Heidi Stepanek – Owner/Artistic Director
Heidi is a professional and experienced musician, stage director, drama educator, who has built a career out of her love of working with children, and passion for musical theatre.
Heidi began her career pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Queen’s University with piano as her major instrument and ethnomusicology as her subject major. While at Queen’s, she also completed a year abroad at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland, where she continued her studies in both music and theatre. She then went on to post-graduate study at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she received her Master of Arts degree in Folklore and Folk Music. Heidi spent two years in a PhD program in Ethnomusicology and Musicology at York University in Toronto, before deciding to pursue her career in business full-time.
Heidi has worked in various capacities both in amateur and professional theatre. Her most prominent position was as stage manager with the Canadian Opera Company at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has also worked with numerous theatre companies and musical groups across Canada and in Scotland, including Newfoundland Musical Theatre, the Royal Scottish Academy Opera Company, Queen’s Wind and Choral Ensembles, The Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Vanier College Players at York University, and the Perth Community Choir. Her capacities in these groups have ranged between artistic and management, including roles as an actor, director, conductor, musician, technician, stage manager, and producer. She is intimately familiar with virtually all aspects of musical and theatrical production, which she has put to use in the companies that she has founded: the “Fountain of Youth Troupe,” a traveling theatre performance group for school-age children, the “Perth Academy of Musical Theatre,” a training centre for youths, and “Orion Theatre Company” (co-founded with her partner, Peter Dixon), an amateur adult performance company.
Heidi is also a registered music teacher with ORMTA.
Wren Puckett – Assistant Director
Wren first joined the Academy team six years ago and continues to be amazed by the magic created both on and off the stage! Wren continues to hold a passion for all things dance and musical theatre and hope to spark a similar passion in those she works with this summer!
She began dancing at the age of 3 and has trained in a multitude of styles and disciplines. Prior to the Academy, Wren was a teacher and choreographer at Arts in Motion: Perth School of Dance, and a choreographer for the McMaster University Dance Team.
Wren continues to bring the creativity and spirit of the Academy into her other endeavours. She holds a B.A. in Hons. Psychology, Neuroscience, and Human Behaviour and Post-Graduate Certificate in Infant and Early Child Mental Health. She was recently a contributing author on a study that examined the relationships between the performing arts and their beneficial outcomes for the growth and development of the adolescent brain! Wren is currently a Master of Health Sciences Candidate in Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care where she hopes to one day incorporate her passion for musical theatre and movement into her work with pediatric patients and families!
“I am truly grateful that I can come home to my Academy family every summer! Each season is amazing, and better than the last! I can’t wait to see what treasures this summer holds!”
Donna Bourgeault – Costumer
Donna is an Enthusiastic, Energetic, Engaging, and Excited Entertainer, Educator, Manager, Leader, and Artist. She runs a company called Sunny Shenanigans which entertains and educates children and adults through variety shows and different styles of workshops using puppets and masks. She has worked with a variety of theatre companies doing costumes, props, stage management and acting. She loves to teach and create new things and enjoys opportunities to enhance and improve her skills and share her knowledge with others.
Peter Dixon – Producer
Peter is an accomplished and enthusiastic thespian and teacher, and has been a permanent fixture at the Academy since its inception. Taking on various roles both behind the scenes and on stage, the Academy would not function without Peter as its backbone.
Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education degree, as well as a Masters in English Literature. Although once a middle school teacher on reserve in Moose Factory, he currently works as a consultant, assisting primarily Indigenous communities in tourism and community development. However, his other passion lies in all things musical and theatrical – Peter is an accomplished musician, having performed professionally as a guitarist and singer in various venues across Canada. Peter has also been involved in almost all aspects of theatrical production, as an actor, director, producer, technician and designer, in various theatre companies across Ontario. His banner roles include Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Che in Evita, KoKo in the Mikado and Albin in La Cage aux Folles, among others. Peter is also a published author, and is currently collaborating with Joseph Boyden on his new novel.
Peter has wonderful energy and loves working with our students – he is always a crowd favourite, and looks forward to many more exciting productions at the Academy!