About Awkward Stage Productions Society
Awkward Stage Productions Society (ASP) is a theatre company and registered charity dedicated to high-quality, inclusive, relevant theatre programming; exciting audiences; and providing young and emerging artists with rewarding performance and production opportunities and mentorship.
We believe live theatre is a vital part of Vancouver’s cultural scene and that live theatre needs the talent, will, energy and perspectives of young and emerging artists. We are committed to developing a richer public interest in live theatre by taking risks with young and emerging artists, inclusive non-traditional casting, and new works.
We also believe that to be successful in today’s theatre environment, young and emerging artists in all theatre disciplines need developmentally structured performance and production opportunities; mentorship and coaching; and payment for their skills, talents and efforts.
ASP is committed to treating all people with respect, building trust and effective relationships, maintaining transparency throughout the organization and embracing intersectionality.
What makes ASP unique is our commitment to defining and being the bridge space where artists transition from amateur to professional opportunities in the Vancouver theatre community. We create theatre by and with young and emerging artists. We engage our young artists in all aspects of mounting a theatre production and the artistic, administrative and governance aspects of the organization. We engage established and respected theatre professionals as coaches and mentors. We pay our artists for their talent, skills and effort. This enables young and emerging artists to learn, gain experience, get established and move forward with their theatre careers with confidence.
Our goals are:
- To be the bridge space in the Vancouver theatre community for young and emerging theatre artists.
- To provide creative, financial and mentoring support for young and emerging theatre artists in all disciplines.
- To establish teams of dedicated individuals for administrative, board and artistic duties to achieve the stated mission.
- To develop a 4-production season with a mix of new and established works that appeal to established theatre audiences and also entice millennials to discover live theatre.
ANDY TOTH- Artistic Director and Co-Founder
Andy has been directing, coaching, teaching and performing in Vancouver for 15 years. Directing credits include The Fantasticks, Assassins, and Last Call…a Post-Nuclear Cabaret with Quintessence Musicals, West Side Story with the Chilliwack Academy of Music, and Anne of Green Gables for the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. Andy also had the pleasure of directing Canadian Icon and CBC radio legend Jurgen Gothe in his hilarious wine show Up Your Glass… a wine entertainment.
As director of the Pre-Professional Musical Theatre Troupe at Arts Umbrella, Andy has directed Dear Edwina, Lucky Stiff, Pippin, Little Women and is directing the upcoming production of Bring It On.
Andy is also in demand as an adjudicator, workshop leader and coach for individuals and groups of professionals and community performers alike. He has been a guest speaker for auditions, courses and conferences at SFU, UBC, and Capilano University. Andy also served as Musical Director for the smash hit production of Spring Awakening at Studio 58. In all, its Andy’s dedication to the development of new talent in Vancouver’s theatre scene that has him thrilled to be serving as Awkward Stage’s Artistic Director.
CORWIN FERGUSON- Artistic Associate and Co-Founder
Corwin, based in Vancouver, works across Canada primarily as a video and projection designer. He has earned a Robert Merritt Award and nominations for three Jessie Richardson Awards a Betty Mitchell Award and an Elizabeth Sterling Award for his designs. Corwin has studied animation, instructs at The Arts Umbrella, works as a storyteller with Forbidden Vancouver Historic Walking Tours and is an urban game designer/operator with Vancouver Mysteries. In theatre, Corwin’s professional experience includes acting, directing, projection design, stage management, set design, graphic and props design. Corwin is a Studio 58 acting graduate and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from Capilano University. Select company credits include: Alberta Theatre Projects, The Arts Club Theatre Company, Citadel Theatre, Ruby Slippers, Pacific Opera Victoria, Calgary Opera, The Virtual Stage, Studio 58, Théâtre la Seizième, Chemanius Theatre.
SANDRA HERD- Co-Founder
Sandra has an Hon. BA and LLB from Western University and that training came in surprisingly handy as a co-founder of Awkward Stage, producer and publicist. Favourite accomplishments include mentoring emerging artists in production and publicity roles, the co-creation of puppets for Smile and other productions with Debbie Wiecke, the creation and coordination of a new Vancouver Fringe BYOV in 2013, and her service as a jury member for ArtsVest.
ERIKA BABINS- Artistic Associate
Erika Babins is a Vancouver based actor, writer, choreographer, producer and all around wearer of many hats. Upon graduation from Capilano University’s Musical Theatre program, Erika’s first post-school production was ASP’s Smile: the Musical for Fringe 2011. Favourite choreography credits include: TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus (Awkward Stage Productions), The IT Girl (DNP), Urinetown, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Bring It On: The Musical (Arts Umbrella). Some favourite performance credits include: CB’S Sister in Dog Sees God (I Hate That Collective), The IT Girl (Dramanatrix) Dracula: the Musical? (ASP), My Aim is True (2012 Fringe Tour), and the Gold Fever Follies in Rossland, BC. Erika wrote, produced and directed Net, an original play that ran at Vancouver and Victoria Fringe Festivals. She is also a founding producer, writer and actor for KalamaTea Productions, a web content production company who’s projects “The Autobiography of Jane Eyre” and “All’s Fair Play” are available for viewing online.
