Meet some of our current Graduate Students


John BATTYE - PhD Performance Studies
CV & Headshot

John has recently completed his MA in Drama at the University of Alberta, and is continuing to attend the university in order to complete a PhD in Performance Studies. His work as a dramaturge, improvisation coach, director, and performer has taken him across Southern Ontario over the past eight years. While settling into his academic role, John has pursued dramaturgical work in Alberta in the New Works and StageLab Festivals. He currently specializes in Canadian theatre and Digitally-mediatized performance.

Shannon BLANCHET – MFA Voice Pedagogy
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Shannon is a performer, teacher, coach, producer and assistant director working across performance mediums. Her interdisciplinary research investigates actors’ attention and awareness in performance and the neurological correlates of formal voice training.

She has performed across Canada and internationally with Catalyst Theatre’s Nevermore and works regularly with Edmonton’s genre-bending Teatro la Quindicina, most recently appearing as Cecily Cardew in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of being Earnest. The recipient of two Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for her performances on Edmonton stages, she has contributed as an assistant director, supervising producer and creative consultant to Mosaic Entertainment’s comedy series Caution: May Contain Nuts (APTN), Tiny Plastic Men (SuperChannel/Hulu) and Delmer and Marta (APTN). She is a core cast member of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning Die Nasty: The Improvised Soap Opera and has lent her creative and administrative skills to BioWare’s Jade Empire, Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises.

Lily CLIMENHAGA - PhD Performance Studies
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Currently in the third year of a PhD in Performance Studies in a joint program between the U of A and LMU (Munich), Lily hails from the Edmonton area and is currently based between Munich and Edmonton. Her academic work explores the contemporary German theatre, looking at directors such as Luk Perceval and Marius von Mayenburg during her Bachelor and Master degrees. Lily is currently writing her dissertation of the highly political, often controversial theatre of the Swiss theatre-and film-maker Milo Rau (Five Easy Pieces, Hate Radio, The Congo Tribunal, etc.) and his production company International Institute of Political Murder. She is often found travelling across Europe for her research. On top of her (at times overly enthusiastic) academic pursuits, like also works as a dramaturg, editor, blogger, translator, stage manager, general carrier of heavy things from one side of the theatre to other, and ninja (otherwise known as karate trainer). She has had the opportunity to work with directors such as: Marius von Mayenburg at Schauspielhaus Bochum, Johan Simons at Munich’s Residenztheater, as well as Brian Deedrick and Marti Maraden at the university’s own Studio Theatre. To follow Lily’s misadventures in German and European theatre check out her blog at: https://lostdramaturgininternational.wordpress.com/.

Léda DAVIES – MFA Theatre Practice
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Leda is entering her first year of her MFA in Theatre Practice where she is investigating the embodiment of text and story, the pedagogy of movement practices and the imaginative and physical potential of virtuosic movement in theatre. Originally from Calgary, AB, Léda has been an active member of Canada's professional theatre, dance, and circus scene for over a decade.  Léda has performed across Canada and worldwide with some of Canada’s leading theatrical companies, and has spent the past 5 years in Montreal, QC where she has trained with renowned coaches from Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School.  Léda is also the co-founder of the Screaming Goats Collective, in Montreal, QC.  Her current project, Persephone Bound, produced in partnership with Théâtre Imago, aims to challenging traditional theatrical narratives by combining text, dance, aerial circus technique and live music, in a modern treatment of the Ancient Greek myth of the rape of Persephone.

Lebogang DISELE - PhD Performance Studies

Lebogang Disele is graduate of the University of Cape Town (BA Film and Media Production [Radio], BA Honours [Drama]), as well as the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (MA Dramatic Arts).

Since coming to UofA has focused on growing her company, The LC Performance Lab, through which she produces womxn centered performances. Recent performance credits include What Life (Black) Requires, at the Mile Zero Sesquicentennial Party curated by Bridget Jessome, the Mile Zero Dirt Buffet curated by Mpoe Mogale and at the 2017 Expanse Festival, In the Shadow of Blessings at Alchemy II curated by Brandon Wint and Unwoven at the 2018 SkirtsAfire Festival, curated by Nasra Adem.

Lebo's research explores how performance can be used to foster women's leadership by inserting women's experiences into the public archive. Her publications include “In Conversation: Interrogating and Shifting Societal Perceptions of Women in Botswana through Theatre” in African Theatre 14: Contemporary Women; and “Searching for a Place: Identity and Displacement at the Maitisong Festival” in a special edition of Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies.

