Resident Artists

The Young Centre is Toronto’s destination for arts education, artistic development and performance excellence.  The new artistic vision for the Young Centre will be led by 12 Resident Artists.  These extraordinary artists will serve as visionaries, performers, facilitators and mentors across the disciplines of Dance, Music, Theatre and Spoken Word.

Young Centre Resident Artists

Waleed Abdulhamid

Waleed Abdulhamid is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, producer and filmmaker, who has been an active member of the Toronto music scene since his arrival in Canada in 1992. Waleed was born in Sudan and began performing at the age of 6, touring across his country, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait and the Emirates. After leaving Sudan, he performed and toured extensively, appearing at major European music festivals. He demonstrates his versatility on guitar, bass, drums, flute, harmonica, marimba, balimbo, congas, djembe, to name a few, and is known for his striking vocals, innovative bass technique, and his speed and precision on percussion. Waleed has played and recorded with David Clayton Thomas, Jackie Richardson, Jully Black, Deborah Cox and Zaki Ibrahim. He also scored and produced the documentary film, "Let's Find A Way," which raised funds to help children affected by HIV. Waleed has musically directed shows at the Caliban Arts Theatre, Inner Stage, and various dance companies, and has composed and produced music for several TV shows and films.


Roberto Campanella

Roberto Campanella first trained with the Scuola Italiana di Danza Contemporanea before joining the company and rising to the ranks of principal dancer. He later joined the prestigious Aterballetto in Italy, under the direction of Amedeo Amodio. In 1993, Roberto joined the National Ballet of Canada where he was soon promoted to soloist. In 1995, Campanella made his critically acclaimed choreographic debut at the National Ballet's Choreographic Workshop. He continues to choreograph for multidisciplinary shows and collaborations and in 2001 he was nominated for the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award in London. After leaving the National Ballet of Canada in 1996 he graduated with distinction from the National Ballet School Teacher Training Program and is now a sought after Ballet Teacher. Roberto is currently the founder, choreographer, and Artistic Director of the contemporary dance company, ProArteDanza, launched in October 2004 to audience and critical acclaim.


Ravi Jain

Ravi Jain is an actor, director, producer and educator. He trained at LAMDA in London, England, graduated with honours from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a graduate of the 2-year program of École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Ravi has worked internationally as an actor, including as a core member of the New York-based WOW Company (2000-2003). He is the founding Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre, a Toronto-based theatre company with an international scope known for its inventive, experimental, cross-cultural collaborations resulting in shows featuring new Canadian writing and revitalized interpretations of classics. Ravi is the winner of the Ken MacDougall Award for Emerging Director (Harold Award), Dora Award for Best Performance in a Featured Role for SPENT, and was an Urjo Kareda Artist-in-Residence at Tarragon Theatre (2009-2010).

Dennis Lee

Dennis Lee is a celebrated writer, poet, teacher, and thinker. He is most famous for his children’s writings, including Alligator Pie (1974) and the song lyrics for the 1980s television show Fraggle Rock. Dennis was the co-founder of the House of Anansi Press, and served as literary consultant for both Macmillan and McClelland & Stewart. His work Civil Elegies and Other Poems won the 1972 Governor General’s Award for poetry. He has received many awards, including four honorary degrees. Dennis was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993, and served as Toronto’s first Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2004.


Ken MacKenzie

Ken MacKenzie has worked in theatres across Canada and the United States as a designer. Some of Ken's recent design credits include costumes for Death of a Salesman, as well as set and video design for Oh What a Lovely War (Soulpepper). Other design credits include Book of Tink for the Walt Disney Modular Theatre, Tartuffe for Boston Court Theatre and Kiss of the Spider Woman for Talk is Free Theatre. Ken is currently a member of the Soulpepper Academy. In 2006, he earned his master’s degree in design from the California Institute of the Arts. 

John Millard

John Millard has been active in the Canadian music and theatre scenes for the last twenty years. He has toured Canada and Europe with his bands The Polka Dogs and John Millard & Happy Day. He has released five CDs through Festival Records in Canada, and on the Extraplatte label in Europe. Featured performances include WOMAD, New Music Across America, Festival D’été in Quebec City, Mariposa and Vancouver Folk Music Festivals. He has worked with many Canadian theatre companies including Shaw Festival, Theatre Columbus, Volcano, Mulgrave Road Co-op, The National Theatre School, The National Arts Centre, The National Ballet, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Canadian Stage Company, Necessary Angel, and Caravan Farm Theatre, to name a few. In April of 2008 John was the music director for the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Vimy, France, the Kurt Weill Songbook at the Young Centre’s Canwest Cabaret Festival and for Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood” at the PEN Congress in Tokyo.


