Panels & Debates
Panels & Debates
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Participant Bios

Chris Abraham (Reform It Altogether)
Chris Abraham Forum
Fourth season: Director of Othello. Stratford: The Matchmaker, The Little Years, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. Elsewhere: Someone Else, Seeds, I, Claudia, BOXHEAD (Crow’s Theatre); Eternal Hydra (Crow’s/Factory Theatre); I, Claudia, The Patient Hour (Tarragon); Blue/Orange (Canadian Stage); Antigone, The Lesson (Soulpepper); Hedda Gabler, The Glass Menagerie, Salt-Water Moon (Saidye Bronfman Centre). Training: National Theatre School of Canada. Awards: Dora Awards for Eternal Hydra, Easy Lenny Lazmon…; Sterling Award for Frozen (Citadel Theatre); Gemini Award for I, Claudia (CBC/Sienna Films); 2002 Elinor and Lou Siminovitch Protégé Award. Online: Et cetera: Chris is the Artistic Director of Crow’s Theatre in Toronto. They recently announced plans for a new venue in Toronto’s East End, slated to open in 2015. He is past Co-Director of the National Theatre School of Canada Directing Program.
Frank Bialystok (Anti-Semitism and The Merchant of Venice)
Frank Bialystok Forum
Frank Bialystok teaches in the Canadian Studies Program at University College, University of Toronto. His book Delayed Impact: The Holocaust and the Canadian Jewish Community (2000) was reissued in 2010. It received the Tannenbaum Award for Canadian Jewish History and was nominated for the Governor General's Award for non-fiction. He is currently writing a history of the Jews of Canada to be published by the University of Toronto Press. He is the past Chair of Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region, and Chair of the National Executive of CJC. He is a founder of the Polish Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada, and a recipient of the Cavalier's Cross, Order of Poland. From 2007 to 2011 he was a member of the Education Working Group of the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Research and Remembrance. He was a founding member of the Education Sub-Committee of the Toronto Holocaust Centre, serving as Chair from 1988 to 1991.
Tim Carroll (Reform It Altogether)
Tim Carroll Forum
Second season: Director of Romeo and Juliet. Stratford: Peter Pan. Elsewhere: Associate Director, Shakespeare’s Globe, London, 1999-2005. Productions included Twelfth Night, Richard II, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Tempest, The Golden Ass. He returned last year to direct Twelfth Night and Richard III. Other theatre includes The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Shakespeare Company); Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards, The Duchess of Malfi, Victory (Barka Theatre, Budapest); All’s Well That Ends Well (National Theatre, Craiova, Romania); Amadeus (National Theatre, Portugal); Peer Gynt (Guthrie, Minneapolis); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sydney Opera House). TC is a founder member of The Factory (London), for whom he has directed three theatre experiments: Hamlet, The Seagull and The Odyssey. Online:
Zoe FitzGerald Carter (Writing About the Right to Die)
Zoe FitzGerald Carter
Zoe FitzGerald Carter is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon and Vogue. Imperfect Endings is her first memoir. Imperfect Endings won first place in the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association’s literary contest and was a finalist at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. It was excerpted in O magazine, was chosen as a finalist for the National MS Society’s Books for a Better Life Awards in the “Inspirational Memoir” category, and is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Zoe lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters and is currently at work on a novel.
Antoni Cimolino (Reform It Altogether, What’s Past is Prologue)
Antoni Cimolino Forum

 Antoni Cimolino is Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival and director of this season’s Mary Stuart and The Merchant of Venice. Stratford: Directing credits include Cymbeline, with Geraint Wyn Davies; The Grapes of Wrath, with Janet Wright; Bartholomew Fair; Coriolanus, with Colm Feore and Martha Henry; As You Like It, featuring original music by Barenaked Ladies; King John, with Stephen Ouimette; Love’s Labour’s Lost, with Brian Bedford; Twelfth Night, with William Hutt; The Night of the Iguana, with Seana McKenna; and Filumena, with Richard Monette. Among his other accomplishments, Mr. Cimolino was instrumental in establishing the Festival’s Endowment Foundation, which has raised more than $50 million to date, as well as in the renovation of its Avon Theatre and the creation of its Studio Theatre. Elsewhere: The Canadian première of ENRON (Theatre Calgary); Twelfth Night (Attic Theatre, Detroit); A Woman of No Importance (Hilberry Theater, Detroit). A champion of the arts and culture, Mr. Cimolino serves as the National Chair of Culture Days, a nationwide celebration of arts and culture in Canada. He has initiated collaborations with several prestigious theatre companies, including Montreal’s Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, New York’s Lincoln Center and City Center, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. He also spearheaded the Festival’s involvement in a joint project with CUSO International, Canada’s international volunteer co-operation agency, to establish a performing arts and educational centre in the city of Suchitoto, El Salvador.

