MFA Faculty

MFA Faculty Profiles

theatre_EricArmstrong2Eric Armstrong  |

BFA Concordia
MFA York
Associate Professor: Voice

Eric Armstrong is a dialogue/dialect coach for film and theatre and has worked as an actor on stage and screen across Canada. His training includes studies at The Drama Studio London, and a mentorship with Andrew Wade, former head of voice at Royal  Shakespeare Company. Professional dialect coaching highlights include Arigato, Tokyo, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, The Cosmonaut's Last Message... at Canadian Stage, Translations at Soulpepper and Just Stopped by to See the Man at Steppenwolf Theatre; coaching Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman on Sarah Polley's Take this Waltz; and coaching Tom Wilkinson for his Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated performance in Normal.

Professor Armstrong teaches voice, speech, dialects, and Shakespearean text to students in the BFA and MFA acting programs at York. Previous teaching appointments include Roosevelt University, Chicago; Brandeis University, Boston; and the University of Windsor.

Professor Armstrong's workbook Introducing the IPA is used in theatre training programs across Canada, the US, and New Zealand. He blogs on voice use for the actor at, and with Phil Thompson from UC Irvine runs Glossonomia, a podcast on speech sounds. A former director and board member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA), he has published frequently in the Voice and Speech Review and has presented at VASTA conferences in New York, Ashland (Oregon), Denver, Chicago, Washington DC, San Antonio (Texas), and Glasgow, Scotland. His research and creative interests lie at the intersection of teaching and technology, and he makes extensive use of web-based technologies to support his teaching and research.

Erika Batdorf  |

BSc Lesley College
Associate Professor: Movement, Solo Performance Creation & Production

Professor Batdorf is listed in the Who’s Who of American Teachers, received the York Faculty of Fine Arts Dean’s Senior Teaching Award for 2009/10, and in 1996 was voted Most Outstanding Faculty at The Boston Conservatory where she taught for 12 years. Batdorf has also taught at Brandeis University, Emerson College, and the University of Alaska Anchorage. She founded the Batdorf School for Movement Theatre in 1998 and has been a guest artist in universities and theatres internationally.

Batdorf has been performing, directing, choreographing and creating award winning and unique performance work since 1983. Her work has appeared in Canada, France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece, Korea, Indonesia, Georgia, and 14 US states in such places as the Smithsonian Institute, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Harvard University, Movement Theatre Festivals in NY, Philadelphia and New Hampshire, the Boston Center for the Arts, and many New York City and Toronto venues including Luminato. She has had 4 Dora nominations and two shows she created/directed made the top 10 theatrical productions of the year in NOW Magazine in Toronto (2006 and 2010). This past year she performed her latest piece The Smell of the Soul, with musical duo Arwinda in Tblisi, Munich and Jakarta, co-directed Sook-Yin Lee and Benjamin Kamino in How Can I Forget in Toronto, and performed a site specific work in Finland. She just completed recording an album of original music in Germany with Lisa Schamberger and is developing a new solo installation piece for the Venice Bienalle (May) 2015. She just returned to York University theatre department after a two year sabbatical where she was living in Indonesia and Germany.

Ines BuchliInes Buchli |
BFA Simon Fraser
MFA York
Associate Professor: Acting and Directing
Department Chair

Professor Buchli teaches acting and directing at both the graduate and undergraduate level.  She is a filmmaker, theatre director, dramaturg and writer.  Ines is the former associate artistic director of Necessary Angel Theatre and associate artist for Theatre Direct.  She has over 25 years of theatre experience in directing, dramaturgy and collective creations.  her films Exposure, Ministry and Keeper aired nationally and screened in numerous international film festivals.  She is a graduate of the directing lab at the Canadian Film Centre.  Her award winning short, Foxy Lady, Wild Cherry, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and has screened around the world.  Film critic and Artistic Director of TIFF, Cameron Bailey, named Foxy Lady, Wild Cherry one of his top ten films and presented it in Sao Paulo as part of his favourite Canadian short films perspective. Ines adapted and directed the Canadian premiere of Big Love and the North American premiere of Comedy of Vanity at York University.  She is actively involved in using theatre as a tool for community outreach work, working in Kenya with young girls rescued from the sex trade.  Ines recently directed a sold out production of Macbeth for Shakespeare in Action.  She was a member of the Tarragon Playwright's Unit and is actively developing her new script.  Ines recently directed the world premiere of the multimedia production of The Secret Doctrine at the new Wong Theatre in Vancouver.  Her current research is in the Neuroscience of Emotion and its application to acting.

