Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre has announced a new artistic leadership team to take it into the new year, and new century.
Brianna Hamilton, Brian March, and Daniel Puglas are the company’s new Artistic Associates, jointly choosing plays, programming seasons, and setting Western Edge’s artistic course.
The new model was proposed by March, who has worked with the company nearly since its inception and has been its artistic director for the past six seasons. The other associates are also familiar faces at Western Edge. Puglas is a Kwakwaka’wakw playwright, director, actor, and producer who has worked with the theatre as both an actor and stage manager, while Hamilton is a Nanaimo-based actor, producer, writer, and director who has also been seen as an actor at Western Edge and is co-producer and co-writer of the award-winning web series “Girls vs. The City.” (See full bios below.)
“Our Board of Directors is extremely pleased to announce this new artistic team to lead us into the future,” says Board President Lorna McLellan. “These times require innovation, and in adopting this new leadership model we are building on the lessons of the past year, both in technology and in society.
“Brian, Brianna, and Dan bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to Western Edge, and together will bring new ideas and energy as well.”
Hamilton, March, and Puglas are currently prepping the company’s 2021 New Waves Festival, featuring safely-produced staged readings of plays selected from the company’s recent Mid-Island Playwrights Initiative. The Festival will be streamed online in February.
Brianna Hamilton is an actor, producer, writer, and director originally from Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. A graduate of the Bachelor of Performing Arts program at Capilano University, Brianna has spent more than a decade working in theatre and film in Vancouver and in 2017 made the move home to the island. She ran an independent, Jesse-nominated theatre company in Vancouver from 2009 – 2012, which allowed her also to take part in the Gabriola Theatre Festival. Recent theatre acting credits include Kayleen in “Gruesome Playground Injuries” (Dark Matter), Marianne in “Constellations” (hapax), Teresa in “Between The Sheets” (Western Edge), Last Wife in “Calling Home” (SNAFU/Theatre Skam), Carly in “Reasons to be Pretty” (Western Edge) and Narrator in “Hipstory” (Spec Theatre). An advocate for women’s voices in comedy, Brianna is co-producer and co-writer of the award-winning web series “Girls vs. The City” from Telus Storyhive and Girl on Girl Humor Productions.
Brian March has been working in theatre for the last 35 years, beginning with the operation of an improv theatre company in London, Ontario that produced shows across Southwestern Ontario for 20 years. He was also involved in directing, writing, acting, and producing shows for independent companies and community theatres there. Since arriving in Nanaimo, he has worked with most of the companies in the area as well as producing his own work. His involvement with Western Edge began in 2002 as a stage manager, and he has taken on many other roles since then. He has served as its artistic director for the past 6 seasons.
Daniel Puglas is a Nanaimo director, producer, actor, and playwright. He trained in the Vancouver Island University Theatre Department and at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School, and has self-produced numerous of his plays and screenplays, including “Voices of Love,” “Toxic Choices,” and “The Book of Lies.” He appeared as an actor in the Western Edge Theatre premiere of Miles Hayes’ “Public Intoxication” and his play “Mourning in Room 243” was among the selections in the company’s recent Mid-Island Playwrights Initiative. It will be presented in a staged reading as part of Western Edge’s 2021 online New Waves Festival. Dan is also a longstanding participant in the Reconciliation Playwriting Circle in Nanaimo. As an Artistic Associate at Western Edge, he looks forward to many new opportunities for artistic collaboration and inspiration.