Meet the Curators
COREY PAYETTE | Urban Ink Artistic Director
Corey Payette has been the Artistic Director of Urban Ink since 2014. He is proud of his Oji-Cree heritage from Northern Ontario, and has worked across Canada as a playwright, actor, composer, and director. He is the Artistic Director of Urban Ink (Vancouver, BC), past Artist-in-Residence with English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, and is the founding Artistic Director of Raven Theatre (Vancouver, BC), focusing on new works by Indigenous artists. Corey has worked as an Artistic Associate with Full Circle: First Nations’ Performance and The Indigenous Cycle at the National Arts Centre, an investigation into the broad spectrum of the Indigenous body of work being created within Canada’s borders. This cycle resulted in the creation of a new department of Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre, which launched its inaugural season in 2019.
As a theatre creator, his original musical Children of God (book/music/lyrics and direction) was developed through the Collaborations in English Theatre at the National Arts Centre, Vancouver Playhouse, Firehall Arts Centre, Western Canada Theatre, Arts Club Theatre, Urban Ink, Full Circle: First Nations Performance, and Raven Theatre. Children of God had its world premiere in 2017 at The Cultch’s York Theatre, followed by tours to the Mainstage at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, Segal Centre in Montreal, and a return engagement at the York Theatre in Vancouver, followed by a tour of southern British Columbia.
His second musical Les Filles du Roi (music and direction, with co-book/lyrics with Julie McIsaac) was written in English, French, and Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) and had its world premiere in 2018 in Vancouver at the York Theatre, commissioned by Fugue Theatre and produced by Fugue and Raven Theatre, in association with Urban Ink and The Cultch. Sedna (music composition and direction, co-created with Reneltta Arluk and Marshall McMahen) had its world premiere at Caravan Farm Theatre, co-produced by Urban Ink, and will tour to Vancouver in the future. His next original musicals have been commissioned from Bard on the Beach, Musical Stage Company, and the Stratford Festival.
As a director, Children of God, Les Filles du Roi, and Sedna – other credits include: Moonlodge (Urban Ink/NAC English Theatre), associate director for A Christmas Carol (NAC English Theatre 2017 & 2018), and associate director of Indian Arm (Rumble Theatre).
Corey holds a B.F.A. in Music Composition from York University, and composed the film score to the documentary AMIN AMIR (OMNI TV). He is the past Grand Chief of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA) and past board member of Vancouver Native Health Society providing mental, physical, and spiritual relief to Aboriginal people on the DTES (Vancouver, BC).
He has two musical albums “The Music from Children of God” & “The Music from Les Filles du Roi”, both scripts have been published through Scirocco Drama, and he’s released the piano/vocal songbook to Children of God. He is the 2017 recipient of the John Hirsch Prize from the Canada Council, has won two Ovation Awards and two Jessie Awards for his writing and directing work. He is grateful to make his home on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, and he acknowledges the past and future Elders of this beautiful land.
HEATHER REDFERN | The Cultch Executive Director
Heather Redfern has been the Executive Director of The Cultch (formerly Vancouver East Cultural Centre) since 2007. She is highly regarded as a curator who programs over 20 different presentations from local, national, and international companies for The Cultch each year. Under her leadership, The Cultch’s programs have achieved growing audiences and are renowned for their diversity and risk-taking.
Before coming to The Cultch, Heather was the Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture, and the Artistic Producer for Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton. She has sat on numerous boards including the Koerner Foundation and the Edmonton Arts Council. She was the first Chair of the national Magnetic North Theatre Festival, an organization she helped to found, and was an instrumental part of the leadership team that helped to revive the festival in 2019.
Heather has been honoured with the City of Edmonton Business and the Arts Award for Excellence in Arts Management, the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award for sustained, inspired, and creative leadership in Canadian Theatre, and along with the Cultch, the 2019 Jessie, Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion award . She continues to work on innovative ways to promote Canadian artists at home and abroad.
In East Vancouver, she has overseen the $30 million refurbishment of The Cultch and was a driving force behind the restoration of the historic York Theatre. Over the past 13 seasons, Heather has built an international reputation for The Cultch through her innovative curation and impeccable leadership.