About the Studio
Professional Teaching Staff Fun, Supportive Environment Small Class Size for Quality Instruction
SKAM School of Performing Arts (formerly Kate Rubin Theatre & Drama Studio) has offered quality acting courses for children, teens, and adults in Victoria since 1996. The studio’s year round programming includes afterschool and homeschooler classes, individual coaching, youth and teen performance companies, summer camps, and adult workshops and courses.
About Theatre SKAM and SKAM Studios
Kate Rubin Theatre is now under the umbrella of Theatre SKAM, a local not-for-profit company who has been playing to theatre audiences in Victoria and on tour for 22 years. Part of Theatre SKAM’s mandate is to encourage and employ emerging artists, so taking over a well loved, well attended, and hugely respected school was an easy decision to make. SKAM’s philosophy to encourage youth and adults to explore their creativity goes hand-in-hand with Kate Rubin’s viewpoint of theatrical learning.
SKAM Studios create a homey and safe environment for students and professionals alike.
What the studio encourages most in students is:
- Flexibility (in voice, body, mind, attitude)
- Self Motivation and responsibility
- Supportiveness towards others and self
- Courage Imagination and playfulness
- Concentration and focus Being an attentive audience member
- Variety of experience and learning.
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Staff and Instructors
Artistic Producer – Theatre SKAM
Matthew Payne is a founding member of Victoria’s Theatre SKAM and serves as the innovative company’s Artistic Producer. He has acted in numerous roles in SKAM’s 21-year history. He recently directed Smalltown: A Pickup Musical and wrote and performed in Cariboo Buckaroo. Matthew co-created the show Fashion Machine, where arts professionals train local kids for a performance where they remake select audience members’ outfits. The show now tours internationally with recent visits to Austin, Bristol, and Cardiff. Matthew trained at Malaspina College and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria. He completed a Directors Masterclass with training from Peter Hinton, Martha Henry and Josette Bushnell-Mingo. He has also studied under Jillian Keily during an Intensive in choral and ensemble work. Previous drama teaching experience includes classes for Kate Rubin Theatre Drama Studio, ArtsReach, Kaleidoscope Performing Arts School, and several Victoria dance schools. His role allows him to bring aspects of his creation work and elements of shows he has seen at international theatre festivals to children in the classrooms at SKAM Studios Kate Rubin Theatre. Fun.
Operations Manager – Theatre SKAM
Kate Wallace is the Operations Manager for Theatre SKAM since November 2015. She was a professional Stage Manager for 16 years before starting her new career as a Mom of 3 (all have been students at Kate Rubin’s Studio). Kate graduated the Technical Production of Theatre program from Ryerson in Toronto. She has worked across the country with small theatre groups as well as larger companies like the Belfry Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, The Sudbury Theatre Centre, the Globe Theatre, Ford Centre in Toronto and more. Kate has directed 3 full school shows at the elementary school level and works as a theatre instructor with artsREACH. Kate is also on Victoria’s Story Theatre Board of Directors. Kate is thrilled and honoured to be working with the top-notch instructors at Kate Rubin’s Studio. Blending her love of children and theatre is the best job of all!
Founder – Kate Rubin Theatre and Drama Studio
Kate Rubin has lived and worked professionally in Victoria as a performer, director and theatre educator for 30 years. She owned and administrated Kate Rubin Theatre & Drama Studio for 22 years and most recently in January 2017 sold her studio to Theatre SKAM who will carry on her work in the community. She has worked as an educator and theatre artist for many theatre companies throughout Greater Victoria including The Belfry Theatre, Kaleidoscope Theatre, Giggling Iguana Productions, WAVE Theatre and Theatre Inconnu. She has had an 11 year working relationship with William Head on Stage, directing and performing in a number of plays there including HERE: A Captive Odyssey in the fall of 2015. She is also known for her directing work with a number of successful one person shows including Katrina Kadoski’s Cougar Annie and Karen Lee Pickett’s Slick. Her most recent work as a director is withAlice’s Gift by Elisabeth Wagner (April 2017) and with Macbeth for The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival (Summer 2017) She will be directing an adaptation of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson for Lawyers on Stage at Langham Court Theatre in Dec 2017. Kate will continue to coach and teach special classes and workshops at the studio.
