Carmen Aguirre is an award-winning theatre artist and author who has written and co-written more than 25 plays, including Chile Con Carne, The Refugee Hotel, The Trigger, Blue Box, Broken Tailbone, and Anywhere But Here, as well as the international bestseller and #1 in Canada, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (winner of CBC Canada Reads 2012), and its bestselling sequel, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution. Carmen is currently writing an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea for Vancouver’s Rumble Theatre, and Moliere’s The Learned Ladies for Toronto’s Factory Theatre. She is a Core Artist at Electric Company Theatre and a co-founding member of the Canadian Latinx Theatre Artist Coalition (CALTAC). She has more than 80 film, TV, and stage acting credits, including her award-winning lead role in the Canadian premiere of Stephen Adley Guirgis’ The Motherfucker with the Hat, and her Leo-nominated lead performance in the independent feature film Bella Ciao!. She is a graduate of Studio 58.
Tara Beagan is proud to be Ntlaka’pamux and, through her late father's side, of Irish ancestry. She is cofounder/director of ARTICLE 11 with Andy Moro. Beagan served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts from February 2011 to December 2013. During her time, NEPA continued with traditional values for guidance, had an Elder in Residence, and named and moved into the Aki Studio. Beagan has been in residence at Cahoots Theatre (Toronto), NEPA (Toronto), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) and Berton House (Dawson City, Yukon). She is now Playwright In Residence at Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg). Seven of her 28 plays are published. Two plays have received Dora Award nominations (one win). In 2018, Beagan was a finalist in the Alberta Playwrights’ Network competition. In 2020, Honour Beat won the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama. Recent premieres include Deer Woman in Aotearoa (New Zealand), Honour Beat opening the 2018/19 season at Theatre Calgary, The Ministry of Grace at Belfry Theatre in Victoria, and Super in Plays2Perform@Home with Boca Del Lupo (Vancouver).
A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s writing program, Martin Bellemare was awarded the 2009 Gratien Gélinas Prize for Le Chant de Georges Boivin. La Liberté was presented at La Rubrique (Jonquière) in 2013 and in Montreal in 2015, and was scheduled to be staged in Ottawa in 2020. Maître Karim la perdrix (2018 Prix SACD de la dramaturgie francophone, awarded by the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) will premiere at the Théâtre des Capucins in Luxembourg in 2021. Moule Robert (CNL Scholarship, shortlisted for the 2017 Prix SACD de la dramaturgie francophone and the 2018 Michel Tremblay Prize) was produced simultaneously at La Rubrique and at the POCHE/ GVE in Geneva, then at the Théâtre de Belleville in Paris. Martin is a four-time recipient of the Aide à la création grant from the Centre national du Théâtre/ARTCENA in Paris, and two of his plays are included in the repertoire of the Comédie-Française. Two of his plays for young audiences, Un château sur le dos and Des pieds et des mains, which was first produced at the NAC, have toured in Canada and internationally. In 2019, Extraordinaire et mystérieux and Charlie et le djingpouite were produced, and Cœur minéral premiered at the Francophonies in Limoges. The latter play was scheduled for a Montreal production in 2020.
Karen Hines’s lush satires have traveled the globe: from Toronto to Kuala Lumpur, her plays and ‘little films’ have won critical acclaim, charmed and horrified her audiences, and cemented her reputation as “one of the most original artists in the city” (Toronto Life), and "one of the gems of Canadian theatre" (Toronto Star). Raised by scientists, Hines’ keen musings on modern life combine such disparate elements as magical realism, pink-brand feminism, real estate and climate change. She is the author of seven award-winning plays, all published by Coach House Books, and she has twice been finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, for her Drama: Pilot Episode and for her trilogy of Pochsy Plays. Hines has collaborated on the development of many new productions by other artists, and she is the long-time director of internationally beloved adult horror clowns Mump & Smoot. Recent projects include her micro-theatrical solo Crawlspace, and All the Little Animals I Have Eaten, which was to have had its Toronto premiere just as the pandemic came. Currently, she is creating new plays, including the fourth in the Pochsy series. Her singular style, informed by an alchemy of clown and bouffon, has won her a reputation as an auteur and a conduit of biting, hilarious, provocative entertainment.
Annick Lefebvre holds a degree in playwriting and theatre critique from UQAM (2004). She is the founder of Le Crachoir, a company dedicated to placing the author, female or not, at the centre of the creation-production-performance process. She has written several plays, including Ce samedi il pleuvait (shortlisted for the 2013 Michel-Tremblay Award); La machine à révolte (shortlisted for the 2015 Louise-LaHaie Award); J’accuse (shortlisted for the 2015 Michel-Tremblay Award, the 2015 Critics’ Choice Award from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre [AQCT] and the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award); Les barbelés (shortlisted for the 2019 Critics’ Choice Award from the AQCT); ColoniséEs (winner of the 2019 Michel-Tremblay Award and shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award); and several short scripts for collective events. She adapted J’accuse twice, once for a production in Belgium, and once for a French production. Annick Lefebvre was chosen as protégée by playwright Olivier Choinière, laureate of the 2014 Siminovitch Prize. Her plays are published by Dramaturges Éditeurs.
A 2008 graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, Mani Soleymanlou has lived in Tehran, Paris, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, and has worked with such acclaimed directors as Alice Ronfard (Les pieds des anges), Brigitte Haentjens (L’opéra de quat’sous), Claude Poissant (Rouge gueule, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi), Serge Denoncourt (Projet Andromaque, Les trois mousquetaires), Olivier Kemeid (Furieux et désespérés), Denis Bernard (Ce moment-là) and Eric Jean (Variations sur un temps).
He is best known as the founding artistic director (2011) of the Montreal-based theatre company Orange Noyée. His distinctive artistic practice investigates notions of community identity (Un/One, Deux/Two, Trois/Three) and social relationships (Ils étaient quatre, Cinq à sept, 8). He pursued this approach more recently in Neuf [working title] and Zéro presented in fall 2019 in Montreal and Ottawa, and also in various artistic collaborations over the years: Lapin blanc, Lapin rouge, Les Lettres arabes II, and À te regarder, ils s’habitueront. Mani Soleymanlou was part of the impressive team behind Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show (premiered at the NAC in October 2017), as director and co-artistic director.
Mani Soleymanlou assumed the position of Artistic Director of NAC French Theatre on September 1, 2021.
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.