Wexford Performing Arts | Kids on Broadway Staff Bios

ANN MERRIAM

Ann Merriam’s pioneering career has been dedicated to education, artistry, and community for more than 25 years. She is the founding Artistic Director of the auditioned Wexford Performing Arts program at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts. Which hosts more than 200 students across the core disciplines of music, drama, and dance. Graduates of her program study at Juilliard, the Boston Conservatory, NYU, and U of T. As well as, working on the stages of Broadway, Soulpepper, Stratford, Shaw, Mirvish, and beyond. Professionally, her work has been seen at Theatre Passe Muraille, Roy Thompson Hall, Canada’s National Arts Centre, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Recently, Ann’s team and the award winning Wexford Gleeks were the subject of Global TV’s 16×9: The Real Glee, and TVO’s documentary Unsung: Behind the Glee. Ms. Merriam’s students have performed for former U.S presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and for James Earl Jones, and Goldie Hawn. The Wexford Gleeks are regular guests and crowd favourites on CBC’s Sounds of the Season. They have also been featured on CTV’s Canada AM. A recent highlight saw The Wexford Gleeks in an historic collaboration with the Barenaked Ladies on Earth and Commander Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station. The resulting music video has been viewed on YouTube over 1.4 million times. Ms. Merriam holds a Bachelor of Music Education (Western University) and a Masters of Theatre Education (New York University).

HONEY FRID

Dance Specialist – Faculty of Education (U.T.) Dance and The Child I & II (YU.) Teacher – Dance / Music Theatre
Honey Frid began her journey at Wexford Performing Arts as a guest choreographer in 1995. In 1997 a position as resident dance teacher became available. She became a part of the Wexford Performing Arts Team. Honey’s dance experience is extensive and includes training in Jazz Modern, Ballet and Ballroom dancing N.I.A. She is also certified in the Pilates method. Honey received her teacher training through the B.A.T.D and York University’s dance program. She obtained her Dance specialist through the faculty of Education at U of T. Honey has choreographed and taught master classes throughout North America, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Israel. Her choreographic credits include: Minerva folk opera. The Really Little Theatre Company, CFTO Sick Kids Telethon, TSN Sports Celebrity Auction, Mel Lastman’s Inaugural Ball at the Metro Conventions Centre. As well as, several benefits at The Ford Centre for the Performing Arts. She continues to choreograph and train in many areas of movement and in-still in her students her passion and joy for dance. Recently her choreography has been featured in The Fence and Summerland at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

CHARLIE AGATHOCLOUS

Charlie Agathoclous is an alumni of the Music Theatre program at Wexford Performing Arts. He has worked as the Production Manager for the Performing Arts programs for over twenty years. His credits include Blood Ties at the Edinborough Fringe, Summerland, The Fence and Daughters of Feminists at the Toronto Fringe Festival. As well as, another production of Blood Ties at the Next Stage Festival. He has an extensive performance career in Toronto and throughout North America.

BARBARA JOHNSTON

Barbara Johnston is Toronto based performer and a Dora nominated writer and director. Writing credits include – with Anika Johnson: Blood Ties (SummerWorks/Edinburgh Fringe/featured on BBC America’s Orphan Black), and Elly’s Emotions (2015 Dora nominee, Outstanding TYA Production, Outstanding Direction); with Anika Johnson and Suzy Wilde:  Summerland (Toronto Fringe 2015) and The Fence (Toronto Fringe 2016). Performing credits include ‘Vera’ in Doctor Silver (Outside the March), The Fence and Daughters of Feminists (Toronto Fringe, 2015), and principal roles on TV’s Orphan Black and Private Eyes.  Barbara has been seen on stages across North America as ‘Ginger Spice’ in Wannabe: The Spice Girls Tribute Band. Also as ‘Gwen Stefani’ in Spiderwebs: The No Doubt Tribute Band. She has choreographed for Outside the March. Musical directed for Expect Theatre’s Beats and Intentions project. Barbara also works regularly with the award winning Wexford Gleeks (Wexford Performing Arts) and runs a private music studio.

JEFFREY NEWBERRY

With interests and expertise across the arts, Jeffrey Newberry is an artist and educator with a reputation for his energetic and engaging style. At Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, Jeffrey teaches in the Wexford Performing Arts program. He is the music director for award winning Chamber Choir. As well as, nationally recognized GLEEKS, who were the subject of the TVO documentary Unsung: Behind the Glee, and The Real Glee on Global’s 16:9. Jeff coaches performers from Toronto’s professional theatre community for major Canadian and U.S stages. He also serves on the board for the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators.
As music director, Jeff has worked on dozens of theatre productions (Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Stratford Springworks Festival; Summerworks Performance Festival; Toronto Fringe Festival; Children’s Theatre Project).
Recently, Jeff has given workshops for the Hospital for Sick Children, the music teacher candidates at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, and at conferences for arts educator across Ontario.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University [Artist in Community Education], and an Honours Specialist in Vocal Music from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

SEAN MAYES

An active music director, educator, teaching artist and organist from Toronto. Sean Mayes has musically directed in numerous venues in Canada and the United Kingdom. Recent work internationally includes time with the UK Tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As well as, work on the one-hour adaptation of a recent West End musical.

As an educator, Sean has enjoyed teaching in numerous schools. He has taught to students of all ages through the disciplines of music, drama & theatre arts. Sean holds an MA from the UK in Creative Practice & Music Direction. As well as, degrees in both Music & Education from McGill University in Montreal.

