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The 2021 Laughter Symposium Team

We are excited to welcome this year's Keynote Speaker:


Stephen Robinson

How to Learn Anything

Stephen is a YouTube Creator, speaker and entrepreneur from Edmonton, Alberta.

From building a robot that can bake a cake, to solving a rubiks cube while skydiving, he has spent the past five years documenting the process of learning over 130 skills on his Youtube channel “Stephen Robinson” and TV show “How to Learn Anything”.

Throughout this experience he has discovered the secret sauce that makes learning just about anything effective and enjoyable. What’s the key? Be bad at stuff, fail lots and keep going.

Meet the Team guiding your through your laughter journey!

Bob Beddow

Stand-Up Comedy

Comedy with a Personal Twist

Since hitting the live comedy scene in 1996, Bob Beddow has been wowing audiences with homespun humor.. His story telling style, and easy going nature bring people into his world. From Conception to Death, and everything in between, Bob will show you the real circle of life. Like He says, “if it hasn’t happened to you yet… it will! Bob has the ability to take real life and point and laugh. Due to his inoffensive nature, and his hilarious tales, clubs and corporate clients repeatedly book Bob for functions. Bob is in demand for everything from fundraisers to festivals.

Don't Not Talk to Strangers

Sketch Comedy

Don’t not talk to strangers is an Award-winning sketch comedy group which has been compared to everything from Monty Python to Seinfeld. Absurd, physical, character-driven humor which aims beyond the genre's limits and refuses to punch down. Since 2017 DNTTS has performed regularly in Edmonton and surrounding areas and at various festivals including the Edmonton International Fringe Festival and the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival.

Murray Farnell

Vocal Kitchen

Originally from Sonningdale, Saskatchewan, Murray has had the privilege of working on stage, screen, and sound booth across the Canadian prairies.​ He also has had the privilege of helping teach stage combat to hundreds of students as an employee of Janine Waddell's Steel Toed Productions.

​Animation and Voice credits include FutureCard BuddyFight X, Cardfight! Vanguard, Metalions, Lost Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Supa Strikas, Mind-Blowing Breakthroughs, and Lanfeust Quest.

Film/Television credits include Hell On Wheels, Wynonna Earp, Fall RIver, A Gentleman, It's Not My Fault and I Don't Care Anyway, Delmer and Marta,This is Why We Fight, Catch A Cab.

Bruce Hunter

RealSpace, Improv, How to Leave Behind More than a Memory

Bruce Hunter has been associated with the local improv scene for more than 30 years, most notably as a teacher with The Second City and founder and performer with veteran comedy troupe, Illustrated Men. He has performed in dozens of theatre, television and film projects: “Hannson” The Red Green Show”, “Good Will Hunting” , “Schitt’s Creek”, “Puppets Who Kill”, “Waiting for Godot” “Mean Girls” “Degrassi”, “Rookie Blue”, "Baroness Von Sketch", "Treasure Island" and "Breathing Hole" at the Stratford Festival, and ‘Gin Game” for Ruminar Live, to name a few. Bruce has directed “The Kids in The Hall” “Killer Bees”, “The Maddest Kind of Love” “The Puck Stops Here” “Fun Without Dick and Wayne” and “A Freudian Slip of The Jung”. He has written plays “A Clever Boy”, “Circus Town” Garageband Land”, The Getaway” (which took place in a moving van) and “Dine Her.” His spectrum of work - as performer and as director - has won numerous awards, including Best of the Fringe in 2010, two Canadian Comedy Awards, a Gemini for his voice work on Atomic Betty and Kari awards for his commercial work in Canada and the U.S. He is co-founder and Artistic Director of RealSpace Theatre.

Renee Manners

Spamedy

Here's a little about me!

I am 36 & 1/4. I was born in Surrey BC and moved very frequently. I was raised by a single mom. As a child I was very creative and artistic. I loved to draw, and my mom encouraged me to draw on the walls with washable markers. Now, I'm a muralist.

 My Mother did her best but sadly she struggled with addiction, and as I got older, her lack of self love became more and more apparent. This indirectly taught me how to be extremely independent and self sufficient. making me the perfect entrepreneur! 

Growing up in toxic environments I quickly discovered my ability to use laughter and comedy to ease tensions and encourage happiness in those around me. It became clear to me as I grew that I could use my sense of humour to disarm negativity. I wanted everyone to just be happy! I worked hard and started to build a life for myself. Working never less than two jobs, usually three or four... I was supporting myself and sometimes my family at as young as 14. I Made my way up to Fort McMurray, AB, met my Son's father, fell in love, got engaged, bought a home... I was finally on track to that life I dreamt of. The road to happiness. Little did I know, Life had other plans for me. Some very eye opening lessons. After experiencing my dad's death, and then my step dad's death I felt I had a grasp on grief. I was very very wrong. When my son was 5 months old, I got a call that my mother had passed away. Her depression had finally gotten the best of her.

