the frank staff

Fay Nass | Artistic Director
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Fay Nass is a queer theatre-maker, director, writer, curator, producer, educator, scholar, innovator and tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion. Her practice is dedicated to creating artful, truthful interpretations of gender, race, diaspora and cultural identity.  

Fay’s work has been presented locally, nationally and internationally.

In 2017 Fay worked with The Frank Theatre as a consultant and curated the intersecting conference in Toronto with the POC artists who were involved with the 2016 Q2Q symposium. She also directed and presented Kill Your Lovers at Rhubarb Festival in Toronto as well as Fresh Fruit Festival in New York, and her play Unveiled was presented at Shift Festival in Vancouver and SummerWorks Festival in Toronto. She is currently the artist in residence at Neworld theatre.

Fay’s theatre journey began as a child in Iran, at age ten to be exact. Having grown up in a family involved in Persian and French art and theatre, her introduction to performance came early, as did her love for it. After moving to Vancouver in 2000, she started her academic theatre training at University of Victoria, obtaining a degree in theatre directing as well as film studies.

After a few years of directing text-based, established plays, she began to see the lack of published plays written by marginalized voices. This is when she decided to focus on creating spaces for liminal stories, by working to change both the content of stories and the forms of storytelling we use to tell them.

During her Masters studies at SFU, Fay focused on the devised process, combining her passion for dance and cinema with theories of phenomenology. Her Masters thesis project, Aphotic Dream, and her final thesis “The Visibility of the Invisible:Toward a Phenomenology of Darkness in the Theatre”, represents untold experiences of danger and extreme vulnerability contained in transculturalism and immigration by using synesthetic effects. Spoiler alert: much of the play takes place in darkness.

Fay Nass is thrilled to be the Artistic Director of The Frank Company and to continue creating exciting, thought-provoking work. Fay Nass is also the founder and Artistic Director of Aphotic Theatre, a company focused on innovating ways of telling women’s stories, written by women, through performance.

Jan Derbyshire | Artistic Associate
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Jan Derbyshire is a performer, playwright, theatre maker, director, teacher, and comedian. Her work involves solo performance, community and artist collaboration, traditional playwriting, experimental storytelling, video, words on paper, event creation, and stand-up comedy. A prolific writer, Jan’s other plays include Dog of My Understanding, Audition of The Embarrassed Woman, The Opposite of Everything is True, Under The Big Top and A Modern Woman’s Guide to Female Impersonation, just to name a few. She has been Artist in Residence with The National Film Board of Canada, the Firehall Arts Centre and Montreal’s Playwright’s Centre. Currently she is an Artistic Associate with PTC (Playwright’s Theatre Centre) in Vancouver. She has performed stand-up comedy on A&E, CBC, CTV. Creation companies include Loco Motion, Squid Theatre, Myth Universe and Human Writes. Recent recipient of Remarkable Women Award 2012- The City of Vancouver.

Michael Dobbin | Artistic Associate
Pronouns: he/him/his

Michael Dobbin has been a leading professional theatre artist in Canada for more than four decades. During his nearly two decades as Producing Artistic Director at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary, he is perhaps best known for his founding of the playRites Annual Festival of New Canadian Plays (now called Enbridge PlayRites), the preeminent showcase of full-length plays for the Canadian stage for more then 25 years. He was also the Managing Director of the Vancouver Playhouse during the time that Christopher Newton was Artistic Director and he was a co-founder of the now-legendary Playhouse Acting School with the late Powys Thomas. Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops and Opera Lyra in Ottawa have also been under his management for shorter terms. He directs regularly in Hong Kong and occasionally in Singapore. He is also a teacher of voice, acting, and directing at the college/university level. Often he is seen as a live event host/compere and motivational speaker. Most recently, he directed the Jessie-nominated Unstuck for the frank.

James Fagan Tait | Artistic Associate
Pronouns: he/him/his

Actor, Writer and Director James Fagan Tait is a native of Cornwall, Ontario. He trained at Ryerson Theatre School and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he worked as an actor and director for several years. He also studied theatre at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris where he worked as an actor and director for four years. He is one of Vancouver’s busiest actors / writers / directors, creating, directing, and/or performing in shows for numerous professional and community-based companies, including Neworld Theatre, Boca del Lupo, Western Gold, the Vancouver Playhouse, Caravan Farm Theatre, Vancouver Moving Theatre, the Electric Company, Runaway Moon, Bard on the Beach and many others. As the frank‘s Playwright-in-Residence he is developing a new play called The Explanation.

Chris Gatchalian | Artistic Associate
Pronouns: he/him/his

Bio to come.

Christopher MacDonald | Telephone Campaign Manager
Pronouns: he/him/his

christopher-m-picFor the last 20 years, Christopher MacDonald has worked in the marketing and sales departments of various Vancouver arts organizations, including the Vancouver Symphony, the Vancouver Opera, the Arts Club, the Vancouver Playhouse and The Cultch. He joins the frank this season to help us with our annual giving campaign.