Meet some of our current Graduate Students

Aksam ALYOUSEF - MA Drama
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Aksam Alyousef is entering his second year of his MA in Drama. He was a graduate of The High Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, Syria (BA in Criticism and theatrical literature). He is a critic, playwright, director, and producer in theater and television. Besides his writings about theatre in Syrian newspapers, he taught drama in Syria and Qatar for many years before moving to work as a script writer on Aljazeera Children’s Channel. 

Since coming to Canada in 2016, Alyousef has written and directed many new plays, including Offerings, Honey and Nuts, Souls, Hagar, and F.O.B.

Studying an MA at UofA gives Alyousef an opportunity to continue his research about theater in The Middle East and explore the problems that hinder the development of theater in the Arab world. As well, He will examine and reposition the Middle Eastern heritage, which is rich in epics, stories and folk tales, such as the Babylonian, Phoenician, Canaanite, Assyrian and Arabic legends in the context of the world culture for the theatre. 

John BATTYE - PhD Performance Studies

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.

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 currently in her second year of 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.  In 2013 Léda relocated to Montreal, QC where she trained with renowned coaches from Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School in aerial circus and ground acrobatics.  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 challenge 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.

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.

Amanda GOLDBERG - MFA Directing
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Amanda Goldbergis an honors graduate from Dawson College’s Professional Theatre program and Concordia University's Theatre and Development program. She is the co-founder and artistic director of We Are One, a Montreal based feminist theatre company that aims to celebrate and empower womxn. In 2016, she was nominated for Outstanding Emerging Artist for her directing of Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life, at the Montreal English Theatre Awards. Goldberg’s most recent directing credits include Yerma (Concordia University), City Boy (Mainline Theatre), and the three-time META nominated production, Smackhead (We Are One). Her latest work was assistant directing Theatre Surreal SoReal’s production of Madame Catherine prépare sa classe de troisième à l’irrémédiable, Imago Theatre’s production of Other People’s Children, the Segal Centre’s Indecent and Hudson Village Theatre’s Marion Bridge. Goldberg is currently working on her MFA in Directing at the University of Alberta.

Jeremy GORDANEER - MFA Design
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Jeremy was born in Ontario and grew up in Victoria, BC. As the son of Canadian painter James Gordaneer, RCA, he was surrounded by art and began taking an interest in painting and drawing at an early age. He attended the Camosun College Fine Arts program in Victoria in the early ‘90s, and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and America in order to study art and hone his craft. He spent a decade in Victoria as a member of the Chapman Group, a loose collective of artists and writers, who met weekly to study art, philosophy, physics and theology, as well as to provide a rigorous critique of each other’s work. During this time, he studied Theatre at the University of Victoria, and continues to support himself through scenic art and design for theatre and dance, while also painting, sculpting and drawing on a regular basis.  More recently he has launched into large-scale immersive performance projects such as #boxtape, which combines sculpture and dance through the commonplace medium of packing tape, creating installations that act as set, sculpture, and character at once. He is presently attending the University of Alberta to obtain his MFA in scenic design, where this season he will be designing set and lights for both Richard III and Revolt. She said. Revolt again as well as his thesis show Don Juan Comes Home from the War (set, lights, costumes, props).

Kirsten HAWSON - MFA Voice Pedagogy
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Kirsten is a British/Canadian actor, singer and performance coach. Professional highlights include Dirty Blonde on London’s West End (directed by James Lapine), Rumble Fish (original theatrical cast memberproduced by Francis Ford Coppola, as well as Katherine in Taming of The Shrew , Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lady Percy in Henry IV, Part II. Recent credits include a number of TV shows and voice-overs. She is also an active session singer, singing mainly on film soundtracks and commercial jingles. Kirsten served as Head of Voice at The Institute for Creative Arts in Seoul, South Korea. She then developed and headed the vocal department at The Sarah McLachlan School of Music. Kirsten runs a performance studio with clients in Vancouver, LA, Toronto, NYC and London. Recently, Kirsten has been working with the CW Network and Hallmark Channel as an accent/dialect coach.

She received her BA degree from Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has studied with private instructors Patsy Rodenburg, Cicely Berry, David Smukler, Sally Grace and Uta Hagen . 

