Drama Strand (9 workshops – you get them ALL!)

Mariel Belanger Workshop: Embodied Story Practice

Through Embodied Story Practice Syilx and non Syilx students can learn to begin to understand what it means to live according to oralhistory through animal stories. Mariel believes Sqilxw relationality begins with learning Sqilxw ways of being and knowing, coupled with continued embodiments with the intention to trigger their time immemorial memories from their own histories resulting in reinvigorating their sense of responsibility to maintain the health of land and water to remain as healthy as the land and water intended. Wholistic health starts with action. The dimensions from which Embodied Story Practice grows is exponential and in all directions in as many different levels of engagement from baby to elder, offering different depths of knowledge about how the land functions and our role in that function.


Mariel Belanger is a Syilx interdisciplinary performance artist and doctoral student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario.  Following in her Syilx grandmothers footsteps, using ethnographic historical recordings to map the archives for family specific Syilx song and story, she encounters, captures and creates her own understanding of these texts, sound bites and visual recordings of the important knowledge her grandmother left behind re-constructing her story-world as methodology of contemporary cultural engagement, transferring community-driven, land-based artistic knowledge and practice into a trans-media research creation project that carries a story of caring for the land and maintaining matrilineal relationships.

Danielle Krysa Workshop: Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk

All of us have an inner critic, some are just louder/ruder than others! In this workshop we’ll do a bunch of exercises and activities (includingmaking collages!) in order to teach that little voice to BE QUIET.  (all collage materials will be supplied)
Danielle has a BFA in Visual Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design. She is the writer behind the contemporary art site, The Jealous Curator (est.2009), and has curated art shows all over North America. Danielle is also an artist herself, and her narrative mixed media collages are held in private collections worldwide. She is the author of several art books: “Creative Block”, “Collage”,  “Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk”, “A Big Important Art Book – Now with Women”,  “A Big Important Artist – A Womanual”, and in September of 2020 her first children’s book, “How To Spot An Artist” hit shelves. Danielle has had the great pleasure of speaking at TEDx, PIXAR, Creative Mornings, and was interviewed in series of video segments on oprah.com about breaking through creative blocks and self-doubt. Find Danielle on Instagram at @thejealouscurator.

Alan Marriott Workshop: Voice Acting

Guaranteed fun and maybe just a bit…scary!  Alan is concentrating on voice acting and getting the most out of Shakespeare’s verse. Treating the supernatural tragedy of MacBeth as a radio play, students learn about the importance and magic of iambic rhythms and pentameter, how to recognise and work with rhetoric, (similes, metaphors, alliteration, antithesis, and more!) and explore the hidden depth in the sound of Shakespeare’s writing! 


Alan Marriott has been teaching and performing for over thirty years both in Canada and Europe. He trained first with Vancouver Theatresports and Keith Jonhstone and then continued his training at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art)  Voice and improvisation have been his combined passion and career. Creating and directing improv shows, Alan has appeared in many festivals including the Vancouver, Brighton and Leicester Comedy Festivals, and five times at the Edinburgh Festival ( with Hamlet Improvised, London Theatresports, the Impro Musical, Holsten Impro, and Will Shakespeare’s Impro Musical). Animation series Alan can be heard in include Lego Ninjago, My Little Pony, Bob the Builder, and The Secret Show for BBC which won two BAFTA awards. Alan also voiced three series and voice directed six featurettes for BKN and Toon Disney. Oh, and Alan is also the voice of Bud the beaver for BBC’s ‘Octonauts’

Alan’s book on improvisation, ‘Genius Now,’ is available online but he also has written/co- written five musicals of note: Da Doo Me (with David C Jones), Wonderboy! (with Philip Pellew of Showstoppers), Newer!Bigger!Better! , and Mrs.Claus’ Kitchen (both with Bill Allman and Kevin O’Brien). Alan is currently collaborating with Sandra-Mae Luykx on a brand new four handed musical based on Sandra-Mae’s hit album ‘Happily Ever Now’

For a full list of Alan’s credits, check out his IMDb profile at    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1166199/   www.alan-marriott.com

Sand Northrup Workshop: Circus Skills for Fools

Always wanted to learn to juggle and didn’t think you could?  How about balancing a broom on your nose? Try hands-on circus skills likefeather balancing, ball and scarf juggling, rola bola and plate spinning in an accessible, inclusive and active workshop. Participants will acquire useful physical skills to apply to future stage, street or screen work, in a positive, fun-filled atmosphere. We will be focus on individual skills acquisition followed by a short peer demonstration.

