About Catalyst Theatre

Canada’s Catalyst Theatre creates bold, distinctive and highly theatrical productions – ‘Made-In-Edmonton’ theatre that is presented across Canada and around the world.

Live theatre based on ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan), Treaty 6/Métis Territory

The company’s core creative team strives for the unexpected, seeking out innovative ways to tell powerful stories through the inventive and playful use of evocative music, haunting sound, poetic text, dynamic choreography and stunning & surreal design.

Catalyst productions have been presented by London’s Barbican Theatre (BITE) and the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), The New Victory Theater and New World Stages (New York), Canadian Stage and the Luminato Festival (Toronto), Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Theatre, the High Performance Rodeo (Calgary), Vancouver Playhouse, the PuSH Festival, the Arts Club Theatre and The Cultch (Vancouver), The Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh), The Tron Theatre (Glasgow), The Playhouse (Liverpool), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Ottawa), The Citadel Theatre (Edmonton), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), Le Carrefour International du Théatre (Québec), Keyano Theatre (Fort McMurray), and the Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse).

Catalyst Theatre also the recipient of more than 147 local, national and international awards & nominations including three Lortel Award nominations (Outstanding Musical, Choreography and Costume Design) for the Off- Broadway production of Catalyst’s Nevermore – The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.

Catalyst’s creative and administrative home is the 680-seat Maclab Theatre in the heart of Edmonton’s downtown Arts District.

Catalyst Theatre recognizes that where we create, share and tell stories is located on Treaty 6 territory as well as Region 4 of Métis Nation of Alberta, the traditional territories of the nêhiyawak, Saulteaux, Niisitapi, Nakota Sioux, Dene, Métis, and other peoples. In doing so, we recognize that we are a part of a larger journey of growth, creation and working alongside all voices that call this place home.

The Abundance Trilogy
Sîan Williams. Photo by Ed Ellis.

The Blue Orphan
Harvey Anderson. Photo by Ed Ellis

Frankenstein
George Szilagyi. Photo by Jackson Hinton.

The Abundance Trilogy
Dov Mickelson, Manon Beaudoin. Photo by Ed Ellis.

Vigilante
Ensemble. Photo supplied by Persephone Theatre.

Hunchback
Ensemble. Photo by Ian Jackson.

The Soul Collector
Elinor Holt. Photo by Ryan Parker.

Nevermore
Ensemble. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The House of Pootsie Plunkett
Sian Williams. Photo by Ed Ellis.

Frankenstein
Ensemble. Photo by Jackson Hinton.

Elephant Wake
Joey Tremblay. Photo by Ed Ellis.

Fortune Falls
Ensemble. Photo by dbphotographics.ca

Core Team

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Jonathan Christenson

Artistic Director

Jonathan is a director, writer and composer whose original musical plays have been presented at major theatres and festivals throughout the U.K., Australia, the U.S.A. and Canada. His work has been recognized with more than 40 British, Canadian and American awards and nominations, including a Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding New Musical of New York’s 2015 Off-Broadway season. His plays have been published by Playwrights Canada Press, Newest Press and Bayeaux Arts, recordings of his music can be found on iTunes and at Broadway Records, and his productions are featured in American Theatre, Maclean’s, CTR, PRISM International, Canada World View and All Stages. He was named one of “Alberta’s Fifty Most Influential People” by Venture Magazine and Alberta Playwrights Network chose him as one of Alberta’s one hundred most significant theatre artists of the past one hundred years.

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As Catalyst is a creation company, we do not accept script submissions. 

