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Event Curator - Elley Ray

An award-winning "Bon Vivant," this theatrical alchemist awakens, inspires, and delights all who witness her unique form of magic. Elley has traversed the stages, film sets, television and radio studios for over 40 years, delighting audiences world wide. Her talent, and compassion to share it, is unparalleled.  Elley has performed in over 300 theatrical productions, with hundreds of on-camera series and movies to her credit and has voiced thousands of commercial campaigns, animated series, animated movies and games.

Elley teaches internationally with upcoming conventions in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Ohio, Manchester, Germany, Russia, Toronto, Vancouver and London to name a few. She  delights in teaching at the University of Windsor where she received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws for her contributions to the Arts and Humanities. 

The dressing rooms at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre were named after her for her years of support on the board. She has sat on numerous other arts boards as well. There is nothing this powerhouse can't do and nothing she wouldn't give to the world of storytelling. 

passion & poison performers

NATHANIEL BACON - Drag

Nathaniel Bacon is a graduate of the Theatre and Drama Studies joint program at Sheridan College and U of T. He is also a Broadway World Toronto Award-winner for Best Actor(musical). Nathaniel’s stage credits include starring roles in several Sky Gilbert productions, including St. Francis Of Millbrook at 4th Line Theatre, My Dinner With Casey Donovan at Theatre Passe Muraille, and most recently an opera workshop called Shakespeare’s Criminal at Factory Theatre. In addition, he is well known for playing the lead in both Hedwig and The Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Show at Lower Ossington Theatre. He also works frequently in TV, with credits including Shadowhunters, Saving Hope and Reign.

HÉLÈNE DUCHARME - Opera

Hélène is a Diva by nature with all the trimmings. She is a coloratura soprano who works with most of the classical repertoire while concentrating on opera. She enjoys singing art songs in all languages and is at home on any stage. Hélène loves occasionally spicing up her performances to often celebrate her queer nature.

Hélène also enjoys sharing her passion for singing by teaching voice to new and established singers.

So, with all that said, sit back and enjoy a few minutes of the pyrotechnics!

RENEE FRIGAULT - Circus  Renee is a professional engineer and recreational circus performer. Current creative work includes developing human driven machine systems based on equipment found in common industrial manufacturing lines using aerial and acrobatics. She works and trains in Toronto.

RENEE FRIGAULT - Circus

Renee is a professional engineer and recreational circus performer. Current creative work includes developing human driven machine systems based on equipment found in common industrial manufacturing lines using aerial and acrobatics. She works and trains in Toronto.

VERONICA SIMPSON - Tap

Veronica Simpson, currently studying at Randolph College of the Performing Arts, is originally from Ottawa, where she studied dance at Capital City Dance. She has performed as a tap dancer in Rhythm and Sound’s Illumination, the Ted Louis Levy Residency as part of the Toronto International Tap Dance Festival, and as a soloist with the NAC Orchestra on three children’s concert series’. Most recently, she performed at the Nuit Blanche festival in Operations (1945-2006): Movements, a 12-hour contemporary ballet installation, and in Randolph College’s production of More Light, directed by Philip Mckee. Veronica is very grateful for this performance opportunity and looks forward to sharing it with you.

MARTHA CHAVES - Stand-up

Martha Chaves is a veteran of multiple Montreal’s Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, and of all other major comedy festivals in Canada. She has also performed in Boston and New York Comedy Festivals, in Toronto’s SheDot Festival and in Colombia’s Festival Del Humour. Her versatility has granted her to do shows all over the world and to entertain a wide range of audiences: she performed for the Canadian troops in Alert, Egypt, Israel, and Afghanistan; 2015, she performed at the opening ceremonies of the Toronto Pan Am Games; and in 2016 she hosted the ACTRA awards. Her Stand-Up TV credits include her two national comedy specials: COMICS! On the CBC, and There’s Something about Martha on CTV and The COMEDY NETWORK. You often hear Martha on CBC Radio on Laugh Out Loud and on The Debaters. Martha has had an extensive acting career in TV, film, and theatre. Her One-Woman show, “In Times of Trouble”, was the opening show of Aluna Theatre’s CAMINOS Festival in November 2015.

