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Artistic Director


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Jovanni assumed the position of Artistic Director of Gateway Theatre in May 2012. He was born in Manila and raised in Toronto where he was based professionally for twenty years as an actor, playwright, director, and dramaturg.

For six seasons, he was the Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Projects in Toronto. Under his tenure, Cahoots produced new works by Anosh Irani, Ahmed Ghazali, Marjorie Chan, Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcus Youssef, and Camyar Chai.

Jovanni has performed with theatre companies across Canada including Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (St. John’s), The Grand Theatre (London), The Citadel (Edmonton), The Banff Centre, Theatre Junction (Calgary), Globe Theatre (Regina), Nakai Theatre (Whitehorse), and Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, and Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. His most recent appearance was in Fear of Flight at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Among his numerous film and television credits are regular roles on two CBC series—Riverdale and Side Effects.

In 2010, Jovanni was the Playwright-in-Residence at the Shaw Festival where he worked on The Birth of the American Empire (as told by those who received the Blessings of Liberty), an epic drama set during the Spanish-American War. In July 2010, Jovanni wrote and performed his one-man play A Taste of Empire which was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Play.

Other writing credits include The Five Vengeances, a comic kung-fu adaptation of The Revenger’s Tragedy and the libretti to the chamber operas, Haiku Moments and The Cellar Door. Other credits include Song of Songs (Bravo! Television) and Peking Duck, (CBC Radio Drama). He was a member of Factory Theatre’s Playwrights’ Lab from 2001 to 2004 and the Playwright-in-Residence at Tapestry New Opera Works in 2005.

Jovanni's directing credits include Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, David Harrower’sBlackbird (Theatre du Pif in Hong Kong) and The Five Vengeances (co-directed with Guillermo Verdecchia for Humber College Theatre). In August 2011, he directed Clifford Cardinal’s award-winning play Stitch for SummerWorks.

Jovanni is proud to make his home in Richmond with his wife, playwright and actor Leanna Brodie.



Simon Johnston

Simon was the Artistic and Executive Director of Gateway Theatre from 2000 to 2012. He was born and raised in Hong Kong and emigrated to Canada in 1968 and graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 1972 and then went to New York for postgraduate theatre studies. He returned to Canada where he has worked in Canadian theatre as a playwright, director, and teacher.

In 1997 he founded the Writers Workshop (London) where he was Producer until 1999. Prior to this Simon was Artistic Director of the Lighthouse Festival (1987-1994); Artistic Director at Press Theatre, Resident Director at the Banff Centre and Staff Director at Toronto Arts Productions (Canadian Stage). He has directed over 150 professional productions at numerous theatres in Canada including the Gateway Theatre, National Arts Centre, the Stratford Festival, Young Peoples Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre, Muskoka Festival and Theatre Aquarius. He has taught theatre and drama at the University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, Guelph University, University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, Dalhousie University and Sheridan College.

In October 2008, Simon was the writer in residence at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival working on his new playKingsclare. His most recent play Sisters was selected for Factory Theatre’s Cross Currents Festival in May 2008. Prior to this, Rice Rockets & Yacht People premiered at Gateway 2006. Other plays include: Wildcat Western Canada Theatre/Gateway and was nominated for a Jessie Award in 2002. Gold Mountain Guest Arts Club Theatre, April 2001 and played at Kaleidoscope (Belfry) Theatre in 2003; The Giveaways April 2000 in London, Ontario. Simon won Theatre BC's National Playwrights award in 1995 for Running Dog, Paper Tiger and which premiered at the Gateway Theatre, Richmond BC, in October 1997. The Jessie Awards 1998 nominated it for Best Play. Other works include Tales from the Arabian Nights, which ran for four months at Youtheatre, Montreal in 1997-1998 and at the London International Children’s Festival 1998; A Nightingale Sang for Collective Arts Productions, London, Ontario 1998; The Steamer Atlantic at the Lighthouse Festival, Port Dover in August 1998. Simon has written 6 plays for CBCs Morningside and CBC Radio Drama as well as episodes for Riverdale on CBC TV and documentaries for History Television and Man Alive. Running Dog, Paper Tiger is published by Playwrights Canada Press, Toronto 1998 and he has two contributions in The Morningside Years 1997.

In 1993, Simon was awarded the Governor General’s Canada 125 Medal for his contribution to tourism and theatre. In 1999 he was nominated for the prestigious W.O. Mitchell Literary Prize. Simon was inducted into McMaster University’s Alumni Gallery in June 1999 for his work as a writer, director, and teacher. Simon now lives in Richmond, BC.

In Richmond, he served as a board member of Tourism Richmond. With the City of Richmond, he served on the PRC Master Plan Committee, Community Working Group, and the Arts Strategy. He is also a founding member of Richmond Arts Coalition. He has served on many Canada Council, BC Arts Council and Ontario Art Council juries.