Conservatory Company

Ages 18-29

This new Conservatory Company program aims to provide a continuation of Theatre Ancaster program opportunities for young adults, with considerations of student timelines and summer work schedules. This program focuses on access to leadership opportunities in building capacity for the theatre company’s future and offers more diversity in our show selection, aimed at a more mature audience.  The Company is open to all adults who have completed secondary school up to age 29.

Our inaugural production of Rent was a huge success. As a result, we have expanded our performance dates to run over 2 weekends.

Auditions occur annually in February.

This program is ideal for a variety of young adults:

  • who have finished their undergraduate degree and are settling in the Hamilton area
  • who have graduated from our Stage 3 Young Company
  • who prefer May – August rehearsal schedules
  • looking for a way to maintain their skill set over the summer months

The Conservatory Company program offers professional workshops to its participants.


$200 to cover the cost of specific, show-relevant workshops by professional artists

Program Dates/Times:
May – August, 2023
Tuesdays 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Thursdays 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Sundays 12:00 – 5:00 pm

Performance Dates:
August 11, 12, 17, 18 & 19 at 7:30 pm
August 13, 19 & 20 at 2:00 pm


Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre
Peller Hall
357 Wilson Street East
Ancaster, ON, L9G 2C1

Nupi Gokhale

Nupi Gokhale


Since Theatre Ancaster’s inception in 1997, Nupi has performed, choreographed, stage managed, directed, produced and served as its Director of Youth Programming for ten years, Vice-President for five and currently serves as the company’s President since 2013. Favorite directing credits include Beauty and the Beast, Shrek and Mamma Mia!. She holds degrees from Queen’s University and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (U of T). Nupi’s love of theatre and education have allowed her to build both careers simultaneously. After two decades teaching in the Grand Erie D.S.B, Nupi is now an administrator, first collaborating as an artistic director of a private arts high school in Burlington, and now as a Vice-Principal in the Hamilton-Wentworth DSB.

Her commitment to Theatre Ancaster is credited to amazingly talented community volunteers. As co-creator of our Jitterbugs Program when her children were toddlers, she is elated at the opportunity to bookend that with the latest TA program, this time working alongside her kids, for the kid in all of us! The Conservatory Company is the perfect next step for students and young adults who love theatre but are having trouble finding a way to fit it into their studies or work schedules. The program also provides leadership opportunities to emerging artists who plan to become more involved in production roles. All the more exciting that we begin this journey, performing in our new theatre home.

2024 Professional Workshops

Shawn Bracke

Dance Workshop with Shawn Bracke

Shawn Bracke is a versatile Choreographer, Dancer and Visual Artist, creating movements for stage, film and television. His work is story-based and aims to inspire audiences to think critically and feel deeply. His aesthetic stems from his strong technical training and a professional career that’s immersed in the commercial and concert dance worlds. His extensive training in Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-hop genres and social dance vernacular have been integral to his unique movement. Shawn draws from experience with improvisational acting techniques to create a heightened emotional state with his work.

Having spent time living in Vancouver, London UK, Milan IT and now in Toronto, Canada. Shawn has gained credits working with major brands.

Shawn’s Directorial and Choreographic Dance On Film works have been featured in over 25 International Film Festivals including the Oscar qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival, Inside Out (TIFF) Film Festival and Canadian Film Fest. Selected Choreography credits include: Macy’s, The Hudson Bay, The Abnormal Beauty Company (Deciem), Much Music MMVA’s, YTV the Zone, The Next Step (associate chor.), We Day, BBC television, Converse, Bud Light Sensation, ACT Toronto, Freeform Network.

As an instructor he has taught at over 250 locations (studios, conventions and training programs) in Canada, the US, the UK, France and Italy. Prominent institutions and programs include: Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (UK), Centennial College (ON), The Source Dance Company (BC), Harbour Dance Centre ITP (BC), George Brown (ON), Scholarship Dance Program (ON) and Randolph College For The Performing Arts (ON). Additionally he’s currently a guest faculty member at: Studio North (ON), and has been faculty member at professional drop in centres: Underground Dance Centre (ON), Metro Movement (ON), Millennium Dance Complex (ON), Harbour Dance Centre (BC), Pineapple Dance Studios (UK), Studio 68 (UK) and The Dance Attic (UK).

For more works, please go to

Laura Welch

Actor’s Safety and Self-Worth with Laura Welch

Laura Welch is an actor/writer/director from Hamilton, ON living and working in Hamilton the Golden Horseshoe. She is the Artistic Director of Light Echo Theatre and the director and a writer of their upcoming collective creation piece “Fertility”. In 2019, with Rebekka of Light Echo Theatre, she produced, directed and performed in a benefit performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. Her favourite roles include Jenna from Michael Kras’ “The Team” produced by Essential Collective Theatre and Juliet in Ryan Sero’s “Romeo and Juliet: An Escapist Comedy”. Laura is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School’s Classical Conservatory Program and a proud member of Canadian Actors Equity and ACTRA.

Laura is very interested in actor’s emotional safety and self-worth. After two decades of various trainings, she became concerned and passionate about improving the working conditions for performers. She began The Safer Space project which was originally designed to collect data about the feeling around harm and safety in the industry in order to make recommendations on improvements. Laura is certified in Trauma Informed Movement and Presence work. She is inspired by the works of Sarah Polley, Colin Bruce Anthes, and Karen Ancheta, as well as anyone who believes our most precarious performers who bring the gifts of theatre and film to the world should be better protected.

