2020 Board of Directors Election

The CATR/ACRT requires a Board of Directors that includes one representative from each of the following geographical areas: Atlantic Region, Québec, Ontario, Prairie Region, Alberta and the Territories, and British Columbia. In addition, the Board will also include one francophone representative, two graduate student representatives, three Representatives at Large, and one Unaffiliated Scholar Representative.

The online election is open to all current members. Members will receive a Voter Key allowing them to vote via email. If you are a member and you have not received an email, please contact the Elections Officer, Matt Jones at mf.jones@utoronto.ca.

Please take a moment of your time to participate:


The deadline to vote is April 8th, 2020 at midnight.

Congratulations to the following members, who have been elected by acclamation:


Yana Meerzon

Professor Yana Meerzon teaches for the Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa. Her research interests are in drama and performance theory, and theatre of migration and nationalism. For more information see: https://uniweb.uottawa.ca/members/270. Yana has been a member of CATR/ACRT since 2000; she has co-chaired the 2015 conference organizing committee, and sat on 2014 and 2019 committees as well. Between 2015 and 2017, she served as Scholarly Awards Coordinator, and in 2020 she co-chaired Jean-Cléo Godin Award/ Le prix Jean-Cléo Godin committee. In the position of CATR/ACTR President Yana will continue to uphold high professional and ethical standards as specified by the CATR Statement of Values and Code of Conduct. During her mandate, Yana plans to work on diversifying our organization further, supporting emerging scholars and artists, and seeking ways to disseminate academic and artistic knowledge more democratically, i.e. reaching out to remote communities and making digital technologies and internet better serve our rapidly changing ways of communication and making theatre.


Andy Houston

Andy Houston is an artist-researcher in intermedia and site-specific performance, and an associate professor and associate chair in the Theatre and Performance program at the University of Waterloo. For more information see: www.andyhouston.net. Andy has been a member of CATR/ACRT since 2002; he has served on conference organizing committees in 2006 and 2012, and in the position of Vice President he hopes to contribute to the fine work currently underway to make our organization more responsive and useful to the career development of young scholars and artist-researchers.

Quebec Representative

Shauna Janssen

Shauna Janssen, PhD, is an Assistant Professor (jointly) in Theatre, Geography, Planning & Environmental Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. Shauna’s current research focuses on wider performance-making practices as vital to the design of the built environment, the making of public spheres, and urban participatory events, as well as the performance of urbanity and urban meaning. She teaches course topics on site-specific performance practices, spatial dramaturgy, and performative urbanism, and gender & sexuality in performance.

Alberta and the Territories

David Owen

David Owen holds a PhD in Performance and Theatre Studies from York University, an MFA in Directing from the University of Calgary, and an MA in Dramatic Theory and Criticism from the University of Alberta. He is an award-winning scholar, playwright, director, actor, gamer, and member of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada (PGC). His book Player and Avatar: The Affective Potential of Videogames was published in June of 2017 and he is currently compiling two anthologies on digital performance in Canada for Playwrights Canada Press.

Elections are being held for the following positions:

Graduate Student Representative (1 position)

Member-at-large (2 positions)

Unaffiliated Scholar Representative (1 position)

Candidate bios

Graduate Student Representative (1 position)

Giorelle Diokno

Giorelle [jo-rel] Diokno is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. Apart from being an active CATR member and conference participant since 2017, Giorelle has experience in various service positions at CDTPS Graduate Student Union (Secretary, 2016-17; President; 2017-18; Ex-Officio 2018-19; Academic Committee Rep 2016-18; CUPE Steward 2018-2020; FOOT 2020 Co-Organizer/Logistics Coordinator). With a research interest in contemporary Filipino Canadian performance, Giorelle brings a Filipinx diasporic perspective to CATR and hopes to be further involved as part of the Board.  

Hannah Rackow

Hannah Rackow is a Vanier scholar and a fourth year PhD candidate in Theatre & Performance Studies at York University. Her dissertation research examines the forensic turn in performance arts that address and intervene after mass violence and atrocity in the Americas. She recently co-edited the Winter 2019 issue of Canadian Theatre Review on Radical Hospitalities. Throughout her studies, she has enjoyed serving her academic community in various roles and is currently a Member-At-Large with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s (ATHE) Theory & Criticism Focus Group, where she previously served as Graduate Student Representative.

Member-at-large (2 positions)

Cameron Crookston

Cameron received his PhD from the Centre of Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto in 2019. His research focuses on drag, LGBTQ2+ history and queer performance. He is currently editing a new anthology on the cultural impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race on queer cultures as well as an upcoming issue of Canadian Theatre Research on Canadian drag performance. He has served on a number of academic committees and conference programing boards. Cameron currently employed as a sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

Natalia Esling

Natalia Esling is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia, where she also teaches. She received her PhD in 2018 from the University of Toronto. Natalia works as an editor, copy-editor, and dramaturg. Her research examines sensory engagement in small-scale immersive performance through audience analysis and Practice-as-Research frameworks. In Vancouver, she is collaborating with survivors of traumatic brain injury to develop a one-to-one performance for medical and healthcare students. Natalia serves on the Future Advisory Board for Performance Studies international and is guest-editing an upcoming issue of Global Performance Studies

Benjamin Gillespie

Benjamin Gillespie is a PhD candidate in Theatre at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is Associate Editor of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Lecturer in Theatre at The New School, Marymount Manhattan College, and Macaulay Honors College, and a fellow at the Schwartz Writing and Communication Institute at Baruch College. His articles and reviews have been published in Theatre Research in CanadaPerformance Research, Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Journal, PAJ, Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, and Modern Drama. 

