Foote Theatre School Faculty
Joleen Ballendine is an actor, improviser, writer and instructor. In 2007, she joined Rapid Fire Theatre and now acts as a senior performer. Her noted troupes include DotDotDot, Rå Power, Z Said and Off Book the Improvised Musical. Joleen is Rapid Fire Theatre’s Associate Director of Education; she runs the Out-Reach Program. Joleen also leads the co-production of The Kidprovisors, run through the Foote Theatre School and Rapid Fire Theatre. She’s a writer and performer in the hit sketch comedy show Caution: May Contain Nuts.
April has been performing in theatre, film and television for twenty years. She was the host of Media Sense on Access Television and also voices characters for cartoons (Deltora Quest) and video games (Mass Effect Trilogy, Dragon Age). At the Citadel, she’s appeared in The Constant Wife, Death of a Salesman, and A Christmas Carol. April runs Concrete Theatre’s school residency program in elementary schools throughout Alberta.
Shannon has been teaching acting and voice for more than twenty years in universities, colleges, conservatories, and her private studio. Shannon holds her Master’s Degree in Theatre Voice Pedagogy, a BFA in Acting from U of A, and a BMus in performance, as well as her Certificate of Figure Proficiency in Estill Voice Training (TM). Shannon’s recent performances include Ana in The Clean House, and regular performances with The Greenwood Singers.
Michael is a director and actor from Kingston, Ontario. He holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta, and he trained as an actor at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. Michael’s directing credits include Steve Martin’s Wasp and Liane Faulder's Walk for the 2018 Edmonton Fringe Festival, Paul Downs Collaizzo’s Really Really, The Lady from the Sea, Hamlet, A Moon for the Misbegotten, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Theatrical acting credits include Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire, Danny in Grease, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as roles in Mine, The Star Spangled Girl, Much Ado About Nothing, Troilus and Cressida, and Julius Caesar. Michael's television credits include Designated Survivor, Incorporated, Reign, Murdoch Mysteries, Copper, and Cracked.
Ashley holds diplomas from MacEwan University in Early Childhood Development and Theatre Arts. She hass a Mental Health First Aid certification for adults who interact with youth, has completed the Tattered Teddies Workshop: Suicide Prevention and Intervention for children under twelve, and is certified by the Little Warriors in Sexual Abuse Prevention and in the Mandt System in conflict resolution and healthy relationships. She’s taught for the Foote Theatre School since 2009, and volunteers for children’s programs at the Canadian Mental Health Association, as well as for ABC Head Start: Early Literacy Programs.
Ellen Chorley is a producer, playwright, performer, and theatre instructor. She’s the Founder/Artistic Director of Promise Productions, which produces the Snow Globe Festival of Children’s Theatre. Ellen is also the Co-Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Send in the Girls Burlesque. She’s the Artistic Associate for Northern Light Theatre, works as a Drama Group Leader at the Autism Society of Edmonton, is the High School Curator for Nextfest, and sits on the steering committee for the Theatre Edmonton Project. Ellen was named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 and is the recipient of the Nextfest Emerging Artist Award.
Sydney is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, where she is majoring in psychology and minoring in drama. Starting as young as three, she entered the arts scene through competitive dance, eventually switched to acting. She loves to write plays, sing, dance, and act whenever she gets the chance. She’s worked with the Foote Theatre School for four years and she is very grateful for the opportunities she has been given.
Quinn cut his teeth improvising at Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary. In 2014, he joined the ranks of Rapid Fire Theatre, and is currently one of two workshop instructors for the University Improv Group. He has improvised in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Wurzburg (Germany), as well as many rural Albertan towns. Quinn is working on a degree in entrepreneurship and family business with the hopes of one day opening up his own improvisational theatre in the mountains.
