Our members are professionals in the field of theatre criticism and arts journalism who:
- Attend national and international theatre conferences, seminars and congresses as representatives of the CTCA.
- Serve on the executive of the CTCA and on theatre boards and associations in Canada and abroad.
- Serve on regional critics organizations.
- Publish extensively on Canadian and international theatre and drama.
Mary has been a fan of live theatre since her first visit to the Stratford Festival as a child, where she saw Christopher Walken and Louise Marleau in Romeo and Juliet. As a journalism student, she reviewed shows at Grand Bend’s Huron Country Playhouse in its very early years.
She has been writing reviews since 2004 and blogs on her website Entertain This Thought, as well as freelancing. She covers shows at the Stratford and Shaw festivals, as well as five Drayton Entertainment locations, the Blyth Festival, Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, London’s Grand Theatre and more.
Mary holds a BA in Honours English and an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario, London. She lives in Grand Bend, Ont., central to southwestern Ontario’s many professional theatres.
JENIVA BERGER (CTCA Honorary Board Member)
Jeniva Berger was born in Chicago, Illinois. She immigrated to Canada in 1957 and received a MA in Drama from the University of Toronto in 1976. She has been reviewing theatre on a regular basis since the late 1960s, writing on theatre and entertainment on a regular basis for such publications as Toronto Calendar magazine, the Canadian Jewish News, Scene Changes magazine — for which she served as editor from 1977 to 1982 — and Toronto Tonight. Other theatre pieces have appeared in The Guardian and Melody Maker (U.K.), the Canadian Theatre Review, the Canadian Encyclopedia, the Oxford Companion to Canadian Drama, and for the book Contemporary Canadian Theatre: New World Visions. She is the author of a handbook for theatre publicists, For Immediate Release. She was a regular columnist on Toronto theatre and arts events for The Buffalo News for six years. Currently, she is publisher, reviewer and webmaster for Scene Changes.
Jeniva is the co-founder (with Herbert Whittaker) and founding president of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association and served for many years as chair/coordinator of the Nathan Cohen Award for Excellence in Theatre Criticism.
ROBIN BREON (CTCA Board Member)
An independent arts journalist with a publishing history spanning more than 40 years, Robin Breon’s reviews, articles and cultural essays have appeared in a wide range of media, including popular as well as academic journals. He was a founding member of the Toronto Drama Bench (1972) and over the years his work has appeared in Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre History in Canada, American Theatre magazine, Chronicle for Higher Education, The Globe and Mail, The Drama Review, Toronto Star, Our Times and others. Robin is also the long-time Toronto critic for Aisle Say, an internet journal of theatre review and opinion. See his reviews at Aisle Say, Toronto.
From 1981 to 1988, Breon was administrator and publicist for Black Theatre Canada and from 1988 to 2008 he was program administrator for the Museum Studies Program at University of Toronto. He has taught arts journalism for the U of T’s School of Continuing Studies and is currently on the acquisitions committee of Theatre Museum Canada. As a playwright, he wrote The African Roscius (Being the Life and Times of Ira Aldridge), produced by Vera Cudjoe at the Alumnae Theatre in 1986, and is currently at work on the libretto for a musical entitled Chappie Johnson and His (almost) All Colored All Stars with musical score by Joe Sealy.
ROBERT CUSHMAN (CTCA Board Member)
Born in England, educated at Cambridge University, worked in professional theatre as director, writer and performer. Theatre critic, The Observer, 1973-84. Came to Canada 1987. Theatre critic for the National Post since its inception in 1999. Has also written for The Globe and Mail, Saturday Night, Toronto Life, New York Times, and taught theatre at York University. Winner of eight Nathan Cohen Awards. A frequent broadcaster in Canada and the U.K., especially on musical theatre (Book, Music and Lyrics, BBC) and American popular song (Songbook, CBC).
