Theatre Program Faculty

Deborah Neville

Artistic Director


Deborah Neville

604.527.5992 |

Acting / Play Direction / Production


Theatre director, performer and educator Deborah Neville holds a BA in Theatre from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in Dramaturgy from the University of Glasgow where she was awarded the James Arnott Prize for Directing. Deborah taught and directed at The Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow, Scotland and is currently the Artistic Director of the Douglas College Theatre Department.

As a theatre maker, Deborah has collaborated, performed and directed with a range of companies and festivals in Canada, Scotland, Japan, and the USA — including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, New Works-New Worlds, Sounds of Progress, IndepenDance, TAG, and the Public Dreams Society.

Deborah is compelled by stories that explore social responsibility, inclusivity and the environment. Selected directing credits include: The Wolves, A Woman in Berlin, The Maids, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Rez Sisters, Blue Window, Agnes Under the Big Top, The Laramie Project, and Light the Way (Climate Change Theatre Action Plan).

Thrasso Petras


Thrasso Petras


604.527.5278 |

Acting / Voice, Speech, & Text / Play Direction


Thrasso is a theatre artist, that is to say, actor, director, teacher and coach of voice, speech, text and movement. He holds a degree in Classical Studies and studied Theatre at UBC, a diploma in Physical Theatre Arts from the TOOBA Physical Theatre Centre and an MFA in Theatre Voice Pedagogy from UAlberta. He is a certified yoga teacher and a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, Canadian Actors Equity Association and ACTRA.

The focus of Thrasso’s creative research is the responsive relationship between sound and motion and the actor’s ability to manipulate this relationship in order to reveal meaning from text. His work revolves around the integration of physical theatre with the major approaches of voice, speech, and text analysis techniques. Thrasso develops performance training in which the clear, meaningful voice demanded by classical training is simultaneously informed by expressive articulation offered by the body in more avant-garde methodologies. The objective of this work is to provide the performer with the technical tools to fulfill the requirements of fully embodied communication, both in clarity of sound as well as clarity of meaning.


Christine Dewar

Performing & Fine Arts Liaison | Fiction Editor at Event Magazine


Christine Dewar


604.527.5690 |

Theatre History / Performing and Fine Arts


Christine Dewar completed both her BA (Honours English) and MA (English) Degrees at the University of British Columbia. Her passion for Theatre History was ignited while studying with historian Peter Loeffler. Christine performed in plays and films at UBC and wrote arts reviews for The Ubyssey. She directed Here We Are by Dorothy Parker, and Cubistique by Tom Cone. 

Christine has had a long association with the award-winning Douglas College literary journal, Event , where she currently works as Fiction Editor and writes fiction reviews. She has also been active with the Amelia Douglas Gallery, curating a range of art exhibits in including: Valerie Romain, Deep Water; Michael Downs, Mythologies; Sharalee Regehr, Women of Substance and, most recently, Joe Rosenblatt, Magic Gardens. Her recent public lectures include "Sarah Siddons and Edmund Kean: Two Actors in the Age of Jane Austen." Christine has been teaching at Douglas College since 1987. She believes her mission is to encourage all students to see live theatre, dance, music and art, and to explore history as a rich resource for their own creative work. All of her courses are open to University Transfer students seeking imaginative arts electives.

Published Works:

  • "Hitting the Road." Event. Volume 29. Number 1. 2000.
  • "Home and Away." Event. Volume 27. Number 3. 1999.
  • "Vigilance and Balance." Event. Volume 26. Number 3. 1997.
  • "Secret Rituals." Event. Volume 25. Number 2. 1996.
  • "Ancestral Voices, Inner Voices." Event. Volume 24. Number 3. 1995.
  • "Green Thoughts and Worms." Event. Volume 24. Number 2. 1995.
  • "Snakes and Ladders: Charting the Journey of the Soul." Event. Volume 24. Number 1. 1995.
  • "Filling Empty Spaces." Event. Volume 23. Number 1. 1994.



David MacMurray Smith


David Smith


604.551.0620 |

Movement / Voice


Over the last 40 years of his career David has worked in Theatre, Ballet, Opera, Mime, and Clown and as a Creator, Performer, Director, Choreographer, and Educator. He is a Movement Specialist, Body worker, Creative and Performance Consultant, and an Experienced Counsellor who has taught at several universities. He was Head Instructor at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre School, Movement Director for the Music Theatre and Opera Programs at the Banff Centre for the Arts, guest resource artist at The People's Light & Theatre Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1987 -2001, training program director for Full Circle: First Nation's Ensemble Training Program, 2003 -2013, and founding faculty and instructor for the Expressive Arts Therapy Training program, Continuing Ed, Langara College, 2005 to present.

