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Ryerson Theatre School

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Faculty & Staff

[Click name for biographical sketch - where available]

Chair: Peggy Shannon
416.979.5125
THR-103
peggy.shannon@ryerson.ca

 

Program Directors:

Cynthia Ashperger    
Performance Acting

416.979.5000 ext.6784
cashperg@ryerson.ca
THR-304

Karen Duplisea      
Performance Dance

416.979.5000 ext.6788
THR-308
kduplise@ryerson.ca

Vicki St Denys
Performance Dance
416.979.5000 ext.6760
THR-102
vstdenys@ryerson.ca

Sholem Dolgoy
Performance Production
416.979.5000 ext.6793
sdolgoy@ryerson.ca
THR-303

Production and Operations Manager:
Peter Fleming
416.979.5000 ext.6789
p1flemin@ryerson.ca
THR-205

Wardrobe Staff Supervisor:
Alex Gilbert
416.979.5000 ext. 6785
a1gilber@ryerson.ca

Resident Technical Director:
Scott Martin
416.979.5000 ext. 6790
scottm@ryerson.ca

Workshop Supervisor:
Will Sutton
416.979.5000 ext.6792
wsutton@ryerson.ca

 

Faculty:

Dr. Ira Levine
416.979.5000 ext.6791
THR-303-D
ilevine@ryerson.ca

Caroline O'Brien
416.979.5000 ext.6785
THR-109

Irene Pauzer
416.979.5000 ext.6793
THR-303
ipauzer@ryerson.ca

Nadia Potts
416.979.5000 ext.6786
THR-303-D
npotts@ryerson.ca

Sheldon Rosen
416.979.5000 ext.6787
THR-205
srosen@ryerson.ca

Perry Schneiderman
416.979.5000 ext.6781
THR-303
pschneid@ryerson.ca

Staff:

Sunny Fernandez
Academic Co-ordinator 
416.979.5000 ext.4624
THR-105B
sufernan@ryerson.ca

Terry Potter
Secretary
416.979.5000 ext.6780
THR-105
tpotter@ryerson.ca

The Ryerson Theatre School also engages many professional theatre artists and technicians as part-time faculty.


Biographical Sketches

 

Peggy Shannon
Chair

Peggy Shannon has directed plays and musicals at countless professional theatres across the United States including Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre Center, L.A. Theatre Works, Mixed Blood Theatre, the New Jersey, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, California and Oregon Shakespearean Festivals, the Portland Repertory Theatre, Long Beach Civic Light Opera, the International City Theatre and the Sacramento Theatre Company. Internationally, she has worked at the Old Vic National Youth Theatre in London and at Hydrama Theatre in Greece.

She has served as the Artistic Director of two major American theatres: A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle) and the Sacramento Theatre Company (Northern California.) She also served as the Associate Producing Director of L.A. Theatre Works.

Ms. Shannon has been a professor and administrator at several American universities including the University of Southern California, the University of Washington, and for the past ten years at the University of California, Davis, where she is a professor of theatre and held the appointment of Associate Vice Provost for University Outreach and International Programs. She was instrumental in the creation of an Agreement of Cooperation between the University of Athens and UC Davis. Shannon is on the Visiting Committee for the University of Delaware.

She has served on many boards, some of which include the Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT), the Wells Fargo Community Advisory Board, the UC Davis School of Education Advisory Council and the International House Board of Directors.

Awards include her selection as a Fulbright Senior Specialist; an Arts Leadership Award from the Arts & Business Council; Outstanding Artist and Arts Education Leader from the California Educators for Theatre Alliance (CETA); and recognication for her contribution to outstanding education and theatre in Greece by the Greek Ministers of Culture and Education, several Greek Mayors, the United States Ambassador to Greece, Daniel Speckhard and the University of Athens.

She holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington and is currently finishing a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London She trained as an actress in London, where she lived and worked professionally for many years.

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Gwen Bartleman
Program Manager

Gwen Bartleman began her career in theatre as a sound technician at Penguin Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, in a summer youth training program funded by Theatre Ontario.

Upon moving to Toronto, Ms. Bartleman worked for many years with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and was instrumental in securing and establishing Buddies’ current performance facility. After working in various capacities with Buddies, including Technical Director and Production Manager, she was appointed Managing Director, a position she held for 5 years. 

Following her tenure at Buddies, Ms. Bartleman was the Associate Director at Open Studio, an artist-run, fine art printmaking centre located in Toronto’s 401 Richmond building.

