SIA Team

“What fools these mortals be!”

October Artist Feature- Kristian Hansen


Meet Kristiaan Hansen, one our assistant directors for Shakespeare Kids and Teen Camps this summer. He is back in the thick of things up at York University finishing his bachelors for the year and we wish him the best!

Q & A

What interests you in a 400 year old text?:

The challenge of finding my own voice, as well as finding new life, new meaning, and a new way to tell the story!

What is your approach to acting?

The thing is to BE there, be breathing, and be ready to play like a kid again!

Any performances/actors/personal experiences that influence you as an actor?

Patrick McManus in Peter Hinton’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’ last summer at the Shaw Festival! Patrick’s openness and playfulness in the moment made the work so natural and beautiful to watch! I would love to work with him one day.

Why Shakespeare in Action?

I previously had the chance to work with Michael Kelly during our Shakespeare module at York last year, so I’d heard quite a bit about the company! In addition to that, I’ve always loved working with children, and wanted to see how a teaching role would broaden my horizons as an actor!

What is your favourite Shakespeare film adaptation?

My favourite film adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays is Kenneth Branagh’s version of ‘Hamlet’!

May Feature Artist – Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen is one of SIA’s shining stars. Fresh off of our spring tour of Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop. Chris is always full of energy, jokes and smiles when he comes to our office. We are so pleased Chris is our May 2016 Feature Artist! Check out our personal interview with him below.

1.What is your favourite Shakespearean play?

My favourite Shakespearean play hands down has to be Julius Caesar. I love the development of the characters in this play, and although it is based on a true story, I feel Shakespeare really makes it a dynamic and enriched piece, through his poetry. The story takes its audience on a journey through treacherous war, and haunting images of what appears to be an Armageddon in the streets, daunting poltergeists of a man once thought to have the lifeblood of a deity, and so on. It is thrilling throughout, and the complete transformation that some characters, like Brutus and Antony, go through is extremely compelling to read, to witness, and to be a part of.

2.When did you start working with SIA?

I first started working with SIA in late October 2015. I had just finished working with Canadian Stage in their annual production of Shakespeare in High Park, and was contacted by Michael Kelly to join SIA and work through his company to make Shakespeare less intimidating, and more of an alluring and captivating work of art, for the youth.

3. Do you have an adaptation of Shakespeare that you love?

An adaptation of Shakespeare that I love would have to be The Lion King. But, a close second is She’s The Man. The Lion King comes in first because it depicts the timeless tale of Hamlet, in such a relatable and entertaining way for all members of the family, which is what Shakespeare did with his plays.

4. Do you have any dream roles you haven’t had the chance to play?

I have many dream roles I haven’t had the chance to play yet, but if I had to narrow it down to one, I would have to say Macbeth. I think that Macbeth is such an engaging character, and his story is one so astonishing that you can’t help but be compelled by it.

5.What drew you to becoming an actor in the first place?

I have always had a love for entertaining people, but it wasn’t until I got to high school when a drama teacher of mine, Robert Hamilton, convinced me that I had a gift in me that needed to be shared. He’s been a constant inspiration throughout my career.

6. What was your favourite moment working with youth?

I had a lot of great times working with youth through SIA, but my favourite moment hands down would have to be when I went to the Peel Alternative School North to do a Rap Workshop for the students. In all the time I’ve been with SIA, and through all of the workshops I’ve done, there has never been a class of students that have been so engaged and willing to participate than with the students at Peel Alternative School North. I woke up feeling a bit nervous because of how long it had been since I’d taught a Rap workshop, but I was blown away by how excited and engaged the students all were.

7. What are you currently working on?

I am excited to announce that I’ll be joining the Blyth Festival for their production of Mark Crawford’s new play, The Birds and The Bees, as the character Ben. I’m elated to be working with such awesome individuals on such engrossing new Canadian work. I haven’t ever been to the town before or away from home for so long, so I’m really looking forward to this experience.

