PYP INSTRUCTOR BIOS
Carolee is an experienced theatre educator, director, and adjudicator with student and community theatre groups across Ontario. Carolee trained in technical theatre, design, and drama in education, studying with the Georgian Theatre Company, the University of Toronto Opera School, the University College Drama Program, and Queen’s University Drama Department. Her work in school and community theatre in Eastern Ontario earned Theatre Ontario’s Michael Spence Award. Also, an award-winning teacher noted for her work as an author and workshop leader, Carolee contributed to Ontario’s Ministry of Education drama curriculum at various stages of its development. Working with adults, teens, and children, she has directed and designed more than a hundred productions for community and children’s theatre, and the Sears Drama Festival. She has taught drama at elementary and secondary schools, and at universities including the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Lakehead University, and in the Theatre Department at Brock University.
Reiner has been involved in set construction and design for the past 16 years. He started as a member of the building team, then, after a few years, became Head Builder. He took a set design course at Ottawa Little Theatre about 10 years ago and has been designing sets at the Studio Theatre ever since. He never misses an opportunity to study and be inspired by professionally designed sets, and takes backstage tours whenever he’s in Stratford, Niagara on the Lake or Gananoque.
Laurel Smith is a theatre director, producer, playwright, teacher, and performer with an MA in Drama and an MBA in arts management. Laurel has
directed at Gryphon Theatre, Capitol Theatre, and the Shaw Festival, among many others. Artistic Producer of the Classic Theatre Festival (founded in 2010 in Perth), Laurel was chosen Broadway World Ottawa Best Director for 2022 (“The Fourposter”). This summer she is directing both plays for the Festival’s 2023 season at Arts Court Theatre in Ottawa:
“Affairs of State” and “Sleuth.” Laurel will continue to partner with the Ottawa School of Theatre to provide theatre education and professional development courses in 2023/24. She looks forward to 2024’s 25th anniversary of Burning Passions Theatre (the Festival’s parent company) in 2024.
Dani started dance training as a young child and then added other forms of performance art to her education; going on to study musical theatre performance and production at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Since then, she has been working as a therapeutic recreation and arts instructor and has enjoyed working and playing in community productions including her most recent projects as director/choreographer for Working the Musical at Studio Theatre Perth. Among Dani’s choreography credits are Disney’s High School Musical, Grease, Oklahoma, Hairspray, Once Upon a Mattress and Bye, Bye Birdie.
Dave has been working in theatre, onstage and off, since 2005. He started in stage management and then moved into the technical areas of production, primarily designing, and running lighting, with some sound thrown in. In 2014 he joined the Stage Crew at Nepean’s Centrepoint Theatre, eventually taking on the role of Lighting Principal, and then Stage Crew Principal. Three years ago, Dave joined Studio Theatre Productions and when Covid restrictions were lifted, he took on the position of Technical Manager and has been the principal tech on most shows since then, either hands-on or through training of new crew members on the sound and lighting boards at the theatre.
Allison attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (Los Angeles, California), where she spent two years studying theatre. Following graduation, she was asked to join the Academy ‘Company’, and in collaboration with nine other actors, enjoyed a challenging and rewarding third year performing theatre pieces. She finished her formal education at Pasadena City College, majoring in creative writing. This combination of schooling provided her with an Associate Degree in Theatre Arts and has enabled her to strike a fine balance of working both in front of, and behind a camera. Allison returned to Canada in 2002. She has acted in over forty film and television projects and has just completed co-writing her second television series.
Alexis Scott is a theatre professional with intensive training in physical theatre and creation. She graduated from the Ottawa Theatre School Acting Conservatory and has studied intensively with clown instructor John Turner at the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance. Favourite theatre credits include The Pilot in Grounded, MacDuff in MacBeth (Bear & Co.), and The Anger in Ernestine in The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine (Vacant House Theatre – Ottawa, Perth, Bancroft tour). After living in multiple cities, she returned to her hometown in Lanark County, longing to live in nature and convinced she can make a difference here. She has a deep love for community and storytelling. She is currently working on her first full-length play about one of her ancestors.
Emily studied at the Versailles Academy of Makeup Arts. She has worked on many different styles (wedding makeup, glam makeup, prom makeup) and techniques using makeup – from neutral / no makeup looks to extremely intense makeup looks, with every colour and variety of glitters, and special effects make-up, like adding scars and wounds to faces and hands etc. She enjoys the challenge of seeing how realistic she can get those special effects to look. She says, “I got into the beauty and make-up industry to make people feel more confident in themselves and to show them that little things can do so much to emphasize their own true beauty.”
Janet discovered acting ‘late’ in life after earning money at her real-life job as a technical writer and consultant. Once she set foot on the stage, “That was it – no more earning real money!” Theatre is a great passion for her now and she has been acting for over 25 years with anyone who will give her the opportunity – OLT, Goya, Kanata Theatre, Studio Theatre, Ninth Hour, Toto Too and the Phoenix Theatre. She has also had TV roles, a few smaller background parts as well as some main roles. And she has appeared in some TV ads. She started writing short plays during Covid and has to date completed about 8 or 9 with another 5 or 6 sitting on her computer “haunting me” until they are finished!