799_326791549bio - ArtStarts in Schools
Sandra Laronde (Concept, Artistic Director)
Founder and Artistic Director of Red Sky, Sandra Laronde is an accomplished and prolific
innovator in the artistic and cultural sector as a director, producer, choreographer,
performer, and creative leader. Sandra is originally from the Teme-Augama-Anishnaabe
(People of the Deep Water) in Temagami, northern Ontario.
Most recently, Sandra received a Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Outstanding
Mid-Career Artist in the Discipline of Dance (2013), presented by the Canada Council for
the Arts. She was bestowed with an Honorary Degree from Trent University (2011),
and the Expressive Arts Award from The Smithsonian Institute (2011). In 2010, her
company won a Dora Mavor Moore Award and two Canadian Aboriginal Music
Awards. She was also awarded the Ontario Good Citizenship Medal (2006) that pays
special tribute to those whose lives exemplify excellence and achievement; a City of
Toronto and Toronto Life's "face the arts" (2006) recipient celebrating cultural
mavericks who have enriched the cultural life of the city; the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship in
the Arts (2006) from The Banff Centre; and Toronto City Council's Aboriginal Affairs
Award (2004) for her contribution towards improving the quality of life for the
Indigenous community of Toronto. In addition, she was one of 225 Canadians chosen to
participate in the Governor-General's Canadian Leadership program that celebrates
promising leaders who are making a significant impact on Canada.
Erin Shields (Playwright)
Erin Shields is a playwright and actor who won the 2011 Governor General's Award for
her play If We Were Birds. She trained in acting at Rose Bruford College of Speech and
Drama in London, England and is a founding member of Groundwater Productions
through which she creates, develops and produces much of her work. If We Were
Birds was produced by Tarragon in 2010 and won two Dora Awards. It garnered the
2008 Summerworks Festival’s Outstanding Production Award and is being translated
into French, German and Italian.
Erin has been nominated for numerous awards including the Susan Smith Blackburn
Prize, the KM Hunter Award and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. She is the recipient of
the 2011 Governor General’s Award for Drama for If We Were Birds. Erin is currently
playwright in residence at Tarragon Theatre and Nightwood Theatre.
Andrea Donaldson (Director)
Recent directing credits include Fringe hit Tyumen, Then and the following Dora
nominated projects: The Atomic Weight of Happiness for Stand Up Dance,
Montparnasse for Groundwater in association with Theatre Passe Muraille
(SummerWorks Spotlight Award – Directing), Offensive Fouls for Theatre Direct, The
Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski in Winnipeg, Victoria and twice in
Toronto. She has also directed The Blyth Festival’s Young Company, Howard Barker’s
The Possibilities at SummerWorks in Toronto and in Vancouver, Rob Baker’s Crack in
Toronto and Vancouver, as well as her own play Garden at Rhubarb.
Performance highlights have included Small Wooden Shoes’ LIFE OF GALILEO, Theatre
Direct’s And By the Way, Miss at Harbourfront, performing in Shhh… across Canada and
in New Zealand, in The Eyes of Heaven at The Blyth Festival and performing in Living
Room, the inaugural production of seventeenth floor performance company.
Andrea has trained with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company in NYC, has been a guest director
at Video Cabaret’s Black Box Sessions, attended Peter Hinton’s Directors Masterclass at
Magnetic North, and has a BFA in Theatre from Simon Fraser University’s School for
Andrea is presently developing The Dark, a new work that she initiated as Theatre Direct
Canada’s Playwright in Residence, dramaturging and directing Sleeptalker, by Jill
Battson, performing and creating Switched with Anna Chatterton and working in Ottawa
with the SPiLL Collective.
Rick Sacks (Music Design) with Marc Merilianen
Rick Sacks is a composer and performer. He performs as a percussionist with many
groups including Arraymusic, New Music Concerts, Aventa, The Glass Orchestra, and the
Evergreen Club. He recently performed in Labrador, Copenhagen, Boston and the St.
John’s Sound Symposium in Newfoundland. With Red Sky Performance’s Tono, he
toured to 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China; Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad; 2008
Beijing Cultural Olympiad; and the International Arts and Culture Festival in Inner
As a composer Rick created the music and sound for Roseneath Children’s Theatre
productions of Danny, King of the Basement, Rocket and the Queen of Dreams, The
Incredible Speed of Jamie Cavanaugh and Wrecked. Previous composition for Red Sky
Performance includes Caribou Song, written by Tomson Highway, performed to over
25,000 people in Canada, the USA, Iceland, China and Australia. With Red Sky
Performance’s Tono, he toured to 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China; Vancouver 2010
Cultural Olympiad; 2008 Beijing Cultural Olympiad; and the International Arts and
Culture Festival in Inner Mongolia. Since 2009, Rick is the appointed Artistic Director of
the Array New Music Centre in Toronto.