Her inheritance to me: her depression. I had no idea what depression truly was and how heavy it could be. It took me out at the knees and I was down for the count... I had no idea that this would the beginning of my greatest accomplishment, self love.... Something I wished so desperately for my mom and coincidentally enough, it became the fuel I needed to make sure I didn't follow in my mothers shoes. After a few years of searching for answers, I did make great progress -However my engagement and love could not withstand the destruction of grief and depression and once again I found myself lost and alone. Facing my biggest fear: Being a single mom, my son coming from a broken home. However, my passion and drive to be the best mother possible outweighed the pain and once again I got up and dusted myself off.

Since then I've spent 9 years learning, discovering, and being educated on Self awareness, emotional awareness, self control, emotional control, and grief recovery! In that path of self love and discovery I found my calling along the way.... Remember that I liked to make people happy? Turns out it was my gift and I became a professional comedian!

I've taken all of this knowledge to the next level and started using it as a tool to educate others on the above topics. Hiding education in my comedy sets. I truly believe that losing my parents to their addictions created a sudden realization that depression and lack of self love was a serious issue, and in my opinion the culprit of this horrendous epidemic... addiction. I vowed to learn how to love myself so my son could have a different experience then I did when it came to his mother. And in turn it showed me how to educate everyone else as well. It was my turn to take the reins and change the trajectory of our bloodlines. Because of this... Spamedy was born.

So here we are today! A perfect recipe for a much needed solution! 

Mladen Obradovic

Laugh it Away!

Mladen Obradović is an actor, director, drama teacher and theatre producer. Graduated from York University’s MFA Program in Acting in 2007. Taught for several drama schools in Toronto, including Young People’s Theatre, TheatrePeace, Arts Express, Centauri Summer Arts Camp and Shakespeare in Action. His Canadian acting credits include Yura in Foreign Tongue (Next Stage Festival), Zangara in Stageworks Toronto’s “Assassins”. Chandebise/Poche in Toronto Fringe’s “A Flea in Her Ear”, Dr. Frankenstein in Echo Productions’ “Frankenstein”, Basil in Seven Siblings’ “Fever/Dream”, Andrei in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, Conspiracy Theorist in Draft89’s production “FOE”, Lalo, in Pulse Theatre’s “Night of the Assassins”. He also participated in Dora Award winning “Counting Sheep”, at Summerworks Festival Toronto. He worked as an actor in Belgrade for seven years before coming to Toronto. He has over thirty shows, ten films, voice work, workshop facilitation, hosting, ambassadorships, as well as directing and producing work on his resume. His first play- The Woods are dark and Deep was performed on Factory Theatre’s main stage in March 2019. He is the founder and the Artistic Director of Pulse Theatre, the biggest Canadian theatre for children in Serbian Language. Currently employed as a full time Theatre Teacher at Academy for Gifted Children P.A.C.E.

Tanya Perez

Playing with Purpose

Tanya Perez is an award-winning Latinx actress, writer and producer based in NYC. Her acting resume includes film and television roles in "Orange Is the New Black," "Jessica Jones," "Blue Bloods," "Madam Secretary" and Hal Hartley's Ned Rifle, opposite Parker Posey. On stage, her most notable appearances are in Seattle Rep's production of Anna in the Tropics, Sonia Flew at both CATF and Laguna Playhouse, and her sold-out solo show at the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Recently, Perez voiced 'Bibi' in the critically-acclaimed YA podcast Timestorm, Season 2; played 'Melosa' in readings of Juan Ramirez, Jr's play Calling Puerto Rico, and played 'Beatriz' opposite Sean Carvajal in The Parsnipship's haunting recording of Desi Moreno-Pensions play Devilland. She is also a company member of the interactive theater group Live in Theatre in NYC.

As a writer, Perez has excelled and her stand-out work has received many awards and mentions. Her web series Itty P & DJ Model-T received nominations for two StayTuned TV-ITVF awards for 'Best Comedy' and 'Best Actress in a Comedy.' Her comedy short, Peep Show, was an official selection at the 2018 'Women in Comedy HBO Insider Competition.' Her short, Veronica, won 2018 'Best Actress' at Story Mode Shorts Festival, 'Best Screenplay' and 'Best Actress' at Outlanta Con and 'Best Latinx Short' at IndieFest. Perez also received an 'Audioverse Award' nomination in writing in Cocotazo's CAT festival. She was commissioned to write on the upcoming audio narrative The Light Ahead produced by Naomi McDougal Jones .