Publications: Fifty Seasons at Stratford (2002). Produced for the Quantum Book Group by Madison Press Books, Toronto.
STEVE FISHER (CTCA Secretary/Treasurer)
Halifax born, Ottawa raised, and now firmly Toronto located, Steve Fisher has been covering the arts and entertainment scenes in T.O. for over a decade; first as an independent blogger, with a mailing list of over 1,000 subscribers, and since 2010, for nearly a dozen different publications, including Torontoist, Post City, The A.V. Club and CBC Music. An alumnus of Ryerson University’s Theatre Acting program, his background as a former actor, improviser, and operetta singer fostered deep connections to Toronto’s performing arts scenes, and in his coverage of the city’s performing arts, he has consistently identified rising stars before their breakouts, including 2015 Emmy nominee Tatiana Maslany, Comedy Central’s Nathan Fielder, and music acts like The Rural Alberta Advantage and The Elwins. When he’s not writing, or seeing shows 5-6 nights a week, Steve is a member of HMCS York, Toronto’s naval reserve unit, where he’s been commended and decorated.
RODRIGO FLORES (CTCA Board Member)
Rodrigo Flores graduated from St. Thomas University in 2014 with a BA Honours in English Literature with a Concentration in Drama. After graduating university, Rodrigo moved to Calgary, Alberta, where he started his theatre blog Joyful Magpies. His reviews can be found online at Joyful Magpies, along with articles on Canadian theatre and dance artists.
He was a member of the 2016 Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards. Rodrigo now lives in his hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
KAREN FRICKER (CTCA Vice-President)
Karen Fricker is theatre critic at the Toronto Star, where she shares the position with Carly Maga. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Ottawa. From 2007-2012 she was a lecturer in Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, and holds a PhD in Drama and Theatre from Trinity College Dublin.
Karen started her arts writing and editing career in the 1990s as New York theatre correspondent for the Financial Times and an editor at Stagebill. From 1995-97 she was director of publications at the New York Shakespeare Festival/Joseph Papp Public Theater. She co-founded and served as editor-in-chief of Irish Theatre Magazine (1998-2005); was Ireland theatre critic for The Guardian (2003-2007); and reviewed for Variety from Dublin (1997-2007) and London (2007-2012). She has also written and broadcast about theatre and performance for The Irish Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the BBC, RTÉ, and the CBC. The work of her Brock theatre criticism students is published on DARTcritics.com, which she edits.
Karen’s academic research interests include contemporary theatre and globalization; contemporary Québec theatre and circus; Irish theatre; and theatre criticism. She is completing a monograph entitled Making Theatre Global: Robert Lepage’s Original Stage Productions for Manchester University Press, and co-edited Performing the New Europe: Identities, Feelings, and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest (with Milija Gluhovic; Palgrave, 2013).
James Hoffman is professor emeritus of theatre at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. His research specialty is the theatre history and culture of British Columbia. He has recently been examining the relationship between professional theatre companies in small cities (Kamloops, Prince George, Nanaimo) and their communities. His latest publication (2013) is an essay, “Performing Community Action in the Small City: The REDress Project in Kamloops,” in the book, Animation of Public Space through the Arts, Toward More Sustainable Communities (Almedina).
He has co-edited Playing the Pacific Province: An Anthology of British Columbia Plays, 1967-2000 (Playwrights Canada Press), Alan Filewod’s Performing Canada: The Nation Enacted in the Imagined Theatre (TSC Monographs), and edited George Ryga: The Other Plays (Talonbooks) and George Ryga: The Prairie Novels (Talonbooks). A selection of other major publications includes: The Ecstasy of Resistance, A Biography of George Ryga (Toronto: ECW Press, 1995); “Biocritical Essay” in The George Ryga Papers (University of Calgary Press, 1995); “Genre Contention at the New Play Centre,” in Theatre Research in Canada, Vol. 16, Nos. 1-2; “Theatre” entry in The Encyclopedia of British Columbia (Vancouver: Harbour Publishing, 1999); “Subverting Modernisms in British Columbia: Christopher Dafoe at the Vancouver Sun, 1968-1975,” chapter in Establishing Our Boundaries: English Canadian Theatre Criticism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999); and “Shedding the Colonial Past: Rethinking British Columbia Theatre,” in BC Studies 137 (Spring 2003).