CARMEN LEARDI - Tap

Carmen Leardi is a versatile performing artist, currently studying dance, acting, and vocals at Randolph College for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Ontario. Some of her favourite credits include dancing for “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “The Mandatory World Tour”, and co-choreographing and performing in “More Light” with Philip McKee.

JADE TRICHILO - Dance

Jade Trichilo is currently a student at Randolph College for the Performing Arts. She has been dancing since the age of 3 with training in jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary and has completed up to her advanced 1 ballet exam with the RAD Syllabus. She has been a competitive dancer for 12 years competing at many national competitions in Canada and in the USA. Jade has experience dance teaching and choreographing for FAME Performing Arts and Mayfield Secondary school in shows like; Cinderella, The Sound Of Music, 21 Chump Street, and She Loves Me. Not just behind the scenes, Jade also has on stage performing experience through FAME Performing Arts with leading roles in Footloose, Elf, Hairspray, Matilda, and Mamma Mia. Jade just currently closed a production of More Light directed by Philip McKee, performed in the Annex theatre; and will be performing in a production of City of Angels directed by Jen Shubert this summer in the Randolph Theatre.

THUNDER CLOUD (aka Michele Rosano) - Magic

Thunder Cloud is a Toronto born Non Binary, 2-Spirited Awesome One with disabilities, of Metis, French, Celtic, & Italian descent. They are a rapper, spoken word artist, signer, storyteller, playwright, and actor, as well as a consultant, facilitator, and counsellor-- who works with pyrotechnics and special effects!

Thunder was one of the original drag kings at Buddies Theatre, playwright of the radio drama No Reason No Rhyme No Justice, & have performed at The Winter Garden in Toronto. They have performed in many shows as Wedgie The Clowning Magician, an Edutainer who uses humour and magic to educate about AIDS, cultural teachings, environmental issues, and anti-hate messaging.

MEENAKSHI - East Indian Dance

Meenakshi is the co-owner and co-director of Downward Dog Yoga Centre in Toronto. She first traveled to India in 1988 to study Meditation and Yoga Philosophy at the International Meditation Institute in Kullu, Manali, and has been practicing and teaching yoga globally for over 25 years. Her early years before that were spent studying and performing as both an actor and a modern dancer. As a devotional kirtan singer, she also has produced 5 Cd’s with her partner and band SWAHA.


She has studied Kathak Dance with Joanna Das and Odissi Classical Indian Dance with Colleena Shakti. She performed Odissi for the first time onstage at the Pushkar Dance Festival in 2017. Under the guidance and tutelage of the brilliant Guru Sri Devraj Patnaik, she performed his choreography “Surya Vandana” in Toronto in the fall of 2018, and performed a solo at the 5th Purva International Classical Dance Festival in Gurjarat in January 2019. Her heart skips a beat at the opportunities that lie ahead for this sacred puja offering of devotion and ultimate union with God.

LORENNA EUNAPIO - Flamenco Dance  Lorenna Eunapio began to study dance at the age of 5, starting with classical ballet in Brazil. Her background also includes tap dance, street, jazz, ballroom dance, and Flamenco, which she started with ten years old and got professionalized at the age of 19. Her main  maestros  were the Brazilians Ricardo Samel and Maria Thereza Canário. In Spain, she studied with La Truco, Miguel Canãs, Juana Amaya and María Juncal, and she also took several workshops with Spanish maestros such as Domingo Ortega, Inmaculada Ortega, Carmen La Talegona, Concha Jareño, Belén Maya, Manuel Reyes, Pol Vaquero, Isaac de los Reyes, Manuel Liñan, and Rafaela Carrasco, to name a few.  Lorenna worked as a  maestra  from 2004 to 2018 in several dance schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She danced professionally at Raga Group (fusion dance) from 2005 to 2006, at Maria Thereza Canário Dance Company from 2009 to 2018, in special shows with Spanish  bailaores  such as Pol Vaquero, Isaac de los Reyes and Domingo Ortega, and as a solo artist in several  tablaos  in Brazil.  As a Flamenco enthusiast, Lorenna led the “Flamenco in Rio” project for many years, including the organization of more than 25  tablaos  and a Flamenco blog, which is still online.  In Canada, Lorenna is a student of the Academy of Spanish Dance, led by the  maestra  Esmeralda Enrique.

