We are so grateful to have ten directors in the Or Festival 4, each dedicated to one new play and bringing that script to life. We are ecstatic to have this inspiring team of humans onboard.

To Our Directors: Thank you for inculcating this festival with your beautiful humanity and artistic prowess. We love you. – Or Festival Team


Thembelihle Moyo 



Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Thembelihle Moyo is one of eight children, and the mother of two daughters. After graduating from high school, she taught at her school for four years, using her creativity to write dramas for students to perform during assemblies and prize giving days. Thembie studied Journalism and Media at Amakhosi Arts Academy, and she enrolled in an evening course specializing in theatre, film, producing, and directing, graduating with a Diploma in Creative Arts in 2005, and a Diploma in Media Studies and Journalism in 2006.

Thembelihile’s plays include Colour Blue (2010), Let it Out (2014), The Prophetic Place and the one-act play, Who Said I Don’t Want to Dance, about a young widow and the challenges she faces after the death of her husband. The latter play was presented by Philadelphia’s Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre in their 2018/19 season. Her play, I Want to Fly, about an African girl who wants to be a pilot, is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by African Women (Methuen, 2019) and Extracts- Cambridge University Press “Cambridge Lower Secondary English Stage 9 & Pakistan English Textbook ,UK,2020:   It had its first Canadian reading online in February 2022, presented by Regina’s Globe Theatre.

Prophetic Place,publication- University of Toronto Press, 2022

New Plays “It’s Just Black Hair” 2022 and “The Dark Bridge” 2022.

Thembelihile is actively involved with Women Playwrights International (WPI) and the African Women’s Playwrights Network (AWPN). She participated in the AWPN’s first symposium for African women, “Breaking Boundaries: African Women Writing on the Edges of Race, Gender and Identity” in 2017, and her play, I Want to Fly, was presented at the AWPN’s second symposium in 2019.

Thembie also writes for Zimbabwean television, with credits including Sibahle Nje (2011), winner of the Best Screenwriter 2012 Amakhosi Cultural Arts Award; Isipho Sami (2015); and Ezakomatshelela (2018). She has also written the feature film, Nomhle (2011).

Thembelihile is the founder and the creative director of Gitiz Arts Organization, which has developed Dance Zimbabwe and Dance Remedial Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. This initiative feeds her passion to help nurture and mentor young performers. She has written two books about dance: Contemporary Dance in Zimbabwe (2016) and Total Traditional Dances (2016).

Thembie also directs. Select credits include Song of a Woman, It’s Not Gold, and Voices of Solo Women. She also won the Bulawayo Arts Award for Directing and Producing, the award-winning TV drama, Ezakomatshelela, in 2019.

Visiting playwright and lecturer at the University of Victoria, 2022-2023. Working with both the Faculty of Fine Arts and Equity and Human Rights.

Sage Lovell



Sage Lovell (they/she) is an artist, writer, and entrepreneur. Being Deaf, Queer, Disabled, and Neurodivergent; they are an artist who likes to work their magic, using different art mediums to shift perspective and spaces. Over the past decade, Sage has worked with different communities in multiple capacities to develop meaningful work that continues to evolve. With their multitude of talents, they were able to incorporate their passion for interweaving media, language, performance, and accessibility into works of art. Their post-secondary experience at Gallaudet University made them realize that sign language accessibility is possible!

In 2020, Sage won an award from ArtEquity for their advocacy in the arts community. In 2019, Sage was a finalist for the Community Arts Award (Toronto Arts Foundation). In 2018, Sage won the 2nd place Defty Award (Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf) for their ASL poetry production of “The Four Elements.”

Louisa Phung 


Louisa is a Chinese Canadian writer and director for both theatre and, film & TV. They are an alumnus of Capilano University twice over, graduating from the Technical Theatre program in 2002, then the BPA program in 2015. They’ve had a long career in the Film and Television Industry as an Assistant Director, having worked on such shows as Apple TV’s See, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and CW’s various shows, including The Flash. Louisa’s credits include her award-winning short films “Hope and Grace” and “Day Break,” was chosen to develop her play “Embers of the Past” with VACT’s MSG Lab 1 and 2,  and co-directed a production of “Vietgone” at United Players. She is currently developing her multi-disciplinary immersive stage play, “The Dive.” 

