Resident Artists

Andre Sills

Andre’s theatre credits include Kim’s Convenience (Soulpepper Canadian Tour), Shakespeare’s Nigga, Ruined (Obsidian), Intimate Apparel (ATP), You Can’t Take It With You, Home (Soulpepper), Cruel & Tender (Canadian Stage), Courageous (New Stages), Out At Sea (ARC), Richard III (Hart House Theatre), Taming Of The Shrew & As You Like It (Theatre By The Bay), A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream (Shakespeare In Action), The Overwhelming (Studio 180), Othello & Radio Golf (St.Louis Black Rep), Much Ado About Nothing (Canadian Stage).

Selected film & TV includes Baby Brain, Sensitivity Training II, Battlers, Till Dawn, XIII, Sensitivity Training, Rookie Blue, Insecurity, Good Dog, Dan For Mayor, I Kill Monsters, A Kindness, Unlucky.

He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Intimate Apparel from Calgary’s Betty Awards, and was nominated by as Best Actor for his work in Richard III. Andre spent four seasons at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival and attended the Birmingham Conservatory under David Latham. He is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School.

Aviva Armour-Ostroff

Aviva works in Toronto as an actor, director, writer and producer.

Most recently, Aviva appeared in VideoCabaret’s The Great War, where the cast won a Dora Award for Best Ensemble. Prior to that, Aviva appeared as Berta in Hedda Gabler (Necessary Angel/Canadian Stage) and as Virginia in Age of Arousal (Factory Theatre). She was nominated for a Dora Award for her performance in ARC’s production of Moment.

Other acting credits include He Left Quietly, winner of the SummerWorks Best Production Award, Annie Sullivan in Western Canada Theatre’s The Miracle Worker, and Layne Coleman’s film, The Shape of Rex.

Aviva was the founder and Artistic Director of The Lab Cab Festival and just finished producing and associate directing the film adaptation of Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy ( She is continuing to work on her first play Lune and is grateful to you for coming to the theatre.

Bahareh Yaraghi

Bahareh is a Toronto based performer and a five-time Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee (Individual & Ensemble). She was most recently seen at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival this season in the Canadian English premiere of The Aeneid.

Other recent credits: The Death of the King (ModernTimes/Theatre Centre), Le Placard (Theatre Français de Toronto), Blood Wedding (Modern Times/Aluna), Her2(Nightwood), Moment (ARC), Minotaur (YPT), Les Zinspirés (Theatre Francais de Toronto), Bea (ARC), The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary/Citadel), Prisoner of Tehran(TPM), Hallaj (Modern Times).

Upcoming productions include: Unholy (Nightwood), Kiss (ARC/Theatre Smash/Canadian Stage), and the remount of the multi-award winning Blood Wedding (Modern Times/Aluna).

Bahareh is a graduate of Humber Theatre, holds a BA from McGill University, and is a resident artist of ARC.

Carlos González-Vío

Carlos’s work has taken him from Toronto to Buenos Aires, Prague, Havana and Bogotá.
With a strange stint south of St. Louis somewhere in there. So strange, some places.

Stage credits include The Oak Room (Fracas Theatre), Geography of a Horse Dreamer (Red One Theatre Collective), Hallaj (Modern Times Stage Company), Elora Gorge (The Room), La Comunión, Nohayquiensepa (Aluna Theatre), Agamemnon (Theatre Cipher), Crave (Nightwood Theatre), Endings (PassBo Dance).

Screen credits include Played, The Mortal Instruments, Cracked, Nikita, XIII, Alphas, The Bridge, The Listener, Flashpoint, Pinkville, The Incredible Hulk, Max Payne and The Punisher.
That’s actually pretty much all of it. Well, not all of it. But you know what I mean.

More recent interests and developments include translation.
Being bilingual English-Spanish, something was piqued. Stay tuned.

Christopher Stanton

Chris’s stage work has taken him across Canada to Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Montreal – and internationally to New York, Bogotà, Munich, Brisbane, Dublin, and Vienna. His theatre practice is exceptionally wide-ranging, with the roles he undertakes spanning from director, to performer, writer, sound designer, and composer. He often wears many of these hats for the same project. (Maybe too many hats. Maybe too often. But he’s learning.)

Before taking the lead at ARC, Chris had a hand in running award-winning companies The Room, and UnSpun Theatre – where he developed a name for himself at the forefront of Toronto’s independant scene.

