Bryony Dixon – Artistic Managing Producer
Bryony Dixon is a multimedia artist, administrator, and researcher whose work stems from performance based practice. She holds a B.A. in Drama from Queen Mary University of London (UK) and a Master’s in Film Aesthetics from The University of Oxford (UK). Bryony has showcased numerous performance art projects with Guggenheim-winning artist Lois Weaver (London, 2012); performed in a sell-out physical theatre production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2011); assisted social practice visual artist, Susanne Lacy, with her Silver Action installation at the Tate Modern (2013); and has worked on diverse theatrical productions such as Punchdrunk Theatre’s immersive ‘The Crash of the Elysium’ (Manchester International Festival, 2011); Brecht’s ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ (Oxford Playhouse, 2014); Norm Foster’s ‘Self Help’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Kimberly Summer Theatre, 2013).
Now based in Nanaimo, Bryony has worked in the local non-profit Arts sector since 2018. She is committed to serving the artistic growth of her new community by championing experimentation and facilitating creative collaborations.
Tamara McCarthy – Associate Artistic Producer
Tamara is a professional director, producer, actor, and teacher. She has a deep passion for telling the stories of women. A multiple Jessie Richardson Award nominated director and actor, Tamara’s select directing credits include The Double Axe Murders remount tour (Gateway/ Evergreen); Julius Caesar (Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival); A Brief History of Human Extinction (The Cultch/ upintheair); Into the Woods (Vancouver Island University); The Out Vigil (Theatre Newfoundland Labrador); La Bohème (Opera Nanaimo); The Double Axe Murders (Rusticate/ PHT); The Sea; A Doll’s House (Slamming Door); Gruesome Playground Injuries (Dark Matter); Between the Sheets; Reasons to be Pretty (Western Edge); James and the Giant Peach (Chemainus Theatre Festival); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; A Beautiful View (Naked Goddess). Recent appearances as an actor include world premieres, With Glowing Hearts (TheatreOne) and HELLO (Theatre Terrific/ Firehall). Tamara served on the Pacific Coast Stage Company Board of Directors from 2017-2020.
Jessica Lowry – TBD, Board of Directors
Jessica is a Vancouver Island based, Tofino born writer, actor, mother and creator. She holds a BFA with distinction from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program, and was an ensemble member with The Shaw Festival for three seasons. Recent local performance credits include Billie in the world premiere of Secret/e- a new work that investigates HIV criminalization, disclosure and consent. As a settler with four generations of roots in the Vancouver Island logging industry Jessica has particular interest in unpacking her own colonial history through artistic practise. Jessica wrote and performed in Clear Cut, as part of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Silva Part II: Booming Grounds exhibition. She was co-recipient of a Canada 150 legacy grant and wrote and directed Blackstones & Bathtubs, a musical revue that navigated Nanaimo’s confederate history while provoking inquiry about the nature of ‘celebrating’ Canada 150 in relation to colonialism, and its devastating effects on Indigenous culture and the natural world. Jessica was scholarship recipient to attend Janis Jonasen’s Intercultural Leadership retreat for women who want to contribute to meaningful conversations regarding Canadian history and the current reality of Indigenous people in Canada. She is a certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor, and teaches this lineage based practice with full regard for the complexities of sharing an Indigenous practice in a western context. Jessica was recently recipient of an ArtStarts grant to create an online mindfulness project for grades 4-7 that explores developing positive mindful awareness practises through yoga and theatre and in the spirit of joy, connection and creation.
Ayla Harris – Secretary, Board of Directors
Ayla is a BBA student at VIU who additionally studies stagecraft, and previously studied interior design at the University of Calgary. She first discovered her passion for technical theatre in high school, and may now be found rushing around the lobby of Nanaimo’s Malaspina Theatre. Ayla is thrilled to be given opportunities to welcome audiences to engaging and inspiring theatre productions that she supports her peers, and other emerging artists, in taking from page to stage.
Nabil Sayes – Officer At Large, Board of Directors
Nabil Avoon Sayes has been writing since he was ten years old in Yemen. Rejecting classic European theatre that was prevalent at the time, Sayes yearned to unleash his imagination and develop native Syrian talents, experiences and theatrical texts; writing his first play in 2005. Inspired by the concept of “Poor Theatre”, Sayes later wrote “The Circle”, which was performed in the Philadelphia Festival for University Theatre in Jordan, where it won two awards. After the festival, both Sayes and the director were arrested and interrogated for the use of symbolism depicting problems in a repressive society. They were later released and honoured by the University of Aleppo where Sayes began to work writing and directing plays exploring themes of poverty, pride, oppression, and revolution.
Sayes wrote and directed his final play in Syria in 2012. After being arrested several times for demonstrating and filming demonstrations, he departed for Lebanon where he processed his experiences and observations into art. In 2016, Sayes and his three daughters started a new life in Nanaimo, where, with the help of his Canadian friends, he has collaborated on theatre workshops and dance training for children. He is eager to deepen his involvement in the arts and theatre community on Vancouver Island.
Dave Mott – Interim Officer at Large, Board of Directors
Dave is a founding member and co-Artistic Producer of Upintheair Theatre, a BFA graduate of University of Victoria, an actor, director, and creator, specializing in new play creation and physical theatre and is the co-producer of rEvolver Theatre Festival. As the co-owner of Brandywine Bartending School he is an active member of the Canadian Professional Bartending Association, a competitive cocktail maker, head instructor, and corporate team building workshop leader. Dave continually pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre and performance by allowing audiences to experience their art in new and innovative ways. Dave’s true passions are exhibited best when he is mentoring actors through his work at The William Davis Centre at VanArts, while presenting their work, and visiting other Canadian cities to view works and artists in development. Born and raised in Vancouver, he is a proud advocate and ambassador of all that the arts and culture have to offer in the city. Selected Upintheair credits: The City and The City, Inside the Seed, Guide to Mourning, Borborygmi, Wedgie, Johnny Grant, Pyropornomania, Moxie, Men of the World, & 120bpm. Other Stage and Screen: Anywhere But Here, iZombie, Supernatural, Stupid is as Stupid Does, Rearview, Escape From Happiness, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Glengarry Glen Ross, Hopscotch, Sea of Sand, & King Lear.
Melissa Kahan – Officer at Large, Board of Directors
Melissa Kahan has a variety of experiences in all aspects of the theatre. Melissa attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts where she took classes in acting, musical theatre, jazz, tap, physical theatre, clowning, and stage combat. Last year, she played the role of Anne Frank in Nanaimo Theatre Group’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank. The production won the 2019 North Island Zone Drama Festival and went on to the Port Alberni Mainstage Festival where it was runner up and Melissa Kahan was awarded Best Actress. Recently, Melissa has begun working as a voice actor. She has voiced several children’s audiobooks with WikiEye, as well as done work for Scott Cawthon in the most recent Five Nights At Freddy’s game.