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
Tara Butler – Associate Artist
Tara began her career with The National Ballet of Canada after graduating from the National Ballet School. She then danced for The Alberta Ballet and was Principal dancer for Canada’s Ballet Jorgen for 16 years. Bengt Jörgen created many lead roles in full length ballets for Tara including Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Anastasia, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker. She had the opportunity to guest perform internationally with The Hong Kong Ballet, The Ohio Ballet, Banff Festival Ballet and The Miami Hispanic International Ballet Festival. She has worked with many of Canada’s most sought after choreographers including Gioconda Barbuto, Roberto Campanella, Robert Desrosiers, Robert Glumbek, Allen Kaeja, Karen Kaeja, Malgorzata Nowaka-May, Crystal Pite, Kathleen Rea, and Wen Wei Wang. Tara worked on many creative dance project with Proartedanza, DNA Theatre, and Allison Cummings and was featured in Michael Greyeyes short dance film ‘Seven Seconds’. Tara was also part of the award winning dance film ‘Old Country’ by Allen Kaeja. Since moving to Kitchener and having her second child Tara has been teaching and coaching young dancers, choreographing, and performing as a freelance artist. Tara was invited to be a part Allen and Karen Kaeja’s Dance Ontario Lifetime achievement award performance in January 2020. Tara will be creating a full evening of dance which will be presented at The Registry Theatre in 2021 . She is thrilled to be sharing and creating with the community in partnership with Pat The Dog Theatre.
Jennifer Cornish – Associate Artist
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.