Green Fools Theatre Presents



Thank you to everyone who came we hope you enjoyed the show! 

13 illustrious Performers and 50 remarkable Youth weave a fantastic tale; a theatrical adventure where worlds collide and feats of balance, strength, and creativity converge fostering new friendships and forging a better world.

Inspired by Canada’s 150th, the GREEN FOOLS THEATRE company has combined their Social Circus camps and their theatre creation work to produce COU, A Circus of Unity. Together with 13 seasoned theatre and circus artists and 50 youth from multiple cultural, religious and economic backgrounds, this production fuses the voices of Canada’s youth through 8 unique disciplines to bring you this multimedia circus spectacular!


Dean Bareham is Artistic Director and Co-founder of Green Fools Theatre Society. He began his studies as a sculpture major and performance artist at the Alberta College of Art & Design and then attended the Dell’ Arte School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California. For the last twenty-six years, Dean has been delighting audiences across the globe with his buffoonery, clowning, and stilt characters; his alter ego, Gustavo the Impossiblist is infamous worldwide. Dean has performed and taught workshops all across Canada, Europe, South America, Macedonia, New Zealand, Lesotho, Japan, and the USA. He was puppeteer with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Theatre Orchestra in Ottawa and performed with Cirque du Soleil at the Luminato Festival in Toronto. Dean is proud to be an instructor for the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival Circus and Magic Partnership Program. He has worked with CIRQINIQ, a circus arts program with Cirque du Soleil and the Katimavik Regional Govt. Dean was voted one of Calgary’s Top Forty Under Forty and was recently awarded the ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award at the Calgary Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts.

Experienced and extremely versatile, artist Shelley Bareham earned a BFA in Metal Smithing at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1993. She opened her first studio in 1994 with long time friend and collaborator Jef Tsui and spent the next three years creating one-of-a-kind jewellery and small sculptures. In the years that followed, she continued to refine and expand her skill set while working in Bronze foundries, jewellery factories, in the apothecary arts and with other independent artists. She moved to Korea in 2000 where she taught English before returning to Calgary two years later to launch a new venture, The Painter Chick, a one-woman painting company that did everything from colour consultation and small murals, to indoor/outdoor painting. Shelley has been with the Green Fools Theatre Society since 2011, working as an administrator, art instructor, costume, mask and puppet designer and is currently working as the General Manager of the company. Shelley will be part of the Green Fools creation team for COU designing and building costumes, set, and props.

Jessica Barrera is a multidisciplinary artist who has grown up in the circus, theatre, and world-dance circles. She continues to infuse narrative with physicality in performance, choreography, directing, and teaching; with a consistent intention to strengthen communal relationships. Jessica has previously worked in film as an actor, stunt acrobat, and aerialist; and has had the privilege to train, tour, and perform with Cirque du Soleil and other innovative Canadian companies. Jessica is grateful to have journeyed with Green Fools and the many communities it has touched since 2011

Since 1985 Mike Battie has been wowing audiences with his hilariously dynamic stage show that blends virtuoso juggling, unicycle and physical skills choreographed to music. His passion for the circus arts goes beyond the stage, an experienced teacher Mike is a resident juggling/unicycle/stilts instructor for Vancouver Cirkids. He has spent time teaching street performing for the Ailanthus organization, trained Abbotsford youth to be resident performers for the Western Canada Game, and been an instructor at Vancouver School Board’s Adult Education. Mike has also taught privately for schools and colleges and conducted workshops at Science World and a wide variety of festivals. Every year Mike travels to Winnipeg and Saskatchewan to share his skills with kids in the C.A.M.P. and C.A.P. programs. Whether he’s performing on a stage, or in a field for a family festival, Mike brings out the best, not only in himself but also in the kids he teaches.

Barry Bilinsky is an Alberta-based theatre artist of Metis/Cree descent originally from Edmonton Alberta in Treaty 6 territory. Since graduating from the University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Arts program in 2012, Barry has focused on creating work with diverse communities through various art disciplines along the spectrum from community driven projects to professional theatre. On the community side, Barry has worked with groups such as The GeriActors and Friends: an intergenerational theatre company and Jewish Family Services as a Socio-Drama Director. Professionally, he has worked with Alberta Aboriginal Arts for several years, writing and directing work in their youth mentorship program Soar and coordinating the annual Rubaboo Aboriginal Arts Festival; as well as Stage Managing/Production Managing the 2015-2017 productions of Making Treaty 7. However, Barry’s personal practice is focused on the Pochinko Clown methodology. In 2012, Barry Co-created the Happy Accidents Clown Collective, which eventually became Fool Spectrum Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. Trained under Jan Henderson and Mike Kennard, his practice extends from roving clown to directing and performing in full productions. This work has aided him in many other projects, including recent residencies with Trickster Theatre and Quest Theatre in Calgary.

Catherine Butt-Vallieres started taking classes with the Green Fools Circus at age 6. Through this training, she had the opportunity to master skills such as juggling, stilt walking, acrobatics, puppets, masks and clowning. At the age of 12, she began peer mentoring for the kids in some of the Green Fools Circus camps and have been working with them as an instructor ever since. An accomplished gymnast Catherine is also a certified gymnastics coach specializing in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, and a certified trampoline coach and works as a senior recreational coach at Glenmore Gymnastics.

Pascal Butt-Vallieres has been involved with the Green Fools since he was 6 years old. He first started taking classes and workshops. By age 12 he was mentoring other kids at the at Green Fools’ circus camps. Today, he works as an instructor with the Fools with a focus on juggling, unicycling, and balancing acts such as rola-bola and barrel walking.

