Artistic Director & Executive Director


STAFFORD ARIMA
Artistic Director

Theatre Calgary is thrilled to introduce our new Artistic Director, Stafford Arima. Stafford becomes the 12th Artistic Director in our 49-year history.

Born and raised in Toronto, Stafford has thrived in the New York theatre scene for nearly 20 years, and he became the first Asian Canadian to direct a musical on Broadway when Allegiance opened on November 8, 2015 at the Longacre Theatre, starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. He was also nominated for an Olivier Award for his direction of 2004’s West End premiere of the musical, Ragtime, and his production received 8 nominations including Best Musical. Some of his other directing credits include productions of Altar Boyz, Carrie (MCC Theater), The Secret Garden - In Concert (Lincoln Center), Two Class Acts (The Flea Theater), The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Roundabout Theatre Company), Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris (Stratford Festival), Abyssinia (Goodspeed Musicals) A Tribute to Sondheim (Boston Pops), and Guys and Dolls (Paper Mill Playhouse). Arima has also shepherded new musical development at the Toronto Fringe Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Stage and Film, and the SPF Festival. He is a graduate of York University, where he was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Creative Work. Stafford also serves as Artistic Advisor for the Broadway Dreams Foundation, and is an Adjunct Professor at UC Davis.

“It is with great honour and immeasurable excitement that I begin this new adventure as artistic director at Theatre Calgary. This journey to Calgary is a homecoming for me. After two decades based in New York City, my return to Canada gives me immense pride. I am eager to participate in Calgary’s fervent artistic spirit, and continue the tradition of bold storytelling and impactful theatre that moves, touches and inspires this city’s audiences.

I am thrilled to oversee Interim Artistic Director Shari Wattling’s recently announced season marking our 50th Anniversary, and partner with the board of directors, and the entire staff and crew, to present these eclectic works to our audiences. I am anxious to begin the process of guiding the company through its next phase of growth.

Our theatre will forever be a home that reflects the communities, the country, and the world we live in – a diverse, complex, stimulating world."

 


SHARI WATTLING
Interim Artistic Director

Shari has been with Theatre Calgary since 2007 as Literary Manager, Artistic Associate and, most recently, Associate Artistic Director. As a senior member of the artistic staff, she has had a leading role in Theatre Calgary’s programing and five-year artistic vision, as well as the expansion of education and outreach (interACTive) programs.

As curator of FUSE: The Enbridge New Play Development Program, she has overseen the creative development of seven new play premieres at Theatre Calgary: W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid, Skydive, Beyond Eden (co-production with Vancouver Playhouse), Lost – A Memoir, A Christmas Carol, Pride and Prejudice (co-production with the National Arts Centre) and Liberation Days (co-production with Western Canada Theatre). She has also worked as production dramaturg for The Crucible, The Great Gatsby and Tosca Café, assistant director for Enron, co-adaptor and dramaturg for King Lear (co-production with Bard on the Beach) and Much Ado About Nothing, and adaptor of the Shakespeare by the Bow productions of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Prior to joining Theatre Calgary, Shari was Resident Dramaturg at Alberta Playwrights’ Network where she also coordinated and edited the publication of Theatre 100. 

Over more than 25 years as a professional director, producer, dramaturg and actor, Shari has worked with a wide variety of companies including Bard on the Beach, Vertigo Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Calgary, Stage West, Lunchbox Theatre, Forte Musical Theatre, Blacklist Theatre Project, Quest Theatre, Swallow-A-Bicycle, Shadow Productions and Dirty Laundry – Calgary’s improvised soap-opera. Most recently, Shari directed the premiere of Book Club at Lunchbox Theatre. She is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America and a graduate of the University of Calgary.

 

COLLEEN A. SMITH
Executive Director

Colleen Smith joined Theatre Calgary in February of 2015 as Executive Director. Colleen was formerly the Director of Operations at The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, a position she held for six years.

Prior to her role with Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, Colleen was the Managing Director with Factory Theatre (Toronto), Director of Finance and Education at Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, and the Program Manager for Learning Through the Arts® at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has also been a board member with the Toronto Arts Council, Downtown Yonge BIA, and the Toronto Alliance of the Performing Arts.

"I feel firsthand the intense pride and passion Calgarians feel for this company and its work, and am confident that support for Theatre Calgary and its ever expanding and inspiring vision will only grow stronger. As we approach TC's 50th anniversary, I look forward to working with the Board, and the community of artists, audiences, supporters, staff and crew, to make possible what we all imagine this wonderful company can be."