The Storyteller by Kathleen Mills
Performances July 18-21, 2023, 7:30 pm
Young People's Theatre (Studio Theatre)
165 Front St Toronto
Ana- Luka Lars-Nova
Lily - Callan Forrester
Sawyer - Kathleen Mills
Axel - Jeremy Foot
Narrator - Camila Farah
Goddess - Arjun Kalra, Joy Thompson
Chorus - Kendra Dyck, Arjun Kalra, Dorian Fournier, Sidney Klips, Aidan Reimer, Joy Thompson
CREATIVE AND PRODUCTION TEAM
Olivia Daniels, director
Olivia Daniels (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and The New Studio on Broadway. Recent directing credits include: The Storyteller (Hamilton Fringe Festival), The Krakow Chicken (BurlOak Theatre Group - New Play Festival Best Director Award), Essential (writ. Ellie Moon; AIR) and the Toronto premiere of Small Mouth Sounds (AIR). Olivia has also assistant directed several productions in Toronto and NYC, including A Little Night Music in concert at Koerner Hall (dir. Richard Ouzounian, starring Eric McCormack), The Great Divide (HGJTC, dir. Avery Saltzman), and the off-Broadway premiere of Fruiting Bodies (Ma-Yi Theatre Company, dir. Shelley Butler). As a performer, some favourite credits include Beth in Merrily We Roll Along, and Maeve in the NYC premiere of Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale. Next up: Bobbie Rosenfeld in Bobbie at Theatre By The Bay. Olivia is the co-founder of Artists in Residence, a theatre company created during the COVID-19 pandemic to support artists' mental health by focusing on community, connection, and collaboration. She is committed to creating and supporting opportunities for fellow artists, and cultivating community spaces where every voice is valued. In all her endeavours, Olivia strives to embody a spirit of openness, collaboration, and joy! www.olivia-daniels.com
Anikka Hanson, choreographer
Anikka Hanson is a queer multidisciplinary performer, choreographer and movement director based in Toronto with a passion for storytelling, fostering creative spaces and producing compelling, joyful work. She is a recent graduate of Sheridan College’s Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance Degree.
Her training has inspired a passion for new Canadian theatre and devised, explorative works. Recent choreographic work can be seen in Christmas music videos for Alessia Cara and in movement direction for Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet defends her life tonight for The Flare Productions at Assembly Theatre.
When she is not playing in the world of theatre, Anikka can be found knitting and puppet making from the comfort of her home, working on passion projects that are constantly interrupted by her nosey cat.
Daniella McNeill, associate director
Daniella McNeill (She/Her) is a creative, director, coordinator and designer specialized in live entertainment. After extensively training and performing in film & theatre in Vancouver and Toronto, she can now predominantly be found behind the scenes. Her combination of design, performance, business and media skills have allowed her to create film, theatre, and music events in a variety of different roles. She is currently finishing her degree at Toronto Metropolitan University in their multidisciplinary Creative Industries Program. Recent assistant directing credits include: Small Mouth Sounds with Artists in Residence, The Krakow Chicken with BurlOak Theatre Company, and Separate Sights (Film). Daniella is also involved administratively with Artists in Residence, a Toronto-based theatre company focused on building community through collaborative work. Outside of the theatre, Daniella primarily works in the music industry where she has had the opportunity to work on over 50 concerts, award shows, and music festivals.
Joanna Mills, associate music director
Joanna Mills' passion is music and singing. Trained formally in voice, piano, and oboe throughout her younger years, and a graduate of Humber College’s Music Composition graduate certificate program, Joanna has sung in (and lead) various choirs, performed with the New Westminster Musical Theatre Guild, teaches Musical Theatre, piano, and voice, and composes from her private studio in Toronto, Ontario. From 1998 to 2018, she was the director of the Roncesvalles Gospel Choir and has written and directed many original children's musicals at Roncesvalles United Church. From 2012 to 2017, Joanna was the music director and vocal instructor at Broadway Arts Centre in Toronto, and has recently started music directing in small professional musical theatre productions (Hamilton Fringe, No Strings Theatre Company) in the GTA. She performs frequently in local festivals and clubs with her six-voice folkgrass ensemble North of Queen, her folk duo Bass Case, and also sings with Toronto’s premiere rock choir, newchoir. Joanna is an award-winning songwriter (Songdoor, Song of the Year, ISSA, GIA Sacred Music Competition) and arranger and her works have been performed by choirs and ensembles all over the world. Her music is available at Sheet Music Plus, Sheet Music Direct, J.W. Pepper and her own website www.joannamills.ca .
Kathleen Mills, composer
Kathleen Mills (She/They) is a Queer, Neurodivergent, and non-binary artist from Toronto, Ontario. Recently she has graduated from Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance with honours, and a selected focus in writing for theatre. She has had her work picked up by independent theatre companies including No Strings Theatre and Icarus Theatre. Kathleen is an emerging artist working as a performer, creator, and educator in the arts. As well as her writing and performing work, Kathleen also works with Sistema Toronto, a non-profit that teaches music and social skills to children in underprivileged neighbourhoods. She strongly believes that art and theatre should be available to everyone and is excited to be part of the next generation working to make it even more accessible, safe, and inspiring!
