IGNITE! 2018 – Theatre Series – Artists

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Funny Man (Staged Reading)

An up and comer in the standup comedy world, Billy Evans goes from viral YouTube shorts to landing his own Netflix special. He worked his way to the top, but at what cost? This piece explores the complex lives of standup comedians and takes a look into what goes on behind the scenes, once the laughter has faded. Content note: themes of mental illness and suicide ideation.

Kodie Rollan (Playwright), Rebecca Fauser (Director)
Jonathan Molinski (Billy), Sepidar Yeganeh Farid (Laura), Sam Malone (Jack), Kendra Hutchinson (Stage Directions)

Kodie Rollan (Playwright): Rollan is passionate about telling stories that examine the socio-political environment of our world. Kodie is typically a comedic writer, but has dabbled in alternative modes of storytelling. A recent graduate from the Dan School of Music and Drama at Queen’s University, Kodie’s writing credits include, Funny Man (Staged Reading at the 2018 Ignite Festival), Handle with Care (Kingston Juvenis Festival), and Nuclear (The Dan Studio Series). Playwriting aside, Kodie is also an aspiring dramaturg, musician, and stand-up comic.


Rebecca Fauser (Director): Rebecca is a graduate from the Theatre Studies program at the University of Lethbridge. Select directing credits include: Rapunzel, I and You (Asst.), and Apple (Asst.). She is very excited to be working on such a beautiful piece of theatre with amazing artists.


Jonathan Molinski (Billy): Jonathan Molinski is an actor and voice actor. He graduated of the University of Calgary’s Drama Program. Recent credits include: Dallas The Outsiders (Storybook Theatre), Stetko The Monument (Theatre of Consequence), and Morikawa Cardfight Vanguard. He hopes that you have/had/are having a good time at IGNITE! 2018


Sepidar Yeganeh Farid (Laura): Sepidar, born in Iran, is an artist of color who loves to incorporate personal and cultural experiences within her art. Splitting her life between her two passions, she works full time as a mental health counselor and also explores the creative side of life through theatre and music.


Sam Malone (Jack): With a background in commerce, education and competitive martial arts, Sam has begun to pursue his passion in theatre. Being born and raised in Calgary, Sam is excited to be working with such a great team on Funny Man, and is thankful for the support of his friends and family.


Kendra Hutchinson (Stage Directions): Kendra is thrilled to be amongst all this talent at Ignite! Kendra graduated from Rosebud School of the Arts. She is in the middle of creating her own script EVER CHILD as well as a devising project, THE GRIP OF THE KNOT. Love to John.


Breathe (Musical)

Looking at the effects that trauma and addiction have on the dynamics of a relationship, Breathe asks, does one moment define a life? Come on the journey with Sarah, a recovering addict, as she navigates trying to reconnect with her estranged fourteen year old daughter, Molly. With songs that will stay in your ears and a story that tugs at your heart, Breathe is not a show to miss!

Sienna Holden (Playwright & Sarah), Conrad Belau (Director), Alix Cowman (Musical Director), Naomi Esau (Stage Manager), Jordan Wieben (Costume Designer), Lauren Acheson (Set & Lighting Designer), Tyler Peacock (Pianist)
Kristin Unruh (Molly), Toni Lynne Cousineau (Donna), Murray Melnychuk (Sean), John McIver (Todd)

Sienna Holden (Playwright & Sarah):
HEADSHOT forthcoming


Conrad Belau (Director): Conrad is a hard-of-hearing, Calgary based actor and director. Select credits include; The Monument (Theatre of Consequence); Much Ado About Nothing (The Shakespeare Company); The Outsiders (StoryBook Theatre); Walt Whitman’s Secret (Frank Theatre). He thanks his family and Alix for their continued love and support. “God is GOOD!”


Alix Cowman (Musical Director): Alixandra Cowman is a musician and actor. She is one half of acclaimed folk duo “The Dearhearts”, with whom she will be releasing her second album this summer. Past music director credits include Wildwood Fire (Wildwood Flower Productions), Holy Mo (ShipSunday Productions), and More Power To Your Knitting, Nell! (PushMePullYou Productions).


