Artist Announcement: 2019 Emerging Creators Unit

We’re thrilled to be partnering with b current performing arts for this year’s emerging creators unit, helmed by Catherine Hernandez. Our 2019 ECU Participants are Ophira Calof, Brock Hessel, Shohana Sharmin, and Jade Walker and Kasden Leo Indigo. Learn more about the Emerging Creators Unit here and look out for showing of their work at our 2019 Queer Pride Festival.

Ophira Calof

Ophira Calof is a queer, disabled, writer, performer, and producer based in Toronto, Canada. She co-created, produced and performed in the award winning sketch revue Generally Hospital (Patron’s Pick, David Seguin Memorial Award) and is a founder of All Access Sketch, curating and hosting their comedy showcases along with consulting on accessibility across the comedy community. Ophira graduated Second City’s Writing and Sketch Conservatory programs, was featured in the Second City 2018 Toronto Diversity Fellowship Showcase, and is the 2018 recipient of the Tim Sims Encouragement Award. She can be seen performing across the city with the Assembly Improv, and recently has been working with Bad Dog Theatre Company to create a new improvisational format using technological connections. Additionally, Ophira has an extensive background as a vocalist, training through the University of British Columbia’s opera performance program, and she recently released her single, Still Standing.

Brock Hessel

Brock Hessel sometimes goes by broke hussle, brawk, howhen, joannne (no relation to Gaga), hamlet (not that one), amy winerack, Max Q. Lynne (very feminine), fartfegg and broccoli (only if you think it is necessary). Brock is a gender nonconforming fag and hasn’t decided on a pronoun, but s/(t)he(y)/it will go by “he/him” only if absolutely required. Brock is also a recovering addict and proudly mad. S/(t)he(y)/it has never met t/h/e/i(ts)r dad, but likes ‘dads’ and mostly comes from a line of white settlers. Brock is grateful to our queer, trans and 2S ancestors and to the traditional First Nations stewards of this land on which s/(t)he(y)/it can babble and dabble in acting, awkwardness, critical theory, drag, lewks, and poetry. Oh! And Brock is a high school dropout with a few learning disabilities, but recently got an MA (how did that happen?!) all without a pa in sight. Long live intersectional feminism and Brock’s Nana and Mom!

Shohana Sharmin

Shohana Sharmin is a writer, performer, and late night McNuggets eater. Born and raised in Bangladesh, Shohana is a muslim queer woman of colour, and is fluent in four languages: Bengali, English, Hindi, and #Emojis. An alumna of the Second City’s Conservatory program, Shohana has performed in comedy and theatre festivals across North America, including the Toronto Fringe Festival, the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the Big City Improv Festival, the SheDot Festival, Detroit Improv Festival, the Ottawa Fringe Festival, LadyFest Montreal, the Seattle Sketch Comedy Festival and more. She can regularly be seen performing improv and sketch comedy in Toronto with her troupes “Not Oasis” (2017 The Toronto Fringe Patrons Pick, NOW Critic’s Pick), “Orson Whales” (The Assembly Improv Company), and “The Kweendom” (Yas Kween, Bad Dog Theatre Company). She wishes she could be more like her mother.

Jade Walker & Kasden Leo Indigo

Jade Walker is a pansexual actress, writer, playwright and theatre devisor from London Ontario. She is a member of Tinkerspace Theatre Company. Her play “Max” was performed in June 2018 at The Staircase Theatre in Hamilton as part of Queer on Stage. She wrote, acted in and devised various plays for the INDY LDN Convergence in July 2018 at TAP Centre for Creativity. She devised and acted in “Strange Bioluminescent Deep Sea Animals” with Tinkerspace Theatre in August 2018 as part of OPIA Theatre Collective’s Dark Crop Festival. She played the role of Mia in Erika Reesor’s play “Labels” at Alumnae Theatre in Toronto in September 2018 as part of Gay Play Day. She acted in and devised plays in the dark including an entirely sound based play for Theatre Obscura in November 2018 at TAP Centre for Creativity.

Kasden Leo Indigo, aged somewhere between 20 and death, agender and fabulous, has returned to acting after a near decade hiatus. They’re no stranger to the stage, though. For the past six years they’ve been performing as Mr. Quinn Tinkertrain, the all around creepy Drag King, at various venues in Toronto. Only recently, have they started to perfect their clown character, Needles, The Anachronist and will be introducing their boylesque persona, Velvet Earl within the new year. Not just a pretty face! They also are in the middle of writing/directing their first showcase/personal rendition of Alice In Wonderland, hoping to premier in Summer 2019. Watch as they fall in love with acting once again at their reprise with Buddies In Bad Time Theatre: Emerging Creators Unit.