Alex DONOVAN - MFA Directing

Alexander is entering his second year of his MFA in Directing. In his first year he directed Copenhagen by Michael Frayn and one-act versions of Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon and Old Times by Harold Pinter. This summer he had the pleasure of directing Makram Ayache’s new play Harun at the Ignite Festival for Emerging Artists in June and Brittany Reid’s Justified Sinners in August. His next play, Antigone, will go up in December in the Bleviss Laboratory Theatre. He is the new Artistic Director of the New Works Festival and Artistic Director of Imaginary Circumstances Theatre. He studied Suzuki and Viewpoints under Ellen Lauren of the SITI Company this summer and has trained under Kameron Steele of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT). 

Other directing credits include: The December Man by Colleen Murphy (Theatre University of New Brunswick), This is a Play by Daniel MacIvor, The Honour of the Crown by Chris Baker, Thom Pain: based on nothing by Will Eno (Imaginary Circumstances Theatre Company), Wasters by Jacob Martin, Jon & Richard Duel for Honour by Jean-Michel Cliche, Jobbers by Jeff Lloyd, Alice Loves the Beach by Sarah Higgins (NotaBle Acts). He also Assistant Directed at Theatre New Brunswick on productions of Frankenstein adapted by Walter Learning and the new musical premiere of A Christmas Carol by Caleb Marshall and Michael Doherty.

Angela FERREIRA - PhD Performance Studies
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Angela is a Luso-Canadian theatre artist from Vancouver who has taught acting and playmaking at university and has presented papers in Canada, USA, and Europe. Her plays include The Peaceful Sea at rEvolver festival 2015 (Cultch Lab) and Pomer & Penelope in 2017 (Cultch Green House in Vancouver and New Works Festival in Edmonton). Angela wrote/directed The Last Seven Words of Fernando Pessoa at SFU’s Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre and in 2018 her play Snow in Berlin premiered in London, UK. Angela's research interests include Luso-related theatre and female representation on stage; she holds a BA in Theatre/French from UBC and a MFA from SFU.

Heunjung Olivia LEE – PhD Performance Studies
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HeunJung Lee is from South Korea and moved to Edmonton for her PhD in Performance Studies. Completing her MA in Performing Arts Studies at Seoul National University, with the thesis titled Soundscape of Site-Specific Theatre (2016), she investigated the altered audience perception and embodied experience in site-specific theatre through Phenomenology and Media theories. For doctoral studies, she expands her interest to the intersection of Performance Studies, Cognitive Science, and Healthcare. She now focuses on the embodied cultural cognition to approach the issue of dementia and theatre interventions in care facilities. She presented “Performative Approach to the Concept of Body Schema and Body Image” at the Cognitive Futures in Arts and Humanities Conference at Stony Brook University in 2017. She is invited to present a paper “Enhancing Memory of the Aged through Theatre-based programs” at the Aging and Society Conference 2017 at the University of California at Berkeley.

Sofia LUKIE – MFA Theatre Design

Sofia is a Ukrainian Canadian theatre designer and technician. She graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Theatre design and production. She has worked on a myriad of University shows in roles including; lighting, sound, costume, and set designer, stage carpenter, properties coordinator, scenic painter, lighting and sound technician. Other works include involvement with SpeakEasy Theatre, The Little Opera Company, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Sarasvati Productions, Tricon Films, Red Rover Entertainment, and Shumka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Sofia has also recently completed term positions for Parks Canada and the Art Gallery of Alberta. She is looking forward to the challenges and new experiences that her last year of the MFA design program will bring. She also wants to send gratitude to her family and partner for their continuous support of her work. She encourages you to check out her lighting design for Lenin’s Embalmers, and production design in her thesis show, All for Love, this studio season!

Michael Samuel KAPLAN – MFA Voice Pedagogy
& Acting CV & Headshot

From New York City, Michael’s recent Off-Broadway and regional credits include Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Driving Miss Daisy, Harvey, Angel Street, The Night Alive, Red, Opus, Miss JulieIntimate Apparel, Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, The Government Inspector, Our Town, It’s A Wonderful Life Radio Play, Those Learned Ladies, A Splintered Soul, and Hamlet, as well as the American regional premieres of The History Boys, Oblomov, Handle with Care, Ants and God’s Ear.

He has served as an Assistant Professor in the BFA Training Program at Ithaca College, as a Creative Director for the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA) at their campuses in Manhattan and Vermont, and as a Resident Professional Teaching Associate at Cornell University. He also teaches private scene study classes in NYC.

He received his training from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Yale School of Drama, American Conservatory Theatre, and UCLA. Post conservatory, he studied with private instructors Milton Katselas, Jeffrey Tambor, Nina Foch, Nikolai Guzov and Patsy Rodenburg.

He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.