Susan G. Cole (The Power of Women/Women in Power)
Susan G Cole Forum
Susan G. Cole is a feminist activist, cultural commentator and currently the Books and Entertainment editor at Now magazine in Toronto. Her two books on pornography – Pornography and the Sex Crisis and Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography (both from Second Story press) – broke essential ground in the discourse on women and media. She edited Outspoken, a collection of lesbian scenes and monologues from Canadian plays, for Playwrights Canada Press, and her 1991 play A Fertile Imagination, about two lesbians trying to have a baby, appears in the Press’s anthology Lesbian Plays. She is a frequent lecturer and onstage interviewer and can be heard on Talk Radio 640’s Media and the Message panel every Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
Itai Erdal (Writing About the Right to Die)
Itai Erdal Forum
Stratford: Lighting designer of Taking Shakespeare, The Thrill, Titus Andronicus, The Best Brothers, Hirsch, Elektra. Elsewhere: Lighting designer of She Stoops to Conquer, Intimate Apparel, Billy Bishop Goes to War (Arts Club); Where the Blood Mixes, A Christmas Carol, Vincent in Brixton (Vancouver Playhouse); The Idiot, Crime and Punishment, My Name is Rachel Corrie (Neworld Theatre); Sweeney Todd (Citadel); Troilus and Cressida, The Winter’s Tale (Bard on the Beach); 16 Up, Dirty Kissing, Time for the Good Looking Boy (Box Clever, London); The Empty Orchestra, Broiler, YUFO, Dress Me Up With Your Love (Theatre Replacement); It’s a Wonderful Life, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, The Secret World of Og, Seussical (Carousel Theatre); The League of Nathans, Killing Caesar (Touchstone); Wuthering Heights (Tamasha, London). Awards: Jessie Awards for Most Promising Newcomer, Life Savers (Ruby Slippers) and Jesus Hopped the A Train (Glass City Theatre); Dora Award and Best Design in the Dublin Fringe for The Four Horsemen Project (Volcano); Victoria’s Critics’ Choice Spotlight Award for The Life Inside (Belfry); ADC’s Jack King Award. Online:, Et cetera: Itai’s solo performance of How to Disappear Completely (Chop Theatre) has been produced in Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle and Victoria, and was nominated for a Jessie Award and a Dora Award for best touring production. It can be seen this August at the SummerWorks Festival in Toronto. Itai is the artistic director of The Elbow Theatre in Vancouver and a member of Associated Designers of Canada.
Peter Hinton (What's Past Is Prologue)
Peter Hinton Forum
Peter Hinton is one of English Canada’s most respected directors, dramaturges and playwrights. He was Artistic Director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada from 2005 to 2012. Previous positions include Associate Director at Theatre Passe Muraille (1987-1990), Associate Director and Head of New Play Development at Canadian Stage (1990-1993), Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Playwright’s Theatre Centre (1996-1997) and Dramaturge in Residence at Playwrights Workshop Montreal (1998-2003). He has directed over 100 productions of new plays, classical texts and operas and is proud to have developed new works by John Mighton, Marie Clements, Blake Brooker, Normand Chaurette, Allen Cole, Margaret Atwood, Gloria Montero and Greg MacArthur, to name a few. During his seven seasons with the Stratford Festival, five of his plays were produced, including Shakespeare’s Universe: Her Infinite Variety (2008), Fanny Kemble (2006 -- written expressly for Stratford Festival veteran Domini Blythe), and his trilogy of three full-length plays entitled The Swanne. Part 1, George III: The Death of Cupid, part 2, Princess Charlotte: The Acts of Venus and part 3, Queen Victoria: The Seduction of Nemesis, premièred at Stratford’s Studio Theatre and were published by McArthur and Company in 2005. He has adapted works by Dickens, Brecht, Ibsen and Chekhov, and is currently working on a stage adaptation of  Mad Shadows by Marie Claire Blais, and a new play based on the life of English modernist poet Edith Sitwell. He has written the librettos for two operas with composer Peter Hannan, The Diana Cantata (2004) and 120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade,which was awarded the Alcan Performing Arts Award in 2002. At the National Arts Centre, he is proud to have presented the first all-Canadian season in the history of the company (2006-2007), and the following year Mr. Hinton partnered with Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company to produce the world première of Margaret Atwood's stage adaptation of her novel The Penelopiad. This collaboration marked the first partnership between the Royal Shakespeare Company and a Canadian theatre company. In 2008 he was awarded the Audrey Ashley Award for outstanding contribution to Ottawa theatre by the Capital Critics Circle, and his production of The Way of the World was awarded the best production of 2007-2008. He has taught play creation for actors at Ryerson University (1987-1994) and playwriting and period study at the National Theatre School (2001-2012). Mr. Hinton’s critical and dramaturgical essays have been published in Theatrum and The Canadian Theatre Review and he is featured in Between the Lines, a collection of interviews and articles on dramaturgy in Canada. Mr. Hinton was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2009.
Margaret Jane Kidnie (The Power of Women/Women in Power)
Margaret Jane Kidnie Forum
Margaret Jane Kidnie is Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests include adapted Shakespeare, and Shakespeare in performance.