In 2002, she accepted the position of Business Representative at Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. In this capacity, Ms. Bartleman represented Artists and worked with many local and national performing arts companies including b current, Cahoots Theatre, Canadian Opera Company,  Manitoba Opera, Native Earth Performing Arts, New Harlem Productions, Obsidian Theatre, red diva productions, Teesri Duniya, Red Sky Performance and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. While at CAEA, Ms. Bartleman was an integral part of several negotiating committees who secured successful agreements governing the engagement of CAEA Artists in theatre and opera.

She has served on many boards, including the Inside Out LGBT Film & Video Festival and the Toronto Theatre Alliance. She has been a member of granting and awards committees with the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council and has proudly served as a volunteer with Blackness Yes/Block-o-rama and as a queer youth mentor through Supporting Our Youth’s Click program.

Ms. Bartleman is also a published poet.

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Cynthia Ashperger, Ph.D.
Director, Acting Program

Although she left Croatia early in her career, Cynthia Ashperger (Cintija Ašperger) had a prominent place in the theatre and film of that period.  Her role in rock-cabaret Studio for Image is still a part of the theatre lore as the defining one in the Yugoslav avantgarde of the eighties. Roles such as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream , Lady Ann in Richard III , Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera ,  Eve Harrington in Applause , and Greta in Bent followed. She was a member of the Komedia theatre ensemble when she interrupted her artistic life in Croatia in 1986, married Canadian director Allan Eastman and moved to Toronto. The same year she gave birth to her daughter Sybil Ana. During the late eighties, she entered the Toronto theatre scene where she played roles in Boom, Baby Boom by Banuta Rubess opposite Anne Marie MacDonald , Ophelia in Hamlet opposite Walter Borden among others. She returned to Zagreb in 1989 and was a member of the ZKM theatre, where she played in several successful theatre productions until war broke out in former Yugoslavia in 1991. During this two year period she was also a regular in the TV series Conductors and Musicians directed by the legendary late Croatian director Krešo Golik, and she starred in made for TV-movie The Croatian Cathedrals directed by Hrvoje Hribar.

In 1991 she moved permanently to Canada. She continued her acting career in Toronto to critical acclaim with acting in theatre shows such as Richard Sanger’s poetic Not Spain , her one woman show Out of Spite: Tales of Survival from Sarajevo which also played at the Atlanta Olympics, Not my Story by Silvija Jestrovic and Volcano’s  Hedda Gabler (to name a few). Her film and TV credits in Canada include Degrassi the Next Generation, Blizzard, Wonderland, Blue Murder, The Guardian, Chasing Cain, Foreign Objects, The City,  Hidden Agenda, Tekwar, Robo Cop, Top Cop, Dead Ringers , and Ford: The Man and the Machine . In 2003, Ms. Ashperger returned to Croatia to shoot a lead in a feature titled Accidental Traveling Companion . Most recently she appeared in the recurring role of Dr.Krajina in TV series ZOS .

She started teaching acting at Ryerson Theatre School in 1994 where she is also the Director of the Acting program.  At Ryerson she has directed over twenty student productions. Her main teaching influence as present time is Michael Chekhov’s acting technique. She is the author of the book on this technique titled The Rhythm of Space and the Sound of Time. Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique in the 21st century (Rodopi, 08). Her article on how to apply the technique in directing can be found in the recent publication Stanislavsky and Directing. Theory Practice and Influence (Legas, 09). She has taught this psycho-physical approach to acting and lectured on it nationally and internationally in Canada, Croatia, Finland, Great Britain, Korea, USA.  She has been a regular teacher at Toronto’s Volcano Theatre’s intensives. She hosted Michael Chekhov Associations’ (MICHA) yearly workshop and festival at Ryerson Theatre School in 2008. She has also studied Balinese traditional dance and mask in relation to Michael Chekhov’s technique, which has brought her to her current interest in Butoh dance.

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Karen Duplisea
Co-Director, Dance Program

Karen Duplisea, Associate Professor in the Dance Program, teaches Modern Technique and Improvisation/Composition classes. Formerly a principal dancer with the Toronto Dance Theatre, and later an independent dancer and choreographer, she has spent much of the past 25 years training dancers. As a Master Teacher, Ms. Duplisea has taught across Canada, including the Karen Jamieson Dance Company in Vancouver, Dancers Studio West in Calgary, York University, the Dance Training Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Professional Training Program, School of the Toronto Dance Theatre. Her research interest is in liminality and the arts. She holds an M.A. and B.F.A. in Dance from York University.

