Shakespeare in Action Presents



Written by PJ Prudat                                                                                                                Directed by Lisa Nasson

August 5th – 20th, 2023                                                                                                            Memorial Park, Weston

Sakespeare in Action’s Summer 2023 production is otîhêw, a Métis-Cree reimagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, by PJ Prudat. This reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy is set in a north western factory fort along the Saskatchewan river in 1816, the year of no summer, at the height of imperial trading that drove colonization over sovereign Indigenous lands. otîhêw, an affluent “child of the fur-trade”, is a Métis woman bound in the historical “custom-of-the-country” to Desmond, an Afro-Indigenous fur-trader, complicating her duty as the leader of her people.

Playwright PJ Prudat weaves together themes of duty, love, betrayal and familial bonds in a poetic and powerful play that will both surprise audiences familiar with Othello and captivate audiences encountering the story for the first time.

The production will run over three weeks with 12 free public performances at Memorial Park.

Photos by Matt Hertendy. See below for cast, crew, and creative information.

Seating & Accessibility 

  •  Please bring your own seating 
  • There are limited benches available on a first-come first-serve basis
  • Please note that the ground is uneven 
  • Stairs to access the lower level are located close to the stage  
  • There is an accessible entrance located off of King Street Crescent.
  • Please note, we are unfortunately unable to ensure that the whole park is accessible 
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any further accessibility questions or requests.



PJ Prudat


PJ Prudat, born in a fierce snowstorm in northern Saskatchewan, (Treaty 6), is a proud Métis~nehiyaw~saulteaux ceremonial helper, playwright, actor, writer, student and arts educator. PJ is a daughter-of-the-fur-trade; her otanskotapew~matrilineal ancestors-travelled by dog team, were Buffalo hunters, Métis Résistance Fighters & Treaty Six hereditary-chief signatories.

PJ holds Artistic Residencies with Nightswimming and the Theatre Centre and is a Co-Artistic-Leader at Shakespeare in the Ruff.  As an actor, she has toured luminous IBPOC-creative-led shows across the country and is among the first ever Indigenous Women to hold space as a Company Actor at both the National Arts Centre and the Shaw Festival.  PJ is galvanized to create art that acts as restorative justice; illuminating Indigenous truths in story, lived histories on these lands, and through pure storytelling magic.  Kitatamihinâwâw.

Lisa Nasson


Lisa Nasson is a Mi’kmaw actor, playwright and director from Mi’kma’ki, Millbrook First Nation. She studied theatre performance at George Brown College, and Classical Theatre at the Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory. She was also an Arts Educator at Neptune Theatre and Young Peoples Theatre, and was the Associate Artistic Director at Native Earth Performing Arts in 2019. Lisa directed a short play with the Stratford Festival titled In a tiny little jar on the mantel in the house (Stratfest@HOME), and most recently her original play titled Mischief at Neptune Theatre. Some of her recent  acting credits include: Billy Elliot (Neptune Theatre), Alls Well That Ends Well as Mariana, (Stratford Festival), R+J as Benvolio (Stratford Festival/Whynot Theatre), and Little Bird as Jade (Toronto International Film Festival/imagineNATIVE). Lisa is also the recipient of the Michael Mawson award from Stratford Festival’s Tyrone Guthries. Lisa is honoured to bring  otîhêw to life with Shakespeare in Action, and is truly honoured to the scene with the trees.

Nicole Joy-Fraser


Nicole Joy-Fraser (Tsa’tinée, Nehiyaw, Métis, Euro-Settler) is a Niagara based, Indigi-queer performing artist.  For over 20 years she has been storytelling for stage and screen, across Turtle Island and beyond, and has worked with many celebrated companies such as The Stratford Festival, The Shaw, Mirvish, Tarragon, Soulpepper, Factory, Theatre Aquarius, Native Earth, The Blyth Festival,  Nightwood, The Charlottetown Festival, Talk is Free Theatre, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, CBC, CBS, BBC and Telefilm.  As a proud Bear clan member, Hand drum carrier and 60’s scoop witness, supporting each other through healing and the arts continues to be a passion of hers and she is grateful to the Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee communities that have been guiding her urban Indigenous journey.  Nicole is deeply honoured to be telling this story and representing her ancestors.  Kinânaskomitin~All My Relations

