Access Activator Directory

The following Access Activators took part in the 2020 training in Toronto. If you are looking for a consultant and/or trainer please refer to the list below and contact the Access Activator directly for more information.

 

If you are a theatre, cultural institution, or individual looking to receive trainings or more information about Relaxed Performances or Access Activators, please contact one of the Access Activators. We cannot guarantee that the Access Activators listed below will always be available.


ALBERTA

 

Connor Yuzwenko-Martin 

Location: Edmonton, AB
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: $50/hour or negotiable flat fee/honorarium
Available work methods: In-person within Edmonton, FaceTime, email, Zoom, Meet, collab apps like Asana
Connor Yuzwenko-Martin (he/him) is descended from settlers, and recognizes and strives every day to honour and act upon the fact that his work and accomplishments take place on Treaty 6 territory, primarily in the region of Amiskwaciy’waskahan, known as the settler city of Edmonton. He benefits from the land, water, and air shared by countless generations that have come before us and will come after us, and aims to live in harmony with this cycle. Connor has nurtured a lifelong passion for theatre and accessibility, beginning in grade school with simple skits and continuing into his young adulthood with his first professional engagement as a rookie improvisor at Rapidfire Theatre. More recent work includes serving as the Deaf Consultant for Concrete Theatre’s production Songs My Mother Never Sung Me (2019) and various roles in Canada’s only Deaf arts festival, Sound Off (2017-19). In June 2020, Connor premiered his first independent performance, The Invisible Practice, during Nextfest’s 2020 season which took place online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Edmonton theatres and organizations employ Connor in improving their engagement with the Deaf community through consultations and creating informational and promotional vlogs in ASL with subtitles, transcripts, and visual description. He is counted among a small team of peers working across institutions and identity groups to conduct research on accessibility needs, expectations, and goals as expressed by audience members and artists. As of March 2020, this has been compiled into a report and submitted for review and meaningful action. Currently, Connor operates the Instagram account for Deaf Spectrum. In the coming months and years, he aims to gain permanent employment in the arts sector in Canada. His primary goal is to act as a communications liaison between multiple theatres and groups in order to bring a greater and more reliable consistency to the various inclusion efforts being put forth through coordination of events, communications management, and other facilitation roles – as well as pursuing his own art! He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Alberta (2014) and is currently completing a Public Relations diploma at MacEwan University.

Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Communications
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media Management
  • Copywriting
  • Vlog Production
  • Accessibility and Inclusion Consultation

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Communications, Public Relations, Social Media Management, Copywriting, Vlog Production, Accessibility and Inclusion Consultation

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

 

Caleb Marshall

Location: Victoria, BC
Method of contact: [email protected] 
Rates: Please email to reqeust a quote based on your needs.
Available work methods: In-person within the region or digital consultation/training
Currently the Managing Artistic Director for The Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria BC, New Brunswick born native Caleb Marshall’s twenty-five year theatrical career has spanned producing, directing, writing, teaching, acting, administration, and cultural advocacy. He has produced over 80 theatre productions and 25 multi-disciplinary performing arts presentations. He spent three seasons as the Artistic Executive Director of The Sudbury Theatre Centre where he expanded programming to include a Performing Arts Series, inclusive Relaxed Performances and the STC Academy. STC was the first theatre in Canada to commit to a Relaxed Performance for every show in their season. He spent the previous six seasons as the Artistic Producer for Theatre New Brunswick where he expanded the provincial tour and focused on new play development initiating TNB New Voices Opening Acts, The Next Stage Studio Branch and The Extras: Reading and Presents series. His focus on community saw the highest percentage of local professionals on stage in both TNB and STC’s histories. He has developed World Premieres of numerous mainstage, one-act and Theatre for Young Audience new works collaborating with such notable writers as Norm Foster and David Adams Richards. His own adaptations have been performed in theatres across Canada. Internationally he served as the resident director on a UK/European tour for Shakespeare’s Globe, as well as appeared in productions by The Old Vic, The Imperial War Museum and at the Edinburgh Fringe. Caleb spent four seasons in The Stratford Festival’s acting company and has premiered roles for the National Arts Centre, The Canadian Stage Company, and The Blyth Festival. He has also played numerous principal roles in Film and television. Caleb has maintained a life-long commitment to education and training. He holds a BFA Honours in Acting from York University, an MFA with Distinction in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University, London (UK) and has trained with; The Stratford Festival’s Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training, Moscow’s GITIS Academy, the Banff Centre for the Arts and on an International Artist’s Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe. He’s taught at many of those institutions as well as classes at St. Thomas, Dalhousie and Thornloe Universities and led workshops at festivals in Poland and Germany. He is currently completing a Certificate in Arts and Culture Management from McEwan University. He has received the Christopher Plummer Fellowship Award, The Stratford Festival’s Eliot Haze Playwright Development Award and was recognized by the New Brunswick Arts Board with an Excellence Award in the Arts. He has also been shortlisted for Sudbury’s Mayor’s Celebration for the Arts, the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition, and The New Brunswick Lieutenant Governour’s Award for High Achievement in the Arts. A very active member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres over the last eight years, Caleb served as the Caucus Director on the Board and the host of the 2014 national conference and AGM. He is married to actress, musical director and teacher, Meredith Zwicker.
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Rehearsing, producing and promoting RP theatre

