Get to Know Us!

Executive Team!

pia kleber

Dr. Pia Kleber (Program Director)

Professor Pia Kleber is the Director of the University College Summer Drama for International Students. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in Drama and Comparative Literature. Currently she is exploring interdisciplinary approaches to employing the use of technology and A.I. in theatrical performance.

Laurie Maher (Program Coordinator)

Laurie Maher (she/her) earned a degree in fashion from Toronto Metropolitan University and went on to become Global Experience Designer for MAC Cosmetics (Estee Lauder), working with actors, dancers and in-house design teams, traveling globally to liaise with artists and to produce videos. She acted in and provided character development and wardrobe design for the National Film Board’s Madame Tutli Putli, an animated short nominated for an Academy Award and winner of Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival. She has also worked as a scenic painter and a wardrobe pattern cutter for theatre and film.

Alberto Ramzi (Program Support)

Alberto Ramzi (he/him) is a dedicated advocate for youth empowerment and professional development, bringing over five years of experience in community engagement and mentorship. His passion for nurturing talent and fostering growth stems from his extensive involvement with various youth organizations and educational programs. With a background in Human Resources and a strong commitment to youth development, Alberto has worked closely with students from diverse backgrounds, guiding them through career exploration, interview preparation, and resume building. He believes in the power of mentorship to unlock the full potential of young individuals and is committed to providing them with the support and guidance they need to succeed. Alberto’s journey in empowering youth began during his undergraduate years, where he actively volunteered with local non-profit organizations focused on education and youth empowerment. Over the years, he has honed his skills in communication, leadership, and mentorship, shaping meaningful experiences for countless students. Currently based in Toronto, Alberto continues his mission as a full-time advocate for youth development and education. He remains actively engaged in community initiatives and mentorship programs, striving to create opportunities for young people to thrive and excel in their personal and professional endeavours. Alberto looks forward to connecting with students and fellow advocates, fostering a culture of empowerment, growth, and excellence in the community.

Program Instructors!

Diego Matamoros (Acting)

Diego Matamoros is a Canadian actor who has performed in theatre, television, film, radio, and voice animation, both across Canada and in the United States. In 1998, he won a Gemini award for his performance as Dr. Goldman in CBC Television’s miniseries The Sleep Room. Other film credits include: “Montreal Vu Par” directed by Denis Arcand (1990) and the film adaptation of Anne Michael’s award-winning novel Fugitive Pieces directed by Jeremy Podeswa (2007). In 1998 he co-founded the Soulpepper Theatre Company with 11 other actors and has, since then, appeared in every season with the company, with more than 70 roles over 22 seasons. In 2006, he cofounded and taught Soulpepper’s advanced actors’ year-round training program: The Soulpepper Academy. He has taught and directed at the National Theatre School of Canada, Ryerson University, George Brown Theatre School, and the University of Toronto. He has received the Dora Mavor Moore Award multiple times for his stage performances, which include The Fool in “King
Lear” (2006), Clov in “Endgame” (1999 and 2015), the title role in “Uncle Vanya” (2000, 2001, and 2008), George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (2014), and Roy Cohn in “Angels in America” (2013 and 2014). He also co-created and performed two original works for the company: “The Aleph” (2012) and “Cage”(2017), which was also performed as part of Soulpepper’s summer residency at the Signature Theatre, 55th Street, in New York City. He is also known for
voicing Cluny the Scourge and Badrang the Tyrant in Redwall.

Robyn Stevan (Acting)

Robyn Stevan has worked as a professional actor locally, nationally, and internationally in theatre, film, and television. She is a founding member of Soulpepper Theatre Company. Robyn also has a Bachelor of Education, Honours, from York University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in English and Art History. Currently, she teaches at the Toronto Waldorf School as head of the Drama Department, as well as teaches English, History, and Drama in Middle school and High school. She is a recipient of a Genie Award, as well as a nominee of both a Gemini Award and a Dora award.

David Rokeby (BMO Lab Director)

David Rokeby’s early work Very Nervous System (1982-1991) was a pioneering work of interactive art, translating physical gestures into real-time interactive sound environments. It was presented at the Venice Biennale in 1986.
Several of his works have addressed issues of digital surveillance, including Taken, and Sorting Daemon. Works such as The Giver of Names and n-cha(n)t critically examination of the differences between human and artificial intelligence.
He has exhibited and lectured extensively in the Americas, Europe and Asia. His awards include a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, a Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art, and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts “BAFTA” award in Interactive Art.
He is the Director of the BMO Lab for Creative Research in the Arts, Performance, Emerging Technologies and AI at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.

Cameron Tinklenberg (Digital Media and Sound Design)

Cameron Tinklenberg is an award-winning pianist, producer, and educator with over 12 years of experience across North America. Trained in composition, production and performance, his teaching reflects his keen understanding of music creation’s multiple facets. He has shared the stage with prominent artists such as Herman Burnley, Delfaeyo Marsalis and Joe Chambers, and opened for Grammy-nominated artists including Lupe Fiasco, Ceelo Green, and Nappy Roots.

Cameron built his teaching experience at one of the top jazz programs in the USA, UNC Wilmington, and has gone on to teach at top private music schools in Toronto. His experience has instilled a strong belief that unleashing full creative potential requires a deep-rooted foundational understanding, and he aims to build that with each of his students. He currently resides in Toronto as a full-time performing artist and educator, having recently performed at the 2022 Toronto Jazz Fest, Winnipeg Jazz Fest, and Ottawa Blues Fest.

Zakriya Bashir-Hill (Digital Media and Sound Design)

Zakriya Bashir-Hill (he/him) is an Audio Engineer, Producer, and Arranger based out of Toronto, ON. Having grown up in the musical theatre scene of the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s garnered an appreciation for a variety of musical styles and idioms. A current master’s student of Music Technology and Digital Media at the University of Toronto, he completed his undergraduate studies in Contemporary Writing and Production at Berklee College of Music.

Dr. Art Babayants (Embodied English Creator)

Art Babayants/Արտ Բաբայանց is a multilingual artist-scholar who lives and works in what is now called Canada. Art’s directing credits include musicals, contemporary Canadian drama, opera, and collectively devised performances. He holds a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto and publishes on the issues of stage multilingualism, diasporic/immigrant theatre, queer dramaturgy, applied theatre and contemporary musical theatre. Art has also co-edited Theatre and Learning (2015) and the special issue of Theatre Research in Canada/Les recherches théâtrales au Canada (Fall 2017) dedicated to multilingual theatre in Canada. In 2012, Art created Embodied English, an innovative course combining language learning, pronunciation training and acting. The course is now offered every summer through the University of Toronto.

Peter Freund (Production)

Peter Freund has had the good fortunate to be involved in the development, creation, and presentation of theatre for over 45 years. His work is primarily backstage as a stage manager, lighting designer, technical director, and production manager. In 1989 Peter joined the UCDP at the University of Toronto as its technical director and production instructor. Since then he has taught, mentored and built friendships with several hundred students. To see so many of his former students become innovative leaders and exciting theatre artists continues to give him immense joy. Peter is looking forward to teaching and learning with the students of the UC Summer Drama program.