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Vicki St Denys
Co-Director, Dance Program

One of Canada’s leaders in the field of jazz dance and has toured internationally as a performer, teacher and choreographer.  Her unique blend of authentic jazz music and original choreography, along with a solid technical dance foundation, has made her a most sought after dance artist both here in Canada and the United States.

Ms. St.Denys has choreographed for television, film, video, theatre and most recently opera including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Dido and Aeneas for the Opera as Theatre program at the Banff Centre for the Arts.  Other theatre credits include: My Fair Lady, Bell Bottom Fever, A Chorus Line, Cabaret and choreography for a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice opening at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton in September 2008.  She also choreographed several segments for CBC Television on the children’s show Get Set for Life.

Throughout her career she has also created numerous contemporary jazz ballets, notably Suite Second Thoughts performed in Austria at the 8th international Ballet Festival; Pulse and Interstice at Premiere Dance Theatre in Toronto; and new works for ROTO Dance Festival in Rochester, NY and Ballet Kelowna’s 2007 season. From 2000-2007 she was jazz pedagogue and choreographer for the dance program at The Banff Centre for the Arts.

Ms. St.Denys holds a Master of Arts degree in dance from York University.  She is often consulted for her expertise in jazz and invited to participate in panel discussions, conferences, adjudicate performances and to make formal assessments for various arts organizations across Canada.

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Sholem Dolgoy
Co-Director, Production Program

Sholem Dolgoy has been working in Canadian and International arts and entertainment for over 35 years. While primarily a lighting designer in theatre, dance, opera, corporate, exhibit and display, he has experience in many areas of production. He has had staff or guest positions at diverse organizations including the National Ballet of Canada, Danish National Ballet, the Shaw Festival, Toronto Free Theatre, Vancouver Opera, the Royal Ontario Museum, the National Capital Commission in Ottawa, and Toyota Canada. For the Associated Designers of Canada, which represents theatrical designers, he helped create the Standards and Working Practices for design communication. The document is also used as part of curriculum at many teaching institutions across the country. He has been teaching lighting design and production at Ryerson since 1980. He recently completed MA research at York University, Forging a Professional Community: the Evolution of the Institutions of English Canadian Theatre – 1955 to 1979 . He is a graduate of the National Theatre School.

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Peter Fleming
Production and Operations Manager

A graduate of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program, Peter has been active in all areas of the entertainment business.  After beginning his career in summer stock theatre, in Morrisburg, Cobourg and Meaford, and prior to joining the Theatre School in 1992, he was Technical Director of the Ryerson Theatre, an active roadhouse on campus.  In this capacity Peter worked with many local and international opera, dance, theatre and concert companies.  Selected credits include Les Ballets Jazz, Sankai Juku, Kodo Drummers, Pilobolus, the Cullberg Ballet, the CJRT Orchestra and Famous People Players. In addition to working at the Theatre School, Peter stage manages for the Toronto International Film Festival and Roy Thomson Hall, conducts workshops for Stage Managing the Arts (S.M.Arts), and is the director of Production Managing the Arts (P.M.Arts).

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Ira Levine
Faculty

Ira Levine was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Communication & Design, Ryerson University in July 1995 and was re-appointed for a second five-year term in 2000.  In this capacity he was responsible for professional programs enrolling 4,000 students in Theatre (Acting/Production), Dance, Image Arts (Film/Photography/New Media), Radio and Television Arts, Journalism, Fashion, Interior Design, Graphic Communications Management and Professional Communication.

In  2001 he secured a $10 million gift to establish the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Graduate School for Advanced Communication for which he led the development of six new graduate programs, including a Ph. D. program in Communication and Culture and a unique international Master's program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management in partnership with the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y.  In 2004 he acquired through anonymous donation the 300,000-print Black Star Historical Black & White Photography Collection plus a $7 million cash endowment. This renowned collection is the largest gift of cultural property ever made to a Canadian university.

Dr. Levine came to Ryerson in 1987 as Chair of the University's Theatre School with a background in theatre directing and arts administration that encompassed the management of both theatre and dance companies.  He has served on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council, the Desrosiers Dance Theatre and the Ontario Cultural Sector Human Resources Council.   He is a past Chair of the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans, a member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and a founding executive board member of the Canadian Media Research Consortium.

Dr. Levine has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in European Intellectual History from the University of Rochester and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Dramatic Theory and Criticism from the University of Toronto.  His publications include Left-Wing Dramatic Theory in the American Theatre and, most recently, "The Critic as Cultural Nationalist," in The Scalpel and the Sword: Canadian Theatre Criticism in English, published by the University of Toronto Press.