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TRACY CARROLL

Interim Managing Director

Tracy is excited to join the Catalyst team for the next year! She has worked as a director, dramaturg, teacher and producer for 25+ years and has held the Co-Artistic Director position at Concrete Theatre, a Theatre for Young Audiences touring company, as well as Artistic Associate positions at Alberta Playwrights’ Network and at the Citadel Theatre where she co-created KidsPlay@ the Citadel. She has produced several play development programs including Script Salon, a monthly series of play-readings by Alberta playwrights, EDMONten- A Showcase of Ten-Minute Plays and Peep Show! at SkirtsAfire, where she guided the development of 33 new plays written by Edmonton and area women, and has been the facilitator of the Young Playwriting Company at the Citadel and has taught regularly for the school program Writes of Passage through Workshop West. Most recently, Tracy Directed and Dramaturged The Space Between Stars by Christine Lesiak at SkirtsAfire, and Fresh Hell by Conni Massing at Shadow Theatre.

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Bretta Gerecke

Resident Designer

Bretta is the resident designer at Catalyst Theatre where she has been designing and conceiving world premieres for the past 20 years. She is a Set, Lighting and Costume Designer who creates for Theatre, Musicals, Circus and Opera. When not at Catalyst she is designing for companies such as Edmonton Opera, The Citadel Theatre, Calgary Opera, Theatre Calgary, The Stratford Festival and Cirque du Soleil. She is the recipient of over twenty-five awards including The Enbridge Award for Best Emerging Artist; The Global Women of Vision Award; Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40, and three times short-listed for the Siminovitch Prize. She illustrated the children’s book “Maximillian’s Mistake”, represented Canada in Prague at the Scenography Quadrennial and her costume designs will be exhibited in Moscow and Beijing this year. Bretta designed a summer home on Devil’s Lake, Alberta, is a marathon runner and an Archaeological Illustrator. She lives with her husband, Nick in London, and has a beautiful step-son and god-daughter.

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Jessica Glover

Associate Producer

Jessica is an Edmonton-based arts administrator and has been Associate Producer at Catalyst Theatre since 2020. Previously, she has worked in various administrative and customer service roles at the Citadel Theatre, Theatre Alberta, and the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival. She is also the co-founder of the independent theatre company Cardiac Theatre and has co-produced all of Cardiac’s projects to date. On varying occasions, she has been a playwright (Maps to the Stars, New Works Festival), stage manager (Pompeii, L.A., Cardiac Theatre), and actor (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Edinburgh Festival Fringe). She holds a BA from the University of Alberta, and is a graduate of the Arts and Cultural Management Program at MacEwan University.

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Board members

Caitlin Bullerkist

Occupation: Criminal Defence Lawyer – Sinclair Law Office

I am a life long Edmontonian and my favourite part of the city is its vibrant arts community. I grew up going to the theatre, the symphony, and opera. I loved how no matter how your day was, the arts could transport you away from it all. There is nothing like sitting together with a group of strangers and sharing the same laugh or cry. The arts can push you to grow and explore new ideas and worldviews. Catalyst Theatre is known for being innovative and pushing audiences further. I am honoured to be part of Catalyst’s board and be able to give back to the arts community which has given me so much.

 
Sue Quon

Secretary
Occupation: Dentist

I am inspired to volunteer for an arts organization because of the passion and transformative magic of the arts. Take a black box, add a stage, costumes, performers, a script and you are instantly somewhere else. I can’t sing, act or dance but I have been enthralled by the process of it that I have vowed to use the skills I do have to make sure the beauty, and inspiration of it can be shared by others. I love the experience of seeing something live, sharing the space and experience with others. I love watching it, then not having it exist as soon as it is over. It’s your moment based on your thoughts, mood, and experiences but influenced by actors, words, music and the audience. It is a moment that is only left to exist in your memory. It is fleeting but permanent or you can forget it and throw it away.

 
HITOMI SUZUTA

Member At Large
Occupation: Research Officer

I feel that art provides an avenue for individuals to express how they view and react to the world. While I have dabbled in different forms of art, I leave the art to those with the skill to tell and express the stories of today while I savour each artist’s interpretation. My passion is art in all its forms, but from a board perspective, I tend towards the endless possibilities of the stories and worlds in theatre. I have had the opportunity to sit on numerous theatre boards during the last decade I have lived in Edmonton. I am grateful for and look forward to the opportunity in supporting the Board, staff and others associated with Catalyst in its creative and innovative journey in Edmonton and on tour.

