A Theatre Projects Manitoba Investigation
Climate & Main is a live showcase of 5 new and in-progress works by a motley team of artists focused on drawing attention to the current state of climate emergency. The plays explore leaving home in times of natural disaster, the tasty and naughty things whales eat, the lifespan of a diaper and more!
Watershed by Jack Maier
The Woman & The Whale by Victoria Hill & Tanner Manson
biSk-Ah-Nay ᐱ ᔅ ᑲ ᓀ by Waawaate Fobister
The Penguin by Nic Billon
The Eternity of Diapers by Carla Zúñiga
Content Warning: one or more of these plays explores themes of death and there are brief mentions of suicide.
All 5 plays will be brought to life by a collective of emerging and established artists. TPM is using this moment to bring together artists at different stages in their career and in their lives, to create these explorations about climate change; a crisis that all generations of humanity have to tackle now in the present to pave way for the future of our planet.
Waawaate Fobister – is an actor, dancer, playwright, choreographer, instructor, and a producer, currently residing in Shoal Lake. A proud Anishnaabe from Grassy Narrows First Nation. A recipient of two Dora awards for outstanding actor and play for Agokwe, Humber College outstanding actor, Mark S. Bonham Centre award from University of Toronto for their advocacy and public knowledge in sexual diversity. Waawaate also has many nominations, including Ontario Premiers’ Award, K.M Hunter Award and Sterling Award – Edmonton.
Waawaate trained and studied Theatre Arts – Performance at Humber College, Indigenous Dance at Banff Centre for the Arts, Summer School Intensives at Toronto Dance Theatre, Intensives at Centre for Indigenous Theatre and Kahawi Dance Theatre. Waawaate has performed in many major theatre companies across Canada and their work and research has taken them to many places as an artist, including Japan, UK, US, and many coasts across Turtle Island.
Currently, Waawaate is working at the Grand Council Treaty #3 as the LGBTQ2S+ Council Coordinator in Kenora, On. Waawaate will also be performing in their piece, biSk-Ah-Nay ᐱ ᔅ ᑲ ᓀ.
Victoria Emilie Hill is a creator, mover, and actor based in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory. She is passionate about work that focuses on movement and the body as a place we hold and tell stories. Victoria holds a BA Honours from the University of Winnipeg in Theatre (Acting) with a double major in Politics. She has trained in Viewpoints, Grotowski, Suzuki, and Contact Improvisation and has worked as a performer, dancer, and facilitator for various companies in Winnipeg. Victoria has a love for adventure, her last exploration taking her to a small off-grid island on the West Coast to study Contact Improvisation and live in her tent for a couple of months. The tent got moldy, the curiosity grew large. Victoria will also be performing in their piece, The Woman & The Whale.
Tanner Manson (he/him) is a queer artist specializing in devised performance creation, poetry and physical theatre. He grew up in rural Manitoba and currently resides in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory. He does a little bit of everything and loves everything a lot; from performing, to collective creation, to producing, to constructing sets, to constructing scripts. Tanner is co-founder of the award-winning Walk&Talk Theatre Company where he, along with his best pals and collaborators, create new music-theatre. He was recently an artist-in-residence with Theatre Projects Manitoba with Chautauqua: The Interlake Trail, and works as Administrative & Outreach Associate with TPM as well. Some projects he’s been a part of include: The Headliners, The Ballad of Johnny Boy, The Last Garden, KING (Walk&Talk – Co-Creator, Performer), Blink (W&T, One Trunk Theatre – Co-Artistic Producer, Performer), Knock Knock Ginger Series – Florist Follies (One Trunk Theatre – Creator/Performer), Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare in the Ruins – Tour – Performer), FERN (University of Winnipeg, Director, Co-Creator, Performer) and Moving In Moving Out (Weather Parade Dance Theatre – Production Manager). He, with Walk&Talk have also held residency with the International Institute for Sustainable Development – Experimental Lakes Area. Tanner will also be performing in their piece, The Woman & The Whale.
