Theatre Aquarius Arts Education Program

Learn Technique & Develop Your Own Creative Voice!

55 Wentworth Street South.

Welcome to the brand new Theatre Aquarius Education Arts Centre. 

A New Program in a New Home

Our all-new Theatre School provides the very best in professional arts instruction for students of all ages and stages. Programs have a dual focus on exceptional training with professional artists and exploration of individual artistic voice.

Train & Create:

Acting, Musical Theatre, Dance and Movement, Voice and Music, Physical Theatre, Mask, and Play Creation.


Empathy, Critical Thinking, Complex Problem Solving, Creativity, Self Expression, Work Ethic, Collaboration.



Confidence, A Passion for the Arts, Dedication, Hope, Joy, Friendship, Personal & Group Success.

Fall Registration Coming Soon!


Jennie Esdale

Jennie Esdale

Creation/Physical Theatre/Program Director

Jennie is an actor,  a writer, director, designer, producer, stilt walker, long time member of CAEA, as well as Playwright’s Guild of Canada. She is the recipient of Calgary’s professional theatre awards, the Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Performance, she has been nominated 3 times for Betty Mitchell Award Outstanding Performance, 2 times nominated for Betty Mitchell Award’s Outstanding New Play,  2 times nominated for Betty Mitchell Award’s Outstanding Production of a Musical, Winner Elizabeth Sterling Hayne’s Award Outstanding Achievement in Design, and nominated for Elizabeth Sterling Hayne’s Award Outstanding Achievement in Theatre for Young Audiences.

Jennie began her artistic career as an actor, performing her first professional role at the age of 16. She has performed at the National Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Cultch, Theatre Passe Muraille Buzz, The Only Animal, Vancouver Olympics at Williams Lake outdoor snow show, Alberta Theatre Projects, Mammalian Diving Reflex, Shadow Theatre, Teatro La Qunidicino, Fringe Theatre Adventures, Edmonton Fringe Festival, Sage Theatre, Generic Theatre, Ghost River Theatre.

She is Co-Artistic Director of Calgary’s Green Fools Theatre and has been with the company since 1998. Green Fools creates and tours stilt, mask, puppet, storytelling works and is Western Canada’s leader of Social Circus. Social Circus is a global movement that connects circus arts with marginalized youth. Green Fools Social Circus program is endorsed by Cirque du Soleil and has provided programs for inner city kids, youth in remote communities and the children of Calgary’s Syrian refugees.

Jennie is the writer and director of produced and award nominated works that have performed at The Banff Centre for the Arts, multiple arts and children’s festivals in Canada, and have toured to the U.S., Japan and Brazil. She has also written and directed several large scale events and spectacle performances and has worked extensively with youth and young audiences.

Jennie is Program Director of Theatre Aquarius’ ODE: Outreach/ Development/ Education, that develops programs to help break down barriers to theatre, reach new audiences, develop local talent, and offer a theatre school that provides exceptional training and opportunity to explore artistic voice.



Radha Menon

Radha Menon

Play Creation (Summer Stock and Creator’s Camp)

Radha is an interdisciplinary artist, she began performing in British television and theatre in her youth. After immigrating to Canada, Radha began to evolve her artistic voice as a playwright and is Artistic Director of Red Betty Theatre, whose mission is to present the perspectives and distinct experiences of Canadian women of colour to broader and more diverse audiences, and increase access to these performances to contribute to the richness and diversity of Canadian Theatre through bold, relevant and artistic voices. A non-profit organization, their overriding vision is to develop and produce responsive and relevant theatre reflecting the diversity of contemporary Canadian culture.

Radha has an MFA Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, she also trained and developed her work at the Natural Resources Factory Theatre, Kali Theatre UK Play Development, Theatre Aquarius Playwrights Unit, Cahoots Hothouse Playwriting Unit, Tamasha Theatre TDA London, Nightwood Theatre Groundswell Playwrights Unit, National Film Board of Canada, and she has a Diploma in Film Production Toronto Film School.