MATTHEW FEDOROWICZ- Artistic Associate
Matthew hails from the small community of Manning, AB where he contributed to many productions including founding and running a children’s theatre summer drama program. In 2005 he produced and directed THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES with his kindergarten teacher in the cast. He graduated from Keyano College in 2005 with a Drama Diploma and soon afterward moved to Vancouver. In the past 10 years, he has worked with numerous theatre companies in acting, producing and volunteer coordinating including Metro Theatre, Raving Theatre, Hoarse Raven Theatre, Fighting Chance Productions and Theatre Under the Stars. Most recently, Matthew was seen as Uncle Fester in Align Entertainment’s THE ADDAMS FAMILY, where he was also volunteer coordinator, was Associate Producer for Jessie Award Nominated EDGES with Two Monkeys Productions and played Chiron in Awkward Stage Productions’s Pick of the Fringe winning TITUS: THE LIGHT AND DELIGHTFUL MUSICAL COMEDY OF TITUS ANDRONICUS. Since joining the Awkward Stage family with TITUS, he’s learned from and admired the team so much, that when he was approached to join, he absolutely had to. Matthew can’t wait to contribute to the company on a more broad scale.
SUSAN MIYAGISHIMA- Artistic Associate
Susan Miyagishima is a Vancouver-based theatre professional who divides her time between stage management, props, and wardrobe. She has worked with a number of excellent companies including Alley Theatre, Green Thumb Theatre, Théâtre la Seizième, The Virtual Stage, Carousel Theatre, The Electric Company, Neworld Theatre, Mitch and Murray Productions, Bard on the Beach, the Vancouver Playhouse, VACT, Gateway Theatre, Presentation House, Rumble Theatre, and Ruby Slippers. She has also worked as a venue coordinator for the wardrobe department of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and was the Set Decorator for the Canadian independent feature film Eadweard. She has received a Jessie Award Nomination for Outstanding Stage Management and is a graduate of Studio 58.
BRET ROACH- Artistic Associate
Bret trained at the Banff Centre for Performing Arts for the last three years, returning to Vancouver in late 2013. Studying both Technical Direction and Stage Carpentry he is now working for the largest theater company in Western Canada, The Arts Club Theatre Company. Bret works as a technical director for other theatre and dance companies around Vancouver; he also worked with Awkward Stage on a number of productions including TITUS and Dogfight. He’s honoured to join Awkward Stage and lend his skills as a new Artistic Associate.
“Fail to plan, plan to fail.”
MARCUS STUSEK- Artistic Associate
Marcus is a professional technical director, performer, set designer and prop designer. He grew up in Victoria, BC, and has been building and designing sets since the age of 15. His formal studies were at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and he has worked extensively with the Victoria Operatic Society. After college, he co-founded the River Road Theatre Company in Princeton, B.C., where he designed and built the sets, and held the role of Technical Director. He then joined the Arts Club Theatre Company and became the Head Stage Carpenter at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Marcus’ design maxim is, “the set is a character itself. Sometimes that character is bold, sometimes subtle, but always, always, the set character supports everyone else on stage.”
SARAH HARRISON- Artistic Associate
Sarah is a Vancouver-based actor, creator, and director. She received her BFA-Acting from UBC and also trained with the Canadian National Voice Intensive, the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance (Pochinko clown, bouffon, and physical theatre), and has 15+ years experience working with Shakespeare and other classic texts. Sarah has been the Assistant Director on Facts (United Players) and Over the River and Through the Woods (Metro Theatre). She is the co-creator and director of Awkward Stage’s award winning 2016 Fringe production, Carry On: A Musical, and in 2017 she is the Associate Producer of the Canadian premiere of Cry-Baby: The Musical (Awkward Stage Productions).
COURTNEY SHIELDS- Artistic Associate
Courtney is a Vancouver-based actor, director, and educator. She is a graduate of Capilano University’s Musical Theatre Diploma Program, and UBC’s BFA and BEd Programs. Courtney has worked with Beach House Theatre, Arts Club Theatre Company, Mitch and Murray Productions, Ruby Slippers, Neworld Theatre, TUTS, Align Entertainment, Gateway Theatre, RCMT, and Footlight Theatre. Courtney leverages her background in education as an on-call teacher for the Vancouver School Board and also as an instructor at Lights Up Musical Theatre.
 The bridge space is the transitional time and place in an emerging artist’s career where they are able to gain experience, receive supportive developmental opportunities and get paid for their efforts.