Nikki Shaffeeullah, Artistic Director
Nikki Shaffeeullah

Nikki Shaffeeullah

Nikki Shaffeeullah is a performer, director, writer, curator, facilitator, and community-engaged artist who supports people in telling their own stories and facilitates the development of creative communities. She has been artistic director of The AMY Project since 2015.  In 2017 Nikki launched and directed Parallel Tracks, a national training program for community-engaged artists of colour. For four years Nikki was editor-in-chief of alt.theatre magazine, Canada’s only professional journal dedicated to the intersections of politics, cultural plurality, social activism, and the stage. Nikki is the past assistant artistic director of the acclaimed community arts company Jumblies Theatre, where she continues to work as an artist and consultant.  As a social justice trainer, Nikki has developed and facilitated workshops on equity and inclusion for arts and other organizations across Canada. Nikki is currently honing her facilitation practice as a fellow in the Judith C. Jones Fellowship for Trainers of Colour with Philadelphia’s Training for Change. She holds an MFA in Theatre Practice from the University of Alberta and her thesis won the 2013 Canadian Association for Theatre Research award in Intercultural Theatre. She trained in puppetry at Humber College and studied with Peru’s Teatro Yuyachkani and Thailand’s Makhampom Foundation. She has been recognized with a Nextfest Emerging Artist Award, as one of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 Under 30, and as one of Cahoot Theatre’s 30 for 30: 30 Artists shaping the next 30 years of Canadian Theatre. In 2017, Nikki was invited as one of “fifty of the world’s most talented young innovators from the culture and arts sector” to be a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators at Schloss Leopoldskron in Austria. Her work is informed by her longtime involvement in anti-racist, feminist, and queer movements, and a family who loves music, puns, justice, and food.

Rachel Penny, General Manager
Rachel Penny

Rachel Penny

Rachel is a Toronto-based arts administrator and producer. She is currently the General Manager of The AMY Project and Creative Producer for adelheid dance projects. She has worked with the SummerWorks Performance Festival, Young People’s Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, the Luminato Festival and Teesri Duniya Theatre. Recent projects include With Individual Desire (Lady Parts Theatre, Apprentice Producer), The Art of Building a Bunker (Quiptake/Factory Theatre, Quiptake Assistant Producer), and the 10th Annual Toronto Festival of Clowns (Assistant Producer). She recently completed a Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Internship in Arts Management with Meredith Potter at Volcano Theatre and Peggy Baker Dance Projects.

 

Julia Hune-Brown, 2018 Theatre Program Co-Director 
Julia Hune-Brown

Julia Hune-Brown

Julia Hune-Brown is an actor, educator and community artist. For the past six years, she has been working with diverse communities facilitating movement and theatre workshops here in Toronto and internationally. Her workshops have an emphasis on identity and expression through movement and have used dance and theatre to discuss issues of bullying, consent, immigration, race and LGBTQ rights. Julia most recently has worked as actor and forum theatre facilitator touring with Mixed Company Theatre. She is currently a lead artist with Jumblies Theatre and director of The Ground Floor Youth Theatre Project. As an educator Julia previously taught  in Brixton, England and currently works as a visiting artist and classroom teacher with the TDSB.  Julia holds a BFA in Theatre and Development from Concordia University and a BED in Education focusing on inner city education from OISE University of Toronto.

 

Bessie Cheng, 2018 Theatre Program Assistant Director

Bessie Cheng

Bessie Cheng is a Chinese-Canadian performer, playwright, and theatre creator who graduated from the New Play Playwriting and Devised Theatre program at York University. She joined The AMY Project as a participant in 2015 and met her mentor Marjorie Chan through the project. Bessie is a member of the Foundry, which is a playwriting unit facilitated by Nina Lee Aquino at Factory Theatre that help facilitate new works creation. She was ecstatic to have her most recent play, Dirt, premiere at Factory Wired as a staged read this summer. Bessie also co-founded Silk Bath Collective, which created the Fringe hit, Silk Bath. The show started off in Toronto Fringe in 2016, then moved onto the Next Stage Festival 2017, where it had a sold-out run. Silk Bath has since been selected take part in Tarragon’s Workspace program, where the show will be re-worked and showcased as a staged read in March 2018. In 2016, Bessie was selected by Cahoots Theatre as one of 30 theatre-makers whom they consider to be the future, and who they think will shape the next 30 years in Canadian theatre.

 

Julia Hunter, 2018 Theatre Program Assistant Director;
AMY Alumni Program Co-Director

Julia Hunter

Julia is a playwright, poet, actor, theatre creator and podcaster from Toronto. She is dedicated to creating theatre that reflects and represents the people we see and live beside in the present day. She has a Diploma in Theatre Performance from Fanshawe College and a Certificate in Performing Arts from Sheridan College. She has studied playwriting with Brian Quirt at the Tarragon Theatre, creation and improvisation with Martha Ross and spoken word with Dwayne Morgan. Julia has been apart of the TENT Program with Toronto Fringe, Theatre Gargantua’s emerging artists Round Table, the Compass Points Program at Magnetic North as well as Common Boots Theatre devised lab.  In 2015 she toured her play For you. For me. For Nicolas to the London, Montreal and Winnipeg Fringe Festivals.  She was a co-creator of To the Kid I Was (Expect Theatre) in Nuit Blanche, and is the co-creator and co-host of the potcast Where’s your head at. Julia was a 2015 AMY Project participant, co-creating and performing in Aperture and in 2016 became one of the AMY Project Alumni Program Coordinators.