Naomi Esau (Stage Manager): Naomi is thrilled to be part of the team bringing this powerful musical to the world. She has stage managed for companies including; Birnton Theatricals, Rosebud Theatre, Fire Exit theatre, Theatre of Consequence and ASM’d for ATP and The Shakespeare Company. Much thanks to her family for all their support.


Jordan Wieben (Costume Designer): Recent Costume Design Credits: Legislating Love (Sage Theatre), The Outsiders(Storybook Theatre), Extremophiles (Downstage), Grounded (Calgary Young People’s Theatre) Velocity (Decidedly Jazz Danceworks), Almost Maine (Red Deer College), The Circle (The National Theatre School of Canada). Jordan also illustrated posters for Handsome Alice, Imago Theatre, and Vertigo Theatre’s 2018/19 Season


Lauren Acheson (Set & Lighting Designer): Recent work: lighting – The Year of Magical Thinking (Ignition); costumes – Retro Radio (RDC); set/costume/lighting – Ivan and the Dogs (Tin Man); lighting – King Kirby (Sage). Upcoming: set/costumes – Clarence Darrow (Seadreamer). Graduate of Red Deer College (Production 2012) and The National Theatre School of Canada (Scenography 2015).


Tyler Peacock (Pianist):
HEADSHOT forthcoming


Kristin Unruh (Molly): Kristin Unruh is an actor and dancer who found her passion for theatre through Western Canada High School’s drama program. After her graduation this year she is excited to be pursuing theatre at a post-secondary level. Some of her past shows include Wild Abandon (Ensemble), Hamlet (Hamlet), Exploder (Ali), and Cabaret (Rosie).


Toni Lynne Cousineau (Donna): Don’t let her size fool you—she’s little but loud, tiny but shiny, and a whole lot of fun!:)This multi-award-winning singer has been lead vocalist with several bands across this great country and has represented Canada in Nashville, Laughlin Nevada and Hollywood in singing competitions, Her repertoire is vast, allowing her 4½ octave range to explore the many nuances of most musical genres. She is also an actor with over 125 musical theatre performances and numerous TV and Film roles to her credit. Toni Lynne, or TLC as many call her, has had roles as diverse as Golde in Fiddler, to Mother Superior in Nunsense, to many dramatic pieces, and currently seen as Josie Vitale in Tony and Tina’s Wedding. She is thrilled to be part of the Ignite Festival and knows you will enjoy this heartfelt production of BREATHE!


Murray Melnychuk (Sean): Murray is pleased to join Sage in the IGNITE Festival. He was quite involved in the theatre community in the 1980’s. Following a 26 year hiatus, he has done 16 shows in the last 7 years with Front Row Centre, Cappuccino, Liffey, and Simply Theatre.


John McIver (Todd): John is thrilled to be performing at ignite again. He’s honoured and humbled as always at the opportunity to be involved in the process of developing a new work. He’s eternally grateful to Kendra H for her love and support.


Red Hints
Hello pals and chums, are you ready for another day of fun and learning? Well your old pals John and Red sure are, follow them as they look for the Red hints, learn from their friends, like Edger Egg, Charles Chair, Grumpy Gus, and Ballon Belle, and prepare for a very special day, just pray you are not a guest…
Damon Lawson (Playwright & Director), Chelsea Niekamp (Scenic Designer), Jennifer Yeung (Stage Manager), Danelle White (Sound Design)
Cassandra Watson (Belle Ballon), Danelle White (Edger), Lauren Marshall (Charles), Devin Kotani (John), Rylan Strachan (Red, Gumpy Gus), Dallas Soonias (Mr. Mailman)

Damon Lawson (Playwright & Director): New to Ignite! Damon is the writer and director of the improv puppet piece, Red Hints. Having previously worked with the Point of View ensemble as an actor, he was directed towards Ignite! when P.O.V. saw he had an natural talent of storytelling. He is excited to share what the cast and crew have created. 


Chelsea Niekamp (Scenic Designer): Chelsea Niekamp, Artistic Producer of Seven Starving Artists Theatre Company, is a scenic designer/artist, photographer, and poet with a BA in theatre from the University of Lethbridge. She draws her inspiration from her personal life and current political and social events. She is also a plant and animal enthusiast.
HEADSHOT forthcoming


Jennifer Yeung (Stage Manager): Jennifer just graduated from the University of Calgary and she is ecstatic to be working with the Ignite! Festival as an emerging artist. She would like to thank her parents, Catherine and Paul, and friends for their immense love and continued support. She hopes you enjoy the Ignite! Festival! 