She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association both here in Canada and in the UK. She is an active member of VASTA. www.KCHstudios.com

FengYi (Mona) JIANG - MFA Design
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FengYi is an international student who was born and raised in Qingdao, China where she studied dancing from a young age.  She has worked as assistant TV director and appeared on local television shows.  She graduated from the UofA BFA Theatre Stage Management program, and is now going back to school to start learning more theatre design skills. Recent theatrical credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre Prospero), Hagar (Alma Theatre), Pawakan Macbeth (Theatre Prospero), 9 Parts of Desire (The Maggie Tree) Patience, Eugene Onegin, and Carousel (Opera Nuova), Elektra, Turandot (Edmonton Opera), Heathers (Citadel Young Company), Pacamambo (Cardiac Theatre), Gordon, Code Word: Time (Theatre Network). Other main works includes: Maria Stuarda, Lucia di Lammermoor, Die Fledermaus (Edmonton Opera), The Threepenny Opera, Loveplay, A Winter’s Tale, Red Light, Winter, pool (no water), Much Ado About Nothing, and Tape, (UofA), I Capuleti, La Boheme, Parade, Amahl And The Night Visitors, Candide, Carmen, and Cendrillon (Opera Nuova).

Joshua LANGUEDOC - MFA Theatre Practice
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Josh is an Anishinaabe playwright, storyteller, and educator living on Treaty 6 Territory. An active playwright in development at Workshop West Playwrights Theatre, Josh has several projects in development, including The Eyes of Spirits (Workshop West, Citadel Theatre, Native Earth); IN-COR-RI-GI-BLE: The Legend of Thundervoice (Blyth Festival); CIVIL BLOOD: A Treaty Story (Thou Art Here Theatre); and Wolf Runner (Concrete Theatre). For the past year, Josh has also toured across Canada with his one-man show, Rocko and Nakota: Tales From the Land.

As an educator, Josh has taught at the Citadel Theatre’s Foote Theatre School, Workshop West’s #WritesOfPassage Program, Artstrek, and Edmonton Public Schools. In 2018, Josh facilitated and co-directed Ross Sheppard High School’s indigenous production of Side By Side: Our Stories.

Josh is an MFA Theatre Practices student with a focus on indigenous playwriting and storytelling, and a research interest in the decolonization of theatrical spaces.

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.

Mukonzi MUSYOKI - PhD Performance Studies
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Mukonzi is a writer, director and a dramaturge. He just commenced his PhD from the University of Alberta in Performance Studies this September. Mukonzi graduated from Kenyatta University in Kenya on July 2016 with a BA in English, Linguistics and Literature. He later went on to do his Masters at the University of Alberta specializing in Theatre. Musyoki has been in Canada for three years and has worked in Workshop West, Studio Theatre, the University of Alberta Drama Department and The Citadel Theatre.

Mukonzi has also worked as a dramaturge for Ignite Afrika Trust where he continues to participate in the OSNW (Old Stories in New Ways) Project and TIC (Theatrical Interactions for Change) back in Kenya collaborating with local artists from Kisumu under the supervision and mentorship of Professor Jan Selman. Mukonzi is currently the developmental dramaturge for an oncoming production that will be showcased by the Aga Khan University next Winter.

His research is on Postcolonial African Theatre and Performance, Dramaturgy, Urban Discourse and Identity Politics in contemporary East Africa.

Camille PARIS - MFA Design
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Camille is a second year MFA Theatre Design student graduating this spring. She is from Paris, France and based in Edmonton, Alberta since 2018. She started studying scenography in fine arts of Bordeaux, France and finished at UQAM in Montreal, Quebec. She worked between France and Quebec with different theatre companies, Opera and realized several scenic paintings for the Comédie Française

Her studies in painting and art history at fine art school, and her experience as a stage designer in varied areas, such as: museography, fashion industry, events and retail, enhance her perspective regarding creativity.

 In her design work, she believes in building a strong collaboration to create audacious concepts and a clear aesthetic.