Radha is the recipient of the 2016 City of Hamilton Theatre Award, Dr. Alice Wilson Award, Design Award Here Be Dragons Film Festival, Critics Choice Award Hamilton Fringe, Winner Toronto Fringe New Play Contest, Finalist Playwright of the Year Women in Arizona Theatre, Hamilton Fringe Playwriting Contest Finalist, Herman Voaden National Playwriting Compoetition Finalist, Woodward/ Newman International Playwriting Prize, Best Director TFS Film Festival, Best Screenplay TFS Film Festival.

She is the writer of multiple full length and short plays readings and productions in Canada, London UK, Florida, Arizona. Storefront Theatre, Alumnae Theatre New Ideas Festival, Hamilton Fringe, Next Stage Festival, Groundswell Festival, Magnetic North, Bits of Obits Festival, Lost Soles Gallery, AD at Red Betty Theatre.

Radha teaches playwriting and story creation workshops extensively through Red Betty Theatre, Teacher, Production Design at Keon International Film Academy, Mumbai, India. HARRRP workshops for marginalized youth.



Reza Jacobs

Reza Jacobs

Musical Theatre/Voice

Reza Jacobs is an award-winning music director, arranger, composer and sound designer, known for his versatility in style and genre. His credits include sound design and composition for the Shaw Festival, Factory Theatre, Tarragon, Passe Muraille, Volcano, Cahoots, Luminato Festival and Harbourfront’s World Stage Festival. As music director he has won Dora Awards for London Road (Best Music Direction 2014, Best Musical 2014), Caroline, or Change (Best Music Direction and Best Musical 2012) and Assassins (Best Musical 2010). He played Ted in 2 Pianos 4 Hands (Globe, Centaur) and has also been the resident Canadian music director for Andrea Martin’s one-woman show, Everything Must Go. He is the inaugural Penny Fine and Hugh Furneaux Director of Music for the Musical Stage Company (formerly Acting Up Stage) and will music-direct the Canadian première of Fun Home this year.

Reza received his MFA in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch, and his BFA from Columbia University NY, he also studied at The Curtis Institute of Music.

Reza is the recipient of a Dora Award Best Music Direction, Runner up Toronto Mayor’s RBC Emerging Artist Award, Toronto Arts Foundation, Dora Award for Best Musical Production, Daryl Roth Award, Bound for Broadway VII, ASCAP Foundation Frederick Loewe Award, NAMT Festival of New Musicals Songwriter Showcase

Reza is currently musical composer for Twelfth Night at the Stratford Festival, he has also provided musical direction for the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, Young People’s Theatre, Acting Up Stage Co, Birdland Theatre, Theatre Direct, Volcano Theatre. Sound Design for the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille, Cahoots Theatre, Factory Theatre, Classical Theatre Project, Why Not Theatre, Blue Balloon Productions and original compositions for Luminato Festival, Factory Theatre, Volcano Theatre, Acting Up Stage, Pleiades Theatre with Harbourfront, Classical Theatre Project, Toronto Youth Theatre, Why Not Theatre, Blue Balloon Productions.



Shaun Smyth

Shaun Smyth


Shaun is an award winning actor of film, TV and theatre. Born in Scotland, Shaun came to Canada as a child. He plays the bagpipes and has led pipe bands and taught extensively. He has performed at nearly every major theatre from coast to coast and in the US and has appeared in numerous television series and films. He portrays Theo Fluery in Playing With Fire, a one man show performed entirely on skates, that has garnered over 20 Awards across the country.

Shaun has performed leading roles at the Stratford Theatre Festival, Canadian Stage, Crow’s Theatre, Buddies In Bad Times, Birdland Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, Necessary Angel, Centaur Theatre, Grande Theatre-London, Belfry, Vancouver Playhouse, The Cultch, Citadel Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Mayfield Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Calgary, One Yellow Rabbit, Calgary Shakespeare in Park, Persephone Theatre, Globe Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Neptune Theatre, Atlantic Theatre Festival, Confederation Arts Centre. Tafelmusik: Santa Barbara Playhouse, Walt Disney Theatre Los Angelos, La Jolla Playhouse, Tour Australia/ New Zealand/ Houston/ New York.