LORENNA EUNAPIO - Flamenco Dance

Lorenna Eunapio began to study dance at the age of 5, starting with classical ballet in Brazil. Her background also includes tap dance, street, jazz, ballroom dance, and Flamenco, which she started with ten years old and got professionalized at the age of 19. Her main maestros were the Brazilians Ricardo Samel and Maria Thereza Canário. In Spain, she studied with La Truco, Miguel Canãs, Juana Amaya and María Juncal, and she also took several workshops with Spanish maestros such as Domingo Ortega, Inmaculada Ortega, Carmen La Talegona, Concha Jareño, Belén Maya, Manuel Reyes, Pol Vaquero, Isaac de los Reyes, Manuel Liñan, and Rafaela Carrasco, to name a few.

Lorenna worked as a maestra from 2004 to 2018 in several dance schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She danced professionally at Raga Group (fusion dance) from 2005 to 2006, at Maria Thereza Canário Dance Company from 2009 to 2018, in special shows with Spanish bailaores such as Pol Vaquero, Isaac de los Reyes and Domingo Ortega, and as a solo artist in several tablaos in Brazil.

As a Flamenco enthusiast, Lorenna led the “Flamenco in Rio” project for many years, including the organization of more than 25 tablaos and a Flamenco blog, which is still online.

In Canada, Lorenna is a student of the Academy of Spanish Dance, led by the maestra Esmeralda Enrique.

MCKENNA NAHAIOWSKI - Acro & Dance

Mckenna Nahaiowski was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and now currently lives in Toronto pursuing her dreams of being a performing artist. She started out dancing when she was 5 and then singing and acting later on. Mckenna has won many awards and scholarships through dance and has competed internationally for Hip-hop. She has also choreographed dance pieces within various genres. Mckenna is now in her final year of school at Randolph College for Performing Arts and will be graduated in August 2019.

MADDIE CHYCZIJ - Vocals  Maddie Chyczij is a Toronto based vocal and theatre performer, and a student at Randolph College for the Performing Arts. Her most recent credits include The Oresteia (RCPA) and Sideshow (Citadel Theatre).

MADDIE CHYCZIJ - Vocals

Maddie Chyczij is a Toronto based vocal and theatre performer, and a student at Randolph College for the Performing Arts. Her most recent credits include The Oresteia (RCPA) and Sideshow (Citadel Theatre).

HOLLI STEELES - Stilts

Holli Steeles started her training as a performer with Robert Faulkner and SwizzleStixx while attending the Toronto Parks and Recreation Summer M.A.S. Camp on Toronto Island during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Her natural aptitude as a performer and her agility on stilts led to further lessons after the camps, and eventually her acceptance into the company of stilt performers. Holli has performed at the World Pride Parade, the Salsa on St. Clair festival, the annual Island Soul Festival at Harbourfront Centre, and numerous other artistic and cultural events. She is currently attending Ryerson University for Urban Planning.

CORKTOWN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA - Select musicians  Corktown Chamber Orchestra is a downtown Toronto collective of talented, non-professional musicians who gather weekly as an orchestra to foster a mutual appreciation for music and community.

CORKTOWN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA - Select musicians

Corktown Chamber Orchestra is a downtown Toronto collective of talented, non-professional musicians who gather weekly as an orchestra to foster a mutual appreciation for music and community.

LACY JANE - Burlesque

Lacy performed her solo burlesque debut just over one year ago at Chez Bon Bon.

Since then, while in training at Burlesque Uni, she has become a showgirl with Love Letters Cabaret and performed all over Toronto.

Thank you to Elley and the whole team for putting together this wonderful evening.

