Alumni in the News

Recent Posts

BFA Acting alum Lorne Cardinal honoured to receive award named after 'mentor' August Schellenberg

This year's recipient of The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence is Cree actor Lorne Cardinal. The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival presents the annual award to an actor whose work celebrates the spirit and commitment that Schellenberg showed over the course of his career.

Drama alumna Alyson Connolly authors latest in self-help series

Alyson Connolly leverages her Arts degrees to help people find their voice with Public Speaking for Dummies.

Drama's Ken Williams receives Alumni Honour Award!

Cree playwright and Drama professor Kenneth T. Williams receives Alumni Honour Award for his contributions to Canadian theatre and his mentorship of aspiring Indigenous artists. Congratulations Ken!

Toronto's Dear Evan Hansen Finds Its Star in Robert Markus ('10 BFA Acting)

Congratulations to Robert Markus on landing the title role in the upcoming Canadian premiere of Dear Evan Hansen!

Former foreign correspondent and BFA Acting alum Sean Mallen pens touching memoir

"Falling for London" is the hilarious and touching memoir of how Sean Mallen and his family learned how to live in and love the world's greatest city.

Esteemed local playwright will star in his own play Lenin's Embalmers

Vern Thiessen (MFA Playwrighting) is a busy man. His play about Shakespeare's dead wife Shakespeare's Will just finished its run - in a graveyard! - and now the esteemed local playwright will star in his own play Lenin's Embalmers, a Studio Theatre production Oct. 11-20 at the Timms Centre for the Arts. He plays Lenin.

Indigenous podcast comes to U of A for first-ever live taping

Media Indigena brings edgy, informative voices to the current-affairs conversation. U of A playwright and Drama professor Ken Williams, a regular commentator on the Media Indigena podcast, says the show's Indigenous perspectives are under-represented in mainstream media. "These are challenging topics that we take on, but we're always willing to talk about them."

Café Daughter wins Gold Medallion at International Festival

Café Daughter, a play by U of A Drama professor Kenneth Williams, won the Gold Medallion and Audience Choice Awards at the 43rd annual International Festival of Monodrama and Mime in Belgrade, Serbia. Café Daughter also features U of A drama grads Tiffany Ayalik (Acting) and T. Erin Gruber (Theatre Design), plus Vern Thiessen (Playwriting) as the Artistic Director. Video link.

Brett Dahl (BFA Acting) receives Lieutenant Governor of Alberta's 2018 Emerging Artist Award

Congratulations to BFA Acting grad (2013) Brett Dahl on being a recipient of a 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award! Brett was recognized for his work on exploring the LGBTQ+ voice in different theatrical forms, and on connecting that work on a national spectrum.

Zachary Polis (BA Drama) receives RBC Emerging Artist Award

Congratulations Zachary! The RBC Emerging Artist Award recognizes an artist in the early stages of a career and is working towards becoming a recognized professional artist. Also nominated, Kristen Padayas (BFA Acting).

Kenneth T. Williams Receives Artistic Excellence Award

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Kenneth T. Williams who was recently honoured by the 2017 Saskatchewan Arts Awards for his achievements in Artistic Excellence.

Video: A Bright Room Called Day - Melissa Thingelstad

BFA Acting alumni Melissa Thingelstad (Class of 2005) on what it's like to be back and working with the Class of 2017 on Studio Theatre's "A Bright Room Called Day" by Tony Kushner.

Andrea Rankin (BFA Acting '14) cast in 2 New Stratford Festival plays!

The Stratford Festival reveals its casting for all 12 of next season's productions and Andrea Rankin (BFA Acting '2014) has been cast in two new plays.

Jordan Buhat (BFA Acting 2017) joins Black-ish spin off!

Congratulations to recent BFA Acting grad Jordan Buhat for landing a series regular role on ABC's Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish.

Uncovered: Old Department Promo Video from 1997

Someone was just down in the deep archives of the U of A Department of Drama and stumbled across this gem: an old promo video from 1997, on VHS!

