Lynda Hill, Artistic & Executive Director
Lynda is a professional theatre director, dramaturge, arts educator and arts leader with a passion for the creation and development of new work, new artists and new audiences.
Lynda Hill has led the organizational and artistic direction of Theatre Direct since 2001. She has commissioned numerous new plays for the company and guided the successful production of 19 productions, 12 of which were original commissions including And, By The Way Miss…., Beneath the Banyan Tree, Binti’s Journey, Sanctuary Song and most recently, Old Man and the River. The company’s productions have been seen by thousands of young people across the country in schools, theatres and international festivals.
In 2006, she initiated and oversaw Theatre Direct’s project to establish a permanent home as anchor tenants of the Artscape Wychwood Barns, a revitalization of former streetcar repair barns in the heart of a thriving neighbourhood of young families and schools. Since 2009, the company, moved from seasonal touring to year-round programming including the presentation of their original work, guest productions, community and education programs.
In addition to leading the artistic programming, Lynda oversees the direction of the company’s education work in schools and in their community programs, drawing on her 20 year experience as an arts educator. In this capacity, she has conceived and implemented unique residency projects that bring professional artists in collaboration with young people and their broader communities. Notable residency projects include The Petra Peace Project (with York Region District School Board) The Carpet (at Dovercourt PS in partnership with Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany), Letters to Africa (with Kent Junior PS), Roundtrip Home (with 5 local schools within walking distance of the Wychwood Barns), and 1000 Stories (Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy).
In tandem with Theatre Direct’s cycles of creation, development, and production, Lynda has been researching international trends in theatre and education for early years which included attending the International Study Week in Reggio Emilia, Italy at the Loris Maliguzzi Centre. After networking with leading companies in this field, attending various festivals, and creating with children under the age of 6, she initiated English Canada’s first international festival of theatre for early years which was realized in May 2014. The WeeFestival of Theatre and Culture for Early Years, showcased 7 productions, in 4 venues, from Europe and Québec as well as an academic research conference, professional sector meeting, workshops for artists, parents and children, exhibitions, and a family festival of music and dance.
Prior to joining Theatre Direct, Lynda was a freelance director, dramaturge and radio drama producer. Along with her extensive direction credits, Lynda served as the Associate Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre from 1989-91 and the Co-Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Projects from 1991-1993. In 1995, Lynda was awarded a fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany and in 2000, she served as the Theatre Officer at the Ontario Arts Council.
Lynda and her partner James Roy are proud parents of two children, Tessa and Quinn.
Liza Mattimore, General Manager
Originally from San Francisco, Liza graduated from the prestigious San Francisco School of the Arts as a dance major, and after relocating to Toronto, Liza received a BA from the University of Toronto where she served as the St. Michael’s College Theatre Commissioner and founded the Alumni Theatre Advisory Board. She also holds a graduate diploma in Culture and Heritage Site Management from Centennial College.
She recently served as the Interim General Manager at Cahoots Theatre and co-founded the theatre production and promotion company Emerging Art Productions in 2008. Liza has also worked in a variety of capacities with numerous local arts organizations including as a production coordinator and stage manager for productions in the GTA.
Liza brings to Theatre Direct, her passion for championing artists, her love of theatre for young audiences, and her dedication to increasing access to the arts.
Education Projects Manager and Associate Artist
Emma Zabloski is a theatre creator, arts educator, and youth worker. She is the Artistic Director of Zopyra Theatre which specializes in playful, interactive, and site-specific performance. Emma’s original works have appeared at the Belfry Theatre, the SKAMpede Festival, UnoFest, the Gabriola Theatre Festival, and on the Fringe circuit. Zopyra’s site-based creation Six: At Home won Rideau Awards for Outstanding New Creation and Outstanding Fringe Production as well as the Ottawa Fringe Outstanding Concept Award. Emma holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Ottawa and has trained with the Ottawa Stilt Union, One Yellow Rabbit’s Summer Lab, and the Grotowski Work Centre in Poland.
Emma has extensive experience working with children and youth and a heartfelt passion for facilitating group creation, building community, and creating space for youth voice to be heard and celebrated. As Youth Programs Manager at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association in Victoria, she delivered a wide range of empowering after-school and summer programs for 9 – 18 year olds. She has also led numerous drama camps, including teaching for four summers at Kate Rubin Drama Studio, and facilitating a site-specific creation camp in and around a tree house!
Education and Outreach
Allison was born and raised in the ever so beautiful Stephenville Newfoundland Canada. She completed her undergrad in acting with Honours at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, and her MFA in Acting with Distinction at East 15 in London, England. Allison has worked in film & theatre for years in the Maritimes and now resides in the city of Toronto. Outside of her arts background, she has spent a few seasons as Talent Liaison with the International Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, where she worked closely with the VIP talent.
Allison has been involved with Theatre Direct supporting the Drama School over the last 2 years. She is a huge fan of the company and is thrilled to be working with the amazing team!
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