The Cast: (In Alphabetical Order)
There was a boy: a very strange, enchanted boy. They say he wandered very far - very far! - over land and sea. One magic day in 2007, Casper found his way to the city of Vancouver - where he now lives and breathes at twenty-three years old - on his search for fools, kings, and for his own sense of truth. Casper is an artist, writer, and a story-telling ghost who brings insight into what it means to him to be transgendered and a member of the queer community to his first stage offering with Headlines Theatre. The greatest thing he's ever learned is just to love and be loved in return. As is; shamelessly, and without apologies from either side.
Born in the small Saskatchewan town of Meadow Lake, Brandy was raised in the mountains of Nelson, British Columbia which heavily influenced her creative abilities and open mindedness to all peoples. Moving to East Vancouver to pursue a creative career she found access to her culture - something which she had never experienced. Challenged with her "everyone is equal and beautiful" ideals, she struggled with the stories, new found awareness and prejudiced attitudes from others, being Native but not fully accepted by either side. Trading in her dreadlocks for long hair, and skate shoes for moccasins, she began to re-learn and understand her cultural identity, protocols and the ugly truths of "Us and Them". She is now proud of her First Nations ancestry being Cree, Métis and Blackfoot and can't wait to begin her journey on this project.
Reem is an Egyptian Muslim 36 year old filmmaker, born in Syria. She spent some childhood years in Saudi Arabia. Reem lived and worked in many western societies since the age of seventeen. She was confronted with many issues of racism since leaving home for the first time in 1992 and was also confronted with a western culture that already labelled her. Reem then went on to study & work in human rights issues in Kosovo, Thailand, many parts of the Middle East, as well as the US, Canada, Italy & the UK. She left a world of comfortable familiarity & entered a world of questioning her values against those of others in the surrounding culture in which she resided. Trying to belong brought up issues of her own identity v.s. the community around her, especially when combatting prejudices. Reem feels that being part of the Us and Them production will help her confront her own issues of belonging.
Iris Paradela - Hunter
"Do you work here?" Even though she may not actually be wielding a mop or spraying on Windex, Iris is invariably asked this question. It has happened in university hallways, community centres or even while she was relaxing on the patio of a B&B at Niagara Falls. Over time, she has learned to respond to such questions with humour and aplomb. Like many other immigrants, she knows all too well the feeling of being labelled by the assumptions of others, and the loneliness brought about by lack of a community. Iris immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in search of adventure and a better life. She is currently finishing her second BA degree at Simon Fraser University and is a committed volunteer with Frontier College's ESL Program for domestic workers. Iris is excited to be a part of the Us and Them Project and hopes that the play will help create more bridges between 'us' and 'them'.
Connor is a 25 year old white heterosexual male from North Vancouver. He has been incredibly privileged his whole life. It was not until starting to work with Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed six years ago that he learned what that privilege and title meant. He learned that the way he was living and the attitudes he and his peers had towards others were not only harmful to himself but to the world around him. Racism, sexism, classism, colonialism, homophobia, trauma and addiction are all things that Connor has taken part in to varying degrees (mostly slight degrees). But with that said, Connor currently struggles with, challenges, and works against these as they take a role in his life and the lives of people close to him. Connor has a constantly curious and questioning attitude towards the systems that keep us and them oppressed and is actively taking part in many projects that look to stifle these cycles of oppression; theatre and facilitation work with his friends as a part of Swamp Theatre, volunteer work as a board member for YouthCO, constant film projects with friends and students.
Sundown was a member of the cast of Headlines' after homelessness... in 2010. He writes: "My name is Sundown Stieger and I am proud to be a part of the us 'n them cast. I believe that whether we acknowledge it or not the subject of 'us' vs 'them' is so deeply ingrained into our minds from such an early age that it is apparent in the choices we make that will eventually shape our lives in no small way. What is 'us' and what is 'them' to our own minds is a given but why is that? For my part I don't give it a second thought. It is as natural as breathing. I have always been 'them' opposing whatever complacency us has to offer.