Gwenyth Dobie  | 

BA Windsor
Graduate Diploma – Centro Italiano Tecnica Alexander
Associate Professor: Movement for actors; ensemble creation

Professor Gwenyth Dobie teaches movement for actors and devised theatre in the Department of Theatre at York University.  Gwenyth is a certified Alexander Technique teacher, Yoga practitioner, and Director.  She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Out of the Box Productions, a performance fusion company that creates original works integrating drama, dance, and opera. Her producing and directing credits include Opera Erotique, which toured in BC and was remounted in Toronto; In the Wings for the Sidney Summer Theatre Festival; The Third Taboo, which toured western Canada; Prior Engagement at Belfry Studio Theatre in Victoria, BC: Sound in Silence, which premiered at Belfry in Victoria and the Theatre Centre in Toronto; and Bugzzz ~ A Cautionary Tale at Toronto's Theatre Direct.  Other directing credits include the Canadian premiere of the Danish opera On this Planet by Anders Nordendoft, the world premiere of the opera Eyes on the Mountain, composed by Christopher Donison and Handel's Oratorio Solomon for Toronto's Pax Christi Chorale.  For York University, she has directed two pan faculty productions: Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Most recently she has been investigating interactive creation with live and digital performance.

theatre_fothergillRobert Fothergill | 
BA Cambridge
MA, PhilM, PhD Toronto
Professor Emeritus: Dramatic literature

Professor Fothergill was a long-time member of the faculty of York University's Atkinson College English Department, specializing in dramatic literature, before transferring into the Department of Theatre in the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1994. In addition to teaching, he has been a filmmaker, film critic and playwright. His plays include Detaining Mr. Trotsky (Canadian Stage Company 1987, Chalmers Award and Dora nominations); Public Lies (Tarragon Theatre 1993, Chalmers and Dora nominations); The Dershowitz Protocol (Toronto Summerworks Festival 2003, New York Fringe 2008 and Theater Bonn, in German translation, 2008); Borderline (Summerworks 2004, CBC Radio 2005); Disciples (Summerworks 2007); and Holding the Line (public reading at Theatre Passe Muraille 2008). Dr. Fothergill has visited India three times in recent years to guest-direct Canadian plays with students at the Universities of Baroda and Jaipur.

Ian Garrett

Ian Garrett |
BA Rice University
MFA California Institute of the Arts
Assistant Professor: Sustainability and Design; Theatre Production and Administration.

Professor Garrett is a designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture.  He is the co-founder and director of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA), a leader in the conversation on sustainability and the arts.  He is a member of USITT, OISTAT and ADC, and is associate curator for the US entry into the 2015 Prague Quadrennial.  he is a trustee and Vice Chair of the Board for Dance USA, the national service organization, where he serves on the Executive, Technology, and chairs the Programming committees.

Professor Garrett maintains a design practice focused on lighting, with work in scenic and video design.  Recently he designed a set and energy capture systems for Vox:Lumen from Zata Omm Dance Projects, a full length dance production which premiered in March 2015.  In October 2014, he designed the video systems of DTAH Architects' installation for the Storefront for Art and Architecture's Toronto Site.  Previously, he served as the lighting curator for Scenofest at the Prague Quadrennial, and is the residence designer for the Indy Convergence, an annual artistic open-space in Indianapolis.

