Lianna Makuch is a second generation Ukrainian Canadian theatre artist. Lianna has enjoyed a diverse career working as an actor, creator, and theatre instructor. She is co-Artistic Producer of Pyretic Productions and a producer with Punctuate! Theatre. Lianna has also co-founded, manages, and teaches at a children’s summer theatre camp, Spark! Youth Camp, which provides affordable arts education to youth in Edmonton’s Alberta Avenue Community.
Lianna is also the playwright and principle performer in Barvinok, which has garnered her awards and recognition from across the country and internationally. The production has been recognized with several artistic and community awards including the ACUA-URDC Award (2018), Anna Pidruchny Award for New Writers (2019), a Hetman Award from UCC-Alberta Provincial Council (2019) and Youth Leadership Award from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Council (2019). Lianna was recognized as a Top 30 Under 30 Artist by the Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts, and the play was nominated for four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production. She is also the 2020 REACH Grant recipient, which is supporting her as she develops this story into a feature length screenplay.
Lianna was recently the first Canadian artist-in-residence with the IZOLYATSIA cultural Institute in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she began development of her new play titled Alina which she is thrilled to continue developing as part of the Punctuate! Playwrights' Unit. Lianna is a graduate of the BFA Acting Program at the University of Alberta.
Through her artistic work, Lianna has found passion for activism. She is a founding member of Canadians in Support of Ukrainian Political Prisoners (CSUPP), and was an integral part of creating and circulating a petition calling upon the House of Commons to demand the release of Ukrainian political prisoners. The petition was tabled in parliament by Linda Duncan on 9 November 2018 and received a supportive response from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, on the 31 January 2019. Lianna was also a key leader in fundraising for the Ukraine-based NGO “Our Children,” a group which fundraises for families of political prisoners in Crimea.
Director credits include: Blood of Our Soil (2018), Bears 2015/2018 (Associate), The Particulars(2015), and The Other(2016). He is the co-founder of the Common Ground Arts Society, and later worked as the Executive Director of Common Ground’s Found Festival. He is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and the Citadel Banff Professional Theatre Program. In 2014, he received the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award through Nextfest. Throughout 2012–2016 Patrick worked as the Associate Director of Outreach and Education at the Citadel Theatre and as an instructor at the Foote Theatre School. He is a Sterling-nominated actor.
Edmonton playwright Matt MacKenzie is a graduate of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada, where he was the winner of the Quebec Lieutenant Governor’s award for excellence and community involvement. His play SIA won the 2010 Alberta Playwriting Competition, receiving critically acclaimed productions in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. Winner of Tarragon Theatre's Urjo Kareda residency, Matt assisted Daniel MacIvor on the premiere of his new play Was Spring and Richard Rose on The Real World?. In 2015, Matt’s play Bears was nominated for five Sterling Awards, including Outstanding New Play. In 2016, Matt’s play Benefit was nominated for a Betty Award and was shortlisted in the Alberta Playwriting Competition. In 2017, Matt’s play Bust received a Sterling nomination for outstanding new play and his play Bone Wars was awarded the Sterling for Outstanding TYA Production. This year, Bears, which Matt wrote and directed, as well as Minosis Gathers Hope, which Matt directed, are touring the country. Bears won two Dora Mavor Moore awards, Toronto's premiere theatre award recognitions in the Independent theatre category including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production.