ABOUT THE TEAM
The Or Festival runs on the Equity Festival Policy thereby enabling equity and non-equity actors to perform together in a festival run on a profit-share basis. This policy was obtained through the incredible love an actor expressed for the work of one of the playwrights in the Or Festival 1. We are so thankful for the unique and dynamic environment in the rehearsal spaces, sparked by ongoing dialogues occurring between professional, emerging and new actors.
Ivy Charles (she/her) hails from Winnipeg, MB – Treaty 1 Territory, homeland of the Métis Nation. She is now based in Vancouver, BC, on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples – Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. Select theatre credits include: In My Day (Zee Zee Theatre Company), Beautiful Man (Pi Theatre) which landed her a Jessie nomination for Outstanding Lead, Orlando (RMTC), East Van Panto: Pinocchio (Theatre Replacement) and Urinetown, Antony and Cleopatra and Cabaret (Studio 58). Ivy is a graduate of Studio 58’s acting program. She was the Head Coordinator of the Diversity Committee and then the Head Facilitator the following year. Ivy was awarded the Hnatyshyn Developing Artists Grant (English Theatre) 2019 while attending Studio 58. Ivy was last seen on stage at her alma mater as Richie in A Chorus Line. You can see her next in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.
Alison is thrilled to be in OR’s production of Qi Pao! Alison’s selected credits include The Order (Netflix), Home Before Dark (Apple TV), and the award-winning LA based web series, Gal Pals. She also writes, produces, and acts for a hilarious local sketch comedy group, The Smashed Potato Kids, and a primarily femme-nonbinary production company, Lawless Spinster Productions. Her most recent independent short, Enough, was selected as a finalist at the Shits&Giggles Festival. She’d like to thank her mom, Anna, Charlie, Conner and Matt for accepting her just as she is. IG: @alisonchangsta.
Yasmin Tayob (she/her) is an Indian and Portuguese actor and teacher. She has had the pleasure of performing in festivals such as the Vancouver Fringe and Revolver festival and now for the second year in the Or Festival. She has also worked with companies like The Only Animal, Theatre in the Raw, Seven Tyrants and Killjoy theatre. Yasmin recently completed her master’s degree in education and completed the Playwright Theatre Centre’s program where she wrote a series of monologues about her experience of living with mental illness. Yasmin is very happy and honoured to be performing in Common Ground with this very talented team.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Jade Fox is an actor who is bilingual in American Sign Language and English. She is passionate about storytelling, creativity, animals, and books. As an actor, Jade enjoys pursuing challenges, characters, and experiences that bring new perspectives to the acting world.
Kenneth Tynan is a mixed Asian artist from beautiful Vancouver, BC. Kenneth never thought of themselves much as a writer, but when trying to understand their mixed heritage and what it means to be half of something he began his writing journey. Qi Pao is a deeply personal story which he hopes audiences will connect with whether they’re mixed or not. This is the first play that Kenneth has written and is honoured that the team at the Or Festival chose this among many to be shown.
Adam began his acting career in Kelowna as a freelance voice over artist and a theatre actor, where he performed in shows such as “Glen Garry Glen Ross” (Fred Skeleton), and “Late Company” (Theatre Kelowna Society) for which he won the 2019 Okanagan Zone Festival award for best supporting actor. He now lives in Vancouver and is a recent graduate of Studio 58. Highlight credits include “Everybody” (Studio 58), “The East Van Panto: The Little Mermaid” (Theatre Replacement), and “The Bright Young Things” (Studio 58) which was written together with his graduating class. He’ll be reprising his role in “The Bright Young Things” again this year during the Vancouver Fringe Festival, as well as in his own solo show called “Basebald” about a young balding man who attempts to hit the world’s fastest fastball, trying to capture his youth while he still has it. Adam is grateful to have the opportunity to work with such talented people during the Or festival this year.