For four years, Professor Garrett taught in the School of Theater at CalArts, including courses on production and management technology and sustainable practice.  He has also lead communications for the School of Theater, developing its web identiy and digital infrastructure.  he continues to produce their annual Edinburgh Program, bringing student and alumni work to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

theatre_MichaelGreyeyes2Michael Greyeyes |
Director of the Graduate Program in Theatre (MFA)
MFA Kent State
Associate Professor: Movement for actors; ensemble creation

Since 1993, Professor Greyeyes has been choreographing and directing for stages and festivals across Canada and Europe. Selected credits include A Soldier’s Tale for Signal Theatre, co-produced by the National Arts Centre and the Canada Dance Festival (2014), Pimooteewin (The Journey) — the first opera written in the Cree language — for Soundstreams Canada, Almighty Voice and His Wife for Native Earth Performing Arts, The River for Nakai Theatre, from thine eyes (Harbourfront Centre) and Nôhkom (Banff Centre) for Signal Theatre, and Seven Seconds (Super 16mm), which premiered at Toronto’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in 2010.

Professor Greyeyes has an extensive and varied performance career extending over 25 years. Selected credits include Passchendaele (Alliance/ Rhombus), that opened the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, The New World (New Line Cinema), directed by Terence Malick, Smoke Signals (Miramax), and Tecumseh’s Vision, part of the PBS series, We Shall Remain, for American Experience. Professor Greyeyes’ performance work includes Gone Indian, a performance action with visual artist Rebecca Belmore for Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (2009), Kent Monkman’s Dance to the Berdashe and Winter Home, a multimedia installation and performance action created for Signal and presented by TRIBE in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

In 2010, Professor Greyeyes founded Signal Theatre, whose transdisciplinary and intercultural performance research guides his entire pedagogy at York. He is published in the Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Research in Canada, most recently in Praeger’s American Indians and Popular Culture: Literature, Arts and Resistance. He has written a number of performative keynote addresses for conferences and theatre festivals, most notably for In The Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalization (London, UK) and the PuSH Festival (Vancouver, British Columbia).

theatre_shawn_kerwinShawn Kerwin  |

Associate Professor: Stage Design

Shawn Kerwin studied theatre design at the Sadlers Wells School under Motley in London, England; drawing and painting in New York at the New Brooklyn School, Arts Students' League and New York Academy of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture; and assisted/apprenticed at various theatres in England and at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

In a professional career spanning more than 30 years, Professor Kerwin has designed sets and costumes for leading companies across Canada, in the US and England. Her credits include Mirvish Productions, the National Arts Centre, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Soulpepper, Citadel Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Neptune Theatre, Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Young Vic Theatre, Pacific Opera and the Blyth Festival (where she is an associate artist), among others. She also designed more than 250 windows for Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store in Toronto.

Professor Kerwin is the recipient of two Dora Awards for outstanding design and a seven-time nominee. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Siminovitch Award. Other honours include the Harold Award (Toronto), Tom Patterson Award (Stratford) and four Canada Council awards. She is a member of Associated Designers of Canada, and currently serves on the board of directors at Toronto's Factory Theatre.

theatre_PaulLampert2Paul Lampert |
National Theatre School of Canada,
MFA York
Associate Professor: Acting and Directing

Professor Lampert has worked extensively as a director, actor, and teacher. His European experience includes acting with Poland's Theatre BLIK and the International Theatre in Vienna, Austria, as well as directing the national premiere of Oleanna for Stary Theatre in Kraków, Poland; Raised In Captivity in Berlin, Germany; I Claudia in Barcelona, Shanghai and Munich; and Machinal at the East 15 Acting School in London, UK. His many Canadian directing credits include work for Actors Repertory Company, Globe Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, Persephone Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Tattoo, The Great Canadian Theatre Company, Buddies In Bad Times and the National Theatre School of Canada as well as six seasons with the Shaw Festival and three seasons with the Blyth Festival.  He has conducted theatre workshops in Austria, Cuba, England, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Professor Lampert has served as associate director of Persephone Theatre, Saskatoon (1984-87) and artistic director of the George Brown Theatre School (1997-2000) and is currently co-artistic director of Theatre PANIK.

theatre_william-mackwoodWilliam J Mackwood |
BFA, MFA Victoria
Assistant Professor: Design and Production

Professor Mackwood is co-founder and co-artistic director of the multi-disciplinary drama, dance, and opera company Out of the Box Productions. Over the last five years he has lead the design team for productions of The Third Taboo, Prior Engagement, Sound in Silence and most recently Opera Erotique. As a professional lighting designer he has designed for, among others, Ballet Victoria (Court of Miracles, Peter Pan, Alice a Wonderland of Dance), Kaleidoscope Theatre (Little Women, Disney’s Aladdin Jr.) and Chemainus Theatre (Lost in Yonkers, South Pacific, Saint Joan). In summer 2010 he designed lighting for dance works choreographed by Holly Small, Susan Cash, and Keiko Kitano at the World Dance Alliance Global Assembly in New York City. He is a professional member of Associated Designers of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology and IATSE Local 168.