Andrea Nann

Andrea Nann has a 22-year career as a professional dance artist living and working in Toronto. Nann’s artistic vision is to produce, create and share work reflecting a compassionate and intelligent world. As artistic director of Dreamwalker Dance Company, Nann has choreographed over 15 original dance works and is intricately connected to the arts community in Canada having cultivated a unique artistic practice and movement aesthetic that reflects her exposure to a vast range of movement styles, artistic approaches, techniques and art forms. Nann has collaborated with authors, poets, pop musicians, rock musicians, visual artists, textile artists, ceramic artists, calligraphers, DJs, video artists, filmmakers, opera singers, actors and songwriters. A graduate of York University’s Department of Fine Arts in 1988, Nann was a full-time member of the Danny Grossman Dance Company for 15 years from 1988- 2003 where she created, performed and taught major roles from the works of Mr. Grossman and guest choreographers. She has received three Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for Outstanding Performance.  Nann also initiates and facilitates community arts events and workshops and produces The Whole Shebang, a critically acclaimed annual multi-arts festival celebrating live performance and artistic diversity.


Patricia O'Callaghan

Patricia O'Callaghan is an accomplished vocalist in contemporary opera and cabaret music. In her travels, she has lived, studied, and picked up the local languages in Mexico, Quebec, Germany, and France. Patricia divides her time between recording CDs, touring her own shows, and collaborating on other interesting projects, working towards her heart's ambition to bring her distinctive brand of cabaret to a broad-based audience. She will be releasing a new CD in 2011. Recent appearances include opening the 2007 season with Soulpepper Theatre Company playing the role of Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera. She also has the good fortune to appear in television shows, such as her own Bravo! special, Live at the Rehearsal Hall; the Rhombus/CBC special, Youkali Hotel; and the acclaimed Ken Finkleman drama, Foolish Heart.


Gregory Oh

Gregory Oh is an accomplished pianist, conductor and teacher, and holds graduate degrees from the University of Toronto and University of Michigan. Gregory is the Artistic Director of the acclaimed new music group Toca Loca, conductor of Continuum Contemporary Music, harpsichordist in the ensemble The Lollipop People, and contemporary music curator at Toronto’s Music Gallery. He has performed all over the world and his music is often heard on CBC Radio One and Radio Two and seen on CBC Television, TV Ontario and Bravo. A Dora-nominated music director, he most recently worked on the premieres of Cold Spring at New York's EMPAC (2010) and Native Earth's Giiwedin (2010) as well as XXX Live Nude Girls! (2009) in the Summerworks Festival, and has also worked at San Diego Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and Florida State Opera. Greg is a board member and the music committee co-chair of the Toronto Arts Council.


Mike Ross

Mike Ross is a Toronto based actor/composer/instrumentalist. A true east coast'er - he hails from Prince Edward Island, but now calls Toronto his home. He began his career in the music business having studied at Wilkes University in the US and finishing up at UPEI where he earned his degree in music. A fluky turn sent his life in the direction of theatre and bringing his unique musical sensibility to the stage in combination with playing roles has been his focus ever since. An alumni of the inaugural Soulpepper Academy, Mike spends a great deal of his time working with Soulpepper Ensemble as an actor and musician. He has won a Dora award, a Merrit Award, and two East Coast Music Awards. He lives in Leslieville with his beautiful girls Nicole and Sophie.


Suba Sankaran

Suba Sankaran is a DORA award-winning, twice JUNO-nominated multi-instrumentalist musician (voice, piano and percussion) who has effortlessly combined musical worlds and seamlessly crossed genres, performing across North America, Europe and Asia with Autorickshaw, Trichy Sankaran, FreePlay Duo (with Dylan Bell) and Retrocity (80s a cappella revue). Performance highlights include performing for Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu. Suba is in demand as a choral director, arranger, educator and composer. She has composed and produced music for theatre, film, radio and dance, including collaborations with Oscar-nominee Deepa Mehta.

PHOTO CREDITS: Cylla von Tiedemann and Nathan Kelly