A fierce advocate for regional theatre artists, Lisa O’Connell (she/her) is the founding Artistic Director of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, a catalyst for new works of theatre and PlaySmelter, Northern ON’s New Work Theatre Festival. Artists work created at PTD have received or been nominated for the RBC Tarragon Playwright Award, the Carol Bolt Award, Governor-General’s Award (Drama), RBC Emerging Directors Award, among others. Work created at PTD has been presented at Magnetic North Theatre Festival, SummerWorks, Canadian Stage, Tarragon, MT Space, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Theatre Aquarius, The Grand Theatre, among others. O’Connell is a two-time recipient of a Special Jury Award from Arts Awards Waterloo and has delivered the closing Keynote address at the Canadian Association of Theatre Researchers Conference. She was past Caucus Chair at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, Advocacy Committee of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Steering Committee Equity in Theatre and is the creator of Regional Women Lead, a national initiative to address gender parity for women in theatre. She is a recipient of a New Conversation Award (British Council/Canadian High Commission UK) for The Women’s Room with Lyth Centre, Scotland. O’Connell has been published in Canadian Theatre Review, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, among others. She divides her time between her artistic homes in Waterloo, ON and Sudbury, ON with her partner Mark Walton.
Lisa O’Connell – Artistic Director
Matthew Heiti – Artistic Associate
Born in a meteor crater, Matthew Heiti is a writer, actor, director and teacher working in North Ontario. He holds a BFA in Acting from Ryerson University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New Brunswick. He has published a novel, The City Still Breathing (Coach House Books) and a play, Black Dog: 4 vs the wrld (Playwrights’ Canada Press). He has served as Playwright-in-residence with the Sudbury Theatre Centre and Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, working with emerging writers in Northern Ontario. He explores new work in strange places with Crestfallen (crestfallentheatre.com). In his spare time, he is usually working.
Rebecca Ballarin – Metcalf Producing Intern
Rebecca Ballarin (she/her) is a theatre director and producer from Peterborough Ontario, currently based in Toronto. In addition to her training at U of T, she has completed directing workshops with a number of prominent Canadian directors, including Kim Collier, Laurel Green, and Jackie Maxwell. Recent credits include: As Director – Pearle Harbour’s Agit-Pop! (Pearle Harbour), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 7 Stories (Hart House Theatre), O (United Solo Festival), 291 (Parados Festival); As Assistant Director – The Flick (Outside the March & Crow’s Theatre), Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua (Pearle Harbour), The Haunting of Hungerford House (Tweed & Company).
Rebecca is the Artistic Producer of Pearle Harbour (a company that presents the theatrical work of Toronto-based drag queen Pearle Harbour), and Tweed & Company Theatre. She previously worked as the Network Coordinator for SPARC (Supporting Performing Arts in Rural and Remote Communities). Rebecca is passionate about collaboration, connection, and creating spaces that encourage experimentation and play. She is so excited to be completing a Metcalf Internship under Lisa’s mentorship and can’t wait to connect with regional creators and help amplify their voices!
Taylor Marie Graham – Artistic Associate, Canada Council Mentee
Taylor is a theatre artist and educator living in Cambridge, Ontario. She has worked in various capacities with esteemed artistic companies and educational institutions as Canadian Stage, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Tapestry New Opera Works, Humber College, Artscape, Rogers Television, amoung others. Taylor is the proud recipient of the George Ryga Award for Excellence in Playwrighting from York University, celebrated playwright Judith Thompson named Taylor as the “up and coming playwright to watch” in the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s The Playwright Applause campaign, and her opera The Virgin Charlie was nominated for a Dora Award for best new opera / musical. Currently, she is a PhD student at the University of Guelph, an English professor at Sheridan College, and an artistic associate at Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. For more information please visit taylormariegraham.com.