Jack Maier is a writer, actor, and accessibility worker currently based on Treaty 1 territory, in Winnipeg. He recently graduated from the University of Winnipeg Honours Acting program, where he also studied playwriting under Brian Drader. He has recently been active in Winnipeg’s Francophone theatre community, appearing in Théâtre Cercle Molière’s Inédit and Société de la Francophonie Manitobaine’s De chants et de batailles. Jack is also part of VIEW (VocalImage Ensemble Winnipeg), a team that provides audio description for theatre, dance, and visual art for those who are blind or visually impaired. Jack believes that art is an important tool in reshaping and honing our collective vision for the future and for the fight against climate change.
Nic Billon writes for theatre, television, and film. His work has been produced around the world and garnered many awards, including a Governor-General’s Award for Drama, a Canadian Screen Award, and a Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award.
Carla Zúñiga. Actress, playwright and director graduated from ARCIS University. She was invited by the British Council to participate in the second version of the Royal Court workshop held in Chile, between 2016 and 2018, a workshop held jointly with Argentina and Uruguay. With more than fifteen works premiered, among which are “I prefer dogs to eat me” (Work awarded as Best Dramaturgy by the circle of critics 2018), “I also want to be a heterosexual white man” (Award for the best literary works of the year 2019), “A bunch of witches flying through the sky” (Awarded work as Best Dramaturgy by the circle of critics 2020). She was the founder, together with the director Javier Casanga, of the former company La Niña Horrible. Her plays have been translated into English, French, Polish and German. Her works have been shown in Argentina, Spain, England and Mexico. She is currently the director of the XX Muestra de dramaturgia nacional de Chile.
Brittney Fredrickson (she/they) is an emerging artist within the Theatre and Film community in Winnipeg. She recently graduated from the U of W’s Honours Acting program and last year she had the honour of being mentored in directing and play adaption by the wonderful Michelle Boulet. She currently resides in rural Manitoba, on Treaty 1 Territory.
Brittney enjoys and dabbles in all aspects of theatre: from performing, to set and prop building, through to writing now to directing. They are currently a member of Theatre Projects creative cohort where they have greatly enjoyed collaborating and creating with some incredibly talented people. Though Brittney is just a small baby caterpillar emerging from their directorial cocoon, the overwhelming amount of support they have received is truly astronomical. She wants to thank everyone who’s helped her get this far, your kindness has meant so much.
Melissa Langdon is a graduate of The University of Winnipeg’s Acting Honours program, a founding member of Out From Under the Rug Theatre Collective, and the current Apprentice Artistic Director of RMTC with support from the Manitoba Arts Council. Selected credits include Orlando (RMTC, Assistant Director), The Case of You (Boca Del Lupo & RMTC, Director), Voice (PTE), Blink (One Trunk & Walk and Talk), Untamed (Tarragon Theatre, Workshop), Billy and the Moon (MTYP, Workshop), Better (Nightwood Theatre, Workshop), Spelling 2-5-5 (MTYP), Ophelia (ShakespeareFest 2019), Hamlet (SIR), School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian and Nightwood Theatre), Home 2.0, The Game, New Beginnings (Sarasvati Productions), Animosity (Winnipeg Fringe Festival), Time and the Conways, Concord Floral, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (The University of Winnipeg). Love to M, M&I and the prayer plant that is currently thriving in its new home.
Suzie Martin is an 8th-generation descendant of Pennsylvania-Dutch Mennonites who settled on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Neutral, and Haudenosaunee peoples in what is now called Waterloo County, Ontario. Based on the Prairies since 1999 she gratefully lives and works as a theatre artist in win-nipi/Winnipeg on Treaty One territory.
