Instructor Bios - School Workshops
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Maureen is a theatre artist and educator. As a teacher, she has worked for Canada’s National Ballet School, The Halton District School Board, the Living Arts Centre and the Stratford Festival, to name a few. Maureen primarily makes her living as a stage manager, focusing primarily on mentorship and community based projects. Recent theatre work includes Talk is Free’s immersive, outdoor, roving production of The Music Man, The National Ballet of Canada’s YOUdance: Regent Park Project, and COSI’s (Center for Opera Studies in Italy) La Calisto. Maureen is also one of the resident concert managers for Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and has worked for over 15 years as head chaperon for the more than 200 students involved in James Kudelka’s The Nutcracker. She initially trained in drama and film studies at McMaster University, and also has a B.Ed. from O.I.S.E. and studied opera stage management at the Banff Centre.
Naomi Chorney is a versatile Toronto-based Multi-disciplinary artist. Originally trained in classical dance, she studied the Russian Imperial method with Diana Jablokova Vorps expanding into different dance forms and performing professionally in Contemporary, Jazz and Baroque styles. She now maintains an active visual arts practice, working in the mediums of sculpture, printmaking and drawing. Naomi is a co-founder of the now defunct Studio 401 artist collective in Toronto’s Distillery District, which operated from 2003 to 2006 and featured yearly group shows and open houses. Continuing with figurative clay and plaster work, Naomi has also explored cast paper pieces since 2009. She has been a member of the Al Green Sculpture Studio since 2012. Her work has been widely exhibited in the Toronto area since 2003. Outside of her personal practice, Naomi shares her experience and knowledge of multiple art forms with children and adults by facilitating workshops and classes in dance, visual art and drama in both English and French.
Rick graduated from Brock University with a B.A. in Theatre. It was through theatre that Rick cultivated an interest in drumming and percussion. Over the last twenty years Rick has performed for the National Ballet of Canada, the Just for Laughs festival, Cirque du Soleil opening night gala, the grand reopening of the AGO, and the Hudson Bay Companies annual meeting where his group involved all 1,500 people in an interactive celebration where each person played an instrument. He has facilitated his ‘Magic of Rhythm’ workshop for The Walt Disney Corporation in New York and L.A., BMG (British Music Group), The Living Arts Centre World Rhythms workshop series, The Royal Conservatory of Music, the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club, Humber College’s Aboriginal Camp, as well as 4,000 displaced children throughout war torn Bosnia. He has released three musical recordings; Magic, Circle and The Rhythm of the Drum. Rick is also an accomplished drum maker making drums from a variety of cultures.
Andrew Gaboury’s roots lie in collective creation and playwriting while, in recent years, they have spread to include community engagement in the arts and physical performance (specifically clown and contemporary dance). His work focuses on performer/audience intimacy, durational improvisation, myth and story. Andrew produces work with his company, a field of crowns, as a member of the [elephants] collective, and is one of three co-Artistic Directors of studio and self-sustaining performance incubator hub14 in Toronto. He has taught theatre arts classes out of studios, Toronto District school classrooms, York University, at artist residencies and various day camps. He is an alumni of both the Creative Ensemble (now Devised Theatre) and Playwriting streams at York University and continues his education whenever he can by studying with current industry leaders.
Born and raised in Quebec City, Suzanne moved to Ontario to learn English and pursue her studies. She is a graduate from Queen’s University in Translation, and from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Painting and Drawing. Her work focuses on drawing, painting and collage. She has collaborated with film, theatre and installation artists, designing, constructing and painting sets. In the field of education, she has acquired experience by teaching French as a second language and acrylic painting to students of different background, age groups and needs. She lives and works in Toronto.
Katherine Laird is a certified, bilingual Ontario teacher and has taught youth for many years in both the Peel and Halton districts. With an education in Visual Arts, Art History and French Cultural Studies, she has cultivated a keen sense of aesthetic and design throughout the ages. Her love of both art history, as well as science and speculative fiction, is reflected in her own artistic practices and private clothing label WallacePlayford.
Wendy Heagney-Bakewell is an Artist & Art Instructor whose desire to draw and paint began as a child in her Ottawa Valley hometown. She earned an Honours BFA from the University of Toronto/Sheridan College Art & Art History program and an MFA from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Her illustrative paintings have been included in various group exhibitions, most recently at the Graven Feather Gallery (Toronto) & A Square Affair at 13th Street Winery (St. Catharines, ON). Through her business Tiny Brushstrokes; she specializes in custom paintings & creative products for children as well as the Tiny Art Box, a subscription based art experience for early childhood. As an Art Instructor, she has connected children with art-making through summer camp, after-school and recreational art programs in Victoria, Toronto & Mississauga. In addition to instructing at the Living Arts Centre, Wendy is also a Preschool Instructor for the City of Mississauga Recreation Programs.
Carolyne Topdjian is an artist, writer, and educator whose work explores existential issues of aesthetics, consciousness, and identity. She studied painting and drawing at York University and received her MA in Gender Studies from the University of Warwick, followed by her PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University. She has since gone on to practice and publish on art, as well as develop visual art programs for youth and adults at various institutions in the Toronto area. In addition to teaching at the Living Arts Centre, Topdjian is the program lead of the Visual Arts Certificate in Continuing Education at Humber College.