Services provided (as it relates to RP): RP Training / Consultation 

 

MANITOBA
Debbie Patterson 

Location: Winnipeg, MB
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: Sliding scale, please email for quote.
Available work methods: Phone, Zoom, in-person with social distancing Debbie Patterson is a Winnipeg playwright, director and actor. Trained at the National Theatre School of Canada, she is a founding member of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR), served as Theatre Ambassador for Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital year, was the Carol Shields Writer in Residence 2012 at the U of W and Playwright in Residence at Theatre Projects Manitoba in 2013/14. She served as Artistic Associate at Prairie Theatre Exchange from 2012 to 2018 and is currently a member of the PTE Playwrights Unit.  Playwriting credits include How it Ends, Sargent & Victor & Me, (both for Sick + Twisted Theatre) the musicals Head (SIR) and Molotov Circus (SummerWorks). Directing credits include Becoming Dr. Ruth for Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do for Rainbow Stage, Boundary Avenue for One Trunk, Festen for [email protected], Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew for SIR, The Crackwalker for Sweet and Salty Collective and Saint Joan for Theatre by the River.  As a performer, some of her favourite roles have included Zoya in Molotov Circus, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Jenny in Threepenny Opera, and Jilly in Sargent & Victor & Me. In 2016, Debbie became the first physically disabled actor to play the title role in Richard III in a professional Canadian production. Debbie is active in the dance community, collaborating on projects with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Aspirant Program and Young Lungs Dance Exchange.  She was honoured with the United Nations Platform for Action Committee’s 2014 Activist Award and the Winnipeg Arts Council Making a Mark Award in 2017. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Gina Wilkinson Prize. She is a proud advocate for disability arts through her work as founding Artistic Director of Sick + Twisted Theatre.  She lives a wheelchair-enabled life in Winnipeg and in a cabin on the shore of Lake Winnipeg.
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Producing
  • Directing

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Accessibility consultation

NOVA SCOTIA
Laura Caswell

Location: Halifax, NS
Method of contact: [email protected] or [email protected]
Rates: Please email for quote.
Available work methods: In-person or virtual Laura Caswell is a performer, director, choreographer, cabaret artist, producer and arts educator currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born and raised in Ottawa, she has performed all over Canada and trained in New York and London, UK earning a Masters in Performance. She has also studied puppetry, dance, comedy and singing extensively and loves to explore different types of theatre. Now adding Zoom teaching and facilitation to the list, Caswell is eager to learn and grow with different communities. Laura has been the Director of Education at Neptune Theatre since 2017. 
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Live theatre events (house size 400-500 people)

Services provided (as it relates to RP): RP training and consultation

 

ONTARIO
Marjorie Chan 陳以珏

Location: Toronto, ON
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: Consultation is primarily through Theatre Passe Muraille. Please email to discuss further.
Available work methods: In-person, video-conference, phone
Marjorie was born in Toronto to Hong Kong immigrants.  As a theatre and opera artist, she works variously as writer, director and dramaturge as well as in the intersection of these forms and roles. Marjorie has been nominated for 9 Dora Awards and is the recipient of four (3 for libretti, 1 for performance). She has also received the K.M. Hunter Artist’s Award in Theatre, the Entertainment World Award for Best New Work, a Harold Award, as well as the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship. Other notable nominations include the John Hirsch Directors’ Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Canadian Citizen Award for her work with Crossing Gibraltar – Cahoots Theatre’s program for newcomers. She has been artist-in-residence with Factory Theatre, Banff Playwrights’ Lab, Tapestry Opera, Cahoots Theatre, Theatre Centre (with 6th Man Collective), Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York) and Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong). She is the Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. 
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Production execution

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Training: Introduction to RP,  Overview of Accessibility


Kat Germain 

Location: Toronto, ON / Halifax, NS
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: Sliding scale, please email for quote.
Available work methods: In-person, remote
Kat has over 25 years of teaching experience, is Ontario College of Teachers certified and has worked in diverse classrooms with the Toronto District School Board since 2001. She teaches almost exclusively in Intensive Support Programs for children who are neurodiverse. She was a Core Advisor for Picasso Pro and has supported/ facilitated workshops with artists who were Deaf or have disabilities since 2006. She is currently the Access Advisor for the Wee Festival of Theatre and Culture for Early Years and trained as an Access Activator in 2020. Kat developed a Pilot Project: Relaxed Audio Description (R.A.D.!) for Relaxed Performances (RP). Kat wrote and recorded the RAD for the production Flying Hearts (2019) and hired two young consultants (one with Autism and one partially sighted). The Flying Hearts team took the show (and RAD) to several festivals across Ontario. Kat has been encouraging and advocating for the hiring of consultants and partners from the communities RP serves since organisations began offering the service: “Nothing About Us, Without Us”. www.katgermain.com
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Event Production
  • Consultation
  • Mentor/training

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Early Steps, Plan Development, Implementation, Consultation, Documentation in Plain Language, Social Stories, Site/ Website Audit, RP training.