Charmaine Nomsa Sibanda
CHARMAINE NOMSA SIBANDA
Charmaine is a Zimbabwean / Canadian theatre and film artist. She graduated with a BFA Acting degree from UBC. Her theatre credits include: David’s Redhaired Death, Hot L Baltimore, Isle Dell’Arte, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again, Dream Play, and Emilia. She has also trained with The Company of Rogues Actors’ Studio in Calgary; a Theatre Performance Intensive and Audition program focusing on scene study, text analysis, and professional development. Charmaine is also a singer and trains professionally as such.
Olivia Keady (they/she/he) is white queer settler on the unceded lands of the Musqueum, Tsleil Waututh, and Squamish people. They are incredibly happy to be onstage tonight. Olivia is a lover of movement(s), stories and music(als). She is so grateful to her family and her partner Maia for their support, and to the team at the Or Festival for their hard work. He hopes that this piece makes its viewers feel as seen and free as it makes him feel.
Amy is an actor, writer, director and single mom. She is nervous and excited to take on the role of Alma in Hot Milk, which reminds her of one of her earliest roles as Alma in Summer and Smoke at AMDA in NYC, way back in 1993! Some highlights since then include the roles of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Petal Rose in A Particular Class of Women, Theresa in Marion Bridge and directing credits such as The Attic, The Pearls & Three Fine Girls and her self-produced short film, In Her View. Most recently Amy directed her first original jukebox opera for Opera Unbound’s Rewrites: Forever Hold Your Peace while simultaneously performing as Margo in A Late Snow for Pivot Theatre.
As Alanis sings, “I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone. I certainly do.”
Kelsi James (she/her) is a queer and asexual theatre creator, producer and performer, currently residing of the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. Kelsi has a degree in Musical Theatre Performance (Sheridan) and a certificate in ASL & Deaf Studies (VCC). Some of her past work includes: All We Can Do Is Trust (LEAP/Arts Club; Deer Lake/Vancouver Pride), A Preference (Telling It Bent/Ignite!), and And So The Siren Sings (Rumble/Harvest Moon). The questions that compel Kelsi as a creator are: how do I blend theatre with community gathering? How do I build accessibility into the bones of my work? How do I honour the queer ancestors, and how can I empower the next gen queers?
Ana Pacheco is a writer, actress and producer working mostly in the independent film community in Vancouver. After graduating Langara College Film Arts in the screenwriting stream back in 2015, she has slowly been getting her sticky little fingers all over any project that will allow it. She’s enjoyed soaking up every moment she’s been given, and particularly enjoys focusing on stories about mental health and identity. With a background in dance, improv, and both standup and sketch comedy, she has used these experiences to shape her writing and performances. She wrote, produced, and starred in a MAMM film in 2022, titled Grandma Lee’s Dress, that is a very personal dramedy examining her mixed Chinese heritage, and the relationships in her family. Though currently working on rewrites for another personal project, a feature film screenplay titled “Exposure Therapy,” Ana is often side tracked by other adventures, such as Qi Pao, which is how she ended up here. That’s right, this whole paragraph was leading up to this moment. She is friggin’ stoked to be performing live for you all, as theatre is a medium somewhat unexplored in her world, and she has been chomping at the bit to dive in.
Adam Fox is as industrious as his character, Bud, in the recently released Sugar Highs, a comedic sit-com available on OutTV, where Adam stars in his first lead role. Mimicking the landscape where he grew up, Adam’s life has been a series of goals like mountains that he desperately wanted to climb and surmount. This started with tennis, with Adam practicing 10+ hours per week, and competing in tournaments through much of his youth. From there, academic goals trumped athleticism, and he forged his way to Montreal to attend the prestigious McGill University. Quickly, he pivoted, taking a break from academia to begin travelling. Adam identifies as not a tourist, but a traveller, and his curiosity for new countries has taken him around the world, totaling 26 countries! Upon returning to Vancouver, Adam made the big decision to move out east again to study acting at NYU. Studying in New York presented many new challenges for Adam, but, as always, he met them head on. During his time in New York he wrote, directed, produced and starred in his first short film, StillGotIt?!. With the success of his breakout project, Adam has continued to explore his creativity and is developing a television series called The Sisterhood of the Travelling Wigs. Naturally creative, dedicated and talented, Adam continues to push himself creatively with his writing and acting.
