Workshop 3: about the speakers

Ken Coulter – Theatre Manager, Oakville Theatre

Ken Coulter is General Manager of the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts in Oakville, Ontario. A long time member of CCI, he has been in the presenting business for 30 years.Renowned for innovation and creativity in the areas of programming and marketing, the Oakville Centre’s programming engages community audiences while presenting some of Canada’s leading artists: Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks; Catalyst Theatre’s The Blue Orphan; Smith Gilmour’s Chekhov’s Shorts; as well as famous international acts (Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Anne Murray, Don Rickles, Jann Arden, Smothers Brothers, Blind Boys of Alabama, Ladysmith Black Mambazzo, Jesse Cook, Harlem Gospel Choir.)

Always an innovator and forerunner in the presenting field, Ken is recognized for:

• Advancing research on the intrinsic impact of the arts and its application to engaging audiences

• Developing a “Beyond the Mainstream” series that features more challenging work for audiences.

• Implementing an “After Show Artists Chat” program that enriches and deepens the audience engagement experience.

  “Pay –What – It’s – Worth” performances developed to provide access to all citizens to attend performance at OCPA and in other venues around the community.

He is president of the Ontario regional network of Presenters and Theatre Managers, Community and Cultural Impresarios (CCI) where he currently chairs a three year study on understanding the (non economic) benefits of performing arts centres. He is former Treasurer & Board member of Canadian Arts Presenters Association (CAPACOA) and has authored two business plans for Oakville’s theatre.



Eric Lariviere – General Manager, Markham Theatre

Eric Lariviere is General Manager of Markham Theatre for Performing Arts(Ontario, Canada). Since his arrival in May 2009, he has repositioned andexpanded the Theatre’s programs and services with the result ofsignificant participation and audience growth, and created MarkhamTheatre Discovery, a new umbrella to develop and sustain education andcommunity outreach initiatives. Before Markham, Eric wasPresident and artistic director of Daytona Beach International Festival,the Official American Festival Residency of the London SymphonyOrchestra (UK). Under its leadership, the event blossomed into thelargest international and orchestra Festival in Florida. He was pivotalin launching a comprehensive strategic planning process andorganizational transition that led to repositioning the Festival into amajor cultural destination attraction. He was also responsible forbuilding new capacities in marketing, development and financial control.In additions, he implemented strategies to diversify funding and developkey partnerships, with the result of significant organizational andprogrammatic growth. In terms of audience development, his marketinginitiatives to increase visitors were frequently acclaimed by VisitFlorida, the state’s recognized authority in tourism promotion. 

Prior to his work in the United States, Eric was General Manager ofSociete du Centre Pierre-Peladeau, in Montreal. During hisnine-year tenure, he positioned the Centre as one of the primeperforming arts venues in Downtown Montreal and was responsible forbringing the 25th Edition of the International Performing Arts for YouthConference.  Eric’s experience also includes work with theMontreal Symphony Orchestra as well as various cultural projects. Arecognized leader, Eric has served on multiple panels and juries inCanada and the USA and was successively President of the Canadian Arts Presenting Association and President of the Volusia County CulturalAlliance.  He is currently serving on the Board of Directors andExecutive Committee of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.   A native of Canada, Eric studied cello at McGill University andearned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Universitedu Quebec a Montreal.



Cheryl Ewing – Event Manager, Ontario Contact

Cheryl Ewing has over twenty years experience in senior management in the arts and brings a broad perspective to the sector, having worked in municipal, educational, for profit and not-for-profit organizations. Cheryl has hands on experience in young audience development and has been instrumental in the development of the national program eyeGO to the Arts as well as the young audience development program at Guelph’s River Run Centre. She is author of Raising the Curtain, a manual for young audience presenters based on her own experiences. In addition, Cheryl is event manager of Ontario Contact, a conference that brings touring artists together with presenters. An active volunteer within Waterloo Region she curates a contemporary dance series and serves on the boards of Dancetheatre David Earle and JM Drama/Registry Theatre and is on the founding board of a new arts enabling organization,
Creative Waterloo Region.