Kathleen Greenfield is dedicated to collective creation, the development of new work and community involvement. Her interests and experience are in site-specific outdoor performance, puppetry, folk stories, and community activism. She holds a BFA in Theatre from the University of Victoria and studied at the Banff Puppet Theatre Intensive in 2012. In 2013, she joined SNAFU Dance Theatre as Co-Artistic Director. She has directed the premiere productions of many new works including The Hunt Workshop (Impulse), Little Orange Man (SNAFU), Kitt & Jane (SNAFU), I Have Seen Beautiful Jim Key (Intrepid Theatre), The Shoes (Humble Wonder Theatre) and Bullfrog Lullaby (head through painting). In 2015, she co-directed the smash-hit-remount of Lieutenant Nun, a site-specific spectacle where the audience moves through an old battlement, pageant style. Kathleen also teaches play building to kids ranging from 3 to 13 at Kate Rubin Theatre and Drama Studio and George Jay Elementary. In 2013, Kathleen joined the artistic team at William Head Prison as a facilitator, workshop leader, assistant director, projection designer, writer and performer for Time Waits for No One: A Prison Play (2014) and HERE: A Captive Odyssey (2015) alongside a team of inmates and fellow artists. In 2016, she directed and devised Sleeping Giants with the men at William Head.
Barb Biggs is a drama educator, theatre artist, musician and playwright who specializes in adapting children’s imaginings and literature for the stage. Barb grew up play-building for fun. She went on to obtain her BFA’10 in Theatre and BEd’12 specializing in Drama Education from UVic. Along with teaching at Kate Rubin’s studio, Barb is the Administrative Assistant for UVic’s History of Art and Visual Studies Department. She has taught theatre to all ages in Greater Victoria public schools and has instructed drama workshops for UVic’s Education Program, The Young Actors Project, and artsREACH. Barb has directed and performed original work for UVic’s Student Alternative Theatre Company (SATCO), The Belfry Theatre, ITSAZOO Productions, and SNAFU Dance Theatre. Last year, Barb explored memories with her students which led to a pop-up theatre performance at Moss Street Market. She looks forward to working with fellow artist and mom, Erica Petty, to explore Theatre for “Littles” (ages 0-3) this Fall! Barb is passionate about story-telling, and believes that theatre arts build a sense of community and confidence in young people as they work together to bring their imaginations to life.
Erica Petty is a theatre maker and drama teacher, who has been specializing in creating plays with children for the past 14 years. This January will mark her 9th year teaching at the studio, and she extends her gratitude to Kate Rubin for her years of friendship and mentoring. Erica loves collaborating with young people and writing plays based on their ideas. Her passion for TYA, devising new work, storytelling, and general craftiness have lead her to work on many exciting projects and collaborations with young people; such as, this year’s first SKAMpede Young Company where youth were given the opportunity to learn from professional artists and create their own performance festival. Working in theatre has seen Erica play all sorts of roles – as an actor, playwright, administrator, director, and designer – for companies such as Intrepid Theatre, Kaleidoscope Theatre, the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival, Theatre SKAM, Saltwater Creative Arts, and Grande Prairie Live Theatre. Erica is thrilled to be back working after a year of maternity leave. She is the mother of two young babes, Harrison and George.
Sarah Wilson is a drama educator, spoken word performer, theatre artist, and pun enthusiast. She received her BFA in acting at UBC, and went on to acquire her BEd in drama from the University of Victoria. She has taught theatre to all ages, both in public schools and through companies such as Kaleidoscope and Kate Rubin. She has trained in Shakespeare, commedia dell’arte, restoration theatre, bouffant clown, contemporary theatre, film, and voice over and has performed with companies such as Green Thumb Theatre, Delinquent Theatre, and Kaleidoscope Theatre. Sarah currently teaches Middle School Drama in the Greater Victoria School District.
