ABOUT THE TEAM
We are beyond elated to present ten playwrights in the Or Festival 4 this year. Their plays were anonymously selected by our curators from a high volume of submissions. Every show we will celebrate the world premiere of their spectacular 10 minute plays anew. We want to thank our playwrights for courageously sharing their voices and for working so hard with their dramaturgs to fine-tune their scripts.
To Our Playwrights: We are so grateful to each of you for being a part of the Festival this year. You are the foundation of it all. Thank you for inspiring us with your stories. We love you. – Or Festival Team
GISELLE MILLER Playwright of “THE SPIRIT HAS TEETH”
Giselle Miller is a Jamaican-Canadian writer, actor and filmmaker living in Vancouver. Giselle fell in love with storytelling early, winning her first writing competition at 13. Five of her feature-length screenplays have placed as quarter finalists in competitions in the United States. After completing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC in 2020, she went on to write, produce and direct twelve short films and two seasons of the Leo-nominated web series “Young, Single and Black.” Giselle also received a Leo nomination for her performance in season 1 of the series. Giselle’s productions have been featured in the Women of African Descent Film Festival, the Reel Q: Pittsburgh LGBTQ Film Festival and the Roma Shorts Film Festival. Giselle is in development on several projects including the animated short
Hummingbird in Heat, the web series yolanda the goddess and her debut feature Sweet Plantain. THE SPIRIT HAS TEETH
Virgo, a rebellious teen, must tell her overprotective mother, Minga, that her worst fears have come true. Virgo is pregnant.
CHANTAL GALLANT Playwright of “London”
Chantal Gallant (she/her) is an actor, writer and teacher. She double majored in theatre and creative writing from the University of Victoria. After moving to Vancouver, Chantal apprenticed with Pacific Theatre, where she had the opportunity to develop some of her own work and learn from a variety of local theatre artists. Playwriting credits include;
Nosegate (Vancouver Fringe), Nowheresville, B.C. (Little Dipper Theatre). Select acting credits include; Nosegate (Vancouver Fringe); Mother of the Maid (Pacific Theatre); Nosegate (Stone’s Throw Productions); Riding with Change (MONOVA); The Comedy of Errors, Gut Girls (Phoenix Theatre); Antigone (MFA Project Phoenix Theatre). LONDONLondon takes us through the worst part of every church service…The time restricted, “Turn to your neighbour and say hello. ” Will it ever be more than a surface level greeting, or do you just need to grin and bear it?
KENNETH TYNAN Playwright of “Qui-Pao”
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.
A young mixed-Chinese girl faces off with her full Chinese reflection who confronts her over her fears about being mixed.
KELSI JAMES Playwright of “Boudoir”
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?
BOUDOIR In BOUDOIR, Kelsi James uses poetry, photography and dance to explore virginity culture, allosexual culture, and the underlying forces that prescribe (and punish) all our expressions of sexuality. Using boudoir photography as both metaphor and central action, Kelsi dreams of her own vulnerable reclamation of asexual sexiness.
LANDON KRETZ Playwright of “The Extinction of The Sea Mink And Their Favourite Maple Leaf” (A Visual Vernacular Piece)
Landon Krentz is completely bilingual in American Sign Language and English. He brings a unique perspective to the role of an artistic director in sign language theatre. The role has allowed him to create projects in order to build an audience of both Deaf and hearing members in a shared theatrical experience.
THE EXTINCTION OF THE SEA MINK AND THEIR FAVOURITE MAPLE LEAF A journey to the extinction of a sea mink from the 1880s. Sea minks were hunted as a prize due to their size which made them more desirable for the fur trade. This visual vernacular piece describes and explores the themes of normalizing death in our world.