A director and dramaturg to her core Suzie is obsessed with the mechanics of storytelling. She works in theatres and in non-traditional spaces to re-interpret classics, stage contemporary plays, develop new scripts, and facilitate collaborative devising processes. She was nominated for a Sterling Award for Outstanding Direction of a Fringe play in 2018 and holds a teaching award from the University of Alberta. Before returning to Winnipeg in 2020 (after 6 years mostly based in amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton) Suzie was the Associate Season Director of Edmonton Fringe Theatre. She was part of the inaugural Dramaturgy Lab cohort at the Citadel Theatre and recently participated in the Future Prairie Theatre Research project. She is currently directing and dramaturging the development of a tri-provincial collaboration for Small Matters Productions and was delighted to join the dramaturgical team for One Trunk Theatre’s 2022 Hot House program.
Suzie’s work stands on the shoulders of the excellent teachers and mentors she studied with during her MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta and her BA-Honours in Acting from the University of Winnipeg. She has also been fortunate enough to assistant direct for Ardith Boxall, Anne Hodges, Christopher Brauer, Daryl Cloran, and Mieko Ouchi—all of whom generously shared their expertise and supported her development as an artist.
Ray Strachan is a Theatre Artist of Grenadian and Filipino descent, born and based in Winnipeg. He has trained with the Black Hole Theatre Company and at the Banff Centre, and has performed on numerous Canadian stages, as well as working in TV & Film. Ray is also a founding member of the ANANSI School for the Performing Arts. Recent theatre credits include, Calpurnia and The Mountaintop at RMTC, Voice at PTE, and Othello with Rayven/Beau/Echo. Ray also appears as Macbeth in a version filmed by Shakespeare in the Ruins, and can be seen on CBC’s The Porter.
Hazel Venzon is a multi-faceted producer, director, performer and dramaturg based in Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her artistic practice is influenced by relational-art aesthetics and community engaged practices as a vehicle to conduct immersive, intercultural experiences within live theatre and performance.
Independently, for the past dozen years, her focus has been on producing and directing Filipino-Canadian centred stories. Venzon co-founded U N I Together Productions (2016) which supports the evolution of Filipino storytellers across the country through producing, direction, dramaturgy, mentorship and consultation – bringing new ways to direct and stage narratives that celebrate audiences, inspiring connection.
Emily Villanueva is a queer Filipino-Canadian theatre artist, with a focus in costuming, props, puppetry and design. Born and raised in Winnipeg, she studied at the University of Winnipeg, developing her skills in design, costuming, props and puppetry. She developed her love of props and costuming over the years as an avid watcher of musical theatre and film, and desired to learn as much as she could. Developing her skills through independent projects, Emily is a member of Ode Productions, a group that produces conscious entertainment, as well as lending her talents to other groups such as Kaiju Productions and Aggressive Alpaca Productions, run by UW alumni. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sewing and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Brady Barrientos is an emerging artist finding his voice through the arts. From music, to theatre, to writing poetry, he lives and breathes artistry: music and performing being their biggest passion. A lot of his time is spent at the piano- either jamming on songs or composing new ones. Singing since he could speak, Brady is a 2nd year voice major at the University of Manitoba. He believes that in such a multicultural community such as Winnipeg, everyone has a place and a voice on the stage- and strives for POC stories and representation in the arts- they are proud to have been a part of Filipino-centric theatre projects in Winnipeg, such as BELTFEST 2021 and the first live reading of MA-BUHAY! Always willing and open to ideas, Brady is happy to be working with Theatre Projects Manitoba, which has provided him with so much support, opportunities, and a great environment to create, ponder, and grow. Brady is taking a head-first dive into the deep pool of artistry, hoping for his musings to bubble to the surface.
Kristian Cahatol (they/them/iel) is a multidisciplinary storyteller with an endless curiosity for imagination. They are delighted to be working with TPM for the first time among such passionate and creative artists! Kristian currently studies music (Classical Voice) at the University of Manitoba. As a performer, writer, learner, and daydreamer, Kristian seeks meaningful opportunities to synthesize these passions in the art they pursue and create. When they aren’t teaching five-year-olds piano or doing music theory homework, Kristian enjoys writing angsty poetry, observing the cats that live in their yard, and performing full shower musicals. Credits: The Winter’s Tale/Le conte d’hiver (SIR/TCM), Romeo & Juliet (Pocketfrock), To: Morrow (Sarasvàti).