His selected film and television credits include featured and regular roles in Fringe, The Killing, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, Almost Human, Arrow, Witchs of East End, Murdoch Mysteries, Probablity, F/X: The Series, Different, The Promise, Cruel Justice, Three to Tango, Steal The Movie, Relic Hunter, Code Name: Eternity, Canada: A People’s History, Laughter on the 23rd Floor,  Dying to Dance, Jane Doe, Blue Murder, Soul Food, Proteus, Snakes & Ladders, The Unauthorized Full House Story, Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals, Mutant X, Wild Card, Kevin Hill, Four Minutes, Air Emergency, Supernatural and 44 episodes of Pit Pony, the story of the coal miners of the East coast.

Shaun is the recipient of Best Actor winning, Betty Mitchell Award, Calgary Critics Award. Two time winner of the Stratford Festival Tyrone Guthrie Award, Best Actor nominations including Dora Mavor Moore Toronto, Betty Mitchell Calgary, Sterling Edmonton, Saskatchewan. Best supporting nomination Dora Mavor Moore. He has his BFA from the University of Alberta and BA in English from the University of Calgary. He has also studied with Uta Hagen, Joseph Chaikin, Simon McBirney.

Shaun is opening the Centaur Theatre season in Montreal and performing in Theatre Aquarius upcoming production of the Invisible Hand.



Janelle Cooper

Janelle Cooper


Janelle is a writer, performer, singer, and producer. Janelle received her BFA from the University of Calgary, specializing in performance creation. She founded Ellipsis Tree Collective, Calgary’s first Afrocentric performance society, that develops and curates culturally conscious art. ETC is dedicated to the development and production of creative work by visible minority artists for the professional stage, in an effort to normalize presence, increase inclusivity and foster equity.

Janelle recently moved to Ontario and completed the workshop, development and premiere run of Sousatska at the Elgin Theatre. She has worked with Teatro Proscenium, National Arts Centre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Lunchbox Theatre, Urban Curvz Theatre, Workshop West Theatre, Front Row Centre Players, Ellipsis Tree Collective.

She is an accomplished and sought after singer and coach and studied at the Carmen Tellier School of Music. She is the recipient of CAT Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress, Calgary Theatre Critic’s Award Best Supporting Actress, and has been nominated for the Black Gold Awards.

Janelle is also a producer and theatre creator, she produced the Canadian premiere of Lynn Nottage’s RUINED, also Andrew Moodie’s THE REAL MCCOY,  Cheryl Foggo’s JOHN WARE REIMAGINED, Djanet Sears ADVENTURES OF A BLACK GIRL IN SEARCH  OF GOD (also performed in the National Arts Centre production). She has created and directed several works including THE HARVEST OF THE MOON’S BELLY, A DJEMBE LOVE SONG, THE BIRTH OF A QUEEN, HEY, BIG SPLENDA!, UNDER THE NUT TREE, CLIPPED WINGS.



Chris Stanton

Chris Stanton


Christopher Stanton has been creating work for stage and screen for over twenty years. His practice is exceptionally wide-ranging, spanning from performer to director, writer, sound designer, and composer. His stage work has taken him across Canada to Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Montreal – and internationally to New York, Bogotà, Munich, Brisbane, Dublin, and Vienna.

Chris has been a performer, sound designer, or director at numerous theatres including, the Stratford Theatre Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Theatre Smash/ ARC, Nightswimming/ YPT, Coal Mine, Buddies in Bad Times, Tarragon, Cahoots, Thousand Island Playhouse, Theatre Centre, Why Not Theatre, Talk Is Free Theatre, Harbourfront, Summerworks, Harold Green Jewish Theatre, Obsidian Theatre fuGEN Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Aluna, Factory, Dancemakers, Birdland Theatre.

He has been nominated for 11 Dora Awards across disciplines, winning in 2011 for his performance in Enda Walsh’s New Electric Ballroom. He was nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award (Directing), and was ‘harolded’ by Brendan Gall in 2009 for a Harold Award. Stanton is also the Artistic Producer of Toronto-based indie performance company ARC.

Chris is also Artistic Producer of ARC. ARC is a company of resident artist committed to presenting contemporary international works that have rarely – if ever – been staged in Canada, taking a rigourous, energetic, and innovative approach to re-imagining world theatre classics, and mining international literature to devise original theatrical work. Company members lead every project right through to production – from curation to design to performance. ARC has garnered 14 Dora Mavor Moore nominations and 2 wins.