Thea PATTERSON - PhD Performance Studies
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Thea Patterson (BFA, MA, PhD Student) is a Montreal-based choreographer, performer, and dramaturg. Her research investigates the potential of the dancing body as the site of embodied theoretical discourse. Here, dance practice does not demonstrate an idea, nor is the idea danced, rather the two converse/converge in the entanglement of something between, something that “lives betwixt and between theory and theatricality, paradigms and practices, critical reflection and creative accomplishment” (Conquergood). Thinking, as expressed through the dancing body, moves the theory from body into the world. What can such dancing theorizing bodies offer in terms of emancipatory promise as it pertains to re-entangling the body/mind binary, and along with it the other binaries (subject/object, nature/culture) and the ramifications this might have in terms of how we learn and how we engage with our world as embodied and embedded subjects? 

Charlie PETERS - MFA Theatre Practice
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Charlie is a theatre and opera director, actor, lighting designer, playwright, dramaturge, poet, and clown. He earned a BFA in Acting from the University of Saskatchewan, continued his training at the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance, and has begun work towards an MFA in Theatre Practice at the University of Alberta. He is the recipient of Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards for Outstanding Emerging Artist (2013) and Outstanding Lighting Design (Two Corpses Go Dancing, 2015) and was nominated for Outstanding Direction (Diana Son’s Stop Kiss, 2014) and Outstanding Original Script (Many Fires, 2019). His artistic work has been seen on stages (and in parks, fields, school gyms, living rooms, and pools) across Western Canada. Charlie is Artistic Associate with Sum Theatre, Founding Director of Embrace Theatre, serves as Secretary on the board of directors of the Saskatchewan Association of Theatre Professionals, and also works as a theatre educator, using drama skills to build community, inter and intra-personal awareness, and self-confidence through playful, imaginative learning. www.charliepeters.ca



Colette is currently serving as the Grad Student Association representative for the Drama Department. She is a second year Grad student doing a course-based MA degree, and also has a seat on the Chair’s Advisory Committee. Her area of research is disability theatre with an interest in Down Syndrome and/or community development. Her undergraduate degree was in French Literature, and she currently works for the Edmonton Public School Board, in French Immersion, as a Special Needs Educational Assistant. After completing her Bachelor of Arts, she spent some time working in film and produced an independent film on the local Jazz scene which was nominated for a prestigious Rosie Award from the Alberta Media Productions Industries Association in 2008. In her spare time; she is a faithful volunteer at the Yardbird Suite (Edmonton Jazz Society) as a volunteer coordinator and part-time usher at the Metro Cinema.

Edmund STAPLETON - MFA Directing
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Edmund hails from Paradise, Newfoundland & Labrador. Selected credits include: Assistant Director on Lear (Groundling Theatre), The Snow Queen (Canadian Children’s Opera Company); Actor in All’s Well That Ends Well (Bard on the Beach), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Citadel/MTC); The Wars, Chariots of Fire (Grand Theatre), Dedication (RCA), Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare by the Bow); two seasons at the Shaw Festival. Edmund holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta and a BA in English and Philosophy from Memorial University in St. John’s.

Minggao ZHANG - MFA Theatre Practice
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Minggao Zhang is from Singapore. He received his formal professional dance training in Chinese classical dance, Tai Ji and Chinese folk dance from Shanghai Dance School in 1992. He continues to pursue his profession in dance as a career with Shanghai Orient Youth Dance Company upon graduated in 1998.

In 2003, Minggao took up Diploma in dance from Lasalle College of The Arts in Singapore. Upon completion in 2006, he moves on to pursue his Degree and received his Bachelor of Arts (Honors) majoring in Contemporary Dance and Ballet in 2008.

Minggao has gained his commendable experiences in dance over these years, working with eminent dance artists and choreographers, such as: Graeme Murphy (artistic director of Sydney Dance Company), Willy Tsao (artistic director of City Contemporary Dance Company), Maxine Heppner, Ming-Lung Young (main dancer in Trisha Brown Dance Company).  Albert Tiong (Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Tai Wan).  

Minggao was also appointed as guest lecturer and choreographer at the Central Academy of Drama Beijing, Beijing Film Academy and Nan Yang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore. Currently he is pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Practice, under the supervision of Professor Lin Snelling.