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.
Colleen Brown is a visual artist and the 2022-2023 Artist in Residence at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison Hot Springs. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University, a BA Psyc, Simon Fraser University and an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, New York. Her first book will be published in 2023 by Radiant.
Colleen Brown has nearly a decade of experience working with cultural not-for-profits. She is currently the Board Treasurer of the Or Gallery and has sat on the Western Front’s board. She began working with not-for-profits as the Program Coordinator of Artspeak Gallery (2004-2007). Colleen also held numerous communications positions with educational organizations, most recently at the University of British Columbia. Colleen is a committed teacher. In the last few years, she has taught students of all ages, working with young children in galleries, with teens in the classroom and seniors as part of community-based work. She is a sessional faculty member at Emily Carr University occasionally teaching in the Sculpture Department and Continuing Studies Department.
Spillious aka Trevana Spilchen is a Trans feminine settler educator, parent, musician and spoken word artist of Ukrainian and Irish decent. They won the 2017 Grand Slam Championship of the Vancouver Poetry slam and finished 6th at the 2018 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. They have toured as a featured poet all throughout Canada and the US. Spillious has released 3 chapbooks of poetry and the last, Tales of Trans-formation has sold 200 copies. They are the SOGI (sexual orientation & gender identity) coordinator for the Delta School District and teach Social Justice 12 and Music at Delview secondary. Trevana has a Masters in Social Justice Leadership in Education from UBC and has been facilitating workshops on gender all over the province for the last 5 years. Most importantly Spillious is a parent to 4 kids ranging in age from 3 yrs to 21 yrs old and 4 cats named Cola, Orange Crush, Dr. Pepper & rootbeer!
RC Weslowski is a 2017 VPL Book Camp Keynote Speaker, winner of the 2016 Sheri D Wilson Golden Beret Award and the 2012 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion. RC is a 2 time World Cup of Poetry Slam Finalist (2007 and 2013) and 7 time member of the Vancouver Poetry Slam. RC has led spoken word and performance workshops at festivals across North America and for the Banff Centre’s Spoken Word Program.
RC is the co-founder and co-director of Hullabaloo: the BC Youth Spoken Word Festival. He is also the co-creator of Surrealist Audio Collage Podcast “Oh No Not Another Podcast”
Alexandra Caprara is a multidisciplinary artist and writer from Toronto (Tkaranto), Ontario, with a passion for storytelling and the arts community. Her work has been produced and staged internationally, and she is currently pursuing her MFA in interdisciplinary creation and research at Simon Fraser University. With a background in poetry, she is excited to connect with fellow poets and audiences as volunteer coordinator.
Amanda Williams-Yeagers is an elementary educator, instructor of virtual learning and the arts for two faculties of education, a writer and a performer. Amanda leads professional learning for educators across Ontario, Canada and internationally on arts integration, multimodal communication and innovative practise. About to complete her Masters of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies, Amanda’s current professional focus is on culturally sustaining practice and on providing authentic learning experiences for both elementary and post-secondary learners. Recent research projects Amanda has worked on include the use of narrative therapies (spoken word, visual art, letter writing and Sandplay) and the impact of using spoken word in virtual classes to build community and connection. Amanda is thrilled to be a part of connecting amazing poets with classrooms across the country.
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.