Mary Vingoe | Artistic Director
A director, Artistic Director, Festival Director, playwright, teacher, and actor who has worked across the country, Vingoe is celebrated for co-founding four major companies in Canada. She is the founding Artistic Director of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, co-founder and past Artistic Director of Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre, co-founder and past co-Artistic Director of Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, and co-founder and past Artistic Director of Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax.
Vingoe has directed and taught at theatres and universities across the country including Canada's National Arts Centre, Tarragon Theatre, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The National Theatre School, and Neptune Theatre. She is also a noted Canadian playwright. Her 2013 play Refuge published by Scirocco Press, was a finalist for the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award and was short listed for the 2016 Governor General's Award for Drama. Her new play Some Blow Flutes was nominated for Best New Play at the Merritt Awards in 2019. Some Blow Flutes is published by Scirocco Press.
Mary Vingoe is the recipient of many awards most notably Nova Scotia's Portia White Award for artistic excellence. In 2011, Vingoe was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to Canadian theatre.
Rebecca Wolfe | Associate Producer
Rebecca Wolfe (she/her) is an emerging theatre maker in Kjipuktuk. She is an actor, freelance producer, arts educator, and occasional writer. Specializing in physical and devised theatre, she graduated from Humber College’s Theatre Performance Program in 2019. Rebecca works as the Associate Producer for both The Villains Theatre and HomeFirst Theatre, as well as the Administrator at Live Art Dance. She is the Artistic Producer of her company Alinea Theatre, which premiered her one-act play Penny.
You can find her teaching across the Halifax Regional Municipality at places such as the MacPhee Centre for Learning, Leica Hardy School of Dance, and Halifax Regional Arts. Her awards include the Lieutenant Governor Award of Nova Scotia for Excellence in the Arts, Theatre Nova Scotia Award, and Eastern Front Theatre’s Ten-Minute Play Writing Contest. Direction: Observatory Mansions and Zomblet (Asst. Director/Movement, The Villains Theatre), Elf The Musical Jr. (Halifax Regional Arts), and Down the Line (Nostos/KiDanCo). Acting: 4.48 Psychosis (Caravan Theatre), Young Company 2020 (Theatre New Brunswick), Penny (Alinea Theatre), PEACE Project (Transitus), Four Hours (Alumnae Theatre), and The Nutcracker (Symphony Nova Scotia). Film: Diggstown, Trailer Park Boys, Mr. D.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Reina Green | Chair
Reina Green is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Mount Saint Vincent University where she teaches courses in modern and contemporary drama, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and sixteenth and seventeenth-century poetry and prose. Her research is rooted in performance studies, with a particular emphasis on performance history, and one of her primary interests is on the performance and understanding of gender and sexuality in theatre.
Karen Gross | Secretary
Karen Gross has a background as a theatre producer, having worked with many Kjipuktuk/Halifax theatre companies (including 2b theatre company, The Accidental Mechanics Group, The Bus Stop Theatre Coop, HomeFirst Theatre, Keep Good (Theatre) Company, and Zuppa Theatre). As a M.Ed. Counselling student at Acadia University, Karen is working towards a new vocation as a psychotherapist.
Sarah Wakely | Treasurer
Sarah worked in theatre for several years, as Box Office Manager at Theatre Calgary, and then as a Stage Manager in and around Toronto. She has been retired for several years and is happy to be involved in theatre again, and to be one of the original board members of HomeFirst. The production of The December Man this coming fall will be the fourth HomeFirst show Sarah has worked, the last one being Some Blow Flutes in 2018.
Catherine Banks | Director
Catherine Banks is an award winning playwright based in Sambro, Nova Scotia. Her plays include Miss N' Me; In This Light; It Is Solved By Walking; Bone Cage; Three Storey, Ocean View; and Bitter Rose, which aired on Bravo! Canada. Catherine has adapted Ernest Buckler’s novel The Mountain and the Valley for the stage. Her newest play Downed Hearts is set to premiere in 2023.
Heather Elms-Wood | Director
Heather Elms-Wood is a retired English teacher after 33 years in education. Since retirement, Heather has been on an adventure of discovery. Taking French courses, becoming a Docent at the NS Art Gallery, and being a former board member of Halifax Theatre for Young People are a few of her projects. She has also discovered the joys of doing stained glass. Many pieces have been created to support various causes such as Black Lives Matter, different churches, and food banks.
Heather also enjoys writing poetry for friends and family to celebrate their loved ones. Heather has always found the strength of the written word as a way to cherish memories. Heather can often be found in her garden appreciating Mother Nature because life is good!
Mary Evans | Director
Mary Evans studied Art History at University of Toronto and Queen's University but has never forgotten her History of Theatre course, taken as an undergraduate in first year, and the thrill of stage plays. Now retired from teaching Art History at NSCAD she’s happy to be part of the HomeFirst Theatre board.
Maria Halavrezos | Director
Maria Halavrezos is a copywriter, choral music lover, and advocate for women in sports. Growing up in Dartmouth, Maria took part in various school and community theatre projects. She is thrilled to support HomeFirst's vision for bringing new voices and stories to the stage.
Leslie Hennen | Director
Leslie Hennen was raised on crayons and blank paper instead of colouring books. She loves all the arts but theatre is extra special. She likes small theatres with local content best.
Wendy Lill | Director
Wendy Lill is a playwright, former parliamentarian and advocate for persons with disabilities. She has written extensively for radio, theatre, and film. She lives in Dartmouth.
Maggie MacDonald | Director
Margaret (Maggie) MacDonald studied theatre and performance at Dalhousie University, University of Alberta, and Primus Theatre of Winnipeg. Her last performance gigs were community collaborations in Positano, Italy. She is a mother, poet, Nia instructor, and public servant specializing in language training for the Department of National Defence. A believer in the change-making of the arts, she is delighted to support HomeFirst.