2023 Teaching Artist Bios

KENDRA BIDWELL

Kendra [she/her] is an actor, dancer, singer and musician from Victoria, BC. After graduating from Company C at the Canadian College of Performing Arts she has had the privilege to stage manage, portray Disney princesses with Enchanted Fables, tour with Jubilations Dinner Theatre in Buddy Holly’s Happy Days, and perform shows with Theatre SKAM aboard the pop-up truck. Kendra’s teaching journey began in high school where she assisted musical theatre classes, continuing on to teach at the McTavish Academy of Art, and now with Theatre SKAM. She hopes to share her passion for performing with everyone!

Kendra can be contacted at [email protected] 

DIANA BUDIACHENKO

Recently arrived from Ukraine, Diana holds a Master of Performing Arts degree and directed five theatre productions as part of her graduate work in Kyiv. With two degrees in international relations, Diana has directed events in Romania and Odessa, Russia, and taught English in China using drama techniques for three years. An experienced art director, producer, and stage director who has also represented Ukraine in international pageant competitions, Diana is excited to share her love for folktales and theatre with the students of SKAM in her own adaptation of a beloved Ukrainian fairytale, Mavka and the Forest Song.

JESSICA BURDGE

Jessica [she/her] is a recent graduate of the University of Victoria’s theatre department. She has been involved with theatre since high school where she played Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man and competed in the Canadian Improv Games. She participated in the Belfry 101 program and has coached high school improv teams and hopes to continue to teach theatre in some form. Jessica also acts as a character performer with Enchanted Fables and has worked with Theatre SKAM for their Pop-Up Home Delivery Theatre. She is excited to share her knowledge with the students of the SKAM School of Performing Arts!

VICTORIA CALLIN

Victoria is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts with a strong background in dance and theatre and a fascination with the vocal art of the singing actor. A co-founder of the Triple Threat Performers teen musical theatre troupe in Victoria, she has directed six productions with this company and appeared in several CCPA musical productions, most notably assistant directing their production of Shrek while also performing as Young Fiona. 

ISSAH CONTRACTOR

Issah was born in Canada and spent his formative years in Kenya before returning to Canada for high school and college. A professional drummer and bass guitarist, Issah is also passionate about filmmaking and completed his first major project in 2019. This project, an operatic film entitled Ferriel which he wrote and directed, won two awards at minor competitions and was an official selection at the Tri-Cities International Film Fest. His short film Came with Cuffs was released in Jan 2021 and has won 10 awards and 5 nominations at various international film competitions.  As a screenwriter, his feature script Operation Black Widow won two awards and placed as a quarter-finalist in the New York International Screenplay Competition. Issah continues to write scripts, perform and record music and make films, and is excited about sharing his passions with SKAM students.

LORETO ESPINOZA

Originally from Chile, Loreto studied Theatre at Fernando Gonzalez Mardones Academy and has worked in several Chilean productions, including shows for Municipal de Santiago, the renowned Chilean Opera House. The majority of her work in Chile has been in theatre for youth. Here in Victoria, she has been lucky to perform with Story Theatre, Impulse Theatre, Puente Theatre, Atomic Vaudeville and Theatre SKAM!

Lore has a soft spot for creating characters that could be part of a cartoon, a dream… or a nightmare. She believes that playfulness is the essence of creation and what makes us feel like we belong in this world.

LAURA FARN

Laura is a life-long builder and mask maker who favours a mixed media or clay & cast approach. Laura is inspired by personal stories, portraiture and world masks – as well as her avid interest in the science of facial expression and masks as a technology for communication. Laura has a background in large-scale sculpting, props, and scenic painting and has enjoyed many projects with artists she admires for companies such as Intrepid Theatre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Disney Tokyo and Bard on the Beach. She received a Jessie nomination for ‘Significant Artistic Achievement: Outstanding Mask Making’ (Peer Gynt, Blackbird Theatre); is a former Faculty Head of Props with The Banff Centre and UVic; and has conducted many mask-making workshops, including some for Belfry 101.

CORINA FISHER

Corina [she/they] is an multidisciplinary creator and educator based in unceded Coast Salish Territories. A graduate of UVIC (BFA theatre 2021), they currently work as a forest education mentor. Recent theatrical projects have include producing to be them/to be us at SKAMpede festival 2022, set design for Untitled Theatric’s The Crime on Goat Island, costume design for The Rocky Horror Show (Victoria Operatic Society 2022) Molecular Landscapes (Impulse Theatre 2021) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Green World Theatre co 2021).

JASMINE LI

Hailing from Hong Kong, Jasmine grew up learning multiple languages at once but finds it difficult to retain information from her classes. After trial and error, she discovered that learning a language through drama was the most engaging and effective way for her to learn. At the age of 16, Jasmine moved to Canada for high school – little did she know that the way people spoke English in Canada was different from what she had imagined, so she turned to drama for language learning once again. Jasmine graduated from University of Victoria with a BFA in Theatre, after that she pursued EAL teaching and taught English to youth and young adults. Jasmine would like to invite any newcomers of Canada or English language learning folks to join her in a creative drama group to practise their English skills while having a fun social time! 

CHELSEA MACEWAN

Chelsea [she/her] is a local theatre artist from Sidney, BC. She graduated from The Canadian College of Performing Arts’ Company C program in 2020. It was at CCPA where she found her own artistic voice, which led her to write and direct award-winning mini-musical “BRUNCH: The Musical”. She has worked across BC, most notably in Kelowna and the Kootenays. Chelsea has taught theatre camps as well as classes for SKAM and currently teaches dance at Elevate Dance Centre. She is passionate about giving students a creative outlet and igniting a love of theatre in students of all ages!

Chelsea can be contacted at [email protected]