Bianca Kenna is an actress and writer based in Vancouver. She completed her conservatory training in New York City at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 2022, she was selected for the inaugural TIFF Series Accelerator as co-creator of LGBTQ+ series ‘Thread’, in development with Boldly. Her short film and directorial debut, ‘Mr. Khatia’, was recently seen at the Kursaal Film Festival San Sebastián. She will soon appear as the lead in Australian director Hannah Dougherty’s upcoming work, ‘She Said F*** Off.’ www.biancakenna.com
Love and immense gratitude to all for supporting and contributing to the show.
Anthony DeMare was born a dreamer, and he admits his head was in the clouds from an early age. While he and his friends would play ball hockey in the back alleys of William Street, he would often lose focus and wander off to fulfill an adhd inspired curiosity. Anthony was interested in story telling as a tyke. He would frequently dress up as his favorite movie characters (Batman) and perform his best Michael Keaton impressions, much to the amusement of his family.
It was not until adulthood that Anthony dived into the magical, anxiety ridden landscape of performing arts. He has studied at the Stella Adler school in Los Angeles, Second City Toronto, and alongside many incredible local Vancouver teachers that he owes much of his artistry to.
Tony is steadily pursuing a career in film and television, and has recently been seen across several network/streaming platforms. He is always excited at the opportunity to jump on stage. When he is not acting, Anthony is working multiple jobs as a longshore worker for the port, as well as a student support worker for students with autism in the Vancouver school board.
Rachel is an actor, writer, and comedian. She studied theatre at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was working adjacent to Broadway (read: as an assistant) in the Big Apple before returning to Beautiful BC. She’s performed with Peninsula Productions, Leather and Lace Theatre, SFU, and the Sechelt Arts Festival, as well as in many indie films (including her own!) She’s also a Canada Line connoisseur currently on a mission to find the best caesar in Vancouver. That’s not related to her acting pursuits, just a fun fact. If you think you’ve got the perfect clamato:tabasco ratio, let her know. She also does stand up but that’s probably not that surprising. Shout out to the three Ls – Libraries, London Fogs, and Lynn. And alliteration which has Ls in it but actually does not start with one, contrary to popular belief. OH yeah and follow her on instagram because she’s hopelessly vain: @rachelruecker
Sophie (she/her) is born and raised in Vancouver, and is a recent graduate of the Douglas College Theatre Program. Her final college productions were The AshGirl, and Light The Way (which was apart of the Climate Change Theatre Action Plan). She recently co wrote and starred in a short film, called 1 in 3, which will be out this year! As well as acting, Sophie grew up making music, and loves to sing and compose her own songs. Sophie plans to study abroad in the UK in the fall, to complete her BA in Theatre. This is her first Or Festival, and she is very grateful to be apart of Common Ground with an incredibly talented team.
Sam Jeffery (she/her) is an actor, certified intimacy director & coordinator, educator, and award-nominated fight director born and raised in ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program, she has been co-AD of StoneMarrow Theatre, a Sterling Award juror, and most recently an instructor in the acting faculty of Vancouver Film School. Sam is a new transplant to the coast, and she is grateful to meet the wonderful Vancouver theatre community!
Select acting credits: The Amazonomachy, Troilus and Cressida (Tiger’s Hearts Collective); Crave, Stormshelter, A Beautiful View (StoneMarrow Theatre); After Miss Julie, The Birthday Party (Lodestar Theatre); Slight of Mind (Theatre Yes/Citadel Theatre); Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Henry V (Malachite Theatre); Whiskey Business (co-created with Miranda Allen Entertainment). samjeffery.com