Lisa Emmons

Lisa Emmons


Lisa completed Honors B.F.A. in Dance at York University. She has 15 years experience as a professional dancer, choreographer and dance instructor.

Lisa received her BFA Honours in Dance from York University. She trained at the National Ballet School and attended the Teacher Training Program, Landmark Education, Gaga Intensive NY, Series 808 Alternative Technique Class Craft in Choreography, ImpulsTanz Austria, ImproWinter Germany, Peggy Baker Dance Intensive, Andrea Nan Dreamwalker Dance Company Conscious Bodies/Actions of Compassion training.

Lisa is an active instructor and offers technique training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern and hip hop. She founded the transFORM program and works with students from many backgrounds and skill levels, training in technique and exploring expression, emotion and story telling through movement and the body.

Lisa has choreographed multiple works presented at Burlington Performing Arts Centre; Factory Media Centre, Hamilton; BPAC; The Citadel, Toronto, Hamilton Fringe Festival, Dance Matters, FRESH BLOOD Chimera Project, Niagara Dance Company for Seeds in Time Festival, Winchester Street Theatre, Jay9 Dance Projects, Toronto Fringe Festival. She has performed with Maxine Heppner, Susan Kendal, Ballet Espressivo, Motus O Dance Theatre, Laurence Leimeux, Andrea Nan (The Whole Shebang – Burlington), and has toured extensively through Canada, Europe, United States.

She is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of  Form Contemporary Dance Theatre, a company that explores dance as a means to express personal and community truths, nurturing vulnerability, creating inspiring new work from a rigorous dance background.






Cliff Cardinal

Cliff Cardinal

Play Creation

Cliff is a playwright, actor and singer/ songwriter of Cliff Cardinal and the Skylarks. His Theatre for Young Audiences play, SIDEWALK CHALK, toured throughout Ontario and Quebec, performing 130 times to over 25,000 kids.

Son of Tantoo Cardinal, acclaimed actress who also holds the Order of Canada, Cliff took a year off school to study with Toronto’s VideoCabaret. He created, performed and busked, discovering the necessity for immediacy in his work, before entering and graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada playwriting program. He has been playwright in residence at VideoCabaret and has plays in development at Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Culture Storm and Soulpepper.

Cliff is the recipient of Dora Mavor Moore Award Outstanding New Play, Dora Mavor Moore Award Outstanding Male Performance, Jessie Award Outstanding Play for Young Audiences, Theatre Passe Muraille Emerging Artist Award, RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwright Prize and Risk and Innovation Buddies in Bad Times.

His plays HUFF and STITCH have been produced to audience and critical acclaim and have recently been published by Playwrights Canada Press. Other plays include MARIA GETS A LIFE, ROMANCESHIP, and THE ANDERSONS.

Cliff has performed two National tours including presentations at The Push International Performing Arts Festival, The Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the High Performance Rodeo, and closed the studio season at the National Arts Centre. He has performed and has had his work produced at Ramshackle Theatre, Cutline Productions, 4th Line Theatre, Magnus Theatre, Hamilton Fringe, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Big Soul Productions, Workshop West theatre, Saskatchewan Native Theatre, Green Thumb Theatre, VideoCaberet, Blyth Theatre Festival, Native Earth Performing Arts, Big Soul Productions, CBC Radio Drama, National Film Board. Cliff’s play Huff will be produced in the UK this summer.

Theatre Aquarius ODE

Theatre Aquarius is Hamilton’s regional professional theatre. We create outstanding, accessible live theatre that entertains challenges and educates. We develop and showcase national talent and artistic excellence. Our experience & professionalism make Theatre Aquarius the destination for arts education.

Our new program, ODE, Outreach, Development, Education, aims to address the barriers in access to theatre arts and ways to engage with new audiences. The program has a dual emphasis of providing exceptional training and promoting the development of individual artistic voice. Our program provides the very best in professional arts instruction for students of all ages and stages.

For more information please email

Program, Artists, Dates and Prices Subject to Change.  All Sales Final.  No Refunds.

Theatre Aquarius is a not-for-profit registered charity dedicated to creating outstanding, accessible, live theatre that entertains, challenges, & educates.