Jonathon LeRose


Jonathon LeRose is a Canadian born actor of Italian and Anishnaabe (Ojibwe) decent. He is a third-generation indigenous artist from the Nipissing First Nation. His great grandfather George Couchie was a well-known artist and woodcarver and great grandfather Earnest Couchie, a taxidermist. Jonathon began acting professionally in film and television in 2017 in the CBS series Salvation and has appeared in film, T.V. and commercials on various major networks and streaming services. His most notable performance to date is as Dirk, leader of the “citiots”, in Bell Crave TV’s hit show Letterkenny. Last year he returned to the stage playing Biff Worthington in the original work ‘A Scandal For All Seasons’ produced by Theatre By The Bay in Barrie. He is honored to be apart of a play that ties his love for Shakespeare with his connection to Indigenous Culture and the art of storytelling. Miigwetch.

Spencer Bennet


Spencer Bennet (He/Him) is a classically trained actor/musician from University of Toronto and Sheridan College’s joint Theatre and Drama Studies program. Most recently Spencer finished production as a principal role on the short film The Horror in the Fog. Selected theatre credits include: Rev. Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Erindale), Benjamin in Joseph…Dreamcoat, The Park Keeper in Marry Poppins (The LOT) and Alonso in The Tempest (UofT Drama Fest). 

Spencer is a multidisciplinary artist who plays Bass Guitar but is also learning Piano, Alto Saxophone and Drums. When he isn’t practicing his art you can find him playing (and recently designing his own) TTRPG games. Spencer is very excited to return to the stage with a renewed passion, vigor and respect in such a fantastic production. Instagram: @ThatsSoSpenco

Jewell Bowry


Jewell Bowry is a dynamic, driven, and confident performer. The Brampton native of Kittitian descent has been performing since she was 11 years old. Music, drama, and performance
art have always been integral to her identity. She is currently completing her degree in theatre and drama studies at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College.
Early on, Jewell expanded her passion for performance art by spending weekends at theatre intensives such as Brampton Music Theatre’s Youth Troupe. Her years with BMT earned her the privilege of participating in musicals such as Mulan Jr and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Additionally, recent theatre credits include the roles of Elmire in Theatre Erindale’s Tartuffe, Alcestis in Theatre Erindale’s Alcestis and #7 in A Front Company’s Toronto Fringe production of Morning After.
Jewell’s art is inspired by a love for humanity and often centres around introspection and self-worth. She takes on characters in unconventional and vibrant ways and consistently aims to change audiences for the better. Jewell is optimistic about her work and looks forward to where these values will lead her.

Brefny Caribou


Brefny Caribou (she/her) is a performer and writer of Cree/Irish-settler descent based in Toronto. Holding an MFA in Acting from York University she focuses her practice on reimagining traditional theatrical practices, telling Indigenous stories, and making people giggle. She has developed her writing Savage is a Word in the English Dictionary through the Animikiig Creators Unit at Native Earth Performing Arts and Aluna Theatre’s Winter Artist Residency with an offering at the CAMINOS Festival (‘21). She was a collaborator on the world premiere of Aluna Theatre/Nightwood Theatre’s piece The Solitudes inspired by the world of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. As an actor, most recently, Brefny just finished her 3rd season at the Stratford Festival with credits that include playing Zhaboonigan Peterson in The Rez Sisters (‘21) and Beth March in Little Women (‘22).

Raymond Johnson-Brown


Raymond “RJ” Johnson-Brown (they/them) is a changemaker, conversationalist, and multi-talented creative professional. Whether on set or advocating on mental health/substance use issues, Raymond seeks to use their craft to expand what is possible. Raymond’s passion for the arts began in a junior high school classroom as a form of therapy while Raymond was in the foster care system. This discovery led Raymond to discover a love for creating multiple forms of art and moving their body in every way possible.

As a two-spirit, queer, ethnic anomaly, Raymond is motivated by empowering individuals to see our collective and interconnected responsibility to one another. Currently, Raymond  juggles two worlds as a Restorative Justice Coordinator for Projets Autochtones Du Québec  and a working professional in tv/film. Raymond recently wrapped the final season of Riverdale, two national commercials, and was a panelist on “1 Queen 5 Queers” that recently won a Canadian Screen Award for “Best Talk Show”.