– – – –

      Christopher Allen is a recent graduate of York University’s Acting Conservatory. Recent theatre credits: Claudius/Hamlet in Hamletmachine (York University), Rossiter/Shaw/Conti in The Ecstatic Bible (York University), The Negro Resurrectionist in Venus (York University), Cinna/Flavius in Julius Caesar (Canadian Stage), Balthasar/Courtesan in The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare in Action), Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in Action), Lee Boyd Malvo in Call me God (York University). Upcoming: Ben in The Birds and the Bees (Blyth Festival). He couldn’t be more thankful for the many opportunities he’s been granted thus far.

Special thanks; Lauren Allen, Harold Allen & Celia Aloma

JOB POSTING: Summer Camp Assistants

Job Description

Shakespeare in Action, with the support of Service Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs grant, is looking to hire talented, enthusiastic staff for our 2016 Kid’s and Teen Summer Camps.

Dates: June 29th – July 29th
Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Salary: $2160 total


The successful candidate will:

  • Be above 19 years of age
  • Be a full-time college or university student in the previous year
  • Be returning to full-time studies in the fall
  • Be able to commit to the full term of employment
  • Have some experience working in leadership roles with youth aged 7-17
  • Have skills and training relevant to the role for which they are applying (see Roles Available below)
  • Be able to provide a Vulnerable Sector Police Reference Check

Additional assets include:

  • A passion for theatre arts and education
  • First Aid training
  • Ability to think on their feet
  • Ability to have fun while working hard

Additional Info:

Roles Available:
Assistant Director: Kid’s Camp

  • Will work with youth aged 7-12
  • Will provide some administrative assistance
  • Will work with the Kid’s Camp Director for the planning and running of rehearsals and other activities

Assistant Director: Teen Camp

  • Will work with youth aged 13-17
  • Will provide some administrative assistance
  • Will work with the Kid’s Camp Director for the planning and running of rehearsals and other activities

Stage Manager

  • Will assist with the rehearsal and performance of both the Kid’s Camp and Teen Camp shows
  • Will provide some administrative assistance

Film & Media Assistant

  • Will have skills in still photography and film
  • Will be able to work with Final Cut Pro
  • May be asked to work with Lightroom, Photoshop, Q-Lab, or Logic
  • Will provide some administrative assistance

Apply Here

SIA ‘Artist Feature’ April 2016

We’ve decided to start doing an “Artist Feature” segment on SIA’s blog once a month to highlight the actors working with SIA and the good works that they are doing for the community.

Neil Silcox is SIA’s Managing Producer. Neil has extensive training in theatre and education. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing with and Emphasis on Education from York University. Neil has worked as an actor and director for more than 10 years, working with companies like Humber River Shakespeare, Hart House Theatre, the U.C. Follies, and the Toronto Youth Theatre. Neil served as Artistic Director for the Toronto Youth Theatre from 2011-2013. Neil has worked with Sheridan College, Centennial College and York University and teaches and coaches private students.

We sat down with Neil to get an deeper insight on his passion for acting, his love for Shakespeare and what has brought him to pursue youth education.

What attracted you to wanting to work with youth in the community?

I love the energy and vitality that comes from working with young people in the theatre. All things are possible when you’re working with them, and there is an almost unlimited amount of creativity and problem solving. I’m also very keen to help foster in young people an understanding of the importance of live performance in order to foster the future creators and consumers of theatre.

What is your acting philosophy or method?

My acting philosophy is built around two quotations from the amazing Jim Henson. The first is “Simple is Good”. Although complexity and virtuosity are important there is something very powerful about simplicity in the theatre. A simple thing done clearly and cleanly has the ability to touch something deep within us. The second quotation is “Listening is the first step and the last step.” This applies just as much to performing a scene or a monologue—where one must always be listening to one’s scene partner—but it’s also very important in the creative process, where if you don’t really listen to the other people on the team the whole process can fall apart quickly.

What is your favourite Shakespearean Play?

My favourite Shakespearean play is Romeo & Juliet. I love Shakespeare’s nuanced understanding of the ups and downs that come with love, and the ways that romantic love can cause great pain alongside great joy.

