founding Artistic Director
Michele is a multiple award-winning producer, playwright, director, co-creator, administrator, advocate and activist with over 30 years experience in the professional arts industries and voluntary sector.
She spent the first 15 years of her career working with major theatre and film companies like Alberta Theatre Projects (fund development), Theatre Calgary (stage management), One Yellow Rabbit (turn-over crew), Lunchbox Theatre (fund development), The Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta (school touring initiative), Robert Cuffley Films (sound recording and mixing), White Iron Productions (lighting and electrics) and many others.
She spent the last 15 years exclusively prioritizing equity & diversity in the arts through her own company, Stage Left Productions – a conduit of artistic innovation and cultural freedom for diverse artists, a leading contributor Canada's Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Domain and a global Centre for the Theatre of the Oppressed.
Michele is also the founder and national Chair of DDMAAC, the Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada (an informal National Arts Service Organization and Stage Left's national network of diverse artists) and founder and coordinator of the CCEDA: Calgary Catalysts for Equity & Diversity in the Arts; both are initiatives that she developed through Stage Left.
Through Stage Left's Full Spectrum Arts Equity Program, Michele serves as an arts equity consultant to the Canadian College of Performing Arts, Canadian Dance Assembly, and others. She's also sits on the Board of CAPACOA and is a member of it's Equity Oversight Committee. She's also facilitated arts equity training across Canada for the PACT, Orchestras Canada, the Association for Opera in Canada, Pacific Opera, BC Arts Council, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Arts Commons, Calgary Arts Development, and quite a few others!
Through Stage Left's applied arts program, Creative Justice, Michele is proud to be decolonizing Theatre of the Oppressed and using it to socially innovate medical education, practice and policy, as artist-in-residence to Dr. Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe and his entire team at the UCalgary Medical School's Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office; whose purpose is to create the future of public health equity.
As an under-educated, working class, lesbian feminist artist/ activist with several invisible disabilities, Michele's artistic vision is necessarily concerned with the development of artistic and cultural practices that foster rather than negate diversity. Her art work is multidisciplinary, collaborative and radical – using the arts to challenge dominant social paradigms that render difference invisible and/ or undesirable in society.
While pursuing a full-time career as a professional artist, Michele also held many "day jobs" with several activist groups, social justice organizations and human service providers – collaborating with diverse communities to affect both individual and structural change.
She graduated with distinction from Mount Royal College’s Theatre Arts Diploma Program, and managed to get a largely self-directed BFA in Secondary Drama Education from the University of Calgary. She also took professional broadcast, film, video and radio production training at SAIT.
In her non-working life, she enjoys protecting nature and the non-human animals that live in it, paddling, snowshoeing and spending time with cats, birds, lizards, frogs, weevils and some people.