For 23 years, Urban Ink, and its circle of artists have broken barriers, through stimulating story, performance, and media.
Corey Payette | Artistic Director
Corey Payette is an award winning storyteller, writer, composer, and director in theatre and film. He is a member of the Mattagami First Nations, with French Canadian and Irish ancestry, and lives on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl’ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Known for his deeply moving, large-scale original musical creations, Payette’s work challenges the public’s notion of what musicals can be, inserting Indigenous perspectives and narratives into mainstream spaces, igniting conversations that inspire social change. Payette has been the Artistic Director of Urban Ink since 2014, past Artist-in-Residence and Associate Artist with English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, and is founding Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, focusing on his new musical works.
As a musical creator, Payette writes the music, lyrics, and directs the productions. His original musical Children of God has been performed across Canada since 2017, Les Filles du Roi written with Julie McIsaac premiered in 2018 and has recently been adapted into a feature film to be released in 2023, Sedna created with Reneltta Arluk and Marshall McMahen premiered in 2018 at Caravan Farm Theatre, and had its Vancouver premiere postponed due to the pandemic.
In 2023, his next original musical Starwalker premiered at the York Theatre. Starwalker has been in development under Warner Media / Access Canada writer’s program as a television series since 2021. Most recently made his film directing debut with Stories that Transform Us which premiered at VIFF, Guide My Way concert film, and Les Filles du Roi feature film to be released in 2023. You can read Corey’s full bio here.
CINDY REID | Managing Director
Cindy (she/her) has more than 20 years experience working for not for profit, charitable theatre organizations in Vancouver. It all started when she became a founding Board Member of Electric Company Theatre. After 5 years of working alongside four amazingly talented Founding Artists creating and touring original works of theatre, she moved to The Cultch where she spent 12 years fulfilling the role of Managing Director. She then helped to reopen The Improv Centre on Granville Island. Most recently she had the pleasure of working at the Firehall Arts Centre. She is an active volunteer in the local arts community, currently serving as Board President of Company 605. Cindy has an emotional connection and long history with the visual arts as well, being the daughter of commercial artist Bob Reid and niece of Haida artist Bill Reid. Cindy’s knowledge and experience in arts administration, human resources, and fund development, coupled with her passion for the arts, makes her a natural addition to the team at Urban Ink.
Amy Cornish | Operations Manager
Amy (she/her) was born on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish people, and when she was eight years old, she and her family moved to the Wathaurong traditional lands in Victoria, Australia where she spent two years. She returned to the lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in Vancouver, where she has lived for the past 16 years. Amy completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Management in 2018, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Community Development through the University of Victoria. Passionate about inclusion and community building, when Amy is not working or studying, she is active in the community. Currently, Amy serves as the Vice-President for the Vancouver Street Soccer League and also co-directs Vancouver’s Unibrow Arts Festival. Amy joined the Urban Ink team in June 2021.
Fabian Aspell Morales | Producer
Fabian (he/him) was born in Egypt to Cuban Canadian parents and spent his childhood and adolescent years in Cuba, Mexico and China. He attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in ‘Society, Culture and Media’ from the University of East Anglia in England before graduating from the Vancouver Film School in the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl’ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. His background has revolved around Freelance Producing and Film Production, holding several credits in various departments and working for prominent production companies in their respective countries (LIKE MINDED LABS & KICKSTART ENTERTAINEMNT – CANADA, EAGLE MEDIA – CHINA and BBC – UK); as well as directing, writing and producing several original short films; most recently developing a documentary about Cuban immigrants who after leaving their military service now reside in Vancouver. Fabian has also worked in non-profit organizations and business companies as a Marketing/Communication Assistant and joined Urban Ink in August 2022
Cheyenne Scott | Producer - Community & Outreach
Cheyenne Scott is Straits Salish of the Saanich Nation/Norwegian settler descent and an actor, playwright, and emerging creative producer with a focus on new works. Having learned theatre through a colonial lens, she is working to Indigenize her process through her Salish values, land-based methodology, and storytelling. She is a multi Dora Mavor Moore nominated artist for co-creating/performing Now You See Her (Quote Unquote Collective/Nightwood/Why Not Theatre) which was published by Coach House, and for The Home Project (Howland/Native Earth/Soulpepper). She strives to create authentic stories that serve the community and offer good medicine for the future. Cheyenne has been exploring leadership and strives to support the work of other artists. She was named as the protégé of Lori Marchand for the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award. She has trained in producing with the Theatre Centre and was the Community and Programming Producer at Paprika Theatre Festival. Having previously performed as Julia in the world premiere of Children of God, Cheyenne is thrilled to be returning to the Urban Ink Circle.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Amy Benson | President
Amy joined the Board of Urban Ink in 2017 and is proud to be a part of such an important and innovative organization. Since graduating from the University of Victoria with a BFA in Fine Arts, Amy has been committed to working with dynamic arts organizations and non-profits including the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, the Firehall Arts Centre, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival and currently at St Paul’s Hospital Foundation. Amy is a first generation Canadian of a large Irish immigrant family and is honoured to make her home on the lands of the the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.
