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 her MFA graduating project The Builders; Ears Pricked, Eyes Peeled for Art in the Open 2014; 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maurice S. Turner II is a musician, public school arts educator and activist, the co-founder of Turner World Around Productions, Inc. and one-half of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction), an artistic ensemble composing and performing a blend of jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and soul music. Through M.U.G.A.B.E.E., Maurice works with people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds facilitating workshops, which range from music production to civil rights. When not performing with M.U.G.A.B.E.E., Maurice is a trumpeter for hire. He has shared the stage with many great musicians, which include The Wynton Marsalis Septet, Ellis Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Mulgrew Miller, Jon Faddis, Danny Barker, Wallace Roney, Stranger Malone, Donald Byrd, Keeter Betts, Elise Witt, Jimmy Heath, Ray Drummond, Chris “Daddy” Dave, Randy Brecker, and Bobby Rush to name a few. Mr. Turner is an Arts Educator in the Jackson Public School System where he has worked with the “My Mississippi Eye” Program at Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi. He uses performing art to help students empower themselves personally, work to define their school’s culture as one of inclusion, understand the importance of organization and community structure, and become more involved in their community’s political process.
Ian is a multifaceted theatre artist with roots in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. Ian specializes in devised theatre, having worked as a scenic designer, a performer and a producer. His deepest obsession is puppets, or rather, anything that can be given life through animation. Ian is fascinated with the discarded, the misplaced, and the forgotten, which has developed into a sustainable practice of working with unorthodox materials. Ian is a Co-Artistic Director of Mudfoot Theatre in Calgary, Alberta and a frequent puppeteer with Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, Vermont.
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.
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. Last year, she became mixed up with this crazy Pageant and is delighted to be involved in its second 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.
Kirsten MacLaine enjoys teaching music, band, choir and drama at Gulf Shore Consolidated School in North Rustico on the beautiful north shore of Prince Edward Island. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, Kirsten packed up her trumpet and travelled east to the University of Prince Edward Island where she earned her Bachelor of Music, with a specialization in Education in 1998. She returned to Ontario to complete a Bachelor of Education at Nippissing University in 1999, and her Masters in Education from the University of New Brunswick in 2012.
A passionate music educator, Kirsten has taught music in Toronto and PEI, from pre-school to Grade 13. A community musician involved in various performing opportunities, she has also served on many different professional committees, most recently as President of the Canadian Music Educator’s Association. She is also currently a Board member of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. Kirsten lives in scenic New Glasgow, PEI with her husband Matt and their four children: Emma, Charlotte, Flora and Callum.
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.
Eliza Star Child Knockwood
Eliza Star Child Knockwood is a Mi’kmaq woman from Abegweit First Nation with a vital, creative, and powerful voice. She is an experienced public speaker and facilitator, and is a filmmaker with over 14 years experience in the film industry. She is serves on the boards of many Island organizations, including the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI, the PEI Council of the Arts, Rock Barra Artist Retreat Co-op and the Sierra Club Atlantic Executive Committee. She is currently producing and editing a film "All My Relations" on personal and collective healing not only for First Nations people, but all people. Eliza Star-Child is known for her ability to speak from the heart, bringing her unique perspective as a First Nations woman, single parent, and two-spirited person as she connects with people of all ages through her filmmaking and public engagement work. She is a passionate advocate for her diverse community, the land and sea.
Grace was born in Charlottetown, PEI. After exploring life in other cities in Canada, she realized that she misses the Island too much if she is gone for too long and has settled in the same neighbourhood in which she was raised.
Grace considers herself to be one of those weird people who is at her best while working under pressure. By day, Grace is a sharpener of all things dull—scissors, carpentry tools, and the like—and by night and on weekends, she explores her more creative side. In addition to being a writer for ‘Salty: The Island’s Food Digest’, Grace has taken on different behind-the-scenes roles assisting with the production of various ACT (a community theatre) shows. Most recently, Grace is one of the two co-producers/creative directors of ‘Raised on Television’ an annual sketch comedy/multimedia theatrical event that reflects on the serious, silly, and absurd moments on television that influenced who we are today.
Most importantly, however, Grace’s greatest ongoing project is her son Ivan, whom she has been working on steadily for 14+ years.