Along with her professional life in the arts, Perez has also worked as a guest artist facilitating skills in dance, storytelling, improv, acting, clowning, diversity and empathy training and leadership training with companies like NYU School of Medicine, NYU School of Nursing, Einstein School of Medicine, Devalk Associates, Performance Plus, Bertelsmann Foundation, The Leadership Program, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Company, The Broadway League and Creativity Independent. She is a proud member of NYWIF, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, SAGAFTRA and Actors Equity. 

RealSpace Theatre

RealSpace Roundtable

Real time. Real space. 

Real comedy.

RealSpace Theatre’s mandate is to push the boundaries of traditional theatre by exploring environmental integration and offering the audience an engaging performance. In partnering with local communities via non-traditional venues, RealSpace Theatre offers a customized, one-of-a-kind experience that reinterprets the audience’s relationship to those environments, in real time.

RealSpace Theatre has produced four shows in seven different locations, as well as delivering a number of classes and variety shows to community members in Ontario and Alberta.

Fanny Rire

Laugh for No Reason

Fanny is a Laughter Yoga Leader. A Theatre graduate, she uses her sacred flame to energize her laughter sessions. She has done these sessions for companies, community centers and for patients in hospitals.

She was a host for many years at the Montreal Laughter Club. She also collaborated with Skype Laughter Club Canada and facilitated free laughter sessions during the Covid pandemic at Urgence Rire.

At the 2014 Montreal Laughter Championship, she won the Sexiest Laughter award. There she realized how special her laugh really was.

She realized how much joy her laugh can provide others. She traveled to Quito (Ecuador) with Patch Adams and his team. Her experience there as a therapeutic clown opened her eyes to her mission: to bring joy to others through laughter, one laugh at a time.

Dario Solina

Keep The Main Thing 

The Main Thing

Dario is a full time humanitarian clown and regular organizer, teacher and performer at Patch Adams’ Gesundheit Institute, where he coordinates humanitarian clown programs in Ecuador, Mexico and Costa Rica; and at the School for Designing a Society, a radical social change educational project based in the USA. In 2010, he started wearing his clown clothes every day as a design/performance choice to be an instrument of desirable social changes. He has lived and studied clowning, physical theater and storytelling​ in Italy, UK, Denmark, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Switzerland and USA. He is currently based in Denmark, where he is also a husband and a father. He has recently started “Say it to/with a clown” project to challenge Social Distancing during pandemic and promote Human Closeness in time of physical distance. - sayittoaclown.com

Janine Waddell

How to Hit the Funny Bone

A director and certified movement instructor since 1991, Janine has drawn from her experience in dance, theatre and film to develop her stage combat and intimacy practices. She is an internationally certified Advanced Actor Combatant with Fight Directors Canada (FDC) and the Society of Australian Fight Directors (SAFDi) and a certified Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat (BASSC) and the Nordic Stage Fight Society (NSFS.)

Janine is an active member of the Alberta Theatre and Film Communities and was award the first Alberta ACTRA Intimacy Coordination contract after having choreographed the violence and intimacy for over 75 plays and films in the past decade. She is a member of the Theatre Arts Faculty at MacEwan University and a Sterling nominated Fight Choreographer. Her passion lies in teaching new talent and the joy of discovery in safe spaces. 

Erica Wood

Real Space Theatre, Reshaping Your Work, How to Leave Behind More than a Memory 

Erica May-Wood Trained as a performer at LAMDA in the UK. Her most recent acting credits include creating a new twist on The Gin Game, a small part in a Netflix Christmas movie with Vanessa Hudgens, and being part of workshopping two new plays in development. Former credits include: Bell, Book & Candle , The Importance o​f Being Earnest, Godspell, Beauty and the Beast and a number of award-winning short films, to name a few. She has written and performed for the Toronto Fringe and Summerworks Festivals. She is a certified Lead Teaching Artist, working with youth in schools, community settings, theatre companies and on set. She has worked with children and youth aged 4 months to 18 years (including youth living with physical and developmental disabilities) , and with seniors in a physical rehab hospital. In this new paradigm, she has facilitated five teen collective creation project including one that was part of The Hamilton Fringe Festival's WHAT THE FEST?!

Chantal Yardley

Warming Up, Let's Get Physical

Chantal Yardley is delighted to make her convention debut this year at The 2021 Laughter Symposium!

Chantal grew up in Beaumont AB and has continued her life there by becoming the High School Theatre Teacher at her Alma Mater.

Also an active member of the Arts community in Beaumont, as President of the Beaumont Society for the Arts she spearheaded and pursued support for the Arts in her community for 5 years.

Chantal has a passion for the creative process, teaching improv and working with people more talented then herself, like all her students. Constantly impressed with what they are capable of!

The transition to virtual drama has been challenging and she hopes to share some fun activities with you all.

She thinks she's pretty funny, hopefully you will too!

THE WORKSHOPS

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