So Speaks the Land

By: Velina Hasu Houston

A group of friends who met at a summer retreat in Australia are reunited when one of them is taken into police custody in Perth and dies.  During a Sunrise Ceremony, the five friends face their deepest fears in preparation for the Sorry Business that will put their friend to rest.


All performances will have a facilitated and audio-recorded Question & Answer period immediately following the show. Audience members may choose to stay and participate in this discussion. 

List of Partners

Running Time: 60 Minutes

Performance Dates and Times:

Friday, June 14th @ 2:00 pm

Saturday, June 15th @ 2:00 pm

Photography by Damian Kelly
Dr. Peggy Shannon (Producer of Parodos; Director of Crossing Borders) is a professor of theatre and Chair of the School of Performance at Ryerson University. She has directed plays and musicals at many professional theatres across the United States including Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre Center, L.A. Theatre Works, Mixed Blood Theatre, the New Jersey, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, California and Oregon Shakespearean Festivals, the Portland Repertory Theatre, Long Beach Civic Light Opera, the International City Theatre, and the Sacramento Theatre Company. Internationally, she has worked at the Old Vic National Youth Theatre in London, and at Hydrama Theatre & Arts Centre, Delphi, Elefsina, Syngrou Theatre in Poros, and the amphitheatre in Spetses, all in Greece.
She has served as the Artistic Director of two major American theatres: A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle) and the Sacramento Theatre Company in California. She also served as the Associate Producing Director of L.A. Theatre Works where she directed and co-produced over 30 plays for National Public Radio affiliate KCRW. Shannon has been a professor and administrator at several North American universities including the University of California, Davis, where she served as professor of theatre and Associate Vice Provost, and for the past seven years at the Ryerson University where she teaches, mentors, and administrates the performance programs.

Peggy Shannon


Velina Hasu Houston is a celebrated writer with over twenty-seven commissions in theatre, musical theatre, and opera.  Her career began Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club, expanding nationwide and globally. She also has written for film and television with such producers as PBS & Columbia Pictures; and is a published poet, essayist, journalist, blogger, and novelist.  Honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, Wallace Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, and others, she founded graduate playwriting studies at the School of Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California, where she is Distinguished Professor & Director of Dramatic Writing.  A Fulbright Scholar, she was on the US Department of State's Japan-US Friendship Commission; and has served as visiting faculty at some of Japan’s leading universities. The film short she penned, Path of Dreams, has received top awards at festivals nationwide & globally. Archives: Library of Congress, Huntington Library.

Dr. Velina Hasu Houston


In 2016, Jessica graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a Bachelor in Performance Making. After working on several theatre productions in various roles, she undertook an internship at the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam during which she decided to shift her practice to focus on directing. She returned to Australia to take up a place at the WA Screen Academy, where she is currently obtaining her Masters in both directing and cinematography. With a background in physical and devised theatre, Jessica hopes to bring a new perspective to film direction and the collaborative process, and feels incredibly honored to be a part of So Speaks the Land.

Jessica Russell

Assistant Director

Director of "So Speaks the Land" Documentary

Blessing has appeared in several productions while attending the Ryerson School of Performance BFA acting program. Those of which include Julius Caesar, The Seventh Seal, and The Women. She is an avid reader and enjoys writing for theatre. After directing The Most Massive Woman Wins she debuted her first play, Do Right By Me at the Ryerson School of Performance New Voices Festival in March.
Ryerson Works: Ensemble, This is How We Live (2019); Eos, The Odyssey (2018); Olga, The Women (2018); The Witch, The Seventh Seal (2017); Sarah, Stop Kiss, Scene Study (2016); Caius Legarius, Julius Caesar (2016); Kate, Seminar, Scene Study (2016).
Other Works: Director, The Most Massive Woman Wins, Playworks Festival (2016), Cheerleader, Big Fish, Victoria School Ensemble (2015); Chorus, Willy Wonka, Victoria School Ensemble (2014); Betty, Three On A Bench, Playworks Festival (2013).

Blessing Adedijo 


Kaya Jarrett is a 21-year-old aspiring artist from Alice Springs. She identifies and is recognised as a member of both the Anmatyerr tribe from Central Australia and the Gumbayngirr tribe from the Central Coast. Coming from a family of actors, filmmakers, artists and musicians, has encouraged Kaya to be interested and passionate about the arts from a very early age. 
In 2016 she graduated from the Aboriginal Theatre course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and is currently finishing her last year of a Bachelor of Arts (Acting) degree with the same academy. Kaya is delighted to be joining the Parodos Festival for its 2019 showing of So Speaks the Land
Some her most notable roles include Masha in The Seagull (2018), Athena in Ajax in Afghanistan (2018) and the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (2019). 

