Jessica Anne Nelson, Co-Director and Co-Producer.
Jessica is an award-winning theatre director, creator, producer, and intimacy director, living and working on the stolen, occupied, and traditional homelands of the Coast Salish peoples; the xwməθkwəyə (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), ̓Səlílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓ ic̓ əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ wɑ:n̓ ƛən̓ (Kwantlen), and Semiahma (Semiahmoo) Nations. Jessica sets the bar for creating respectful, caring, and imaginative spaces for artists to play and explore in her gripping and provocative productions. Her intimacy direction centers on the principles of creating consent based and trauma informed work and has trained with the National Society of Intimacy Professionals (Canada) and Theatrical Intimacy Education (USA). With her MFA in Directing (UBC), and many years of experience in devising, creation-based techniques, and community collaborations, her work focuses on stories that shine a light on stereotypically negative or dark characters and stories, while also striving for social change. Jessica is praised as being one of the most kind- and open-hearted directors’ actors have had the pleasure to work with. Her positivity, enthusiasm and supportive nature enables her actors and artists to succeed, whatever is being asked of them. She has been honoured with the Sydney J. Risk Award in Directing, Yvonne Firkins Prize, John Brockington Scholarship in Theatre (UBC) and was an inaugural recipient of the Bill Millerd Artist Fund (Arts Club Theatre). Some of her favourite past productions include In Camera (Realwheels Theatre, Intimacy Director, 2022), Something Rotten! & We Will Rock You (Theatre Under the Stars, Intimacy Director, 2022), Cipher (Arts Club Theatre Company & Vertigo Theatre, Assistant Director and Co-Intimacy Director, 2020 & 2022) Romance, Relationships & Rights (Anvil Centre, 2019), Consensual (Peninsula Productions, 2018), The Crucible (2018), girls!girls!girls! (2017) (Theatre@UBC), Othello (Bard on the Beach, Apprentice Director, 2016), The Competition is Fierce (ITSAZOO, Assistant Director, 2015), and Ithaka (2016), AFTER (2014), and Meanwhile (2013) (Excavation Theatre). Reach Jessica at www.jessicaannenelson.com and explore her past productions, education, testimonials, and learn more about her and her current work.
Leyton Schnellert, Co-Director & Co-Producer.
Associate Professor, UBC Faculty of Education Inclusive Education Research Lead, Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship. Dr. Leyton Schnellert’s community-engaged research contributes a counter-argument to normative approaches that operate from deficit models, instead drawing from communities’ funds of knowledge and identity to build inclusive practices. Dr. Schnellert is the inclusive education research lead for the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship and the pedagogy and participation research cluster lead in UBC’s Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER). Dr Schnellert conducts and teaches qualitative research methods including arts-based methodologies. He has extensive theatre creation experience, in particular, facilitating devised theatre, community-based theatre, and theatre for social justice.
Jordy Matheson, Co-Director & Assistant Stage Manager.
Jordy is a performer, writer, improviser, and educator. He is a graduate of the acting program at Douglas College, and a UBC graduate with a BA Major in Theatre Studies and Minor in History. He has had plays presented independently as well as through LEAP and the Pull Festival. With Zee Zee Theatre he has produced Human Library and Virtual Humanity. He is also an active member of the Vancouver improv community, performing with QueerProv, Instant Theatre, Little Mountain Improv, Uncle Janes and others. He has taught acting for the City of Delta since 2014, and the City of Surrey since 2019. He has a shirt with sloths on it, which he likes to wear when making up silly dances.
Rachel Brew, Stage Manager
Rachel is a Stage Manager, Technician and Artist currently working and living in Vancouver. Since arriving in Vancouver from the UK in 2021, Rachel has worked in many differing roles in both film and theatre. Film credits include working with Warner Brothers, Apple TV, and Netflix. Selected theatre credits include 90 Days (Western Gold Theatre), Ominous Sounds at the River Crossing (Touchstone Theatre), New Societies (Rumble Theatre), Catalina La O: Now With Me (Queer Arts Festival). Rachel also has experience working in the UK at Sheffield Theatres, Only Lucky Dogs, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and others. Working and learning in Vancouver has been a fresh and exciting step in her career.
Jack Goodison, Sound Designer. Jack is a Sound Designer and Composer who originates from the UK. He works to create an atmosphere that immerses the audience into the world of the show, letting them escape reality and lose themselves in theatre. He has worked all across the UK and now designs on the ancestral and stolen lands of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh nations. In Canada, Jack has has held TD/design roles with a variety of companies such as: Rumble Theatre, Neworld Theatre, Massey Theatre, Touchstone Productions, Jeb Beach Productions and the South Asian Arts Society amongst others.