Terry Gunvordahl’s career continues to shift, change and evolve. He recently worked as set designer on ‘Damnation’, a pilot for NBC Television as well as several commercials. His designs have been seen around the world including Paris, France; Rotterdam, Holland; and Manchester, England. Terry’s designs have been nominated for Toronto’s Dora Award, Edmonton’s Stirling Award, Vancouver’s Jessie Award, over 20 nominations for Calgary’s Betty Mitchell Award. Terry received the Martha Cohen Award last year for his contribution to Calgary Theatre. His exhibit designs can be seen at the Glenbow Museum, The Calgary Military Museums and Blackfoot Crossing Historical park. As an actor, Terry has appeared with Sage Theatre, Downstage Theatre and he produced his own one man show about J. M. Barrie. Recently he appeared in The Money Tree, a film by Aaron Bernakevitch which premiered at the Calgary Film Festival.

Jonathan Lewis is a Calgary-based composer and musician. He has created scores for numerous theatrical productions, for companies such as Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Vertigo Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre, Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Western Canada Theatre, and more. He also composes for film and television, most recently for Sesame Street. Jonathan also has a busy career on violin and viola as a freelance performer with ensembles ranging from Greek to klezmer, to classical, musical theatre, jazz, and beyond.

Judith Mendelsohn is a Calgary performer who creates and performs her own shows; her most recent work Belle Paris will be performed at the West Village Theatre in October.  As a stilt walker, she performs regularly with Green Fools Theatre and teaches clown and stilt walking with the company.  She is passionate about working collaboratively with children, particularly youth-at-risk to create and perform theatre and clown and is a Residency Artist with Evergreen Theatre and Quest Theatre. She holds an MFA in theatre from the University of Calgary and has diplomas in Acting from Mount Royal University and Ecole Philippe Gaulier in France.

Jeff Olynek has been performing for decades as a special skills performer. As a stilt walker, he has performed throughout Alberta at fairs and carnivals. In addition to stilts, he is a juggler and fire performer. Jeff has regularly worked with the Green Fools and Firefly Circus. When he isn’t performing he is teaching classes at the Calgary Circus School. He holds a BFA in performance from the University of Alberta.

Holly Schinbein has been involved in the circus industry, as an aerialist and also as a coach, since 2009. Holly has performed professionally in venues from the festival stage to corporate venues to private events. Most recently Holly has been seen Vertical Wall Dancing at the Kaleido Festival in Edmonton, on the silks in the Calgary Opera’s production of Die tote Stadt as well as at the Calgary Opera Gala at the Jubilee Auditorium. Holly is also a member of the Spectacle Blue Performing Company where she can be seen multiple times a year on aerial silks, aerial hoop, aerial trapeze, double trapeze, aerial straps as well as acting, dancing and tumbling.

Makambe K Simamba is a Zambian born theatre artist based in Calgary. Her intention is to be of service to humanity through storytelling. Recent acting credits include Bea (Sage Theatre, Betty Mitchell Award Nomination for Outstanding Actor), SIA (Pyretic Productions), Medea (Chromatic Theatre), and Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (Ellipsis Tree Collective). Film/TV credits include Hold the Dark, Burn Your Maps and Young Drunk Punk. As a playwright, she has won provincial and national awards for her original play, MUD. Makambe is a member of the 2017/18 Playwright’s Unit at Alberta Theatre Projects and is a playwright in residence at b current theatre. Her autobiographical solo show, A Chitenge Story, will have its official premiere in March 2018, presented by Handsome Alice Theatre in Calgary. To learn more about Makambe’s adventures, follow @artingwithmakambe on Instagram.

Jamie Tognazzini (alias Jamie Tea) is a multidisciplinary artist, specializing in musical theatre, circus, and puppetry. When Jamie’s not performing onstage, she engages with the community as an instructor for Green Fools’ Social Circus programs. Jamie recently appeared with Catalyst Theatre in multiple roles for both Calgary/ATP and Edmonton/ Citadel runs of ‘Fortune Falls’. In 2017, Jamie made her Vertigo Theatre debut as Alice in ‘The Drowning Girls’, receiving a Betty nomination for Outstanding Ensemble. Upcoming, Jamie joins One Yellow Rabbit as a guest artist in the collaborative creation of the new musical, ‘Moon, Moon, No Moon’ for the High Performance Rodeo.

Lee Zimmerman “…a.k.a. The Puppet Guy, has been performing his rock and roll marionette show all over the world for more than 30 years. Some of the greatest names in the history of music come alive in a unique and amazing display of humor and skill. Lee was a regular performer at Universal Studios and “The Improv” in Hollywood and has appeared on dozens of TV shows and films, including “The Drew Carey Show” and the cult film, “Eddy Presley” with Quentin Tarantino. Lee also entertained the cast and crew at the “Seinfeld” final wrap party and has done command performances for many celebrities and dignitaries such as the Sultan of Brunei, Hugh Hefner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zappa and Guns ‘N’ Roses. Since 1998, Lee has been a performer/instructor at numerous circus camps. Highlights include teaching at the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival Circus and Magic Partnership, (CAMP) a collaboration with Cirque de Soleil this program teaches circus arts with the intent to help kids-at-risk.” He has also worked with the Green Fools Social Circus out of Calgary and the Under The Big Top camp in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Far and away the most rewarding work I’ve ever been a part of.