Althea Cunningham, is an interarts practitioner and graduated with distinction from Grant MacEwan University Theatre Arts. As an established actor she has appeared on television, in film, and on stages across Canada. She has worked with the television and film companies Coast Mountain Productions, Farewell Productions and Tooth Fairy Productions. Theatre companies include Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Western Canada Theatre, National Ice Theatre of Canada, Francis Winspear Centre, Fringe Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Leave It To Jane, and the Plain Jane Theatre. Theatre recognition comes by way of Theatre Alberta Professional Development scholarship, Edmonton Arts Community Investment grant, Edmonton Arts Council travel grant, Edmonton Arts Council Cultural diversity grant, Alberta Foundation for the arts grant and a Elizabeth Sterling Awards nomination for best independent play The Vibrator play with Trunk Theatre.
As an award-winning songwriter On The Verge, her independently released soul music ep gained several international accolades and global airplay. On The Verge has been played on Black Soul Rhythms Radio, CJSR Radio, CKUA Radio, Time Trippin Radio, National Campus Radio, Bowl Of Soul Radio and Soultracks. Noteable festivals and showcases are CBC The Key Of A, Sasquatch Festival, Alberta Singer Songwriter Showcase, Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club, Yardbird Suite, Heartsoul Tour and opening for Nuela Charles and Rae Spoon. Her short plays have been produced at festivals in Chicago, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.
In 2018, Althea was accepted into the RBC Emerging Writers Program through Alberta Playwrights Network. Her plays have been read at Script Salon, DapoPo Live in Theatre Festival and Alberta Playwrights Network. Current stage plays in development include Sweet An Nice, The System, Sunkiss To Death, The Snotty Vegan, as well as a collaborative TYA play; Girl That Talks To Her Stomach. Commissioned plays include 2 Metres. In the future her short play, Sunkiss, will be developed into a film. Althea, has been an arts educator with over 13 years of experience. She also worked with Nappy Roots Consolidated and The Arts Connection as a vocal arts coach. As a literary instructor, she has worked with The University of Alberta, Workshop West Theatre, Hip Hop In The Park and The Writers Guild of Alberta. Producing credits include On The Verge EP and Sunkiss To Death the play.
Sophie graduated from the University of Alberta with an honours degree in theatre. Previously, Sophie has worked with l’UniThéâtre, the Francophone theatre in Edmonton, as an actor, educator, creator, director, etc. and the Foote Theatre School as a teaching assistant and summer programs assistant with students of all ages. Currently, she is working with la Girandole, a Francophone dance company, as well as being a French-English bilingual educator at the Art Gallery of Alberta. She also works with The Orange Girls, a devised theatre company.
Born and raised in Calgary, Steven is an Edmonton-based Jessie and OVATION! Award-winning music director, and actor, with credits that span over 80 productions across Canada. Credits include A Christmas Carol and Ring of Fire (Citadel), Max in Lend Me a Tenor (Mayfield); The Comedy Company (Shadow); Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet (Arts Club); and Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast (TUTS). A graduate of Grant MacEwan’s Theatre Arts program, he has been an instructor at Studio 58, Capilano University and his alma mater. Upcoming: The Wrong People Have Money (Shadow), Peter Pan Goes Wrong, and ELVIS: The Musical (Citadel).
Crystal has taught Musical Theatre at the Foote Theatre School for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree and runs her own vocal studio. She’s toured throughout Western Canada in various musical productions. Crystal toured with Alberta Opera for four seasons and played a large role in creating and directing the Alberta Opera’s Artist in Residency Program. A freelance vocal coach, she is proud to have worked on four productions with Eastglen High School. Crystal is a member of the local Edmonton show band Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and the Crystal Hanson Trio.
Brady Hughes works as an interventionist with the Centre for Autism Services Alberta. He’s also a third-year Recreational Therapy student at the University of Alberta. He discovered Drama in high school and joined his hometown’s community theatre group after graduation. Over the years, he has tried his hand at many aspects of theatre production.
Sally Hunt is a classically-trained musician who regularly performs as a pianist in concert, fundraising, and cabaret settings. She has an extensive theatre background, and has worked with a variety of companies including Studio Theatre, Walterdale Playhouse, ELOPE Musical Theatre, and Festival Players. Favourite projects as a music director include Sweeney Todd, Chess, Nine, The Threepenny Opera, Seussical Jr., The Wizard of Oz, and Wonderful Town (Citadel Theatre Young Musical Company). Sally joined the Faculty of the Foote Theatre School in 2010.
