Meet the Faculty of our Drama Department
Caroline Howarth BA, MA, MFA
Assistant Professor-Drama, Chair of Fine Arts
Caroline is an Associate Professor of Drama and Chair of Fine Arts. She teaches improvisation, theatre for young audiences, directing, and acting. She has directed many productions for Concordia including The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Unity (1918), the musical Seussical, the opera Dido and Aeneas and the Edmonton premiere of The Dada Play. Caroline is a founding co-director of Concrete Theatre, Edmonton’s only professional theatre for young audiences. For Concrete Theatre, she has directed and facilitated many projects including the Sterling Award winning The Shape Of A Girl, The Sprouts Festival of New Plays for Kids and Paper Song, which was nominated for a Dora Award in Toronto. Caroline also works in opera. She directed Suor Angelica for Opera Nuova, The Y2K Blackdeath Oratorio for Edmonton Opera and is a core member of the Ordo Collective, a new group dedicated to performing works by, for and about women. Caroline is currently working on a new music theatre piece for families performed in sung English and ASL called Songs My Mother Never Sung Me by Dave Clarke. This unique show will premiere at the 2019 SOUND OFF Deaf Theatre Festival.
Glenda Stirling, BA, MFA
Assistant Professor – Drama
Glenda Stirling is an Assistant Professor of Drama at Concordia. Previously Glenda has taught acting, movement, devising and professional development and directed student productions at Mount Royal University, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and Red Deer College. Some student productions include Bloody Poetry, Beyond Therapy, Red Noses, Ashgirl and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Glenda has worked professionally across the country directing, choreographing and writing. She has had the pleasure of working at Ship’s Company in Nova Scotia, The Shaw Festival in Ontario, The Globe Theatre in Saskatchewan, The Calgary Opera and Alberta Theatre Projects. Her plays include The Shopaholic Trilogy for Lunchbox Theatre, Dark Isle for The Globe Theatre and Lillibet for Ship’s Company Theatre. Glenda is also a Certified Movement Analyst (Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, NY) working with performers and corporate clients to develop more supported functional and expressive movement. She is also the former Artistic Director of Lunchbox Theatre and is currently the Curriculum Director for Artstrek, the acclaimed youth summer drama program offered by Theatre Alberta. Glenda holds an M.F.A in Theatre Studies from the University of Calgary and a B.A in Drama from the University of Alberta.
Josiah Hiemstra BFA
Technical Director, Sessional Instructor, Technical Theatre and Stagecraft
Josiah Hiemstra is the Technical Director for the Al and Trish Huehn Theatre and an instructor for the Concordia Drama Department. He has a BFA in Technical Production from the U of A and is a member of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. His credits include, Head Electrician for Freewill Shakespeare in the Park, Venue Technician for The Edmonton International Fringe Festival and the St. Albert Children’s Festival. Josiah has done many school tours with Concrete Theatre, a company producing theatre for young audiences. Josiah currently works as production designer and technical director for all of the mainstage productions at Concordia including: The Secret Garden, Dido and Aeneas, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Urinetown, Waxworks, as well as Blithe Spirit and Macbeth this past year. Josiah also designed lights for All Shook Up at Mayfield Dinner Theatre and Bluebirds with Wishbone Theatre. Josiah continues to pursue his professional career while working with new and returning students at CUE; introducing them to the massive world of technical theatre and design.
Michael Peng, MFA
Sessional Instructor, Acting, Public Speaking
Michael is a theatre performer, director, producer and instructor who has been based in Edmonton since 2008, after earning his MFA in Directing at the University of Alberta. For the last 25 years, his freelance acting and directing career has taken him coast to coast in Canada, to the U.S. and Europe, working in narrative based forms, new play development and collective creation. In Alberta, he has worked with Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Workshop West Theatre, Sage Theatre, Theatre YES, Northern Light Theatre, Studio Theatre and Fire Exit Theatre, along with many of the leading independent companies in Edmonton. Michael, who has several Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award nominations, is founder and Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed, award-winning indie theatre company, wishbone theatre. He has also taught Drama for twenty years at the university level, and has trained with Soulpepper, Ghost River Theatre and at the National Voice Intensive, among others.
Michele Fleiger, MFA
Sessional Instructor, Public Speaking
Michele Fleiger (sPeakPerformance.ca) trained as an actor and incorporates theatrical principles to assist diverse groups in the development of their ability to communicate effectively with clarity, integrity and openness. These groups include first year medical students, medical researchers, international graduate and undergraduate students from the Faculties of Arts, Science and Business at the University of Alberta where she has been a sessional instructor and course coordinator in the Department of Drama since 2000. Michele has also facilitated workshops for the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Medicine and the International Student Centre. She has taught at Red Deer College and teaches regularly at Portage College in Lac La Biche and Cold Lake. She has been invited to present workshops at various conferences and institutions across the country. In March 2016 she was invited to be a part of the University of Alberta’s inaugural TEDx conference speaking about her work in a TED talk titled Who Needs the Theatre?
David Horak, BFA, MFA
David Horak has worked throughout Canada and the United States as a director, actor, and educator. He has taught acting, directing and movement for actors for over 15 years at such places as The University of Alberta, Concordia University of Edmonton, Red Deer University, The Citadel Theatre’s Foote Theatre School and was honoured to be nominated for a 2018 MacEwan University Distinguished Teaching Award. He is the founding Artistic Director of the award-winning Edmonton Actors Theatre that has produced 8 productions and garnered over 30 Sterling Award nominations, winning 14 awards for acting, design, production, playwriting and directing. He is also the Artistic Director of The Freewill Shakespeare Festival and has directed two productions for the festival, Comedy of Errors and The Winters Tale and was a member of the acting company in 2013. Recent productions include directing Fun Home for Plain Jane Theatre, A Christmas Story for Keyano Theatre, Lend Me A Tenor at The Mayfield Dinner Theatre, The Bald Soprano for Bright Young Things at the 2019 Edmonton Fringe, E-Day at the Roxy Theatre, The Skin of Our Teeth at the Varscona Theatre and most recently Every Brilliant Thing at The Citadel Theatre. David holds BFA (Acting) and MFA (Directing) degrees from the University of Alberta and is a proud member of Canadian Actors Equity (CAEA), AEA, ACTRA, the Association of Theatre Movement Educators (ATME) and The National Alliance of Acting Teachers, USA.
Vern Theissen, BA, MFA
Sessional Instructor, Introduction to Theatre Art, Play Analysis
Vern Thiessen’s plays have been seen around the world, including: Einstein’s Gift, Lenin’s Embalmers, Vimy, Shakespeare’s Will, Apple and Of Human Bondage. He has had four plays produced off-Broadway. Vern is the recipient of the Sterling and Dora Awards for Outstanding New Play, The City of Edmonton Arts Achievement Award, the University of Alberta Alumni Award for Excellence, The Carol Bolt Award, the Alberta Playwriting Competition, the Governor General’s Literary Award, Canada’s highest honour for a playwright.
Dr. Randy Ritz BEd, MFA, PhD
Randy has a strong background in popular theatre, directing, acting, public speaking and educational drama. A dynamic “hands on” teacher and lecturer, Dr Ritz is past chair of the CUE Drama Department. As well as being a published author, he is a nationally known speaker, an award nominated actor and seasoned blues guitarist.