CREATIVE TEAM BIOS for The Seat Next to the King
Brandon Goncalves, LIGHTING DESIGNER
Brandon Goncalves is a lighting designer and a graduate of York University - Glendon College where he completed a Specialized Honours BA in Drama Studies. He is thrilled be part of this production of The Seat Next To The King, after designing both the Toronto Fringe run and the original production at The Theatre Centre in Toronto. Other lighting credits include: Jillian Jiggs, The Princess Knight, and A Number (Solar Stage), Spring Awakening, The Breakfast Club, and Heathers the Musical (Lionheart Productions), and Électro Bing Bang (Le Groupe Théâtre Novo).
Conor Ling, PERFORMER (“Walter Jenkins”)
Conor is beyond thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful production for the third week time! Working with this team is a privilege and a joy, and he is excited to come to new audiences. Originally from the U.K., Conor grew up in Toronto before moving to New York, where he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Select credits include: Sense & Sensibility and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Amicus Productions), A Rose Upon the Blood (Red Sandcastle Theatre), The Fox on the Fairway (The Village Players), 20/20 and You're Trying My Patience (lnspiraTO Festival). NYC Credits include: R+J: An Uncivil Tale (Rebel Theatre), Dancing at Lughnasa (Mary MacArthur Theatre) and Fifth of July (Lester Martin Theatre).
Kwaku Okyere, PERFORMER (“Bayard Rustin”)
Kwaku is a Ghanaian-Canadian multidisciplinary theatre artist. Most notably, he was named an Artist to Watch in NOW Magazine’s 2017 Fall Stage Preview, and received the MyTheatre Critics’ Pick Award for Outstanding Actor in a Small Production for originating the role of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin in Steven Elliot Jackson’s now published award-winning play, The Seat Next to the King. In spring 2019, Kwaku performed in the Buddies-Pandemic co-production Shove It Down My Throat, a new play written by Johnnie Walker, as well as assistant directed The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney at Soulpepper Theatre, for which director Mumbi Tindyebwa-Out recently received the Toronto Critics Award for Best Director. Kwaku thanks both his Black and Queer ancestors for having the opportunity to tell this story, and as always, he dedicates this performance to his mother.
Steven Elliott Jackson, PLAYWRIGHT
Steven is an award-winning playwright and Artistic Director of Minmar Gaslight Productions. His play, The Seat Next To The King won Best New Play and Patron's Pick at The Toronto Fringe in 2017. The Seat Next To The King was published by Scirocco Press in April 2018. Playwriting credits include: Brothers And Arms (Toronto Fringe), The Dark Part Of The Snow (Yankton, SD), Real Life Superhero (Winchester Street Theatre), The State Of Tennessee (Theatre Passe Muraille - 2nd place, Toronto Fringe New Play contest - 2007), Rapunzel (adaptation from Geri Gans, Toronto Fringe), Threesome: An Evening Of One Acts (Red Sandcastle Theatre), Point And Click (Gay Play Day 2018). He has three new plays premiering this year, Statue Of Limitations (Kingston Fringe Festival), The Leaves Beneath The Trees (Newmarket National Ten Minute Play Festival) and The Interview (The Toronto Queer Theatre Festival).
Tanisha Taitt, DIRECTOR
A director/actor/playwright, teacher, singer-songwriter, activist and accidental essayist, Tanisha is a theatre artist and anti-oppression educator who has worked with companies including Obsidian, Buddies In Bad Times, The Theatre Centre, Paprika Festival, Musical Stage, NAC, Nightwood Theatre, and Soulpepper Theatre. She is Program Director for the Toronto Fringe Festival's TENT (Theatre Entrepreneurship, Networking & Training) program, a Resident Artist Educator at Young People's Theatre, and an audiobook director for Penguin Random House Publishing. Tanisha has been nominated as a director for the Pauline McGibbon Award for Unique Talents, and is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award & Scholarship. She was chosen as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Canadian Theatre Educators Conference, and is a faculty member of George Brown Theatre School where she teaches 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study. Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.
Tara Mohan, PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER
Tara is a professional Stage Manager who enjoys working on theatre, dance, musicals, and everything in between. She has had the pleasure of working with such companies as Why Not Theatre, Quote Unquote Collective, Luminato, Hart House Theatre, and Toronto Dance Theatre. Tara is overjoyed to be working with this incredible team once again. Favourite credits include: SKIN (inDANCE), No Woman’s Land (Jaberi Dance Theatre), Million Dollar Quartet (The LOT), Older & Reckless (Moonhorse Dance Theatre), Now You See Her (Quote Unquote Collective), Le Grand Continental (Luminato), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hart House Theatre), NOISY (Toronto Dance Theatre), Butcher (Why Not Theatre), Oraltorio: A Theatrical MiXtape (MotionLive/IFT Theatre).