Steven Hurst is a local improviser and teacher. He has been performing with Rapid Fire Theatre and teaching with Edmonton Public Schools for three years. He started improvising with the University of Alberta Improv Group and has since had the opportunity to perform and teach in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Melbourne, Australia. He has experience teaching improv through the Kidprovisers program, as well as through the Foote Theatre School. Improv and teaching are Steven’s passions and to see them collide brings him great joy!
Binaifer is a Canadian musician, composer, performer, and instructor with theatre, radio drama and film credits. She graduated from the University of Alberta Bachelor of Music program, and has music directed, conducted, performed in, and been commissioned to write music for multiple theatres. She’s the recipient of three Sterling Awards, and a co-recipient for a Solicitor General of Canada Crime Prevention Special Recognition Award. She’s worked alongside other artists to co-produce and compose music for new works, including films and radio dramas for CBC. She has been an instructor at Arts Trek, and a guest artist at various schools.
Sydney is currently a student at the University of Alberta studying Drama and Education. She has spent time both on and off stage in various capacities and is always excited to learn new things. She started at the Foote Theatre School as a volunteer and is grateful for the opportunity and ability to teach and share her love of the arts.
Josh Languedoc is an Anishinaabe playwright, storyteller and educator. Most notable, Josh has toured across Canada with his one-man show, Rocko and Nakota: Tales From the Land, and has had the pleasure of performing in such wonderful places as the Blyth Festival in Ontario, UNO Fest in Victoria, Deep Freeze Festival in Edmonton, and various schools and Fringe Festivals. Other writing projects include The Eyes of Spirits (Citadel Theatre, Workshop West, Native Earth); CIVIL BLOOD: A Treaty Story (Thou Art Here Theatre); IN-COR-RI-GI-BLE: The Legend of Thundervoice (Blyth Festival); Side-By-Side: Our Stories (Ross Sheppard High School); and was Workshop West Playwrights Theatre's Playwright in Residence from 2017-2018. As an educator, Josh has had the pleasure of teaching at the Citadel Theatre for the past 7 years. Josh has also taught at Artstrek, various Edmonton Public Schools, and is currently the co-teacher of the Red Room at Caraway School. When not writing or working with young artists, Josh is at the University of Alberta working on his MFA in Playwrighting.
Rochelle is an Edmonton raised actor, dancer, and musician. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. As an alumnus of the Citadel’s Foote Theatre School and the Young Musical Company, she excitedly joined the faculty to teach Acting and Musical Theatre classes. Some of her favourite roles include Rachel in Think Of The Children, Scilla in Serious Money and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.
Conrad Leibel (he/him) is a poet, performer, essayist, and musician. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an MA in English Literature and holds a BA in English and Film Studies from the University of Alberta. He is currently completing an after-degree in French Language and Drama Education at the University of Alberta.
Annette has been a professional actor in Edmonton for more than 25 years and a teacher at the Foote Theatre School for twenty years. She’s also taught in various programs and workshops around the city and province, plus post-secondary at the University of Alberta and the Kings University College. She is a founder of the Freewill Shakespeare Festival and was an Artistic Associate for twenty-five years, as well as Director of their Youth Programming. She is also a founder and is currently the Festival Director for SkirtsAfire, HerArts Festival.
Barbara Mah is a director, actor, choreographer and playwright and has been active in the Edmonton arts scene for more than twenty-five years. She has taught musical theatre at the Foote school for over 10 years. Directing highlights include: Ragtime, Titanic, Drowsy Chaperone, A Little Night Music, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, and Sweet Charity. Performance highlights include: The Laramie Project, Broadway Babies, A Chorus Line, Rocky Horror Show, The Wiz, The World Goes Round, and Grapes of Wrath. She’s also an Arts Development Consultant (theatre) for the Arts Branch and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Natércia (she/her) is a multifaceted Latinx performer, teacher and community advocate. Selected credits include Fado: The Saddest Music in the World (Puente Theatre/ Firehall Arts Centre); Cleave (Tiny Bear Jaws); frost flowers/ RHIZOME (Mile Zero Dance); Seed Savers (Workshop West Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors, Footloose (Mayfield Dinner Theatre); The Antyssey, CTRL-ALT-DEL, Are We There Yet? (Concrete Theatre); Duck Duck Bang! (Firefly Theatre); The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Winter’s Tale (Freewill Players). Natércia is a graduate from the University of Alberta's BFA Acting Program. Television credits include Caution: May Contain Nuts and Tiny Plastic Men.