Actor’s Safety and Self-Worth is a two-hour presentation and discussion that attempts to empower Actors with a foundational knowledge of what trauma-informed artist-centred care can look like by also examining practices that are rampant in the entertainment industry that destroy confidence and make artist practice emotionally unsustainable. Laura invites artists to reflect and game plan around appropriate boundaries they make for themselves in their careers and introduces the concept of intimacy coordination. This presentation is meant to build a foundation of safety and self-worth that will help Actors thrive creatively and personally throughout their careers.

Rebekka Gondoch

Dialect Workshop with Rebekka Gondosch

Rebekka M. Gondosch is a theatre maker, writer, and arts educator based in Hamilton. They are a graduate of Trinity College Dublin’s M.Phil. in Theatre and Performance program and visit Ireland as often as possible! Some of their favourite work to engage in is devised theatre, Irish theatre, site-specific theatre, and queer performance. Select original theatre performances include Fertility (Light Echo Theatre); Why the River Sings (Passing Through Theatre, devised for Theatre Direct’s Forward March Festival), a series of stories for somewhere in-between (Passing Through Theatre, devised for Suitcase in Point’s In the Soil Festival), and Imposter Queer (devised for Queer on Stage’s Pride Showcase and In the Soil Festival’s Rhizomes). Rebekka is the coordinator and leader of the Spark Teen Performance Intensive through the Hamilton Festival Theatre Company and has had the honour of teaching amazing high school students for seven years. They have directed numerous productions for young adults, most recently FrankensteinRebekka has performed in three Theatre Ancaster productions and assistant directed the Conservatory Company’s inaugural production of RENT. They are excited to dive into dialects with this year’s cast of Cabaret! You can learn more about Rebekka and their artistic practice at and follow them on social media @theatre_is_wilde. 

Description of Dialect Workshop:

This workshop will introduce actors to the foundations of dialect work. We will begin by examining the various ways actors can approach learning different dialects and accents, with a focus on dramaturgy and vocal techniques. Three distinct accents will be taught to participants including British (RP, Cockney, London), American (Pennsylvania), and German (general). Basic German words and phrases found in the script will also be focused on for specific pronunciation. Participants will have ample opportunity to practice these accents for accuracy in the workshop as well as be given resources to support both their work in rehearsals and personal acting practices. Joyfulness and a willingness to play are encouraged!


What is the difference between the Conservatory Company versus a Mainstage Company?

There are a few key differences between our Conservatory program and our Mainstage productions. The main difference is that the Mainstage is our professional performance series that is not built around a teaching philosophy. Our Mainstage shows are the pillars of our organization and are performed and produced at a very high calibre. The Conservatory is a new program for young adults. To audition you must be finished high school and be between 18-29 years old. The selection of shows is also catered to a younger demographic in terms of roles and audience appeal. The production values of staging, direction, production values, choreography and theatre venue are identical. Conservatory performers will be given access to Theatre Ancaster costumes, sets, props, marketing campaigns as well as venue and rehearsal halls. Our expectation is that this company will highlight the most talented 20-somethings in the Hamilton area. The Conservatory Company is also led by qualified Theatre Ancaster production staff but with an emphasis on inviting people into leadership roles who may not have previously had the opportunity.

What are the qualifications of the creative team?

As with all Theatre Ancaster productions, our creative team is comprised of working artists and educators in musical theatre. As with all production roles in Conservatory, the emphasis is on a collaborative team approach to build capacity for future mainstage creative leaders and production heads.

How do I know what to prepare for an audition?

Visit the audition page of our website for detailed information on the types of songs to select and how to approach music tracks for both online and in-person auditions.

Is it better to do an in-person or a zoom audition?

There is no one way that is best to audition. Both options are available because many of our auditioners are students who may/may not be able to get to Hamilton in person. In this way, the audition process is equitable for all who are interested.

Should I audition for Conservatory if I have never performed on stage before?

Like all Theatre Ancaster productions, we do expect a good turnout for auditions. If you have a strong voice or dance background, you should consider auditioning, even if you have never performed live theatre. However, if you are nervous to sing or dance for the first time and have never performed before, we suggest that you build up your confidence and return to us when you feel ready. Obtaining roles in medium sized shows can be competitive.

Do I have to take on a production role even if I am not creative in that way?

You do not have to lead a production department, i.e. make-up, if you do not feel qualified. You do have to participate in a crew for at least one production area.


  • paint a set piece if given instructions and guidance
  • purchase props from a store required for the show
  • edit the playbill
  • take photographs or video clips for social media
What if I have a family vacation scheduled for July or August?

As long as you are transparent with your stage manager when you are offered a part and the absence is manageable, we should be able to work around week-long vacations, excluding tech week and performance dates.

When do I pay my fee?

The fee is paid after auditions are completed and the cast is selected and PRIOR to the first in person rehearsal in May.

What is your refund policy?

If a participant needs to withdraw from the program for any reason, 

100% of the registration fee will be refunded before the beginning of the program.  
75% of the registration fee will be refunded after the first class/rehearsal.
50% of the registration fee will be available after the second or third class/rehearsal.
No refunds will be issued after four classes/rehearsals.

All refunds at the participant’s request will be subject to a $25 administration fee.