Cherice Leung, Costume Designer.
Cherise is delighted to make her debut as a costume designer for We Deserve to Work and is incredibly excited to be a part of this project. She is currently in the Bachelor of Education program at UBC and is on her way to becoming a secondary school drama teacher.
Kimira Reddy, Set/Props/Projection Designer.
Kimira is an accomplished Artist gratefully creating and practicing her art on the unceded Coast Salish Territories. As an award-winning Set Designer, you can see her work on theatre stages around BC. She is also the Communications Director of Raven Spirit Dance. By combining her creative imagination and technical expertise, Kimira brings artists’ visions into the innovative world of virtual reality. Originally from sunny South Africa, she holds an MFA in Design from UBC. Credits: Featured artist for Indian Summer Festival. VR Technician for Uninterrupted (Canada Wild Arts Society). Set Design for Catalina La O (JKJK), Himmat (Theatre Conspiracy), Peace Country (Rice & Beans Theatre); Men Express Their Feelings (Zee Zee Theatre), Ominous Sound at the River Crossing (Touchstone Theatre); In Response to Alabama (Little Thief Theatre); we the same (Ruby Slippers); Like It Or Not (Greenthumb Theatre); Zoning Out (Blackout Theater); No Child (The Arts Club). Props for Foolish Operations.
Jamie Sweeney, Lighting Designer. Jamie is a Canadian, Vancouver-based, theatre collaborator living on the unceded traditional territories of the hən̓ q̓ əmin̓ əm and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim speaking peoples. She is a lighting designer, a performer, a technical director, a deviser, a creator, and an artist. She is passionate about accessibility in theatre both on and off the stage and is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work on this project that aligns well with these ideals.
INCLUSON SUPPORT FACILITATORS
Belinda Chi, Inclusion Facilitator. Belinda is a PhD Student, UBC Faculty of Education and a Program Consultant – Learning Lead with the Burnaby School District who has an M.Ed. in Educational Practice. She has a background as an elementary school teacher and has worked in teacher education at Simon Fraser University. She is currently a PhD student in the Faculty of Education: Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. She is passionate about social justice and inclusion, critical literacy, and building community through personal narratives.
Marcela Herrera, Inclusion Facilitator. Marcella is a Director of Program at the Community Living Society. Marcella has been working with the CLS since April, 1996. She began her career in North Vancouver’s vocational services, then then worked in residential services where she was the Coordinator at two locations. Marcela has been part of several committees in her time with CLS, including the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, where she served as Co-Chair for 4 years. In 2016 she became certified as a Mandt instructor and now teaches CLS employees in this technique. Marcela was appointed Director of Programs in December, 2017. Her passion for community inclusion and person-centred support is always in the forefront of her work.
Heather Jones, Inclusion Facilitator. Heather is a Director of Programs at the Community Living Society. She has a varied employment background that has spanned across the provinces of Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia. This includes 11 years in a management level position mainly focused on providing support to those with diverse abilities and cultural backgrounds. Her areas of experience include Alzheimer and dementia care, HR management, training of staff members in best practices, NVCI, leadership development and abuse protocol and ensuring standards of care are continually met. Heather is passionate about her career in Human Services and utilizes a person-centered approach. She is committed to supporting and encouraging individuals and their families to reach their full potential within their communities. On a personal level Heather enjoys hiking, sailing, travelling, and exploring and giving back to communities both near and far. Through her travels around the world, she has participated in a fundraising trip with Outward Bound Canada to Everest Base camp and mission trips to in Mexico where she worked to help build an orphanage.
Max Sumner, Inclusion Facilitator. Max is a Director of Programs at the Community Living Society. He started with the Community Living Society in July, 2000 at the Surrey Access Centre. From 2000 to 2015 he worked in both homes and vocational services as a Community Living Counsellor, Assistant Coordinator, Coordinator, and the Vocational Revitalization Lead. As well he served on a few committees: Liaison, Joint Occupational Health and Safety, Resolving our Differences, and the Employee Representative Committee. Having now completed the vocational revitalization project, Max has moved into Director of Programs role overseeing all day supports. Max has also helped develop and teach goals and goal setting to Coordinators and staff, he teaches Person Centred Active Support (or Active Support) development and training, and is a facilitator for Way of Thinking – days 1 and 4.