Brooke Mitchell, stage manager
Brooke Mitchell (she/her/they/them) is a queer emerging theatre artist. Born and raised in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia), she moved to Ontario to attend Sheridan’s music theatre program where she will soon be entering her fourth year! They have an undying love for theatre and all the things it can be, which has made them a person of many hats. She is so excited to make her debut as a Stage manager through The Storyteller with such a lovely group of creatives. As a performer, they sing opera, music theatre, and pop, and they adore acting across all genres and forms. Brooke also writes, composes, devises, and all around makes stuff! Follow @brookelmitchell on Instagram and YouTube for more!
Jackson Seib, music director
Jackson Seib is a Toronto-based writer, composer and music director. Credits include One Small Step (Toronto Youth Theatre), Something for the Buoys (Sapling), Snow White: the Panto (Stirling Festival Theatre), Forever Dusty (The Medley), Cole (Stage Centre Productions) and The Rocky Horror Show (Stirling Festival Theatre). He is also the MD and band leader for Selling Out, a fully improvised musical performing in Toronto. Jackson is a big fan of chunky harmonies and will get WAY too excited if they sound even remotely like music.
In a village at the base of a mountain, Spring comes every year on the same day, when one storyteller braves the climb and brings a story to the Goddess at the top. It is the coldest winter yet and it looks like spring may not come this year, when two strangers arrive and the world is changed forever.
Our show explores themes of growing up, community, and how we can support those in our lives who need us. It is appropriate for all ages.
DIRECTOR - CARMEN
Delighted to be starting at No Strings Theatre and returning to Opera By Request - after his company debut as Michonnet in ADRIANA LECOUVREUR – as Bartolo/Antonio in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) Baritone Gregory Finney has been hailed for his versatility and skill after his turn as Escamillo in LA TRAGEDIE DE CARMEN with LooseTEA Music Theatre among others. One of Toronto’s busiest singers, mostly at home in comedic roles, he garnered rave reviews for his turn as Antonio/ Bartolo in Against The Grain theatre’s hit production FIGARO’S WEDDING. He’s been seen as Il Conte (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO); Papageno (DIE ZAUBERFLOTE) and as Figaro (LA MERE COUPABLE). He was seen in the Canadian premieres of JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA, LUISA FERNANDA, KATE AND THE DEVIL and KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY and the world premieres of KAMOURASKA and Eric Idles NOT THE MESSIAH. (@gregory_finney) (www.gregoryfinney.com)
MUSIC DIRECTOR - CARMEN
William Shookhoff is a noted conductor, pianist and vocal coach throughout Canada and abroad. He has served on the music faculties of the Universities of Toronto, Alberta, Wilfrid Laurier, as well as the Banff
Centre for the Arts and the Johannesen Summer Institute of Music. He has been on the Music Staff of the Canadian, Netherlands, Edmonton, and Portland (Oregon) Opera Companies. Mr Shookhoff was the Associate Conductor of the inaugural Canadian production of Les Miserables, and of the Canadian Tour and Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera. He
has been a guest Music Director with Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), and Citadel Theatre (Edmonton). Mr. Shookhoff makes frequent appearances in those capacities throughout Western Europe and China, as well as maintaining an active coaching studio in Toronto. He is a regular guest conductor with the Bluebridge Festival and with Opera Kitchener. He has also devoted his efforts to the development and presentation of the Massed Piano or Monster Concert, and has conducted such events at Carnegie Hall, New York; Massey Hall and Nathan Philips Square, Toronto; the White House, Washington, DC;
and the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome. Mr. Shookhoff is Artistic Director Emeritus at Tryptych Productions.
ARTIST-MENTOR, VOICE COACH - CARMEN
Windsor native Bass-Baritone John Holland has embarked on a diverse career of opera, oratorio, and art song. In 2020, John won a JUNO award as a member of the Ottawa Bach Choir. His Operatic credits include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Leporello and Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, Vodník in Rusalka in the Czech Republic, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri at Casa Loma, Purkrabi in Dvořák’s Jakobin, Caspar in Der Freischütz, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Henry VIII in Anna Bolena, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, and Alberich in Der Ring Des Nibelungen with Toronto’s Opera by Request.
He has sung at such locales as the Canadian Opera Company, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Bachfest in Leipzig (2014, 2022), Smetana Hall and the Estates Theatre in Prague, and San Marco in Venice, and has shared the stage with the likes of Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Rene Pape, and Lorin Maazel. Recent performances include, Bass Soloist in Shostakovich Symphony 14, Bass Soloist for a CD recording of Bach’s Motets on ATMA Classique, and several oratorio concerts.