He has also written program notes for many plays staged by Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops. He is now living in Victoria where he has donated his collection of British Columbia Theatre History Papers to the University of Victoria Library. His George Ryga Papers have been donated to the University of Calgary Library.
STEPHEN HUNT (CTCA Board Member)
Stephen Hunt was an arts reporter and theatre critic at the Calgary Herald from 2006 to 2016. He is also an adjunct professor in the University of British Columbia’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, where he has taught playwriting in the optional residency program since 2007. Prior to joining the Herald, Stephen freelanced for many outlets, including The Globe and Mail, Los Angeles Times and Saturday Night Magazine.
His one man show, The White Guy, which he wrote and performed, was originally produced by the Public Theatre in New York, and subsequently published in Best American Short Plays 1997-98. Stephen sold the TV rights to Quincy Jones and Warners, later adapting the play into The White Guy: A Field Guide (Douglas & McIntyre). He’s a graduate of UBC’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and also has a BA in Political Science from the University of Winnipeg.
James Karas holds degrees in English literature and law from the University of Toronto. In addition to practising law and extensive community involvement, he has taught at Ryerson University and writes on theatre and opera for The Greek Press and reviews books for Hellenic Way.
Patricia Keeney has been an active and award-winning freelance theatre critic in the Toronto area since the 1980s. Her work has appeared in a variety of newspapers, magazines and journals including the The Toronto Star, Canadian Theatre Review, Canadian Forum, Maclean’s as well as on CBC Radio. She regularly presents papers on theatrical subjects at international conferences and most recently has written the introduction to Linda Griffiths’ Selected Plays for Playwrights Canada Press.
In addition to her criticism, she is also a widely published poet and novelist with translations of her nine volumes of poetry and one novel published in France, Mexico, China, Bulgaria, South Africa and India, among others. A volume of her Selected Poems (Oberon Press) was published with an introduction by the distinguished Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Her poetry in French translation won the Prix Jean Paris in 2003. In 2011 she completed a series of conversations and poems on national culture and personal belief entitled You Bring Me Wings with the Mexican poet Ethel Krauze (Antares Press, 2012). Her newest collection of poems, First Woman, was published this past year by Toronto’s Inanna Press.
In addition to her creative work, she is also a Professor of English and Creative Writing at York University in Toronto, where she offers courses on Canadian Literature, Women in Literature and conducts regular workshops in poetry and other genres, including criticism. In 2012, she won the CTCA’s Nathan Cohen Award for critical writing in the short review category.
Deirdre Kelly holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Toronto. She has written on dance since 1985, starting as the award-winning dance critic for The Globe and Mail and continuing through today as dance correspondent for the Dance Gazette in London, Dance Magazine in New York and as resident dance critic for the Toronto-based arts e-zine, www.criticsatlarge.ca. Since 2001, she has been The Globe and Mail’s Style reporter and interior design columnist, reporting on fashion and lifestyle trends from New York, Paris and Milan. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (2012) and the highly successful memoir, Paris Times Eight (2009), both best-sellers.
A contributor to the International Dictionary of Ballet (St. James Press) and AWOL: Tales for Travel-Inspired Minds (2003), Deirdre has written articles for Marie Claire, Vogue, Elle, Dance, Chatelaine, House & Home, Zoomer, Nuvo, Flare, Fashion, Saturday Night, Style Advisor and Interview magazines, among other publications. In 2014, she won the Nathan Cohen Award for long-form arts criticism. Married with two children, she lives in Toronto and is at work on her next book.
