To Be Determined Theatre

The Company

 Alexandra Lent

 Artistic Director

My love of theatre and performance was what initially lead me to pursue an Honours  BA in Theatre from the University of Ottawa. After achieving this degree I moved to  New York City and attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, an acting  conservatory where I broadened my onstage training. I then returned to Canada  where I achieved my Masters in Performance studies from the University of Toronto. This variety of scholastic training has allowed me to study the art of performance for years both practically and academically, giving me a perspective of what theatre and performance can accomplish, both onstage and off.

I have had the opportunity to perform in a wide variety of roles onstage. A few of my favourites were performing as Beowulf in Beowulf, an acrobatic stilt adaptation of the classic tale which was performed at Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Ottawa. Another was performing in East of the Sun and West of the Moon for the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, as well as in Water Spirit for the Luminato Festival in Toronto.  TBD Theatre Co. also allowed me the opportunity to continue performing, touring and loving every moment to be onstage or backstage touring through four beautiful provinces in Canada.

When I began my theatre career I thought acting would be my passion, but when I started teaching & directing dramatic arts I discovered the challenge, excitement and eventual rewards that occur in these roles. The possibility to teach a craft that I love so much myself soon became my new profession. I have taught dramatic arts in private schools, workshops, festivals, directed adult and youth productions and designed curriculum for municipal programs and I now use all of these experiences to develop quality and creative children’s programming and professional tours for TBD Theatre Co.

One of my reasons for basing TBD Theatre Co. out of Guelph is this city’s pride of community. In my experience community means that everyone’s input and hard work are essential to create the best possible process and result. This is the philosophy that demanded I create the To Be Determined Theatre Company and I want to ensure that theatre is a community effort, everyone in the company has a place, a voice, a role and reward from their hard work. I also believe that we should celebrate our group effort and our individual progress all the way through the process, rather than just on opening night.

Since opening TBD Theatre Co. I am proud to have been inducted into Theatre Ontario’s Talent Bank as a ‘Professional in the Field of Children’s Theatre’, to have had the opportunity to adjudicate the Upper Grand District School Board Sears Festival, twice,  to be honoured as 1 of Guelph’s 40 young leaders under 40 and to continue working in the community as a director, play polisher and workshop leader for local productions.  I have worked very hard to follow my passion for theatre and youth and to never stop striving to learn more. I love that there is always more to do, more to try and more to challenge me in this field!

 

Alex Aoki

Performer – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical! (2018/19)

Alex Aoki is delighted to be working on To Be Determined Theatre Co.’s production of The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical as Prince Ronald! Born in Vancouver and raised in Edmonton, Alex fell in love with theatre and performance at an early age. He had the opportunity to develop this passion in school through his involvement in the drama, dance and choral music programs, plays, musicals, improv, and so on. He has since gone on to perform in multiple musicals at the Edmonton Fringe Festival and moved to Toronto to pursue his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at the Ryerson School of Performance. Most recently, Alex can be seen in the production Crossing Borders, a story of immigration, internment, and identity, which was developed in London (UK), will debut in Los Angeles and premiere in Canada at the Parados festival in June 2018.

John Echano

Performer – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical! (2018/19)

John Echano is a Filipino-Canadian actor/sound designer/juggler/stiltwalker/unicyclist and a recent graduate from the Theatre Performance Program at Humber College. As an actor he has recently performed in The Day of the Locust, and How to Build a Flying Machine at Humber Theatre. As an improviser in (y)our stories with Carlos Bulosan Theatre. He also performed the role of Nick in New Canadian Kid at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. He has worked as an assistant sound designer with Smoothieland Performance Projects on Episode 1: It’s Not About Kenny. Also, as a stilt coach with Arts4All for their community parade, Here is My Friend. He’s delighted to be working on this fun and delightful production of The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical as the Dragon.

 

Zola Magwood

Performer – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical! (2018/19)

This is Zola’s first time working with To Be Determined Theatre Co., and she is excited to be making her debut in the role of Emily in The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical! Her past roles include Rusty in Laurier Musical Theatre’s “Footloose” and Nina in The Singer’s Theatre’s “In the Heights”. Most recently Zola has had opportunities to perform in the cabaret “POP PUNK’D” with Waycik Productions, and as a party princess with Ever After Entertainment.