Monica Ogden is an actor, improviser with Paper Street Theatre, YouTuber, and teacher from Victoria B.C. Monica has been teaching improv and drama since 2010. Monica has taught for multiple arts organizations, including artsREACH, Kate Rubin’s Theatre and Drama Studio, Vikes Improv at UVic, the Canadian Improv Games (Vancouver Island and National Tournament Ottawa), Paper Street Theatre, Unexpected Productions in Seattle, and The Improv Embassy in Ottawa. Monica is currently completing a BA in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Victoria, and has worked in applied and transformational theatre at the Intercultural Association of Victoria, creating theatre that is driven by activism and social justice. Monica will debut her solo show Monica vs. The Internet (Tales of a Social Justice Warrior) at the 2017 Victoria Fringe Festival, and recent stage and film credits include LUB DUB (Ottawa Fringe Festival, 2017) Much (Less) Ado about Nothing (Launch Pad Productions, 2017) An Improvised Quentin Tarantino 2 (Paper Street Theatre Co, Outstanding Ensemble Victoria Fringe 2016) and The Doctor’s Case (2017 Dollar Babies Project, James Douglas). Monica has Emergency First Aid CPR/AED Level C.
Tony Adams is a creator, writer, and performer originally from Ottawa. He is the co-artistic director for Hymns in Hearse Theatre and May Can Theatre; with whom he has had a hand in bringing to life over 12 new creations. Notable pieces are Wolves>Boys (Winner: Outstanding Duo- Ottawa Fringe, Nominated Outstanding New Creation- Prix Rideau Awards), The Tragicall Historie Of Nick Wade (Winner: Future of the Fringe- Ottawa Fringe Festival), It’s About Our Goldfish (Mag North/subDevision 2013), and Happiness™ (TACTICS 14/15 Season) which was presented as part of the Wildside Festival in Montreal, and the rEvolver festival in Vancouver, followed by a cross Canada Fringe tour. With Hymns in Hearse Tony has created pachiv! (Hymns in Hearse Theatre) and GARY (Winner: Outstanding Ensemble- Ottawa Fringe Festival). Tony was a member of Salamander Theatre from 2013-2014, where he performed in plays for young audiences (Swan River and Where Poppies Blow), toured to schools and lead workshops for children from ages 4-14. While in Ottawa he often works with home-schooled children to create new theatre pieces to fit in unusual and site specific spaces.
Ann-Bernice Thomas is a theatre creator, spoken word artist, film maker, and social justice activist. They are the 2016 Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria, and are currently completing a double major in Theatre and Creative Writing at the University of Victoria. In 2017 they won a Pick of the Fringe Award for their co-creation Monica vs. the Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior. They've also received the VAACS Community Recognition Award , and Best Screen Narrative from the Sunscreen Film Festival.
Andrew Barrett creates, directs, performs, designs, choreographs, and teaches. He grew up on Saltspring Island, which has led to a deep place in his heart for bare feet, the ocean, and isolation. As Artistic Director of Impulse Theatre, Andrew has developed 15 new multidisciplinary works with emerging artists in Victoria and participated in the Victoria and Vancouver Fringe Festivals, Theatre SKAM’S Bike Ride, UnoFest, and Upintheair’s rEvolver Theatre Festival in Vancouver. Impulse was awarded the M Award for Top Emerging Company 2014 from Monday Magazine. Andrew has taught workshops for the Gulf Islands School of Performing Arts, the Victoria Festival of Spoken Word, and through Impulse Theatre. He has been on faculty for the Pacific Design Academy and was a substitute modern teacher at Dance Unlimited.
Emilee Nimetz is a spoken-word performance artist, dancer, choreographer, actor, singer, and ukulele enthusiast. As a graduate of Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre Performance Program and the Banff Centre’s Spoken Word Residency, she has performed as a poet and actor across Canada and the US. Emilee has trained in Cecchetti Ballet, Fosse Jazz, Tap, Clown, Character Mask, Shakespeare, Viewpoints, Suzuki Method, Aerial acrobatics, and more! She is the author and solo artist of the forthcoming play, How To Build a Home. Some of Emilee’s theatre credits include Aleck Bell: Canada’s Pop Rock Musical! (Tweed & Co. Theatre), Judas in Godspell (IANA Theatre Co.), Metamorphoses,Pippin, and Sally Bowles in Cabaret, (Theatre Sheridan). As a poet, Emilee was Vancouver’s Individual Poetry Slam Champion in 2014, a finalist in the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam in 2015 and her work has been featured on Button Poetry.