Raymond is excited to bring to life Solomon with Shakespeare in Action and hopes that the work resonates for you on your journey. Wela’lioq for coming to see the product of our work together.

Michelle Urbano


Michelle Urbano is a Toronto producer, theatre creator, puppeteer, and arts administrator, recognized in 2017 by Cahoots Theatre as one of their “30 for 30” – 30 artists shaping the next 30 years of Toronto theatre.  She recently worked for Storytelling Toronto as the Producer of the Toronto International Storytelling Festival, leading the project in its 43rd (2022) and 44th (2023) edition.  Her background is in devised theatre and new play creation, and as such, she feels most at home working with a team on creative projects.  She lives just on the other side of the Humber River, and is thrilled to be connecting with the Weston community through this project.

Michelle was the co-Artistic Director and Producer for the award-winning found-object puppetry company, Artichoke Heart; was on the Producing team of Puppet Allsorts, a Toronto performance series; and assisted the Marketing and Development team at Factory Theatre.  She recently received funding from the Ontario Arts Council to develop a new puppetry piece inspired by the children’s book Strega Nona, and completed a tour of Old Man and the River with the Wee Festival.  She was an artist-in-residence at Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, and completed three tours with the company (Canada, USA, China). She has performed and worked in a variety of capacities with the CBC, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre by the Bay, Pandemic Theatre, Eldritch Theatre, the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and more.

Aaheli Mukherjee

production manager

Aaheli Mukherjee (she/her) is an aspiring production and arts manager with a professional background in education, healthcare and theatre. While she is currently based in Toronto, her South-Asian heritage and being born and raised in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia & Oman, respectively) informs her identity and appreciation for all expressions of art. In addition to her role as Production Manager for Otîhêw with Shakespeare in Action, she is also the Production Manager for the Paprika Festival. In the past, Aaheli has worked extensively with Leigha Lee Browne Theatre (LLBT) and TEDxUTSC at the University of Scarborough from 2016-2020. Significant projects include Production Manager for Paprika Festival 2023 and Stage Manager for “The Circle,” “The Shell,” & “We Are Proud to Present” at the LLBT. Aaheli is passionate about working alongside other emerging artists to support the development of new and innovative work that is inclusive and accessible for diverse communities to engage with. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and International Development from the University of Toronto.

Jordan M. Burns

Assistant Director

Jordan M. Burns (they/them) is a Disabled, Indigenous, Two-Spirit, Neurodivergent, multidisciplinary artist from Treaty 3 territory on Turtle Island. Jordan M. serves as a co-founding artistic director with Third Wheel Theatre Co., this position has allowed them to explore roles as director, producer, puppeteer, actor, and playwright. Jordan M. is also a proud honours graduate of York University’s and Humber College’s Theatre Acting programs. Some of their favourite credits include Stranger Things: The Experience (dir. T. Vannucci), Salt Baby (dir. N. Robitaille), Mno Bimaadiziwin (dir. H. Barnes), Art Ambulance (dir. D. Anderson), The Cat in the Hat (dir. S. Prelletz), Take Me To Your Garden (dir. J.M. Burns), and their ongoing piece, A Pineberry’s Past (writ. J.M. Burns).

Follow Jordan M. on Instagram @ThirdWheelTheatreCo / @BurnsBright97

Anita Nittoly

Fight Director

Coming soon!

Heather Bellingham

Stage Manager

Heather has worked in stage management on 80+ shows throughout Canada and internationally, ranging from small-scale Fringe productions, to pieces in festivals such as World Pride and Panamania, to large scale shows at the Stratford Festival and for Mirvish. She has even stage managed a private performance for royalty. She won a Harold Award in 2021. Additionally, Heather is an apprentice producer at New Harlem Productions. See credits at Follow @blue84HB

Tanvi Vyas

Assistant stage manager

Tanvi Vyas is a writer, stage and production manager. Currently based out of Toronto, her South-Asian heritage informs her identity and appreciation for all expressions of art. A recent graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University, she continues to explore the various forms of live performance and challenge and dismantle systems of oppression by supporting thoughtful and inclusive art/spaces. 