Jenifer Christenson

Occupation: Chief Executive Officer Built Green Canada 

The arts, to me, are the soul of our society and Catalyst Theatre brings this and more: they offer the ultimate theatre experience. There’s just nothing like their productions – anywhere. I currently run a national organization focused on sustainability. With this, I bring over 25 years of business and marketing experience with a focus on strategic planning, marketing and communications, branding and reputation management, stakeholder relations, and advocacy. I have been recognized with over 35 individual and team awards including the International Association of Business Communicators’ Gold Quill Awards, the International Economic Development Council’ Summit Awards, Meeting Planners International Innovation Award, the Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index Awards, and Travel Alberta’s ALTO Awards. I was named one of the Top 100 Edmonton Women in Business, and was one of three Canadians invited to participate in a delegation to Ukraine presenting on Branding and Marketing. I also have a Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication and am excited to draw upon my qualifications and experience in support of this great theatre company.

 
STUART KEHRIG

Member at Large
Occupation: Manager, Project Development, Affordable Housing and Homelessness, City of Edmonton

As the youngest of 7 kids in my family I never realized until I got older how spoiled I was to be exposed to such a great breadth of art by my older siblings and parents. Whether it was comic books, fiction, visual design, music, film or theatre I was given the opportunity to experience it all. My life has been incalculably enriched through the arts. In my work with catalyst I hope to help celebrate and share the joy of the arts with my own children, friends, neighbours and the world.

 
Stacy Fysh

Member At Large
Occupation – EPSB Principal

Jonathan Christenson

Ex-Officio
Occupation: Artistic Director

Please see above for Jonathan’s bio.

Darrell Manning

Chair
Occupation: Director, Water Regulatory and Shared Services, Epcor Utilities INC

As a dedicated supporter of performing arts within Edmonton and abroad, I have experienced theatre’s transformative powers firsthand. I have been a Catalyst Board member since 2016 and I am very proud of the work this company does to inspire, challenge, and build deep connections within the communities it has served. Since 2020, it has been my honour to be the Board Chair, and it is in this capacity that I have drawn on my business experience in supporting the company’s governance and financial principles that empower our artistic endeavors and foster an atmosphere where creativity flourishes. Along with my fellow board members, I am committed to the ongoing development of an inclusive theatre company, one which will continue to provide local and international audiences with the enrichment that attending theatre can bring.  

Crystel Magus

Treasurer
Occupation: Business Owner

I have always been a huge fan of live theatre.  From a young age, my sisters and I would act out short skits in our spare time.  As I grew older I participated in multiple plays during my junior and senior high school years.  I am privileged to be able to share and pass down this love of the theatre to my two children who from a very young age accompanied me.  I am excited to be a part of the Catalyst board as the productions are unique and innovative ideas brought to life through fantastic writing and sound that keep you on the edge of your seat.

 
Lana Michelle Hughes

Ex-Officio
Occupation: Managing Director (on creative sabbatical for 2023/24 season)

Lana has been with Catalyst since the fall of 2009, and has been in a leadership role since 2017. Working at Catalyst has given her the gift of connecting with artists and administrators across Canada, and she is always grateful to engage with her diverse, talented and generous colleagues. As both an administrator and an artist, she’s especially inspired by Edmonton’s vibrant theatre community, and enjoys helping to cultivate and maintain our healthy arts ecology. When not at Catalyst she works as a freelance artist, and she has performed, directed and written for various theatre companies across Western Canada, including: The Citadel Theatre, Theatre Network, Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre, Urban Curvz, Theatre SKAM, Send In the Girls Burlesque, Promise Productions, and Northern Light Theatre. She recently developed an Artistic Director Fellowship program for Shadow Theatre. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s Department of Drama, and holds a Diploma in Journalism from Grant MacEwan University. She has also studied with One Yellow Rabbit, Punchdrunk, Ghost River Theatre, and has completed Leadership Training through The Banff Centre.

FUNDERS

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