Sand Northrup has an enduring enthusiasm for circus arts. In 1981, she ran away to the circus in Quebec City to study juggling, unicycle, acrobatics, clown and mime. She has written and performed solo, duo and troupe shows in French and English and has a solid reputation as an outstanding teacher, mentor and role model. Sand performs and teaches in public schools and at circus camps, collaborating on numerous projects under the social circus banner. She also heads up the MIRTH Unit (the therapeutic clown program) at BC Children’s Hospital. Sand is delighted to be back at the GWSF to celebrate it’s 20th birthday.



Tanya Laing Gahr Workshop:  Putting the “Community” in Theatre

What if you love theatre but you’re not sure you want to make it your career? This interactive workshop takes you behind the scenes of an in-progress community theatre production.  You’ll learn about directing—selecting and breaking down a script, choosing your production team, casting and bringing out the best in actors, and making it to opening night with your sanity (mostly) intact. And finally, you’ll learn more about how community theatres operate—how plays are chosen, produced and marketed, and how you can be a part of the storytelling that happens in your community.

Tanya Laing Gahr has acted in, produced and directed numerous professional and community productions, including for Cranbrook Community Theatre, Fort Steele Follies & Living History, Stab in the Dark Productions, Kimberley Summer Theatre and Powerhouse Theatre. Her most recent acting roles include Karen Brown in Unnecessary Farce and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. Tanya has directed more than 20 plays, and particularly enjoys comedies and farces. She directed Powerhouse Theatre’s Calendar Girls in 2018, which won Best Production recognitions at Ozone and Mainstage Festivals, and Best Director at Mainstage. She is currently directing Ben Hurfor Powerhouse Theatre. Tanya’s most frequent (and most favourite) collaborator is her husband, Rusty, who agreed to take on the role of Technical Director after she told him he had to.



City Dance Workshop: Heather and Jens (social dance)

Jens Goerner has been teaching Ballroom, Latin, Swing and Tango dance for over 20 years and has owned and operated dance studios in Germany and most currently City Dance in Vernon and Salmon Arm. His extensive knowledge of all dance styles and his fun teaching style is unparalleled in the Okanagan/Shuswap! Heather Stranks has been a figure skating coach and choreographer for over 25 years and a dance instructor for nearly 10. As co-owner of City Dance she teaches all styles of dance and loves every minute of it!

Robyn Sheppard Workshop:  Dare to be Silly/Dare to be Serious

Students will explore metaphorically the journey of taking off a mask, so they may put one on. The workshop will include foundation acting exercises and techniques which promote authenticity, vulnerability and play – three components essential for all artists, especially during these challenging times. In a safe and structured environment, students will work on character development focusing on the bravery required to step truthfully into the shoe of another. Hopefully leaving the session, students will have some concrete acting tips, as well as a tad more courage to “take off their masks.” If “Vulnerability is the birth place of innovation, creativity and change,” (Brene Brown) then it must be experientially explored and celebrated together. Come ready to move, vocalize, and open your mind and heart.

After working in Toronto as an actor and producer in her early years, Robyn ventured west landing in Nelson, BC where she began her thirty-two years of teaching high school English and drama.  Recently retired – or graduated as she calls it – she now spends time mentoring new teachers, that is when she’s not busy working on Tap In, a major musical production she is co-writing. Robyn is also in the process of setting up scene study workshops which she hopes to offer the Nelson community in the near future. In 2012, she, along with a troupe of talented actors from the high school and community, wrote and directed the feature film The Change Agents, a story about a dedicated youth environmental activist. Throughout Robyn’s rich teaching career, she has directed numerous plays and musicals including Fiddler on The Roof, The Sound of Music, Our Town, and The Miracle Worker to name just a few. She is thrilled to be part of this exciting festival and looks forward to meeting artists and thespians from around the province.