Jackie Maxwell (What’s Past Is Prologue)
Jackie Maxwell Forum
Jackie Maxwell, celebrated director and dramaturge, is now in her 11th season as the Shaw Festival’s Artistic Director. In 2012, Ms Maxwell directed the musical Ragtime by Terrance McNally, Lyn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, along with William Inge’s Come Back Little Sheba. Previously for The Shaw, she directed Lennox Robinson’s Drama at Inish, Maria Severa by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, Linda Griffiths’s Age of Arousal, Brief Encounters – three one-act plays by Noël Coward, The Entertainer, Mrs. Warren’s Profession and the North American première of The Stepmother. Her directorial work at The Shaw also includes Picnic, Candida, Merrily We Roll Along, The Three Sisters, The Coronation Voyage, Pygmalion, Rutherford and Son (which later played at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa), Gypsy, Bus Stop, Arms and the Man and The Magic Fire. In 2007, Ms Maxwell directed an acclaimed production of Saint Joan, which traveled to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Born and educated in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jackie Maxwell studied drama at the University of Manchester. She acted in both Ireland and England before coming to Canada in 1978. Throughout her long and varied career in Canada, Ms Maxwell has worked extensively as a freelance director and been instrumental in program creation at many theatre companies. She first worked in Canada for the National Arts Centre as Assistant, then Associate Director, where she set up and ran both an apprentice training and new play development program. In 1982 she headed to Toronto to become Associate Director at Factory Theatre, where she later became Artistic Director (1986 to 1994). While at Factory, Ms Maxwell created, developed and produced works by some of Canada’s most respected and vital playwrights such as George F. Walker, Michel Marc Bouchard, Sharon Pollock, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Michel Garneau. She also held the position of Head of New Play Development at the Charlottetown Festival (1997 to 2000), where she created a new program to foster new main-stage Canadian musicals. Of her many productions in theatres across Canada, Ms Maxwell’s credits include The Weir and Dancing at Lughnasa for Canadian Stage; Elisa’s Skin, Motel Hélène, The Four Lives of Marie and The Memory of Water (later remounted for Mirvish Productions at the Elgin/Winter Garden) for Tarragon Theatre; Emily and Johnny Belinda for the Charlottetown Festival; The Orphan Muses and Past Perfect for Montreal’s Centaur Theatre; Susannah for Opera Ontario; Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) for London’s Grand Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Young People’s Theatre; Doc for Manitoba Theatre Centre; and among many for Factory Theatre, Zadie’s Shoes (also remounted for Mirvish Productions at the Elgin/Winter Garden), Stone and Ashes, Still Alive, Girls in the Gang (for which she received a Dora Award for Best Direction) and Moo. In 2008 she directed Conor McPherson’s Dublin Carol for Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, her U.S. directorial debut. Ms Maxwell has been dramaturge and teacher for such institutions as the Banff Centre for the Arts, York University, George Brown College, Queen’s University and especially the National Theatre School in Montreal. For eight years she was guest artist/lecturer at the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama at the University of Toronto. In October 2005, Ms Maxwell was the recipient of the National Theatre School’s prestigious Gascon-Thomas Award; in June 2007, she was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of humanities from the University of Windsor and, in 2008, she was awarded the Herbert Whittaker/Drama Bench Award, all in recognition of her exceptional achievements in Canadian theatre.
David Prosser (Reform It Altogether)
David Prosser Forum
Before joining the staff of the Stratford Festival in 1994, David Prosser spent 14 years as a journalist with The Kingston Whig-Standard, winning five Nathan Cohen Awards for theatre criticism, three National Newspaper Awards for critical and editorial writing, and a 1986 Centre for Investigative Journalism Award for a series of stories on five Red Army defectors whom he interviewed in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. He later turned those stories into a book, Out of Afghanistan. As Director of Communications, he is responsible for the Festival’s publications, including the Visitors Guide and house programs; he has also collaborated on the books Fifty Seasons at Stratford (2002), This Rough Magic (2007) and Stratford Behind the Scenes (2012). As an occasional actor, he performed with Theatre Five in Kingston, the Kingston Summer Festival and the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque. In 2000 he appeared with Brian Bedford, Richard Monette and William Hutt in a staged reading of The Trials of Oscar Wilde at the Tom Patterson Theatre, and in 2001 he created two one-hour scripts for that season’s Robertson Davies Celebration, performing in one and directing the other. In 2003, he directed a Studio Theatre reading of his own dramatic adaptation of Plato’s Symposium.