David is now an independent educator who founded Fantastic Space Enterprises in 1995. The focus there is on cultivating high levels of performance awareness through the development of primary life skills that nurture creative awareness and the ability to embody intuition in a consciously expressive and functional way. His special interest is in how memory moves and patterns itself in our bodies and how this affects our perceptions, behavior, and communication. As a movement specialist, David has drawn upon his broad range of experience and sources to develop his own humanistic approach to performance training. His expertise lies in his ability to facilitate learning environments that promote principle centred self-education and provide strong foundations for continued personal and professional growth.

Training: Double Major in Theatre and Dance Univ. of Mass. Amherst Full Scholarship Joffery Ballet, N.Y.C HB Studio, N.Y.C. Advanced Physical Training for Actors, Linda Putnam, Mass. Decroux Mime, Mime Omnibus, Montreal Clown, Richard Pochinko, Mime Unlimited, Montreal and Toronto.

Specialities: Physical Training for Actors Emotional Embodiment Ensemble Politics & Creation Clown Mime Dance Performance Psychology.


Allan Lysell

Allan Lysell


Faculty Emeritus


Kathleen Duborg 

Guest Director, Contract Instructor Theatre 1110

Kathleen Duborg


Kathleen is a director, actor, producer, educator, and co-artistic director of Dirt Road Theatre. She attained her BFA Acting and MFA Theatre Direction from The University of British Columbia. At Douglas College she has directed Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes, adapted by Simon Reade and Tim Supple, Concord Floral by Jordan Tannahill and Bard of the Bronx by John Patrick Shanley. Recent directing projects include The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar, adapted by Ken Ludwig, The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh, The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, Komagata Maru by Sharon Pollock, Mrs. Singh and Me by Munish Sharma (Pick of the Fringe) and the plays Iceland (Jessie nomination best director), Greenland, Faroe Islands and Ostrich (premiere), all written by Nicolas Billon. Artistic collaborations on Small Stages Canada (MagNorth-Ottawa) and Indian Acts (Talking Stick-Vancouver) have enhanced her investigations into physical behaviour and embodiment between actors, dancers, text, design elements, and audiences. Kathleen is also an award-winning actor working nationally in theatre, film, television, voice-over, and new play development. As a producer, she created ReelFast: The 48 Hour Movie Making Festival and The Cold Reading Series, which endeavoured to connect writers and actors of the film and theatre communities. presently Kathleen presently serves on the Playwrights Theatre Centre and Vision Impure board of directors. She is an adjunct professor teaching acting at the University of British Columbia, a senior instructor at The Vancouver Film School, and a guest instructor at Langara's Studio 58.

Claire Fogal

Contract Faculty THEA 1110 / Guest Director

Claire Fogal


A Vancouver director, actor, and teacher, Claire holds a BA in Theatre and English Lit from UBC, an MFA in Directing from UofA, and is a graduate of Tooba Physical Theatre Centre where she became the Director of Educational Programming and lead Acting Teacher. She is currently working on a PhD in Theatre at UBC, focusing on the work of primary mentors Kate Weiss, Linda Putnam, her father Dean Fogal, and Douglas College’s David MacMurray Smith. Claire has also studied with Charles Marowitz, da da kamera, Mascall Dance, the National Voice Intensive, Boca del Lupo, and Margie Gillis, and been commissioned by Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre to createSixth Sense. Selected directing credits include Lorca’sThe House of Bernarda Alba, Judith Thompson’s adaptation ofHedda Gabler,Mudby Maria Irene Fornes, and original creationsLady MacbethandConception. For Douglas College Claire has directed Top GirlsOut of the GardenLion in the Streets, and Cinderella Waltz . Claire is Artistic and Managing Director of Minotaur’s Kitchen, supported by Cor Departure Physical Theatre Society which she co-founded with Thrasso Petras. 


