Meet the Faculty of our Drama Department
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?
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: Arturo Ui, The Secret Garden, Dido and Aeneas, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Urinetown and most recently the Canadian premier of Waxworks as well as The Dada Play. Josiah has introduced a new course as well, teaching the fundamentals of stagecraft and design. He enjoys working with new and returning students, introducing them to the technical elements that are involved in producing a play.
David Horak, BFA, MFA
Sessional Instructor, Introduction to Oral Communication
David Horak is a director, actor, and teacher who has worked throughout Canada and the United States. He is Artistic Director of the award-winning Edmonton Actors Theatre that has produced Terry and the Dog, Stupid F@#king Bird, A sort of adaptation of The Seagull, Burning Bluebeard, Fatboy, The Bomb-itty of Errors and The Waste Land. Recently he directed Fun Home for Plain Jane Theatre, A Christmas Story for Keyano Theatre and Lend Me A Tenor at The Mayfield Dinner Theatre and The Bald Soprano for Bright Young Things at the 2019 Edmonton Fringe. Other recent directing credits include The Winters Tale, The Comedy of Errors (Freewill Shakespeare Festival), Love and Information, Company, Footloose, Curtains, (MacEwan University), Going Going Gone!, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (Teatro La Quindicina) Recent acting credits are Tiny Bear Jaws’ Cleave, Wildside Productions’ Small Mouth Sounds and 10 out of 12, and theatre no. 6’s Proud. He has also taught acting, directing and movement for over 15 years at such places as The University of Alberta, Red Deer College, the Citadel Theatre’s Foote Theatre School and was honoured to be nominated for a 2018 MacEwan University Distinguished Teaching Award. Dave holds BFA (Acting) and MFA (Directing) degrees from the University of Alberta and was a participant in the 2015-16 Citadel/ Banff Professional Theatre Program. He 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.
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.
Michael Peng, MFA
Sessional Instructor, Acting, Public Speaking
Michael is a freelance performer, director and producer based in Edmonton. He holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta and is Co-Artistic Director of wishbone theatre, the acclaimed independent company he founded in 2009. 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, has toured twice internationally and worked in BC, Yukon Territory, and Ontario – most recently with MT Space, Lost&Found theatre, Gwaandak Theatre and Inter Arts Matrix. He’s also trained with Soulpepper, Ghost River Theatre and at the National Voice Intensive, among others. Michael has worked in collective creation, new play development and narrative based plays for over 25 years. Most recently with wishbone he helped create the text and mise en scene for Or The Whale (a new stage adaptation of Moby Dick) and for Rig Pig Fantasia, both written and directed by Chris Bullough.
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.
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
Dr. Randy Ritz has a strong background in popular theatre, directing, acting, public speaking and educational drama. He is also a leader in integrating media and communication for large group gatherings and is active in film acting and commercials. A dynamic “hands on” teacher and lecturer, Randy is the head of the drama department at Concordia. He is a nationally known speaker, entertainer, and educator who performs groundbreaking shows at churches and conferences across North America.