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It's Happening Here!

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Announcing Our 2014/15 Season!

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Download the 2014/15 Season Brochure

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Sessional Teaching / Theatre Studies: January 2015 to April 2015 (2014W Term 2)

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Theatre and Film Teaching Assistantships: 2014/2015 Academic Session.

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New course open to all UBC students: INTRODUCTION TO FILM ACTING (FIPR 269A). No Audition Required. UBC 1st year students and invited to apply!


Proudly Supporting our Students, Alumni & Faculty

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Leos Roar for UBC Theatre & Film! Congratulations to our many students faculty and alumni from UBC Theatre & Film whose artistry was recognised by Leo Awards this year and kudos to those who’s work received a Leo.

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The Department of Theatre and Film is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Hallie Marshall to the position of Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies.

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Northern Gateway Pipeline Video Contest Launched!

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Leo Nominations – Theatre & Film at UBC: Huge congratulations to our talented students, alumni and faculty who have had work recognized at this year’s Leo Award Nominations!

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Alumna Rebekka Sorensen Recognised by Daytime Emmy Awards.

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Congratulations to our staff member Lynn Burton on being recognised by Celebrating Women at UBC!

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Associate Professor Kirsty Johnston’s book "Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre" shortlisted for Canada Prize in the Humanities.

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Assistant Professor Siyuan Liu receives review for his book Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China

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Theatre at UBC was recognised for it’s “boffo programming” this year in the magazine’s annual Best of Vancouver issue! 

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Theatre at UBC is a Positive Space!

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Gifts to Theatre at UBC ensure that today's Theatre students have access to the resources that give them the best education possible.


Theatre at UBC

Directory: Faculty Members


ROBERT GARDINER, B.A. (California State, Sacramento), M.F.A. (Washington) is Professor of Scenography at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and the Acting Head, Department of Theatre and Film. He has designed stage scenery and lighting at many theatres in North America, has been a member of various boards, panels, and juries for civic, provincial, and national agencies and not-for-profit organizations, and was Head of the UBC Department of Theatre and Film from 2002-2007. He has received Jessie Richardson Awards and a Dorothy Somerset Award in Vancouver, an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes award in Edmonton, a Toronto Theatre Critics Award, and his work has been represented in the Canadian National Exhibition at the Prague Quadrennial. He is an expert in lighting, scenery, costume, and video design for theatre, stage directing, technical direction, scenic art, stage carpentry, and performance. His recent artistic and research practice integrates imagistic design, digital media technologies, and live performance, and has received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the BC Innovation Fund, the BC Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and other agencies.
Email: robert.gardiner [at]


STEPHEN HEATLEY, B.A. (Brock), MFA (Alberta) teaches acting and directing and is the departmental liaison for playwrighting. He spent twelve seasons as Artistic Director of Edmonton's Theatre Network where he directed over thirty world premieres. He spent five years as Associate Artistic Director at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and has directed for other companies in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Toronto, Blyth, Victoria, Richmond and Rosthern, SK.  In 2007, his production of Roald Hoffmann’s Should’ve was featured at the congress of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in Turin, Italy. Stephen is the Coordinator of the MFA Directing Program.
Email: stephen.heatley [@]


ERNEST MATHIJS, Ernest Mathijs (PhD, Brussels) researches the receptions of alternative and cult cinema, and of film and stage performance. He has a keen interest in 20th Century and contemporary alternative performances (from Beckett and Beuys to Rocky Horror and rock opera). He has most recently edited The Cult Film Reader (with Xavier Mendik), and three books on The Lord of the Rings: The Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context, From Hobbits to Hollywood (with Murray Pomerance), and Watching the Lord of the Rings (with Martin Barker). He has also published in a.o. Film International, Screen, Cinema Journal, Literature/Film Quarterly, and History of Political Economy, and he edited books on European exploitation cinema, Big Brother, and Belgian and Dutch cinema. He coordinates the series Contemporary Cinema (with Steven Schneider) and Cultographies (with Jamie Sexton). His monograph on David Cronenberg appears in August by Wallflower Press.
Email: ernest.mathijs [@]


