Donna Marie Baratta (Instructor)
Donna Marie Baratta is an Educator, Director, Choreographer, Producer and Performer. She is the Artistic Producer and Co-Founder of Present Danger Productions and a core artist of [elephants] collective which created A Wake for Lost Time, a 24 hour performance piece which has been in residency with Theatre Passe Muraille and Hub 14.
Donna Marie’s career has taken her right across Canada, the United States and to Europe (Paris, Belgium and Luxembourg) working in dance, drama, musical theatre, industrials, opera, and film. Selected credits include girls! girls! girls! (SummerWorks 2013), Medea (Studio Theatre), Living with Henry (Best of Fringe, Next Stage and NYMF 2012), The Murmuration of Starlings (New Works Festival), How I Learned to Drive (U of A), Death and the Maiden (U of A), Fool for Love (Playwright’s Project), Embedded (U of A), Low Level Panic (U of A), Strange Mary Strange (SummerWorks 2011), Aftershock (SummerWorks 2010), Candide (U of T Opera MFA), Honk (DaCapo Productions), Footloose (Rose Theatre/BMT), Perfect Life (Poor Alex Theatre),You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (DaCapo Productions), The Vagina Monologues (TBVPAC), Gone for a Dance (Samsa Films). She has performed in various mega-musicals: Crazy For You (Mirvish Productions), Sunset Boulevard (Live Entertainment) and in other productions at the Charlottetown Festival and Magnus Theatre.
She is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at the University of Alberta and a passionate Arts educator. Donna Marie has taught for the last fifteen years with the Lakehead Public School Board and TCDSB (Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts), at the University of Alberta, Randolph Academy and many other dance studios across Canada. She has taught dance for 25 years all across the country but most notably at three dance studios in Thunder Bay. She is also an inaugural member, of and on the Steering Committee, of the Directors Lab North.
Please see her website:
Donna Marie’s Training Focus:
Donna Marie will lead the group of students aged 14-18 in vocal and physical warm-ups and workshops such as: movement (Viewpoints, Suzuki, dance), improvisation, text work, stage fighting, character work, text work/choral reading and play creation. She will lead the group aged 14-18 to create a perfromance piece for public presentation. She will also instruct workshops in movement for the group aged 9-13.
Eleanor Albanese (Instructor)
Award winning artist Eleanor Albanese has spent her life immersed in the arts through theatre, film-making, and arts education. Her many plays for young audiences have toured nationally from coast to coast. Recent productions include Under the Moon with Aunt Birdie with Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, an adaptation of the folk tale East of the Sun; West of the Moon with Motus O Dance Theatre, and Dancing on Salt 'n Snow with Broken Moons Collective. Eleanor is the 2014 recipient of the Sybil Cooke Award for her play Night Wings, entered into the written for children category in Ottawa Little Theatre's National One-Act Playwriting Competition. The Novena Sisters aired nationally on CBC radio's Sunday Showcase Series and her full length drama The Two Rooms of Grace was included in the 1999 International Women's Playwrights Festival in Ireland. Eleanor's film, Under the Pearl Moon, co-directed with Sonja Obljubek, opened in 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia and won the Peoples Choice award at the Bay Street Film Festival.
Eleanor’s 30 plus years as a theatre artist have all been connected to developing community engagement and education. She spent five years creating original work with Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton, engaging with a wide range of communities such as adults with developmental disabilities, new Canadians, front line workers in the health care field and so on.
She formed a company called “New Creations Theatre” in Thunder Bay with Lila Cano and Jennifer Garrett, both leading artists, and together they spent ten years passionately developing new works for young audiences, touring plays into the region as well as engaging in school residencies. As part of its ongoing professional development, “New Creations Theatre” arranged to bring theatre practitioners into Thunder Bay to offer intensives in mask, clown and improvisation. The plays she wrote touched on a variety of social issues such as Zak and the Magic Blue Stone: the awakening of two children to environmental issues and Signe’s Lost Colours: a young girl whose world gets turned upside down when her parents divorce. In Eleanor’s work for young audiences, she seeks to tell relevant stories, which do justice to a child's view of the world. Though the characters face difficult challenges, the stories bring with them the richness of humour, friendship and emotional depth. Most of her plays have received additional productions and school tours throughout Southern Ontario, Toronto as well as Saskatchewan and the east coast provinces. Her plays for young audiences have seen over 2,000 performances.
Eleanor has presented at conferences from Vancouver to Toronto to Nova Scotia. In her invitational style of teaching, Eleanor guides participants to connect with their own creativity through mixed media works, drama, collage, marionettes and a variety of other expressive art forms. In all of her work, Eleanor seeks to encourage others to find and explore their own unique creative voice.
Eleanor’s Training Focus:
Eleanor will lead the group of students aged 9-13 in the morning and then work with the students aged 14-18 in the afternoon. She will focus on using mask and puppetry as an instrumental part of new play creation. Eleanor will lead the groups to create a new work based off of exploration and classical mythology.
Danny Johnson (Instructor)
Danny Johnson is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor and musical director who has performed at many venues and festivals around the world. He has been the featured soloist with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra on many occasions and he has opened for and toured with many acclaimed acts, including Bob Dylan, The Tragically Hip, Colin James, Johnny Cash, The Temptations, Bob Newhart, Paul Shaffer, Bob Hope and Paul James.
An accomplished jazz pianist, Danny performs many solo gigs as well as those with his Trio, and is considered world-class as a jazz musician. His rock/ r& b band 21 Gun Fun has performed at hundreds of events over the past few years.
He enjoys sharing his musical knowledge performing "Blues In The Schools" and the "History Of Jazz" at various schools every year. He has worked with many high schools in Thunder Bay as Musical Director of their school musicals and as a guest artist.
He has composed the music for many award winning films, including the documentary Dorothea Mitchell: A Reel Pioneer, which won the People’s Choice Award at the Bay Street Film Fest and was shown on Bravo. His music for Life Is But A Dream (nominated for best short documentary) was a finalist for best music at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto in 2010. He has composed the music for the films Sticky Money, Chopsticks, Silent Invaders and In Security, and recently composed the music for a documentary film about the forest industry called Pulp Friction, which is playing at festivals around the world. Danny has worked as engineer/producer for dozens of album and film projects at his facility, Danalog Studio, including Rodney Brown’s The Big Lonely and Pierre Schreyer’s Blue Drag, both nominated for Juno awards.
Danny is no stranger to theatre audiences, having performed in over fifty productions across the country, including 2 Pianos 4 Hands, Forever Plaid, Little Shop Of Horrors, All Grown Up, Still The Night, Amadeus, I Love You You're Perfect Now Change, Ever Loving, Gun Metal Blues, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, The Light Gets In (The Music Of Leonard Cohen), The Broadway Club and Billy Bishop Goes To War, to name a few, at such theatres as Magnus Theatre, Belfry Theatre, Western Canada Theatre Company, Lighthouse Theatre, and Victoria Playhouse. He has also acted in several films, including Under The Red Star, which premiered at the Northern Character Film Fest in Murmansk, Russia last fall, Silent Invaders (which won the Audience Award at the Faux Film Fest in Portland), Sticky Money and most recently, The Scratch.
Danny’s Training Focus:
Danny will focus on teaching singing technique, sound composition and repertoire with both age groups. His work will encourage the students to create sound scores and vocal scores to be explored along with their play creation.