We are delighted to present the members of our inaugural Northerner’s Creation Unit!  Participating artists are from all over Northern ON: Moose Factory, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins. Digital sessions begin January 2023 and run throughout the winter season. PlaySmelter Sessions are led by dramaturg Caitie Graham, with Lisa O’Connell in second chair.

Jessie Bergeron: Jessie is a multidisciplinary theatre artist from Timmins, Ontario. After graduating from the University of Ottawa with a BA in Theatre Studies, she trained in acting at George Brown College. She is a proud mama of two and a teacher-mom to many more. As a mother-artist, a feminist, a queer woman, and a person who lives with mental illness, she works to create space for these communities and explore these lived experiences through her art.

Samantha Buttery: Sam is a Sudbury-area artist of many disciplines including film, screenwriting, playwriting, and poetry. She graduated from Laurentian University in 2021, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Specialization in Motion Picture Arts with academic qualifications in English Rhetoric and Media Studies Major. Samantha is very thankful to have had such wonderful local artists as some of her professors/mentors. Artists such as Matthew Heiti and Gregory Scofield to name a few.

Stephanie Charbonneau: Stephanie is a post-graduate student at Laurentian University. A long-time lover of theatre, she had the privilege of training with Miriam Cusson, Alain Doom, and Hélène Dallaire during her undergrad, focusing primarily on performance. She has also taken part in various community theatre productions in the Sudbury region.

Eli Chilton: Eli works and lives in Moose Factory Ontario with his family. He was born and raised in the James Bay area and lived here most of his life. He has worked at the local radio station, CJFI 107.1 The Island Youth Radio since 2013, as a radio DJ and producer. Living in the far north, he has been hunting and fishing with his family throughout his life, but also, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing around the area of Moose Factory and Moosonee. He has written plays, screenplays, poetry and short stories.

Lisa Coleman-Brown: Vancouver born, and raised in Montreal and Toronto, Lisa has lived with beloved husband Joe in the Garson community of Greater Sudbury since 1989. Her subject matter is often biographical and historical. While navigating the ups and downs of a Bi-Polar mental health disability she enjoys the friendships, and moral support, of fellow Sudbury Writers’ Guild members, and the career development and enrichment opportunities offered by the Sudbury Theatre Center’s Playwrights’ Junction, Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Lisa is grateful for the support of the Ontario Arts Council and Tangled Art+ Disability.

Jöel Giroux: Joël is a graduate of the now-defunct French Theatre program at Laurentian University, where he’s thankful to have trained in theatre performance with Miriam Cusson and Alain Doom. He also had the pleasure of learning the craft of Clown with John Turner. While he’s mainly focused on theatre performance, he’s excited to dust off his neglected Minor in English Literature and write a weird and fun play with the Northerner’s Creation Unit.

Avery McMillian: Raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Avery McMillan (she/they) is double majoring in Dramaturgy and Drama Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Avery was a Fringe North 2021 Emerging Artist in Residence and received Notable Newbie for The Vinyl Problem. Writer-Director: The Vinyl ProblemThe Nows of Milton II & the Nearly Twenties (McMillan-Newbery Space Gear); Stage Manager: Mythic Women and their Cabaret to Save Humanity, 2022 Performance Festival (UTM EDSS); Other: UTM EDSS Technical Director, U of T Drama Coalition Technical Representative; Upcoming: Avery is directing the UTM EDSS production of Gallathea. 

Andrew Paulsen works in film, TV, radio, and theatre as a director, producer, writer, and actor. He is an internationally produced PGC playwright and runs his own theatre group, New Noise Productions, in Thunder Bay. His play The Last House was produced in the 2019 New Market National 10 Minute Play Festival, his play Rōnin was produced in Helisinki in a British-Finish coproduction at the 3rd Annual Höyhentämö Short-n-Snappy Showcase, and he was a member of the Inaugural Playwrights’ Unit at Magnus Theatre. He likes Canuxploitation and Hammer films, point-and-click adventure games, Ameritrash board games, cats, sad comics, and solving Rubix’s Cubes.

Garrett M. Ryan: Garrett is a Canadian theatre maker hailing from Northeastern Ontario. His works have been produced in Canada, the United States, and Singapore. His pieces There was a Great Big Moose and Pigeon! were both published in 2018 by Off The Wall Plays and Samuel French respectively. Through his company Bird On Stage Productions he has created several award winning productions featured in several Fringe Festivals, notably The Inevitable Frankie Green, winning Artist’s Pick at Island Fringe in Charlottetown and Outstanding Production at On The Edge Fringe (North Bay).

Alex Tétreault: Alex is a francophone theatre creator and clown, freelance communicator, and queer community activist born and raised in Sudbury. He is a graduate of Laurentian University’s late French-language Theatre program. A dabbler in playwriting and acting, Alex will be coproducing his first full-length self-directed project, Nickel City Fifs, with Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in June 2023. Devoted to his community, Alex has worked for and with many local arts organizations and non-profits, including Fierté Sudbury Pride and the Sudbury Arts Council. He currently serves as President of Théâtre Action, a service organization supporting all members of Ontario’s francophone theatre community.

Karen Thistle: Raised in Copper Cliff, playwright Karen Thistle’s work has appeared at Sudbury Theatre Centre Playwrights Junction and Northern Ontario’s PlaySmelter Festival. She is a founding member of Inklings (Playwrights and Screenwriters), Sudbury Writers Guild. In her time away from writing, Karen is a Producer with Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, and has enjoyed working with public libraries, hat making, rug hooking and more. She lives in Sudbury with her partner Peter, and pirate fish Eli.


Caitie is a dramaturg, playwright, and emerging screenwriter who is as excited about telling stories as she is about empowering others to do the same. Over her career as a dramaturg, Caitie has designed and facilitated several playwriting units for emerging artists, most notably at Tarragon Theatre (Young Playwrights Unit 2017-2020), and Driftwood Theatre Group, where she began as Company Dramaturg in 2020. Most recently, Caitie was the Assistant Dramaturg on Queen Goneril by Erin Shields at Soulpepper Theatre. Caitie has been compiling Pat the Dog’s monthly e-bulletin of resources for playwrights since 2017, and offering dramaturgical support to playwrights through the organization since 2022. She is thrilled to be taking her relationship with Pat the Dog one step further, by becoming facilitator of this exciting new Unit!

Hear Pat the Dog Artistic Director Lisa O’Connell speak to Markus Schwabe on CBC’s Radio North about the Northerners’ Creation Unit!