Zola would like to thank her family and friends for their support in her love of theatre, music, and performing. She would also like to thank her mom and dad for introducing her to the book “The Paper Bag Princess”.

 Jemma Robinson

Tour Manager (2018 – 2019)

Jemma is extremely excited to be a part of To Be Determined Theatre Co. again this year. Jemma livened stages across 4 provinces last year as ‘Jillian Jiggs’ in ‘Jillian Jiggs’ and as numerous characters in ‘Tree Boy’ with TBD Theatre Co. Originally from Alberta Jemma grew up in Calgary and spent most of her free childhood hours rehearsing, and performing with Calgary Young People’s Theatre. Her first major role was when she was six, and performed as Little Red Riding Hood in “Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Pigs”: a show written by children, for children.

When she grew too old to be a part of the children’s theatre she asked CYPT to start a new program for young adults to learn and grow as directors, taking on an entire show as an assistant director over the course of several weeks (The Tempest).

Jemma, soon after, followed her passion to Edmonton to continue her education in performance at the University of Alberta. She expanded her knowledge in performer created and devised theatre and focused on character creation

Jemma graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Arts, Majoring in Drama and with a Minor in Film Studies. Her graduation brought on more exciting work, including a spot in dance company, Toy Guns Dance Theatre, as an actor. She trained in dance and movement both in choreography and technique as well as performing in their well acclaimed shows: Bright Lights, Cold Water and Propylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, Retinol Palmitate and other Words I don’t Understand Like Love. After closing a sold out show at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival Jemma moved back to Calgary where she played the lead in Morpheus Theatre’s annual pantomime and musical, Young Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Dick Whittington’s Cat. Jemma then moved from the prairies for good and settled in Toronto. She is incredibly thankful for the opportunities she has been given here, including being a part of new theatre productions and companies (Wolf Manor Theatre Collective, Theatre Stendhal, 7 Keys Productions, and more); performing in the Toronto Fringe Festival with What She Said Theatre; and continuing to sing, dance and act as popular children’s characters at festivals and large events. She is incredibly excited to be working in children’s theatre, having started her passion for performance at such a young age, and cannot wait to continue to spread the fun and imagination with TBD Theatre Co, this year as the Tour Manager!

 

Jillian Robinson

Performer – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical

Jillian Robinson is extremely excited to be making her debut with To Be Determined Theatre Company as Princess Elizabeth in The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical! Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Jillian has had a love for singing and performing since a very young age. Previous roles from her hometown have included “The Narrator” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, “Logainne” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, “Little Red” from Into the Woods and “Cosette” from Les Miserables. More recently, Jillian has graduated from the Sheridan College/University of Toronto Theatre and Drama Studies program where she furthered her fervour for the arts. During her schooling Jillian also had the opportunity to discover the theatre has the ability to reach future generations and connect with political platforms. There she played “Angie/Isabella Bird” in Churchill’s Top Girls and “Rosencrantz/Gravedigger” in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She is thrilled to be able to portray Princess Elizabeth, a strong-willed and independent character, whose charisma and morals as a young woman are relevant and necessary to inspire present-day youth. With a love for children, travelling and performing, Jillian cannot wait to bring this timeless story to Canadians across the country. She would like to thank her Mom, Dad, professors and all of her family and friends for their continuous love and support throughout the years. Let the adventure begin!

Christa VenderVelde   

Instructor- Youth Programming

At the age of eleven, Christa walked into a small homeschool drama class and tried acting for the very first time. The thrill and challenge of becoming someone totally different had her hooked from the very start. She filled many roles in school and community plays, her favourite being Genie in the pantomime Aladdin. In high school she started attending classes with TBD Theatre Co., which helped her to grow as an actor and all around performer. Christa is so thankful for the classes at TBD Theatre Co. and the positive impact they had on her life. She is excited and privileged to experience the fun all over again, this time as an instructor.

She has spent the last three years teaching for St.John Ambulance in their cadet program. During this time she taught life saving first aid skills to kids of all ages and helped them develop leadership qualities. This year, she is privileged to be coaching the cadet first aid team toward their first provincial competition. She loves to watch the growth that takes place when they are given a creative outlet for their energy and ideas. As an instructor at TBD Theatre Co. she is most looking forward to experiencing theatre from a new angle and enjoying all that it has to offer.