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Faculty

Justin Neal,  Special Appointee

Justin Neal HeadshotA member of the Squamish Nation, Justin pivoted from an arts marketing career in New York to earn a joint Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Theatre from UBC in 2015 where he co-produced the Brave New Play Rites festival during his tenure. Justin has  worked in theatre and screen projects in Los Angeles, New York, the Bay Area, Vancouver, and Seattle since 1998, and was the teaching artist for Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth theatre troupe in Seattle. As a screenwriter, Justin’s work has been selected for the Whistler Film Festival / Praxis Screenwriting Lab (2018), Stowe Story Lab (2017), Beverly Hills Film Festival (2016), Oaxaca FilmFest (2016), and as a WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Finalist (2017) and Emerging Screenwriters Top 100 (2017), among others. Justin’s original series script, Boundary Bay, created as a Testify Indigenous collective member, has been presented in stage readings across Canada, and is currently a Screencraft Film Fund Quarterfinalist (Spring 2018). As a playwright, Justin was a semifinalist for Seattle-based Forward Flux’s 2019 new play competition and was selected by Native Voices at The Autry’s 17th New Play Festival (2016) for So Damn Proud, subsequently workshopped at New Playwrights Alliance in Seattle. His play LNG was workshopped by Quebec-born dramaturge Julie Burelle’s Indigenous Theatre classes at University of California San Diego (2017).

Gary Cristall

Gary CristallGary Cristall grew up in Toronto, the child of left wing secular Jews, surrounded by music. A high school ‘drop out’, he had an adventurous life in the late sixties and early seventies, including living in Chile during the Allende years, before attending Simon Fraser University as a mature student. He studied History and Latin American Studies while engaging in political agitation. Co-founder, coordinator, and later artistic director of The Vancouver Folk Music Festival from 1978 until 1994, Gary Cristall booked and produced a bunch of festivals, hundreds of concerts and dozens of tours. He started Festival Records to distribute folk and world music and Aural Tradition, a label for obscure but deserving recordings. Gary was the producer of the Folklife Pavilion at Vancouver’s Expo 86. Gary left Vancouver in 1994 for the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa where he spent six productive years. On Mayday, 2000, he resigned from the bureaucracy to return home. Since then he has made his way in the world working as an artist’s manager, agent, writer, broadcaster, teacher at Capilano University and ‘consultant’. He is working on a book on the history of folk music in English speaking Canada in the twentieth century. In 2008 he wrote and narrated a five part series- The People’s Music- based on his book research for CBC’s Inside The Music. He has given presentations and published articles based on his research in various obscure publications and at similarly obscure events. In 2015, Gary was awarded an honorary degree from UBC. (photo: Brian Nation)

Alex Lazaridis Ferguson

Alex FergusonAlex is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist. As performer, director, writer, and dramaturge he shuttles between theatre, installation performance, and contemporary dance, often creating hybrids that are not easily categorized. Alex is also a PhD candidate in Theatre at UBC. He has received several SSHRC research grants for his work on documentary theatre and on scenography and audience reception.

A small sample of recent performance work: Karoshi by Shay Kuebler at the Dance Center (co-Scenographer and dramaturge), The Surrealists at Studio 58 (Director), 1984 by the Virtual Stage at The Cultch (Lead Role), Nanay: a testimonial play by Urban Crawl at PuSh in Vancouver and the HAU in Berlin (Director), A Brief History of Romantic Love and Twice the Same River for his company Vanity Projects (Writer-Director), The Open Spaces Project at the Dance Center for MACHiNENOiSY DANCE (Performer, Writer), Some Mad Scientists by Adam Frank at the Belkin Gallery (Director), and Glengarry Glen Ross for Main Street Theatre (Role of Roma).

Alex regularly writes on performance for Australia’s RealTime Arts, and has contributed academic articles to Canadian Theatre Review and Theatre Research in Canada. He has recently presented Turning Research into Theatre at the Royal Geographic Society’s annual conference in Edinburgh with two other scholars, and The University as Pyramid Scheme at SFU’s The Conference on the Conference with choreographer Delia Brett of MACHiNENOiSY Dance. He gave the closing Keynote Manifesto, Dangers of the theatrical-dramaturgical complex, at PuSh 2011.

Alex is a graduate of Studio 58, the Theatre Arts program at Langara College. He has won several Jessie Richardson awards for acting.

Josh Hite

Josh Hite's work is concerned with tactics for documentation and human movement through local spaces. He creates reorganized archives of particular spaces and behaviors either through recordings he makes himself or by appropriating content through sites like YouTube. He is a member of the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective and part of Ten Fifteen Maple, a two-year artist residency exploring multiple waterfront parks in Vancouver. He also regularly collaborates with theatre and dance companies. Josh has a BA in Philosophy, an MFA in Visual Art and teaches photography and media arts at the University of British Columbia, performance studies with the Bachelor of Performing Arts and photography with continuing studies at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Marguerite Witvoet

Marguerite WitvoetWith a rich musical palette and an adventurous spirit, Marguerite Witvoet fearlessly forges through a diverse range of musical territories. In her various roles as pianist, vocalist, composer, sound designer, music director and vocal coach, Marguerite has gained a reputation across Canada as a versatile musician and an inspired teacher.An active player in the development of new opera and musical theatre, Ms. Witvoet has conducted the world premieres of six new Canadian operas and assisted in the development of numerous others, with companies such as Autumn Leaf Performance, The Banff Centre, Modern Baroque Opera Company, Pro Musica, Restless Productions, the Vancouver Playhouse and Vancouver New Music. Marguerite regularly performs as a solo and chamber artist, and has made numerous recordings with CBC, frequently interpreting works by established contemporary composers such as John Cage and Georges Aperghis, commissioning new works by Canadian and international composers and performing works of her own composition. In 2002, Ms. Witvoet was nominated for a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for Significant Artistic Achievement for musical composition and arrangement. Her first venture into sound design was deemed outstanding by critics and audiences alike, and was nominated for a Jessie Award in 2003 for Best Sound Design. Since then, artists of all disciplines have sought her out for creative collaborations. Marguerite lends a compassionate approach and a critical ear to her work as a teacher and instructor. Working with a combination of intuition, keen observation, years of training, as well as a wealth of performance experience, Marguerite passionately inspires students to develop their own unique voice as artists and creators. Marguerite is a member of AFM, SOCAN, CMRRA and SCGC.

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