JERRY WASSERMAN, B.A. (Adelphi), M.A. (Chicago), Ph.D. (Cornell) is Professor of English and Theatre, specializing in modern drama and theatre history with particular interests in Canadian theatre and popular entertainments.  His books include MODERN CANADIAN PLAYS (2 vols.), now in its 5th edition, TWENTY YEARS AT PLAY: A NEW PLAY CENTRE ANTHOLOGY,THEATRE AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY: WRITING AND PERFORMING LIVES IN THEORY AND PRACTICE, co-edited with Sherrill Grace, and SPECTACLE OF EMPIRE: MARC LESCARBOT’S THEATRE OF NEPTUNE IN NEW FRANCE.  He also wrote and hosted MODERN CANADIAN THEATRE, a 12-hour telecourse for BC’s Knowledge Network.  Wasserman has published widely on modern drama, modern fiction, and blues literature. He reviewed theatre for CBC radio for 17 years and is currently theatre critic for THE PROVINCE newspaper in Vancouver.  He has sat on the board of Playwrights Theatre Centre and the Canadian Theatre Critics Association, and has more than 200 professional acting credits for stage and screen (see
Email: jerry.wasserman [at]


top of pageAssociate Professors:

CATHY BURNETT, B.F.A. (Utah), M.F.A. (Boston) teaches movement and dance. She has choreographed many productions for the Pink Ink Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Workshop West, and the University of Alberta, and has experience as a performer and dance instructor.
Email: cathy.burnett [@]


KIRSTY JOHNSTON, B.A.(Queen’s), M.A.(U. Toronto), Ph.D. (U. Toronto), specializes in dramatic literature and theatre history with particular interest in disability arts and intersections between health, disability and performance. Other research interests include Canadian theatre and intercultural theatre. Her work has appeared in such journals as Modern Drama, Theatre Topics, Theatre Research in Canada, Journal of Canadian Studies and the Journal of Medical Humanities. Her monograph, Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2012. It received the 2012 award for “Best Book in Canadian Studies” from the Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes. 
Email: kirsty.johnston [@]
Website Profile:


STEPHEN MALLOY, B.A. (York/Ottawa), B.A. Honours Directing (Ottawa), M.F.A. Directing (Victoria). He has been a member of the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC since 1989. Stephen is an Artistic Associate of Vancouver’s Main Street Theatre where he has directed and designed many innovative and award winning productions of contemporary classics. He received the Jessie Richardson award for Outstanding Direction in 2011. Malloy is a dramaturg and playwright and his award-winning play Fallin' in Love, has been produced by theatres in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. His video projects include Reach Up and Receive and Outskirts of Town with Cathy Kyle (Toronto’s Dancemakers/Ottawa Artscourt), and several music videos for Jealous Monk records, which have been distributed internationally. He was the co-founder and Artistic Director of the influential Coming Attractions Theatre Company in Ottawa. Malloy’s study of the dramatization of the family and its inherent blood connections have led him to explore the links between ancient Greek theatre, Irish drama (in particular Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel) and the work of contemporary American playwright Sam Shepard. Professor Malloy teaches Acting and Directing at UBC.
Email: stephen.malloy [@]
Main Street Theatre:


GAYLE MURPHY, B.F.A. (Calgary), M.F.A. (York) teaches voice and speech in the BFA Acting Program. She has acted professionally in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Edinburgh and has taught voice and speech at the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School, Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts, Studio 58 and the Canadian National Voice Intensive. She has also led voice workshops for professional actors and dancers in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal and Bangkok. She is the current Coordinator of the BFA Acting Program.
Email: gayle.murphy [@]


top of pageTOM SCHOLTE, BFA, MFA (UBC) Tom is a nationally recognized actor in the realms of theatre, film, and television. Among his numerous screen credits are a Genie nominated and Leo winning performance in the feature film LAST WEDDING, a Gemini winning performance on DA VINCI'S INQUEST, and a Leo winning performance in the short film EXPOSURES. On stage, he is a two time Jessie nominee who has appeared for such companies as Vancouver's Pi Theatre, Ruby Slippers and Arts Club Theatre Company, Toronto's Modern Times Stage Company, and Whitehorse's Nakai Theatre. As a director he was a founding member of Neworld Theatre and is the founder and artistic director of Theatreshop. He has previously taught acting for stage and screen at the Vancouver Film School, Lyric School of Acting, and the University of British Columbia. Tom's feature film directing debut, CRIME, received its world premiere at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival.
Email: tom.scholte [@]


Assistant Professors:

JACQUELINE FIRKINS BA (Drew), MFA (Yale) specializes in costume design.  Her regional design work includes costumes for the Goodman Theatre, Writer's Theater of Chicago, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, Timeline Theatre, House Theatre of Chicago, Remy Bumppo Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Longwharf Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Portland Stage Company, Portland Center Stage, Marin Theatre Company, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare and Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Shakespeare, Brave New Repertory, AboutFace Theatre Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, and the Yale School of Drama. Jacqueline is a recipient of a 2001 Princess Grace Award and a 2010 Black Theatre Alliance award for excellence in costume design.  She has been nominated for regional design awards in Connecticut and Chicago. She also has experience designing scenery and teaching dramatic literature courses.