Danelle White (Sound Design and Edger): Danelle is ecstatic to be a part of the IGNITE! Festival as actor/collaborator and sound designer. She is receiving her BFA in Theatre from UCalgary. Elsewhere (Acting): Mother Courage (SCPA), and WINDOW (SCPA & Ghost River Theatre). (Sound Design): Innocence (SCPA), The Stand Up (Prairie Kitten Productions). Danelle hopes she cracks you up at the show!


Cassandra Watson (Belle Ballon): Cassandra is a theatre artist living in Calgary. She performs, directs, and creates. She has interned for local theatre companies Theatre Encounter and Ghost River Theatre. Recently, she has performed with Theatre Disponibilité and Reckless Daughter Creative. Cassandra is excited to be a part of the IGNITE! Festival and hopes you enjoy the show.


Lauren Marshall (Charles): Ignite! Debut. Selected Credits: Metamorphoses; Directed by Haysam Kadri; U of C, Two Gentlemen of Verona; Primestock Theatre, Concord Floral; Theatre Junction Grand. Lauren would like to thank her family, boyfriend and friends for supporting her throughout her dream of pursuing theatre. Enjoy the show!


Devin Kotani (John): Devin recently completed his BFA in Drama from the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts. He has been in such productions as Metamorphoses, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Mother Tongue (School of Creative and Performing Arts), and Ching Chong Chinaman (Iglesia Productions). 


Rylan Strachan (Red, Gumpy Gus): Rylan is very excited to be apart of this year’s Ignite Festival. He has always had a love of storytelling, and is ready to bring his voice to Ignite! Rylan has been lending his voice to cartoons since 2015, select credits include: Kiznaiver (2017), BuddyfightX (2017), Vanguard G: Next (2016). 


Dallas Soonias (Mr. Mailman): Dallas is a retired professional athlete and currently a Psychology student at University of Calgary. He started acting last year at the University and has since devoted much of his time to honing his craft.


Helen retells the myth of Helen of Troy. It chronicles her struggle to come to terms with the abuse inflicted on her by various men in her life, and with her role as the catalyst of the Trojan War. As she attempts to find agency in the fate imposed on her by the gods, she finds unexpected comfort and solidarity in the support of the prophetess Cassandra and a chorus of five female slaves. Content note: sexual references and violence

Megan Couch (Playwright), Madeleine Taylor-Gregg (Director), Alix Cowman (Sound Designer), Lyall Miller (Set & Lighting Designer) Adrienne Kern (Stage Manager)
Shea Heatherington (Adoni), Sarah Haggeman (Phaidra), Emily Schoen (Helen), Keanna Sollid (Cassandra), Laura Couch (Io), Madonna Gonzalez (Ourania), Sarah Ord (Korinna), Conrad Belau (Menelaus)

Megan Couch (Playwright): Megan Couch is a Calgary based theatre artist who just graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a BFA in Performance. She loves the use of poetic language, using it to explore themes of social injustice. She is also a founding member of the local theatre company Seven Starving Artists.


Madeleine Taylor-Gregg (Director): Madeleine is a Calgary-based director, actor, and creator that hails from the mountains of British Columbia. She participated in the Ignite! Festival last year as an actor and is ecstatic to be involved again this year wearing her director shoes. Recent directing credits include Portraits Post Drowning (Chinook One Acts), Where’s My Sky? (Hoodlum/TheatreXtra), and Yūgen (Reckless Daughter). Madeleine is passionate about supporting female artists and helping to tell their stories. She is excited and so grateful to be a part of the Helen team and to explore a script in which women reclaim their agency and find solidarity in one another. We are a force to be reckoned with. 


Alix Cowman (Sound Designer): Alixandra Cowman is a musician and actor. She is one half of acclaimed folk duo “The Dearhearts”, with whom she will be releasing her second album this summer. Past music director credits include Wildwood Fire (Wildwood Flower Productions), Holy Mo (ShipSunday Productions), and More Power To Your Knitting, Nell! (PushMePullYou Productions). 


