About Us

The Or Festival is a passion project. Our artistic team will shift and change each year depending on artist availability. Our goal is to have a platform where local artists may show-case their work, share their voice and connect with the community. We are very grateful to the amazing artists who live in Vancouver and who make festivals possible by submitting.

Curatorial Team


Arthi Chandra is a Vancouver based director, writer, and theatre maker. She is the Artistic Director of The Library Performance Collective. Her practice is rooted in devising text-based new works, and adaptations of contemporary and classical plays. Her work focuses on queerness, joy, and parties. Arthi most recently completed her time as an Apprentice Director at the Shaw Festival, under the Neil Munro Apprentice Director program. Recent works include Done/Undone at Bard on the Beach, and Passenger Seat, a pop-rock theatre concert all about love. She has performed in Vancouver and New York. Arthi also teaches devising and directing (Studio 58, Toronto Metropolitan University, VanArts, Bard on the Beach). She is a graduate of the theatre performance stream from Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.


Zahida Rahemtulla is a playwright who has worked in newcomer housing, literacy, and community development for many years. Her first play, The Wrong Bashir, a farcical comedy about the Ismaili community, premiered in Vancouver to a sold-out run and critical acclaim in 2023 with Touchstone Theatre, and was picked up for a Toronto premiere with Crow’s Theatre in 2024. Her second play, The Frontliners, a comedic drama about refugee settlement won a Playwrights Guild of Canada Tom Hendry Award, Theatre BC’s Play of Special Merit Award, the Fringe New Play Prize, and was runner-up for the national Voaden Prize in Playwriting. Zahida is currently working with Toronto’s Nightswimming Theatre on a project to design training programs for racially diverse actors aged 55+ to build capacity in this demographic, and serves as the Inclusion Coordinator at Blind Tiger Comedy in Vancouver. She loves teaching and working with new playwrights and in education. She has worked with Tarragon Theatre’s East of Tarragon Project in Scarborough and currently works with Capilano University in the Community Development and Outreach Department. 


Taryn Plater is a versatile performer and creator invested in the future of arts outreach. Recognized for her “dramatic and vocal thrust” (Opera Canada), the Vancouver-based mezzo-soprano was a 2021–2022 RBC Artist Fellow with the Association for Opera in Canada. Taryn’s portfolio focuses on Ukrainian art song, new works, and the intersection of jazz and classical music, driven by an interest in opera’s relationship to different genres and mediums. She created the digital artist statement First Steps with Against the Grain’s 2021 National Opera Intensive exploring her cultural heritage through Ukrainian art song, and in 2022, received a Ukraine – Heritage, Spirit and Future award in recognition of her artistic focus on Ukrainian art song. In addition to her performance endeavours, Taryn is a mentor with Opera InReach and the founding Artistic Director of Opera Unbound.


Creator/ Producer

Olivia Etey is a Vancouver-based playwright, producer and the creator of the Or Festival. She graduated from UBC with a double major in Creative Writing and English Honours. Her produced plays include: Foreplay (2015), her musical: The Midnight Serenade (2015), Living on the Grid (2016), which debuted at the Vancouver FRINGE Festival as part of The Only Animal’s Generation Hot Series, The Hoarder (2017) and her juke-box Opera Forever Hold Your Peace (Opera Unbound, 2022). Olivia’s play Woman Against Gravity (2021) was showcased in the Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work at the Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary.



Mary Littlejohn is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist who has appeared on stages and behind the scenes from Vancouver to New York to Australia. She is a founding Co-Artistic Director of Fabulist Theatre, where she has written/directed The Untold Legend of Imogen Flight (2020), Better Than This (2019), Hearts and Stones (staged reading – 2018), and curated/assembled the new collaborative digital musical Homing In (2022). Her new play Poetry In Motion, premieres as a staged reading at the 2023 New Waves Festival in Nanaimo (the unceded ancestral territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation). Mary is the writer/producer of the audio drama Golden Ash from That’s Not Canon Productions, which is available for free on all major podcasting platforms. In her spare time, she writes reviews and recaps at www.tvfanatic.com.


Admin for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Artists

Ashley Mann, she/her, identifies as a culture facilitator, creator, and performer. Currently working with OR festival for the first time this year, she envisions building a bridge between the hearing and deaf and hard of hearing community in the theatre world. Ashley’s goals aim to foster inclusivity and connection within diverse communities. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/fTppfG4R8ao?feature=share 


Stage Manager

Julia Lank (she/her) is a stage manager and graphic designer living on xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaɬ land. Opera: Don Pasquale, Le portrait de Manon (Vancouver Opera); L’elisir d’amore (BLO). Musicals: City Of Angels (PIT Collective); Putnam County Spelling Bee, Jasper In Deadland, Tuck Everlasting (Arts Umbrella). Plays: Peace Country (rice & beans), Gertrude & Alice (United Players); The Cafe (ITSAZOO and Aphotic), How To Believe In Anything (The Cultch); Marjorie Prime (ETC); Gramma, The Cake (Pacific Theatre). It’s a pleasure to meet and collaborate with so many talented and passionate theatre makers.

Lighting Designer

Christian Ching is an emerging lighting designer, producer, and scenographer with a love of design and nature. They are a graduate of Simon Fraser University (2021) with a double degree in Theatre Production and Design and in the Biological Sciences. Their practice revolves around collaboration and the ecological aspects of design. They like to run RPGs, draw, and make music.

Associate Lighting Designer

Coming from a background of being a former professional ballerina, Claudia Chan has a strong passion for collaboration between different areas including theatre arts, music, and dance. While primarily focusing on technical directing, Claudia also has a passion for lighting design and understands and enjoys the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Growing up in Hong Kong, Claudia is currently residing in Vancouver, unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations where she also calls home.

Sound Designer

Zac Scott is an actor, sound designer and producer, and is the general manager and one of the founders of Sticks and Stones Theatre. Select past credits include Body Awareness (Mitch and Murray Productions), Armstrong’s War (Western Canada Theatre), Hidden (Itsazoo productions), The Out Vigil (Twenty Something Theatre), This is War (Rumble Theatre) The Aliens, This Is Our Youth, The Open House (Sticks and Stones Theatre). He would like to thank his family, friends and Ruthie for giving out love and support like they are free hats. Zac is a graduate of Studio 58.