Past credits include; Backstage Coordinator for the Paprika Festival (2023), Stage Manager for antigone lives* directed by Caliegh Crow (2023), Stage Manager for Cacao: A Venezuelan Lament directed by Victoria Mata (2022) and Production Manager for The Division directed by Andrew Kushnir (2022)

Vivien Illion

Apprentice Stage Manager

Vivien Illion is an operatic soprano, theatre artist, and wearer-of-many-hats. A co-founder of Nóżki Opera, she works to engage new audiences as a performer, production manager, director, and librettist. Most recently, she wrote an original English adaptation of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”, set in outer space, and performed the role of Pamina in its tour to schools across the GTA. This Fall, she will begin a Masters program in Opera & Voice at McGill University. 

Sooji Kim

Assistant Technical Director

Sooji Kim 김수지 (She/her) is an artist born and raised in Seoul Korea, who now lives in Toronto. She recently graduated from the Performance: Production program, minority acting/dancing at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). She is now a Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and  a Theatre Technician with an interest in more elements of theatre.

Outside of theatre, she is also a photographer and a model. 
Sooji is very excited to be part of this project and expend her knowledge on theatre. 

Nishina Loft

Set, props & costume designer

Nishina Loft is Kanien’kehá:ka from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is a 2S queer, multi-disciplinary artist in a wide spectrum of mediums. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from York University in Theatre Production and Design. 

Nishina works in the theatre industry with a specialization in costuming. Her recent credits for Costume Design are BentBoy (Young People’s Theatre) and Niizh (Native Earth Performing Arts). She is a mural artist working with StART as a junior curator and an indigenous advisor. She is the Associate Programmer for the Toronto Queer Film Festival and has worked in programming for  imagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival. She is a beadwork artist exploring different materials and incorporating modern interpretations (@nshtsh). She is the Resident Artist for Relative Arts located in the East Village, NYC. She continues to grow within her field and explore new opportunities.


Cindy Ci

Production Assistant

Costume & Props

Coming Soon!

Jacob Lin

Sound & Lighting Designer

Jacob Lin 林鴻恩 (he/him) is a Taiwanese- Canadian Theatre Artist based in Tkaronto. He specializes in Sound/Lighting Design, Writing and Producing. Jacob is an alumni of both the Foremen and Foundry program at Factory Theatre as well as the Kitchen Creators unit at fu-Gen Theatre. He has worked with theatre companies such as Buddies in Bad Times, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, The Howland Company, Crow’s Theatre, The Howland Company, Factory Theatre, fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre, The Paprika Festival and Toronto Fringe. Selected credits include: The Hooves Belonged to the Deer (Tarragon Theatre/Buddies in Bad Times), Prodigal (Howland Company), Ok You Can Stop Now/ X and Da Spirit (Theatre Passe Muraille), Post-Democracy (Tarragon Theatre) and Cast Iron (Factory Theatre). You can visit Jacob online at

Stephon Smith



Coming soon!

Kayleigh Mundy

Production assistant


Kayleigh Mundy is a CODA BIOPIC up and coming stage manager and theatre technician. A recent grad from Sheridan Colleges Technical Production Program, she has worked on numerous shows in a variety of roles during her time there. Kayleigh has stage managed her first Toronto Fringe show (An Incomplete List of The Things I Am Going to Miss When The World is No Longer) and is switching gears for Otîhêw. Kayleigh is ecstatic to take on the role of PA for Lighting with Shakespeare in Action and is ready to make her debut! 

Val Vergara

production Assistant


Coming soon!

Thank You to Our Sponsors



This reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy is set in 1816, the year of no summer, at the height of imperial trading that drove colonization over sovereign Indigenous lands. otîhêw, an affluent “child of the fur-trade”, is a Métis woman bound in the historical “custom-of-the-country” to Desmond, an Afro-Indigenous fur-trader, complicating her duty as the leader of her people.


Playwright PJ Prudat weaves together themes of duty, love, betrayal and familial bonds in a poetic and powerful play that will both surprise audiences familiar with Othello and captivate audiences encountering the story for the first time.


The production will run over three weeks with 12 free public performances at Memorial Park.

Themes:  Duty, Love, Betrayal, Familial Bonds