Introducing our Thespians! The Company of Theatre Aezir!
Jeff Culbert – Actor
I never went to theatre school, but I studied physics, philosophy and environmental studies along the way, and spent a few formative years as a teacher in Lesotho, southern Africa. Some of my favourite stage roles were Archy and Mehitabel (the cockroach and cat characters created by Don Marquis), McAllister in Dear Johnny Deere (the folk musical based on the songs of Fred Eaglesmith), Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Police Chief Patrick Fitzhenry in the Boneyard Man series by Jayson McDonald. It’s great to be working with old and new friends on The Phoenix Lottery.
Jessica Pereira – Actor
I am ablaze with excitement to play a part in The Phoenix Lottery! Past theatre credits include: Exit Laughing (Elgin Theatre Guild), Pride and Prejudice (London Community Players), Anne of Green Gables (Theatre Orangeville), and Cinderella (Blackhorse Village Players). I graduated with my Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Western University in 2018, and I am passionate about supporting communication development in the community. In my spare time, I enjoy skimming celebrity memoirs, kayaking, and being very chill and normal during board-game nights. I generally avoid setting flame to any and all works of art. Thank you to Mark and family for the ongoing love and support.
Chris Bancroft – Actor
I am very happy to be returning to the boards for this hilarious and provocative piece with the wonderful group of artists that Theatre Aezir has assembled. A graduate of the University of Windsor’s School of Dramatic Art, I got my start in a galaxy far, far, away (Chatham), in what remains one of my favourite roles – Judas in Theatre Kent’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I have since had the pleasure to travel and “play” in many diverse productions at venues from Granville Island, Vancouver, to Toronto, to Kawartha Lakes, to Brantford’s Sanderson Centre, Niagara Falls for dinner theatre and beyond, and locally at the Arts Project and Port Stanley Festival Theatre. Memorable local roles include Clov in AlvegoRoot Theatre’s “Endgame”, Lou in Port Stanley’s “Bedtime Stories” and the Sheriff in Iglesias Production’s “Night of the Living Dead”. My other great artistic passion includes writing and performing original music. Two other areas of interest/cherished time wasters include my wonderful wife Karen and my inscrutable teen wonder/daughter Aurora.
Mike Semple – Actor
My theatre life began at the Grand when it was the home of London Little Theatre. It continued through six years at Western, doing every show I could while supposedly studying Philosophy and Math. Since then, I’ve worked as an actor, stage manager, designer, director and general dog’s body in shows at Passe Muraille, Tarragon, STC, Shaw, Necessary Angel, Chinook and a host of others including sadly demised companies like Open Circle, The Limelight, TWP and Phoenix. I’ll keep doing shows- it’s addictive, especially when working with artists as talented as The Phoenix Lottery’s.
Elizabeth Durand – Artistic Director, Actor
I am so happy to be producing and acting again. The early part of my career was spent singing in small opera companies in Northern California. I attended Western and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. My favourite roles would be Mimi in La Boheme, Freia in Das Rheingold, Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo and Pierre Valliere in Sixty-Seven for AlvegoRoot Theatre. Last year I eliminated my side lawn and turned it into a vegetable garden with four large galvanized steel raised beds and a topiary of a bull.