CARLY MAGA (CTCA President)
Carly is currently theatre critic for the Toronto Star, where she shares the post with Karen Fricker. Formerly a staff writer and critic for Torontoist, Carly was also was a contributor, columnist and critic for The Grid. She has covered theatre and music for The Globe and Mail, National Post, Hazlitt, Toronto Standard, The A.V. Club Toronto, OpenFile Toronto, and more.
Carly has attended two Young Critics Workshops with the International Association of Theatre Critics, one in Bucharest, Romania and one in Beijing, China.
Colm Magner has worked in theatre, television and film, both in Canada and the U.S.A., as an actor, director and writer for over 30 years. A graduate of George Brown Theatre School as well as York University with a MFA in Theatre (Directing), Magner has worked at the Shaw Festival and with many of Canada’s preeminent theatre companies, including Da Da Kamera, DNA, Phyzical Theatre Co. and Theatre Columbus. Magner is a member of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada and has performed in all of his own plays, including Smoke, Dark Avenue, Inside Imogene and The Scavenger’s Daughter, which received two critically acclaimed productions in New York. He has taught playwriting, acting and drama at both York University and UPEI. He resides in Prince Edward Island with his wife Margaret, where he continues to teach, write, and serves as the theatre critic for The Guardian, P.E.I.’s largest newspaper.
Sheila Martindale wrote the theatre column for Scene Magazine (London, Ontario) from 1989 to 2007, and for the Lake Erie Beacon (Port Stanley, Ontario) from 2004 to 2008. She has also published one play, eight books of poetry and several hundred articles and reviews in newspapers and magazines in Canada and the U.S.
She was the poetry editor of Canadian Author for 15 years, and the Canadian editor of Bogg (U.S.) for 21 years. Sheila has taught creative writing at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College, as well as business English for 3M and other major Canadian companies, and is in demand as a literary adjudicator and workshop facilitator. Sheila now lives in Victoria, B.C., where she is the editor of Island Writer.
YANA MEERZON (CTCA Board Member)
Yana Meerzon was trained as a professional theatre critic in Moscow at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS). She is a faculty member of the Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa, where she teaches theatre criticism. As a critic, she contributes to the Capital Critics’ Circle, Alt.Theatre and The Theatre Times sites. Her book publications include A Path of the Character: Michael Chekhov’s Inspired Acting and Theatre Semiotics (2005) and Performing Exile – Performing Self: Drama, Theatre, Film (2012).
Marjan Moosavi is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. Her professional work is rounded out with dramaturgy, dramatic translation, project-based arts research, lecturing in various conferences and sessional work as an instructor. She has articles on Iranian dramaturgy and Iranian theatre festivals published in Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy and TDR (The Drama Review). She has recently joined the global editorial team of TheTheatreTimes.com as Regional Managing Editor for Iran. Her current studies focus on Iranian theatre’s interventions in culture and politics.
MARTIN MORROW (CTCA Board Member)
Martin Morrow is a Toronto-based arts journalist and theatre critic, and a two-time winner of the Nathan Cohen Award. Martin began his career in Calgary, where he served as the Calgary Herald’s chief theatre critic from 1988 until 2000, and as the Arts, Books & Lifestyle Editor for Fast Forward, Calgary’s alternative weekly, from 2003 to 2006. He was a regular Western arts contributor to The Globe and Mail from 2000 to 2003; his writing has also appeared in Canadian Theatre Review, Avenue Magazine, the Montreal Gazette and the National Post.
Martin has a particular interest in experimental and avant-garde work and is the author of Wild Theatre: The History of One Yellow Rabbit, published by the Banff Centre Press (2003) and nominated for an Alberta Book Award. In Toronto, Martin has worked as an arts producer for CBC.ca and as a film and theatre columnist for The Grid. Since 2010 he has been The Globe and Mail’s second theatre critic and also is a contributor to Toronto Life, The Stage (U.K.) and other publications.