Instagram: @lacyjaneburlesque

DIANE MCGRATH - Hoop Performance

Diane is a visual artist, aerial dancer, teacher and owner of Fly With Me Aerial Dance company. Her broad knowledge of the circus-arts community, and physical experience with the various component of circus arts — trapeze, silks, hoop, rope, fire, etc. — has enabled her to contribute uniquely to multidisciplinary performance. Selected credits include: 2015 Harbourfront Centre Circus Sessions, “Vertical City” at the Caravan Stage, and “Utopia Floes” in Vienna working as a performer and circus-arts choreographer. She is currently exploring “performance art in the air” as a way to bring her two creative passions -- visual art and aerial dance -- together.

ROBERT FAULKNER - Stilts

Robert Faulkner was a founding member, principal performer and performer-trainer for The SwizzleStick Theatre. SwizzleStick Theatre’s mission was to bring stilt performing traditions from Trinidad Carnival (and Caribana) and adapt them for theatre, dance, and all sorts of public events. The group disbanded in a formal sense in 2015 although Robert and other stilt-dancers continue to perform ad hoc all over Ontario under the informal name SwizzleStixx. Robert has also run stilt-training workshops for children for a wide variety of partner organizations since 1997; he estimates he has trained close to 1,000 children and 100 adults on stilts.

JARED DOKE - Vocals

Jared Doke is an actor and vocalist in Toronto, and a current student at Randolph College for the Performing Arts. His most recent credits include The Oresteia (RCPA) and The Bluebird (Hamilton Fringe)

SHANE MACKINNON - Pole

Shane has been moving through the world of aerial as of late producing shows under the company name, Flying Solo in Buddies' Pride Festival programming. Shows include, RISE, WET, ROUGH, BLOWN, & WHOLE. Some theatre credits include, Tools (Rhubarb!), Henri & Pierre (Buddies), Madder, Rabid (Summerworks), Arthouse Cabaret (Buddies), GASH! (Summerworks) and some film/tv credits include, Locker Room (Pridevision), Hedwig & the Angry Inch (Killer Films), Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Make Your Move 3D, and Four Minutes (ESPN). Shane has played saxophone for Kelly & the Kellygirls, Kids on TV, Hidden Cameras, and Amer Diab & the Loan Sharks. He freelance DJs throughout the city and has also recently added personal trainer and group fitness instructor to his title!

LIONA DAVIES - Pole

Liona is a natural performer and loves to delight an audience. Although she is an accomplished competitive pole dancer, the challenge of training other circus and aerial arts continues to inspire her as both an athlete and an artist. Liona is grateful and super excited to be a part of this production.

Creative Team

DORIAN SHINE - Creative Assistant

Dorian Shine is a Multicultural & a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto who considers himself to be a Modern Hybrid Nomad.

Dorian focuses in his work on the body as a starting point to interrogate the human condition. Playing with all genres (theatre, dance, performance art, photography and video) he is in continuous research on how this affects his experience of space & subjectivity which could be converted into an artistic expression. Shine explores ideas of how taboo regulates the social fabric & individual aspirations. Stigmas, sexuality & women’s body objectification are in the centre of his performance art work. Dorian Shine explores the ideas of the body as an anchor of the identity through perceptive experiences.

He has exhibited his work at many international festivals, like the third edition of The Performance Art Festival of Peru, and the International Theater Festival of Belgrade, Serbia and the Performance Art Biennale of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

www.DorianShine.com

MACK BURTON - Designer

Mackenzie is an emerging theatre artist from the GTA with a strong passion for direction, writing, and design. He's a recent graduate of the joint Theatre and Drama Studies program at University of Toronto and Sheridan College. He's pumped to sink his teeth into the Toronto theatre scene. His recent theatre credits include: Kore for writing, direction, design; The Legacy for direction (Beck Theatre Creation Festival); and After Icarus for direction, design (UofT Drama Festival).

Be sure to check out his website mackenzieburton.com and follow him on instagram @mackburton_ for info on upcoming productions and events!