Joel the "Ginger Ninja" Ivany had the crazy idea to start this company and serves as Artistic Director and stage director, when he's not slowly climbing the opera career ladder by freelancing as a stage director. He is the author of three (and counting) original librettos performed by AtG. His 2015/2016 engagements include mainstage directing debuts at the COC (Carmen) and the TSO (Mozart's Requiem).
Pianist, vocal coach and conductor Christopher “Topher” Mokrzewski is a steadily rising figure in the worlds of Canadian opera and chamber music. He was recently appointed Resident Conductor of Calgary Opera, and is a founding member and Music Director of Against the Grain Theatre. His championing of Caplansky's Deli has earned him the nickname "Matzo Ball."
Caitlin "Half-Pint" Coull is a founding member of AtG. She honed her chops at the Canadian Opera Company, where she worked in communications for five years. By day she leads the communications department of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and by night she can be found refilling wine glasses at parties in her excellent home (and AtG's unofficial HQ).
An opera obsessive specializing in technology and social media, Cecily "T-Bone" Carver joined the Against the Grain Theatre team in 2012 as its community engagement advisor. She is the co-founder/director of Dames Making Games, a non-profit community organization for women game-makers. Cecily currently lives in Seattle, where she works as a software engineer at Google.
One of Canada's rising sopranos, Miriam "The Leb" Khalil has sung at Glyndebourne, Aldeburgh, and with Canadian companies and orchestras from coast to coast. She is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and a founding member of AtG. Her roles with the company include Mimi in La Bohème, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, Susanna in Figaro's Wedding, Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Elvira in #UncleJohn.
By day, Nina "The Hammer" Draganic is the Canadian Opera Company's Director of Programming, Free Concert Series in the RBA. After hours, she brings some serious cred to the AtG team as its artistic advisor. Praised by music critic John Terauds as "the most significant concert presenter in [Toronto] outside of the TSO," she has made a lasting impact on the COC and the Toronto cultural scene by creating one of the most popular and highly regarded concert series in the city.
A genuine East coaster, Allison "NKOTB" Bent brings experience from both sides of the stage. A professional percussionist, she holds degrees in performance from the University of Toronto, Cleveland State University, and The Glenn Gould School. Allison has performed with many orchestras in Canada and the US, including the Toronto Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Canadian Opera Company. By day she works as an orchestra personnel administrator at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Joanna "Fly-Tape" Barrotta was the first General Manager for the SummerWorks Performance Festival and has over a decade of experience working in stage management for the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Atelier, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Tapestry New Opera, Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre and, most recently, on AtG’s #UncleJohn. She likes bourbon and has two cats.
Toronto-based editor and copywriter Amanda Hadi is best known to AtG as the "GZA Genius" for her outrageously quick wit and damn good ideas. She has worked for the Canadian Opera Company, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program, and several creative branding studios in Toronto. She is currently a copy editor for the Toronto International Film Festival, where she works on their year-round publications.
Nikki “Disgrace” Tremblay joined the team in 2015 to help mount Pelléas et Mélisande. She has over 14 years of experience in artistic administration, front of house and customer service for the Canadian Opera Company—and boasts a rigorous set of skills achieved from spending five years in the Canadian military and obtaining a degree in Law Enforcement. By day, Nikki is a passionate and creative writer, visual artist and mother of two, but by night, she is a heavy hitter member the GTARollergirls Roller Derby League, where she skates under the alias “Disgrace Jones”.
Nicknamed "The Hatchet", Autumn Coppaway has fearlessly attacked neighbourhood trees in service of AtG's scenic needs since 2014. Before joining the team as Company Production Manager, she worked as an assistant technical director for The Grand Theatre, production manager for Carousel Players, and technical supervisor for the Luminato Festival's Hub.
Jason "Legz" Hand is a Toronto-based lighting designer working in theatre and opera. He has designed at major opera houses in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Minneapolis, and at theatres and festivals including Canadian Stage, Soulpepper, Shaw, Stratford, and Theatre Calgary. Beginning with the first Bohème in 2011, Jason has lit five of the AtG's seven productions.