Robin has been working in the industry since 1993. His career covers a diversity of roles as Designer, Technical Director and Production Manager for companies in and around British Columbia for over 25 years. He has been a special effects supervisor for film and live theatre performances as well as Sound Designer for large scale touring musicals. His independent production company, Rhino Productions, has employed countless technicians over the years and is well known in the industry. Robin also provides training workshops for industry professionals in a variety of areas.
Born and raised here in Nanaimo, Sandra has served on many boards and volunteer societies. She’s been a hairdresser and esthetician for 24 years and currently works at Nordia. Currently the president of the Friend’s of Morden Mine Society, Sandra and the group are in the process of saving a 100-year-old head frame and tipple
from collapse. Sandra has a strong desire to preserve our heritage and also promote the arts. She says, “This is our legacy for the rest of time.”
Blake McGuffie was born and raised in Nanaimo, and has enjoyed a lovely west coast life with his wife, Lois. Blake’s many years of contributions to the community span across the political, educational, financial, and real estate sectors. He joined the HCTAS board in 2015.
As a Nanaimo City Councillor and Regional Director from 1990-1993 and 1996-1999, Blake has also served on and chaired various City committees since 1998. Blake is the founder of two tax services, Esplanade Tax and Budget Tax Service, and has been the owner of Esplanade Properties Inc. since 1980, which owns a mixed Commercial/Residential building in
downtown Nanaimo. He also instructed tax courses for Vancouver Island University and was a Founding Director and Treasurer of the E-File Association of Canada.
Blake’s ongoing community service includes serving as a Director for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre (1976 to Date), the Vancouver Island Symphony Society (2014 to Date), as a Director for the South End Community Association (2000 to Date), and the Nanaimo Foodshare Society (1996 to Date).
When Dean co-founded Schmooze Productions with his wife Diane in 1999, he dreamed of producing theatrical opportunities for local artists. Now, 20 years later, he finds himself surrounded with incredible directors, designers, crew, musicians and performers. Schmooze Productions has a great home at the Harbour City Theatre in Nanaimo, where they are able to create two incredible shows each season that rely on the talents of hundreds of people. Creating local live theatre really is a dream come true.
Providing an affordable space for others to create theatre, became a battle cry for Dean, when the City of Nanaimo was almost forced to close the doors of a local theatre space in 2014. Upon the news, Dean with the support of other local theatre and business professionals created the Harbour City Theatre Alliance Society and procured the city contract to keep the financially struggling building open as a performing arts centre. In the first few years, the HCTAS team managed to more than double their number of attendees per year, and bring their days of usage up from 58% in 2014 to 87% in 2018, establishing the Harbour City Theatre as the premiere small venue stage in Nanaimo.
As the General Manager and Artistic Director for both, Schmooze Productions and the Harbour City Theatre Alliance Society, Dean enjoys the creative process. Excitement and exhilaration abound when he starts the directorial process. Guiding actors, creating pictures, and developing scenes keeps him energized during the rehearsal process. Making choices that will engage, engross and affect the audience is the ultimate goal for success. Challenging actors to step, or leap, outside of their comfort zones is the foundation for interesting theatre.
Dean’s directorial credits include: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Pirates of Penzance, All Grown Up, Oliver, Agnes Of God, Leading Ladies, Prok, All The Great Books Abridged, The Full Monty, The Rocky Horror Show (2002, 2011, 2016), Sweeney Todd, Spring Awakening, Spamalot, La Cage Aux Folles, Square, Fiddler on the Roof, RENT, Footloose, Next to Normal, Little Dog Laughed, Urinetown, The Little Mermaid, HAIR, Hand to God, Chicago, and A Christmas Carol (X2). He loves directing all types of shows including dramas, comedies, musicals, and farces.
From a very early age, Dean was an actor, a word that encompasses so many different styles. He remembers the smiles of his relatives as he sang and danced across the hearth of the fireplace. It was never about the applause for Dean; conversely, it was about how he could make other people feel. He loves all of it: acting, singing and dancing. There is nothing more
rewarding as an actor to make choices that affect your fellow performers, your directors and ultimately your audience. His absolute favourite roles include: Sweeney Todd, Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Max & Tito in Lend Me A Tenor, Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Billy Flynn in Chicago, and Archie Craven in A Secret Garden. He has developed many others but these ones have a strong hold on his heart.
Dean is a teacher, both philosophically and practically. During his training at Vancouver Island University, he participated in a plethora of Drama, Theatre, and Creative Writing courses, including script writing and analysis. Today, he is proud to be a retired elementary school teacher, where he spent 22 years honing his skills to connect to a wide variety of individuals, then applying those skills to instructing actors in his other passion, theatre. Dean loves to guide performers to challenge their artistic choices, build believable and flawed characters, and create performances that embody the entire actor. All of Dean’s teaching, theatre, and communication skills afforded him the position of an Adjudicator in the 2019 Echo Players One-Act Play Festival in Qualicum, BC.
There is an entirely different side to theatre that Dean also adores: production. In his career, he has been lucky enough to learn from incredible directors, designers, and technicians on every production. From each opportunity, he finds numerous skills to add to his toolkit. Production also describes the business side of theatre. Balancing budgets and making a profit are as important in theatre as in any business.
After years of helping to create a thriving theatre scene in Nanaimo, Dean is the proud recipient of the City of Nanaimo’s Honour in Culture Award for 2019 in recognition of his work as an actor, director, producer, technician and culture leader. This year also brought recognition from Theatre BC, as the recipient of the Best Supporting Actor Award during their Mainstage Festival for his role as Otto Frank in the Diary of Anne Frank for Nanaimo Theatre Group.
This year, 2020, brought the opportunity to simultaneously portray Archibald Craven in A Secret Garden for Echo Players in Qualicum, while also directing a 50th Anniversary (Schmooze Productions 20th anniversary) performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s Rock Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. Harbour City Theatre Alliance Society is also celebrating a new 10 year lease with the City of Nanaimo, ensuring another decade of great theatre in Nanaimo!