The Production Team: (In alphabetical order)
Carmen Alatorre → Costume Design
Originally from Mexico City, Carmen earned her MFA degree in Theatre Design at the University of British Columbia and has worked as a Costume Designer in Vancouver since 2006. Some of her local costume design credits include Futuristi (Bella Luna Theatre), The Learned Ladies, Gormenghast, Medea, and Romeo and Juliet (UBC), House/Home (Pi Theatre/ HIVE 3), My Granny, The Goldfish (Arts Club Theatre Company), Godspell at the Pacific Theatre, Iphigenia at Aulis (SFU Woodward's), Patron Saint of Stanley Park (Arts Club) and Forbidden Phoenix. (Gateway Theatre).
Kei Baritugo, BoldLove Communications → Publicist
A lover of "What if's" and "Aha!" moments that challenge conventional thinking, Kei specializes in generating strategic public relations solutions for her clients. Kei graduated as one of Simon Fraser University's top students. She majored in Communications, minored in Dialogue, and obtained a certificate in Business Writing, Public Relations, and Marketing Communications. She began her career as a communications assistant for several non-profit organizations before moving into the world of film and television as a writer and eventually, as a publicist.
As a passionate media scholar with radical roots in social and environmental justice, she founded BoldLove Communications to represent artists who are bold enough to engage the world with love—because it's not just about looking good, it's about doing good.
Through BoldLove, Kei and her team help clients create a strong, positive public image through innovative ideas, creativity, and a commitment to making a difference in the community. Her company represents some of Canada's most talented musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and theatre companies.
Owen Belton → Music/Sound Design and performance
Owen Belton graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1993 with a degree in Fine and Performing Arts (concentration, Music), and studied music composition with Barry Truax and Owen Underhill. In his work, he uses both acoustic and electronic instruments, often in combination with computer processing techniques such as granular synthesis. A technique that allows composers to alter sounds, granular synthesis has become a signature characteristic in many of his compositions. Over the last ten years he has written music for many dance companies, including Netherlands Dance Theatre, Cullberg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal [bjm_danse], Ballet BC, The Royal Ballet of London, The Stuttgart Ballet, and Kidd Pivot with choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Matjash Mrozewski and Chick Snipper. He also creates sound design and score for theatre and film. In 2009 he won the Dora Mavor Moore award for best dance score for Emergence performed by the National Ballet of Canada.
Dafne Blanco→ Webmaster
Dafne was Headlines' Outreach Coordinator from 2004 to 2010. She has been involved with several grassroots organizations and art groups since she arrived in Vancouver from Mexico in 1996, working on the areas of Human Rights, First Nations struggles, Racism, Globalization and other social issues. She is currently working as an advocate for agriculture migrant rights, while freelancing as a web designer.
Dafne has (almost!) completed a degree in Graphic Design in the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and she is planning to pursue a Masters Degree in Visual Arts in the near future. Painting has been a great passion of hers and she is hoping to fully focus on her artistic creation if she is able to garner the blessings of the Visual Arts deities.
Chris Bouris → Webcast Master
Chris' media work has an emphasis on civic education and democratic reform. Drawing on a multidisciplinary background which includes online video media production for the Berger Commission on Municipal Electoral Reform, and serving as video developer for the Vancouver City Planning Commission's media site, Chris' media goals are to broaden community understanding of contemporary social issues and facilitate greater community participation through online technologies. He has a Cooperative Education, BFA (Film) degree from Simon Fraser University.
Elisha Burrows → Technical Director
Elisha grew up in a theatre family and toured with the Caravan as a child in the 1980's. Since graduating from Simon Fraser in 1997, he has worked as a theatre and film technician and as a DOP and Director on documentary films and as a content producer on various multimedia projects. For the past six years he has worked as a technical director in theatre. Company credits include The Leaky Heaven Circus, Ruby Slippers Theatre, PI Theatre, Touchstone Theatre and The Caravan Farm Theatre. This will be Elisha's first show as technical director with Headlines Theatre.
