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 one particular actor posed for the work of one of our playwrights. We are so thankful for the unique and dynamic environment in our rehearsal spaces, sparked by ongoing dialogues occurring between professional, emerging and new actors.

To Our Actors: Thank you for supporting new works by Vancouver playwrights and for bringing these never-before-seen characters to life with your beautiful selves! Thank you! We love you all. — Or Festival Team


Panthea Vatandoost


Panthea Vatandoost is an Iranian film and theatre artist. Some of her theatre credits include: Una in Blackbird (One Story Productions – Jessie Award nominee), and Arlin in Commencing (Medusa Theatre Society). Her film and TV credits include: Sahar (TIFF – Leo Award nominee), Zero (Studio 104 Entertainment), Detect Her (VAFF), as well as roles on the CW, Hulu, and Netflix. Panthea is the founding and Managing Artistic Director of Medusa Theatre Society.

Brendan Taylor


Born and raised in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia, while working on the other side of the camera in Set Decoration, Brendan returned to his passion of acting in 2008 studying with Kate Twa at Railtown Actors Studio. Now pursuing a full-time career in the arts, no matter what he’s doing, he always makes time for the stage; acting in such works as SubUrbia and Frankenstein with Blind Pig Theatre which he co-founded in 2010, and more recently the large scale immersive theatre experience Deep Into Darkness in 2019. He has had roles on TV’s Fargo and Bates Motel, and has recurring roles on The Magicians, Supernatural, and on the upcoming new Netflix series Firefly Lane. You can also catch him frequently in TV commercials. Thank you for supporting local theatre! A promise to you: at the end of your days, you’ll never say to yourself “I saw too much theatre”.

Andy Kalirai


Andy Kalirai was born and raised in Vancouver, BC and has been training at Railtown Actors Studio and Tempest Theatre. He is proud to have been a part of The Undocumented Trial of William C. Hopkinson (Monsoon Arts Fest), Soul Samurai (Affair of Honor), the dance ensemble of All’s Well That Ends Well (Bard on the Beach), and Guards at the Taj (Pick of the Fringe 2019 Winner). He hopes to continue exploring and sharing South Asian stories on stage and in film. 

Parm Soor


Parm was born in Punjab, India and raised in London, England. He studied Theatre at The University of Winnipeg. Stage highlights include The Arts Club productions of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ ‘The Orchard’ and ‘The Humans’ at The Stanley Theatre and ‘The Men In White’ at The Granville Island Stage; ‘A Vancouver Guldasta’ at the Cultch; ‘MacBeth’ at The Firehall Arts Centre ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at The Kaleidoscope Theatre’ and ‘Coronation Voyage’ at The National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He has appeared in over 40 television shows and numerous Hollywood blockbusters including ‘Watchmen’; ‘2012’; Tomorrowland; and ‘Maze Runner’. Parm is delighted to be involved for the first time with The OR Festival.

Nikki Chohan


Nikki Chohan originally hails from the prairies, she’s studied acting and improv in the east and now lives in the west! Not only is she super excited to see something she wrote come to life but is also blessed to be acting in a play as well. She hopes you enjoy the show and would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. 

Adam Fox


Adam Fox is an actor, writer, director and voice-over actor living in Vancouver, Canada. Adam graduated from the NYU Tisch Drama Program, where he studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and then at Stonestreet Studios (Film and TV). Adam has acted in nearly a dozen independent and semi-independent projects, as well as a major web-series (Bazerk!), a Bollywood Film (Best of Luck), and a major Samsung Commercial since graduating NYU. Adam also produced his own self-written and directed short film, “#StillGotIt?!” which will debut at festivals this year. He hopes his decision to return to Vancouver, Canada will yield more film and TV opportunities and he has written two full-length scripts which he hopes to develop and produce within the next year.

Sandra Birkenhead


A former Drama teacher and current high school guidance counselor, Sandra is excited to be performing in the OR Festival this year! She would like to thank her students – past and present — who inspire her every day, her family and friends — who get why she’s doing this now — and, especially, her husband without whom this would not be possible.

Warren Persowich


After years of criss-crossing the prairies as a comic (featured nationally on CBC Television and Radio amongst others) and keynote speaker Warren Persowich moved to the lower mainland to pursue acting.  He is thrilled to be making his theatrical debut this spring at the Or Festival in Sally Stubbs Doors and Windows. He is also thrilled to be making his musical theatre debut this summer in Don Hardy’s Another Night Way off Broadway.

Mona Hassanien


Mona is well traveled Egyptian Canadian who appreciates cultural exchange and dialogue. Mona has spent over a decade in the helping sector as community builder, social worker and artivist. She is currently living the dream as an aspiring working actor in Hollywood North.

Julie Mary


Julie moved to Vancouver in 2014, from her home country Venezuela. She’s gone to school for some engineering, then to another one for photography and now she’s been taking acting lessons. This is her first theatre performance, and she’s thrilled she gets to be part of a talented group of local artists.

Eddy Van Wyk


Eddy is Namibian. She creates and performs as a guest on unceded Coast Salish land in Vancouver,BC. Her work has a Grotowski/clown sensibility. Her clown teachers include Steven Hill, David MacMurray Smith and Gina Bastone; her Grotowski training stems largely from the facilitation of Raïna von Waldenburg. Recent credits include Bean and Hat for Pull Festival (2019),Slime with The Only Animal (2018), 12 Minute Madness at the Vancouver Fringe Festival (2017) and Romeo and Juliet at SFU (2017). She has worked with Radix Theatre, Rumble Theatre, Speakeasy Theatre, Popcorn Galaxies and New(to)Town Collective. Short films include Soak and Refahmation. 
She recently created and performed her one-woman show, tadpole: the last episode at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and went on to win the TD Fringe Forward Award through Neworld Theatre. 
Her current practise investigates contact improvisation, clowning, habit and ritual as well as leaning deeply into the unconventional self and peculiarity in order to find the universal. She is not on social media, despises smart-phones, reads for revolution and loves being a godmother.

