Board of Directors

Eleanor Stacey | Chair
Eleanor Stacey is the Executive Director of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which manages The Civic Theatre and Reo’s Video, and the Kootenay Screen-Based Industry Initiative, and is a founding partner of the Kootenay Regional Film Commission. Previously she was the Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, Director of Development at The Cultch in East Vancouver, Director of Development at Classic Stage Company (New York), and fundraising and administrative positions at Theatre Communications Group (TCG), New York City Opera and The Roundabout Theatre. She was the founder and administrator of a summer theatre program in Anguilla, BWI, where she wrote and directed plays and musicals involving a total of more than 500 local youth. Eleanor is a graduate of Mount Allison University, and holds an MFA in Arts Administration from Brooklyn College (CUNY). She is a Rotarian, a member of the City of Nelson's Cultural Development Committee, a board member of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and a founding board member of Intercultural Kootenays Society, the Resilience BC Antiracism Network service spoke for Central Kootenay. Eleanor grew up in Nelson, spending plenty of time at the Capitol Theatre where her mother was the manager for many years. She returned in 2013, and is pleased to call Nelson home again.

 

Nathan Medd | Vice-Chair
Nathan Medd (any/all) is an arts manager from Qualicum on the west coast, currently serving as managing director of performing arts at Banff Centre, in Treaty 7 territory. There Nathan oversees residencies and arts training programs, with a multidisciplinary creative team that includes numerous recipients of Grammys, Academy Awards and other honours. Nathan’s work as a theatre producer has been recognized with industry awards across Canada and in the US, and he is the cofounder of several vibrant studios including the Metro Studio (Victoria) and Progress Lab 1422 (Vancouver). Recently Nathan served as managing director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada for five seasons, during which the NAC established the world’s first Indigenous national theatre, and completed a major building expansion to mark its 50th anniversary. Nathan earned a BFA degree in fine arts at University of Victoria, and a masters degree in management at Harvard.

 

Sarah Lowis | Secretary
Sarah Lowis is the Founder and Impact Officer of Sea to Sky Meeting and Association Management.  She strives to make the world a better place by helping organizations thrive by managing their conferences, events, and associations, in Canada and around the World.  She is passionate about theatre, the Arts, and environmental conservation. She is currently the volunteer Executive Director of the Living Forest Institute, President of the Sunshine Coast Festival for the Performing Arts and holds the position of Secretary on The Only Animal’s Board of Directors. Sarah can be reached through www.seatoskymeetings.com, www.livingforestinstitute.ca, www.coastfestival.com or www.theonlyanimal.com

 

Panthea Vatandoost | Treasurer
Panthea Vatandoost is an Iranian actor, producer, and writer. Her first contact with theatre was during middle school in Tehran, when she created and performed in a political satire about the fall of the Shah. After graduating from film school, Panthea spent the next decade taking classes in private acting studios, and learning everything she knows about creating theatre through producing her own shows. Since emigrating to Canada, Panthea has continued to write, produce and perform in a variety of productions. Panthea is the founder and Managing Artistic Director of Medusa Theatre Society. She has the honor of serving as the Treasurer on the board of The Only Animal Theatre Company. Outside of theatre, Panthea performs in film and TV productions, serves as co-chair on the UBCP/ACTRA BIPOC Committee, and sits on the UBCP/ACTRA Mentorship Committee, Queer Committee, and Scholarship Committee.

 

Lara Aysal | Director
Laya Aysal is a climate justice and human rights activist, performance artist, facilitator of community-oriented projects. She has collaborated with a variety of communities in South Africa, South America, Turkey, Italy, Germany and so-called Canada and worked across borders with international theatre companies and facilitated research projects in development and conflict settings with refugees, prisoners, ethnic minorities and Indigenous communities. She is one of the co-founders of AA+A Contemporary Performance Research Project and Ray Performance Collective. Before moving to Canada, she taught first- and second year acting classes at Beykent University and published individual and collaborative ideas on Conference of the Parties (COP20), civil disobedience, theatre in conflict zones and poems on possibilities of hope. She is interested in the role of theatre to address, organize and take action within climate justice context though decolonizing methodologies. She finds joy in experimenting with tools of theatre to disturb everyday life. She is currently doing her PhD in Interdisciplinary Program at UBC and collaborating with artists on performances in the era of pandemics.

