Ottawa Little Theatre Board of Directors

Geoff Gruson
President, Board of Directors

With over 35 years of active volunteering at the OLT in almost every capacity, Geoff was an OLT Cornerstone Project inductee in 2015.  He has been involved in well over 50 shows at OLT. In addition to his work as an actor and director, he has served as assistant to the director, fight director, scenic designer, member of the Board of Directors for approximately 20 years, member of the Operations Committee, Chair of the Artistic Committee, and member of the Play Selection Committee. He brings into the community of OLT a wealth of experience from the professional world – both in strategic and HR management, as well as in professional film, TV and stage, and Presidency of ACTRA Ottawa.  In the 2006-2007, he received the Audrey Ashley Award from the Capital Critics Circle for ‘outstanding work on community and professional stages and contribution to theatre in Ottawa’.

 

Chantale Plante
Vice-President (Artistic)

Chantale has been in love with the theatre most of her life and has been a theatre practitioner for over 20 years. She has worked for many local Ottawa theatre companies both professional and community but calls the Ottawa Little Theatre home. At the OLT she is an actor, director, and served as Chair of the Learning Committee for five years. She studied professionally at Studio 58 in Vancouver and holds a Theatre Degree from Ottawa University. In her daylight hours she is a Senior Business Analyst for Service Canada, working hard on your CPP/OAS. She loves to walk her two wire fox terriers. In any other spare time she has, you can find her cooking clean cuisine, meditating or practicing/teaching yoga as a certified Yoga Instructor.

 

Paul Hession
Treasurer

Paul Hession is a graduate of the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean/Royal Military College, where he obtained a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, and subsequently McGill University and University of Ottawa, where he obtained his Master of Engineering and MBA, respectively. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario and an active campaign leader for United Way Ottawa. He is a former Treasurer of the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation and a current member of the GTEC Advisory Board.

 

Ian Stauffer
Secretary

Ian is a founding partner of the law firm Tierney Stauffer. He is a specialist in civil litigation, a chartered mediator and sits in Ottawa as the Administrative Deputy Judge in Small Claims Court. After playing the 2nd Murderer in The Scottish Play at Queen’s University, there was a long hiatus. He then re-kindled his passion by starting the “lawyers’ play”, which annually raises money for the GCTC and various charities. Besides appearing in many of those shows, Ian wrote the 10th anniversary production. He has found his true theatre home in the OLT, recently doing his seventh tour of the boards in Pride and Prejudice.

 

Leah Miller

Leah is a non-profit strategist, lover of the arts and community mobilizer. Born and raised in Ottawa, she fell in love with OLT while attending its March break and summer camps. After graduating from Algonquin College’s Theatre Arts program, Leah completed her BA in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland (where she received rave reviews for her appearance as a cat in The Cat Princess). From there, she headed to Canada’s left coast and Royal Roads University where she earned her Master of Arts in International Development with work focused on theatre for HIV/AIDS education in Uganda. In her professional life, Leah is a highly respected fundraiser who spends her days stewarding donors for Cuso International and her evenings volunteering for other charities. She joined the OLT Board in 2016 to do her part to ensure the organisation will inspire a love of the arts for many generations to come.

 

Paul Pieper

Paul first came to OLT in 1976, but his career took him to Toronto. Upon retirement from his own successful businesses and from being a Business Professor, Paul and his wife returned to Ottawa and immediately volunteered at OLT. Although Paul acted early in his career, winning acting awards in Niagara drama festivals, he has preferred to volunteer behind the scenes. He was one of the longest serving members of a community college’s Board of Governors and for 12 years sat on an Audit Committee overseeing multi-million-dollar budgets. He was past president and is now treasurer of another non-profit association. Paul was elected to the OLT Board of Directors at the 2014 AGM and now is also a member of the board’s Operation Committee. He continues to volunteer with the Front of House team.

 

Chris Ralph

Chris is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Acting Company, Ottawa’s largest creative centre for performance arts education. As a sought after vocal coach and presenter, he has worked with professionals from a wide range of business sectors. His political passion has led to involvement in political campaigns and to providing vocal and presentation coaching for Members of Parliament. Chris also teaches at Invest Ottawa, where he leads communication workshops for budding entrepreneurs. Chris is the 2014 Dr. Paul E. Garfinkel Award Winner for Entrepreneurial Achievement. As a professional actor, Chris has worked across the country from Prince George, BC, to the NAC right here in Ottawa. Chris is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and York University’s MFA Acting program.

 

Linda Webster

Linda has been involved in theatre since she was “knee high to a grass hopper” being in a play or musical virtually every year of her life. In Ottawa she has volunteered with many theatre groups both on and off stage.  Her first play here at OLT was in 2004 and it has felt like home ever since.  During the day Linda is a director with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  For both private and public sector organizations, she does strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and manages projects, organizations and people. Linda has been on the board of directors with the Savoy Society of Ottawa and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and is now very pleased to be serving on the board of directors for the Ottawa Little Theatre.

 

Lindsay Wilson

Lindsay Wilson has been volunteering with the Ottawa Little Theatre for the past seven seasons. In that time, she has been involved in over 50 productions, primarily as a sound technician (with occasional forays into lighting or stage crew). Since the 100th season, she has been the sound designer on two to three plays per season. Lindsay has mentored numerous new OLT volunteers in sound operation and design, and worked with a wide variety of directors and volunteers from many different backgrounds. As a backstage volunteer with extensive and diverse experience at the OLT, Lindsay brings a unique perspective to the board, representing volunteers from the technical side of the theatre directly, rather than via the volunteer committee. Given the amount of time she spends at the theatre and the number of volunteers with whom she regularly interacts, Lindsay believes she is uniquely positioned to speak to the real-time needs and priorities affecting backstage volunteers. An epidemiologist by day, Lindsay is always up for a conversation about how handshakes spread the flu (so that conversation will probably begin with an awkward smile and a wave).