Meredith Dault, Chair, has worked as a writer, broadcaster, editor, arts administrator, curator and film programmer in Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa and Kingston. Her writing has appeared in Words & Music, Canadian Art, Border Crossings, and C Magazine, among many others. She has worked as an associate producer with CBC Radio, an exhibition coordinator with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and as associate director with Odon Wagner Gallery, and is also the founder of the One Minute Film and Video Festival, which ran in Toronto from 2003-2007. Meredith holds degrees in film and video production and in journalism, and in 2011 completed an M.A. in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University, where she is currently employed as a senior communications officer.
Billyann Balay began her professional arts career in dance, performing with several chamber ballet companies in Ontario and later with the Toronto Dance Theatre. She was the Principal of The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, the premier modern dance training institution in Canada, from 1981 to 1991. She joined the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) as Associate Dance Officer in 1991, and became Dance Officer in August 1993. She was promoted to Director of Granting Programs in the spring of 2001.
While at OAC, Billyann participated actively in the ongoing development of the arts community. She was instrumental in the establishment of Arts 4 Change, which later became Creative Trust, a consortium of performing arts organizations in Toronto formed to work together to achieve positive organizational change and a secure financial future. She was also a constant champion of the needs and concerns of Aboriginal and culturally diverse artists and arts organizations.
When she retired in 2013, she and her husband Roelof (Ron) Peter Snippe, a dance and theatre lighting designer, were delighted to make Kingston their new home.
Diane Fitsell, is a portrait artist trained at The Academy of Art Canada in Toronto. Her practice includes portraiture in oil, charcoal or graphite. A former high school teacher, she also worked in administration and has been an active volunteer in events planning.
Hollie Stewart, secretary, is a Kingston resident with deep roots in its artistic community. Now the Administrative Director of the nationally renowned Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, Hollie has worked in publicity and marketing for many local arts organizations as well as appearing on stage with Theatre Kingston, the Thousand Islands Playhouse, and many of the city's flourishing community theatre companies. Hollie also sits on the board of Theatre Kingston, a position she has held for many years.
Ally Jacob is Creative Director and Co-Owner of Studio22 - Idea Manufactory and Open Gallery - a creative design studio, micro-publisher and commercial art gallery in downtown Kingston. She refers to herself as a space artist with an intuitive inventiveness about the crafting of individual and collective spaces. Ally’s arts experience is varied: she has a background in theatre with a Bachelor of Science in Speech from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She was an instructor and then School Director of the Toronto Studio Players Theatre School Inc. She worked concurrently as a member of IBID Company, a professional performance group. She then spent 10 years at home nurturing her 4 kids and, formally and informally, studying art, architecture and design. Her approach to the arts is a collaborative one. She is fascinated and stimulated by the creative capacities of others.
Lin Bennett has been involved for four decades as an arts performer, creator, and administrator. She has performed in professional theatre in Vancouver for ten years and for Theatre Kingston’s Moveable Feast; taught creative drama for H’art Centre and various schools in Vancouver, acted as arts marketer and publicist for 12 years for the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver. Locally, she spent eight seasons with the Thousand Islands Playhouse as Marketing Manager and managed the Art Rental Gallery at the Agnes. Now retired, she takes a variety of visual arts classes and volunteers.
Greg performed in many regional theatres across the country from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia. He joined the Stratford Festival Company in 1976 and performed in over 20 productions over five seasons until 1980. As well as being an actor in the company, he was appointed assistant director to Robin Phillips for several productions in 1980.
In 1981 he returned to Eastern Ontario and founded the Thousand Islands Playhouse in 1982. Since that time he has appeared in or directed over forty productions including MY FAIR LADY, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, LES MISERABLES, BLOOD BROTHERS, LEND ME A TENOR and the 2012 production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
In October 2012 he stepped down as Artistic Director after 31 seasons. In May 2013 he returned to the Playhouse to direct SUDS!-the musical.
As well, Greg is a Professor in the Drama Department of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and has been teaching there since 1982 where has also recently directed Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (2011) as well as BLOOD RELATIONS by Sharon Pollock (2013) Among other awards Greg is most proud of the 2003 ‘Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee Medal’.
Greg is married to freelance director Kathryn MacKay and has two sons, Jeremy Wanless (27) and Marcus MacKay (24).
Deanna MacDonald was the founding president of the Kingston Blues Society
and key member of the original Kingston Writersfest team. She's a regular
attendee at local music events, and wannabe thespian who plays guitar badly.
At her day job she organizes adult programs for the Kingston Frontenac
Public Library, working with community partners to present a diverse and
engaging slate of events. A Queen's graduate (Arts 86), she left Kingston
in 1986 to pursue graduate studies and holds an MA in Canadian History for
Laurier and an MLIS from Western. After stints at Canada Mortgage and
Housing and the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, she returned to Kingston in
2003 with her daughter. For a few years she was on the board of Kingston
Literacy and Skills, and she volunteers at the Kingston Humane Society as a
fundraising crafter and cat cuddler extraordinaire.
Stephen Elliott has recently retired after completing a six-year term as the Dean of Education at Queen’s University. A sampling of his administrative experience include: curriculum reform consultant with the Ministry of Education (Ontario), Dean of Education, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Vice President and President of the Canadian Society for Education through Art. As a tenured Professor with expertise in Art Education, Aesthetics, Curriculum Design and Educational Philosophy, Steve served for many years as Co-coordinator of the Artist in Community Education Program, working closely with fine artists, dancers, creative writers, musicians, and actors. He is a practicing printmaker and painter currently working from his studio in Gananoque.