Clayton Plamondon is a local improviser, actor, and writer. He's toured across Alberta with Kompany Family Theatre, is a writer for Blackout Sketch Comedy, and has recently written and acted in the show The Part which was recently produced for the ADFA one act festival in Edmonton. His recent credits include Bed Bug Bossa Nova by Gerald Osborne, and Cut by Lyle Victor Albert, which went on to compete in the ADFA provincials in Medicine Hat.
Rhys is an aspiring actor with a long history at Foote Theatre School. After five years of taking classes and camps at FTS, Rhys volunteered to help with various camps this summer and is now thrilled to be part of the teaching team for the fall term. He is currently attending high school at Victoria School of the Arts.
Meg Prusko is an improviser with Rapid Fire Theatre and is working towards their Bachelor of Education. Working with youth is their favourite thing in the world because they are always so funny and Meg loves to chuckle.
Andrew is a director, theatre maker, and teacher born and raised in Edmonton. He has an MFA in Directing & Creation from York University, a BA in Drama from the University of Alberta, and is a graduate from the Banff Centre/Citadel Theatre’s Professional Theatre Program. Andrew is artistic director of You Are Here, an independent Canadian theatre company, is a co-founder and artistic associate with Thou Art Here, Alberta’s alternative Shakespeare company, and was a co-founder and festival director of Common Ground Arts Society’s Found Festival (2012-2015). Recently Andrew was the Sandbox Series Coordinator and Theatre School Director at Globe Theatre in Regina from 2018-2020. He has performed improv across North America including being a company member with Rapid Fire Theatre (2008-2015) in Edmonton and Hitchhikers Improv (2018-2020) in Regina. Andrew has been a faculty member with Foote Theatre School since 2011 and has taught at theatres, universities, and communities across Canada. Learn more about him and his upcoming projects at andrewritchie.net.
Deanna Robillard holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the UofA Augustana campus, as well as a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. She is currently working as an elementary music teacher with Edmonton Public. Deanna has a passion for the arts and working with children to encourage confidence, vocal exploration, and creativity.
Joyanne graduated from the University of Alberta’s BA (Hons) Drama program and also holds two ARCT Diplomas in Speech Arts and Drama from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has performed as an actor and singer, and taught in various capacities in Edmonton, Dublin, and Ottawa. Currently, you can find Joyanne doing a great many things, from teaching Musical Theatre at the Foote Theatre School and helping her students in Beaumont create their own plays, to co-directing a children's choir in Vegreville and ministering to youth in her home parish. She is also one half of the musical theatre duo, The Besties, and performs as part of the Edmonton Opera Chorus.
Kate has been acting, directing, and teaching professionally for over 20 years in Edmonton, as well as across Canada and the United States. She is an instructor at the Citadel Theatre’s Young Musical Company as well as in MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts program. Kate’s performing credits include Fun Home (Plain Jane Theatre); Mary Poppins, A Christmas Carol, True Love Lies, and Measure for Measure (Citadel Theatre); The Light in the Piazza (Theatre Calgary); Oklahoma, Sound of Music, and 9 to 5 (Mayfield Theatre). Kate is also the director of the musical theatre company Plain Jane Theatre Company garnering over 20 Sterling Awards for their work. Other directing credits include Forever Plaid, All Shook Up, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Jesus Christ Superstar (Mayfield Theatre); Assassins, and The Drowsy Chaperone (Citadel’s Young Company). She also has staged The Valentine Gala for The Edmonton Opera and The Edmonton Sterling Awards.