Vancouver Film School Workshops:  TBA

Intensive Strands 

(Choose ONE of these and work on project that will be presented at the Gala Showcase on the last day of the festival)

Choral Music Intensive – Brian Tate

Brian Tate is a Victoria, B.C. choral director, educator, and vocalist. An award-winning composer and arranger, dozens of his choral works are published and his music is performed worldwide. Brian is the former director of Vancouver’s Universal Gospel Choir and City Soul Choir and now directs Victoria’s Capital Soul Choir. He taught singing and choir for over twenty years at Langara College’s Studio 58 theatre school and is now on the voice faculty of the Canadian College of the Performing Arts. Brian is known for his teaching skills and his ability to create a safe and fun environment for people to sing together
Singing for a New World
The global struggles we have faced over the past two years have challenged us all to think about how we move forward with ourselves, our relationships, our community, and our world. Join us to sing about where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going! Singers at all levels welcome. We’ll be singing music from a variety of cultures and styles.


Writing Intensive – Deborah Williams

Deb Williams grew up in Summerland, graduated from SSS and has spent the past 3 1/2 decades making a living as an award winning actor, writer, director and storyteller.  She is one of the creators/stars of the international hit series of plays “Mom’s the Word”, and is Artistic Director of The Flame, a monthly sold out storytelling series in its 13th season.  

Deb Williams is offering a 3 day writing intensive for a small group of dedicated students, exploring personal storytelling as a spring board to monologue, short story  and script writing.  In this intensive, Deb will share her 35 years of expertise to give you the tools to create and share truly compelling work. This inclusive and supportive workshop is focused on learning and growth. This workshop is for you! Bring a short, interesting personal
experience. It has to be true, about you, and told in less than 5 minutes.  Challenging and loads of fun.

Dance Intensive – Simone Goerner

Student in the dance intensive will learn two different dances that will be presented at the Gala.  An intermediate to advanced level of dance training is recommended to students taking this workshop.

Simone Goerner was classically trained in Ballet for 12 years and also has an extensive background in Street Dance. She has been teaching for over 17 years and has had great success at competitions across BC with her competitive Hip Hop team including the title of top choreographer. 



Technical Theatre Intensive – Rusty Gahr

A seasoned stagehand once told Rusty Gahr, “Technical theatre is like a blood disease; once you catch it you’re stuck with it for life!” Rustyis no exception to the rule. He started working on the technical side of theatre back in 1993 on everything from Broadway theatre productions to full-blown rock concerts. 20+ years later, as a professional photon-herder/air molecule disrupter, he is still climbing around focussing lights, schlepping tons of audio equipment around venues and staying up WAY past his bedtime on show nights.

Art Intensive  – Michelle Loughrey

Master Artist and Art Educator Michelle Loughery is a world renown Canadian Master Artist who has created hundreds of iconic murals and her studio work is sought after by global art collectors. In addition to her obvious talents at producing awe inspiring work, Loughery has developed a unique art education process that engages and includes community residents-young and old alike. The Wayfinder AR:T Project has won numerous awards and Loughery has created numerous connected community public mural art projects that inspired communities, engaged youth with life and employment skills, connected people and left monumental public art around the globe. www.michelleloughery.org

A large collaborative piece of community art will be created in a three day workshop. From design to completion in a creative way, all participants will engage with the processes of a collaborative large format art work. Each student will work individually to create individual art pieces that will then be part of a large format piece they will install together. 

Make-Up Intensive – Nicole Dreyer

Nicole Dreyer is a Makeup Artist and Special Makeup Effects Technician working in the Vancouver Film Industry. Nicole was born in Point Edward, Ontario and moved to Vancouver in 2010. This was the first time Nicole was exposed to the potential reality of working in the film industry. After many years of passionately pursuing the arts outside of her dayjob as well as raising twins with her husband, she decided she had to get involved in film. In 2017, She found her way in and attended Vancouver Film School’s 12 month intensive program- Make up Design for Film and Television lead by Stan Edmonds. After successfully graduating with honours, she begun working in the industry full time. Now, you can find Nicole working on union and independent projects doing any job she can get (including make up, special Make up effects, special fx, production design, props, and producing). Nicole thrives when she can make a real film effect without the use of CGI. “I have an eye for detail and a passion for the industry.” – Nicole Dreyer