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Who We Are


Caity Smyck (she/they)

Artistic Director

Caity Smyck (she/they) is a creator, performer, and maker of things originally from Calgary, Alberta. She relocated to Ottawa in 2019 to attend the BFA in Acting program at the University of Ottawa, from which she graduated from in 2022. During her time there she co-founded Levity Theatre Co. an emerging non-men queer led theatre company in Ottawa. She co-created and performed in their premier production SOLD at the 2021 Calgary Fringe Festival, which won the Emerging Artist’s Jester’s Cap award. In 2022, she created Unmatched with Levity Theatre and performed in the production in a four city Fringe Festival tour across Canada, winning Best of Venue in Hamilton. She recently directed their newest original creation la•bel in Up & Coming Out! – the first event in a new double-bill series by Levity. The series was created to connect emerging queer theatre companies through the collaborative presentation of their work in order to allow for a more accessible form of self-producing for emerging artists.

Her work has expanded into TYA in recent years, in 2023 she participated in a new TYA incubator program in collaboration with the Ottawa Children’s Festival to create new work for local young audiences. Her creation of Everyone’s Story through this program has grown over the past year and will be presented at Outfest in Halifax, NS in spring 2024 as well as touring to Toronto and Winnipeg during the summer.

As a passionate advocate for the growth of independent theatre in Ottawa she co-created and runs the Ottawa Arts Database, a free to use website for local arts workers & artists to find others to work with and to post events & opportunities by and for local arts workers & artists. She also previously sat on the Board of Directors of Skeleton Key Theatre in Ottawa as Treasurer.

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Kate Smith (she/her)

Co-Founder/Former Artistic Director

Kate Smith is an award-winning theatre creator, director and performer. She is the Artistic Director of a Company of Fools, Ottawa’s longest-running professional Shakespeare company. Kate holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Ottawa, and a BA (Honours) in Theatre from Dalhousie University, where she trained as an actor and singer. As the former Artistic Director of Skeleton Key Theatre, Kate was involved in 7 world premieres. At the helm of several high-profile projects for Skeleton Key, in 2021 Kate’s “rock concert on rising seas” Deluge (co-created with Scottie Irving) was notably selected as one of only 14 acts from across the country for the Grand Acts of Theatre presented by the National Arts Centre’s English Theatre. In 2018 her innovative immersive play Swan River was nominated for a Prix Rideau Award for Best New Creation and received two productions that year, and was later adapted into a podcast for families (Swan River: The Podcast). Kate has performed and directed on stages across Ottawa and the country, and specializes in devised theatre, new musical creation (Marian, Deluge, Swan River, HOOTENANNY!), and creating work in non-traditional spaces. She is an experienced workshop facilitator who has worked with students and adults at various theatre schools, school, and community settings over the past 20 years. Kate is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

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Lydia Talajic (she/her)

Head of Finance

Lydia Talajic (she/her/elle) is a Franco-Ontarienne arts administrator and accountant based in Ottawa. She has worked for a decade as a stage manager, traveling across the country to work for companies such as Theatre Conspiracy, Théâtre la Vieille 17, Théâtre La Catapulte, Fresh Meat Festival, and a Company of Fools. From 2019 to 2022, she was the General Manager of the Youth Infringement Festival and from 2021 to 2023 she was the General Manager of Skeleton Key Theatre. The Ottawa Arts Council awarded Lydia with the prestigious Victor Tolgesy Arts Award (2022) for her important contribution to the cultural life in the City of Ottawa, and she is the youngest recipient in the award’s 30+ year history. 

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Abigaile Gagnon (she/her)

Marketing and Communications Manager

Abigaile holds a BFA from the University of Windsor in Theatre with a double minor in English and Communications. She has worked as a communications coordinator for Driftwood Theatre and Sierra Youth Podcast. Abigaile has been working as an apprentice stage manager and wardrobe assistant for companies such as Port Stanely Theatre Festival, Blyth Theatre Festival, ShaggyPup Productions, and most recently stage managed a new show for Undercurrents 2024.

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Resident Artists

Vanessa Imeson (she/her) is an award winning Theatre Artist holding a combined BA Honours degree in Dramatic Art and English from the University of Windsor, MFA in Theatre Design from the University of British Columbia and diploma for Makeup Design for Film and Television from Vancouver Film School.  She designs costumes, make-up, wigs and puppets for a variety of collegiate programs and professional theatre companies across Canada while simultaneously acting as Head of Wardrobe for the GCTC. Vanessa is also a Core Artist and resident Designer with Ottawa’s Skeleton Key Theatre and A Company of Fools. 

Scottie Irving (he/him) is an Ottawa-based musician who specializes in keyboard performance (piano, synthesizer, accordion) and composition. Scottie received the Prix Rideau Award for Outstanding Sound Design for Heartlines (GCTC, 2021). His work with Skeleton Key includes co-creating Deluge, composing for Swan River, and producing the Swan River podcast. He has performed at the SummerWorks and Undercurrents festivals as well as the NAC. He has exhibited with the visual art collective The Bellwethers (GrowOp, Toronto, 2020).

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Board of Directors

Current Board

Shauna Akkermans.......Chair

Billie Nell............Secretary

Maria Habanikova.......Member at Large

Past Board Members

Caity Smyck............Treasurer

Lauren Cauchy..........Secretary

Lisa Whitehead.........Treasurer

Ash Deathe.............Chair

Brittany Johnston......Secretary

Dana Uzarevic..........Treasurer

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