Industry Series

The Industry Series at Theatre Calgary features guest speakers, panels, and special events for theatre artists and enthusiasts. What does the future of theatre look like in Calgary and abroad? What are the challenges? Who are the champions? Grab a drink, join your fellow artists, and be inspired by provocative and innovative dialogues. Then spend the evening networking and sharing ideas!

Admission is free and open to all.

Next Session:






















Joe Slabe

Joe Slabe is a Calgary based writer and composer with a Masters Degree in musical theatre composition from the University of London. This past season, Joe wrote or collaborated on three new shows and his production of Naughty… but Nice! won the 2016 Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. He’s also won four Betties for his musical direction, a Calgary Critics’ Award for Best Production of a Musical for Touch Me: Songs for a (dis)Connected Age, and two writing awards from the New York Musical Theatre Festival for his show, Crossing Swords. Joe’s work is published by Playscripts Inc. and has been produced in London, New York, Calgary, and numerous regional theatres in the US and UK. He is the founding artistic director of Forte Musical Theatre Guild and received the 2004 Greg Bond Award for outstanding contributions to musical theatre in Calgary.  His last name rhymes with “The Bay”.

Val Pearson

Valerie Ann Pearson has been a professional actor since 1979. Music has been a driving factor in her life. She started piano lessons at the age of five, and competed in musical festivals as both a singer and a piano player and even a beginner violinist. She played in a symphony for three years and a teenage rock band as lead vocalist.  But her summer at the Banff School of Fine Arts in the Drama department at the age of sixteen changed her focus to theatre.  She graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Education with a major in Drama and a minor in music.

Over the years Val has played and sung in a folk group, big band and had her own trio which toured the Calgary/Banff circuit.

Her first musical was “Wild Rose” by W.O. Mitchell and Morris Surdin which toured across Canada to Expo ’67.  In the 80’s and onward Val performed in musicals such as Hoarse Muse, Eighteen Wheels (three times); Oliver and The Music Man at The Citadel with Robin Phillips; The Full Monty; Godspell and The Beggars Opry for ATP; Cowgirls (twice); and Country Hearts at Theatre Calgary.

As a musical director and/or director, Val has worked on Buddy Holly, The Ring of Fire, Anne of Green Gables, The Paper Bag Princess, Jeremy de Bergerac, and most recently a sweet piece for Lunchbox Theatre called Newfoundland Mary which is just finishing a Smile Tour of senior’s residences in Calgary.

David Rhymer

David Rhymer is a multi-award winning writer and composer. His work is boundary-pushing, genre-defying, sometimes political, and frequently controversial. His lush, plunging, moody musicals - a combination of cabaret, salon, art-song, have toured  internationally to critical and popular acclaim. Works include Songs From Nightingale Alley, Why Freud Fainted, Wreck Beach, An Eye For An Eye. Something Wicked This Way Comes. His one woman musical Mata Hari in 8 Bullets, premiered off-Broadway in 2013 to rave reviews and subsequently toured Europe. With long time associate  poet/playwright Blake Brooker he created the impressionistic oratorio on the Beat Generation Dream Machine, and the notorious Ilsa Queen Of The Nazi Love Camp which toured Canada, the UK and Australia and was made into a feature movie. His latest, Crime Does Not Pay- a 1940's comic-book musical written with singer/songwriter and Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor  premiered in March at DownStage Theatre. In 2007 he was honoured with the Greg Bond Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre in Calgary. 

Selina Wong

Selina is a singer, performer and vocal teacher in Calgary.  Select credits include: Lest We Forget (Lunchbox / Forte Musical Theatre Guild), Waiting for the Parade (ATP), Avenue Q (The Arts Club, Stage West Theatre – Betty Mitchell and Calgary Critic Nominee),  Naughty But Nice, Touch Me and Jeremy de Bergerac (Forte Musical Theatre Guild), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Globe Theatre), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Honk! (Storybook Theatre), The Mikado (Morpheus Theatre) and Miss Saigon (UCalgary Operetta Company).  Accolades: Calgary Critic’s Award for her performance in Touch Me, The Calgary Stampede Talent Search (Winner), The National Youth Talent Competition (First Runner-up) and the Young Albertan Award.   

 JP Thibodeau

An award winning actor, designer and director JP has been both on and off the stage all over the world.  He is the Artistic Director for the incredibly successful StoryBook Theatre which is Canada’s largest semi professional theatre for young audiences.  Over the past 3 years he has worked with playwright and composer Joe Slabe to create many world premier musicals, including the multi-award winning Touch Me: Songs for a (Dis)connected Age which will be presented at Theatre Calgary in the Fall.  Over his career JP has directed more than 50 musicals of all sizes and has worked hard to foster and develop the growth of young musical theatre artists across the country. He has a degree in Theatre Arts and Drama in Education and at the 2016 Betty Mitchell Awards he was the recipient of the Greg Bond Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to musical theatre in Calgary.  Recent credits both on and off the stage include: Touch Me, Naughty But Nice (Forté), Richard III, As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet (The Shakespeare Co.), The Money Shot, Reasons to Be Happy (Ground Zero), Annie Davidson, Magic Flute (Cowtown Opera), Rock of Ages, The 39 Steps, Young Frankenstein (Stage West), Lest We Forget, Dads In Bondage, If I Weren't With You (Lunchbox Theatre), A New Brain,  The Secret Garden, The Last 5 Years, Avenue Q (StoryBook Theatre),  Sweeney Todd, Filumena,  (Calgary Opera).  Throughout his success and many late nights he is constantly supported by his beautiful wife Tara and their sons, Evan and Isaac.

Stafford Arima

Born and raised in Toronto, Arima 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. Arima also serves as Artistic Advisor for the Broadway Dreams Foundation, and is an Adjunct Professor at UC Davis.  


WHEN: Monday, May 29.  Doors @ 7:00pm, Presentation @ 7:30pm.

WHERE: Main lobby - Max Bell Theatre at Arts Commons, 220 9th Ave SE

RSVP: Please RSVP to this free event as early as possible to Chris Stockton.

INTERACT: Have a question for our guests? Tweet it to @theatrecalgary with #tcInteract


Please email Chris Stockton if you would like to be notified about upcoming Industry Series events.