LESLIE TING - CREATOR, CO-DIRECTOR,PRODUCER, PERFORMER
Leslie is a Toronto-based violinist and emerging multi-arts creator. Her live performances, which have been described as creating ”fire without smoke” (Strad Magazine), strive for honesty and authenticity. She has performed with Music in the Barns and the Canadian Opera Company, to Sarah Slean and Andy Shauf, all while developing immersive multi-disciplinary work Speculation, lauded as “the most unique theatre experience I have ever encountered” (EyeGo). Formerly a practicing optometrist, Leslie brings to the stage her vast depth of knowledge of sight and our relationship to it. In 2016, she explored her art practice at the Art of Stillness Residency at the Banff Centre, the centre’s first major multi-disciplinary residency.
ALEX BULMER - CO-DIRECTOR, VOICE COACH
Alex is the writer and narrator of the critically acclaimed acoustic installation LIFE UNSEEN. She is a New York Radio Award nominee, Society of Canadian Musicians award recipient, writer of two award winning short films, and writer of the stage play SMUDGE, which earned two Best New Play nominations in Canada, and was Time Out’s Critics Choice during its UK premiere. Alex has written for The Royal Court, London 2012 Olympics, Graeae , BBC radio; winning an AMI award for her adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Channel 4 series Cast Offs (nominated for BAFTA and Royal Television SocietyAward), Theatre Centre and Face Front. She is co founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Flash UK , co-creator of The Canadian based Republic of Inclusion and Artistic Director of Cripping The Stage in association with The British Council Toronto. Her teaching interests are in the area of voice, writing and inclusive creative education. Credits include Central School of Speech and DramaUK, Rose Bruford College, Clean Break, London Metropolitain University, Lyric Belfast, The National Theatre School of Canada, the APAE Institute Brazil, SESC Madureira Rio,Extant Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre, and the Banff School of Fine Arts. Alex was awarded the visa status of Highly Skilled Migrant when she moved to the United Kingdom from her home country of Canada in 2003. She is now a citizen of both countries. In 2014 she was named as one of the UK’s most influential disabled artists by Power Magazine. Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Bishops University, an Advanced Diploma in Voice Studies from The Central School of Speech and Drama, and a Master of Arts with Distinction Screenwriting from the University of the Arts London.
TRISTAN R. WHISTON - CO-DIRECTOR
Tristan R. Whiston is a multi-disciplinary artist who has worked in Toronto’s arts community for over 25 years as a director, dramaturge, writer, performer, and community artist. His work as an audio artist has gained him international acclaim and attention. He wrote and directed five audio documentaries for CBC; most notably, his work, Middle C, won the 2007 Premios Ondas Award for International Radio and the silver medal at the 2007 New York International Radio Programming. In 2010, Middle C was selected as CBC’s entry for the Global Perspectives Series; as a result, audiences of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Netherlands, Australian Broadcast Corporation, Radio-Television Hong Kong, Radio New Zealand and South Africa FM heard Middle C. Tristan collaborated with Moynan King on an integrated art and sound performance piece called trace, which was co-presented by RDP and FADO in association with New Adventures in Sound Art in August, 2012 and toured Canada in 2015. As a community artist, Tristan was the artist in residence at Central Toronto Youth Services, directing Gender Play (2004-2010) working with LGBTQ youth to explore issues and experiences of gender, and, most recently, Transcend, a group exploring gender through art and activism (2012-2017). Tristan co-founded Del ARTiE Productions with whom he co-wrote and co-directed seven original musical comedies, and he was the founding director of Toronto’s renowned performance troupe The Boychoir of Lesbos from 1996 to 2006, with whom he produced and performed in an original musical adaptation of Lord of the Flies called Squeal. Tristan has a BFA from York University (1991 - specialty in theatre directing). In 2016, Tristan travelled to England where he was dramaturge and performer on Hush, a new musical written by Alex Bulmer that was presented at the London International Festival of Theatre and at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. Tristan recently completed work as director/dramaturge for Drift Seeds, a site specific performance emerging from a Promise in the Park, a Red Dress Productions 4-year multidisciplinary residency in Toronto. As artistic co-director of Red Dress Productions, Tristan has co-led over 20 large-scale community arts projects.
PATRICK LAVENDER - LIGHTING DESIGN
Patrick is a Toronto based production designer and production manager for multiple performing arts disciplines, touring in Canada and internationally. He is the recipient of 2 Dora Awards for both independent lighting design and set design, and he was a nominee for the 2017 Pauline MacGibbon Award in design. His recent and upcoming work includes; The Nether (Coalmine Theatre), Circus Riot (Lookup Theatre) Poison (Coalmine Theatre) Party Game (Bluemouth Inc. / Necessary Angel). Charlotte: A Tri-coloured Play with Music (Theaturtle), Brave New World (Litmus Theatre), The Circle (Tarragon Theatre), Extremophiles (Summerworks), Killer Joe (Coalmine Theatre), Late Company (Why Not Theatre), Crawlspace (Videofag), It Comes in Waves (Necessary Angel/Bluemouth).