Vivian Li


Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li is a queer writer, editor, singer-songwriter, director, and interdisciplinary artist. Her creative works are forthcoming or can be found in The New Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, The Fiddlehead, filling station, and CV2, among others. Most recently, she was Shortlisted for the The Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award, Longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Shortlisted for the Vancouver City Poems Contest, and Longlisted for The Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. Her past acting/ playwright credits include Little Women (UBC Players Club) and Guitar Strings (Green College Players; Coffeehouse Theatre Society; Festival Dionysia). She was also a director at Brave New Play Rites 2022. Her first directorial, screenwriting, and producer short musical dramedy, In Silence, We Sing, debuted at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2022. She is currently working on her thesis novel (funded by SSHRC CGS-M) engaging with themes of Buddhism, sisterhood, and reincarnation. Her debut chapbook, Someday I Promise I’ll Love You (845 Press, 2022) was published in November 2022. A MFA candidate at UBC and an editor for PRISM international and Augur, she can be reached @vivianlicreates.

Sophia Saugstad


Sophia Saugstad (she/her) is a performer, director, and theatre creator. Originally from Bowen Island, she is now privileged to live and work on the stolen land of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam First Nations. Directing credits include: The Importance of Being Earnest (UBC Players Club), 30 Neo-Futurist Plays (Bramble Theatre Collective), Venus and Moon (Ignite Festival, Vines Festival), and Heathers (Assistant Director, UBC). Sophia is a graduate of the Studio 58 Acting Program and is currently getting an Honours Degree in Theatre Studies from UBC. She is the recipient of the John F. Parker award for Demonstrating Exceptional Promise in Theatre Arts, and the Carol ChrisJohn Award for Demonstrating Joy and Passion in Theatre Arts.

Argel Monte de Ramos


Argel Monte de Ramos is a Filipino-Canadian singer-songwriter, actor, playwright-producer, and director from Surrey, B.C. Canada. Argel is an advocate of anti-racism work and inclusion. He wants to use the power of storytelling to inspire youth through his music, theatrical performances, and administrative work. He firmly believes that the arts create significant impacts on the youth’s lives. 


Argel co-founded the Momentum 180 Collective with Jocelyn Tsui and created The Parallel Project. This workshop program aims to create a collection of extended-original monologues written by emerging IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) writers and performed by emerging IBPOC actors.


Select performance credits include Horton the Elephant in SEUSSICAL! The Musical (Align Entertainment), Eddie in MAMMA MIA! (Theatre Under The Stars), Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls (Fighting Chance Productions) and Fabulist Theatre’s All Together Now. Argel would like to thank the team behind OR Festival, for providing him an opportunity to direct one of the plays this year.


Argel lives on the traditional, occupied, and stolen territories of Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

Nicky Anderton


This is Nicky’s first year directing with the OR Festival and she is absolutely thrilled to be directing Alyssa Formosa’s Common Ground, featuring Sophie Mildiner and Yasmin Yayob. Some previous directing projects include Rabbit Hole (Vancouver Fringe Festival), Five Alarm (Metro Theatre), Affections of May (Metro Theatre), Farragut North (Blank Slate Theatre) and devised theatre projects Absolutely, Maybe, I don’t know (Wildfire Productions) and Take a Flying Leap (Parnassus Players). Thank you for supporting live theatre in Vancouver!

Leysan Timirboulatova


Leysan is a versatile and vivid actress based in Vancouver. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts at Sarah Lawrence in New York, majoring in theatre and political science. The Or Festival marks her debut as a playwright and director of her own work.

David Volpov 


David (he/him) is a writer, actor, producer, and director working on the ancestral lands of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Good people can do bad things. Bad people can be vindicated. Life is complex. These are the building blocks of the stories that David loves to explore. David advocates for emerging artists to take positions of creative leadership through his work as the Executive Director of Promethean Theatre. He has performed and/or written with Bramble Theatre, UBC Players, Promethean Theatre, and Brave New Play Rites. David is excited to return to Or Festival, where he premiered his one-act play, “Civil Court.” 

He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from UBC, where he was the proud recipient of the Jessie Richardson Scholarship. He later returned to UBC to complete a Master of Management. During the day, David works at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival as the Corporate and Foundations Relations Officer. David is currently developing his next play through the Arts Club’s Emerging Playwrights’ Unit.

Mikayla Stradiotto 


Mikayla Stradiotto (she/her) is a creator, performer, and choreographer. As an interdisciplinary artist, Mikayla received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theatre Performance at Sheridan College (2019) where she was awarded the Highest Achievement in Dance Award. Mikayla has been creating and choreographing since the age of 12 and is currently working as a choreographer with Bravo Academy. Her most recent choreographer credits include: SpongeBob SquarePants, Something Rotten Jr, and We Will Rock You. Theatre credits include: 9 to 5 (Stephenville Theatre Festival, Ensemble/DC/Associate Choreographer), Disenchanted (Stephenville Theatre Festival, Snow White/DC), Heresy (Paprika Festival), My Bonnie Lass (Sheridan College). A huge thank you to everyone that made this possible and for supporting new Canada Theatre