Drama Alums in Shakespeare Festivals and More

Department of Drama alumni spotted at festivals on both coasts! BFA Acting and BFA Stage Management grads Carmela Sison, Sereana Malani and Tanya Schwaerzle are featured at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver, while BFA Stage Management and MFA Theatre Design grads Al Gadowsky and Cory Sincennes are hard at work on the Charlottetown Festival.

Reneltta Arluk: New Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre

Beginning November 1, 2017, BFA Acting graduate Reneltta Arluk will become Director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

BFA Acting students win AFA Young Artist Prizes

Congratulations to Griffin Cork (BFA Acting) and recent BFA Acting Graduate Jake Tkaczyk on their AFA Influential Young Artist awards!

Reneltta Arluk (BFA Acting alum) appointed new Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is excited to welcome Reneltta Arluk as Director of Indigenous Arts, effective November 1, 2017. Arluk's appointment meets a key pillar of Banff Centre's strategic plan, The Creative Voice, by ensuring relevant and contemporary Indigenous Arts programming year-round.

Feasting on words

From Tanzania to Canada, storyteller and Drama alum Tololwa Mollel brings his unique voice to the world.

Drama alumni receive Edmonton Arts Council Trust Fund Awards

Congratulations to Drama alumni Jessy Ardern (actor and playwright), Jason Chinn (playwright) and Conni Massing (playwright, screenwriter, author) on their well-deserved Edmonton Artists' Trust Fund awards.

Beyond the Stage - A Look into Costume Design for Studio Theatre

Alex Donovan (MFA Directing Candidate) interviews Stephanie Bahniuk (BFA Theatre Deisign) about designing the costumes for Studio Theatre's recent production of Twelfth Night.

Auditioning for Stage vs. Auditioning for Screen

Lisa Gilroy (BA Drama/BEd 2014) is a University of Alberta graduate currently living in Toronto, Ontario where she writes and produces comedy for television and stage. She is a member of The Second City Toronto's House Company and the host of both Undercover High and The Zone on YTV.

MFA Directing alum Jonathan Christenson shortlisted for Siminovitch Prize

The internationally-recognized and honoured award shines a spotlight on excellence and innovation in Canadian Theatre with an annual prize worth $100,000. Congratulations Jonathan!

Drama alum becomes artistic director of Antigonish

Current Festival Antigonish artistic producer Ed Thomason's duties will be handled by two people beginning Aug. 1. Reema Fuller becomes managing director and Andrea Boyd (MFA Directing) becomes artistic director.

BFA Acting Alum, Reneltta Arluk, to direct at Stratford Festival

Stratford Festival's 2017 season to feature 8 out of 14 female directors and Reneltta Arluk to direct one production, new commission The Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy.

Sterling Award nominations

The 29th Sterling Award nominations have been released and it is a good looking list. We are very proud of our Department of Drama Alumni who make a big appearance in the list of nominees.

Body Politic Puts Canadian Queer History Onstage

BFA Acting Alum (2006) Nick Green's play about the influential gay magazine deals with everything from the bathhouse raids to the controversial Men Loving Boys Loving Men article.

MFA Directing Alum (2011) Mitchell Cushman Takes Theatre to New Places

For all of you theatre nerds out there, Mitchell is proof that you can make it in the arts -- but only if you are willing to work your butt off, be extremely creative and be open to the ups and downs of the industry. (Huffington Post)

Who Needs the Theatre? Michele Fleiger's TEDxUAlberta talk

In this heartfelt TEDxUAlberta talk, Drama's own Michele Fleiger explores the role of theatre in a time when it's difficult not to take our eyes off the bottom line: net earnings, profits, and financial constraints.

Diversity on stage and screen has powerful social impact

The first aboriginal graduate of the University of Alberta's BFA Acting program, Cardinal has spent 25 years struggling with the lack of diversity in Canada's entertainment industry. Working as both actor and director, he has strived to show indigenous faces on Canadian stages and screens.