J. KELLY NESTRUCK
J. Kelly Nestruck is The Globe and Mail’s chief theatre critic.
MALCOLM PAGE (CTCA Board Member)
Malcolm Page is Professor Emeritus of English at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., and a past president of the Association for Canadian Theatre Research. He writes the Vancouver column for the British monthly, Plays International. His essay on Sharon Pollock’s early plays is reprinted in Sharon Pollock, ed. Anne F. Nothof (Guernica, 2000).
His essay, “14 Propositions about Theatre in British Columbia,” first published in Journal of Canadian Studies, was reprinted in Theatre in British Columbia (Playwrights Canada Press, 2006). His article, “New Voices – Canada,” in the Autumn/Winter 2014 issue of Plays International examines the work of eight younger dramatists. He is currently working on a recent history of theatre in Vancouver.
JAMIE PORTMAN (CTCA Board Member)
Jamie Portman has distinguished himself as one of the finest theatre critics in the country. Formerly the chief theatre critic for the Calgary Herald and the national arts correspondent for Southam News (now Postmedia), he is at present an Ottawa-based freelance critic, periodically writing reviews of theatre in Canada and in England for the Capital Critics Circle and Postmedia.
David Prosser spent 14 years with The Whig-Standard in Kingston, Ontario, serving variously as arts writer, theatre critic, entertainment editor, editor of the editorial page and editor of the weekly Whig-Standard Magazine.
During his time at the Whig, he won five Nathan Cohen Awards for theatre criticism, three National Newspaper Awards for critical and editorial writing, and a 1986 Centre for Investigative Journalism Award for a series of stories on five Red Army defectors whom he interviewed in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. He later turned those stories into a book, Out of Afghanistan.
In 1991, he was awarded a Southam Fellowship to study at Massey College at the University of Toronto, and in 1994 he switched careers to join the staff of the Stratford Festival, where he now holds the position of Director of Communications.
He has collaborated on two books marking milestones in the Festival’s history: Fifty Seasons at Stratford in 2002 and Stratford Behind the Scenes in 2012. He also ghost-wrote the memoirs of former artistic director Richard Monette, published in 2007 under the title This Rough Magic.
Don Rubin has been a working theatre critic since the age of 16 when he began writing criticism for Show Business newspaper in New York City while still a student actor at the famed High School of Performing Arts. After obtaining his BA and MA, he worked as a theatre critic for the New Haven (Conn.) Register and in 1968 was invited to become Nathan Cohen’s back-up critic at the Toronto Star. During the 1970s, he worked as CBC Radio’s theatre critic with numerous hosts, including Alex Trebek, and began Canada’s national theatre quarterly, the Canadian Theatre Review during this time. He later began CTR’s active book publishing program and served as editor of the archival series Canada on Stage from 1974 to 1982.
During the 1980s and into the 1990s he served as Executive Editor of UNESCO’s six-volume, $3- million World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre (Routledge). A professor of theatre at Toronto’s York University, his specialty areas include criticism, Canadian theatre and drama, as well as African theatre and drama. Rubin’s essays and theatre criticism have been published in journals, magazines and newspapers worldwide and his volume Canadian Theatre History is a standard volume in the field. A co-founder of the Toronto Drama Bench, he served as President of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association for more than a decade and as a member of the executive of the International Association of Theatre Critics. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the IATC’s webjournal, Critical Stages.
Alvina Ruprecht was the regular theatre reviewer on the CBC Ottawa Morning show from 1981 to 2011. Now, she can be read on the Parisian critics’ website Théâtre du blog and on Scene Changes. She also contributes regularly to the IATC’s web journal Critical Stages. She is Professor Emeritus at Carleton University and currently adjunct professor in the theatre department of the University of Ottawa. She has published in Theatre Research in Canada, Essays in Theatre, Canadian Theatre Review, and the Quebec theatre journals l’Annuaire theatral and Cahiers de theatre Jeu, as well as theatre journals abroad. Her book, Les Theatres francophones et creolophones de la Caraibe, (coll. Univers theatral, Paris l’Harmattan) was published in 2003.