Alana Hawley Purvis

Contract Faculty

Alana Purvis


Alana is an actor, vocal coach and arts educator. She is a graduate of the Academy for Classical Acting (MFA), the University of Alberta BFA Acting Program, York University Teacher’s Certificate Program for Artists, and The Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training. She has performed with various theatre companies across the country including: The Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage, Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Western Canada Theatre, and Theatre Northwest. Alana has taught at the University of Alberta, Theatre Alberta’s Artstrek, The Stratford Festival, The Banff/Citadel Acting Program and Edmonton’s The Speech Studio. She is the recipient of the 2013 Royal Conservatory of Music’s National Gold Medal for Speech Arts and Drama ARCT Performance and the 2014 National Gold Medal for ARCT Teachers. She has collaborated with international organization CUSO in the development and operation of El Salvador’s youth at risk theatre program, ES ARTES


Tanya Elchuk

Contract Faculty, THEA 1110

Tanya Elchuk

Tanya Elchuk, BA Cultural Studies (Trent) MFA Acting (York), is a Ukrainian-Canadian theatre artist, writer, and acting teacher, with a specialization in voice, speech, and embodiment. She has taught at Simon Fraser University, York University, Capilano University, The Vancouver Institute for Media Arts (VanArts), and more. As an actor and theatre maker, Tanya has written, performed, and produced original works throughout Canada and the United States. She is an Editorial Board Member for the Voice and Speech Review and was named one of Canada’s Top 5 Storytellers by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) for her research on the neuroscience of acting. Her current research focuses on gathering and developing resources and best practices for educators toward creating safer, trauma-informed actor training spaces. Two of her unpublished manuscripts were recently longlisted for CANSCAIP’s (the Canadian Society for Authors, Illustrators, and Performers) 2022 Writing for Children Competition. 

Imelda Villalon

Contract Faculty, THEA 1111

Imelda Villalon

Born in the Philippines, Imelda is a former resident of Vancouver and Toronto and currently lives on The Sunshine Coast, BC. Her education includes: MFA Theatre And Voice, York U., Toronto; National Voice Intensive; Theatre Diploma Studio 58, Langara College, Vancouver; B.A. Sociology, U.B.C., Vancouver. Imelda is a certified Yoga Instructor. She has trained in Puppetry and Clowning. She is currently affiliated with Spiderwoman Theatre - Story Weaving Team Leader, Actor and Voice Coach in New York City, Stratford ON, Nipissing First Nation/North Bay ON; Aanmitaagzi (an Indigenous Multidisciplinary Company)— Actor, Storyweaving Workshop Facilitator, Voice Teacher, Ensemble Cast Member at Nipissing First Nation/North Bay, ON; Centre For Indigenous Theatre (CIT) - Senior Faculty, Toronto; Blue Like An Orange Productions - Co-creator, Artistic Director, Performer, Workshop Facilitator. Imelda has taught Voice, Acting, and Shakespeare at various institutions including: Centre For Indigenous Theatre; York University; Wright State University, OH; West Virginia University, WV. In addition to teaching, Imelda is a Performer, Director, and Vocal Coach, having appeared in and worked on numerous stage and film projects. Her most recent artistic endeavour includes participating as a Performer, Vocal Coach, Co-Creator in Misdemeanor Dreams, Spiderwoman Theatre, NYC; as Performer, Co-Creator in Serpent People, Aanmitaagzi, Toronto. Imelda was also awarded a Municipal Grant to facilitate the Community Building Art Activities and Wellness Program in Gibsons, BC.

Cheryl Swan

Faculty Emeritus

Cheryl Swan


B.F.A. (Acting) – University of Alberta (With Distinction)

B.Ed.  (Drama/English) – University of Alberta (With Distinction)


An actor, teacher, director and theatre administrator, Cheryl has many theatre, film and television credits to her name.  She has taught voice, movement and acting at a number of post-secondary institutions in Edmonton and Vancouver including The University of Alberta, MacEwan University and U.B.C.  She was a full-time faculty member in the Douglas College Theatre Department for 26 years and the Coordinator of the department from 1991 to 2007.

She has taught voice, movement, acting and directed over 20 theatre productions in the department including:  Love and Information; Subsequent Conversations; Ten Lost Years; Unity (1918); Kindertransport; The Diviners; Agnes of God and A Clockwork Orange.

She decided on early retirement in August of 2017 so she could pursue personal and creative interests but her love of teaching brings her back to the college to teach PEFA acting classes each fall.

Cheryl continues to work as a professional artist in theatre, film and television.  She is a Mentor, Instructor and Company Member with Seacoast Theatre Centre in West Vancouver.  Her acting credits with the company include Ten Lost Years and Pioneer Years (5 years of touring); Grapes of Wrath; Love and Dreaming; The “V” Project; The Memory of Water and The Blue Room.  She is represented by Performers Management.