David Diamond → Artistic and Managing Director (Co-Director)
Since 1981 David has directed over 430 community specific theatre projects on issues such as racism, gender roles, violence, addiction, self-esteem, First Nations' Residential Schools, globalization, language reclamation and many, many others. David has directed workshops throughout BC, Canada and the USA, as well as in Namibia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Italy, Singapore and Finland. He has also been involved in the writing and/or directing of all of Headlines' main stage plays. (See David has pioneered the development of live, interactive Forum Television and web casting.
David is a 1975 graduate of the University of Alberta with a BFA in acting. He worked as a professional actor in theatre, television and film throughout Western Canada until 1981 when he co-founded Headlines Theatre. He is the originator of Headlines' THEATRE FOR LIVING workshops, which have evolved from Brazilian Director Augusto Boal's ground-breaking Theatre of the Oppressed.
In 1996 David was the first individual recipient of the City of Vancouver's Cultural Harmony Award. In 2001 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University College of the Fraser Valley. In 2010 he was very honoured to travel with the Governor General as a cultural delegate on behalf of Canada to Senegal, DR of the Congo, Rwanda and Cape Verde and, in 2010 was also a recipient of the Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre. David is the author of Theatre for Living: the art and science of community-based dialogue. Foreword by Fritjof Capra, published by Trafford; winner of the 2008 American Alliance of Theatre and Education “Distinguished Book” Award.
Kevin Finnan → Co-Director
Kevin Finnan, together with Louise Richards, founded Motionhouse in 1988. As Artistic Director of Motionhouse he has created, either alone or in collaboration with Louise, each of the company's major touring productions, numbering seventeen full-length works to date as well as his smaller festival works, which have taken street festivals by storm for the last two summers.
Kevin also undertakes commissions and projects for other companies and agencies. In 1998 he founded Fierce performance company, and in 2000 created the critically acclaimed True - a performance event for the Tramway, Glasgow, in collaboration with writer A. L. Kennedy and installation artist Rosa Sanchez.
In addition to Kevin's work with Motionhouse and Fierce, credits include: Mamu  for Headlines Theatre Company, Vancouver; Transform  for Copenhagen European City of Culture celebrations; Peter Pan  for TAG Theatre Company, Glasgow; two commissions for Blue Eyed Soul in 1998 and 2000; Taking Flight for Gravity and Levity in 2005; and Shift for Gravity and Levity in 2008.
Committed to exploring and exploding traditional use of space in performance, Kevin has a history of extraordinary site based performance work including, The Edge, a large scale performance event on the beach at Watergate Bay in Cornwall in June 2004; Dancing Inside in July 2004 with the inmates at HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire; Dreams and Ruin at the ruins of Witley Court, Worcestershire in June 2005; and the spectacular Renaissance for Greenwich and Docklands Festival in July 2005. In June 2008 he created Run! - an astounding event for Greenwich and Docklands Festival.
He has an MA in Contemporary Performing Arts from University College Bretton Hall, and a PhD in Theatre from Warwick University.
Dorothy Jenkins → Stage Manager
Dorothy is a seasoned professional Stage Manager with decades of experience in the theatre. This will be her second Headlines' project, the first being after homelessness…
Michael P. Keeping → Webcast Director
Michael started working in film and television when he was 13 years old. By 16 years old, as a volunteer at Rogers Cable TV Toronto he was directing and switching live TV programs. Over the past 37 years Michael has produced and directed magazine shows, sports events, dance performances, live interactive TV dramas, and many other formats. He has produced well over 3000 broadcast hours.