Kaya-Marley Jarrett 


Pablo Ogunlesi is a Nigerian-Canadian actor who recently graduated from Ryerson School of Performance BFA Acting. Pablo lived in Nigeria and studied in Switzerland before he migrated to Canada, where he discovered his passion for performing. Pablo loves to story-tell and entertain, he recently wrote, produced and acted in Black President, a cultural and political play about Nigeria, which debuted in the Ryerson New Voices Festival. Pablo is beyond excited and extremely honoured to be apart of Parodos Festival. 

Pablo Ogunlesi 


Flora Sibley is a student at the Ryerson School of Performance.  She is currently completing her 3rd year in Performance: Production.  Her past works include: Assistant Stage Manager, WAAPA in the Park, WAAPA (2019); Assistant Technical Director, The Odyssey, Ryerson School of Performance (2018); Stage Manager, Cappies, DSBN Niagara Location (2018); Assistant Stage Manager, Choreographic Works, Ryerson School of Performance (2018); Assistant Production Manager/Front of House Supervisor, Ryerson Dances, Ryerson School of Performance (2017). 

Flora Sibley

Production Manager

Nicholas Fassbender is a Ryerson School of Performance student who will be attending his fourth year of studies in the fall.  Some of his past Ryerson works include:  Stage Manager, SPRINGWORKS (2019), Scheduling Coordinator, SPRINGWORKS (2019) Stage Manager, Clown (2018); Assistant Stage Manager, Shelter From the Rain, New Voices (2018); Box Office Supervisor, Choreographic Works (2018); Assistant Stage Manager, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (2017); Production Assistant, Choreographic Works (2017); Production Assistant, Shakespeare (2016).  Some other Toronto works that Nicholas has been involved in are: Assistant Stage Manager, Crossing Borders, Ryerson Parodos Festival (2018); Assistant Stage Manager, 291 Letters, Ryerson Parodos Festival (2018); Stage Manager, Mourning After the Night Before, New Ideas Festival (2018).

Nick Fassbender

Stage Manager

Andrew has extensive experience in directing film, television and theatre. He has directed numerous stage plays and short films including the award winning AFC funded short film, Calling Gerry Molloy. In television he has directed episodes of the series Castaway, Sleepover Club, Streetsmartz, Parallax, Something in the Air, Home and Away, Ocean Star, Snobs, Going Home, Breakers and Pacific Drive. He has also produced, directed and written documentary and magazine programs for the ABC. Andrew is a directing graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and holds two Masters degrees – one in Film and TV Directing from The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and the other in Film and Theatre Studies from the University of New South Wales. Andrew is currently the Associate Dean of Performance at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, responsible for the Acting, Music Theatre, Performing Arts, Dance and Aboriginal Performance Courses. He is also Associate Director of the WA Screen Academy. In his role as Associate Dean he manages over twenty full time staff and over forty sessional (part- time) staff. Andrew is currently a Screenwest Board Member and a member of the Australian Writers Guild Executive (WA Chapter). At the 2007 Western Australian Screen Awards Andrew won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama Directing for his work on the series, Sleepover Club.

Andrew Lewis Smith 


Michael enjoys exploring projections with an optimistic eye towards technology. He is based in his native city of Toronto and is a member of the faculty at Ryerson University’s School of Performance, where he teaches and is writing curriculum to integrate projection and digital tools into the program. His research explores in the role of new technologies in live art and storytelling through his lab, TRiPL (Technological Research in Performance Lab).


Some interesting projects:

Theatre: Crossing Borders and 291 (Parodos Festival), He Left Quietly (Toronto SummerWorks, Best Production Award), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Berkeley Repertory Theatre / Yale Repertory Theatre). Assistant design on Newsies: The First National Tour (Disney Theatrical, Designer: Daniel Brodie). Dance: Work with Grisha Coleman (echo::system), Heidi Strauss (YET) ongoing collaborations with Belinda McGuire Dance Projects, including Slaughterhouse/Requiem (Harbourfront NextSteps). Installations: On Guard and Water Closeted (Yale University Art Gallery). Film: In-camera VFX (Projection) for Nuptials (2019).


He has specialized in working with media server systems for large scale corporate events through his work with WorldStage. During his time based out of their San Francisco Lab, he worked on events across the USA and Macau for clients such as Wynn, NBC Studios, Intel, and Nokia Bell Labs.

He is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada and was an Eldon Elder fellow at the Yale School of Drama, where he received his MFA in Design.