Costin Manu – Manager, Marketing, Programming and Development, Rose Theatre

With a 35-year career in the entertainment field, Costin has produced countless shows, from musicals and comedies to big events and ceremonies. He has managed different theatre venues in Canada and the USA and also directed nearly seventy theatre productions including several world premieres. He has also presented and programmed numerous events and concerts at different venues with his work spanning two continents after having performed, directed and presented in Europe, the USA and across Canada.

In addition, he has worked extensively as an actor in theatre, film and television.

Camille Turner – Artist and Curator, Subtle Technologies

Camille is a media artist and a founding member of Year Zero One, a network for the dissemination of new media art. She has been involved in the annual Subtle Technologies Festival from its inception 14 years ago. With a solid background as both artist and curator, her contribution to the Festival has been to commission, produce and present new works that bring science and social science into the realm of art.

Jen Dodd – Managing Director, Subtle Technologies  

Jen has an extensive background in public events and community outreach. After a Ph.D in physics, she went on to create public events on science, including working at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as Festival Programming Manager.



Mimi Beck – Curator, CanDance

Mimi Beck is the Curator of DanceWorks, Toronto’s longest running dance series, where she has presented diverse and innovative programming for over twenty-five years. Her contribution to the discipline of dance is considerable and in raising the profile of dance artists, it is nothing short of formidable. She has presented the choreography of over 270 dance artists on the DanceWorks Mainstage Series and introduced many emerging choreographers through CoWorks Series events.

DanceWorks began as a collective of independent dance artists in 1977 and has grown to become Toronto’s leading presenter of independent dance. Strong in the belief that dance has the power to illuminate, engage and transform all who participate, DanceWorks offers seasons of eclectic, exhilarating choreography programmed to intrigue, challenge and enthral. DanceWorks adds to your theatrical experience with danceflics, Carol’s Dance Notes and post-performance conversations with artists. DanceWorks is the administrator of the CanDance Network and Dance Ontario Association.


Ann Marie Williams – Program Manager, CanDance

The CanDance Network is an association of specialized dance presenting organizations across Canada that serves dance presenters’ needs, and supports their work with the dance community and its marketplace. Members of the CanDance Network present seasons and/or festivals of new works in dance and related performance. Through presentations, residencies and outreach, the CanDance Network helps to develop a growing audience for contemporary work. Members of the CanDance Network offer the highest production values possible and pay local, national and international artists to perform and/or teach at theatres and site-specific venues across Canada.

Sandra Laronde – Artistic Director, Red Sky Performance

Founder and Artistic Director of Red Sky, Sandra Laronde is an award-winning director, producer, choreographer, actor and dancer. Sandra’s vision for Red Sky is to create a leading international company that shapes contemporary world Indigenous performance, and to make a significant contribution to the artistic vibrancy of Canada and the world. Currently, she is also the Director of Indigenous Arts at The Banff Centre, a globally respected arts and cultural institution. She divides her time between Banff, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario. Sandra is originally from the Teme-Augama-Anishnaabe (People of the Deep Water) in Temagami, northern Ontario.

In 2006, Sandra was awarded the Ontario Good Citizenship Medal that pays special tribute to those Ontarians whose lives exemplify excellence and achievement in the finest order. In addition, she received the 2006 Paul D. Fleck Fellowship in the Arts from The Banff Centre. In 2004, she was one of 225 Canadians chosen to participate in the Governor-General’s Canadian Leadership program, which celebrates promising leaders who are making a significant impact on Canada. In the same year, Sandra was also the recipient of Toronto City Council’s 2004 Aboriginal Affairs Award for her contribution towards improving the quality of l
ife for the Aboriginal community of Toronto. She is also listed in the Canada’s Who’s Who that features notable living Canadians.



Lata Pada – Artistic Director, SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations

Artistic Director of an award-winning professional dance company recognized for its innovation and excellence in dance, Lata has lived in Canada since 1964, and has had an extensive career as a bharatanatyam soloist, including a command performance for the President of India in 1992. She has trained in  bharatanatyam under India’s distinguished gurus – Kalaimamani K. Kalyanasundaram and Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan and her solo performances have been featured in important dance festivals and venues worldwide.

