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Toronto Bios old

Indigenous Creators

Denise McLeod

Proud Urban Anishinaabe Kwe, who’s home territory is Sagamok Anishnawbek F.N., located on the North shore of Lake Huron.
D.B. along with her comedy sisters founded Manifest Destiny’s Child Comedy Collective in 2017. 
While with MDC she has taken the stage for events like The Toronto International Film Festival, Royal Ontario Museum Friday Night Live,
& Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday.

Denise was also invited to be in comedy shows like Mirchi Comedy (formerly known asYas Kween)
4th Birthday celebration that was a part of Comedy is Art Festival. D.B’s comedy is rooted in her Indigeneity, focuses on making fun of colonization, misogyny and racism, just enough to make white men uncomfortable.  

Stephanie Pangowish

Stephanie Pangowish is one of the deadliest Indigenous Aunties you’ll ever meet. Originally from Wiikwemkoong (Wee-kwem-kung) Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, Pangowish now stalks the streets of Toronto, terrorizing the local prudes. Her sexually-loaded (and educational, we swear!) comedy will arouse your mind with insatiable thoughts of copulation and decolonization

Samantha Mandamin

Samantha Mandamin is an emerging artist and Indigenous Comedy Writer, she is Anishnawbe from the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Indian Territory. Aside from her First Nation Membership she is also a member of the all-Indigenous female comedy group “Manifests Destiny Child”. Her dry quick-witted comedy is unique and sometimes dark but combined with her positive outlook on life, she hopes to bring laughter and healing to many audiences across Turtle Island…cause she’s nish like that!

Lena Recollet

Where did you go? Clown school?” Lena Recollet did! She is from Wiikwemkoong but currently resides in Toronto. Her first comedy performance was in 2014 for APN’s “She Kills Me” and then for Camino’s Cabaret that same year before joining Manifest Destiny’s Child
in 2015. Her most recent live performance since the pandemic was at “Grass and Giggles” – hosted by BLK Tea Collective.
A poet, clown and comedian with
a foundation in theatre.

Jamie Whitecrow

Jamie Whitecrow is a self-taught artist and filmmaker from Seine River First Nation, Treaty #3, and lives in Toronto, ON. She enjoys a rich multi-disciplinary creative practice that includes writing,
visual art, music, filmmaking, and performance. She has an educational background in philosophy and Indigenous community development, and is pursuing a master of fine arts degree in Film Production at York University. Jamie enjoys writing comedy as it is the only discipline untouched by Aristotle and left to grow wild for two millennia.

Cherish Violet Blood

Cherish Violet Blood is an actor, storyteller, activist and Blackfoot woman hailing from the Blood reserve. Based in Toronto, Cherish is a professionally trained and seasoned performer with active followings in the national Indigenous and international theatre community. Cherish has performed all over North America.

Select credits include creator/performer in Material Witness (Spiderwoman Theatre La Mama, NYC), creator/performer in Making Treaty 7 directed by Michelle Thrush in Calgary, AB. The lead role in Deer Woman, a new play that has been touring internationally by Tara Beagan. As a natural comedian Cherish has hosted album release parties as well as community events and fundraisers.

Janet Antone

Janet’s beading business,
Ms. Antone’s Beadwork had its unofficially launch 7 years ago in 2013 when her best friend sat her down to teach her to bead, during a particularly hard time in her life.

Beading has become a way to calm the mind while feeling connected to her roots. Janet’s beadwork has been all over the world (Africa, US, New Zealand, Scotland, Norway) and she is now grateful to pass along the techniques of beading and giving back to her community.

She has showcased her work at the Guswenta Gathering at Soulpepper in October 2017, and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa for the Adàwàning: Indigenous Women’s Art Market – 2018, 2019, 2021,
The Merry Makers Block Party – March 2019, and she’s also placed second runner up in the London readers choice in the jewellery category in 2017. She has also been featured in Global News, WhatsUp London, London Fuse, & her work has appeared on Letterkenny.


Alessandra Vite

Alessandra Vite is an improviser and writer who has contributed to “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”,  “The Beaverton”, and CBC radio’s “Because News”. 

Alessandra has also performed with The Second City Touring Company, and was the former Head Writer and cast member of the Comedy Bar produced sketch show “Sunday Night Live with The Sketchersons”. 

You can catch her selling butt eggs to vampires on FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows” and hitting on Haley Joel Osment on Amazon Prime’s “The Boys.”

Paloma Nuñez

Paloma Nuñez is an award-winning Latinx performer. Paloma was a part of Second City’s first all female-identifying sketch revue She The People which won a Canadian Comedy Award.

Paloma also won a Dora Award for Best Ensemble for her work on the Wonder Pageant at the Coal Mine Theatre. Paloma has worked with Second City for over a decade, and has directed in the Bob Curry Fellowship,

The Second City Education Program and will be directing the upcoming Second City Mainstage show, set to open in December 2021.

Selected TV/Film credits include: Baroness Von Sketch (CBC), Kim’s Convenience (CBC), and Handmaid’s Tale.  Look for her in the upcoming live action Disney film, Peter Pan and Wendy (2022).

Production Staff

Debbie Courchene – Artistic Director/Producer

Debbie was inspired to create positive representations of Indigenous artists through the use of humour as a producer. During her studies, her passion and interest furthered in finding a place where she could make a lasting impact for her Indigenous colleagues.

Debbie has been trained in improvisational comedy, with Blind Tiger Comedy. In 2021, she was commissioned to produce a work for the National Arts Centre: Transformations project where she created a short comedic episode “Auntie in da Woods”. 

Recent works include Seventh Fire (Delinquent Theatre), Iron Peggy (Boca Del Lupo), Weaving Reconciliation (Vancouver Moving Theatre), Moosemeat & Marmalade (Mooswa Films Inc), Empress of Vancouver (Lantern Films Inc).

Nova Courchene –
Associate Producer

Currently situated in Winnipeg, where her roots are. As the Community Liaison in the Indigenous Way of Life, at Frontier School Division, is committed to building bridges that celebrates and honours an Indigenous Ways
of Life. She works to connect people in a good way by ensuring Indigenous values are honoured and showcased. 

She also holds a part-time position as the Assistant Program Director at the Native Youth Theatre program, run out of Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

Nova Courchene parents are Sagkeeng First Nation and Rolling River both located in Manitoba. Nova has been involved in music for most of her life. She has spent the past 5 years working at developing her administrative skills, and worked independently with musicians and in theatre organizations.

Carla Ritchie –
Production Manager

Carla is an accomplished Production Manager and Stage Manager, Technical Director, and Set, Light and Video Designer.
Carla has lived and worked across Canada, mainly in Toronto, Calgary, Regina, and Manitoulin Island. She has toured across Canada, to the USA, and to China, twice.

Recent credits include; Stage Manager for Isitwendam with Bound to Create and Native Earth, Video Design for The Message with Tarragon Theatre, and Stage Manager for Backbone, Adizokan and Mistatim with Red Sky Performance.

Some favourite companies include; Ghost River Theatre, Red Sky Performance, Theatre Calgary, The Globe Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, One Yellow Rabbit, The Only Animal, Debajehmujig-Storytellers, The National Arts Centre, Sage Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre, Canadian Stage, and Artscape.