Ker Wells was raised on a sheep farm in Cascumpeque, PEI, and graduated from Mount Allison University and The National Theatre School of Canada. He was a founding member of Primus Theatre (‘89-‘97) and Number Eleven Theatre (‘99-‘07). He has performed, taught, and directed across Canada and in the U.S, Mexico, and Europe. Recent work includes directing Macbeth and The Flood Thereafter for Canadian Stage Company, and Struck, created with New York’s NACL Theatre. Wells has been a returning guest faculty member at the National Theatre School of Canada, the Humber College School of Performing Arts and The Contemporary Opera Lab at the University of Manitoba. In 2014 he began teaching in the School of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
Megan Stewart is a theatre artist from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, who splits her time between Vancouver and PEI. She recently completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She makes solo and collaborative devised theatre and performance, as well as installations and community-based performance projects. She was part of the creative team behind the Crow Parade during the inaugural Art in the Open Festival in Charlottetown, now a recurring feature of the yearly event. In 2012, she co-founded The Island Fringe Festival with Sarah Segal-Lazar and served as festival coordinator for its first three years of existence. Recent works include The Mission forArt in the Open 2017, The Builders, and Elsewear, a performance & installation created in residence at Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina . www.meganblythe.com
Emily Wells grew up on PEI, attended the Culinary Institute in the mid-1980s and has been cooking ever since. After 10 years cooking in Ottawa restaurants, she returned to PEI in 1998 and joined Shaun McKay's kitchen at The Dunes Cafe. In 2003, she became chef there and remained at The Dunes for 10 years. In 2014, she decided it was time to go it alone and in the 2014/2015 season she became chef and owner of The Mill in New Glasgow, formerly the Olde Glasgow Mill owned by Harvey & Rosemary Larkin. Emily is also co-owner with Scott Campbell of Local 343 in Charlottetown and YouMeal with Jake Wells. For the River Clyde Pageant, she is serving as local liaison and the coordinator of the community suppers that will follow the Pageant performances.
I grew up in Cascumpeque, PEI, on a river as beautiful as the River Clyde. If there is one place I am truly, deeply at home, it is on that shore. I now live with my partner and son in Toronto, where I have been working as a writer, actor and director for over 20 years. I have directed community-based performances for many years, principally through my job as artistic resource teacher at the Trinity Bellwoods CARE program in Toronto, where I created a score of original plays with a score of school-age children enrolled in Art in the Park, an outdoor summer art camp. I also worked in collaboration with visual artist Kristen Fahrig, creating community events at McGregor Park in Toronto’s west end, gatherings that featured a performance starring community members; and a party, with food, drink, and music.
As a teacher, I have led theatre workshops for all ages, amateur and professional; in addition to play creation with school-age children, I have taught physical theatre workshops both to professional actors across Canada and to community theatre groups throughout Ontario.
I “retired” last year to spend time at home with my son, but am delighted to come out of retirement to work with the River Clyde Pageant.
Ian McFarlane is a puppeteer, a craftsman, a carpenter, a scenographer, a paddler, a scholar and a tinkerer. His practice contemplates the poetics of landscape through junkyard theatrics and performative alchemy. Over the last 4 years, Ian has worked with Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, Vermont where he has helped create a number of circuses, pageants, parades, protests, gardens and experimental puppet shows. Recently, Ian received an MFA from Simon Fraser University in Contemporary Art, where his studies in puppetry examined ways of incorporating weather into scenic design and performance.
Sébastien Labelle & Susan Leblanc
Sébastien Labelle is a Halifax-based actor, trade unionist and community organizer. He is also the Festival Director of the Mayworks Halifax Festival, an annual labour and social justice themed arts festival. Sébastien is a former apprentice of the Bread & Puppet Theatre in Vermont where he was involved in the development and practice of traditional forms of street theatre, puppetry and landscape pageants. As a performer, he has worked with Shakespeare By the Sea, Villain's Theatre, Puppets Et Cetera, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, 2bTheatre, Zuppa Theatre Co. and the Irondale Ensemble Project.
Susan Leblanc is Co-Artistic Director of Zuppa Theatre Co, and has been a core member of the company since 1999. With Zuppa she has co-created, produced and performed in over 14 shows and regularly teaches workshops in performance and collaborative performance creation. Most recently Zuppa has been touring its show Pop-Up Love Party, a performance for the five senses, which features a seven-course snack menu by Michelin starred chef Daniel Burns. The company is also creating a new performance, The Archive of Missing Things, which will be an immersive theatre experience for patrons of libraries. Sue lives in Halifax with her partner Sebastien, their two children and their Island-native poodle.
Marti Hopson grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University and then a Masters of Music at the University of Victoria. She composed, performed in, directed, and stage managed many musical and theatre events in Ontario, Quebec and BC before becoming a veterinarian and taking a lengthy hiatus from the musical theatre world. In 2016, she became mixed up with this crazy Pageant and is delighted to be involved in its third year. She spends the rest of her time working on an organic vegetable farm, producing theatre, and arranging mobile veterinary clinics to remote areas of Canada's North.