Hunter Cardinal (BFA Acting, '15) chosen for Soulpepper Academy

After processing 1,148 applications, a nation-wide audition process, and an intense final round of in-person auditions, Hunter Cardinal is part of the fifth Soulpepper Academy!

UAlberta Drama alumni recognized with Mayor's Celebration of the Arts nominations

Some of the U of A Department of Drama's most adventurous alumni figure among the nominees in the 29th annual Mayor's Celebration of the Arts Awards, to be handed out April 21 at City Hall, including Ben Gorodetsky of Rapid Fire Theatre, CRIPSiE led by Kelsie Acton and Vern Thiessen of Workshop West Playwrights' Theatre! Voice instructor Kim Mattice Wanat of Opera Nuova also received a nod for her artistic leadership.

Making Magic

Theatre design grad brings puppet-making expertise to the Edmonton arts community.

Ryan Parker: art of the headshot

In part two of her headshot series, Brenley Charkow sat down with Ryan Parker ('08 BFA Acting) of PK Photography to talk about the art of the headshot.

Andrew Kushnir on The Gay Heritage Project

MFA Directing Candidate, Brenley Charkow interviews Andrew Kushnir ('02 BFA), one of the three creators of The Gay Heritage Project, and a graduate of the University of Alberta's Acting program, about some of his experiences working on the show.

Collaboration with Workshop West Theatre embeds playwright in an unlikely U of A community

Playwright Kenneth T. Williams ('90 BA, '92 MFA Playwriting) tells the story of math.

Wormwood a notable debut for Andrew Kushnir (National Post)

Andrew Kushnir's ('02 BFA) first major independent play receives a strong review in the National Post.

Help Drama Grad dogsled through Sweden and Norway

Zach Polis (BA Drama, 2012) is trying to win a dog sled competition with Fjällräven. If you have 3 seconds and feel inclined, consider placing a vote. Hit the vote button and your done. Simple. You can also watch his lovely video (utilizing his U of A playwriting and acting skills)! It'll be the best two and half minutes of your day.

Calling all thespians: Spend an evening with John Kirkpatrick

Drama grad Ted Sloan initiated a community conversation about careers in theatre with his former instructor and alumnus John Kirkpatrick in Fort St. John.

Congrats to Beth Graham ('98 BFA, '95 BA)!

Beth's play The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble is nominated for a 2015 Governor General's Award in Drama.

From Student to Star

With a new film hitting the big screen, actor-writer-director Paul Gross (BFA Acting '81) reflects on his time honing his craft in Edmonton.

Bone Cage draws out UAlberta talent

Catherine Banks' 2008 Governor General award-winning play, Bone Cage, presented by Edmonton's Theatre Yes from now until Oct. 4, features a host of UAlberta talent in the cast and creative team.

Drama Alum Shortlisted for $100,000 Siminovitch Prize

Congratulations to MFA Theatre Design alum, Bretta Gerecke for making the shortlist for the Siminovitch Prize!

The 16th Canadian Comedy Awards went to...

Huge congrats to Kirsten Rasmussen ('08 BFA Acting), winner of Best Female Improvisor at the Canadian Comedy Awards on September 13th! UAlberta Drama was well-represented with Michael Kennard also taking home Best Variety Act for Mump and Smoot.

Billy Kidd: She's the magician, not the lovely assistant

The name is Billy Kidd, only she's not a kid or even an outlaw. She's one of the very few women who perform magic tricks instead of acting as the male magician's lovely assistant. Kidd graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in acting from the University of Alberta.

Faculty of Arts alumni clean up at Mayor's Celebration of the Arts

Arts alumni among many to be recognized for important contributions to the Edmonton arts scene.

Q & A with Twilla MacLeod

Q & A Twilla MacLeod: UAlberta acting grad now Taiko drummer and grad advisor in UAlberta Music.

Paul Gross (BFA Acting '81) receives Order of Canada

Paul Gross reflects on his career as the director and writer will get his investiture into the Order of Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa.

BA Drama, Jane Voloboeva, grad performs on executive stage

Jane Voloboeva: The theatrics of search (Curious Arts)