Meet The LJT Team

Melanie Miles 
Creative Director

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At the age of eight, Melanie formed her own acting, singing and dancing group with her friends in the neighbourhood. Together they created scenes and musical theatre numbers and showcased them in Seniors homes in Brampton, Ontario (under the supervision of her parents). With her passion for self-expression and creation further developed, Melanie auditioned and was accepted into Mayfield Dramatic Arts Major. She found her way from acting to directing. It was at Mayfield where she participated in the Sears Festival, receiving an award for Excellence in Stage Managing. The following year, she was selected to direct a professionally written play. Melanie’s passion for leading and creating brought her to audition for the internationally acclaimed Vancouver Film School- Foundation Film program. She furthered her experience directing and working with actors, as well as producing short films. Melanie is also trained in Laban Movement and carries an array of creative talents from make-up artistry, set & costume design and sound editing.

Lauren Shepherd
Program Coordinator
Instructor : Senior Class
Vocal Coach COMPANY

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Lauren Shepherd, a graduate of Brock University’s BA in Drama, and The University of Exeter’s MFA in Staging Shakespeare programs, is thrilled to return to Liberty Junction for another production. Her first show with LJT was in 2011, fresh home from her Masters degree in England. In the UK she studied at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, and researched in the RSC archives in Stratford Upon Avon. Since 2011, Lauren has worked on a number of productions with LJT as a vocal coach, director, and dialect coach. She continued her studies at U of T for a few years, earning a research bursary to travel back to the UK and research Early Modern madness at the Bethlem Archives. In 2014 Lauren launched her own theatre company, The Shakespearience Group. In 2015, she travelled to St. John's, NL for 4 years with her husband for his medical residency. While there, Lauren's artistic flair flourished. She performed as Kala in Disney's Tarzan with Peter MacDonald Productions, in Sister Act with Atlantic Light Productions, in TRUMMP The Musical with Peter MacDonald Productions, and both fight choreographed and dialect coached PMP's production of Oliver. She also performed with NL's only professional Shakespeare Company, Perchance Theatre in the summer of 2016 playing Viola in Twelfth Night, and The Nurse in Romeo & Juliet. But her most cherished memory of her 4 years away was singing with an incredible choir, Les Ms. This choir, under the direction of Dr. Valerie Long, became her lifeline, and taught her more and more each week about the value of community and the strength and resilience of the arts community. In 2018, Les Ms were invited to join the DCINY Magnificat 2019 performance choirs under the direction of Dr. Nancy Menk, and so in March of 2019 Lauren and her family travelled alongside the choir to New York where she performed on Broadway and at the one and only Carnegie Hall; Bucket List item officially checked off! Lauren is so grateful of the experiences she's had - truly being in the right place at the right time - and the right place for her right now, is Liberty Junction Theatre Inc. So happy to be back!

Nicole Toogood
Director & Choreographer
COMPANY

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Nicole is absolutely thrilled to be choreographing for Liberty Junction Theatre. She has an extensive background directing and choreographing for a variety of theatre groups for quite some time. She has directed and choreographed “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Young Frankenstein”, and “Its Christmas Carol!’ being some of her favourites. She has truly been honoured to work alongside such a professional welcoming creative team. Nicole is thankful for this amazing opportunity and looks forward to maintaining such a great relationship with the LJT theatre folks.

Whitney Boerger
Choreographer
COMPANY

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Whitney is trained in jazz, musical theatre, contemporary, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, and ballet. She spent her performance career in many roles across competitive dance and musical theatre productions including: Barnum, Aida, Singing In The Rain, Spring Awakening, Pippin, and Man of La Mancha. During this time, Whitney also had the great opportunity to travel to New York City and train at the Broadway Dance Center and attend the Rockette Summer Intensive Workshop. For over 10 years, Whitney has taught and choreographed for various groups and workshops including musical theatre productions of: Hairspray, Music Man, Into The Woods, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Mamma Mia, and LJT's productions of Newsies, Lion King, Grease, Wizard of Oz, 13, and The Addams Family. Whitney is honoured to work with such a talented and inspiring group of instructors and students and is truly grateful to be a part of the LJT Family!

Caitlin Pace
Instructor : Little Stars
Juniors (Mondays)

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Caitlin Pace, a graduate of Brock University’s BA in Drama, is excited to be welcomed to the Liberty Junction team. She has been involved in theatre in Southern Ontario for many years now and is looking forward to diving into more theatre education. Caitlin has had the opportunity to work with Lauren and the Shakespearience Group on the recent virtual staged reading of The Taming of the Shrew. She had the chance to play with the character of Petruchio and the gender roles in the play, which was a lot of fun. She also has enjoyed joining a woman’s choir to hone her skills singing with a group. Some past roles that Caitlin has performed include Scuttle in The Little Mermaid, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Albertine at 30 in Albertine in Five Times, and Constance Ledbelly in Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet. She loves to have different opportunities in theatre from musicals to comedy to Shakespeare. Caitlin also had the opportunity at Brock University to help teach students about drama literature, directing, and performance. She is a jill-of-all-trades in the theatre world and has had a love of theatre for as long as she can remember. She is thrilled to be teaching kids to tap into their love of theatre as well at Liberty Junction!

Liam Bannen
Instructor : Juniors (Wednesdays)

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Liam graduated Cawthra Park secondary school, where he was a vocal major for 2 years. He has a dance background as well as music theatre.....fun fact...he has performed in over 7 liberty Junction Productions, and is currently Uncle Fester in THE ADDAMS FAMILY. He is a dedicated camp counsellor, putting on the musical GREASE with his campers! Liam teaches Drama for the City of Toronto parks and recreation. Liam currently attends Humber College working on Child and Youth Counselling. He plans to use his theatre background to help children reach their potential in life. He is proud and excited to become part of the Liberty Junction teaching team!

Alma Sarai
Instructor : Intermediates (Mondays)

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Alma is an artist and arts advocate from Burlington, ON. and a recent graduate from the Theatre and Drama Studies program at the University of Toronto Mississauga joint program with Sheridan college. With roots in Hamilton, Alma has sung with the Hamilton Children's Choir, performed and taught at Theatre Aquarius' various programmes, and danced since the tender age of 3. She is currently an Actor and Associate Producer with Tottering Biped Theatre, an Actor with 'It's a Mystery to Me,' and recently appeared on 'The Forgotten' an Investigation Discovery special. Alma also works with various other local education programmes, helping to promote youth education and development through the arts. Alma is looking forward to teaching with Liberty Junction this September with even more youth since it keeps her looking as young as she does!

Dustin Block
Instructor : Intermediates (Thursdays)

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Dustin Block is an Ontario Certified Teacher specializing in Drama and Mathematics, and is certified to teach IB Theatre as well. He began stage work in programs just like these, and attended the Regional Arts Program for Drama in highschool. Born and raised in Mississauga, he has been lucky enough to travel for work as far as Nunavut and China, continuing his learning all along his journey. His most recent theatre experience was in a community theatre festival in China where he performed in originally written 1 act plays. Dustin is very excited to be working alongside the LJT team to help create a weekly theatre program, and to help develop the next generation of actors!

Fall Programming 2020 Begins

Welcome to Liberty Junction!