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Artstrek 2024 Curriculum Team and Instructors

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 (She/Her)
Artstrek Director

Jenna is a mixed-race, Treaty 7- based Director and Dramaturg. She is the founding Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre, the Dramaturg for the Playwrights Lab at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Board Co-Chair of LMDA. She is 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). Jenna holds a MA in International Performance Research from the universities of Amsterdam and Tampere. She is a passionate advocate for equity in the arts, a fierce supporter of new play development, and is learning to raise small responsible humans while maintaining a career in the arts.

Linette J. Smith (She/Her)
Curriculum Director

Linette is artistic director of the Scona Theatre Co/Scona Alumni Theatre Select credits:direction and choreography for Sterling Award winning Ride the Cyclone, Direction and Choreo for Heathers, Dogfight, Hedwig and the Angry Inch(Sterling nominated), American Idiot, RENT.  For Scona the direction and choreo for Mean Girls, Big Fish, Nevermore, In the Heights, Les Miserables, West Side Story. Smith teaches drama, improv, musical theatre and lives for dance the rest of the day. Smith trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade in short and long form improv and coaches three high school improv teams. She is thrilled to return to Artstrek.

Sue Goberdhan (She/Her)
Administrative Director

Sue has built a unique, flourishing career as an actor, writer, activist, and administrator. She is an Artistic Producer at Azimuth Theatre, Interim General Manager at Rapid Fire Theatre, and Administrative Director for Theatre Alberta’s Artstrek. In the 2022-2023 theatre season, she also served as Catalyst Theatre’s Confluence Fellow, where she debuted her new play, CHUMP. Her practice is based on building space for underrepresented artists to share their stories and advocating for the rejuvenation of traditional arts leadership structures. Having been an Arstrek alumnus, she knows how formative this incredible summer experience can be. One of the most fulfilling parts of Sue’s career is returning to Artstrek!

Instructors

Kyrsten Blair
(She/They)

Kyrsten is a versatile artist, engaged in diverse creative realms such as choreography, movement education, devised theatre, yoga, production, and performance. Actively contributing to arts, education, and community, her recent credits include collaborations with Decidedly Jazz, Calgary Pride, and the National End-of-Life Doula Association. With a rich portfolio spanning dance companies, universities, and creative residencies, Kyrsten has been a creative force for over 30 years, sparking innovation in school boards like CBE, CCSD, Private, and Charter. Beyond her artistic pursuits, she integrates a holistic approach through Contemplative End-of-Life training, aiming to unify art and service in her roles as an artist, practitioner, and death doula.

Owen Chan
(He/Him)

Owen is a high school drama teacher and program director, and a committed improv enthusiast. He is a founding member of The Kinkonauts, Calgary’s Improv Laboratory, where he continues to make-em-ups often. Owen is a member of the Four Corners improv ensemble and has performed and trained throughout North America with pretty much all of his heroes. He continues to not be invited to perform his one-man improvised musical version of The Littlest Hobo at theatres around the country.

Alixandra Cowman
(She/Her)

Alixandra is thrilled to be back at Artstrek this year! She is a sound designer, composer, and theatre artist based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) whose original compositions have been featured on stages with the Stratford Festival, Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Rosebud Theatre, and beyond. Her original musical written with playwright Cayley Wreggitt entitled Home For The Holidays received 2 Betty Mitchell Awards for both Best Sound Design/Composition and Best Musical this past year. Alixandra also runs a private music studio, where she teaches voice, guitar, ukulele, and songwriting.

Jessica Eckstadt
(She/Her)

Jessica discovered her love for the performing arts at a young age and believes sharing her passion through performing or teaching is one of the best experiences in life. Jessica is proud to be an award-winning choreographer for the Youth Singers of Calgary, as well as teaching students to hone and discover their passion for the performing arts through various classes and private lessons. She is a Betty Mitchell Award nominated performer and has performed across Canada, the United States, Europe, and South America. She holds a performance diploma from Mount Royal University (Calgary, AB) and BFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC). Jessica loves working with the students at Artstrek and can’t wait to see what adventures we have this year!

Kristen Forsyth
(She/Her)

Kristen has been teaching drama at Ross Sheppard High School since 2013. Prior to that, she taught at John D. Bracco Junior High and Victoria School of the Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and Development and studied acting at the Toronto Metropolitan University. Kristen has been recommending Artstrek to her students every spring and is now thrilled to now be a part of the incredible team of instructors! She resides in Edmonton with her husband Paul, their almost grown up kids, Sam and Khema, along with an oddball pair of dogs, Perla and Jack.

Steven Greenfield (he/him)

Born and raised in Calgary, Steven is an Edmonton-based Jessie and OVATION! Award-winning music director, musician and actor. Thank you family, friends, Jessie, Edgar and Gotham for your love and support. First season at Artstrek! Recent/upcoming: The Little Mermaid (Persephone); Sunday in the Park with George, [title of show] (MacEwan); A Christmas Carol, Jersey Boys, ‘Mr. Boddy’ in Clue (Citadel); Grease (WCT), The Wrong People Have Money (Shadow), The Dreamer’s Cantata (Edmonton Fringe/Plain Jane); ‘Jerry Lee Lewis’ in Million Dollar Quartet (Theatre Calgary). Proud graduate of MacEwan, he has been an instructor at CapU, Studio 58 and his alma mater. www.stevengreenfield.ca

Braden Griffiths
(He/Him)

Born and raised in Mohkinstsis / Calgary, Braden has been an actor, playwright, puppeteer, and arts educator for the past twenty years. With over 100 professional acting credits, he has performed throughout Canada (and occasionally overseas). His plays (written with Ellen Close) have been produced in Alberta and BC. He was recently a puppeteer for the Jim Henson company. And, in between all that stuff, he spends every minute he can teaching young people life skills through theatre. In 2022, inspired by the time spent with the students of Artstrek, Braden completed his Education degree at the University of British Columbia.

Richard Lee (He/Him)

Richard is a performer, creator, and educator working in theatre and contemporary dance. He is thrilled to be returning to teach at Artstrek for a third time. As an educator, he has taught movement for The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Identity School of Acting, MacEwan University Theatre Arts, the University of Alberta’s B.F.A. Acting program, the Citadel-Robbins Young Company, and Theatre Alberta’s Artstrek. He has an M.F.A. in Movement Direction and Teaching from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Alberta.

Jeffrey Olynek
(He/Him)

Jeffrey is a fight director, actor, and special skills performer. Selected fight directing credits include: 100 years of Darkness (Inside Out Theatre), The Circle (ATP), Head over Heels (Caravan Farm Theatre), Night of the Living Dead (Workshop Theatre), and Romeo and Juliet (The Shakespeare Company touring production).  Theatre credits include Fiddler on the Roof (Stage West), The Wizard of Oz (Alberta Theatre Projects), and Kung Fu Panties (Ground Zero). Jeff’s special skills include juggling, unicycle, and fire poi.  He is proud to be a Fight Instructor with Fight Directors Canada.

Morgan Yamada
(She/Her)

Morgan is a theatre artist with many interests – she’s an actor, fight director, arts educator, creative collaborator and Co-Artistic Producer of Azimuth Theatre. As a Fight Director, she has worked with theatres, universities and high schools, teaching workshops and courses, and choreographing violence for productions. Morgan has also been a member of award-winning ensembles as an actor, performing at theatres across the country. She loves how theatre can explore the past, reflect the present and dream of the future. She’s thrilled to join the Artstrek team and can’t wait to dream alongside them! Visit www.morganyamada.com for more info.

Artstrek 2024 Funders, Supporters, and Sponsors

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