His work is mostly known for its mystery, its humour, its rhythm, and its imaginative staging. He believes that making theatre is a collaborative process, at that it is at its best when it is the product of collision and confluence – of many diverse voices in one room converging on a singular shared creation.

Christopher Stanton has been the Artistic Producer of ARC since 2013.

Deborah Drakeford

Deb has worked across the country from Kamloops BC to PEI.

She has been on the Artistic Committee for ARC since 2006 and has performed Moment, Bea (Dora nominations), The City, A Kind of Alaska as well as numerous staged readings and now is very excited about Pomona.

She has also worked with Soulpepper Theatre in Marat/Sade, Happy Place, (Dora nominations), Blood Wedding, Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and Waiting for the Parade.

Other favourite shows include The Dining Room (Down n Out Theatre, Dora nomination), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Importance of Being Earnest (The Grand Theatre, London), The Laramie Project (Studio 180), Sibs (Marquis Entertainment), Rabbit Hole, Same Time Next Year(Sudbury Theatre Company), This is How We Got Here (Summerworks), among many others. Favourite film and television gigs include the David Cronenberg film A History of Violence and Cracked for CBC.

Deb also holds a BEd and teaches across the GTA.

Jackie Chau

Jackie has worked as a set and costume designer in Montreal, Chicago and Toronto, and her work has toured internationally. She has taught set and costume design in the US, and studied theatre design at Concordia (Montreal) and Northwestern (Chicago). In addition, she is a production designer and art director for film and television. Selected Toronto theatre design credits include: Sexy Laundry (Theatre Aquarius) Annie Mae’s Movement, The Place Between, Salt Baby, Almighty Voice and His Wife, Giiwedin, Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, From Thine Eyes (NEPA), Antigone Insurgency, Someone is Going to Come, Talking Masks, Like the First Time, Charge of the Expormidable Moose (One Little Goat), Gas Girls (New Harlem Productions), The Making Of St. Jerome (eastBOUND Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (TD Dream in High Park/Canadian Stage), Zadie’s Shoes (Factory Theatre), Brown Balls (Fu-Gen). Jackie was named in NOW magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009, and has received 4 Dora nominations for outstanding set design.

Joelysa Pankanea

Cemented in Canadian theatre history as one of the youngest theatre composers and musical directors, Joelysa’s original scores have been celebrated across theatres in Western Canada since she began her composing career at the age of 21. A talented composer and musical director, her versatile abilities have taken her into the worlds of theatre, film, animation, and more recently, writing her own shows. In the realm of theatre, Joelysa is well known for her inimitable whimsical and haunting scores, as well as the ability to compose a wide array of musical styles. As one of the most sought after musical directors in her field, Joelysa has musical directed casts of 5-150 members. Her extensive body of work has earned her multiple awards and nominations, and she continues her dedication to preserving original and live music on the theatre stage. Please visit to learn more about Joelysa or to hear her music.

Liza Balkan

Liza is an actor, director, writer, librettist, educator and coach who has spent the past 35 years working in the theatre.

Liza joined ARC in 2015. Pomona marks her first show with the company.

Liza’s work as an actor and/or dancer has included productions at the National Arts Centre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre Rusticle, Belfry Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, PTE, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Persephone Theatre, Blyth Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Elgin /Winter Garden, Thousand Islands Playhouse, The Kennedy Centre, Wash. DC and Theatre for the New City (NYC).

Recent tv/films credits include Atom Egoyan’s Remember, The Expanse and the upcoming sequel to The Kennedys:  After Camelot.   She received a Dora Award for her performance in Theresa Tova’s Still the Night (Theatre Passe Muraille/Tapestry/Tova Ent)  as we well as a nomination for Calgary’s Betty Mitchell Award during its subsequent cross Canada tour.

Her most recent directing work includes the Canadian Premiere of composer Louis Andriessen’s Anais Nin, at Koerner Hall in Toronto, starring mezzo – soprano Wallis Guinta, Dean Burry’s The Brothers Grimm for the Canadian Opera Company,

Mark Crawford’s Stag and Doe (Lighthouse Festival Theatre) Xavier Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas and Lucio Berio’s Folk Songs for The Royal Conservatory of Music/ Glenn Gould School, Bicycle Opera Project’s 2014 and 2015 summer tours as well as staging consultant for their performances at The 2016 Curiosity Festival.  She is director and dramaturge on Izad Etemadi’s hit solo show Love with Leila.

Liza has been a resident artist at The Theatre Centre.  There, she developed her documentary project Out the Window, about policing, accountability, use of force, mental health, witnessing and the law.  It played to sold out houses during its short run in 2012 and starred RH Thomson, David Ferry and Julie Tepperman.

