Often quoted for this mantra, “It takes a community to build an artist, whether we resist against it, or are nurtured by it.” Johnny Trinh wants to acknowledge many poets are birthed through resistance, and envisions a space where their voices are nurtured and encouraged to grow. There is a deep need for compassion, laughter, healing, weirdness, and transformation in our community. Vancouver Poetry House and its many programs can be an incredible platform to help people listen to voices that have endured despite the world that aims to silence them.
Johnny is the Founder and Artistic Producer of Stage to Page Performance Society. Stage to Page, developed through the support of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. As a community-engaged artist, Johnny is interested in auto-ethnographic performance in relation to building community, especially when community seems inaccessible. Johnny is committed to the continual application and creation of consent based, decolonizing, and trauma-informed practice when engaging with community to create art.
Johnny’s spoken word career began in 2012, quickly reaching national level in 2013 through the poetry slam community, becoming a multi-year finalist at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. Trinh went on to join the team at Vancouver Poetry House as the Tournament Director for the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam for multiple years, as well as be a featured artist, Word Play educator, and guest curator for the Verses Festival of Words.
Johnny holds a MFA: Interdisciplinary Studies – Theatre & Creative Technology from the University of Regina; a Honours BA: Drama from the University of Waterloo, a diploma in Music Theatre Performance from the Randolph College of Performing Arts, and is an alum from the Banff Centre: Spoken Word Literary Program and Dell’Arte International School for Physical Theatre: Mask Intensives.
Johnny MacRae is a mouthy poet of Gaelic ancestry who lives on the the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) nations.
Since arriving on the Van Slam stage in 2009, Johnny has won regional and national slam titles. He has toured widely and tirelessly, both solo and as a member of psychedelic talk rock duo 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac. Although best known for his high energy and humorous poems, Johnny is a versatile artist whose work ranges from absurdist fantasy and irreverent satire, to quiet self-reflection and profane mysticism, and from poetry slam, to site-specific storytelling, to spoken word theatre.
Whether sharing his work at poetry readings, in schools, for academic conferences, or with haggard festival crowds, Johnny always brings something delightfully unexpected!
Sonya Littlejohn recently graduated from Simon Fraser University with a certificate in Community Capacity Building. She holds a bachelor of arts from UBC, a career in poetry performance and facilitation, and communication building. She is a community engagement facilitator, a cultural worker, community coordinator, mad artist and poet.
Prior to joining Vancouver Poetry House, Laura spent over 7 years in Accounting, managing the finances for many not-for-profit clients. She has her Professional Bookkeeping Certificate from Langara College and her Office Administration Diploma from Vancouver Career College. She intends to continue with more accounting studies in the time left from pursuing her other passions: sewing and embroidery.
SJ Valiquette (she/ they) is a poet, photographer, actor, audiobook narrator, and arts administrator. They have been a member of the spoken word community for a decade and have competed at CIPS and the Bigfoot Regional Slam. SJ has studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the University of Victoria and is currently working towards becoming an Intimacy Director. Her next collection knick-knacks/ things no one is saying is coming out in 2024 with Nightingale and Sparrow.