Geri Schaer has recently graduated from the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C. Now that she completed her program, she will continue pursuing even more training in singing, dancing, acting, and voice acting. Most recently she performed in Concrete Theatre's Sprouts Festival and CCPA's productions of West Side Story as Consuelo and Stage Door as Big Mary. Geri enjoys teaching children and entertaining them at parties and special events with Glass Slipper Entertainment. This is her third year working with Foote Theatre School and she's looking forward to meeting all the new students!
Alieda hails from Sherwood Park, Alberta. After completing her grade 10 Royal Conservatory in piano, she attended Grant MacEwan’s Jazz and Contemporary program next door; Edmonton. Although Alieda’s primary instrument is piano, she is a multi-‐instrumentalist with her guitar, vocal, and back-‐up tambourine skills. She has been instructing and performing for over 14 years throughout Alberta and BC and with her recent Music Therapy degree from Capilano University, she is excited to continue pursuing her passion for music.
Liana Shannon is a local actor and acting coach in both theatre and film. She is seen regularly on stage, in film and television spots, and heard in voice over work.
Liana’s acting training came from the Etobicoke School of the Arts, the Academy of Theatre Arts (Toronto), the University of Guelph, (where she received her BA and her MA in Drama), and countless workshops. Once she completed her theatre training, she trained in film acting in Vancouver and L.A. Some of her favourite Edmonton acting credits include: Metamorphoses (The Citadel Theatre); Afterplay and Ashes to Ashes (Edmonton Fringe - both garnering her Sterling nominations for best actress at The Fringe); and Constellations (Shadow Theatre). Film and television credits include Jann, Fortunate Son, Winter In Vail, Fear Itself on NBC, and Blackstone on APTN.
Liana’s other passion is teaching acting. She’s been teaching acting at The Foote Theatre School for nine years and has also taught at Arts Trek in Red Deer, at The UofA drama department, with the Concrete Theatre Artist in Residency Program, and others. Liana’s classes have a positive atmosphere that allows the students to learn the dramatic process, explore their creativity, connect with others and challenge themselves to go beyond their expectations.
Linette J. Smith is a theatre and improv teacher at Strathcona High school and artistic director for the Scona Alumni Theatre Co. Smith is a freelance director/choreographer in Edmonton where she can be found as a part of The Vanguard Theatre Collective and the choreographer for the Cappies Chorus for Cappies of Greater Edmonton. She is president of the Zone 8 One Act Festival for Edmonton and St. Albert High School theatres. Smith coaches four high school improv teams and she tries to incorporate improv into each day. (life is short do improv). Select credits include direction and choreography for the world premiere of The Killing Jar; the Edmonton premiere of Lizzie The Musical (Uniform Theatre); and directing and choreography credits for Xanadu, Heathers, Dogfight, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot, RENT (Edmonton Fringe); directing the Canadian premier of Calvin Berger (three-form theatre); Singin’ in the Rain (Festival Place); Big Fish, Nevermore, In the Heights, Les Miserables, West Side Story (Scona Theatre Co.); Rocky Horror, Jane Eyre, Avenue Q, Chicago, Cabaret (TOWTTB). @lsmithonyourtoes
Eileen has been an instructor at the Foote Theatre School for the last 10 years. She developed a week-long camp, Comedy & Laughter, which sees students returning over and over again. She has created fifty-five original shows with students. A graduate of the University of Leeds (M.A.) and Concordia University, Eileen has directed theatre in Western Canada since 1989, when she became the Associate Artistic Director at Regina’s Globe Theatre. Edmonton-based since 1990, she has also been active in Calgary, notably with the Green Fools. Fringe-goers will remember her work with generic theatre and Cowgirl Opera, amongst others.
Julie is currently doing her Bachelor of Education.in hopes of becoming a drama teacher. Last year she played Underling in The Drowsy Chaperone with the Young Musical Company. She has also been seen as Vi Moore in Scona Theatre Co.'s Footloose and Kendra in 13 the Musical. Julie is grateful for all the opportunities she's had and can't wait for the future!