Lyall Miller (Set & Lighting Designer): Lyall is a recent graduate of the U of L Tech/Design program. He has collaborated with artists across the globe. At last years Ignite he designed lights for All That’s Left, and the Dance Series. He loves his fiancée Megan, video games and his 12 lb. Shih Tzu, Princess. 


Adrienne Kern (Stage Manager): Adrienne Kern is an emerging theatre artist and holds a BFA in drama from the University of Calgary. Selected stage management work: Physic/Alchemy, Fear (Dancers Studio West); SEXXXY 2011, Perfect Pie (University of Calgary). Adrienne is excited for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s Ignite! Festival. 


Shea Heatherington (Adoni): Shea is grateful to be a part of the IGNITE! Festival this year – it’s very exciting! Whoo! Shea is an emerging artist who recently finished her theatre performance degree at the University of Lethbridge. Due to her small-town dance background, Shea has always been an avid movement artist who is dedicated to her many communities, and she plans to continue incorporating her passion for movement and community in all of her acting, directing, creation and facilitation work. Selected acting credits include, Mama Turd in Ubu Roi (ULeth), Bosola in The Duchess of Malfi (ULeth), and Bessie in The Drowning Girls (ULeth). This year Shea was the co-director and co-dramaturg of Samuel Jurisic’s new play, IED (TheatreXtra), and she will continue to develop and pursue work in Calgary with those she finds inspiring. If you ever want to have coffee with Shea – ask her to go out for tea instead – she’ll always say yes.


Sarah Haggeman (Phaidra): Sarah is thrilled to be part of her second IGNITE! Festival and can’t wait to work with this wonderful group of artists! Theatre Credits include Rapunzel (Birnton Theatricals/ Stage West for Kids); Heart of Gold (Puddle of Mud Productions); First and Last (Rogues Theatre); Riverside Roam (IGNITE! Festival/ Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (Theatre MRU/ The Shakespeare Company); Dracula; Twelve Angry Jurors; The Rocky Horror Show (Theatre MRU). Much love to her family, and thanks for their support!  


Emily Schoen (Helen): Emily Schoen is very excited to perform at the Ignite! Festival again, she performed in All That’s Left last year and in the improv series in 2016. Emily holds a BFA in Drama Performance from the University of Lethbridge. She had the pleasure of working on many shows there including Down from Heaven, Sauce for the Goose, and Of Least Concern. Other credits include: The Daily Draught (Drama Nutz), Under My Skin (B.I.T.E Theatre) and River: a Puppet Myth (Mudfoot Theatre). Emily is honoured to be playing the title role in Helen.


Keanna Sollid (Cassandra): Keanna Sollid is a Calgary based theatre artist and a recent performance graduate of the University of Lethbridge. She is a co-founder and a current artistic member of the theatre company Reckless Daughter Creative that both empowers and tells women’s stories.


Laura Couch (Io): Laura Couch is a recent graduate of the BFA Performance program at the University of Lethbridge. She is a performer, playwright, director, and devised theatre creator with a passion for creating new art that explores social issues and human connections through collaborative processes. As a founding member of the new theatre company Seven Starving Artists, her goal is to help elevate new voices and create new work for social change. She is very into dogs. 


Madonna Gonzalez (Ourania): Madonna Gonzalez has recently graduated from the University of Lethbridge Drama Performance program with a special focus in acting and directing. Some of her recent credits include:When There’s Nothing Left To Burn, Where’s My Sky?, and she also played Victoria in the original production of All That’s Left. 


Sarah Ord (Korinna): Sarah is very excited to be a part of the Ignite! Festival. She has been acting for her whole life, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. She wants to thank her fellow cast, her fearless director and her amazing stage manager for their endless guidance and support. Oh yeah, and her family is pretty cool, too.


Conrad Belau (Menelaus): Conrad is a hard-of-hearing, Calgary based actor and director. Select credits include; The Monument (Theatre of Consequence); Much Ado About Nothing (The Shakespeare Company); The Outsiders (StoryBook Theatre); Walt Whitman’s Secret (Frank Theatre). He thanks his family and Alix for their continued love and support. “God is GOOD!” 


Isabella Blaine-Longo (Consulting Classicist): Isabella Blaine-Longo is an honours student working on a BA Specialization in Greek and Roman studies at the University of Ottawa. They have been a lifelong enthusiast of ancient civilzations and their mythologies, and enjoy working as a consulting classicist for local artists.