CURRENT COMPANY MEMBERS
The company is composed of an ensemble of actors, musicians and educators who have extensive stage experience, a deep love for theatre as a form of social service and a commitment to artistic excellence.
CHRISTOPHER von BAEYER, M.A, (Artistic Director, Conductor)
is an actor, educator and consultant who specializes in the integration of theatre and human development. He founded Toronto Playback Theatre with the mission of providing dynamic, audience-interactive, issues-based theatre in the Toronto area. He currently divides his time between North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where he designs and delivers performance training programs in voice, acting, emotional intelligence, leadership and professional communication. He has taught at Emerson College and Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts, the Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago, the Harvard Business School and the Columbia University Senior Executive Program in NY. He is Director of Client Relations for the Ariel Group, Inc, an international training and consulting firm that uses techniques developed and honed in the performing arts to help business leaders develop leadership presence. He regularly serves as a Master Artist on the faculty of the Banff Centre where he recently appeared in a forum entitled The New Story-Makers: Power, Influence, and Authenticity in a Media Dominated World.
BRIE BARKER (Actor)
is an actor, writer and corporate communications trainer. Though he relocated from Toronto to Ottawa in the spring of 2008, Brie is still able to periodically work and perform with us. In Ottawa, he’s already had his first acting gig, with a lead role in Rabbit Hole at The Gladstone Theatre. Previous Toronto theatre roles include The Man in The Vigil Crasher, The Woodcutter in Rashomon, Wib in Criminal Hearts, and Capt. Breen in Robert Fothergill’s Borderline. Previous film appearances include lead roles in the shorts Necessary and Larry, and Det. McGregor in The Absence of Emily. On TV, Brie was the host of Interact, a live talk show. As a writer, Brie’s credits include the story and script development for the live theatrical component of the Royal Ontario Museum’s 2001 exhibit Gift of the Gods - Wine & Revelry. His former theatre company, Electric Dog Productions Inc., was involved in promoting youth empowerment to high school audiences across Canada and to making Shakespeare more accessible to teens. As an actor, Brie trained primarily at Queen’s University and Ryerson Theatre School. In the corporate world, he develops and delivers communications training programs for some of North America’s most prominent companies. Brie is also the recipient of the 2004 International Fellowship from The School of Playback Theatre in New York. Brie has been a company member of Toronto Playback Theatre since its creation in 2002.
CINDY BLOCK (Actor)
holds an honorary BFA, an MFA in Acting and a Voice Teaching Diploma from York University. She is a veteran Canadian stage actor, having played over 30 roles for many of Western Canadian Theatre Companies. Throughout her performance career she has participated in the artistic development of new Canadian plays and in 1988 co-founded Pink Ink Theatre Productions, a company dedicated to bringing new works to the Canadian stage. She has taught voice, speech, movement and Embodied Voice at The University of Toronto, York University’s Department of Theatre, The National Voice Intensive, Humber College Comedy School, The Randolph School of the Arts, George Brown Theatre School, The Centre for Indigenous Theatre and privately for industry professionals. Her performer and pedagogical research embraces the practice of Authentic Movement, a form that may bring inner impulses to consciousness and make apparent the longings within the human experience. Cindy is also currently a member of The Cassandra Project, a 6-year research into the application of Authentic Movement to the creative process and development of theatrical performance. Cindy has been a company member of Toronto Playback Theatre since 2003.
DIANDRA LEE (Actor)
works as an actor in film, television, voice, theatre and improv and is also a writer. As a member of the Canadian Improv Showcase, she has had the opportunity to travel and tour internationally performing and teaching games-style improv comedy. She has also been featured in several independent feature and short films - most recently acknowledged for her work in the award-winning short film Invisible. Her voice work includes voiceovers for several commercials, films and animation, most notably portraying the evil witch in Onimusha II: Samurai’s Destiny for Playstation. Past theatre credits include: Viola in Twelfth Night, Mary Anne in Escape from Happiness, Evil Inc. in Jesus and the Divas: A Rockus Musical, Sandy in The Crackwalker, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Judith in The Possibilities, As a writer, Diandra was also recently named a finalist in the 1st Annual Make with the Funny television series pitch competition sponsored by the Comedy Network for her involvement as co-writer and co-star of the Not So Simple Life. Diandra is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Drama Program. Diandra has been a company member of Toronto Playback Theatre since 2005.
