Bill Millerd Artist Fund
Supporting the Growth of Canadian Theatre
The Bill Millerd Artist Fund was named for and established by the Arts Club’s Artistic Director Emeritus. In the early 1960s, the Koerner Foundation awarded Bill a grant to assist him in attending the National Theatre School. After 46 years as Artistic Managing Director at the Arts Club, Bill wanted to gift similar life-changing opportunities to other theatre artists. He seeded a fund with a significant donation that was then built up to an endowment by over a thousand generous donors and a contribution from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The result is the Bill Millerd Artist Fund. Its purpose is to assist B.C. theatre artists and arts workers with expenses related to unique opportunities that will advance their artistic development, such as professional development workshops / classes, mentorships or apprenticeships, residencies with theatre companies, or tuition costs to pursue professional training.
Voice training with “On the Mic”
A native of Toronto, Abraham is a first-generation Syrian Canadian with Aramaic roots. He has traveled across this beautiful country and played in many of Canada's great theatres. Pre-COVID, he settled in Vancouver and played in the Arts Club production of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Now he spends most days seduced by the water and the glorious mountain views. You can discover more about him at abrahamasto.com.
“Stage to Screen” mentorship
Scott is a creator working in theatre, film, and television. His TV pilot script Night Passing was a Second Rounder at the Austin Film Festival, and an episodic audio-drama adaptation of Night Passing (Arts Club) is currently available to stream. Recently, his film/theatre hybrid Desire(e) AMA was commissioned by Upintheair Theatre. Scott is the lead writer at the Research-based Theatre Cluster at UBC, where he is in post-production on Rock the Boat, a series of short films. His plays Viva (Theatre BC Playwriting Award for Best One Act), The Hunger Room, and Desire(e) have received production, and Desire(e) has been published in an anthology of new work. He is an inaugural member of the Arts Club’s Emerging Playwrights’ Unit, and alumnus of the LEAP Playwriting Intensive. Scott is passionate about contributing to the canon of LGBTQ+ work, and he is grateful to reside on unceded Coast Salish territory.
Online singing lessons with Vera Wenkert
Ghislaine started her artistic career as a dancer and choreographer in Montreal, where she danced for various companies, notably Van Grimde Corps Secret, Flak, and Sinha Danse. In 2008 Ghislaine became one of the finalists for Canada’s first edition of “So You Think You Can Dance.” As a lead singer for Stranger Brew, she made her mark in festivals Pacifique en Chanson and Chant'Ouest. In Vancouver, she recently performed in the Arts Club production of The Sound of Music and with Théâtre la Seizième in Nos Repaires #4. Ghislaine was also seen in Camyar Chai’s adaptation of Richard III for Seven Tyrants Theatre, King Richard and His Women. Her love for theatre inspired the creation of L’École buissonnière, which combines French songs and theatre. Thanks to a grant from the Canada Arts Council, Ghislaine will be recording her first EP this summer.
AD apprenticeship with Théâtre la Seizième
Cory is a bilingual director, performer, maker, and actor trainer. He holds an MFA from the Central School of Speech and Drama in Actor Training and Coaching and a BPA from Capilano University. He is also the artistic director of no comment. th(é)âtre. Recently, he directed Nos Repaires #1 and performed in le NoShow Vancouver for Théâtre la Seizième. He is currently developing a new piece, a psychological thriller called “Dilemme,” with Siona Gareau-Brennan and François Bernier. This past year, Cory has been receiving artistic direction mentorship with Théâtre la Seizième, which has been generously supported by the Bill Millerd Artist Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the National Theatre School’s prize for Artistic Development.
Composition mentorship with Ashley Pearce
khattieQ is a musician and performer hailing from Puerto Rico. In 2020 they co-created with their wife, Jenny, the piece Catalina La O Presenta: Ahora Conmigo, which features original music by khattieQ and Anton Berríos and won the 2020 Vancouver Fringe New Play Prize. khattieQ was the original guitarist and vocalist for punk band BLXPLTN(Blacksploitation) from 2013 to 2015 and has played as a professional musician with over twenty bands, cutting their teeth in the Austin live music scene. Most notably, they toured as drummer for queer femme core band The Tuna Helpers and taught drums at Girls Rock Austin Summer Camps from 2010 to 2017. khattieQ’s professional theatre credits include Denim Doves and Casta for Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, Heaven Born Wind at UBC, and Be-Longing for the frank theatre company in Vancouver.
Kevin Takahide Lee
Japanese language and shamisen lessons
A fourth-generation Chinese-Japanese Canadian, Kevin descends from a family who experienced the head tax and the Japanese Canadian internment of WWII. Growing up in BC’s Lower Mainland, he witnessed the challenges his family and immigrants faced regarding accessibility to services and preservation of their culture. This led him to work in the performing arts and advocacy. He is a seasoned performer with the Surrey ReEnactors and has performed with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, Carousel Theatre, Vancouver Opera, and various TV shows. He has participated in panels and conferences in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa concerning Truth and Reconciliation and disability and youth, as well as exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. For the past eight years, he has been a member of the Powell Street Festival Programming Committee. Kevin acknowledges the support of the Arts Club’s Bill Millerd Artist Fund and is honoured to receive this opportunity to connect with his heritage.