SYDNEY MARINO Playwright of “Unravelling”
Sydney Marino is a Vancouver-based playwright, director, and educator. Her plays have been produced by the Brave New Play Rites Festival and Killarney Theatre. She is currently the Artist in Residence at Killarney Theatre, where she wrote and directed her most recent play Scrappy Campers. Sydney has developed work in the LEAP Playwriting Intensive, PTC Block A Cohort, and Story Theatre’s Writer’s Room. She is also an educator, instructing playwriting courses at the Arts Club Theatre company. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC. As a playwright and crochet enthusiast, Sydney is excited to combine these two passions in her short play Unravelling.
UNRAVELLING When a woman gifts her partner a handmade sweater, the cracks in their relationship are revealed as the sweater slowly starts to unravel. Unravelling is a play about a deteriorating relationship, and how one loose thread can cause the whole thing to fall apart. Seamus Fera
SEAMUS FERA Playwright of “The Grind”
Seamus is a director, playwright and theatre instructor working on the ancestral lands and stolen lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh first nations. He has a BFA in Performance from UBC. As a director he has assisted E scaped Alone and Seventeen for Western Gold Theatre and Charles III with The Arts Club. He has also directed Angler Fish Love Story (Or Festival), Bare (Eternal Theatre Collective) and MilkMilkLemonade ( Awkward Stage Productions). He will be making his professional directing debut this fall with A Doll’s House Part 2 with Western Gold Theatre. He has written numerous TYA plays including Gale, Curiouser, They Honey Files (in collaboration with students), Shakespeare’s Redux and his original audio play Persy’s Phone. His Play, The Wives, has received numerous workshops with UBC and Frolicking Divas Productions. One of Seamus’ other passions is arts education. He is currently the director of the Coquitlam Youth Theatre and Arts Umbrella’s Junior Troupe who annual both produce touring shows seen by thousands of students in the lower mainland. He currently serves as Literary Manager for Westen Gold Theatre and as a board member for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. He hopes you enjoy all the wonderful new Canadian work you will see this evening.
THE GRIND A snapshot of two men’s search for intimacy in the age of instant gratification.
ALYSSA FORMOSA Playwright of “Common Ground” Alyssa Formosa (she/her) is a Maltese-Canadian playwright and performer living on the traditional and unceded territories of the Stó:lō, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Her passions for theatre and humanity fuel the work that she does. Alyssa’s plays include Common Ground, Epic Insomnia, Oh Brother, Redd, Odd Man Out, and Dream On. Alyssa’s work has been performed at the Or Festival, National Theatre School (NTS) Drama Festival, and developed through Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Block A and the Arts Club LEAP playwriting programs. Awards include: Mission Arts Council’s “Literary Arts Award” in 2022, and Association of British Columbia Drama Educators YouthWright/NTS Drama Festival’s “Outstanding Original Script” in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Alyssa strives to build community through her work and encourages others to share the important stories that only they can tell.
COMMON GROUND In the foregin city of Barcelona, Amy struggles to understand the language, the map, and her place in a new culture. With a little patience and little help from an elderly local, perhaps humanity can win after all.
SHERRY MACDONALD Playwright of “Hot Milk”
Sherry’s plays have been staged in various cities in Canada and the U.S. and include
The Seduction Theory, The Stone Face, The Duchess of Alba, Iraqi Karaoke, and Cowgirl Jane. Also a filmmaker, her films have been screened locally and internationally. She is also a regular story-teller appearing at local story-telling events such as The Flame and Vancouver Story Slam. Sherry is currently writing a full-length musical about the 1935 longshore workers’ strike in Vancouver titled Battle of Ballantyne Pier, excerpts of which have been staged at Heart of the City, Magnetic North, and In Tune festivals. Sherry is delighted her monologue Hot Milk is premiering at this year’s Or Festival. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and her work is published by Anvil Press.
HOT MILK While preparing a cup of hot milk for her husband, a woman dreams of a life alone. Leysan Timirboulatova
LEYSAN TIMIRBOULATOVA Playwright of “Chad, Darling”
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.
CHAD, DARLING A girl drugs a man on a date and takes him home.