SHERRI McFARLANE (Actor)
has worked as an actor for the past 20 years in theatres across Canada, and most recently revisited the role of Demeter in CATS at the Sunshine Festival Theatre in Orillia. Other theatre credits include Eva in The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser in Toronto; 7 seasons playing a variety of roles at The Shaw Festival; Nazomi in Ota at the Artword Theatre; Angel, Fay and Gwen in Norm Foster1s Here on the Flight Path; Francis in All Grown Up and Sister Vivien Leigh in Cakewalk at The Showboat Festival Theatre; Doris in Damn Yankees for Drayton Entertainment; My Fair Lady at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton; Sally in Me and My Girl; Judy in A Chorus Line at the Limelight Dinner Theatre and 3 years playing in the first Canadian Production of CATS. Sherri holds an MFA in Acting from York University where she is currently completing her Bachelor of Education. Sherri will be returning to Orillia this summer to perform in Jesus Christ Superstar and Kiss Me Kate. Sherri has been a company member of Toronto Playback Theatre since its creation in 2002.
LISA PATTERSON (Musician)
is a composer, performer, producer and instructor who has commercially released two music videos and two albums. Her most recent disc ROAM (Festival Distribution: Canada - Roughtrade/BMG: Europe) explores wanderlust and consciousness and brings global influences to roots songwriting. She has performed across Canada, in Europe, Mexico, India and the Middle East and promotes cultural connection through artistic collaboration. Lisa’s songs have appeared in documentaries, shorts and feature films and she has been recognized by the Canada Council, F.A.C.T.O.R., Ontario Arts Council, Bravo!FACT, VideoFACT and Toronto Arts Council. She was nominated for Producer of the Year while studying audio engineering at Fanshawe College and won two achievement awards as a performance major at York University where she focused on Contemporary Improvisation and World Music. Active in her arts community, Lisa operates a multi-use studio in Toronto (imaginitmusic.com) and is the founder/producer of an annual Young Songwriter’s Showcase. She has facilitated the Wild Women Expedition’s vocal workshop in Northern Ontario for seven consecutive years and was programming co-coordinator for the Riverdale Youth Playback Project this past year. Lisa has been a company member of Toronto Playback Theatre since 2004.
LUA SHAYENNE (Actor)
is an actor and dancer who graduated from the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. She apprenticed with the dance company COBA (Collective of Black Artists) where she studied Traditional West African, indigenous Caribbean Folk, modern, ballet and afri-jazz dance. She has continued honing her Traditional African dance skills with Nigerian dancer and choreographer Sani Abu Mohammed Allen and International Guinea Master drummer and choreographer Amara Kante. She was a dance instructor and performer in Le Giornate Africane (An African Journey), a series of African dance and culture workshops in her home town Aosta, Italy which culminated in a public show for the city of Aosta and workshops at Matteo Cigna’s School of Drum and Dance. In the summer of 2006 she was honoured to dance for Ghanaian soul singer Ranzie Mensah in Senegallia, Italy. Recently she was participant and dance captain of the Ya te da project initiated by Dance immersion and led by acclaimed NYC choreographer and dancer Eleo Pomare. As an actor she was the lead in Andy Hamilton’s short The Last Time I Saw Grace. Film projects include Dreamhome (independent feature), 360 Degree Vision (Vision TV documentary), The Car I Love (Lost Worldz Film). Other acting roles include Zigga (Poor Alex, Fringe), The Bus Stop (Voice Impact Project Festival), As You like It (Hart house), The Inspector & The Hero (Theatre Africa), and Top Secret ( Theatre Flash Bantou) a Congolese play with Theatre Flash Bantou performed in French. Her latest projects include Judgment Day Café (Hysteria Festival) and Building Blocks (Rock Paper Sistahz Festival.)
MICHAEL SPASEVSKI (Actor)
Michael Spasevski is a graduate of George Brown’s Theatre Program (2002) and has recently completed a B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Toronto (2010). Some favorite past credits include: The Dining Room (Down N’ Out), Orsino in Twlefth Night (Theatre by the Bay), Timon of Athens, Cymbeline and King John (Stratford Festival), Man in Talk to me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen and Len in The Dwarfs (Bloody Liberty Theatre). Mike has been a company member of Toronto Playback Theatre since 2003.