Lata holds a Masters in Dance from York University and is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program of Dance at York University. She was conferred the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian award in January 2009. She has the distinction of being the first South Asian artist to receive this prestigious honour.  Lata has received several awards and honours for her contribution to the arts in Canada, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Toronto Sanskriti Sangha, the 2003 Professional Woman of the Year Award from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the 2000 New Pioneers Award, the 1995 Mississauga Arts Award,  and the Nrithya Seva Mani Award – Best Teacher Award – by the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana 2006.

Lata’s career spans an impressive spectrum of performance, choreography, teaching and research. Her choreographic versatility is seen in the exploration of the classical idiom of  bharatanatyam in its interpretation of classical and contemporary themes. Lata brings a contemporary worldview to her award-winning creations, which have been recognized for their distinctive, intercultural and multi-disciplinary choreography. As noted by the Toronto Star, Lata is a Canadian artist whose  ‘ clear direction in dance makes her one of the few who can successfully translate a thousand year-old tradition into 21st – century realities”. 

She is a founding member of the South Asian Advisory Committee at the Royal Ontario Museum. She currently serves on the Advisory Committees of York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Centennial College and the Canada Dance Festival as well as on the Advocacy Committee of the Canadian Dance Assembly.  Lata is a member of the International Dance Council (UNESCO), the World Dance Alliance and CADA (Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists) and is also a founding member of the newly formed SADAC ( South Asian Dance Alliance of Canada).



Brainard Blyden-Taylor – Artistic Director, Nathaniel Dette Chorale

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor is the Founder, Artistic Director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation and performance of Afrocentric music of all styles. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. Blyden-Taylor immigrated to Canada in 1973. He founded The Chorale in 1998, in response to a musical void in Canada; there had never before been a professional ensemble dedicated to the dissemination of Afrocentric choral music. The response that The Chorale has received in Canada and the United States since its inception has certainly given credence to Brainerd’s vision.

Brainerd works frequently as a guest conductor, having appeared with organizations such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Ontario Youth Choir and the New Brunswick Choral Federation Youth Sing. He has recently completed a 25-year tenure with The Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and he has also worked as a conductor, artistic director and artistic advisor for the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Algoma Festival Choir.

He is currently a member of the teaching staff at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. He is also a Master Teacher with the Toronto Board of Education, coaching teachers and students in conducting and choral technique. In constant demand as a Clinician, Adjudicator and Lecturer, engagements this season include the Conference on Black Musics in Canada – York University, Toronto; Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival – Banff, Alberta; Tempo 2003 Manitoba Music Conference; Minister’s Conference & Organist and Choir Director’s Guild Workshop – Hampton University, Virginia; Festival 500, Newfoundland; Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival; National Association of Negro Musicians Conference – Detroit, Michigan; and Manitoba Choirfest.

In addition, Brainerd is an active church musician, serving currently as Music Director of St. Timothy’s Anglican Church, North Toronto. Toronto.



Julia Chan – Artistic Director, Diasporic  Dialogues

ulia Chan’s curiosity and love o
f the arts is expressed through her variedprofessional experience spanning film, television, publishing, literatureand theatre. She has been working for Diaspora Dialogues since 2007 and hasrecently assumed the role of Artistic Director. She holds an MFA inScreenwriting from York University, is a graduate of the prestigiousCanadian Film Centre’s Writers’ Lab. As a screenwriter, her short film InShadow (produced through the CFC’s Short Dramatic Film Program) was screenedat the Sundance Film Festival, among others, and garnered an award for BestShort Screenplay at the International Cherokee Film Festival. She has alsobeen a reader and analyst for a diverse clientele of film funders,production companies and individual writers and producers for several years.Julia’s writing has been supported by the Toronto Arts Council and recentlyappeared in subTerrain. 


Charmaine Headley  Artistic Director, Collective of Black Artists (COBA)

As Co-Founding Artistic Director of COBA, Collective of Black Artists, Charmaine Headley is a champion of Africanist dance.  Through her work as an artist, choreographer, teacher and mentor she advocates for the recognition and inclusion of the contributions of ethno-cultural dance practices in Canadian dance history and culture today and pushes for a broadened societal appreciation of these art forms.  A strong believer in the healing power of dance, Headley holds an honours diploma in Gerontology/Activation Coordination and has created a movement-based senior’s program for her Master’s thesis at York University.