Michael currently directs Studio 4 with host Fanny Kiefer and Urban Rush with host Fiona Forbes and Michael Eckford for Shaw TV. Previously at Rogers Cable TV and currently at Shaw TV Michael trains community volunteers in all aspects of TV production camera, lighting, sound, editing (Final Cut Pro), reporting and interviewing. In the past he has worked with and trained youth (10 to 17 years) from the inner city - Vancouver East Side -in TV and film production in a summer program called Atlantis. As part of his sound career he lectures on sound design for various schools and college such as Burnaby North High School, Capilano College Film Studies, Columbia Academy, and the Arts Institute of Vancouver.
Michael has also been a 22-year supporter of Headlines' Theatre for Living by producing and directing television coverage. This uses Forum Theatre - an interactive audience participation program that develops potential solutions for social issues through interventions by audience members. Michael learned the art of Foley at the CBC in 1981. Since then, through his company TraxStars Entertainment Inc., he has worked with over 50 TV series on such shows as King of the Hill;Highlander (TV series); The New Addams Family, and hundreds of Movies such as Grandma's Boy produced by Adam Sandler; Into the Sun produced and starring Steven Seagull; My 5 Wives starring Rodney Dangerfield and documentary features like The Corporation. For a full list you can check out the Internet Movie Data Base IMDB.com under Michael Keeping. He has been nominated for Two Prix Genie Awards and two Gemini Awards.
Liza Lindgren → Outreach Coordinator
Liza is a documentary filmmaker using art as a tool for dialogue within grassroots groups, mainly in Sweden and Canada. Her films have been screened and used as a base for discussion in several different countries, touching on subjects such as gender, feminism, anti-racism, accessibility and Do-It-Yourself organizing.
With a background in theatre (including Theatre of the Oppressed), film and gender studies, she has organized and facilitated several workshops on "Master Suppression Techniques and its Counter Strategies". These workshops try to open up a discussion about the subtle oppression techniques that are displayed in interactions between people.
Mutya Macatumpag → Publicity/Outreach (PROC) Assistant
Mutya Macatumpag is an independent artist who traverses multiple disciplines as a dancer, vocalist, songwriter, actor, choreographer and visual artist. She is also the Artistic Director, Promoter and Founder of Moonpulse Productions and coordinates Without Fear, an event that provides a comfortable and professional platform and performance space for artists of all genres to unleash their work and talents. It is also a space in which people from all walks of life can intersect, network and build bridges.
As a professional performing artist, she has performed in and around Vancouver and British Columbia and Montreal where she appeared at the Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal, Perverse Cite Festival and the Montreal International Women's Conference to name a few. She also coordinated a Without Fear in Montreal that brought Montreal and Vancouver artists on to one stage. She can also be seen hitting the stages with Kathara Dance Theatre Collective Canada, a company that explores Filipino identity in multi-media, music, dance and martial arts. Mutya has also worked in several projects with Urban Ink as a performer, actor, collaborator, workshop participant, youth mentor and facilitator with projects such as, The Arrivals Personal Legacy Project, The Arrivals Co(Lab), From Where We speak, The Arrivals Cross Canada Workshop Series, Story Box Project, The Crossroads Slam, The Squaw Hall Project "Damned If You Do; What If You Don't?" and SLaMFete.
Also an instructor in dance, Mutya teaches a dance fusion to youth and adults of all experience levels that she calls Free Form Footwork a form that combines, body awareness and sequential movement techniques, fluid ground sequences fused with urban hip hop, contemporary, and contact dance. Most recently Mutya completed the Heart of Facilitation training, was a facilitator at UBCs CampOUT a camp for queer youth and their allies and was a Lead Facilitator in training for Power of Hope in Leavenworth, WA, and released her first EP Heart Sketch. In August 2011 she collaborated with partner, visual artist and writer Monica Hepburn in a 1 month Artists Residency that culminated in a multi-disciplinary performance and installation at Oxygen Arts Centre, Nelson, BC. This new work will be re-mounted in Vancouver, BC next Spring 2012.