Thanks to a recent SSHRC research grant, Alvina has been able to pursue her research on Francophone theatres in the Indian Ocean, in the South Pacific and in the francophone and creolophone spaces in the Caribbean and South America (Guyana). Her research website is another result of this SSHRC grant. She is currently engaged in a Caribbean theatre repertory project involving the English-, Spanish- and French-speaking countries of the region; she is preparing a book on the theatres of New Caledonia and Tahiti and a second publication on the origins of Guadeloupean theatre.
Her work has appeared in the Calgary Herald, Avenue Magazine Calgary and GetDown.ca. She also posts reviews on her website.
She was a member and lead organizer of the Calgary Theatre Critics Awards.
Ron Singer is the Toronto theatre critic for The AndyGram, a New York-based webmag. He has worked in theatre, film and television as an educator, producer, director, actor and playwright.
He was an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at York University (1973-2002), and was Associate Dean of Fine Arts – Director of the Graduate Program and Chairman of Theatre (1985-88); he is currently a Professor Emeritus at York.
His theatre production and direction credits include work with the National Arts Centre and Stratford Festival, and he also served as Artistic Director of the Randolph Academy of the Performing Arts (1992-2010).
Anton Wagner has edited 10 books on Canadian theatre and drama, including Contemporary Canadian Theatre: New World Visions (1985) and Establishing Our Boundaries: English-Canadian Theatre Criticism (University of Toronto Press, 1999). He was the director of research and managing editor of the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, published by Routledge. Anton has produced and directed over a dozen documentaries on the arts and war and peace issues and has just completed a PhD at York University on former Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Canadian artists.
Jerry Wasserman is professor of English and theatre at the University of British Columbia and editor of the two-volume anthology Modern Canadian Plays (Talonbooks), now in its fifth edition. He has published widely on Canadian drama and theatre, and he co-produced, hosted and wrote Modern Canadian Theatre, a 12-hour television series for B.C.’s Open Learning Agency.
As an actor, Jerry has appeared on many of Vancouver’s professional stages and in more than 200 TV episodes, movies-of-the-week and feature films. He was the theatre critic for CBC Radio One’s The Afternoon Show in Vancouver from 1987 to 2004. He was theatre editor and critic for Vancouver’s Plus magazine, 1988-89, and has freelance reviewed for the Georgia Straight and Shaw TV. Since 2004, Jerry’s criticism has appeared on his website, which has registered over one million visitors, and since 2005 he has been freelance theatre critic for Vancouver’s Province newspaper.
Ric Wellwood was born in Chatham, Ontario and began a 50-year relationship with theatre at the Chatham Little Theatre under the direction of the late theatre designer Jack King. He passed his audition to the National Theatre School in 1962, but was talked out of going by Jean Gascon and Powys Thomas when he informed them he wanted to write plays. Enrolling at Ryerson, he completed his work in radio and television arts while studying drama with Jack McCallister and theatre with Ernest Schwartz. He completed further studies in drama and Shakespeare at Wilfrid Laurier University and film at the University of Western Ontario. While a senior news editor with CKNX Radio and Television in Wingham, he began reviewing the Stratford Festival in 1967, London’s Grand Theatre in 1970 and the Shaw Festival in 1974.
He continued to direct in community theatre and had two plays commissioned by Bernard Hopkins, the Grand’s artistic director. As a performer, he toured Ontario with a one-man show on Stephen Leacock in the 1980s, reprising the role in 2005 at RoyThomson Hall. Ric has won four CanPro Awards in writing and direction for Canadian television drama, and holds gold, silver and bronze medals from the International Radio Festival of New York for commentary and news analysis, sharing the awards podium with Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.