Ishan Sandhu


Ishan Sandhu is in his final year of the BFA Acting program. For UBC: Book Of Days (Bobby Groves), The Forgotten Proposal (Arlecchino), Goldrausch (Film Crew), The Changeling (Antonio). Other theatre credits: The Wrong Bashir (Al Nashir), American History X (Lamont), Gramophone (Hassan), and Breaking Borders (Ishan). He played the lead in the pilot episodes of Dead Dudes and Alone Wolf. He also featured in Art vs. Art and Shame Expo, serrated knife and Nicki, short films made by Vancouver Film School.

Sofie Calvert


Sofie Calvert is an English actress based in Vancouver. After graduating with a BA(Hons) in Drama and Spanish from the University of Kent, Sofie worked on various theatre projects in Manchester, as well as working as a Mermaid ‘game host’ in Latvia! Sofie always knew she would end up acting, but her route to becoming an actress took a side step when she moved to Vancouver in 2013, and she spent her first 5 years here working full time in fitness. In 2019 she made the leap back into acting, debuting her work at the Vancouver Monologue Slams, and since many doors have opened to her.  She is loving immersing herself in the industry; she has been performing at various local theatres and is loving every moment of it!

Taryn Roo Yoneda


Taryn is a new Vancouver-ite and recent graduate of the performance stream at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre. Past show credits include “Madwoman of Chaillot,” “Comedy of Errors,” “7 Stories” (Phoenix Theatre), “Drop in a Broken Fountain”(Winnipeg Fringe), and “Antigones”(Victoria Fringe). She is very excited to be working with this incredible team on “Maggie.”

Seth Johnson


Seth first got inspired to be an actor in high school where he preformed in three full play productions and starred as Charlie Chaplin in “The Cat’s Meow.” Seth fell in love with the art and moved to Vancouver in 2016 to study acting. He attended School Creative and took some part time classes then the full time program and finally received a diploma in acting. Straight out of school Seth met Emilio Merritt then shortly after was cast in his original play “Dali & Hopper.” Throughout the years Seth has worked on set as PA, boom operator, grip and more. Seth has also worked as an actor in a few short films throughout the years. Through Emilio and Jeff Wyndham, Seth grew a huge love for the stage. They organized a theatre group to train on classic plays and develop actors skills, now this group is called DAG and Seth is continuing to learn. Seth was also a part of the cast on Hedda Gabler and helped out with the production as much as possible. Seth is happy with where he is today and is always excited to work on new projects.

Natalie Schreiber


Natalie is from Vancouver originally and has been acting since childhood.  She doesn’t enjoy writing about herself.  She started in musical theatre but has also dabbled in film, voiceover, writing and stage management.  Recent stage credits include Joan in 7 Stories (Spark Productions), and Mary in Detroit (Vagabond Players).  She is thrilled to be a part of Or Festival and thanks everyone involved for their hard work and collaboration. 

Elliot Figueira


After emigrating from London, England at the age of 7, Elliot Figueira has been steadily pursuing an acting career in film, television, voice-over, and theater. He appreciates the Vancouver’s connection to the mountains, the oceans, and everything in between. 



Leysan has recently moved to Vancouver after spending 5 years in New York City where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. Her trilingual background and passion for fierce female roles has given her the opportunity to play unforgettable lead women such as Fefu in Fefu and her Friends by the avant-garde María Irene Fornés, Phaedra in Jean Racine’s classic French love-triangle Phèdre, Lubov Andreyevna in the Russian tragicomedy The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov and The Bride in Federico García Lorca’s Spanish rural tragedy Blood Wedding. With much experience in the world of tragedy and translated classical text, Leysan is thrilled to diversify her work with more comedic and contemporary writing!

Brunella Battista


Brunella is a multimedia artist and performer. She was Dumpty in TVOntario’s Gemini winning Polka Dot Shorts for 80 episodes, and the holographic porn-star in the long-running “Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack” at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto. After performing her “Rubber Girl” in Toronto and Vancouver, her first comedy short film “The Food & I” won the special jury prize at Invideo in Milan, Italy. She has held various (notoriously serious) jobs, but after being on/off-stage for many years, Brunella is now fully committed to performing, doing stand-up, improv, storytelling and poetry, and ready to take you on emotional journeys at many venues around BC. 

Jack Rigg


Jack began his work in the theatre as a student ASM at the Haymarket Theatre in London in 1967. The job entailed sweeping the stage and making coffee and tea for the actors! He eventually went on to work for the National Theatre at the Old Vic as well as the Aldwych, Vaudeville and Adelphi theatres. He trained at the Central School in London and here at Studio 58. His first professional job as an actor was as Redruth in ‘Treasure Island’ at the Playhouse directed by Patrick Crean and Paxton Whitehead. Jack has also worked with Tamahnous Theatre, The West Coast Actors, Smoking Gun Collective, The Arts Club Theatre, Fighting Chance Productions and The United Players where he played The Professor in Kathleen Duborg’s acclaimed production of ‘Jerusalem’ last summer. Jack is very excited to be a part of this year’s Or Festival.

Stewart Prince


Stewart is thrilled to be a part of the Or Festival! A local actor, Stewart has trained extensively at Railtown Actor’s Studio and Tempest Theatre. For the past four years he has also been regular participant in the Canadian National Voice Intensive and looks forward to continuing his training this year. The Or festival marks Stewart’s first time returning to the stage since UBC Player’s Club’s 2017 production of Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced. And most Importantly, a huge thank you to everyone for coming out to support the Or festival and local theatre!