 

Sophia Dagher | Director
Sophia Dagher is a Lebanese-American filmmaker and educator working on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories in Vancouver, BC, and wherever the job takes her. She's a jack of all trades director / producer, and has been making films, and videos as her passion, and profession since 2008. She has a BA in film production and a BEd in rural secondary education from the University of British Columbia. Her work has screened at Toronto International Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Whistler Film Festival, on Outside Television, and all over the internet! When she's not in production you can find me mentoring youth in the arts, cooking Mediterranean and pan-Asian cuisine, and spending time in nature.

 

Ian Garrett | Director
Ian Garrett is a designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture. He is the director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts; Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University; and Producer for Toasterlab. He maintains a design practice focused on ecology, technology and scenography. Through Toasterlab’s Mixed Reality Performance Atelier, recent work includes The Stranger 2.0 with DLT Experience; Groundworks with Rulan Tangen and collaborating artists from Pomo, Wappo, and Ohlone communities; The locative audio project TrailOff with Philadelphia’s Swim Pony; and Transmission (FuturePlay/Edinburgh and Future of Storytelling Festival/New York). Notable projects include the set and energy systems for Zata Omm's Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre and Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a solar 150’ wide crane at Coachella. With Chantal Bilodeau, he co-directs the Climate Change Theatre Action. His writing includes Arts, the Environment, and Sustainability for Americans for the Arts; The Carbon Footprint of Theatrical Production in Readings in Performance and Ecology, and Theatre is No Place for a Plant in Landing Stages from the Ashden Directory. He serves on the Board of Directors for Associated Designers of Canada. He was the Curator for the US for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial, and is co-chair for World Stage Design 2022 in Calgary. 

 

David Geary | Director
David Geary is of Māori, English, Irish and Scottish blood. He grew up immersed in the Polynesian trickster tales of Maui and is now honoured to live, work and play in the lands of the Coyote and Raven tricksters of Turtle Island/Canada. He is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg, director, screenwriter, fiction writer and poet. David teaches at Capilano University, North Vancouver, in the Indigenous Digital Filmmaking, documentary, and playwriting programs. David also teaches playwrighting for PTC Playwrights Theatre Centre in Vancouver. David’s recent work includes short plays for Climate Change Theatre Action. He's a member of LMDA Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and does script consultation for theatre, TV and Film, most recently with Writers & Tricksters, Women in Film and Television Vancouver. He writes haiku on twitter: gearsgeary, and lives by the yogic mantra: Life is short, stretch it.

 

Dennis D. Gupa | Director
Dennis D. Gupa is a theatre director and currently writing his PhD Applied Theatre dissertation at the University of Victoria on sea rituals, climate change, and applied theatre. He obtained an MFA Theatre (Directing) degree from the University of British Columbia and an MA Theatre Arts at the University of the Philippines. In 2010, he received a scholarship from the Republic of Indonesia to study seni teatre/tari at Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia with Mas Rachman Sabur he also worked with Japanese Noh master Naohiko Umewaka for the International Theatre Institute-UNESCO's Theatre Olympics of the World.  He won the Performance Studies international’s Dwight Conquergood Award, The Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Doctoral Award. Dennis is one of the Asia Society’s Philippines 21 Fellows for the Arts and Culture. He currently serves as the Artistic Associate of Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society (SEACHS). Dennis is a Vanier Scholar.

 

Judi Pearl | Director
Judi Pearl is currently Associate Producer, Artistic Projects for English Theatre at the National Arts Centre and previously served for ten years on the board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. A passionate environmental activist since her teen years, she is honoured to have the opportunity to work with The Only Animal in creating pathways for artists of all kinds to bring their unique skills and powerful imaginations to the front lines of the climate crisis. She is grateful to live and work on unceded Algonquin territory, nestled between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River.