The Company

Meet Our Creative Team

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Jacquie Thomas – Artistic Director

In addition to her role as founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Gargantua, Jacquie has served Gargantua as an actor, director, producer, composer, choreographer, dramaturge and writer, earning 11 Dora nominations for her artistic contributions to the company.

Other selected credits include the Ossetynski Actors Lab in Los Angeles, Roy Hart Theatre in France, The National Theatre of Greece and the Gardzienice Theatre Association of Poland. Jacquie was awarded a Harold Award for contributions to Toronto’s independent theatre community, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for contributions to Canadian Culture and Community.

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Michael Spence – Associate Artistic Director

Michael Spence is Associate Artistic Director and an award-winning, long-standing member of Theatre Gargantua’s creative team. He has been involved in all of TG’s productions, appearing in all major Cycles and writing or designing for many of the company’s noted works. His script for The Exit Room was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and he won the award twice for Outstanding Set Designs. He has received a total of ten Dora nominations for his work with the company, winning four.

Michael is a recipient of a Harold Award, a distinguished honour for members of the Toronto independent theatre community. He is also an accomplished musician and singer-songwriter. He directed the first SideStream Cycle, Shrapnel, which represented his directorial debut with the company.

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Yolanda Ferrato – Producer

Previous to working with Theatre Gargantua, Yolanda was based in London, UK where she worked on the UK premiers of several Canadian works including Scorched (assistant director, The Old Vic & Dialogue Productions), The Ventriloquist (director) and Porcupine (translator & director-staged reading) both with the London Quebec Culture Festival for whom she was an artistic associate. Yolanda has an MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of Essex, and a BFA in Acting from the University of Windsor. She has also studied at the GITIS institute in Moscow and is a contributing author of New Dramaturgies: International Perspectives on Theory and Practice, recently published by Methuen Drama.

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Joel Benson – Core Member

A Toronto-based actor for 16 years, he has performed and created with Mirvish, Seventh Stage, Parahumans Dance Theatre, Canadia dell-arts, Lost Carnival, Summerworks, Stage West, and Native Earth. He has been a core member of Theatre Gargantua for the past 14 years, having co-created and performed multiple incarnations of 7 creation cycles. Across Canada, he’s played with Repercussion and Youtheatre (Montreal), Shakespeare by the Sea (Halifax), Theatre Network and Fringe (Edmonton), PrimeStock and Centre Stage (Red Deer), and Stuck in a Snowbank (Yellowknife).

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Diane Niec – Core Member

Diane Niec has been a core member of Theatre Gargantua since 1998.  She has participated in the creation of and performed in Raging Dreams, love not love, THE EXIT ROOM, Phantom Limb and Edentity.  Diane has also toured with the company to Portland, Montreal and the UK.  Once on tour she was able to collaborate on the creation of workshops for University students which is close to her second passion, teaching Pilates.  Currently Diane assists in professional development master classes which are held yearly by Theatre Gargantua.  Diane holds a BFA in Musical Theatre, a Bachelor of Education Degree and a Full Certification in Stott Pilates.  She also sings and performs with Univox,  a local Toronto choir.  When not performing you can find her teaching Pilates at the Urban Athlete.

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Erica Buss – Founding Core Member

An original member of Theatre Gargantua, Erica spent 14 years with the company as a performer and on occasion as  producer, costume and music designer. Her travels with TG include a research trip to France during the development of The Templar Project: The Trials. As a performer she was part of the creation teams for the company’s first 6 cycles of work. She has toured with Gargantua in Ontario, Montreal, the U.S., England and  Wales. Her work on initiating the company’s youth outreach and workshop program sparked her interest in education. In 2006 Erica began her pursuit of a teaching career. After receiving her B. of Ed. from the University of Queen’s Artist in the Community Program, Erica set out to ‘spread the love’ of theatre and art making. She has been directing and teaching young people in the secondary school system since, and currently teaches at Mayfield SS’ Regional Arts Program.

Contributing Artists

Theatre Gargantua develops each new cycle of work with an ensemble of artists through various workshops. The following artists have worked with the company throughout the years in many different capacities including: performing, production designing, song creation, and movement development.

Please click on the artist’s name to visit their personal or company websites.

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