Shana MacDonald

Shana MacDonald is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo. Her interdisciplinary scholarship, situated between film, media and performance studies, examines intersectional feminist social and digital media, popular culture, cinema, performance, and public art. She is co-founder of the qcollaborative, a feminist design lab that aims to advance greater social equity through the use of performance and technology in public space. She is an internationally curated artist who explores the community-building potential of practice-based, site-specific art interventions in public space.

Kimberly Skye Richards

Upon completing her PhD in Performance Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, Kimberly Skye Richards began teaching in the English department at the University of the Fraser Valley. She is concerned in practical, personal, artistic, and theoretical ways with how settlers and non-Indigenous people can support Indigenous-led movements of water protection and land defense. Her book project, Crude Stages of the Frontier, examines how Indigenous and anti-colonial artists and activists living on oil frontiers use embodied practices to disrupt the extraction of oil and foster a “petro-political consciousness.” She recently co-edited an issue of Canadian Theatre Review on “Extractivism and Performance” with Heather Davis-Fisch. Her writing appears in TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre Journal, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and several edited books.

Deneh’Cho Thompson

Deneh’Cho Thompson is a Dene director, actor and playwright and member of the Pehdzeh ki Nation. Currently in his final year of an MFA in Indigenous Theatre at the University of Alberta and has been appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama at the University of Saskatchewan starting January 2020. At the University of Saskatchewan, he will oversee the wîcêhtowin Theatre Program, currently the only Indigenous theatre program housed in a Canadian university. Deneh’Cho’s research focuses on the development, naming, and centring of Indigenous acting pedagogy and Indigenous dramaturgies. The pedagogy work is extension of his MFA research and is continuous. Research into Indigenous dramaturgies has led to the formation of an Indigenous dramaturgies research group that hosted two national research gatherings in 2019. Research in this area is also continuous. Collectively, Dr. Lindsay Lachance (Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre), Reneltta Arluk (Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity), Kenneth T. Williams (University of Alberta) and myself have created a multiyear research program that engages senior Indigenous theatre makers and academics, and mentors emerging theatre artists and scholars. Deneh’Cho is also engaged in the (re)storying of personal family archives focusing on healing, resilience, and Indigenous storywork (Archibald, 2008) as a pathway towards the creation of new works of theatre. His artistic practice focuses on new play development and Indigenous collaborations while centering the values of reciprocity, respect and reflexivity. Deneh’Cho’s recent acting credits include the world premieres of Iron Peggy, by Marie Clements, REDPATCH, by Sean Oliver Harris and Reas Calvert, and Thanks for Giving, by Kevin Loring.  Directing credits include Institutionalized, by Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, The Girl Who was Raised by Wolverine (written by Deneh’Cho Thompson, and winner of the 2016 Fringe New Play Prize), and The Governor of the Dew by Floyd Favel. Deneh’Cho also teaches youth and community theatre workshops.

Laine Zisman Newman

Dr. Laine Zisman Newman is a postdoctoral research fellow at Brock University. Her current work considers Yiddish writing-as-resistance, as it relates to intergenerational trauma and narratives of resilience. Zisman Newman was the founder of Toronto’s Queer Theory Working Group, and the co-founder of Equity in Theatre (2014-2017). She has taught courses in theatre and sexual diversity, as well as popular culture and communications. In 2018, Zisman Newman won UofT’s Course Instructor Teaching Excellence Award. Zisman Newman is editor of the upcoming volume, Women and Popular Culture in Canada (Spring 2020), the co-editor of the second edition of Queerly Canadian (Fall 2020) and conference producer of Q2Q-2, a national queer theatre conference, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (November 2020).

Unaffiliated Scholar Representative (1 position)

Gabrielle Houle

Gabrielle Houle is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge specializing in Commedia dell’Arte, masked performance, the creation of masks, and oral history of performance. She has taught courses on a term or sessional basis at the University of Lethbridge, Bishop’s University, the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and Glendon College. Gabrielle trained internationally as a physical performer and mask-maker, and worked as an actor in Canada and in Europe before earning her Ph.D. at the U of T. She joined CATR in 2008 and co-organizes the CATR Scenography Working Group. She has published recently in New Theatre Quarterly and Theatre History Studies.

Diana Manole

Diana Manole is a scholar, theatre artist, writer, and literary translator. She has earned a doctorate from the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto and an MFA in Directing from the National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest. Her scholarship focuses on postcolonial, postcommunist, and multicultural/exilic theatre. A collection of essays she co-edited, Staging Postcommunism (University of Iowa Press, 2020), examines alternative theatre in several European countries. Her four Assistant Professorship limited-term appointments at Trent’s Cultural Studies Department (2009-2013) and consecutive sessional lectureships at the University of Toronto, the University of Guelph, Queen’s, Ryerson, McMaster, and Trent universities, have given her the opportunity to familiarize herself with the specific needs of part-time faculty and independent scholars. If elected, she will explore the possibilities of travel grants to attend the CATR/ACTR conferences and research funding.

Jacqueline Taucar

Jacqueline is a sessional instructor at Brock University and an artist-scholar. Her current work seeks to establish an archival infrastructure for documenting and preserving the primary materials and oral traditions that inform the design, creation, and performance of Toronto Caribbean Carnival costumes. Jacqueline builds “big mas” with Michelle Reyes, the designer and performer of Saldenah Carnival’s Queen mas. Their collaboration on “D’Rise of de Cherry Blossom” won the 2018 Ontario Science Centre Innovation in Mas’ Award. Her research on Toronto’s ethnocultural festivals has been published in CTR and most recently in Theatre and (Im)migration. Jacqueline also is a founding member and co-convenor of the CATR Scenography Working Group. 

Any questions about this election can be addressed to the Elections Officer, Matt Jones: mf.jones@utoronto.ca

Posted by Dospel & GanjaParker