Heidi Stepanek – Owner/Artistic Director
Heidi began her career pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Queen’s University with piano as her major instrument and ethnomusicology as her subject major. While at Queen’s, she also completed a year abroad at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland, where she continued her studies in both music and theatre. She then went on to post-graduate study at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she received her Master of Arts degree in Folklore and Folk Music. Heidi spent two years in a PhD program in Ethnomusicology and Musicology at York University in Toronto, before deciding to pursue her career in business full-time.
Heidi has worked in various capacities both in amateur and professional theatre. Her most prominent position was as stage manager with the Canadian Opera Company at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has also worked with numerous theatre companies and musical groups across Canada and in Scotland, including Newfoundland Musical Theatre, the Royal Scottish Academy Opera Company, Queen’s Wind and Choral Ensembles, The Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Vanier College Players at York University, and the Perth Community Choir. Her capacities in these groups have ranged between artistic and management, including roles as an actor, director, conductor, musician, technician, stage manager, and producer. She is intimately familiar with virtually all aspects of musical and theatrical production, which she has put to use in the companies that she has founded: the “Fountain of Youth Troupe,” a traveling theatre performance group for school-age children, the “Perth Academy of Musical Theatre,” a training centre for youths, and “Orion Theatre Company” (co-founded with her husband, Peter Dixon), an amateur adult performance company.
Heidi is also a registered music teacher with ORMTA.
Catherine LaPrairie – Acting Director
Catherine LaPrairie is a graduate of at All Saints High School, and of the competitive program at Allegro Danceworks. She has performed in numerous theatrical productions around Canada and the United States, most recently in The 39 Steps and Juvie as a member of her school’s drama guild, as well as including One Song Glory (The Musical Stage Company), The Foundations of Freedom (Stratford Shakespeare School), West Side Story, Into the Woods, The Pirates of Penzance (The Academy for Musical Theatre), The Nutcracker (The Washington Ballet) and many others. Having spent many years at The Academy, both as a student and a volunteer, Catherine is thrilled to spend her first summer as a full-time staff member, and is looking forward to watching new students fall in love with musical theatre the same way she did. She plans to attend university this fall.
Alyssa Fluit – Musical Director
Alyssa has been attending the Academy since grade 3, with her first production being “High School Musical”. Ever since then, she has had the pleasure of being in many different shows including “Glee”, “Academy Idol”, and The Who’s “Tommy”. While she enjoys everything, the theatre has to offer, Alyssa’s main focus has always been music. With Heidi as her teacher, Alyssa had the opportunity to take vocal lessons throughout high school eventually working to achieve Level 8 Royal Conservatory and her Advanced Rudiments theory.
Alyssa is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is so excited to be studying a topic that has become a big part of her life over the years and hopes to continue working in musical theatre throughout her career.
Most of all, Alyssa is so excited to be spending her third summer as a staff member and can’t wait to spend an amazing two months teaching people who have also fallen in love with the Academy for Musical Theatre.
Wren Puckett has been dancing since she was three years old, training in a variety of styles and disciplines. Wren has been teaching dance classes and choreographing pieces at Arts in Motion Perth School of Dance since she was thirteen and enjoys watching students learn and grow. Wren attends McMaster University where she studies Honours Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour with a minor in Anthropology. She continues to pursue her passion for dance and enjoys sharing this passion with others. This is her fifth year with the Academy of Musical Theatre. She immensely enjoyed working with all of the students and staff and is very excited to be returning for another summer taking on new challenges and making more memories!
Lauren Jones – Technical Director
Lauren has always felt The Academy to be a place where magic was created.
Lauren is entering her second and final year at Humber College for Theatre Arts – Technical Production. In this program Lauren learns all about the magic behind the scenes of theatre such as wardrobe, scenic paint, props, puppetry and even more. She always believed that she was meant to be a part of a creative team like The Academy. This is her fourth season as a staff member at The Academy but has been participating in workshops since the age of eight.
“Every day I learn from our students and I always have new ideas and new dreams for our shows. It’s the best feeling ever”
Liam Gosson, Costumes Manager
Liam is returning for his second summer with us. He is a graduate of the Algonquin College Theatre Arts program. Design credits include Mambo Italiano (hair and makeup design, costume assistant), Tough (co-costumer with designer, Amanda Logan). Other crew credits include Into the Woods (Orion Theatre Company) and Frankenstein (Algonquin College). For two years in a row, he has been a counselor for Ottawa Little Theatre March break camps. Also a performer, past roles have included Perchik (Fiddler on The Roof), Herod (Jesus Christ Superstar), Charlie Cowell (The Music Man) for Suzart Productions, and Leaf Coneybear (Spelling Bee) for Suzart After Dark.
Donna is an Enthusiastic, Energetic, Engaging, and Excited Entertainer, Educator, Manager, Leader, and Artist. She runs a company called Sunny Shenanigans which entertains and educates children and adults through variety shows and different styles of workshops using puppets and masks. She has worked with a variety of theatre companies doing costumes, props, stage management and acting. She loves to teach and create new things and enjoys opportunities to enhance and improve her skills and share her knowledge with others.