February 12, 2021 update on live performances and events at the NAC.
 | Max Tezelrow
Siminovitch Prize Jury Chair

Vanessa Porteous


Vanessa is a director of theatre and opera, an educator, an arts leader, and a dramaturg based in Calgary. In recent seasons, she directed the world premiere of Between Us by Meg Farhall and Michael Rolfe (Handsome Alice), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Calgary Opera), the world premiere of Bronte: The World Without by Jordi Mand (Stratford Festival), the world premiere of the English language version of To the Light by Evelyne de la Chenelière, translated by John Murrell (Alberta Theatre Projects), and The Humans at Theatre Calgary.

From 2009 – 2017 she was Artistic Director at Alberta Theatre Projects, after spending ten years at the company in other capacities. As a dramaturg she has participated in the Banff Playwrights Colony (now the Banff Playwrights’ Lab) more than fifteen times.

For Nightswimming’s Pure Research program, Vanessa led an exploration of silence as a creative tool in a rehearsal process. Recently she team taught a class on the actor-director relationship with Jordan Pettle for Ghostlight.ca. She also teaches at the University of Calgary and has taught for ArtsTrek and Dramaworks among other institutions.

Other favourite directing work includes the world premiere of Gracie by Joan MacLeod (ATP/Belfry Theatre); the world premiere of Cockroach by Jonathan Garfinkel, based on the novel by Rawi Hage (ATP), the English language world premiere of Christina The Girl King by Michel Marc Bouchard, translated by Linda Gaboriau (Stratford Festival), the English language world premiere of You Will Remember Me by François Archambault translated by Bobby Theodore (ATP), Red (Betty Mitchell Award, Directing, ATP), The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (ATP, Arts Club Theatre), When That I Was (Betty Mitchell Award, Directing, The Shakespeare Company), the world premieres of The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan (ATP, twice) and Pinocchio by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop (ATP, Magnetic North Theatre Festival), The Syringa Tree (ATP, twice, Thousand Islands Playhouse), and The Enchanted Child (L’enfant et les sortileges) (Calgary Opera).

With film-maker Sandi Somers, Vanessa is working on her first short film, Greet the Dawn, to be released in Fall/Winter 2020. Vanessa is bilingual in English and French and speaks Spanish.