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Caroline O'Brien
Faculty

Caroline O’Brien began her career in Canadian Theatre more than twenty years ago at Theatre New Brunswick.  Since that time she has been designing costumes, primarily in classical and contemporary dance.  From 1989 until 2007 she held the position of resident designer and wardrobe supervisor for Canada’s National Ballet School, while maintaining a busy freelance career.  She has worked with such notable companies as The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet Covent Garden, The Boston Ballet, Ballet British Company and Mannheim Ballet.  She has enjoyed almost twenty years of collaboration with Peggy Baker Dance Projects, and is an award winning sculptor.  She has taught costume design and construction at both Dalhousie University and Ryerson University since 2000.  She is currently fulfilling the requirements for her MA research, an exploration of the fairy tales in classical ballet entitled "Between the Seams: The Making of a Princess".  Upcoming is a world premiere with The National Ballet of Canada at The Four Season’s Centre in Toronto, March 2009.

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Irene Pauzer
Faculty

Irene Pauzer, Associate Professor is currently Head of Voice and Speech training all four years of the Acting Programme as well as the student dancers in the Dance Programme at the Ryerson Theatre Department since 2001. A Linklater based teacher with other pedagogical influences that include Richard Armstrong’s Roy Hart work of the extended voice and The Skinner Release Technique. Her past teaching and coaching has included six seasons as a member of the Stratford Shakespearean Coaching Team in voice, movement and text, West Virginia University, York University, The Stratford Shakespearean Festival's Birmingham Conservatory of Classical Training, The Voice Intensive, Guest Artist for Equity Showcase, and Moonhorse Dance Theatre. 

Irene brings over twenty-five years of performing experience and touring internationally to her teaching both in theatre and dance; theatre credits include Citadel Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Banff Festival of the Arts, and the Stratford Shakespearean Festival; camera credits include Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Twilight Zone, Street Legal, Salt of the Earth, Bridge to Silence, Mrs. Winterbourne, Martha, Ruth and Edie, Gate II. Irene trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School spending three seasons as a company member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens touring Canada and the USA extensively.

She holds an MFA in Theatre Performance, a diploma in Voice and is the recipient of grants from Actra Fraternal, Banff Festival of the Arts, and the British Arts Council with her field of research is the integration of voice/body/impulse connection. 

Voice classes are focused on directing the diverse energies of the individual in the studio to a place of focus in which the student can begin to explore the freedom of breath, an embodied voice and its connection to impulse, sound and articulation.  Over the course of four years other elements are added to this grounding in conjunction with the other studio courses in the student actor’s development.

The summer of 2012, Irene will be a member of the Women in War Company which will be performing in Greece 2012 as an actor and vocal coach as well as participating in the Women in War conference as a presenter and workshop leader.

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Nadia Potts
Faculty

Nadia Potts has been teaching ballet at Ryerson since her retirement from the National Ballet of Canada in 1986. During her illustrious 20 year career as a principal dancer, she has performed throughout the world in all the major roles in the ballet repertoire. She has also been partnered by many of the most renowned artists of her era such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Peter Martins and Rudolf Nureyev.

Teaching has always run tandem to her performing career. She has taught at the National Ballet School, the Banff Centre of Fine Arts, York University and George Brown College and has conducted numerous master classes and workshops. In 1989, Nadia was appointed Director of Ryerson's Dance Program. Drawing on her wide range of experience, her professional standards, and her ongoing contacts with the dance community, she continues to ensure that Ryerson's Dance Program's graduates make a vital contribution to the Canadian dance profession.

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Sheldon Rosen
Faculty

Sheldon Rosen Sheldon Rosen has been teaching and writing for the stage since 1972.  He has had 17 plays produced throughout the United States and Canada. His play NED AND JACK was produced at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, in 1979 and 1980 and won the 1980 Canadian Author's Association Award for Drama and was directed on Broadway in 1981 by Colleen Dewhurst. The play was also nominated for an Association of Canadian Television and Radio Award and was published by Samuel French in 1983.  Mr. Rosen has been playwright- in-residence at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario (twice), the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the Lake, Toronto Free Theatre in Toronto and at San Jose State University.  He has also received three Canada Council Arts Awards and several Ontario Arts Grants.  He was Chairman of the Guild of Canadian Playwrights for 1979-80.   Mr. Rosen was selected to be a member of the New Dramatists in New York 1984. In 1990 he received the first annual Joe A. Callaway Award for playwriting at New Dramatists. Mr. Rosen has worked in a wide range of forms and media, including radio, television and film, improvisational comedy, mime, dance, symphony, opera, multi-media fashion shows and two years of producing and directing television and radio commercials.  He was also the creator and director of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada for eight years. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Access Foundation in Vancouver from 1997-99. He is currently writing and teaching in Toronto and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Performance Studies at the Ryerson University Theatre School where he won the McConnell Curricular Innovation Award in his first year of full-time teaching. His new play 11places@once was presented in May, 2006 in Vancouver as part of the Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Festival of New Work. He is currently working with Jonathan Aitken on a 3 year  SSHRC Research/ Creation Grant in Fine Arts to create a: 'Typographical Play: The  Application of Kinetic Typography to Live Performance".

