Production Bios & Headshots
See Also: Playbill & Credits
Alison Kolisnyk is making her sixth appearance with Merlyn Productions. She was first seen as the historical Alice Liddell in “Through the Looking-Glass (And What Alice Found There)” in December 2014. Since then, Alison has played the Shoemaker's Wife in two runs of “The World of The Brothers Grimm”, Mum in “Ernie's Incredible Illucinations” for AyckbournFest 2016, and multiple roles in “Wind of a Thousand Tales”.
In 2015 Alison joined R-G Productions, making her Winnipeg Fringe Festival début as Kokum/Narrator in “Breadcrumbs”. Other R-G shows include “Spider’s Web” for ChristieFest 2017, “Psychopathia Sexualis” for ShanleyFest 2018, and “Desdemona” for both the 2017 Winnipeg Fringe Festival and the 2016 A-Spire Theatre Festival in Gimli, to which she returned last August in “The Savannah Sipping Society”.
Alison began studying acting, musical theatre, and dance as hobbies in her adult years. Recently, dance has been her primary recreational activity, and she has taken classes in various styles including jazz, tap, hip hop, modern, and African.
Offstage, Alison's “real world” revolves around hospitality, coordinating her front desk team in one of Winnipeg's upscale Polo Park hotels. Her other interests include travel, photography, horseback riding, and Zumba.
Helmut Friedrich is making his fifth appearance with Merlyn Productions. He was most recently seen as the Library Attendant in “Ernie's Incredible Illucinations” for AyckbournFest 2016, and as Ernest in “The Astonished Heart” for CowardFest 2015.
Helmut first became involved with the company in the supernumerary role of a Director of the Bank in “The Anniversary” for ChekhovFest 2014, and returned to the stage as a member of the Townsfolk and the voice of the Executor in “Puss in Boots” at the 2014 Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
Behind the scenes, Helmut has served as Assistant Stage Manager for both “Through the Looking Glass (And What Alice Found There)” in December 2014, and Dramatic Showcase 2015.
Dakota Nickels is making his third appearance with Merlyn Productions. He was most recently seen as Carlos and other characters in “Wind of a Thousand Tales” in December, and also played Matthew Charisma (“the handsome man”) in “And Then There Was One” for ChristieFest 2017.
Dakota was born in California, and having once played Big Jule in his high school's musical theatre production of “Guys and Dolls”, his ambition remains to be an actor in theatre and film.
As a young performer he took many theatre, film, and improv classes at MTYP and PTE, as well as four years of hip hop and break dance at the Manitoba Conservatory of Dance, and performed musical theatre with drama class all through high school.
Dakota played the lead role of Mark in the short film “Second Opinions”. He is currently taking classes at The Acting Studio Winnipeg, and performed in “Italian American Reconciliation” with Broken Record Productions for ShanleyFest 2018.
THE NIGHTINGALE / 2ND GOD
Cora Fast is making her sixth appearance with Merlyn Productions. Last season, she played Kiyomi in “Wind of a Thousand Tales”, as well as the title roles in “The Princess and the Pea” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”!
Recently, Cora helped to establish a small theatre company based in Steinbach, which performed “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged” in the 2016 Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
Cora is a graduate of Providence University College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre, and was also a finalist in the 2012 MAP Scirocco Drama Manitoba Highschool Playwriting Competition. She is an experienced improviser, and has been a performing member of the Crosseyed Rascals since April.
On screen, Cora has appeared in student films at the University of Winnipeg, and has done a fair amount of extra work. This year, she landed larger roles in a couple of True Crime Documentaries, as well as a couple of upcoming web series. One of her favourite roles remains that of a girl-gamer in the pilot episode of a mini-series mockumentary, “Into the League”.
Offstage, Cora is a waitress/bartender, and on occasion a nanny as well. She enjoys reading, singing, and virtually any sort of brain-teaser or puzzle that you can throw at her.
DEATH / 1ST GOD
Heather Forgie became the Property Mistress at Merlyn Productions in 2014. This production marks her tenth onstage appearance with the company! Most recently, she was seen as Nushi and other characters in “Wind of a Thousand Tales” in December.
Heather's other appearances include “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “The World of The Brothers Grimm”, “Ming Lee and the Magic Tree”, and “Through the Looking-Glass”. She stage managed for the first time while working on “The Anniversary” for ChekhovFest 2014.
In addition to being an actress, Heather is a playwright and the Artistic Director of fellow local theatre company R-G Productions.
Heather is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg's theatre and dramatic arts program, and is currently employed as a high school Drama and English teacher.
Having once upon a time taken a few years off from the acting scene to have children and establish herself as a teacher, Heather is now back full-force. She looks forward to many further creative endeavours with the company!
MUSICIAN / ASST STAGE MANAGER
Hope Figueroa is making her fourth appearance with Merlyn Productions. Her previous shows with the company include “A Marriage Proposal” (2015), “Ming Lee and the Magic Tree” (2013) and “Wind of a Thousand Tales” (2012).
Other recent theatre credits include “The Savannah Sipping Society” (2017) and "Relatively Speaking" (AyckbournFest 2016) with R-G Productions, as well as “The Snow Queen” (2015) and “Footloose” (2015) with Piper Pride Productions. She will be performing in “The Laramie Project” with Meraki Theatre Productions this May.
Hope is a proud graduate of the University of Winnipeg with both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and a Bachelor of Education Degree. She is also a trained improviser, having been a member of the University of Winnipeg Improv Troupe and a high school alumna coach for the Canadian Improv Games.
Offstage, Hope is a junior and senior high school teacher in the city. She loves to read, drink caffeinated beverages and attempt crosswords in pen.
“Thank you for supporting local theatre and emerging artists; we appreciate you! Enjoy the show!”
Margaret Keast is stage managing for a second time with Merlyn Productions, after joining the company for “Wind of a Thousand Tales” in December 2017.
Margaret has previously stage managed for a complex-cued outdoor act at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and assisted for an under-a-tent-in-a-park rendition of “Romeo and Juliet”, during which her skills as a teen-wrangler became evident and valued.
She assisted stage management for the one-act play “Kreskinned”, which went on to win best play at the Saskatchewan one act festival, and stage managed a production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe”.
Outside of the theatre, Margaret enjoys gardening, crafts, and spending time with her pets and husband.
See Also: Playbill & Credits