What advice would you have for a youth or even an adult who wants to try and break into acting and the industry?

It’s important to train. Talent can carry you a certain amount, but having a real understanding of how the craft of acting and making theatre works is important. You don’t necessarily have to go to school for theatre, but there’s no other way to get as much experience in as short an amount of time. If you do go to school, find the one that’s right for you. Meet with students and teachers and talk about their priorities and what they believe.

Who are your favourite playwrights other than Shakespeare?

I love Tennessee Williams, Suzan-Lori Parks, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett

What Shakespearean roles have you played?
I’ve played Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Edgar in King Lear, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Oliver in As You Like It, Antipholus of Ephesus in Comedy of Errors, Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Buckingham in Richard III.

Which was your favourite?

I really loved playing Edgar in Lear, he has amazing growth and discoveries throughout the play (and he gets to be the king in the end!)

Do you have any dream roles you haven’t had the chance to play?

I always wanted to play Romeo, but I think my ship has sailed. At 35 I’m just too old for the role.

A Huge Success! Shakespeare Challenge 2016

Thanks to the tireless work of our team at Shakespeare in Action, our wonderful donors and the amazing work of our participates – The Shakespeare Challenge 2016 production of “A Midsummer Nights Dream” was a great success.  We would like to take the time out to acknowledge and thank those whose planning, time and effort made our 2-night sold out performance possible.

First we would like to thank the group of 14 volunteer, non-actors from the community who worked tirelessly with our Artistic Director Michael Kelly and Stage Manager/ Event Coordinator, Jeanine Thrasher. Our participants volunteered 3 hrs a week for over eight weeks for this project. Without their passion, enthusiasm and dedication this production would not have been possible. A particular thank you goes out to the talents of Costume Designer – Mary Margaret Annab, our Technical Director – Adam Bromley and Assistant Stage Manager – Lydia Connor.

Secondly, a thank you to the over 180 attendees in the community for their continued support and interest in the important work of Shakespeare in Action in the community and this production. Access to the Arts and community engagement is a fundamental cornerstone to Shakespeare in Actions mandate and with tremendous community support in events like these we continue to make important strides.

Once again, thank you so much to everyone involved – see you next year for Shakespeare Challenge 2017!

Lastly, we must also thank our incredible list of Donors who helped us create a successful Online, Silent/Live Auction to support our fundraising efforts.

Alexandre Antique Prints, Maps & Books
Archery District
Arthur Murrary Dance Studio
Battle Sports
Black Daffodil Inc
Canadian Opera Company
Call Collyn
City Dance Corps
Chateau Des Charmes
Crema Coffee
Dufflet Pastries
Duke of Somerset
Escape Zone
Factory Theatre
Fanny Chadwicks
Foxy Originals
Great Escape Book Store
Hart House Theatre
Hot Docs
Konzelmann Estates
Kula Yoga Studios
Mabel’s Fables Bookstore
Margaret Atwood
Mariposa Cruises
Marni Wassernman
Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
Moksha Yoga
Mysteriously Yours
Ontario Science Center
Opera Atelier
Oxford Inn
Paupers Pub
Sanagan’s Meat Locker
Shaw Festival
Sleuth of Baker Street
Soul Pepper
Steam Whistle
Stratford Festival
Strewn Winery
Suzanne Manvell
Svengali Salon and Spa
Tarragon Theatre
Team RajPal
The Merchant
Theatre Passe Muraille
Toronto Symphony Orchestra 
Yankee Lady Cruises
York University
Ines Buchli









Job Posting- Producer

The Organization

Shakespeare in Action, Ontario’s Leading Shakespeare Education Company for Young Audiences since 1988, is searching for a producer. We are a multi-racial repertory theatre company that produces yearly programming. We are dedicated to fostering literacy, enhancing creativity and promoting speech arts by making the language and stories of Shakespeare relevant to young audiences, families, schools and communities.


Producer: Full time – Contract Position

Salary starting at $800.00 weekly


Job Description:                    

Reporting to The Board of Directors and the Artistic Director, the Producer will lead our administrative, educational and fundraising strategies.


