Esmeralda Superspy and her sidekick Goober (Sara Holt and Ian Gschwind). Photo by David Cooper.
Ian Gschwind as The Blaster. Photo: David Cooper
ABOUT DREAMRIDER THEATRE
Led by creative visionaries Vanessa LeBourdais and Ian Gschwind, DreamRider Theatre's Team are youth engagement experts, who use theatre, music and multi-media to excite children to learn, grow and change. We speak kids language, we know what kids find fun, and we know how to embed any lesson into storyline. Over three quarters of a million chidren have laughed, yelled and sung along to our popular plays on environmental themes in the past fourteen years.
DreamRider Theatre's Values: Everything we do is fun, creative, welcoming, inspiring, and meaningful.
DreamRider Theatre's Mandate is to produce theatre and multi-media that imparts life affirming values to enlist public interest and understanding in environmental, social and/or historical issues.
DreamRider Theatre's Activities: Through the excitement of live theatre and multi-media, DreamRider introduces the fundamentals of environmental awareness to school age children. DreamRider inspires children to take positive action, and to pass that inspiration on to their families and communities. We partner with 14 municipal governments, plus individuals, foundations and corporate partners, to bring our fun plays and multi-media at no cost to 70,000 children at over 300 schools every year.
"A very effective ambassador in spreading the message of environmental responsibility.” - City of Vancouver.
DreamRider Theatre's Awards: DreamRider was honoured as Earth Day Canada's Top Ten Hometown Heroes for our work. Executive Producer Vanessa LeBourdais received the Tri-Cities Spirit of Community Environment Award in 2011. Also, performer/creator Ian Gschwind was honoured by the Burns Bog Conservation Society with their Eco-Arts Award in 2010, for protecting the environment through artistic endeavours. DreamRider’s creative team has won international awards for their work, including two at Hollywood’s Moondance Film Festival.
DreamRider Founders Sara Holt, Vanessa LeBourdais & Ian Gschwind
Vanessa is Executive Producer of DreamRider Theatre and in the four years since she came on board full-time, has quintupled our revenues, produced our most successful shows ever, and started our new multi-media program. Vanessa is also an award-winning playwright and composer. She performed in Clean Up Your Act for ten years and wrote all the music for all of the shows. With Ian, she writes musicals for kids and for adults too, like Keep Cool!, as well as Gremlin (Carousel, Geordie Theatre), The Dreamer’s Quest (Western Canada Theatre) and Quantum Physics: The Musical. She also wrote the music for the hit show Larger Than Life: The Musical with SG Lee (Western Canada Theatre/Firehall Theatre/Gateway Theatre). Her best creation is her daughter, Tia.
Interesting story about Vanessa: In 1992, the rainforest in Vanessa's Tofino, BC, backyard was clearcut and turned into a parking lot. She was thus inspired to become one of the leaders of the Clayoquot Sound environmental campaign. Her songs became the songs of the movement, as well; Vanessa even opened for the band Midnight Oil on their early-morning concert on the logging road.
Ian is a cult-hero with the under-12 set. Elementary school gymnasiums across Greater Vancouver erupt with cheers when Ian arrives on the scene. He is Technical & Tour Producer of DreamRider Theatre and performs in all of our shows, as well as being one of the writers. Other shows he's written with Vanessa include Gremlin (Carousel, Geordie Theatre), The Dreamer’s Quest (Western Canada Theatre) and Quantum Physics: The Musical.
Interesting Story about Ian: Ian has an encylopaedic knowledge of a whole bunch of things including martial arts, ancient history & world religions. He teaches Kempo to young kids. Zany things he has done include skydiving and marrying Vanessa.
Sara Holt has been working professionally as an actor in Vancouver since her graduation from Studio 58 in 2000, and is a member of Canadian Actors’ Equity. She is a founding member of DreamRider Theatre and performs in all our shows. As a director, Sara brings her broad professional directing, acting, and choreography experience to every production. Her skills as a visual artist and seamstress are as valued as her experience as a historical researcher. Sara is also an accomplished Irish Dancer, and dances with the Nora Pickett School of Irish Dance. Sara is also Artistic Director of Summer Theatre at Fort Steele, both the MainStage and the Living History program.
Interesting stories about Sara: Sara slept in a haunted house in England for a year and a half. She was on a cruise ship that almost sank in the Mediterranean. She gave birth in an hour and 46 minutes and then a month later went to live in a tent at Fort Steele; her costumed baby performed with her.
Blending a background in film production and sustainable business, Hilary Mandel provides behind-the-scenes management support to DreamRider Theatre. Hilary started her career in her hometown of Los Angeles, first working for Fries Entertainment, J. Walter Thompson and Columbia Records, then production managing music videos and commercials. Seeking more values-based work, she earned her MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 2003, and then joined Paul Hawken’s Natural Capital Institute as a researcher. Hilary immigrated to Vancouver in 2007 to become Director of Development for Smart Growth BC, where she worked until 2010. In addition to her fabulous DreamRider gig, she teaches a course in Social Responsibility in Entertainment & Media at Vancouver Film School, and provides project management and research services to other mission-based businesses and nonprofits around the Lower Mainland.
Interesting stories about Hilary:: As a high school thespian, Hilary performed in two pieces which won first prize in Southern California drama festivals, and attended the Academy Awards twice with her father, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
As a graduate of the SFU Theatre Production and Design program, where she earned her BFA, Jenn has been involved with many productions in many capacities. Usually found behind the scenes, she prefers Stage Managing, but has been known to throw together a lighting design when absolutely necessary. Jenn has recently Stage Managed WhaT,? (Mascall Dance on tour to St. John's, Newfoundland and Victoria, BC), White Spider (Mascall Dance), The 4H Club (Genus Theatre) and a school tour of The A to Z of H20 (DreamRider Theatre). Working mainly in arts administration, Jenn is currently the Production Manager at Vancouver Youth Theatre, the Tour Coordinator at DreamRider Theatre, and an Office Administrator at Mascall Dance. She is on the Board of Directors for Proximity Arts and Upintheair Theatre Society.
Interesting Story about Jenn:
DreamRider also hires the best & brightest independent designers and artists to help create the magic you see on stage.
DreamRider's past and present partners include BC Gaming Commission, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, VanCity, TD Friends of the Environment, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Canada Council for the Arts, Real Estate Foundation of BC, RBC Blue Water Fund, TELUS, Hamber Foundation, and the municipalities of Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Langley, Coquitlam, Port Moody, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Pitt Meadows, and Surrey. Plus our friends at Bandidas Taquiera and the Joel and Dana Solomon Fund at TIDES Canada.
Thank you for supporting DreamRider's work!