Meet the Creative Team and Cast Behind our 2016 MSG Lab Readings

by: Annie Jang on

MSG Lab is fast approaching so call up your friends and mark your calendars to join us for these FREE readings of new works by our city’s finest up-and-coming Asian writers. The readings will be held at PTC (202-739 Gore Ave, Vancouver).

Let’s get to know a bit more about the creative team and cast behind the new plays!

The Girl with No Face by Carolyn Nakagawa – Sunday, Feb 21 at 7:30 pm

From L-R, Top to bottom: Ghazal Azarbad, Kathleen Flaherty, Lisa Goebel, Jamie King, Vincent Leblanc, Milton Lim, Carolyn Nakagawa, Nicole Yukiko Sekiya and Natasha Zacher.

Carolyn Nakagawa is a fourth generation Japanese Canadian poet and playwright. This is her second MSG lab play, after Trig Variations in 2013. Recently, her work has appeared in UBC’s 2015 Brave New Play Rites Festival (“The Letter A”), and at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival as part of Ruby Slippers’ Advance Theatre reading series (“Trialogue”). Her poems have been published in Ricepaper and in the AlliterAsian: Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine anthology, as well as other magazines, including The Puritan and QWERTY. A graduate of UBC’s Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program, she currently works at the Nikkei National Museum.

Lisa Goebel is an interdisciplinary artist who works as an actor, dancer, choreographer, and theatre creator. She is delighted to be working on Carolyn Nakagawa’s The Girl with No Face at this early stage, and is looking forward to its development. Recent credits include producing and choreographing Dogfight the Musical (Awkward Stage), associate producing In Tune 2015 (Touchstone), and directing Go For Broke (Brave New Play Rites). Upcoming Acting: Redpatch (Hardline); Dancing: FOLKMONÇÃO; Portugal tour (Kababayang Pilipino); Directing: Vague, Lawless (Brave New Play Rites). Lisa holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Capilano) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Simon Fraser). She is a graduate of Studio 58.

Kathleen Flaherty is a former producer of drama and documentary for CBC Radio as well as a theatre director and dramaturg. Her dramaturgical work in the theatre began in the early 1980s and included work with Catalyst Theatre, Cahoots, Factory Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Nightwood and Theatre New Brunswick as well as dramaturgy, producing and directing original works for independent small theatre production and Fringe production. Her current projects include Victim Impact with Theatre Conspiracy, The Girl Who Was Raised by Wolverine by Deneh’Cho Thompson, Lost in Fado by Elaine Avila, Dead Peoples’ Things by Dave Deveau, and How to Survive an Apocalypse by Jordan Hall. This is her first MSG Reading.

Ghazal Azarbad is an actor, singer, and improviser. Recent credits include a reading of Anywhere But Here (PTC), Triumph of Love (UBC), and See Bob Run (Shift Performing Arts). She is a recent graduate of the UBC BFA program and teaches musical theatre, acting and improv during the summer time at UBC CAMPS. She is thrilled to be doing yet another reading of a brand new play. Ghazal is the recipient of the 2014 National Hnatyshyn Foundation Emerging Artist Award. 

Vincent Leblanc is a bilingual actor based out of Vancouver, BC. He has an Honours B.A. with Specialization in Theatre from the University of Ottawa and is a graduate of Studio 58. His recent theatre credits include Let’s Talk About SexI Can't Tell You(Vancouver and Victoria Fringes), DLT Teatro's production of The Stranger and Théâtre la Seizième's Selfie for which he received the Jessie Award for Outstanding Performance in the TYA Category. He has also appeared in Bravo Network’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce

Milton Lim is a theatre director and multi-disciplinary artist based in Vancouver. He is a graduate of the theatre program at Simon Fraser University where he studied closely with Penelope Stella, Steven Hill, and DD Kugler among others. Milton is an Artistic Associate with Theatre Conspiracy and a Co-Artistic Director of the Vancouver-based interdisciplinary company Hong Kong Exile. Recent acting credits include the Host in Theatre Conspiracy’s immersive performance: Foreign Radical and the Woodsman in Big Bad for the International Children's Festival with Boca del Lupo Theatre. Milton recently completed 3 weeks of research with MACHiNENOiSY Dance Theatre and a workshop for Hong Kong Exile’s new multi-media dance theatre piece set to premiere in 2017.

Nicole Yukiko Sekiya is originally from Calgary, AB where she received a diploma in Theatre Performance from Mount Royal University, Nicole has been pleased to call Vancouver home while continuing her studies at UBC. In pursuit of her BFA, you may have seen her onstage in Ubu RoiPride & Prejudice, or The Caucasian Chalk Circle. She was also the associate producer of the feature film project Mercury Falling at UBC. She would like to thank VACT, her family, and her homegirls. Enjoy the show!

