Informal Upright produces contemporary works of theatre, engaging audiences through issues of social justice while pushing the boundaries of the theatrical form.
We beleive theatre artists owe it to their audiences and to themselves to constantly push boundaries, to engage with the head as well as the heart, and to share stories and experiences that are crucial to our communities. We are playwrights, dancers, magicians, poets, lawyers, parents, actors, directors, and pedagogues.
Our communities are Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. These are the places we were born, where we went to school, and where we have created theatre. And in the time we've spent there, we have seen the KW-Toronto corridor grow and expand in industry and population.
What you will see in our programming is a commitment to bend the conventional theatrical form. To stage justice and provoke discussion in order to enact social change. We produce challenging and innovative theatre that engages artists, audiences, and communities in both Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.
In part, to enhance our cultural ecology by bridging the Toronto and Kitchener professional theatre communities. We want to bring artist voices from each city to the other and mount work in both communities. We also strive to provide professional compensation to the artists we admire while encouraging them to straddle the opportunities of both metropolitan centres.
Co-Artistic Director; Founding Member
Ciarán Myers is an award-winning playwright, multi-published poet, champion Irish dancer, and doting father. Ciarán completed his MFA in “Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media” at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2015. That year he co-produced his play Touch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (5-STARS) then saw London’s Backstage Forward run his play The Adding at the Cockpit Theatre Off West End (4-STARS). During and after his master’s studies Ciarán also saw a handful of short pieces performed including Coffee Bombs at the R.C.S.S.D., Jubilee Line as part of the Royal Court’s Grit Series, and Egon Schiele with Almost Random Theatre in Oxford and London. Between his undergraduate and master’s studies, Ciarán worked as an actor and director, co-producing his first full-length play Creation Story to sold-out houses in Waterloo. His second collection of poetry was published in Kitchener in 2013 with StoneGarden Studios. Ciarán is an alumnus of the Traverse Theatre’s Director’s Programme in Edinburgh, the Tron Theatre’s 100 Club in Glasgow, and the Stratford Festival's Playwrights Retreat here at home. Selected acting credits include Tranio in Taming of the Shrew, Woyzeck in Woyzeck, and Florina in Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest.
Co-Artistic Director; Founding Member
Sukhpreet Sangha is a lawyer and artist who hails from the former manufacturing hub that is Kitchener, Ontario. Ever a fan of Toronto, and the CN Tower in particular, she has been a local for the past several years. After studying theatre and English at the University of Waterloo, she studied law at Osgoode Hall and now questions that decision regularly. She practiced as a criminal defence lawyer in the GTA for a couple of years and remains passionate about criminal law. Sukhpreet has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, which is meaningful to some. She is currently working in public legal education at a non-profit organization dedicated to violence prevention. Sukhpreet also writes, directs, and acts. Most recently, she played the role of Mary Anne in Theatre of the Beat’s British Columbia tour of Forgiven/Forgotten (November 2016). She struggles and strives to live a life that both allows her to use her legal education to help those who are being marginalized and to find opportunities to feed her creative impulses. Happily, she attends theatre productions and other artistic events in Toronto regularly; she does not look forward to the day when she will no longer qualify for under-30 cheap tickets, which looms large.
Associate Director, Production & Dramaturgy; Founding Member
Shawn DeSouza-Coelho is a writer, theatre theorist/practitioner, game designer, and professional magician based in Toronto, Ontario. He recently completed his MA (English, Experimental Digital Media) at the University of Waterloo, exploring the intersections between narrative and the act of play in videogames. During this time, Shawn was nominated for the Beltz Essay Award and awarded the English department’s Grade Average Award. During this time, as well, he co-authored papers for Ashgate Press, The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, and University of Alberta Press. Prior to this, Shawn spent two seasons with the Stratford Festival, earning him an unsolicited Tyrone Guthrie Award. Shawn is currently editing his second book, the authorized biography of retired stage manager Nora Polley (Forthcoming 2018, ECW Press), and conducting research for his third book: 90 Days, a graphic novel about sex and pornography addiction. In his spare time, he operates a weekly poetry stand (think: lemonade stand, but for poems) in/near Trinity Bellwoods Park to raise money for the food bank.