The heart of Professor Mackwood's research lies in developing meaningful stories told through a performance fusion supported by sustainable ‘design on demand.’ He is a member of the faculty in York's Department of Dance, where he teaches teaches production for dance, as well as lighting design for dance, dance video, and intermedial performance at the graduate and senior undergraduate level.

theatre_JohnMayberry2John Mayberry |
BA Toronto
Associate Professor: Production
Master, Winters College

Professor Mayberry has been a working theatre professional for 35 years and teaching for 30. He has worked as a carpenter, properties builder, performer, choreographer, and writer. Passionately interested in everything humans can do or make, his current particular research interests include 19th century theatrical effects, ritual drama, street theatre, and health and safety issues in the entertainment industry.

Professor Mayberry is an active member of the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology (CITT) and the Health and Safety Commission of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), and acts as a liaison with the Education Commission of USITT.  He also serves as vice-chair of the Technical Commission of the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) and on the board and education committee of Theatre Ontario.

BFA York
BEd Technological Studies, OISE/Toronto
Assistant Professor: Technical Theatre

Professor James McKernan teaches stage technology. His research is tied to sustainability with a focus on seeking and implementing new, more ecologically responsible, theatrical scenographic technologies.

Working in collaboration with industry partners and professional practitioners, his contributions in the field include the production of a series of symposia and professional development workshops on sustainable stage technology. Topics of these presentations include the use of theatrical fog devices and lighting atmospheric effects, LED lighting as a sustainable alternative to conventional lighting fixtures, and the use of multimedia projection techniques and design in theatre.

Professor McKernan is an active member of both the Canadian and American Institutes of Theatre Technology. He shares his research on the Theatre Artisan Green Skills website.

theatre_teresa_przybylskiTeresa Przybylski |
MSc Technical University, Kraków,
MFA Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków
Professor: Production and Design

Teresa Przybylski is an architect and a theatre designer.  She is known for her designs in theatre, opera, dance, and film.  Her credits include designs for the National Arts Centre, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Opera Company, Calgary Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Pacific Opera, Young People's Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Necessary Angel, Factory Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Canadian Stage, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Blyth Festival, Panik Theatre, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Video-Cabaret, Theatre Columbus, Pleiades Theatre, SoundStrams, Toronto Dance Theatre, and others.

In the last 25 years she has designed more than 160 productions. Many of them were original Canadian productions, and forty were world premieres. Her work in theatre has been awarded with five Dora Mavor Moore Awards and seventeen Nominations.  She is a recipient of two Gemini Awards for Film and Television Production Design.  She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and Associated Designers of Canada.

Judith Rudakoff  |
BA McGill
MA Alberta
PhD Toronto
Professor: Theatre Studies

Developmental dramaturg Judith Rudakoff has worked with emerging and established playwrights and artists throughout Canada from the Yukon to Nunavut and points between, and in Cuba, Denmark, South Africa, England, and the USA. She is the creator of The Four Elements and Lomograms, trans-cultural methodologies for initiating live performance and visual art.  A recent project is Common Plants: Cross Pollinations in Hybrid Reality , a SSHRC-funded, multidisciplinary, cross-cultural project involving artists and students from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds including Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Cape Town, South Africa. She is a member of Playwrights Guild of Canada, and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Recent plays are Beautiful Little Lies, a stage play set in Cuba and The River (with David Skelton and Joseph Tisiga), which premiered at Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse, Yukon in 2011.

Professor Rudakoff's books include Dramaturging Personal Narratives: Who am I and Where is Here? (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, 2014); TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, 2012); Between the Lines: The Process of Dramaturgy (Playwrights Canada Press, 2002, co-editor Lynn M. Thomson); Fair Play: Conversations with Canadian Women Playwrights (Simon & Pierre, 1989, co-editor Rita Much); and Questionable Activities: Canadian Theatre Artists in Conversation with Canadian Theatre Students (Playwrights Canada Press, 2000). Her articles have appeared in The Drama Review, TheatreForum, Theatre Topics, and Canadian Theatre Review.