In academia, recent engagements include presentations at the April 2016 Forum on Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt in New York City, and at the International Conference on Sources in Musical Theatre in Sheffield, UK.

ANIKA JOHNSON

Anika Johnson is a Toronto based writer and performer. Performing credits include seasons with the Stratford Festival and Drayton Entertainment and international touring with CORPUS Dance Projects. Writing credits include – with her sister Britta Johnson: Brantwood (Sheridan College; Audience Choice Dora winner) and Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang (YPT; 2016 Dora nominee, best new musical); with Barbara Johnston: Elly’s Emotions (2015 Dora nominee, best TYA production) and The Emperor of Bananaland (commissioned by the Randolph Academy); with Barbara Johnston and Suzy Wilde: Summerland (2015 Toronto Fringe), and The Fence (2016 Toronto Fringe). Upcoming projects include a site-specific electro-cult- musical that she and Britta are developing for Outside the March, and a new commission with Barb for the Randolph Academy. Anika also works as a guest artist at Wexford School for the Arts,  Wexford Performing Arts. She also appears across North America as Sporty Spice in Wannabe: The Spice Girls Tribute Band.

VALERIE STANOIS

A Wexford Performing Arts Alumni, Valerie is an accomplished and award winning singer, dancer, actor, choreographer, director and teacher. She redefines the term “Triple Threat”. Valerie starred as “Oz”, the rocker rebel in the Mirvish production of “We Will Rock You”. Also, she was Dance Captain/Swing in both Broadway and Toronto companies of ‘Rock of Ages’. Other credits: Hello Dolly and Into the Woods (Stratford Festival), Dance Captain/Swing in Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas Tale, Brook Wyndham in Legally Blonde, and Rizzo in Grease. In 2014 she co-founded, her triple-threat vocal group, SONIC EVE who perform world-wide and headline onboard many cruise lines and for corporate events. Choreography credits include: Canadian National Show Choir Champions Wexford Gleeks, Jays Care Curve Ball Gala 2016, Canadian International Auto Show, General Motors, Warner Brothers, RBC, Universal Recording artist Suzie McNeil’s live shows, Mandell Entertainment and The Marilyn Denis Show. She is extremely proud to be a part of the creative team at WPA.

NICKO GIANNAKOS

Nicko was born in Montreal, where he studied at Quebec’s Ecole Superieure de Ballets. This led to him dancing with the National Folkloric Dance Company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and The National Ballet of Canada. At 23 he made the switch to commercial theatre and never looked back! While living in Montreal he worked in such hit shows as Cinemashow, with which he toured the U.S. He explored Beirut with a tour of Dalida, une vie and sang back up for Seven Senses at the famed Rock Bottom, Dubai. While performing internationally, Nicko still found the time to choreograph for french television shows on Radio Canada. He then moved to Toronto to perform in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings on stage at the Princess of Whales Theatre. In Toronto Nicko has been the activation supervisor for multiple corporate events and guerilla marketing campaigns as well as choreographer for industrial shows and corporate functions. All the while continuing to perform with every major theatre company in the country. Including: The Vancouver Opera, Theatre Calgary, The Manitoba Theatre Centre and The Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

MATT O’CONNOR

Originally from Barrie, Ontario, now based out of Toronto, Matt is a graduate of the BFA acting conservatory program from the Ryerson Theatre School. Selected theatre credits include: Sense and Sensibility (Citadel Theatre) West Side Story (Citadel Theatre), Evangeline (Charlottetown Confederation Centre/Citadel Theatre co-production), Summerland (Toronto Fringe), Elly’s Emotions (Theatre Collingwood) Corpus Dance Projects (international touring), They All Do It (Odyssey Theatre), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre by the Bay). Film and television credits include Murdoch Mysteries, Country Crush, The Carmilla Series, Golden Teachers, Lawmen, The Door, Ozion, Paranormal Witness, and See No Evil.

MATT BERNARD

Matt Bernard is a Director and Playwright living in Toronto. He is a founding member of Bain and Bernard comedy troupe. Matt is a graduate of the Musical theatre program at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts. Co-founder of Bain and Bernard comedy whose body of work includes vaudevillian styled sketch comedy, street performance, and drastic comedic overhauls of Shakespearean plays. Recent Writing and Directing credits include Romeo and Juliet Chainsaw Massacre (Toronto Fringe Festival) and Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Hamlet (St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival Sunday Series, Advice to the Players N.H.)
www.bainandbernard.com

SHANNON HAMILTON

Shannon Hamilton is a voice, theatre and television actress working in Toronto and Montreal. She appears every morning on Kids CBC in their show The Moblees and has toured across Canada working with their live show. Shannon lends her voice regularly to YTV’s Beyraiderz and the Sprout Network’s Kody Kapow. Shannon went through the performing arts program at Wexford and after completing a Theatre degree for Concordia University, returned to work on their production team. At Wexford Shannon works as production manager, stage manager, costume supervisor and as the production manager for the award winning Wexford Gleeks. She has also worked for Montreal’s Geordie Theatre School, Kells Academy and the City of Toronto. Recent theatre credits include The Ladies Foursome (Hudson Village Theatre), Summerland (Toronto Fringe), Faust (Scapegoat Carnival) and Oroonoko (Persephone Productions).

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