We are looking for a highly organized, motivated individual with a passion for classical theatre, youth, education, and community partnerships. Candidates should have expansive knowledge of Canadian Theatre, theatre for young audiences and theatre in education specifically, with exceptional written and oral communication skills, acuity in financial management, experience in managing staff and volunteers and experience in fundraising.


Working closely with the Artistic Director, the Producer will:

  • Write and lead strategies for securing grants, foundation asks and corporate sponsorship pitches.
  • Assist to coordinate our unique fundraising events.
  • Manage and support contract and production staff with Artist Director
  • Supervise and mentor our team of outstanding interns and volunteers.
  • Liaise with stakeholders including the TAPA, PACT, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Public Library, TD Bank and other corporate supporters to deliver programs and nurture the company’s strategic growth.
  • Work with the Artistic Director to build new community partnerships to broaden our mandate and strengthen our revenue base.
  • Liaise with the CAEA to ensure Equity contract compliance.
  • Coordinate the company’s marketing and outreach strategies to build new audiences
  • Participate in creative planning, business planning and development and with the Artistic Director
  • Assist to manage development of the Board of Directors including distribution of agendas and minutes
  • Manage individual project budgets and reports
  • Assist Artistic Director to manages annual audit and charity law compliance
  • Assist Artistic Director to manage website and execute changes


Job Requirements.

The successful applicant will have:

  • A post-secondary degree in a relevant field, with a minimum of 5 years experience in theatre production, arts administration, management and fundraising.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills, with experience in writing copy for grants, fundraising and marketing.
  • Working knowledge of the CTA.
  • Experience in recruiting and supervising staff, contract employees and volunteers.
  • Experiencing in successfully managing fundraising events.
  • The ability to work flexible hours
  • A deep commitment to theatre for young audiences, education and community partnerships
  • A keen entrepreneurial spirit
  • Patience and a sense of humour!


Desirable skills include:

  • Proficiency in photoshop, in-design and illustrator, with experience in designing marketing materials.
  • Experience working in the theatre, arts management, production and arts-in-education.
  • Conversational French is an advantage, but not essential.


Shakespeare in Action is an equal opportunity employer, with a deep commitment to reflecting the vibrant cultural diversity of our city in our creative and administrative team.


Application process:

  • Applicants are asked to please email a cover letter and resume
  • Applications will be accepted until February 26th.

Welcome Jeanine to the SIA team!

We are happy to introduce to you our new Education and Outreach Coordinator, Jeanine Thrasher to the SIA team. Keep reading to find out a little more about her!


I am the newest addition to the Shakespeare in Action Family! Hailing from Saskatchewan, I have found myself in Toronto this New Year and am happy to have found a home doing exactly what I am passionate about.

After encountering theatre in high school it has continued to inspire me throughout the years and led to my completion of a BFA in Acting at the University of Saskatchewan. It was in that program that I fell in love with Shakespeare and became enthralled with why he remained so relevant in modern culture. After graduation I said goodbye to the flatlands and prairies and headed to the Berkshires in Massachussets to pursue further studies in Shakespeare performance at Shakespeare and Company in their conservatory program.

There I was introduced to Fall Festival, a 10-week program that brought 10 schools together to perform 10 of Shakespeare’s plays for over 500 of their peers. Over 10 weeks I was able to witness the transformative power of Shakespeare in youth. It was through that encounter that I knew I would forever be involved in youth theatre and now here I am!

My production credits include Associate Artist with Embrace Theatre, Co-Producer of Shakespeare’s Macbeth- Abridged for students, and touring two Fringe plays for families in Saskatchewan provincial parks, and several student productions. Most recent acting credits include Malcolm/Porter/Lady Macduff/Others in Macbeth, Alice in Mexico City by Hannah Moscovitch, and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare and Company.

I spend my free time seeing local theatre, reading, baking copious amounts of cookies, teaching swimming lessons, and adventuring in the outdoors!

I look forward to serving the GTA and its students and families!