Small Matters is an ensemble of independent theatre artists helmed by Christine Lesiak. Here are some of the awesome people who often work on our projects.
Christine Lesiak – Artistic Director
Christine Lesiak is an Edmonton-based theatre artist, and co-founder of Small Matters Productions. She is co-creator/performer of Small Matters’ For Science! (2018-20), Over Her Dead Body (2017), and three red-nosed clown shows; Fools for Love (2012), Sofa So Good (2010) and Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (2008), in which she performed as Sheshells. She is writer and performer of her one-woman shows, The Object of Constellations (2016), and Ask Aggie (2013). She is the winner of the 2018 Alberta Playwright’s Network Playwriting Competition Novitiate Prize for her script, The Space Between Stars.
Christine has created and performed and directed countless short clown works. She facilitates & co-produces The Small Matters Physical Comedy Lab (ongoing). She curated and co-produced the Fool’s Gold Cabaret nights (2010-12), a performance series that provided a mentorship program for emerging theatre clown performers. She is festival director in charge of programming and mentorship for Play the Fool, Edmonton’s festival of clown theatre and physical comedy.
Christine holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Alberta where she researched the intersection of clown performance technique with site-specific theatre. She has trained extensively in the Canadian/Pochinko style of clown with Jan Henderson (Fool Moon Productions) and Michael Kennard (Mump and Smoot). She has studied with comedy and physical theatre specialists from around the world, including Aitor Basauri (Spymonkey); Deanna Fleysher (Butt Kapinski); bouffon with Adam Lazarus, Eric Davis (Red Bastard); improvisation (Rapid Fire Theatre, Keith Johnstone); immersive theatre (punchdrunk, UK); and puppetry (The Old Trout Puppet Workshop). She has taught within the Drama Department at the University of Alberta, Edmonton Digital Arts College, in public schools, and privately. She has worked extensively with Toy Guns Dance Theatre, and is a frequent collaborator with Catch the Keys Productions (Dead Centre of Town, 900 Seconds, The Runcible Riddle).
Jan Henderson – Senior Artistic Associate
Jan Henderson is one of Canada’s leading clown and mask teachers and directors. She studied and performed extensively with master teacher, Richard Pochinko, before co-founding with him what is now the Theatre Resource Centre, Toronto. From 1982-91 she was co-artistic director and performer with internationally acclaimed Small Change Theatre, literally clowning her way around the world, discovering first hand that laughter is the universal language. Jan teaches at Opera NUOVA, the Citadel Theatre Young Company, Grant McEwan University, and the University of Alberta, where she has received four awards for excellence in teaching. Her work is featured in the documentary Phyllis’s Miracle, the NFB film To Be A Clown, and the U of A films, The Art of Clowning and Clown and Mask. From 2003 to 2016 Jan taught as part of the Creativity Faculty of the Leadership Development program at the Banff Centre, and she is a recipient of Global Television’s 2005 Woman of Vision award. In 2014 she was nominated for an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, and she received the 2018 Elizabeth Haynes Stirling Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre in Edmonton. Jan directs for Girl Clown Theatre and Small Matters Productions, whose shows have toured to festivals in Western Canada, the Toronto Festival of Clowns, Le Festival des Clowns de Montreal, and the New York International Clown Theater Festival.
After a twenty-five year hiatus, in 2017 she returned to the stage in the popular Small Matters Productions comedy, Over Her Dead Body, for Edmonton’s Fringe Theatre Adventures season. Jan is the subject of a new documentary, called the The Wise Fool, directed by Geraldine Carr of Shiny Carr Productions. www.foolmoon.org
Ian Walker – Artistic Associate
Ian is originally from Yorkshire, England. He is co-creator of and performer in For Science! (2018-20). Ian is a mechanical designer who was part of a small team who redesigned and maintained the automation of the chandelier used in Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. Since relocating to Edmonton in 2015, Ian has created theatre effects, props, projection and art installations for For Science! (2018-20), Over Her Dead Body (2017, Fringe Theatre Presentation Series), Dead Centre of Town (2015-19, Catch the Keys Productions), The Object of Constellations (2016, Small Matters Productions), and The Water Project (2016, The University of Alberta). He studied clown and performance with Jan Henderson, Christine Lesiak and Jef Johnson.
Suzie Martin – Artistic Associate
Suzie has been creating, directing, and teaching theatre for over a decade. She and holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta and a BAHons in Acting from the University of Winnipeg. Suzie directs and develops new work in a variety of styles including physical comedy without words, site-specific interactive installation, workshops and premieres of new scripted plays, and collaborative devising processes. She was nominated for a Sterling Award for Outstanding Direction for Fetch and holds a teaching award from the University of Alberta.
With Small Matters: Over Her Dead Body and The Object of Constellations. Other directing work includes: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Studio Theatre); Baba Yaga (AMTC); Fetch (Interloper Theatre); Tragedy: A Tragedy (Blarney Productions); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Citadel Theatre Young Acting Company); Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi (Manitoba Underground Opera); God’s Ear (Studio Theatre); The Importance of Being Earnest, Betrayal (U of A); The Cherry Orchard (Theatre by the River & little ECHO theatre); Artichoke Heart, The Gas Heart (Theatre Outgrabe). In Edmonton, she assistant directed Shakespeare in Love (Citadel/RMTC), and Paper Song and Consent (Concrete Theatre).
Adam Keefe – Artistic Associate
Adam Keefe grew up in Athabasca, Alberta. In 2001, he relocated to Edmonton to complete a BA Drama at the University of Alberta. Adam seeks to bring the strange and fantastic to life for your enjoyment and contemplation. He is co-creator of Small Matters Productions’ Fools for Love (2012), Sofa So Good (2010) and Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (2008), in which he performs as Rocket. He is solo performer of his adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (2013/15) and original show Telephone (2016). Adam has performed at the Toronto Festival of Clowns and the New York Clown Theater Festival. He has also performed in productions of Red Noses, On The Open Road, The Importance Of Being Earnest and Half a League. Adam looks to the philosophy of clowning as inspiration for all his theatrical creation, and has trained extensively in the Canadian/Pochinko style of clown with Jan Henderson (Fool Moon Productions), Michael Kennard (Mump and Smoot), clown with Aitor Basauri (Spymonkey), and bouffon with Eric Davis (Red Bastard).