Sean is a Vancouver-based wig and costume designer and also the instructor of Wig Styling and Ventilating for Vancouver Film School, where he graduated from the Makeup and Hair Design program in 2007. For the past six years, Sean has been a part of the wardrobe team at the Arts Club as the charismatic laundry wench (wardrobe maintenance), as well as regular wig maintainer and builder. His credits at the Arts Club include, for building and styling wigs: Matilda, The Orchard, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley; as wig master: Spamalot, Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages, and Matilda. His other career highlights include costume design for Brooke Lynn Hytes, including her “Zebra Facekiki” look and Purple Kaftan for Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race; two looks for Tynomi Banks for Season 1 of Canada's Drag Race; and building 28 wigs and three costumes for Season 2 of Canada's Drag Race.
Tuition support for MFA program at UBC
Tanya is a Vancouver-based director, stage manager, and the Artistic/Managing Director of Aenigma Theatre, who moved to this beautiful city from Singapore over a decade ago. She graduated from UBC with a Double Honours BA in Theatre and English, and is currently doing an MFA in Theatre Directing. Past directing credits include The Turn of the Screw, The How and the Why, VIVA, Copenhagen, Dying City, RED, Blackbird, The Zoo Story, No Exit (Aenigma Theatre); Cost of Living (Assistant Director, Arts Club); Approaching Lavender (Bright Young Theatre); The Pillowman (UBC Players Club); and The Sorrows of Young Werther (Assistant Director, UBC Theatre). Other favourite credits include A Charlie Brown Christmas (Carousel Theatre for Young People); Comfort Cottages; The Dining Room (Western Gold Theatre); The Trial of Judith K, Brave New Play Rites 2011, and Macbeth (UBC Theatre). Tanya is currently working on a Shadow Puppet Webseries as part of her 10th production with Aenigma Theatre.
Indigenous cultural mentorship with Tsatassaya White
Tamara is the artistic producer of Rusticate Theatre and co-producer of The Fox Queen and Slamming Door Collective. She was a founding member and co-artistic director of Boca del Lupo Theatre. As the current associate artistic producer for Pacific Coast Stage Company, Tamara produced the first ever online Nanaimo Fringe Festival in 2020, during COVID. She has been dramaturg for new plays by Western Edge, MatchMaker, and Weinkauf Productions. A producer, teacher, and multiple Jessie Richardson Theatre Award¬–nominated director and actor, Tamara’s select directing credits include The Double Axe Murders (Rusticate/ PHT/ Gateway/ Evergreen); Julius Caesar (Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival); The Out Vigil (Theatre Newfoundland Labrador); A Hundred Words for Snow (United Players); La Bohème (Opera Nanaimo); The Sea; A Doll’s House (Slamming Door); Gruesome Playground Injuries (Dark Matter); Between the Sheets; Reasons to Be Pretty (Western Edge); James and the Giant Peach (Chemainus Theatre Festival); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; and A Beautiful View (Naked Goddess).
Diversity and inclusion mentorship with Naheyawin
Currently living on the unceded traditional territory of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlim) Nation, Phay is an Intimacy Director and Coordinator, director, internationally trained actor combatant, and professional actor based in what is colonially known as Vancouver, British Columbia. Through her mixed ancestry, Phay explores intimacy topics through a decolonised and Indigenous perspective. She has worked as an administrative assistant for Intimacy Directors International co-founder Siobhan Richardson; an artistic associate, producer, and Industry Series Coordinator for Full Circle: First Nations Performance and the Talking Stick Festival; instructor at Chilliwack School of Performing Arts. She currently works with Principal Intimacy Professionals, is on the start-up committee of the National Society of Intimacy Professionals, and is a part of BCTC’s Next Gen Youth committee. Phay’s staged intimacy work was featured in The Wars, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (UBC Dept of Theatre & Film); Alice in Glitterland (Geekenders); bare: a pop opera (Eternal Theatre Collective); and award-winning short film FREYA.
Intimacy Director training with NSIP
Karyn (she/they) is an actor, assistant intimacy coordinator, dancer, performance coach, and workshop coordinator for the National Society of Intimacy Professionals and holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta. Born and raised in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Karyn has been working professionally in theatre for the past 16 years and in film and television for the past eight years. Karyn is deeply grateful to live, breath, and create on the stolen and traditional lands of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Selected theatrical credits include A Christmas Carol, Oliver! (Citadel Theatre); Little Women, All Shook Up (Gateway/Chemainus); The Wizard of Oz (ATP); and The Soul Collector (Catalyst Theatre). Karyn is a Sterling, Ovation, and Jesse Award–nominated performer and is of Irish and Scottish descent. GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT. Karyn is filled with gratitude at the opportunity to broaden and enhance their skill set in the performing arts.