Cathy Gordon 

Location: Toronto, ON
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: Sliding scale, please email for quote.
Available work methods: In-person (outdoor, socially distanced in Toronto), remote (phone, Zoom, etc.)
Cathy Gordon is a multidisciplinary performance artist with 25 years of producing experience. She started training in Relax Performance in 2017 and produced two RP performances for Luminato in 2018. She became the Festival & Community Engagement Manager at Luminato in 2019, where she oversees the implementation of accessible programming in collaboration with an advisory committee. She continued her RP education with the Access Activator Program led by Tangled Arts and British Council this past year (2020).
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Event Production
  • Planning

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Intro workshop to RP performances (in collaboration) / suggestions for artists and producers / producer resources


Rachel Marks 

Location: Kingston, ON
Method of contact: 613-349-5151 or [email protected]
Rates: Sliding scale, please email or call to discuss and get a quote.
Available work methods: In-person, remote (zoom etc), will travel (far and wide!)
Rachel has been a practicing Relaxed Performance Consultant for several years. Prior to this Rachel has an extensive background in theatre (ie. Stage Manager, Playwright, Artist Educator, Box Office and FOH) and worked developing events and programming for children/youth on the Autism Spectrum and their families for almost eight years. Relaxed Performances are where Rachel combines her two career loves (Disability Action/Accessibility and Theatre). Rachel has helped Soulpepper Theatre Company and the Young Centre for Performing Arts, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Roy Thomson Hall, Thousand Islands Playhouse, the National Ballet of Canada, Comedy Bar (and many more!) to welcome the neurodiverse and disability communities to their venues and performances. In 2018, Rachel was one of 18 artists worldwide chosen to participate in the artist track training at the Big Umbrella Festival (the first month-long arts festival just for kids with ASD in the world) at the Lincoln Center in NYC, and later that year studied at Creating with the Cart (Oily Cart Theatre and Rose Bruford College of East London) in London creating work specifically created for children with multiple disabilities and developmental delays. In February 2020 Rachel was accepted into, and completed,  Access Activator Training with the British Council and Tangled Art + Disability.
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Training for staff and creative team
  • Visual guides
  • Fact Sheets
  • Quiet Room Set-up
  • Guiding through RP process 
  • Supporting RP process

Services provided (as it relates to RP): RP Training – FOH & Box Office, Management and Artistic teams amongst others, setting up events, lights and sound check, Visual Guides, Fact Sheets, Accessibility Packs, On-site support, marketing assistance, accessibility consulting, helping a company from start to finish 


Kayla Besse

Location: Guelph, ON
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: Rates vary based on context; please get in touch for a consultation.
Available work methods: In-person and remote options available.
I am a Relaxed Performance consultant with a background in English Literature, Theatre Studies, and Disability Studies. I am an accessible communications professional with expertise in digital media and knowledge mobilization. Together with my colleagues at the British Council of Canada and Bodies in Translation, I co-authored “Relaxed Performance: Exploring Accessibility in the Canadian Theatre Landscape,” a report on the status of Relaxed Performance in Canada in 2019. 
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Communications and Marketing
  • Audience Outreach
  • Cultural competency and language

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Delivering “Intro to Relaxed Performance” training, accessibility consultation. I’m especially interested in helping people and organizations who are interested in implementing principles of RP in non-traditional contexts – let’s think outside the theatre!


 

 

QUEBEC
Salima Punjani

Location: Montreal, QC
Method of contact: [email protected]
Rates: Sliding scale, please email for quote. 
Available work methods: In-person, remote (phone, Zoom, etc.)
Salima Punjani is a socially-engaged artist and social worker passionate about creating dignified creative practices and environments.  Salima draws on her artistic practice with her awareness and lived experience of systemic issues such as racism and ableism to develop experiences alongside individuals and organizations that are welcoming, creative, and respectful.  She has experience in multimedia storytelling, film and media production, vibrotactile creation, participatory photography, and facilitation of creative counseling groups. She has training in journalism, communications, forum theatre, relaxed performance, and social work. You can visit her artist website to learn more about her creative work. www.cargocollective.com/salima 
Areas of expertise (as it relates to RP):

  • Multimedia Production
  • Event Production 
  • Training Development
  • Training Delivery

Services provided (as it relates to RP): Facilitation of RP training, media production, accessibility consultation, visual story creation, mental health consultation, access related research and grant writing.