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Opera Speaks

Opera Speaks - Vancouver Opera

Opera Speaks: Creative Adaptation 

Date: Apr 22, 2022 at 7:30pm 

Cost: Free

Location: Martha Lou Henley Rehearsal Hall at Vancouver Opera, 1945 McLean Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 3J6

Length: 90 mins 

Opera Speaks is back in person! Join Vancouver Opera for a free panel discussion on the ways we can creatively adapt pre-existing works into other types of art, crossing genres, mediums and beyond.  Thoughts on the challenges, joys, discoveries, ethics, possibilities and more will be offered by a diverse group of some of Vancouver’s finest writers, thinkers, and artists. 

Moderated by Dave Devau (Zee Zee Theatre) 

Confirmed Panelists: 

Idan Cohen (Ne. Sans Opera and Dance) 

Howard Dai  (rice &beans theatre) 

Christine Quintana (Delinquent Theatre) 

Adrianne Wurz (Vancouver Opera) 

Heather Pawsey (Astrolabe Musik Theatre) 

JD Derbyshire (writer)


Idan Cohen

Idan Cohen is an opera director and choreographer. He holds a BA in Choreography from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and an MA in Dance-Choreography. He was born and raised in Israel, Kibbutz Mizra. The socialist community of the Kibbutz had a deep affect on his artistic life and work.

Idan was trained as a classical piano player and was awarded scholarship programs and grants for international master workshops from the age of 8. He went on to receive a scholarship to study theater and fine arts at the Art Colony in Israel’s Negev desert and graduated with honors.

Cohen danced for 7 seasons with the world-renowned K.C.D.C (Founder Yehudit Arnon, Artistic Director Rami Beer). Since 2005, he’s been creating, performing and teaching successfully as an international award-winning director and dance artist.

Idan is represented by Momentum Artists based in NYC, and is a member of the Israeli Choreographers Association and of The Dance Centre based in Vancouver, Canada.


Howard Dai

Howard Dai is a Taiwanese actor, writer, and theatre artist.  Recent co-creation/performance credits include: Passenger Seat (Library Performance Co.); 蝦仔 Little Shrimp (Carousel Theatre); Collider (Single Thread Theatre); and New Societies (re:current theatre). He is currently writing a new play 菠蘿麵包Pineapple Bun that explores nostalgia and diasporic guilt, supported by rice & beans theatre, and by PuSh Festival and Royal Court Theatre as their 2022 digital-artist-in-residence. Howard is being mentored by Charles Douglas in movement and performance capture throughout 2022 with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Howard works on the unceded land belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skxwú7mesh, and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ Nations. He is currently an Associate Artist with rice & beans theatre, and is a graduate of SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts.


Christine Quintana

Born in Los Angeles to a Mexican-American father and a Dutch-British-Canadian mother, Christine is now a grateful visitor to the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people. Christine is an actor, playwright, and co-Artistic Producer of Delinquent Theatre. In these various capacities, she has worked with Tarragon Theatre, the Arts Club Theatre Company, Bard on the Beach, The Cultch, Neworld Theatre, Electric Company Theatre, Rumble Theatre, Boca Del Lupo, Zee Zee Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Pi Theatre, Gateway Theatre, Nightswimming Theatre, Belfry Theatre, Stratford Festival, and Young People’s Theatre. Her writing has been translated and performed in Spanish, French, ASL, and German.


Adrianne Wurz


Heather Pawsey

Known for her creation of roles in new Canadian operas—Farshid Samandari’s Kayoi Komachi / Komachi Visited (Tomoe Arts); Neil Weisensel’s Stickboy (Vancouver Opera); Rita Ueda’s One Thousand White Paper Cranes for Japan (Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra; Prague Modern Orchestra, Czech Republic; UA Ensemble, Amsterdam, Netherlands; West Coast International New Music Festival, Fukuoka, Japan); Barbara Pentland’s The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk (Susan Allison; Astrolabe Musik Theatre/Turning Point Ensemble); and Leslie Uyeda’s Your Breath My Breath: Dialogue for a Mother and Daughter (Saskatchewn Festival of Words)—Heather is the producer and featured performer in the soon-to-be-released full-length opera documentary The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk, the first and only Canadian opera to be made into a feature film.

As a soloist she has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble (Vancouver, BC), Aventa Ensemble (Victoria, BC), Vancouver Island Symphony (Nanaimo, BC), Land’s End Ensemble (Calgary, AB), Emily Carr String Quartet (Victoria, BC), Music on Main (Vancouver, BC), Sonic Boom Festival (Vancouver, BC), Indian Summer Music Festival (Burnaby, BC), The Little Chamber Music Series That Could (Vancouver, BC), Music in the Morning (Vancouver, BC), Golden Apple Theatre (Regina, SK), and CBC Radio, among others, and was Guest Artist at Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax, NS). Born and raised in Saskatchewan, she performed a solo recital in honour of the province’s centenary for the Lieutenant-Governor at Government House, Regina.

In addition to her busy performing career, Heather is the Founding Artistic Director and General Manager of Astrolabe Musik Theatre.


JD Derybshire

JD is a writer, comedian, mad activist, performer, playwright, theatre maker, director, inclusive educator and innovator. JD’s work involves solo shows, community and artist collaboration, traditional writing, experimental storytelling, audio, digital interactions, event creation, participatory experiences, co-design and stand-up comedy. 

Select Plays;Certified,Touchstone Theatre (Vancouver), Then comes Now with Adrienne Wong, Dog of my Understanding, Neworld Theatre and The Frank Theatre (Vancouver) Audition of an Embarrassed Woman, Solo Collective Theatre(Vancouver)Turkey in the Woods, Buddies in Bad Times (Toronto), Ingenious Speculations with Rita Bozi and Kim Selody, The Belfry (Victoria), The Opposite of Everything is True, The Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa), Under the Big Top,Quest Theatre (Calgary).Festival Productions; Certified/FoldA Digital Arts Festival (Kingston), Stood/PUSH, A Modern Woman’s Guide to Female Impersonation/Women in View, (Vancouver) Gloom/ Summerworks (Toronto) All in/Queer Arts Festival (Vancouver) Joke you/People’s Comedy Festival (Toronto)and Funny in the Head/ Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. In 2017 JD participated in the Banff Centre Playwright’s Lab and the Playwright’s Unit at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary with co-creator Adrienne Wong. JD is the founder of POD, a citizen design lab in Vancouver.