SIYUAN LIU, Ph.D. (U. of Pittsburgh), specializes in Asian theatre. Since 2006, he has published eight peer-reviewed research articles on twentieth-century Chinese and Japanese theatre in Theatre Journal, TDR, Asian Theatre Journal, and Text & Presentation. He also has two research articles included in anthologies that are currently in press. His book reviews have appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Asian Theatre Journal, Text & Presentation, and Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. He has contributed dozens of entries on twentieth-century Chinese theatre to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance and The Encyclopaedia of Asian Theatre. He has regularly presented research papers in conferences in North America and is the Member Outreach Coordinator for Association for Asian Performance. Currently he is working on several research projects. Before coming to UBC, he taught at the University of Georgia.
Email: siyuan.liu [@]


Dr Marshall is an expert in theatre history in contemporary context, particularly modern approaches to classic Greek drama, and also in 18th &19th-century neo-classical art and architecture and the history of books and reading.  She holds a SSHRC Insight Development grant, an Apollo Visiting Fellowship, and has been published by Oxford University Press, Bristol Classical Press, and Blackwell Publishing (among others).

BRAD POWERS, B.A. (Ohio State University), M.F.A. (Yale) is Assistant Professor of Production Technology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Highlights from his work as Technical Design Manager and Consultant for LA Propoint Inc in Los Angeles include the following team projects: technical consulting on a multistory indoor theme park in China, the technical design, fabrication and installation of the world’s largest 3D projection screen for KING KONG: 360 3-D at Universal Studios Hollywood, rigging for the FORTUNE DIAMONDattraction at Galaxy Macau resort, an acrobatic catwalk grid for Cirque du Soleil’s IRISin Los Angeles, the scenery and automation for the award-winning BEYOND ALL BOUNDARIESat the WWII museum in New Orleans, and numerous rigging system and tension grid installations. Powers has served as Technical Director for La Jolla Playhouse, the University of California San Diego, and Yale Repertory Theatre. His expertise and research interests include entertainment technical design and management, structural design for the stage, mechanical design and automation, entertainment rigging, computer aided 3D modeling and drafting, CNC routing and machining, lighting technology, sound technology, and scenic carpentry & welding. He is currently a co-author on the soon to be released expanded and updated second edition of STRUCTURAL DESIGN FOR THE STAGE.


Honourary Postdoctoral Fellow

XIAOZhEN ZHU, Ph.D. (Shanghai Theatre Academy) specializes in Chinese Traditional Theatre. She was a young professional teacher and worked for STA after she completed her master's program in 2004. She was responsible for original intensive script writing, as well as play and patent application for campus. Over the past eight years, Xiaozhen organized many script creations and large shows. She is also very familiar with Chinese contemporary theatre development and theatre education system. Currently she is editing her papers, which will be published next year and writing theatre comments for the magazine "Shanghai Theatre."


top of pageEmeritus  Professors:

ERROL DURBACH, M.A. (Rhodes), M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (London). (Theatre History, Dramatic Literature) is author of Ibsen the Romantic, A Doll's House: Ibsen's Myth of Transformation and many articles on modern, comparative, and Commonwealth drama.
Email: errol.durbach [@]


BOB EBERLE (Production and Stage Management) has extensive experience in all aspects of technical theatre - production, design, and construction. He has also worked in film and television and as Production Manager of the Vancouver Children's Festival.
Email: bob.eberle[@]


RONALD FEDORUK, BFA (Calgary), MFA (Victoria) taught scenography from 1989 to 2012. He served a term as Head of the Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing and was Director of first year Arts Foundations Program. For six years he was the Scenographer for Bard on the Beach and was a Canadian representative to the International Theatre Design Organization (OISTAT). He has published a number of articles on Scenography in the journals of Associated Designers of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology and the US Institute for Theatre Technology. 