 

Saba Akhtar, AMY Alumni Program Co-Director

Saba Akhtar

Saba is a 24-year-old theatre artist who works in improv, comedy, writing, and stage management. She has a passion is to bring light to stories that are undermined, through theatre and comedy. Saba is currently training with d’bi.young anitafrika’ at the Watah Theatre School and previous has studied theatre at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Some of her credits include Unrecognized (The R.E.E.L Asian Film Festival), and Unbelievers (LACE Productions). In 2015, Saba participated in the AMY Project, co-creating and performing in Aperture at the SummerWorks Performance Festival, and works as one of the AMY Project Alumni Program Coordinators.

 

 

Kama La Mackerel, Performance Poetry Program Director
Kama La Mackerel

Kama La Mackerel

Kama La Mackerel is a tio’tia:ke/Montreal-based performer, poet, story-teller, community-arts facilitator and multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores aesthetic practices as forms of resilience, resistance and healing for marginalized communities. Using photography, film, textiles, prints, spoken word and digital arts, Kama’s work is both deeply personal and political, articulating an anti-colonial praxis through cultural production. Kama has performed locally and internationally at venues in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Burlington, New York City, London, Amsterdam, Paris, and beyond. She has also exhibited her work in Ottawa, Montreal, and Paris. Kama is presently the artistic coordinator of Our Bodies, Our Stories, an arts mentorship program for queer and trans youth of colour in Montreal, and she has been a mentor with the Artists Mentoring Youth (AMY) Project in Toronto since 2016. In 2012, she co-founded Qouleur, a community-arts collective for queer and trans people of colour in Montreal, and she is also the founder and hostess of GENDER B(L)ENDER, Montreal’s monthly queer open mic, which she has been running since May 2013. In the Spring of 2017, she co-designed and co-facilitated Parallel Tracks, a national training program in community arts facilitation for racialized artists. In 2016, Kama La Mackerel was featured by the CBC/Radio Canada as one of 9 women artists in Canada whose work is making a difference. Kama was born in Mauritius and first immigrated to India as a young adult, before moving to Turtle Island/Canada. Kama has been living in tio’tia:ke/Montreal, on traditional kanien’kehá:ka territory since September 2011. A femme supreme who is haunted by the ocean, Kama loves drinking tea, reading poetry, taking care of her plants & spending time with her loved ones.

Kim Ninkuru, Performance Poetry Program Coordinator
Kim Ninkuru

Kim Ninkuru

Kim Ninkuru is a multimedia artist from Bujumbura, in Burundi, currently residing in Toronto. She uses performance art, digital art, spoken word and movement to create pieces that give her the chance to explore and express rage, love, desire, beauty, or pain in relation to her own body and mind. Her work heavily questions our preconceived notions of gender and sexuality and is grounded in the firm belief that blackness is past, present and future at any given moment. She started creating performance art pieces in 2014 and in late 2015, began to experiment with digital art. Since then, her work has been exhibited in art galleries around Toronto and she has performed on many stages in both Montreal and Toronto. She is dedicated to creating spaces where trans and gender non conforming people of color can thrive, and to the liberation of black women, especially black trans women, around the world.

A.A., Performance Poetry Program Assistant Director
A. A.

A. A.

A.A. is a fierce brown femme disrupting the “cistem” using her artistic superpowers. She is (shower-)singer, & aspiring theatre/film/tv-maker who loves musicals and TV comedies that fall somewhere between warm and cynical. A.A. completed the AMY Project Theatre Creation Program in spring 2017, and the AMY eOne Film Program in summer 2017. Her first short film, which she wrote, starred in, and co-directed, is being featured in five festivals across North America.

 

 

Nicole Stamp, eOne Film Training Program Director

 

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Nicole Stamp

Nicole Stamp is a Toronto Arts Award-winning actor and director.  Screen credits include hosting and directing TVOKids, where segments she hosted won 2 Gemini Awards among 6 nominations, and appearances on Degrassi, Living In Your Car, Dan For Mayor, Ridonculous Race, The Ron James Show, and Remedy. Stage credits include critically-acclaimed work in The Mo’ With The Hat, Avenue Q, Dream in High Park, two years improvising with Second City’s Canadian National Touring Company, and directing 30 new Canadian plays.  Nicole has taught at University of Toronto, Sheridan College, Robert Morris University, and The Banff Centre, among others.  She has been an AMY mentor for 8 years, and is committed to using the performing arts to develop communication skills and self-esteem in outstanding young people.

 

Co-Founders:
Claire Calnan
Pasha Mckenley

Co-Artistic Director (2006-2011)
Weyni Mengesha

Alumni Program Coordinators:
Saba Akhtar
Celia Green
Julia Hunter

Former Alumni Program Coordinators:
Kate Welsh
Copper Brown

Web Design:
Juliana Neufeld – website art design
Mark Tuleweit @ bitFLY Design

Graphic Design:
Ted Rouse at Takedanger Design

Meal Program Coordinator:
Wendy Phek-Yen Sim

Accountant:
Fiona Crichton

Past Theatre Program Co-Directors:
Nikki Shaffeeullah (2017)
Julia Hune-Brown (2016, 2017)
Gein Wong (2016)
Mumbi Tindeyebwa (2015)
Sarah Kitz (2015)
Lisa Codrington (2011-2014)
Maya Rabinovitch (2013-2014)
Megan Watson (2012)
Casey Mecija (Music Session Director, 2012)
Claire Calnan (2005-2011)
Weyni Mengesha (2006-2010)

Former Youth Liaisons:
Zeynab Egbeyemi
Jamie Milay
Whitney Kyera
Clover Fannin
Cheynne Scott
Kanika Ambrose
Karyl Agana
Melissa Burnett
Susie Jaroszewska
Michelle Green
Copper Brown
Cassy Walker
Alia Ettienne
Shamelia Joseph
Shanaise Williams
Kate Welsh
Abhi Yogasegaran

 

Read more: Our Team| Mentors | Board of Directors | AMY Alumni