Arnold Smith was born and raised on a mixed family farm on the Smith Road in Pleasant Valley, P.E.I. He is now retired from 41 years in the Island’s tourism industry. He has a keen interest in preserving the Island’s heritage and culture. He creates period reproduction costumes and collects & restores vintage clothing. He was a founding member of the Montgomery/Watermark Theatre. Arnold is thrilled to be part of the River Clyde Pageant, designing and creating costumes for characters such as the Great Blues Herons and the Three Sisters.
Laura Astwood is a creator and performer of original theatre works as well as a coach and teacher of physical theatre skills. She has led numerous stilt workshops in Ottawa and elsewhere, specializing in teaching the use of stilts as a theatrical tool.
As a creator and director Laura has developed several theatrical works with her company The Ottawa Stilt Union, specializing in the combination of story-telling and spectacular physical spectacle.
Kathy Randels, a native New Orleanian and founding artistic director of ArtSpot Productions, has written, performed in, and directed numerous original solo and group works for professional, student and incarcerated ensembles in Louisiana and beyond. Her soul shaking work has been presented in four continents, and 30 U.S. States. She founded the LCIW (Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women) Drama Club in 1996, and co-founded The Graduates (an ensemble of formerly incarcerated women/returning citizens in 2012). Current projects include Sea of Common Catastrophe; and Won’t Bow Down! an organizing tour and project with The Graduates. Visit www.artspotproductions.org for more information.
Sean LaRocca has been ArtSpot Productions’ managing director and main music man for over twenty years. He attended Berklee College of Music and St. John’s College, winning awards for Best Musical Composition in 1988 and 1989. Since returning to his hometown of New Orleans, Sean has toured and recorded with several local groups, composed and performed works for video, television, and film, and gradually come to dedicate his labors to this crazy thing called theatre.
Michael Geitheris a playwright and solo performer whose works have been staged in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York and London. He is a three-time Ohio Arts Council fellow and has served as a resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and as Playwright-in-Residence at Cleveland Public Theatre. Recent works include The Obtaining Gigantick Dimensions (Zuppa Theatre, Halifax, 2013), The Tinderbox (Tailspinner Children’s Theatre, Cleveland, 2013), And Treat the Distant Peoples With Kindness (University of Ottawa, 2012), Shah Mat (Ottawa Dance Directive, 2011), and Circe/Landfall (Canada Dance Festival, 2010). He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Cleveland State University where he teaches in the Northeast Ohio MFA in creative writing.
Joanna Caplan is a theatre artist and arts educator who has worked and trained extensively with Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Her solo show, Total Verrückt! had its Canadian premiere in Charlottetown at the Island Fringe Festival in 2013, and has since toured to Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Toronto and LA. A longtime practitioner of yoga, Joanna uses elements of her practice to inform her approach to theatre. She has recently expanded her theatre practice to explore the martial art Kalaripayattu, as well as the performance practice Ottanthullal, both forms originating in the Indian state of Kerala.
Debi & Robin Stevenson
Robin is a 6th generation Stevenson from New Glasgow PEI. For the past 35 years he has worked as a carpenter in Nova Scotia and PEI. With a great appreciation for antiques, he has spent his latter years refining his woodworking talent to the replication and repair of antique furniture and cabinets.
Debi moved to PEI in the early 1970’s from Resolute Bay, NWT. Like many people, she fell in love with the Island and decided to make it her home. She graduated from the PEI School of Nursing and worked as a critical care nurse in Charlottetown for many years.
Sharing a love of nature and a desire for a “simple country life,” Debi and Robin moved to New Glasgow 15 years ago, building and establishing their homestead on a piece of land that has been in the Stevenson family for over 200 years. Together, they operate a carpentry and woodworking business from their home. Always an avid gardener, Debi grows large organic gardens and raises chickens for meat and eggs.
Robyn Jacob is a pianist, singer, composer and educator who lives and works on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She has been striving for beauty that defies category in Canada and internationally with her avant-pop project Only A Visitor, and has self released five albums including Tower Temporary (2015,) Lines (2017) and Technicolour Education (2019). Committed to writing and performing avant-garde music, recent composition projects explore writing for voice and small ensemble, and balancing between the pop and new music realms. As a music educator she believes in discovery through teaching, and learning through discovery, and has taught youth workshops on free improvisation and deep listening. Since 2012 she has been part of the multi-disciplinary arts collective Publik Secrets, currently artists in residence at the Hadden Park Field House with the City of Vancouver. In 2013 she toured Bali with Gamelan Gita Asmara, and has since been playing with Gamelan Bike Bike. For four years she was host of The Rib on CiTR 101.9FM, a show dedicated to the dissemination of local experimental musical talent. Robyn has received a Bachelor's degree in Music from the University of British Columbia, and has completed two residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has been teaching music and piano privately for over 10 years.