Artist Announcement: 2020 Emerging Creators Unit

We’re thrilled to be partnering again this year with b current performing arts for this year’s emerging creators unit, helmed by Catherine Hernandez. Our 2020 ECU Participants are Celia Green, Rochelle Richardson, Olivia Shortt, and Merlin Simard & Gabe Maharjan. Learn more about the Emerging Creators Unit here and look out for showing of their work at our 2020 Queer Pride Festival.

Celia Green

Celia Green is a queer creator and performer based in Toronto. Her work has been supported by P.A.R.T.S, StoneBoat Arts Centre, and the Paprika Festival. As an actor and dancer she has performed in works at Soulpepper Theatre, Mirvish Productions, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and Nuit Blanche. Training includes workshops with transdisciplinary arts organization La Pocha Nostra, Kaeja d’Dance, and the P.A.R.T.S summer school in contemporary dance. Celia is artist in residence at Quote Unquote Collective. Her first work, Wah Wah Wah, was recently presented at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto where she was awarded the Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award.

Rochelle Richardson

Rochelle Richardson is a theatre artist; Playwright, Director, and Performer, based in Toronto. She studied theatre at the University of Guelph, in addition, she participated in Nightwood Theatre’s Young Innovators Program and b current’s bcHUB. Rochelle just finished an internship with Piece of Mine Arts in participation with dance Immersion’s Legacy Leaders program.  She has also been a participant of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation and Sonderlust Theatre Collective’s Women’s Room for emerging playwrights. Rochelle is trained in burlesque and is currently exploring the use of magic-realism in the development of performance. Particularly delving into subjects pertaining to race/cultural identity, sexuality, gender, social change, and fantasy.

Olivia Shortt

Olivia Shortt (She/her/hers: Anishinaabe from Nipissing First Nation) is a Tkarón:to-based multi-disciplinary artist. She trained as a classical saxophonist but also works in the arts as a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer, sound designer, curator, and producer.

Many firsts for Olivia have included her film debut playing saxophone & acting in Atom Egoyan’s 2019 film Guest of Honour; her Lincoln Center (NYC) debut with the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2018; her Australian debut in 2017 performing with keyboardist Jacob Abela in Melbourne; and in 2017 recorded an album two kilometres underground with her duo Stereoscope in the SnoLAB (a Neutrino Lab in Northern Ontario, Canada).

As an activist, she is an alumnus of the 2018 cohort of the artEquity facilitator training program (New Orleans, LA), as well as the 2019 Toronto Arts Council’s Leaders Lab and was a lead organizer and co-founded the Toronto Creative Music Lab (TCML).

Photo by Alejandro Santiago

Merlin Simard & Gabe Maharjan

Merlin Simard is a bilingual (French/English), queer, non-binary/transfeminine (they/them) performer, playwright, and dramaturg originally from Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal) now based in Tkaronto (Toronto). Select theatre performance credits: The Flick (Crow’s Theatre/Outside The March), TapeEscape (Outside The March), FEAR OF MEN ((Staged Reading) Assembly Theatre) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (Playground Productions) TV/Film: Grand Army (Netflix), This Life (CBC) Playwriting: FEAR OF MEN (in development at Theatre Passe-Muraille). Merlin is so grateful to have a platform to share TGNC stories and for the privilege to create them with Gabe, Catherine and the rest of the ECU at Buddies In Bad Times.

Gabe Maharjan (they/them) is a performer and playwright. Having grown up in Tiotiá:ke/Montréal, they are an alumnus of the Dome, Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program, and Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal’s Young Creators Unit. Gabe’s play Eva in Rio was developed with support from Playwrights’, Centaur Theatre, and Montréal Arts Interculturels. They are currently developing an adaptation of Siddhartha in residence at Imago Theatre, a TYA adaptation for Geordie Theatre, and taking part in the Playwrights’ Translation Mentorship. They are extremely excited to begin working in Tkaronto/Toronto with Merlin, Catherine, and the rest of the unit at Buddies. A selection of their performance credits include Robin in Cabal’s La Somnambule (META nominated for Outstanding Lead Performance), Jayne in Rhiannon Collett’s WASP (presented at the 40th Rhubarb Festival), Haemon in Raise the Stakes’ Antigone, and Tripp in Sermo Scomber’s Don’t Read the Comments. For more on Gabe visit


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