About Us

The Nextfest Arts Company is made up of hundreds of young and emerging artists from a wide variety of disciplines, banding together to present Edmonton’s most unique annual multi-disciplinary arts festival: Nextfest. Founded in 1996 by Bradley Moss, Nextfest is a common ground for the next generation of creators and producers. The future is theirs!

Nextfest shepherds the development of emerging artists. It is curated on the basis of providing development opportunities for emerging professional artists to hone their craft, gain experience, make contacts, and step forward as the future of professional arts. In doing so, we instill in the emerging generation an appreciation for the importance of mentorship. There are many ways in which artistic entities, products, and relationship have grown out of Nextfest, and there are numerous examples of new works of theatre and dance, that may have never made it to the stage, and ongoing artist collaborations that may have never come to be, without the existence of Nextfest.

Nextfest marks the beginning of a long creative journey for a huge array of artists. For more than twenty years, we have fostered the growth and learning of thousands of artists who continue to practice and create on Treaty 6 land. We embody the spirit of newness and growth while respecting the deep roots planted by those who came before us. We are a platform for emerging artists, a meeting ground for community, a springboard for creative invention. Mentorship, inclusion, learning, creative risk, and vulnerability are at the core of everything we stand for.

HISTORY OF NEXTFEST
Nextfest was created out of the need to support the voice of the emerging professional artist, a place where the young artist was nurtured. Like any occupation, you cannot get opportunities until you get the experience, a twenty-something loop that is hard to break. Nextfest is a multidisciplinary festival where artists from different fields develop relationships, a meeting place to exchange ideas and grow. What we did not realize is that what Nextfest is truly doing is building our artistic community.

In 1996, Bradley Moss created the festival and it was launched with over 100 artists and six days of events, and we knew immediately we had something special. Bradley Moss was the festival director from 1996 thru 1998, with Glenda Sterling becoming the new festival director in 1999 and 2000. During Glenda’s time, Nextfest published its first anthology of plays. In 2001, Steve Pirot became the Festival Director and he expanded the festival from 6 days to 11 days. Festival Director from 2001 thru 2016, Steve published a second anthology of new plays and brought many new initiatives to Nextfest. Our garden grew under Steve Pirot so much that we created a new Festival Manager position and brought Murray Utas aboard in 2008. Together they pushed the festival to serve over 500 emerging artists on a yearly basis that we maintain today. In 2014 Maggie Barton Baird became the new Festival Manager and with Steve, they helped Nextfest evolve and grow, and they had the difficult task of creating a festival without its home venue, as the Roxy Theatre was lost to a fire in 2015. In 2016, Steve Pirot stepped aside and Ellen Chorley became the Festival Director.

In 2020, after Nextfest’s first online version of the festival, Maggie Barton Baird announced that she was to transition out of this role to create room for new energy and perspective while staying on to offer mentorship to the next Festival Producer. Simone A. Medina Polo held the role of Festival Producer from 2020 to 2022.

Today, the Nextfest team are working together as leaders of Edmonton’s “Art of a Generation, where new stories, new music, and new emerging voices are celebrated.

Nextfest Staff

Festival Director: Ellen Chorley

Festival Operations Manager: Kena León

Marketing & Communications Manager, Artist Liaison: Shyanne Duquette and Ren Pilkington

Production Manager: Brian Maxwell

EAPP Assistant Producers: Angie Bustos and Amelia Chan

Emerging Assistant Producer Program Participants: Jameela McNeil, Katelyn Cabalo, Amelia Chan, Jordan Rayne, Angie Bustos, and Janel Lope

Technicians: Ashley Carter, Jadey Capaldo, Nico Hein, Ethan Stevens, Will Chichak, Olivia Bjornson, Amelia Chan, Morgan Conrad

