Theatre Director and Performer
Mending Fences by Norm Foster
2190 Bloor St W, Toronto (map)
The Departure Train by Michelle Tocher
Director and Dramaturge
Nicole Arends has an extensive background in theatre directing and performance, expressive arts facilitation, and arts management. After acquiring her BA in Theatre from York University, Nicole started her own theatre company for youth in Ottawa called The Balcony Players and has since directed for many community, independent and professional theatre companies in Toronto.
Nicole is continually looking for new projects that will help us see the world in a new light, exploring humanity from an evolutionary perspective, examining how to make spirituality theatrical, and in blurring the line between audience and performance using site specific and immersive theatre methods. She aims to create theatrical environments for audiences to allow for transformative experiences. For example, in directing Hamlet, she staged the play in what she called “In the round and all around” where the audience was configured in a way that allowed the action to take place all around them offering complete immersion into the world of Hamlet’s mind. Nicole is a futurist thinker and has a strong interest in stories that focus on choices and actions that lead to evolutionary drivers. She believes that witnessing a character making a vital decision on stage (the choice point) and acting on that decision, allows us the impetus to move through our own lives with courage, power and grace. Through her company, Mask Atelier, she has offered workshops using masks for personal development.
Since 2005, Nicole has been working for The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) where she helmed the Living Through the Arts Program training artists to work in hospitals and social service organizations. She also ran the Artist-Educator Professional Training Certification Program as well as the ARTS-REHAB Project, an Ontario-wide research study that studied the effects of creative processes on rehab patients. Nicole has served on the Board of Directors of Theatre Columbus (now Common Boots), Clay & Paper Theatre, and Alumnae Theatre Company.
Theatrical Interests: female empowerment, human evolution, climate action, science fiction, and magical realism.