Aisling Kennedy is an applied theatre practitioner and drama educator with a passionate interest in inter-cultural curriculum, drama- in- education, and theatre for development. These interests grew from her diverse experiences teaching English, theatre and dance abroad in Hanoi, Vietnam; Shanghai, China; and Tamil Nadu, India (2009-2014). Since obtaining her Masters in Applied Theatre from the University of Victoria (2015), Aisling has been teaching theatre to all ages in Greater Victoria. She has worked as a sessional instructor for the introductory Applied Theatre course entitled, “THEA 132: Exploring Theatre through Dramatic Process” at the University of Victoria. She is also a theatre and dance instructor with ArtsREACH, a non-profit organization created to provide high-quality visual and performing arts training to young students across the Greater Victoria School District. Aisling is very excited to be a part of the SKAM School of Performing Arts and encourage children, teens and adults to explore their own imaginations and creativity through theatre.
Peter Abrahams has been involved in theatre and film for over 20 years. A graduate of UVic’s Theatre program, Peter has also been certified by Fight Directors Canada twice. Locally Peter has been a Fight Director for productions by Theatre SKAM, UVic, The Belfry Theatre, Blue Bridge Repertory, William Head on Stage, and Launch Pad Productions. Professionally Peter had performed with Vancouver Theatre Sports, the Calgary Improv Guild and several small film roles. He was also the voice of Montana’s Cookhouse in 2015 and 2016. Peter also had a combat street show that was performed right on the sidewalks of Victoria.
"I’ve worked with Kate Rubin for the past nine years. She has been an inspiration to me and will no doubt continue to influence me on my journey through life for many years to come. She is a compassionate and gifted teacher who brings theatre to life for people of all ages." -a student
"That was an awesome performance- our family have been discussing it since we saw it. Pitch perfect in terms of acting, musical accompaniment, amazing costumes and set…and the writing… Wow!! Congratulations to you and your talented crew! Please do keep us posted when acts come up as we appreciate it." – A parent about the Advanced Teen’s show Photophobia
"All three of my children have taken classes with the Kate Rubin Studio. I wanted to share that what I feel is to be the best part of the programming. There are other drama classes available in Victoria. However, Kate’s philosophy of grounding kids in their imaginations pays off when the kids themselves create characters and story lines. It’s not all about the performance on the final day. It’s all about the process of learning to create a skit. How it’s done and why is as important as showing the parents a “product”. The teachers are all superb. My kids have been in classes Drama Time, Theatre and Drama, and the Improv classes. My children love this studio and have learned so much about theatre but more importantly they have learned that their own creative minds can make wondrous things happen. Thanks Kate and Company!" – a parent
"The Continuing Studies classes are an inspiring and exciting way to keep your skills fresh, learn new techniques, and network with other actors in the community. Working with Karen Lee Pickett is like a breath of fresh air." - a student
"Thank you so much for putting together such a flexible, entertaining, and informative two hours for our group. I just want to reiterate that any attrition only came about because some of our students were out of (way out of) their comfort zones. All the students who came, found the teacher, Scott to be charming, talented, and very positive. These are alternate students who do not often get a chance to try different activities and often come with a certain level of anxiety. We left our improv class knowing that we would try again in the future. Thank you again for being so great. Bernice, the other teacher, and I could have stayed all day." – Kelly (Teacher from Cowichan /Duncan school)
"For me Kate has always had the uncanny ability to scope the potential in someone. That’s what makes her so much more than a drama teacher. She sees, hears and understands what people need in order to accomplish something wonderful in themselves." – a student
"I like the cohesiveness of the group, the respectful environment, and the quality of our work." - a student
"Drama class is my favourite time of week. -a student My son has been taking classes at [Kate’s] studio for the past three years. It has given him an opportunity to network with other creative teens that have an interest in the theatre, both backstage and on stage. In a safe but demanding environment, he has learned to work with others to create art, provoke thought, and build confidence." – a parent