Dr. Rudakoff's teaching awards include the inaugural Faculty of Fine Arts Dean’s Prize for Teaching Excellence, and York's University-Wide Teaching Award, as well as three consecutive NOW Magazine "Best of Toronto" awards. She was the first Canadian honoured with the Elliott Hayes Prize in Dramaturgy, for her work on South Asian choreographer Lata Pada’s multidisciplinary work, Revealed by Fire.

theatre_davidsmuklerDavid Smukler |
BFA Carnegie-Mellon University
MA Teachers College, Columbia University
Professor Emeritus: Voice

Professor Smukler has coached voice at major theatres and drama schools in Canada, the UK, US, and the Netherlands, including classical theatre (Stratford/Ontario, Royal Court/London, CentreStage), opera (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English Opera Group) and experimental theatre (Open Theatre). Recent coaching credits for the stage include Theatre and Company (Kitchener), 4th Line Theatre Company (Peterborough County) and Michael Kennard’s clown/buffoon The Hollow.

Professor Smukler also frequently works as a dialogue coach for film and television, where his credits include Norman Jewison’s Lazarus and the Hurricane starring Denzel Washington, John Hanna, Liev Schreiber and Deborah Unger; Boondock Saints with Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus; Resident Evil #2 with Mila Janovich and Thomas Kreutchman; Glitter with Mariah Carey and Max Beesley; and ABC’s Untitled History Project. He is the founder and director of Canada’s National Voice Intensive held in Vancouver each year.

Professor Smukler was awarded a 2000-2001 Graduate Teaching Award from the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

rossstuart-150x150Ross Stuart |
BFA University of Alberta
MFA Carnegie-Mellon UniversityPhD University of Toronto
Associate Professor: Theatre Studies, Theatre Research

Professor Stuart, founding Associate Editor of the Canadian Theatre Review, has published extensively on Canadian Theatre, most recently in "Establishing Our Boundaries: English-Canadian Theatre Criticism", and has special expertise in summer theatre in general and the Stratford Festival in particular.  He has served as Associate Dean, Fine Arts and as the Chair of the Theatre Department.  An experienced adjudicator, workshop leader and director, his current research interests involve using improvisation to explore non-dramatic material and revitalize classic texts, and in developing material suitable for performance in schools.


Mark Wilson |
Playhouse Acting School
MFA York
Associate Professor: Acting and Directing
Acting Area Coordinator

Professor Wilson began his professional theatre career as an actor in 1983, and has extensive performance credits in theatres across Canada, including productions with the National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage Theatre, Workshop West (Edmonton), Theatre New Brunswick, The Globe Theatre (Regina), and the Vancouver Playhouse.  In 2013 he received a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in The Dumb Waiter (The Wordsmyth Theatre).  He appeared in little tongues (the blood projects) at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival, which NOW Magazine selected for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Ensemble.  His recent directing credits include Road (Theatre@York) and This is It (the blood projects).  Other directing credits include Disciples (SummerWorks), Cabaret (Toronto Youth Theatre), Mister Invisible (Resource Centre for the Arts, St John's), Caribou Song (Red Sky Performance, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall), Romeo & Juliet (Theatre by the Bay), The Threepenny Opera (George Brown Theatre School), Road (George Brown Theatre School/Equity Showcase Theatre), and The Snow Queen (Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and on its European tour.)

Professor Wilson received a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for best direction for That Dorothy Parker at the Berkeley Street Theatre.  He has also taught at the American Community Schools of Athens Summer  Institute (Greece), George Brown Theatre School, Equity Showcase, and the Randolph Academy for the Performing arts.  He has served as a juror for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards (General Theatre) in Toronto, and has been an adjudicator with the Sears Ontario Drama Festival for five years.  Professor Wilson was Associate Dean, Academic, for the Faculty of Fine Arts, from 2009 - 2012.

Department of Theatre Faculty