Natasha Zacher is a Calgary transplant who has fallen in love with the West Coast. Recent theatre credits include: TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus (Awkward Stage, Pick of the Fringe Winner at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival), The Girls Project (Resounding Scream), The School for Scandal (NOW! Theatre/Quimera Theatre Collective), Rebel Women (Vital Spark), The SeagullPride and Prejudice (Theatre @ UBC). Recent film credits include: The Hollow(Scyfy), and Finding Face Time, as part of the 2015 In Tune Conference presented by Touchstone Theatre and the Arts Club. She is a graduate of the UBC BFA in Acting program. 

Production Assistant
Jamie King is so excited to once again come in and work with VACT after being involved in several of the workshops for Empire of the Son as a production assistant. She has most recently done dramaturgy work for the Arts Club on Pride and Prejudice. She has worked with Rumble Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, Hardline Productions and Twenty-Something Theatre as an assistant director. In 2014, she directed The Particulars by Matt Mackenzie (The EASTWALL/Railtown Cultural Eclective) and In The Movies and Drifting as part of Brave New Play Rites. She is the current artistic associate at the Cultch and a graduate of UBC.

Seconds by Jamie Lam – Monday, Feb 22 at 8:00 pm

From L-R, Top to bottom: Jamie Lam, Julie Leung, Melissa Oei, Heidi Taylor and Brett Willis.

Jamie Lam was born and raised in Vancouver. She is an aspiring storyteller, writer, and theatre/filmmaker. Currently in her first year of study at UBC, she hopes to earn a BFA in Film Production whilst learning as much as she can about the world she has barely stepped foot on. Jamie is also an alumni of the Arts Club's LEAP Playwriting Intensive and is very grateful to have the opportunity to further her writing skills through VACT's MSG Lab this year. In her spare time, you'll often find Jamie either paddling on a dragonboat, getting emotional over TV shows and movies, or simply undergoing existential crises.

Melissa Oei is thrilled to be back for a second year as a director with VACT’s MSG Theatre Lab. Melissa is a graduate of Studio 58 and has also trained all over the continent with institutions such as the Banff Centre, Canada’s National Voice Intensive, SITI Theater, and Langara’s film arts program. As an actor Melissa has worked extensively with companies such as Arts Club, Citadel, Theatre North West, Ruby Slippers, Hardline, Alley, Carousel Theatre for Young People, TUTS, Kaleidoscope, Caravan Stage Company and many more. Last year she was an Apprentice Director with Bard on the Beach. Up next, Melissa will be directing two pieces for this year’s PULL Festival.

Heidi Taylor is a Vancouver-based dramaturg, director and performer. She has been Artistic and Executive Director at PTC since 2012. Her practice includes sited, devised, and interdisciplinary work. She has worked on over 20 premiere productions in the last ten years, including Tetsuro Shigematsu's Empire of the Son, Mindy Parfitt & Alexa Devine’s This Stays in the Room, Sean Devine’s Re: Union, and Tanya Marquardt’s Transmission. Heidi holds an MFA from SFU, where she has taught intro acting off and on since 2001. Productions in 2016 include Quelemia Sparrow's Lost Lagoon, commissioned by Full Circle First Nations Performance, produced by Alley Theatre and developed with PTC, and Kendra Fanconi's Tinkers, The Only Animal’s site-specific production on the Sunshine Coast.

Julie Leung is delighted to be part of her very first VACT workshop/reading alongside some wonderful people and is equally excited to be back at PTC again after a recent workshop with Carmen Aguirre's Anywhere But Here. Previous credits include The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Marigolds/Redcurrant Collective), Pornography at the Fringe Festival, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Cecil Green Co-op), Wild Society (star star theatre), The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide (Rumble Theatre), and How Should You Be? (Architect Theatre) with the rEvolver Festival. Julie is a graduate of Studio 58.

Brett Willis is a Vancouver based writer, director, actor and voice-over actor originally from Ottawa, where he spent many seasons on stage at the Ottawa Little Theatre and the University of Ottawa. In Vancouver, his play Tsuyako appeared as part of Studio 58's 4-Play and was a creative member of How Should You Be? Brett has appeared on stage at Pacific Theatre in The Taming of the Shrew and on site at the Roedde House Museum in Forbidden Vancouver's War for the Holidays. Brett is a graduate of Studio 58.

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