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Perry Schneiderman
Faculty

Theatre educator, director, and translator, who has taught many of Canada's notable performers and playwrights. Perry Schneiderman was born in Montreal Quebec on August 5, 1947, and spent the first 12 years of his life in Trois Rivieres. He studied psychology at McGill, and theatre at the University of Washington and L'Ecole Jacques Lecoq.

He taught mask and directed at the National Theatre School of Canada from 1976 to 2000, and was Artistic Director of the English Section of NTS from 1990-2000. During his time at NTS he initiated the first playwriting and directing programs offered by the school. His students included Eda Holmes , Adam Pettle, and Claudia Dey . Among the many notable NTS acting alumni that he was instrumental in selecting and training are: Sandra Oh, Brooke Johnson, Allan Hawco, Kristen Thomson, Michael Riley, Rick Roberts, Ted Dykstra, Jordan Pettle, Ann-Marie MacDonald, and Hannah Moscovitch . He directed the first NTS production in the newly renovated Monument National theatre in 1992: Moliere's The Miser adapted by Tom Cone . In 2002 he directed Nathalie Choquette in her one woman show La Diva that she performed with Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

His master classes in mask have been conducted in Shanghai, Cape Town, Moscow, Zagreb and Oxford. Closer to home he has taught and coached for HB Studio (NYC), Cirque du Soleil (Montreal and Las Vegas), the Stratford Festival and the Soulpepper Theatre Company.

At the invitation of Richard Monette and Michael Mawson and subsequently David Latham, Perry taught commedia at the Stratford Festival Conservatory for the first ten years of its existence. During that time he also conducted several mask workshops for the company and coached for Lorraine Pintal 's production of Don Juan.

In collaboration with Louis-Georges Girard, he has translated several English Canadian plays (East of Berlin, Hockey Mom Hockey Dad and Old Love) for eventual production in Quebec. Their translation of Old Love is slated for production at Theatre Jean Duceppe, Quebec?s largest commercial theatre in December of 2011.

His directing credits include many professional and conservatory productions including those at the Piggery Theatre (North Hatley) where he was Artistic Director from 1981-86 and 1990-95, as well as the Centaur Theatre and Saidye Bronfman Centre.

He returned to Montreal in 2007 to direct renowned Quebec actor Benoit Briere and an all-star cast in his and Briere's translation of Lend Me a Tenor that played to critical acclaim for 54 sold out performances at the 650 seat Theatre du Vieux Terrebonne, and was subsequently remounted for a 34 performance tour of the province in the Fall of 2008, including Schneiderman's home town of Trois Rivieres. In November 2010 he adapted and directed a version of Les Fridolinades by Gratien Gelinas for the Theatre Francais de Toronto. In March of 2011 the play was remounted in Ottawa for the Theatre La Catapulte and a subsequent tour of Francopnone communities throughout Ontario.

He was Chair of Ryerson Theatre School from 2000-2010.

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Scott Martin
Resident Technical Director

Scott is a graduate of Ryerson’s Technical Production Program. He has worked as a Production Manager or Technical Director for various theatres and events including, Showplace Performance Centre Peterborough, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Peterborough Summer Festival of Lights and The Georgian Theatre Festival.

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Will Sutton
Workshop Supervisor

Will has been involved in theatre since junior high, working on hundreds of productions over the years. As the head carpenter, he has worked with a number of different Toronto theatre companies, including stints at the Tarragon, Soulpepper, Theatre Passe Muraille and the World Stage. Will developed his construction experience as an independent and union permit working in theatre, film and television production as a scenic carpenter, welder and set designer. He has been the “Styrofoam Target Maker of the NHL” since the Super Skills competition debuted in 1990.

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Alex Gilbert
Wardrobe Staff Supervisor



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General Enquiries

416.979.5000 ext. 5086
Room: THR-105

Further details