Jill Doyle – Artistic Administrator
Jill Doyle is the non-binary, queer and neuroatypical Artistic Administrator at Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. They hold an honours BA in English from McMaster University and are working on their MA focused on gender and sexuality at the University of Guelph. When they aren’t answering emails in the Pat the Dog Office, they are creating subversive and silly cross-stitch and embroideries while squeezing their cats as much as possible. They are currently gearing up for Impact Festival 2019. You can reach Jill at their email: email@example.com
Kristen Shepherd – Playwright-in-residence
A playwright and actor from North Bay, Ontario, Kristin Shepherd is 2020’s Pat the Dog OAC
Playwright in Residence. She was a nominee for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize in 2019. Kristin’s first play, $38,000 For A Friendly Face, won the 2007 Samuel French Canadian Playwrights’ Contest. It has been produced more than a dozen times in Canada and the US. Hope Op, a comedy about yoga, crime and women’s anger premieres in Kitchener, March 2020, the first production of Regional Women Co-op Collective, di-rected by Heather Davies. Curved, a dark comedy about about sex, dying, and finding a voice in the world, won at the QUONTA Festival in 2017. It was presented at Play Smelter in 2015, and at the Women’s Work Festival in St. John’s in 2017. Kristin has had generous and invaluable support from the Arts Council of Ontario and from Lisa O’Connell (drama-turg) and Pat the Dog Theatre Creation.
“There is something really beautiful and urgent about putting the real voices of real women on stage.”
Deanna Kruger – Artistic Associate
Deanna is the 2019 Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council Playwright-in-Residence at Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. She received second prize in the 2018 Playwrights Guild of Canada’s RBC Emerging Playwright Award for The Sword-Bearers. Deanna is an alumnus of two playwright units: Pat the Dog’s The Women’s Room (2017-19) and Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip(2016-17). Her plays have been staged in Guelph, Toronto, and Vancouver. In 2019-2020, she will return to Pat the Dog’s The Women’s Room as facilitator and playwright mentor. Deanna lives and writes in Guelph, Ontario.
Kira Meyers-Guiden – Associate Artist
Kira is a queer, feminist, theatre artist whose work is focused on LGBTQ+ representation. She is a PhD student studying Theatre & Performance Studies at York University and she is an alumna of the inaugural all-female writing unit, The Women’s Room (Pat the Dog Theatre Creation & Sonderlust Collective). Her show Queer Spawn has been showcased on stages throughout Kitchener/ Waterloo, Toronto and Hamilton. Recent writing credits include: Under (HamilTEN), Lay to Rest (staged reading, Pat the Dog Theatre Creation), and Futch/ Bemme (OutFest2018 & Gay Play Day Festival). She is also the co-author, with her mom Susan Meyers, of “The Queer Baby Project: Excerpts from the Experiment” published in Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories. Select acting credits include: Dariya in There are No Gays in… (Page1), Alex in Futch/ Bemme (OutFest 2018 & Gay Play Day Festival), Mina in Letting Go (West End Theatre Festival), and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet; Occupy Verona (Theatre Erindale). Kira is committed to creating art that motivates social change and is so happy to officially be joining the Pat the Dog team! More details at http://kirameyersguiden.weebly.com/
Jennifer Cornish -Volunteer Extraordinaire
Jennifer Cornish: Trained by industry pros from Stratford, Shaw, Second City, and Kids in the Hall, Jennifer has worked in film and television, but says she has spent the best parts of her life onstage – a place she has been since age 8. A vital member of the Waterloo Region arts community, she is best known for her award-winning work in the Irish one-woman show “Myra’s Story” (Best Tragedy – United Solo Festival New York City, Best Production – London Fringe, Critic’s Pick – Hamilton Fringe.) Jennifer is a Region of Waterloo Arts Award recipient for Performing Arts.
Caitie Graham – E-Blast
Caitie is a playwright, dramaturg, and arts educator in Toronto. She is currently Co-Director of the Young Playwrights Unit at Tarragon Theatre, where her first play was developed in 2013, and where she continues to support and mentor young artists. Select writing credits include Paradise Comics (originally presented as part of the 2014 New Voices Festival, then remounted in 2016 for Filament Incubator’s inaugural season); pose ball (Alumnae Theatre’s 2016 New Ideas Festival, and Tarragon Theatre’s Live Wires Series 2016); and GASH (Alumnae Theatre’s 2017 Fireworks Festival). She is a running-up recipient of the 2018 Ellen Ross Stuart Award. She is currently adapting her play GASH for a young audience, and was presented at the 2019 Ergo Pink Festival.