Green Room Supervisor: Terry Knickle

Mural Facilitator and Mentor: Steven Teeuwsen

Mural Artist: Madeline LeBlanc

Nextfest Curators

Dance Curator: Samantha Ketsa, Good Women Dance Collective

Dance Curation Mentor: Becky Sadowski, Good Women Dance Collective

Digital Theatre Curator: Ellen Chorley 

DJ Curator: Kena León

Film Curator: Alyx Bui

Film Curation Mentor: Katie Cutting

High School Curator: Jennifer Peebles

Music Curator: Cassia Hardy

Theatre Curator: Ellen Chorley

Visual Art Curator: Shawnee Danielle

Nite Club Curators: Jameela McNeil, Katelyn Cabalo, Amelia Chan, Jordan Rayne, Angie Bustos, Janel Lope, Leigh Humphrey, Gemma Nye, Eggs Goblin, Madi May

Mentors

High School Mentors: Linette Smith, Terry Knickle, Alyssa Marres, Ellen Chorley, Jessica Heine, Amanda Samuelson, and Jennifer Peebles

Meet Me At The Riverside Mentor: Shyanne Duquette

Theatre Talk Back Facilitator: Hayley Moorhouse 

Visuals & Multimedia

Festival Image: Olivia Cai

Festival Photographer: Jennifer Galm

Graphic Designer: Yu-Chen Tseng

Nextfest Board Members

Bradley Moss

Mike Kennard 

Andy Laskiwsky

Kevin Henricks 

Murray Utas

Lora Brovold

Ken Williams

Ash Howard-Morison

Theatre Network Staff

Artistic Director: Bradley Moss 

TN Summer Academy Director & Nextfest Festival Director: Ellen Chorley 

Curator & Director, Visual Arts Programs: Jared Tabler

Managing Director: Harley Howard-Morison 

Director of Production & Facility: Brian Maxwell 

Business Development Director: Jill Roszell 

Operations Manager: Nelly Song

Bookkeeper: Stephanie Keirstead

Communications Manager: Crystal Eyo 

@ROXY124STREET social media: Ellie Heath

Head Technician:Ashley Carter 

Art Gallery Technician: Will Chichak

Arts Administrator: Asia Weinkauf-Bowman

Events Assistant: Jordyn Scharle

Front of House Leads: Asia Weinkauf-Bowman, Candice Stollery, Even Gilchrist, Kate Couture

Front of House:  Aidan Laudersmith, Aran Wilson-McAnally, Brooke Fersovitch, Curtis Gautier, Giulia Romano, Lily Davies, Neon, Sheena O’Connor

THEATRE NETWORK BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

President & Chair of the Board:  Jared Tabler 

Vice President: Marianne Stewart 

Treasurer: Lenka Stuchlik 

Secretary: Greg Zinter 

Board Members: Roger Thomson, Jody Peck, Briana Miller

THEATRE NETWORK AND NEXTFEST VOLUNTEERS 

Ann McCluskey, Ash Howard-Morison, Bob Morter, Charlotte Thompson, Chris Pederson, Christine Leach, Dana Mauer, Darlene Elias, Dave Couture, Elva Rice, Emily Nunes, Gail Kelly, Gloria Carr, Hitomi Suzuta, Ingrid Pederson, Jacquie Skeffington, James Smibert, Joan Damkjar, John Brisson, Judy Collister, Judy Stelck, Kate Hobin, Kathy Owens, Katie Kupchenko, Kendall Saunders, Leland Stelck, Linda Smibert, Louise Mallory, Maria Basaraba, Marie Fontaine, Melinda Coetzee, Meredith Black, Nicole Bouclin-Graves, Patrick Houston, Pierrette Buchanan, Priyanna Nair, Rhonda Jessen, Rita Klasson, Sarah Yue, Sari Haas, Sasha Petrechenko, Shannon Joyes, Sue Quon, Sue Sohnle, Susan May, Tetsuya Michael, Theresa Agnew, Veronica Keuchel, Walter Kehl