Flamenco mentorship with Oscar Nieto
Known for her fierce determination and brazenly unapologetic heart, AJ is a Mestiza dancer/actor. With a passion for storytelling and a diverse foundation in classical theatre and dance, AJ offers an intersectional, complex, and trauma-informed approach to performance. For the stage, AJ has collaborated with Frank Theatre, Bard on the Beach, Electric Company, rice & beans, Pacific, Factory, Pleiades, Young People's Theatre, Roseneath, Aluna, and Alameda Theatre. AJ also explores her intersectionality through flamenco dance and flamenco cante (singing). Currently, she studies with acclaimed artists Oscar Nieto and Kasandra “La China” of Mozaico Flamenco. AJ was also a member of Flamenco Rosario’s Professional Training Program. As an emerging filmmaker, AJ has written, produced, and directed several short films which have screened at festivals across Canada and the United States, including Yasmina, a short film released and broadcast in cooperation with Storyhive, Telus, and NSI–Canada.
Activist apprenticeship with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Shanae is a theatre artist. He is a graduate of Studio 58, where he was one of the establishing members and head organizer of the school's Student Diversity Committee. This student-led group works to give strength to marginalized groups within the theatre community by empowering students with the tools and knowledge to engage in conversations about diversity. He focuses on creating work that is community-oriented and bridges performance with direct action. Recent producing credits include associate producer on Straight White Men (ITSAZOO Productions); producer on Catalina La O: Ahora Conmigo (winner of the 2020 Fringe New Play Prize); Mx by Lili Robinson (winner of the 2019 Fringe New Play Prize and Cultchivating the Fringe Award); and Selective Memory by Todd Simmons (eVolver Festival). Shanae currently works as the associate artistic producer at Rumble Theatre. He is also a recently elected board member of the PuSh Festival.
Donnie was inspired to pursue wig styling in 2017 when he landed his first job for the Arts Club dressing the wig track with Christine Hackman's show-stopping work on Disney's Beauty and the Beast. From show to show at the Arts Club, Donnie collected knowledge and has been focusing his energy throughout the pandemic on refining his styling skills—even starting a business now known as "OMG Wigs," primarily styling for drag queens. He is so honoured to be a recipient of the Bill Millerd Artist Fund and excited to use this opportunity to learn even more. Aside from wig styling, Donnie is also a costume designer and runs a costume house alongside Christina Sinosich. Together, they are a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award–winning design team, and their work has been seen with companies such as Theatre Under the Stars, Raincity Theatre, and RCMT.
Comedy dramaturgy mentorships
Deborah is a writer and dramaturg currently based in London. Her most recent play, BIG Sister, won the Cultchivating the Fringe Award and was nominated for Outstanding Original Script at the 2020 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Additional past writing credits include Little Sausage, BUSK, and Sylvia's Hotel. In 2020, she co-founded Chalk Musical Theatre Dramaturgy, a script-reading service for musical theatre writers of all levels. She has a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC and an MA in Dramaturgy and Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the current Live Performance Programmer at JW3 London. Deborah is thrilled to be expanding her practice to focus on comedy dramaturgy and furthering development opportunities for new female comedians.
Training with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators
Hilary is a queer, mixed-race Chinese-Canadian actor who originally hails from Victoria. She has spent the past three years studying acting at the National Theatre School of Canada, performing in productions such as Indecent, Everybody, and Bonus Points if You Have Air Conditioning. In Victoria she performed in three seasons with the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival, and recently premiered her solo work, The Media Zoo, at SKAMpede Festival. As an artist, she creates and collaborates on theatre that pushes boundaries, provides a necessary escape, and contextualizes classics in a contemporary world. She creates art to make one feel seen and heard.
Puppetry training with National Puppetry Conference
Olivia is a mixed-race Chinese-Canadian performance designer, composer, and multidisciplinary artist. As an emerging artist, her artistic and technical work in scenography, sound design, music direction, and composition aims to challenge the definition of each of these practices by pushing the parameters of traditional theatre. The pandemic has given her the opportunity to expand on her own original work through the mediums of story creation and puppetry with Theatre SKAM’s Pop-Up Theatre and the conVERGE Residency with Intrepid Theatre and Puente Theatre. The recent graduate from the University of Victoria holds a degree in Theatre with a minor in Music, and focused on performance design, technical theatre, music composition, and music technology during her studies.
Playwrighting residency with ESP-I
Johnny is a bilingual Taiwanese-Canadian interdisciplinary performer and creator. He graduated from SFU with a double major in Theatre Performance and Criminology, and has also trained with mentors from Yale, Columbia, NYU, Carnegie Mellon, York University, National Theatre School, and many independent studios. Johnny's theatre credits include The Pink Line: Pain Held Tight (Queer Arts Festival, 2016); These Violent Delights (Summerworks Performance Festival, 2017); movement consulting for Animus Anima//Anima Animus (The Public Theatre, New York City, 2019); and creative consulting for Portrait of my DNA (PuSh Festival, 2020). His work on the film Bunny Man placed first in the 10-minute short category and was voted as Fan Choice for best Overall Short at the Mighty Asian Filmmaking Marathon hosted by Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Johnny can also be seen in CW’s Legends of Tomorrow and Kung Fu.