Jorge Zylberberg | Treasurer
Jorge was born and raised on the lands of the Toba, Kolla, Diaguita-Calchaqui and Mapuche peoples in Argentina, and is descendent of Ukrainian and Slav first nations. For over fifteen years he has been involved in arts and cultural programming through his work in several radio broadcasting stations. With a Bachelor in Business and Science, has held multiple leadership positions in the management of technology development projects for leading companies in South America, the USA and Canada. Jorge joined the board of Urban Ink in 2011, where he has held the position of Vice-Chair and, since 2012, is the Board Treasurer.
Kelsey Croft | Secretary
Kelsey Croft is a settler raised on the ancestral territory of Tsawwassen First Nation. She is a lawyer at the firm Hamilton Duncan, where she handles insurance and workplace litigation. She loves to dance ballet as a member of the Deas Island Dance community, and is always excited to discuss the film and TV she has been watching. Kelsey is pleased to contribute her analytical mind and love of the arts to the board of Urban Ink.
Francis Chang | Vice President
Francis joined the Board in 2021 and is active in the not-for-profit community in various volunteer advisory and board roles, including currently serving as a Knowledge Philanthropist with Vantage Point, an Advisor with The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, and a Board Director with One to One Literacy Society. He also brings over 25 years of experience working in law and media, including as a partner in the Vancouver office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, and in senior legal roles with FOX Networks Group and Walt Disney Television International in Asia.
Francis is grateful for all the opportunities he has had to learn and grow from many different cultures, having been born in Japan to Chinese parents, grown up in Vancouver, and studying and working in Montreal, New York, Toronto and Hong Kong. He and his family are happy to be back and settled in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Robin Dean | Director
Robin joined the Urban Ink Board in December 2022. She is currently a partner at the law firm of Clark Wilson, where she practices in the area of Indigenous rights and title. Robin is committed to social justice, and is honoured to work with First Nations throughout Canada to advance and protect their rights. Through her work, Robin has witnessed the power of Indigenous storytelling and its connection to Indigenous law. Prior to law school, Robin studied the History of Art and Architecture. Today, she remains passionate about the arts and their transformative role in our lives.
Robin grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, on the ancestral lands of the Muscogee, Creek and Shawnee peoples, and is grateful to now call the lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples home.
Nick Peragine | Director
A son of Italian settlers, Nick Peragine (he/him) was born and raised on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University with concentrations in Marketing and Management Organizational Studies. He is an accomplished, highly-motivated, and team-focused leader with over fifteen years of business experience including brand and sponsorship, community and social impact, events and experiential marketing, digital and social media, content creation, and communications. He has held various leadership roles at global brand organizations such as TELUS, Scotiabank, and most recently, lululemon. Passionate about inclusion, Nick is always looking for new ways of encouraging collaboration and social change. Having grown up as a theatre kid, he is excited to contribute his life-long love for the performing arts and expertise in marketing to the board of Urban Ink.
Donna Wong-Juliani | Director
Donna Wong-Juliani was born on the Island of Tiohtia:ke on the unceded lands of both the Kanien’keha:ka, and the Anishinabeg peoples, and gratefully acknowledges to have lived and played, at various times in her life, on lands covered by Treaties 6 & 13 with the Nehiyawak/Cree, Algonquin, Anishinabeg, Mississauga and Chippewa bands, and on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
She has had a life-long involvement in and commitment to the performing arts and to activities that focus on the betterment of society. Throughout her career she has participated in and/or produced artistic works and projects that have enhanced the communities in which they have occurred. Her firsthand knowledge of the theatre, dance, television and film disciplines and her ongoing commitment to the encouragement and development of artists working in all these fields has led her to play key roles in endeavours ranging from feature film producing, to senior management of a film industry crown corporation, to representation of writers, directors and composers, and to administering non-profit arts organizations.
KIM BARSANTI | Director
Kim Barsanti is a Senior Talent Agent and Manager at Lucas Talent. Prior to merging agencies, Kim founded and ran Muse Artist Management for over ten years. She began her career in the arts as a Stage Manager for theatre and dance. Kim has served previously on boards for TAMAC (Talent Agents Managers Canada), Davis Bay Community Association, Sunshine Coast Hospice Society, and Dancing on the Edge Festival. She is married to Rochelle who is a member of the Siska Indian Band from Lytton BC. In her spare time, Kim loves to work in bulldog rescue.
Lauren Duffy | Director
Lauren Duffy (she/her) is a settler raised on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and is of Irish and French-Canadian descent. She holds a bachelor of Fine Arts and Business, Digital Arts Communication from the University of Waterloo. She has a versatile background in financial services and advising on brand, digital, sponsorships, events and experiential marketing for arts, sport, and community organizations. Lauren believes that art can transform, whether its through storytelling, self-expression or formal visuality. She has worked on a wide range of arts programs and sponsorships including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Hot Docs, Scotiabank Photography Award, New Generation Photography Award and the National Gallery of Canada. In her current work with PH&N Institutional, she is an active partner for their Indigenous investment services group. Passionate about arts accessibility, Lauren is excited to contribute her expertise to Urban Ink.