Website: Email: ron.fedoruk [@]


NEIL FREEMAN, M.A. (Nottingham), was trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His awards include the John Gielgud Scholarship; USA National Endowment of the Arts Major Artists' Fellowship; the Joseph G. Green Fellowship from York University, and a minor Scholarship from SSHRC. He worked with the Will Geer Theatre, British American Drama Academy, The National Theatre School, the Centre for Actors Study, the National Voice Intensive and the Stratford Festival.


ALISON GREEN, B.F.A. (Brit. Col.), M.F.A. (Brit. Col.) member of Associated Designers of Canada, Set and Costume Designer for major theatre companies in Vancouver, Victoria and Ontario. Has worked previously as designer for Radio-Canada Television and film companies in Montreal.
Email: [@]


IAN PRATT was the Technical Director of the Frederic Wood Theatre from 1974 to 2003, contributing to more than 150 stage productions. 

In addition, he was the Technical Director of the Vancouver International Children’s Festival for its first 24 seasons; co-founder and first TD of Cirkids (the Vancouver Children’s Circus); TD/SM at the WildHorse Theatre, Fort Steele, for 13 seasons and at the Palace Grand in Dawson City for three. 

 A long-time member of the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology (CITT), Ian was active in workplace health & safety regulation for the performing arts including WCB regulation revue and BC electrical certification as well as Federal gun control and pyrotechnics regulations.  He was a founder of SHAPE (Safety & Health in Arts Production and Entertainment) and sat on the Performing Arts Steering Committee and the Board of Directors of that organization.

Ian is a recipient of the “Frannie” Award from the Canadian Institute of Arts for Young Audiences and the Dieter Penzhorn Memorial Award from the CITT.  He is a member of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Email: ianpratt [at]  


CHARLES SIEGEL, B.A. (Brandeis), M.F.A (Yale) taught acting and directing for 24 years in the Department and was the first person to be Chair of the Theatre Program. As a professional actor, he has appeared in over 50 TV shows and films. On stage he has acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theatres across the United States and Canada – playing roles ranging from King Lear and Uncle Vanya to Cyrano and Falstaff. He has directed over thirty productions of plays – including the world premieres of Canadian plays in Vancouver, New York, and London. TO KEEP HER COMPANY, the play he wrote based on the writings of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, has been performed in London, New York and Los Angeles. He continues to work professionally as an actor, director, playwright and teacher.
Email: siegel [@]



event imageLegendary UBC Theatre professor and director Klaus Strassmann dies

Dr. Klaus Gerhard Strassmann passed away peacefully on March 3, 2014, in the company of close friends. 

Klaus joined the UBC Department of Theatre in July of 1964, teaching acting, directing, and history of theatre during the 1970s and 1980s to many of UBC’s distinguished alumni. His work with Joy Coghill on Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit and  Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days were two notable productions during his early years at UBC. 

event imageHe directed dozens of highly regarded productions during his career, many of those while at UBC, including Pinter’s The Lover and The Birthday Party, Euripides The Trojan Women, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Molliere’s Tartuffe, Wedekind’s Spring’s Awakening, Brecht’s Three Penny Opera and Mother Courage, and Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters  (during the 1970’s and 80’s).

Klaus retired from the Department in 1991 and afterwards spent his time travelling the world and seeing as much of it as he could.

He will be very fondly remembered by UBC faculty, staff, and alumni. Klaus is survived by his son Kirk (wife Danielle), former wives and good friends Satya Danu and Edel Walsh, and many other dear friends.  A memorial service is being planned for sometime in the spring.




John Wright holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from UBC and an MFA in directing from Stanford.  His film work includes TV dramas, and docu-dramas, a feature film (The Visitor, starring Eric Peterson) and documentaries, most recently Children of Bach (CBC/Bravo).  In 1988 he joined the faculty at UBC, chairing the graduate program in Film Production, and from 1996 to 1999 he was Head of  the Department.  Notable stage productions John directed at UBC included Sophocles’ Antigone, his own version of The Beggar’s Opera, and Errol Durbach’s adaptation of Peer Gynt.

Motivated as always by the resonance of classic works in the modern world, John founded Blackbird Theatre in 2004, a professional company dedicated to performing the classics, and directed the inaugural production of Schiller’s Mary Stuart, followed by Pinter’s The Birthday Party (with co-director Henry Woolf) and the professional premier of the Ibsen/Durbach Peer Gynt.  Next season he will direct his fourth production of a Greek tragedy, Euripides’ Hecuba.




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For our Sessional and Ajunct Faculty list, please click here.