The SExT Creatives:
A group of professionals dedicated to the project
Director, Creator & Facilitator
Shira Taylor is a performer, director, producer, and doctoral candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T. For her dissertation, she created SExT: Sex Education by Theatre to explore the use of theatre for sexual health education among youth in Toronto’s Thorncliffe/Flemingdon Park. Shira obtained her BSc. (Psychology) and MSc. (Epidemiology) from Queen’s University, where she performed with Queen’s Players, Queen’s Musical Theatre, and Existere, and co-founded and directed the social action theatre program, Excetera. Shira and her puppet doppelganger Lucy perform with the multiple award-winning theatre company, Shakey-Shake and Friends, which uses puppets and popular culture references to make Shakespeare accessible to young audiences. She also works with Indigenous girls in the Northwest Territories as Evaluation Consultant and Drama Facilitator with FOXY and is a Research Coordinator at SickKids on the cross-Canada, Art for Social Change (ASC!) project, working closely with artists and change-makers to further the use of the arts in social justice agendas.
SExT: Sex Education by Theatre empowers youth from a community where sexuality is a cultural taboo to take centre stage. SExT is a collaboration between Toronto theatre artists and a diverse group of youth from Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park – two immigration destinations in Toronto and the recent hub of protests opposing sex education reform in the wake of the first curriculum update since 1998. It's time to let TEENS give THE TALK!
Creative Facilitator & Blog Editor
Elena is an award-winning actress and singer for film, TV, and stage. She played the role of Nicola in Mirvish's Kinky Boots at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and also played Dr. Scarlet McWhinnie on Open Heart which aired on YTV, TeenNick, ABC Spark, and Netflix International. Other stage credits include understudying Éponine in Les Misérables (Mirvish) and leading roles in Onegin (Musical Stage Co.), I Love You Because (Angelwalk), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Vancouver Playhouse - Jessie Award for Best Actress), Miss Saigon (Drayton), and Snow White and the Group of Seven (Dora Nomination - Best Actress) among other shows across the country. Elena is also a singer-songwriter whose debut album Beyond This Line was released on International Women’s Day 2015 with partial proceeds benefitting the Assaulted Women's Helpline and the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter. Elena attended Queen's University and graduated with a B.A.H. in Drama and Women's Studies. Elena is thrilled to be involved in the creative process with such a talented and empowering group of performers who are changing the world every day through “SExT” and to mentor budding writers via the SExT blog. Special thanks to my wifey, Shira, for having me on board this important and exciting project!
Debora is a voice/text coach, singing teacher, actor, singer, and director. She has been a member of Canadian Actor’s Equity(CAEA) and Actra for many years. As a voice coach, she has worked on over 60 plays, including productions at the George Brown Theatre School, Theatre by the Bay(Barrie) and with Pamela Sinha’s Dora award-winning show, Crash. She has also taught voice workshops for Soulpepper, Elevated Grounds, and with Workman Arts, a not-for-profit arts company working in partnership with the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health. A Tyrone Guthrie award winner, Debora spent many seasons performing at the Stratford Festival and toured with the company to Broadway and the Old Vic in London, England. She has directed and acted in many professional productions across Canada, and continues to love every second of it! “Huge thanks to Shira Taylor for inviting me to work with this brave and talented company!”
Ming-Bo is known, first and foremost, for her love of dance and her ability to share that passion with all whom she encounters. She takes pride in the unique career she has built, juggling the demanding hustle with both grace and enthusiasm, and the diverse range of genres and skill sets her work embraces.
Lam graduated with an Honours BFA in Theatre Performance Dance, from Ryerson University, as Valedictorian. While completing her undergrad, she worked with choreographers including Matjash Mrozewski and Robert Glumbek, in addition to training with Allen Kaeja, Vicki St. Denys, Karen Duplisea, Kenny Pearl, and Nadia Potts. Since graduating, she has crossed the line between classical dance genres and the commercial industry, performing at the Much Music Video Awards, with the Toronto Raptors’ Dance Pak, at the NBA All Star Weekend, and numerous private and corporate events.
Lam has extensive experience working with dance film. Her work has been featured on The Dance Current’s website, and her most recent project was accepted to both the Toronto International Short Film Festival, and the Utah Dance Film Festival.
Recently, Lam has returned to her contemporary roots, completing a creative process under the mentorship of Hanna Kiel and Jasmyn Fyffe; setting a work on Dancestreams Youth Dance Company, on Vancouver Island; choreographing for SeXT: Sex Education by Theatre’s Toronto Fringe Festival performance; developing her artistic practice through ‘Composing for Dance’, a course for Masters of Composition students at the University of Toronto.
Currently, Lam is based in Toronto, Ontario, working as a freelance dancer, choreographer, adjudicator, and educator. You can learn more about her endeavours at www.mingbolam.com
Sarah is an award winning director, writer, academic, and educator who has toured shows nationally and abroad, working with diverse companies from various countries. She received her Masters in Drama from the University of Toronto and will receive her Bachelor of Education from York University this spring. Her areas of interest include Solo Audience Member Theatre (theatre with just one audience member!) and children's theatre, including years of work with the multi-award-winning puppet Shakespeare company for young audiences, Shakey Shake and Friends. She is excited to be a part of the SExT team, a company dedicated to arts-based education, with accessibility and equity at the core of its mandate. Congratulations to our incredible youth performers whose passion and bravery make all of this possible!