Vivian Rakoff (Anti-Semitism and The Merchant of Venice)
Vivian Rakoff Forum
Born in South Africa. Early education: Cape Town, South Africa. Studied medicine in London, England. Completed psychiatric training at McGill University. Was professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry and Director and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Clarke Institute from 1980 to 1990. Has written many papers regarding general psychiatry, adolescence and children of Holocaust survivors. Outside psychiatry: numerous talks for radio and television, book reviews plays for radio and television and occasional – very occasional – poetry.
Len Rudner (Anti-Semitism and The Merchant of Venice)
Len Rudner Forum
Len Rudner is the Director of Community Relations and Outreach for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. In this capacity, Len works to develop, strengthen and maintain positive and productive relationships with other communities that form an integral part of Canada’s diverse, multicultural society. In previous roles, Len has represented the position of the Jewish community on a variety of issues including antisemitism, discrimination in the workplace, reasonable accommodation and Holocaust denial. He has represented the Jewish community at international conferences focusing on hate speech and freedom of speech and has been qualified to give expert testimony in matters relating to hate and extremism. Len holds an Honours BA from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Toronto. He is a recent recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service.
Judith Thompson (Writing About the Right to Die)
Judith Thompson Forum
Playwright, director, actor and professor of theatre, Judith Thompson is the author of 17 published and produced plays, including The Crackwalker, Lion in the Streets, Perfect Pie, Palace of the End, Sled, Capture Me and Habitat, many of which have been produced all over the world in many languages, and Elektra in Bosnia, performed in Hydra and Athens, Greece, as part of last year’s international Women & War Project. She has also authored two feature films, Perfect Pie and Lost and Delirious, as well as several made-for-TV movies, including Life With Billy and Turning to Stone. Recently she created the play Rare with nine performers with Down Syndrome, which was a Patrons’ Pick and won the Ed Mirvish Entrepreneur Award at the Toronto Fringe Festival and later ran at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. In 2011 for the Next Theatre Festival she created and directedThe Grace Project: SICK! with 14 youth with self-described disabilities. In 2006 she created body and soul with 14 older women telling their own stories in their own words, which played to sold-out houses at the Young Centre and the Tarragon Theatre and at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Judith recently formed the Rare Theatre Company which, in partnership with the Young Centre, will create at least three plays over three years featuring full casts with disabilities revealing their world in their words. The first of these plays is Rare; the second will feature a wheelchair-bound cast and the third will feature performers from the Deaf community. Judith Thompson has won the Governor General’s Award twice, the Chalmers, the Dora, the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, the Toronto Arts Award, the Canadian Author’s Association Award, the Herbert Whittaker Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. She has been a professor of theatre at the University of Guelph since 1993. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two dogs, two cats and her five children (when they are not at school or in far-away countries teaching English).
2014 Playbill List King LearCrazy for YouA Midsummer Night's DreamThe Beaux' StratagemMan of La ManchaAlice Through the Looking-GlassHay FeverKing JohnMother Courage and Her ChildrenAntony and CleopatraChristina, The Girl KingA Midsummer Night's Dream - a chamber play2014 Season

Sustaining support for the Forum
is generously provided by
Kelly & Michael Meighen and
the T.R. Meighen Foundation

Support for the 2014 Forum is
generously provided by
Nandita & Julian Wise


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