Michael F Bergmann 

Design Consultant

Paul is thrilled to be working with the Parodos Festival as music director for the third season.  He works regularly at Ryerson University as a voice teacher and has music directed a number of their productions including a concert at Koerner Hall featuring a number of current and legendary Broadway artists.  Some recent productions of his include Four Chords and a Gun and We Will Rock You (Starvox Entertainment) as well as Mamma Mia (Nightwood Theatre). Other additional career highlights include music directing Disenchanted! (North American Tour); working as the pianist for West Side Story (World Tour); performing at Vimy Ridge for Canada’s 150th Anniversary; working on Sweet Charity, Twelve Pound Look, and Spring Awakening (The Shaw Festival) and on Anne of Green Gables, Ring of Fire and les feux follets (The Charlottetown Festival).  Paul has a degree in classical piano performance from McGill University and additional studies at Jazz at Humber College.  For more information, please visit his website at  

Paul Moody

Music Coordinator

Brian is the Program Coordinator for Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services, and an Anishnaabe from Chimnissing First Nation, on Christian Island, ON.  As Program Coordinator for Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services, Brian is part of a team of people who share his belief of being life-long advocates for higher learning.  Working with his colleagues at RASS, they strive to deliver services that are essential for the success of the indigenous students at Ryerson.


For more than a decade, Brian has been actively involved with the Toronto First Nations community, having worked for other non-profit aboriginal organizations.  Brian’s experience in the not for profit sector is rooted in administrative and project management, complimenting his technical and hands on skill set. His academic credits include a BES Honours in Environmental Studies at York University; and a background in Mechanical Engineering. Some of Brian’s volunteer work has been with the ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival; the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, and Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, where he is a current board member.

Brian Norton 

Aboriginal Student Services Program Coordinator

My name is Domino McCathrion. I am 20 years old, currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Acting) full time, at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). I am of mixed race and identify as African - American / Australian. I grew up primarily in Australia. My mum was born and raised here and my dad is from Oakland, California. I spent a lot of my primary school years back and forth, spending time in both Australia and America. I am a young, aspiring artist. I like to stay socially conscious and I’m always looking for more knowledge about myself, others and the world around me.

Domino McCathrion 


Screen and Theatre actor, Darius Williams is thrilled to be exploring new frontiers at the 2019 Parodos Festival. Prior to his enrolment at the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) Darius made his debut stage performance at the Australian Theatre for Young People’s (ATYP) VOICES PROJECT: ALL GOOD THINGS directed by Iain Sinclair (2016). Darius continued to pursue his love for theatre, performing in the role of ‘Swan’ in Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre’s LEDA AND THE SWAN and in 2017, returned to ATYP for their premiere production of INTERSECTION directed by Katrina Douglas. His screen acting career began at the age of 12 when he was cast in the lead role in the Children’s feature film DINOSAUR ISLAND (2011). This was followed by screen roles in MY PET DINOSAUR (2016) and later joining the cast as ‘Ty Anderson’ in the award winning storyline of Australian drama series HOME AND AWAY (2018). Darius is excited and grateful for the opportunity to pursue new avenues of performance with new audiences on the Canadian stage.

Darius Williams 


Katie Mooney is an Indigenous film and theatre artist originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Recent credits include: Costume Designer for Our Leonardo (Hydra, Greece), Stitcher for Ride (WAAPA, Australia), Stitcher for Strictly Ballroom (WAAPA, Australia), Production Manager for Choreographic Works 2019 (Ryerson School of Performance), Costume Designer for The Odyssey (Ryerson Theatre School), Assistant Costume Designer for Pier 21 (Take 25 Productions), Wardrobe Supervisor, Costume Designer, Head Dresser/Make-Up for Spring Works 2018 (Ryerson School of Performance), Editor, Audio Technician for Magical Day in Marrakech (Marrakech, Morocco), Assistant Director for Astigmatism (New York Film Academy), Cinematographer and Editor for Take Me Outside (Banff International Film Festival), Art Director for The Tipping Point, Producer and Editor for Bridging the Divide (I Am The Bridge Film Festival). 

Katie Mooney

Costume Designer / Assistant Stage Manager

Ryerson Shows: Production Assistant, Dancer 2016; Head Electrician, The Seventh Seal 2017; Head Audio, The Last Day of Judas Iscariot 2017; Projection Designer Springworks 2018, Assistant Stage Manager Penelopiad 2018.


Other Works: Ghost Light Players, Sound Designer 2018 Spring Awakening

Diego Varela

Projection/Video Designer

Ryerson work: Lighting Designer, EnChoreo 2019; Lighting Designer, Shakespeare: A midsummer night’s dream 2018; Audio Technician, The Women 2018; Head Electrician, Shakespeare: Love’s Labour Lost, 2017; Production Assistant, Treasure Island, 2016; Video Operator/Production Assistant, Mass Exodus

Other work: Electrician/Assistant Lighting Designer, Haliburton Summer Festival 2018; Stagehand, Nasco 2018; Production Assistant, Cinderella, Ballet Jorgen 2015, Production assistant, Nutcracker, Ballet Jorgen 2015

Caroline Zhu

Lighting Designer