Heather Fitzsimmons Frey is a scholar, director and dramaturge, interested in performance for, by and with young people. She is currently conducting research for her Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the York University, Toronto (supported by Marlis Schweitzer) entitled “Rehearsing Revolutions: Girls, Amateur Theatre, and Encounters Between 19th and 21st Century Girls.” Her research is published in Canadian Theatre Review, Girlhood Studies, and Youth Theatre Journal, as chapters in Nationalism and Youth in Theatre and Performance (2014) and Reflections on Critical Multiculturalism and Dance in Canada (forthcoming) and in her two edited collections Theatre and Learning (Cambridge Scholars Press 2015) and Ignite: Illuminating Theatre for Young People (Playwrights Canada Press 2016). Her dissertation "Victorian Girls and At-Home Theatricals: Performing and Playing with Possible Futures," (2015, supervised by Kathleen Gallagher, OISE) explores nineteenth-century published and unpublished playscripts, juvenile newspapers, "how-to" guides, letters, diaries. She uses these to learn about ways girls could use amateur theatrical activities as powerful thinking tools to challenge the status quo and think about alternate and unconventional identities and futures for themselves. The dissertation was awarded the Clifford Leech Prize for best PhD dissertation relating to drama or theatre studies at the University of Toronto, and the AATE Distinguished Dissertation Award. Expanding on her research by experimenting with ideas “up on their” feet earned her the CATR Outstanding Submission for a Workshop award in 2016, and influences how she is developing her girl-centred approach to her post-doctoral research.
Kelsey Jacobson (B.A. Honours Queen’s University, M.A. Distinction Queen Mary University of London) is a current PhD candidate in the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, “Feeling Real: Affective Dimensions of Reality in Contemporary Canadian Performance” consider the perception of realness in theatre. Her other interests include meta theatre, performance art, audience research, and cognition studies. She has worked for Dr. Stephen Johnson as a research assistant on his project Cross-Border Blackface for four years.
Matt Jones writes is a writer, dramaturg, and doctoral candidate at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. His dissertation, The Shock and Awe of the Real: Political Performance and the War on Terror, is a transnational study of the performativity of war and terrorism in plays, live art, street performance, installation art, digital media, and contemporary politics.
Sanja Vodovnik is a PhD student at the University of Toronto. Her interest lies in examining various outlets of staging and performing science fiction, focusing on it's cultural history, dramaturgy, ethics, and the performance of sci-fi in fan communities. She completed her BA degree in International Relations, and got her MA in Cultural Studies and in Performance Studies. Prior to relocating to Toronto she worked as a stage manager, performer and director across Europe, colaborating with activist theatrical groups such as ZiZ (Slovenia), and theatre companies in Ireland and Iceland.
Jessica is a PhD Student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto with a focus on practise-based research approaching performance creation and process for people who have disabilities. Her Masters thesis explored non-visual practicalities of performing, performance accommodations, and the productive capabilities of invisibility. She was trained at the University of Guelph as a playwright and physical actor with Judith Thompson, Alan Filewod, and Ed Roy, and now writes and creates theatre from a disability-identified and feminist creation process, which begins with a body-centric approach and is mindful of comfort and ability from the beginning of creation. Her upcoming show in the Toronto Fringe, Nourishment, has integrated movement descriptions and was choreographed in a comfort-centric way as opposed to vision-centric. Jessica has written four full plays, and two collective creations as a blind creator and is still writing.
In 2018 Jessica will be co-curating the Centre for Drama's Festival of Original Theatre about Disability and Performance called "Supporting Bodies" and would love to see every and all participants of the Republic of Inclusion there.