He was a winner of the 2002 CBC Radio Opera Quiz Competition, and a finalist in the London Opera Guild Competition in 2001 and 2003. A respected academic, John is a three-time lecturer for the Canadian Opera Company’s London guild, a regular lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a nine-time judge for the JUNO Awards. He is also an alumnus of the University of Windsor and Western University music faculties.
Dr. Holland completed his PhD in Musicology at York University in 2018. His scholarly work reaches over many genres, but is focused on the study of Czech Opera, Art Song, and Choral Works. His dissertation, Beyond the Silver Moon: Exploring the Lost Tradition of Dvořák's Operas Through a Study of Myth, Music, and Nationalism, critically analyzes these operas, and views them through the lenses of social, cultural, and political history, and pieces together the answers to why these operas are essentially lost works within the Czech lands, and abroad. In the fall of 2014, he produced the Canadian premiere of Dvořák’s opera Jakobin. He is also the founding director of the Canadian Institute for Czech Music, and continues to be in demand as a performer, choral conductor, and lecturer, as well as being a member of the contract faculty at York University.
MASTERCLASS CLINICIAN - CARMEN
The dazzling Julie Nesrallah performs for leading opera companies, symphonies, festivals and chamber music ensembles across Canada and around the world. Miss Nesrallah sang God Save the Queen for Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill in a performance that was viewed by millions. She also sang for An Evening for Peace for Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan in Montreal. Miss Nesrallah is the host of Tempo on CBC Music and is also the executive producer and star of Carmen on Tap which performs Georges Bizet’s Carmen as dinner theatre. Miss Nesrallah has been the recipient of several distinguished awards including the Canada Council for the Arts Emerging Artist Award & Mid-Career Grant, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her cultural contribution to Canada’s performing arts. https://www.julienesrallah.com/
ARTIST-MENTOR, VOCAL COACH - CARMEN
Mexican tenor Ernesto Ramırez debuted as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Mexico’s Opera de Leon, Rodolfo in La bohème with Pacific Northwest Opera, and sang his first Don Jose with Opera
Kelowna’s Carmen, and in concert with KitchenerWaterloo Symphony. In 2022, Ernesto stars as Don Jose in concert performances of Carmen with Orchestre Classique de Montreal, and debuts as Ralph Rackstraw with Vancouver Opera in their updated production of HMS Pinafore, conducted by Rosemary Thomson. In 2014 while engaged as a cover for the title role of Roberto Devereux with the Canadian Opera Company, he was thrilled to share the stage in performance with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Operatic roles for Ernesto include Raoul in the Canadian Premiere of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, Arturo in I Puritani, and Alfredo in La Traviata with Sarasota Opera. Ernesto debuted in Against the Grain Theatre’s digital project of Bound, a reaction to those displaced, dehumanized and mistreated by recent geopolitical conflict, with original text by director Joel Ivany. Ernesto sang Stefano in John Estacio’s acclaimed opera Filumena with Calgary Opera, and in 2021 reprised the role with Brott To You in their digital production of selected scenes. His “resplendent tenor” has been heard in performances of Verdi’s Requiem with Brott Music Festival, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Niagara Symphony, and Kingston Symphony. He also performed at The 150th Anniversary of Puccini, a gala hosted by Simonetta Puccini. Ernesto Ramirez is a Canadian Resident and holds U.S. and Mexican Citizenship. https://www.ernestoramirez.ca/
MASTERCLASS CLINICIAN - CARMEN
Marcia Whitehead sang professionally as a mezzo soprano with Opera companies and Symphonies across Canada for over 15 years. She apprenticed with Montréal Opera's L'Atelier Lyrique and is an alumnus of numerous young artist programs. Today, Marcia passes her stage experience and training on to her private students, as well as the young singers attending her lively vocal masterclasses at high schools and Universities in Toronto and online. She recently launched her mini-memoir, Botox Me, which ignited her one-on-one coaching program, S.O.S. Sessions for Singers Overcoming Setbacks. Marcia is thrilled to have been asked to mentor the artists of Opera by Request's summer production of Bizet's Carmen. To learn more about Marcia, please visit marciawhitehead.com
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR - CARMEN
Artistic Director | Director of Marketing | Co-Founder of Icarus Theatre
Graduate of Sheridan College Bachelor of Music Theatre, 2021
Anthony Goncharov is an actor, director, and (most importantly) CEO and Artistic Director of Icarus Theatre. He believes deeply in the craft of theatre, and hopes to build Icarus Theatre into a place where theatre artists can come to stretch their capabilities and tell beautiful stories.
For theatre (selected): Concord Floral (PuSh, Touchstone,) Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Shakespeare by the Sea NL,) Happy End (Theatre Sheridan/Allyson McMackon,) Wyspa (Vancouver Fringe,) Private Peaceful (Peninsula Productions.) For film/TV: The Dark Side of Comedy (VICE,) Sam & Dennis (York U.)