Rayna Masterton (she/they) is a Michif/Scottish theatre artist from the Red River Valley on Treaty 1. She graduated from the University of Winnipeg in Theatre Performance and trained at Humber College’s Devised and Physical Theatre program. Rayna has continued to work and train with companies such as the Banff Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, the Globe Theatre, Company Link among others. They have premiered new work in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival (2016/2017) and RMTC’s Shakespeare Fest (2020). Too Much Too Soon is their new work in development that has been supported by the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, Prairie Theatre Exchange, and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s Digital Residency. Their work centres around themes of identity, femininity, land, and mythology. This year, Rayna has joined PTE’s Playwright’s Unit, and is one of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Indigenous Arts Leaders Fellows which has provided training in arts administration with Manitoba Theatre for Young People. They enjoy photography, gardening, and beading and spending time out on the land.
Jean van der Merwe is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, where they obtained both an Undergraduate Degree, and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Music, Vocal Performance. Whether it’s their home-town of North Battleford, SK, or their new home in Winnipeg, MB, Jean takes pride in their prairie roots. Jean has performed on stages across Winnipeg, Saskatoon and beyond in shows such as Saskatoon Opera in Schools 2019 production of The Brothers Grimm (Jacob Grimm), Jacob Herd Productions’ award winning 2019 Fringe show The Cause (Jovan Musk) and The Village Conservatory of Musical Theatre & Keep Theatre’s 2020 production of Twelfth Night (Duke Orsino). Most recently, they performed as an astronaut in the second successful round of One Trunk Theatre’s Knock Knock Ginger series. Jean’s love for music is only rivaled by their love for house-plants, of which they have far too many.
A native of Chile, Jaime Eduardo Carrasco first picked up the sticks at the age of 15, and during the early to mid 90s (1991 – 1996) was a member of the power trio, “Sundoz”. After completing his Diploma in Jazz from Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University) in Nanaimo, BC (1999), Jaime completed an Honours BFA in Music from York University in Toronto, ON (2002), where he studied Jazz drums with Barry Elmes and South Indian Classical percussion (mrdangam, kanjira) with Trichy Sankaran. During his time in Toronto, Jaime performed with Samba Squad, The Creeping Nobodies and The Free Work Band. In 2003, Jaime was accepted into the prestigious International Jazz Workshop at The Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta. While at Banff, he studied with Jazz luminaries such as Dave Douglas, Clarence Penn, Mark Turner and Jason Moran. From 2003-2005, Jaime performed in a Jazz Trio setting for Carnival Cruise Lines in the Caribbean & Alaska. Since moving back to Winnipeg in 2005, Jaime has performed with Papa Mambo, The Perms, Jane Bunnett, Michelle Grégoire, Will Bonness, Larry Roy, Amber Epp, Julian Bradford, Keith Price, Gilles Fournier, Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers, The Push Rodz, Sweet Alibi, Dave Quanbury and many others. He appears on Papa Mambo’s “Crooked Cha”, Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers’ “Fruit and Ash” EP, Beefdonut’s “Famous For Quality”, Greg Rekus’ “Punkoustic”, The Keith Price Double Quartet’s “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, and “Double Quartet”. He has also studied with New York Jazz Drummers such as, Alvin Atkinson, Clarence Penn, Eric McPherson, John Riley, and Quincy Davis. Along with performing, he also teaches the drums, and welcomes new students of all ages and abilities.
biSk-Ah-Nay ᐱ ᔅ ᑲ ᓀ will feature playwright Waawaate Fobister as a performer. The Woman & The Whale will feature playwrights Victoria Hill and Tanner Manson as performers.
Devon Helm is a 2021 University of Winnipeg graduate for Stage Management & Production. She has collaborated in the creative process of several UW productions, most recently being the set designer for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Everybody. She is thrilled to be stage managing with Theatre Projects Manitoba for the first time this June.