AMELIA MAY SCOTT - VIDEO DESIGN
Amelia Scott is a projection designer, VJ and new media artist. Based out of Montreal, QC, she uses scenic design and interactive performance tools to create interactive installations and public transformed spaces.
THURGA KANAGASEKARAMPILLAI - DEAF PERFORMER
Thurga will perform an ASL version of the monologue on Friday, November the 30th at The Music Gallery at 918 Bathurst St.
Thurga Kanagasekarampillai is Deaf Tamil Canadian Queer and is also a daughter of an immigrant. She graduated with Honours in Acting for Media program at George Brown College. During the first year of Acting for Media program, she worked with Cahoots Theatre for the play called ‘The Enchanted Loom’ as Deaf Interpreter in November 2016 then after completed the first year, she worked with Red Dress Productions as one of these ASL performers for the community play called, ‘Drift Seeds’ and she had a pleasure to work with Tristan R. Whiston during that time. In the same month after the performance with Tristan, she worked with Stew and The Negros to interpret their songs, ‘Notes of A Native Songs’ at Luminato Festival. She is working to make a difference for many Deaf youths from over the world to be an artist and remind them to go ahead with their dream by make it more accessible for the Deaf community to succeed in the theatre production and film industry.
BEN SMITH - PIANIST
Ben will appear in Speculation November 30th and December 1st, 2018 at the Music Gallery in Toronto, Ontario
Described as a “thoughtful and immensely exciting performer” with “scintillating technique” (Barrie Examiner) and “intelligently rounded musicianship” (The Irish Times), pianist Benjamin Smith has performed as soloist and chamber musician across Canada and the United States. He has been a laureate of numerous competitions, including the Dublin International Piano Competition, the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, and the CMC Stepping Stone Competition. Guest appearances include the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Ontario Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Symphony-on-the-Bay, and the University of Toronto’s Hart House Orchestra. As soloist, he has performed under esteemed conductors such as Rossen Milanov and Marco Parisotto, with concertos including rarities such as the Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Festival appearances include Toronto Summer Music, Banff Summer Arts, Stratford Summer Music, Colours of Music (Barrie), Music Niagara, and Chamber Music at New Park (Ithaca, NY). American performances include recitals for the Texas Chopin Society and Chicago’s Landowska Harpsichord Society. Recent seasons have included two concerts in Carnegie Hall: last year as soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue with the Hart House Orchestra, and previously in recital with Canadian cellist Dongkyun An. A disc with Mr. An of Saint-Saens, Schumann, and Beethoven was released in December 2016. The current 18/19 season sees collaborations with the Penderecki String Quartet, solo recitals in Toronto, Barrie and Chatham, and the Rachmaninoff Second Concerto in Las Vegas.
Devoting considerable time to chamber music, Ben has been heard nationally across Canada on CBC Music (Radio 2) and locally on Toronto’s Classical 96.3. He has partnered in recital with renowned artists including Martin Beaver, Colin Carr, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Jacques Israelievitch, Julie Nesrallah, Joaquin Valdepeñas, Wolfgang Redik (formerly of the Vienna Piano Trio), Øystein Baadsvik and William VerMeulen, as well as with ensembles such as the Annex and Cecilia string quartets. For two seasons he performed as one-third of the Israelievitch-Smith-Ahn piano trio. Involved with music of our time as well, he is a regular member of the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto, and has worked under prominent conductors Joel Sachs, Steven Schick and Werner Herbers, as well as with composers John Corigliano, Reinaldo Moya and Chandler Carter.
Dr. Smith currently resides in Toronto, working as a lecturer, coach, and collaborator for the Glenn Gould School (GGS) and the Taylor Young Artist Academy at the Royal Conservatory. Previously, he held a position on the piano faculty at the University of Western Ontario, and has also served as an undergraduate piano instructor for the Department of Music at Stony Brook University. His principal teachers included Andrea Battista, James Anagnoson, Julian Martin, and Christina Dahl. Along with a DMA from Stony Brook University, he holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto, an Artist Diploma from the GGS, and a Masters from Juilliard.
Speculation would not be what it is without the previous contributions of the following artists:
Majdi Bou-Matar, dramaturg (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Emily Rho, pianist (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Jerzy Kaplanek, violin (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Jeremy Bell, violin (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Christine Vlajk, viola (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Mateusz Swoboda, cello (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Ben Chaisson, video designer (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Jennifer Jimenez, lighting designer (Open Ears, Kitchener, Ont, 2014)
Hiro Takenouchi, piano (Open Senses, London, UK, 2016)
Joe Price, lighting designer (Open Senses, London, UK, 2016)
Angeline St. Amour, lighting designer (Ottawa Chamberfest, Ottawa, Ont, 2018)
Hinrich Alpers, piano (Ottawa Chamberfest, Ottawa, Ont, 2018)