher born and raised on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton. He has a MFA in Directing & Creation from York University, a BA in Drama from University of Alberta, and is a graduate of the Banff/Citadel Professional Theatre Program. Andrew loves to teach theatre. He has taught at communities, universities, and schools across Canada and is a faculty member at the Foote Theatre School. He is the artistic director of Thou Art Here Theatre, an independent theatre celebrating its 10th anniversary this fall. He has performed improv across North America and is an ensemble member with Rapid Fire Theatre. He loves to cycle, is an avid hiker, and plays a lot of Dungeons and Dragons! He is thrilled to be teaching at Artstrek for the first time this summer. You can learn more about him and his theatre projects at www.andrewritchie.net.

Lara Schmitz

Lara (she/they) work has worked as an actor in Western Canada for 10 years, including recently the Belfry Theatre’s World Premiere of Ministry of Grace by Tara Beagan and Theatre Calgary’s production of Iceland.  Lara’s particularly fond of: writing, especially her queer femme sci-fi play and web series; loooooooong form improv, aka Dirty Laundry style; white water rafting; cycling; and, of course, German Shepherds.  Lara’s work outside of theatre centres around harm reduction and sexuality.

Vern Slipetz

Vern (he/him) is thrilled to be returning to the Artstrek team! Vern teaches theatre, music, and English at Louis St. Laurent Catholic School in Edmonton, and has also been seconded to work at the University of Alberta and Alberta Education. He holds a BMus-MusEd and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Theatre-Music). Favorite directing and musical directing credits include You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Odyssey, Arabian Nights, Threepenny Opera, Urinetown, Village of Idiots, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.

K.P. Smith

K.P. (they/them) is a designer, director, and creator who has worked across western Canada. Kathryn has worked on and created a multitude of projects including award winning productions with Calgary based clown duo The Tighty Whities, the puppet musical Timmy, Tommy, & the Haunted Hotel with Pape & Taper, and their RBC Director showcase Care Takers with Lunchbox Theatre. Select design/directing credits: inVISIBLE, A Chitenge Story, Between Us (Handsome Alice Theatre); Benefit, Safe Site Sessions, Bottle Picker Monologues (Downstage Theatre); Brave Girl, Care Takers, Pink Unicorn (Lunchbox Theatre); Million Dollar Quartet (New West Theatre); Amahl & the Night Visitors (Calgary Opera); Secret Garden(Theatre Calgary: Design Mentee); The Democratic Set (Inside Out Theatre); GIANT (Ghost River Theatre). Kathryn is also the Artistic Associate at Vertigo Theatre. They are also an award winning singer songwriter/sound designer under the name KP Smith.

Morgan Yamada

Morgan (she/her) lives on Treaty 6 territory, with family roots extending from Germany, Japan, and many more places, meeting and settling in amiskwaciwâskahikan (also known as Edmonton.) Morgan graduated from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program and is an Advanced Actor Combatant with Fight Directors Canada. She has acted in many new works with various companies; select credits include Curio Shoppe, Dead Center of Town 2015, 2016 & 2018 (Catch The Keys Productions); Delay (Horizon Lab-Citadel Theatre); Glory (ATP & Western Canada Theatre, Original Cast & National Tour); GIANT (Ghost River Theatre). She is currently a Co-Artistic Producer at Azimuth Theatre. As a fight director, she has worked with high schools, university groups and professional theatres to teach workshops and to choreograph violence for productions from falls to sword fights. She is overjoyed to join the Artstrek team and to share and learn skills from all the amazing artists this summer!

Chariz Faulmino

Chariz Faulmino (She/they/Siya) is a Filipinx-Canadian multi-disciplinary performer based in
Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). They are delighted to take part in Artstrek as an
Instructor! Chariz has a passion for engaging with the young ones of the world especially
creatively- she believes art, music, and performance can transform a whole being. She takes
much of her inspiration from Whitney Houstons “Greatest Love Of All”: “… the children are
our future teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty the posses
inside…” Recent Credits include: ADR (lead), Mamma Mia, C.J. (Blue Water
Studios/Mayfield Dinner Theatre/Skirts-A-Fire Festival); A Christmas Carol, Erlking Film
(Citadel Theatre/Chris Scott); Summer Roadshows, S.I.S.T.E.R. Remount (Citadel
Theatre/Fox Den Collective); Sprouts Festival 2021 (Concrete Theatre); Almost A Full Moon
(Collider Festival), Windows Into New Work (Citadel Theatre). Chariz extends her love to the
wonderful humans in her life who continue to encourage and support their work.

Richard Lee Hsi

Richard (he/him) is a performer, creator, and educator who works in theatre and contemporary dance. In addition to a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Alberta, he has independently trained in contemporary dance across North America and Europe. He has acted in productions for the Citadel Theatre, Northern Light Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Teatro La Quindicina, Concrete Theatre, Chromatic Theatre, and Wild Side Productions to name a few. His work in contemporary dance has taken him across Canada from Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge to Halifax’s Mocean Dance CLEAR Forum, dancing in works for companies such as Troy Emery Twigg, Amber Borotsik, The Good Women Dance Collective, Melanie Demers, and Cloudsway Dance Theatre, as well as in his own choreographed works. As an educator, he has taught movement for MacEwan University Theatre Arts, the University of Alberta’s B.F.A. Acting program, the Citadel-Robbins Young Company, and Theatre Alberta’s Artstrek program. In 2021, he uprooted from his beloved hometown of Amiskwaciwaskâhikan to pursue a M.F.A. in Movement Direction and Teaching at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London United Kingdom, due to graduate in 2023.

Marshall Vielle

Marshall (they/them) is an Actor, Director, Podcaster, and Drag Performer from the Kainai Nation. They are a graduate from the University of Lethbridge where they received their Bachelors of Fine Arts, specializing in Theatre Performance. They are especially interested in using theatre for community development, having been involved in various projects both locally and internationally aimed at using artistic practices to encourage social change. They work as an advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the performance sector, while also lending their creativity to several queer youth initiatives. Marshall is the recipient of the 2018 Theatre Calgary Stephen Hair Emerging Actor Award and is also part of the amazing Artist-in-Residence team at Trickster Theatre. Select credits include: Where the Two-Spirit Lives (Expanse Festival, Intrepid Theatre, The Cultch, Theatre Outré), A Christmas Carol (2019, 2020, 2021), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare by the Bow), Blow Wind, High Water (Theatre Calgary), Christmas Carol: A Drag Story (Blue Jeans Theatre), Napi and the Rock (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Making Treaty 7), KAAHSINONIKS (Making Treaty 7), We Are All Treaty People (Quest Theatre). Marshall is pleased to be joining the Artstrek team as an instructor for the first time this year!

Artstrek 2022 Funders and Supporters

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