To book a performance-based artist through Artists in the 5th, please contact School Program Coordinator, Eleanor Albanese at artistsinthe5th [at]  Project spaces are limited!

Lila Cano
Drama/Literary Arts/Music
Well known to Thunder Bay audiences in a myriad of artistic buffets, Lila has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree in Theatre with a major in Acting. She has been a professional actor since 1984 and has done numerous plays for many companys, both as an actor and Director. She has worked as a community arts facilitator, arts educator, program developer, writer and designer. Lila continues to explore new artistic endeavors connected to the arts. Her work focuses mainly on drama, movement, original creation based work and music. As an arts educator she ensures the participants ideas and creative work is supported and that the piece is a true shared experience by everyone who has participated in the work. She believes that art and heritage experiences can transform people and communities.

Stephanie DePiero
Stephanie DePiero has 22+ years of training and experience in the dance industry. Her credits include work with; Disney, Nickelodeon, Much Music, MTV, Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club to name a few. Stephanie also holds examinations with the Canadian Dance Teachers Association. She lends insight into the best tools and techniques used by professionals in the performing arts today. Her goal as a dance and performing arts instructor is to not only make all her class’s fun but at the same time introduce and educate participants about the benefits of dance as part of their fitness routine. She believes in a balanced, healthy living life style and knows first-hand the physical health and mental health benefits of dance and the performing arts.

Keri-Lyn Durant (French/English)
Drama/Literary Arts
Keri-Lyn Durant has worked as a teacher and drama specialist for two decades and has been involved both professionally and personally in theatre arts for over 30 years. She is currently active in the classroom and community as a facilitator of workshops, in both English and French, involving dramatic play, devising, Forum Theatre, creative writing, debate, and spoken word poetry.

Claudia Otto
Creative Movement/Dance
Claudia Otto is a gifted choreographer/educator and has an extensive background in contemporary and improv dance. She is the artistic director of the Image Studio of Dance and has worked in the community and schools. Claudia is passionate about empowering participants through creative movement/dance.

Laura Wilson
Laura has been an enthusiastic participant in the world of dance from a young age.  She is an experienced teacher in the Cecchetti ballet method and currently teaches Cecchetti ballet and creative movement to children of various ages.  She is also a licensed instructor of the Shumka Dance Syllabus Academy.  As a dancer, Laura attended professional summer school dance programs in Ottawa for many years.  She has enjoyed exploring various forms of dance including Scottish highland, Ukrainian folk, Bharatanatyam (India), jazz, lyrical, modern, cabaret, and hip hop.  She continues to further her knowledge and skills both as a dancer and a teacher by attending dance workshops throughout Canada including Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto.  Laura has created and implemented theme-based arts and crafts program for young children in the Kakabeka area and in Thunder Bay.  She believes that all children should have the opportunity to explore and express their creative talents through arts.

Rita Zavagnin
Rita is a theatre artist with more than 25 years of experience in arts education.
Her work is focused on the experience of the body as a tool to explore the creative process and the student’s world view. In the classroom, Rita works collaboratively with the teacher to engage learners in artistic inquiry into topics of interest as identified by the students themselves. Projects are designed to encourage and motivate students as they develop specific theatrical skills. Rita has worked with schools and community groups throughout Ontario, sharing her love of improvisation, physical theatre, mask and the creation of new works. Her education includes training in child development, theatre arts and art therapy.