Her work as a librettist includes the song cycle Looking at Spring, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, composed by Lembit Beecher and produced by Scrag Mountain Music in Vermont in June 2014. With composer Glenn James she created Dustings for Canadianstage’s Festival of Ideas and Creations. A short work she created with composer Ivan Barbotin, (What Rhymeswith) Azimuth, was included in Bicycle Opera’s 2014 tour. She also penned two songs on Barbotin’s  recent  album: Atom. She is presently developing a new work with Lembit, inspired by the Out The Window project. One of its songs will be performed in February in the upcoming Five Borough Song Book Festival in New York City.

Nick Blais

Nick Blais is a scenographer currently working across Canada, and specializing in set, costume, and lighting design.  In addition to being a Resident Artist with ARC, he is also a Board Member for the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) since 2013, and resident designer for Toronto-based theatre company Outside the March.  Nick devotes his design efforts, in collaboration with equally passionate artists, to bringing emotive and transformative visuals to life through the never-ending experimentation and exploration of creative risk. Recipient of Toronto Theatre Critics Award 2012-13 for Best Design (Terminus); 2014 My Theatre Award Toronto: Best Design (New Jerusalem); Betty Mitchell Award 2012 – nominated for Set Design (A Steady Rain); and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award 2014 (nominated for Set Design for East of Berlin) and 2015 (nominated for Set Design for The Laws of Thermodynamics).

Other select credits include: Moment (ARC); TerminusMr. Burns (Outside the March); Brantwood, Merrily We Roll Along (Theatre Sheridan); All Shook UpMuch Ado About Nothing (Globe Theatre); Madama Butterfly, Magic Flute (Saskatoon Opera); Prince of Homburg, I ClaudiaThe Last of Romeo and Juliet, The Sneeze (Talk is Free); East of Berlin (East/West Collective); New Jerusalem (Harold Green); Don Giovanni, L’Elisir D’Amore, Fiddler on the Roof, Alcina (Opera Nuova); Les Pecheurs De Perles (Opera Hamilton); The Laws of Thermodynamics (Theatre YES).

Ryan Hollyman

Ryan Hollyman is an award winning actor and writer based in Toronto with his wife, actress and choreographer Monica Dottor, and son Arlo James.

Selected stage includes Helen Lawrence (Canadian Stage/Münchner Kammerspiele/Edinburgh Fringe), Possible Worlds (BeMe/TIFT), Warhorse (Mirvish Production, Toronto), Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter (Canadian Stage, Toronto), The Overcoat (Barbican Theatre in London’s West End and International tour), Our Class (Studio 180, Toronto), Romeo and Juliet (Minack Theatre in Cornwall England).

Selected screen includes The Shape of Rex (Factoria Films), Othello, The Republic of Doyle, Unlocked(CBC), Flashpoint (CBS/CTV), Degrassi, The Dealership (GLOBAL), The Winning Season (TNT).

Radio: Sgt. Mike D’Olivera on Afghanada (CBC Radio 1), voice of ‘Snap’ for Rice Krispies commercials (Radio and TV).

Ryan is a two-time TFC (best actor) award winner, a Les Masques (best ensemble) award winner, and a three-time Dora Mavor Moore (best actor) award nominee.

Tamara Vuckovic

Tamara is a Toronto-based Stage Manager who received her BFA in Performance Production from the Ryerson Theatre School. She has been an ARC Resident Artist since 2014. She is also the resident Stage Manager for Off Centre Music Salon. Selected Stage Management credits include: Moment (ARC); The Love Crimes of Frances Lark (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre); Brilliant Traces (Tango Soul); Little Death (The Theatre Centre); Hairspray (LOT); Melancholy Play (The Empty Room); Macbeth (Sterling Theatre Company); True (Criminal Theatre); Tragedy: A Tragedy (SummerWorks Festival); Queer Bathroom Stories (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre); Old Love (Sirius Theatrical); Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Sterling Studio Theatre); The Dreamer Examines His Pillow (JR Theatre Company); Journey’s End (The Empty Room); The Biographer (Tango Co.); The Bundle (Edward Bond Festival).

Tamara is also an emerging Director. She was one of this year’s recipients of Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program Grants, and made her directorial debut with George F. Walker’s Suburban Motel. Assistant Directing credits include: The Memo (Thought For Food); Boyfriends (Toronto Fringe Festival); Unity 1918 and The Girls Who Saw Everything (Ryerson Theatre School).