Mark Merilianen is the creator of the multi-award nominated NADJIWAN project that
has come full circle with his new musical direction. From a Finnish and Ojibway
background Marc has tried to embrace both culturally and musically. This new project
incorporates the best of both worlds sonically and musically. Marc utilizes traditional
Finnish folk guitar tunings and instruments like the kantele, jouhikko alongside modern
beats and Aboriginal style vocables combined with Finnish lyrics. This is a unique style,
tone and that cannot be heard anywhere else. Over the past 15 years Marc has
performed across Canada and The United States at various festivals, venues and events
including the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.
Andy Moro (Set Design)
Andy is an internationally-acclaimed set, lighting, projection and sound designer. He is a
multi-award winner and has twice been named among NOW magazine’s top-10 theatre
artists in Canada. He is proud to be a member of the core creative team at The Banff
Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency. He has collaborated with Native Earth
Performing Arts, VideoCabaret, Red Sky Performance, Kaha:wi Dance, Signal Theatre,
Dancers of Damelahamid, and many more. Andy is also a co-founder and director, with
Tara Beagan of ARTICLE 11 which celebrates the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples through practice. The duo creatively helmed Tara Beagan’s work In
Spirit for Native Earth Performing Arts and toured Dreary and Izzy in collaboration with
Western Canada, Gateway, and Saskatchewan Native Theatres. Their workshop
presentation of Tara Beagan’s The Ministry of Grace premiered in June at the Indigenous
Arts Festival at Fort York in Toronto.
Carlos Rivera (Dancer)
Carlos Rivera has been an Associate Artist with Red Sky for the past 13 years. His
performance credits include: Caribou Song (Red Sky, presented with the Toronto
Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall), and the touring version of Caribou Song
which was performed in Switzerland, Australia, Canada, China, Iceland and the United
States. He has also performed in Raven Stole the Sun (Red Sky) which toured to Australia
and across Canada, with 11-sold out shows at the National Arts Centre and 16 sold-out
shows at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. He also performed in the critically
acclaimed Red Sky dance productions: Dancing Americas (Red Sky) which closed the
2004 Canada Dance Festival at the National Arts Centre; Shimmer (Red Sky) which was
the highlight at The Banff Centre's 2006 Summer Arts Festival, and sold-out at the 2006
Canada Dance Festival at the National Arts Centre, Vancouver's EARTH Festival, and
Toronto’s enWave Theatre Centre; and Tono (Red Sky) which was performed at the
2008 Beijing Olympics, 2008 Meet in Beijing Festival, 2008 Summer Arts Festival at The
Banff Centre, The Arden Theatre, High Performance Rodeo, Toronto's Luminato Festival,
Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, and World Expo 2010 in Shanghai China.
Sera-Lys McArthur (Actor)
Sera-Lys McArthur is a mixed-race actress of Nakota descent from Saskatchewan,
Canada. She began acting at the age of 12 when she was cast in the CBC miniseries
Revenge of the Land. She has since lived, trained and worked in Vancouver, Toronto,
New York, LA, and the U.K. She was awarded the Premier's One World Scholarship via
Capilano University in BC and moved to London to attend the MA in Acting programme
at East 15 Acting School at the University of Essex.
Sera-Lys starred in the John N. Smith miniseries called The Englishman's Boy. She was
thrilled to be cast in Hard Core Logo II (which was shown at Toronto International Film
Festival 2011) and have the opportunity to work with acclaimed director Bruce
McDonald. She played the lead role of Skye in a soon-to-be-released pilot called Skye
and Chang, a sci-fi action 'dramedy' for APTN.
Perhaps her most recognizable work to date is on CBC's Arctic Air, which is now in it's
third season. She ha performed in live theatre such as Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin
Loring, which had rave reviews in each of its runs: Western Canada Theatre (Kamloops),
Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton), and Theatre Network (Edmonton).
Brendan McMurtry-Howlett (Actor)
Brendan McMurtry-Howlett has performed "…and stockings for the ladies." in all its
incarnations since its creation in 2007. Recent credits include: Geoffrey in The
Overwhelming (CanStage/Studio 180), Nicholas in the the Fringe hit Sia (Pyretic
Productions), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Classical Theatre Project); Puck in A
Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Rose Theatre); Wayne Gretzky in John: Sudden Death
(NTS); and Josh in Guns & Roses (The Original Norwegian). Brendan directed and cowrote the play Honey in the Lion’s Head that premiered at last year’s Edmonton Fringe
Festival. Film and television credits include: Degrassi: The Next Generation (CTV);
Valemont (MTV); and Peripheral (Talon). Brendan is a graduate of the National Theatre
School of Canada.