Conor Moore → Projection Design
Conor recently completed his MFA in Design at UBC and is excited to be working with Headlines Theatre again. Previous design credits include after homelessness… (Headlines Theatre), The Patron Saint of Stanley Park (Arts Club Theatre), Falstaff (Bard on the Beach), MK Woyzeck, The Madwoman of Chaillot, and Romeo and Juliet (UBC Theatre), The Edge (Green Thumb Theatre), The Hobbit, and Footloose (Capilano University), Bat Boy (Patrick Street Productions), Firebird (Turning Point Ensemble), The Boy Who Went Outside (Wild Excursions) and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2011 Western Canada Games in Kamloops. In the future, he will be designing Waiting for Godot for Blackbird Theatre. He is a proud recipient of the Larisa Fayad Memorial Award in Lighting Design. www.conormooredesign.ca
Yvan Morisette → Set/Props Design
Originally from Quebec, Yvan has been living in Vancouver for over 20 years. He's been involved in over 200 productions as an actor, director, stage manager, and for the past 10 years, mainly as a designer. His work has been seen on most stages around Vancouver, including the Vancouver Playhouse, the Art's Club Theatre, Bard on the Beach, and across Canada. Recent credits include After the Quake for Rumble, The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for Belfry / Arts Club, and after homelessness… for Headlines. He has also stage and tour managed with the CBC Radio Orchestra, The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Musica Intima, and his work has taken him all over North America, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Yvan is a graduate of Studio 58.
Jerguš Opršal → Lighting Design
Jerguš studied at the University of Calgary /B.A. (1998 - 2002)/, Ecole Internationale de théatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris (2002 - 2003) and at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia /MFA Honours (2002 - 2005). Since 2005, Jerguš has lived in Vancouver and continues to work internationally as a designer. He explores the possibilities of integrating space, light and projection design in a unified scenographic image. His latest work includes designs for companies in Slovakia and designs for Vancouver companies: Pi Theatre, Theatre Conspiracy, Studio 58, Presentation House, ZeeZee Theatre, Blackbird Theatre, Twentysomething Theatre, as well as State Opera Banska Bystrica and State Theatre Košice. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 Jerguš was nominated for the Jessie Award for the best set design and light design.
André J. Prevost → Office/Production Manager
After completing the Theatre Arts program at the Banff Centre in 1978, André began his career in stage management with the Vancouver Opera. In 1981 he accepted a teaching post in Art & Drama at the High School level until 1987 when he accepted the combined post of Stage Manager and Director of Production with the Edmonton Opera, with the Manitoba Opera in 1994, and as Director of Production for the Vancouver Opera in 2004. Upon his return to Winnipeg in 2006, he freelanced with Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and the Ruth Cansfield Dancers and maintained his work in the Visual Arts in iconography. In 2008, he became the Administrative Director for the Manitoba Arts Network in Winnipeg. His career has also included stage managing with the Vancouver Playhouse, Opera Saskatchewan, and Opera Pacific (California), producing the first annual Alberta Emerald Awards in 1995, and also works in the visual arts with a focus on Iconography.
Susan Shank Day → Financial Administrator
Susan has extensive financial and administrative experience in the arts. For a decade Susan was the administrator for Touchstone Theatre Society. She is also the contract coordinator for Gateway Theatre and has done bookkeeping for The Firehall Arts Centre - but her favorite job is being the mom of her two children!
Susan has a BA from SFU with a concentration in Theatre. Over the years she has had experience as an actor, writer, teacher, programmer and producer.
Evan Taylor → Support Person (Community Workshop Only)
Evan is a social worker currently working in Burnaby as a group facilitator and concurrent disorders counsellor and is excited to contribute to the community production of Us and Them. Evan uses gender, queer theory, narrative therapy, harm reduction, and community engagement in his approaches to supporting people in their many recoveries, transitions, and life in general.
Through Headlines' Theatre for Living workshops, Evan has recently rediscovered his love for all things creative, especially the meaningful intricacies and symbolism of theatre work. Evan lives in Vancouver with his partner, 2 cats, 1 fish, and a whole lot of plants that he tries hard to water.