Valerie Sing Turner - Artistic Producer
Valerie is an award-winning theatre artist who performs, writes, directs, and produces. A recipient of the Enbridge playRites Award for Emerging Canadian Playwright, Gordon Armstrong Playwrights Rent Award, and John Moffat + Larry Lillo Prize, she was artist-in-residence with the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) for In the Shadow of the Mountains, her current 10-actor play in development. Her writings have appeared in Canadian Theatre Review, alt.theatre, Ricepaper Magazine, various online publications, and operatic libretti. She has been artist-in-residence with the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, associate artist with Urban Ink Productions, guest artist with Canada’s National Voice Intensive, and the recipient of the 2019 UBCP/ACTRA International Women's Day Award in recognition of her "outstanding contributions to the Union, the industry, and causes of social justice". She performs onstage and onscreen, and has voiced animation as well as CBC radio dramas and short-story narrations. In 2014, Valerie was one of two Canadians invited to train with the Suzuki Company of Toga (Japan) as a member of their International Training Group.
Valerie started her producing career in 2000 as co-producer of the Dora-nominated premiere of Jean Yoon’s The Yoko Ono Project (Toronto), going on to produce premieres by Laurie Fyffe, Marie Clements, and her own playwriting debut, the interdisciplinary Confessions of the Other Woman, which was co-produced by the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, Urban Ink, and Visceral Visions. She also produced the 2016 Redefining Normal, a 2-day retreat for Indigenous and racialized BC-based theatre artists. In 2018, she designed and delivered “Decolonizing through Theatre”, a series of 8 workshops and associated activities for students 5 - 15; and she was honoured to be a guest artist with the Primary Colours/couleurs primaire Initiative for a 2-week residency in Banff Centre for the Arts – one of 20 Indigenous and racialized artists selected from across the country across disciplines. She is currently on full scholarship in the 2018-19 Cultural Leadership Program at the Banff Centre, and a member of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, UBCP/ACTRA, and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.
In 2003, Valerie founded Visceral Visions. As Artistic Producer, Valerie works to ensure that Visceral Visions consciously addresses systemic inequality in its artistic practice, using art to build awareness and empathy; the company’s latest project is CultureBrew.Art, a digital platform for Indigenous and racialized artists who work in the performing and media arts, due to launch in September 2019, for which Valerie is Creative Director.
Omari Newton - Associate Artist
Montreal-born artist Omari Newton is a professional actor, writer, slam poet and MC whose work can be found on television, film, stage and radio. His stage work in has earned him favourable reviews and awards. Career highlights include a best supporting actor nomination (soiree des masques) for his work in the Centaur Theatre's production of Joe Penhal's Blue Orange (Christopher). The play also went on to win best English-language production. His original Hip Hop theatre piece, Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of, was nominated for numerous awards including best original script (Montreal English Theatre Awards) and best production. He is a proud graduate of Concordia University's Communication Studies program. Fans of TV may know him as "Larry" on cult classic comedy Blue Mountain State, or as Lucas Ingram on breakout Sci-Fi hit, Continuum.
Odessa Shuquaya - Associate Artist
Odessa is a professional actor for the stage (Unnatural and Accidental Women, The Rez Sisters, Egni's Eye) and screen (Dr. Barlow, Grace Point, Morning Together), and a digital filmmaker and mentor. Her short films have been screened across Canada in Haida Gwaii, Dawson City and Halifax, and broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She is committed to creating opportunities for Indigenous artists in theatre and film. Odessa holds a BFA in Acting from UBC and is certified in both Indigenous filmmaking and cinematography at Capilano University. She is the recent recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Development Award from the First Peoples' Cultural Council to work on various media projects (from documentary to feature film) with Marie Clements' company, Working Pajama Lab.