Staff / Leadership

Artistic Director Gil Garratt

Gil Garratt is a director, playwright, dramaturge, Dora Award-winning actor, and theatre administrator who has worked across Canada and internationally. With a career that has been dedicated primarily to the development of new Canadian plays, Gil has been with the Blyth Festival since 1999.

Gil’s varied and eclectic career as a creator has seen him collaborate with such radical play creation companies as DNA theatre and The Cabaret Company, to such mainstream institutions as The Stratford Festival and The Grand Theatre.

As a performer Gil has literally worked all over the country, including: Theatre NorthWest in Prince George, BC, Centaur Theatre in Montreal, Canadian Stage’s St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto, Shakespeare in High Park, Neptune Theatre in Halifax, the Festival Players of Prince Edward County, Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, to name a few.

Gil is also member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, several of Gil’s plays have received multiple productions, toured internationally, and been translated into French.

Gil graduated from the National Theatre School’s Playwriting Program in 1998, holds an Honours BA from the University of Waterloo, and an MA from the University of Guelph.

“After thousands of hours, walking thousands of kilometres across and back and across our stage, in the singular Blyth Memorial Hall, this is what I have learned: The work we do is the best, and the reasons we do it are pure.

My time at Blyth has become definitive; both in terms of my perception of my vocation, and the reputation that precedes and proceeds the work that I do. I am a Blyth artist regardless of where I work, it has become central to who I am.”

Associate Artistic Director Severn Thompson

Severn is a director, dramaturge, actor, theatre creator and teacher who spent many formative summers in the Belgrave/Blyth area as a member of the Blyth Young Company.

As an actor, she’s performed in theatres across the country including the Blyth Festival, Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon, Theatre Calgary, Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre, Montreal’s Segal Centre and the National Arts Centre. A Dora award-winning director, Severn has directed a number of plays for Blyth as well as for Canadian Stage, SummerWorks, Bad Hats, Soulpepper and the National Arts Centre.

Severn is a graduate of the National Theatre School, Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory and holds an MFA in stage direction from York University in collaboration with Canadian Stage.

As Associate AD, Severn leads the Festival’s New Play Development while working closely with Gil on programming and outreach. She’s truly honoured to be part of the Blyth Festival team and its greater community.

Festival Staff

RACHAEL KING – General Manager

A native of Fordwich, the seed of a professional theatre career was planted in Rachael at the age of 13, on a school field trip to the Blyth Festival. Since that time, Rachael has worked across North America and Australia as a stage, production and tour manager with companies such as the Blyth and Shaw Festivals, Green Thumb Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, Erth Visual and Physical and Theatre Passe Muraille.

Rachael taught stage management at Douglas College and was part of the Event Services team for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. She comes to Blyth directly from Exhibition Place where she has been with the Production Services team, delivering such events as the 2016 Grey Cup & Centennial Classic, the 2015 PanAm Games, as well as the annual CNE and Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Rachael holds a Bachelor of Arts, Drama in Education from the University of Windsor as well as a Master of Fine Arts, Stage Management from the University of Iowa.

JENNIFER LAMB – Director of Audience Development  & Services

Over the past 25 years Jen has worked at the Stratford Festival, Stratford Summer Music, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company (both in Stratford-upon-Avon England). 
Jen’s work at the Blyth Festival is to engage and secure new sponsorships and donations and to increase the membership base of the Festival as well as to create robust, cost-efficient and strategic marketing plans to increase ticket sales and recognition of the work of the Blyth Festival.
519-523-9300 ext. 208

KELLY MCINTOSH – Audience Development Coordinator & Artistic Associate

Kelly is an award winning theatre artist who has worked in arts and heritage administration for most of her career. She is humbled to have the opportunity to engage with the inspiring community that makes the Blyth Festival thrive: donors, members and artists alike.
Kelly spent many years as artistic associate at the Caravan Farm Theatre in British Columbia where she also served as interim artistic director. Most recently she worked at the Stratford Perth Museum as an administrative coordinator where she also produced and hosted a museum podcast.
Kelly’s work has been seen on numerous stages across the county and she has produced & written several plays in collaboration. Kelly and Artistic Director Gil Garratt co-authored the critically acclaimed Blyth Festival production In the Wake of Wettlaufer. Her past shows in Blyth include the Paul Thompson collectives Death of the Hired Man, The Outdoor Donnellys and Hippie.In 2022 Kelly appeared as Maureen Poole in Cottagers & Indians.
For Kelly, returning to Blyth to celebrate artists with the great Blyth community that inspires and supports them is a dream come true.

Ashley Williamson – Director of Education

Ashley Williamson is a historian specialising in Canadian history and Canadian theatre history. She is a teaching artist, a museums and living history performance expert, and has worked for the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Stratford Festival. Ashley holds a PhD from the Centre for Drama,Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto.

As the Director of the Blyth Festival’s new Education Department, Ashley will spend her time developing educational experiences for Blyth’s audiences. She will helm the Young Company, the long running summer theatre making project for young people ages 13 to 19, as well as host actor talk-backs, workshops, and panel discussions about both the plays and the playwrights from the current season.

Ashley is the creator and host of the theatre history podcast, Dr Canadiana, which will have its first series remastered for release on the Blyth website in May. The podcast’s second series, which will be released this summer, will focus on Blyth’s 2023 season.

In pursuit of her academic research, Ashley drove through nine Canadian provinces and mailed over 300 postcards along the way.

JOSIE MACDONALD – House Manager & Administrative Assistant 

Josie is very excited to be back at the Blyth Festival, working alongside the Volunteers as the Front of House Manager this season. When there isn’t a show on stage, Josie assists in the administration office and box office.

Josie can be found at jmacdonald(@)

NATHANYA FIELD –  Box Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator 

Raised in Goderich, Nathanya is delighted to be back at the theatre that started her professional career. During the summers of her undergrad, a double major in Theatre & English at the University of Windsor, Nathanya worked in Blyth’s Box Office and later as the Front of House Manager. After graduation Nathanya went on to work for Crow’s Theatre in Toronto where she was Box Office and Front of House Supervisor for several years. During that time, she also completed her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph.

Nathanya is excited to share her passion for theatre with the audience she knows and loves. Nathanya is, as ever, incredibly grateful for Blyth Festival’s dedicated volunteers and looks forward to creating a spectacular patron experience alongside them.

Nathanya can be reached at nfield(@)

RYAN BRINK – Production Manager

Born and raised in Whitechurch, Bruce County, Ryan has always been interested in technology, and creative ways to use it. He has spent the last decade working at theatres across Ontario, and has had the privilege of working with notable artists from across the country. He is excited to begin his time in Blyth!  


Blyth Centre for the Arts Board of Directors

Elli Cohen, President
Gary Coursey, Vice President
Leticia Kolkman, Treasurer
Rick Sickinger, Secretary

Susan Carlyle
Doug Elliott
Michele Hansen
Wendy Hutton
Shaukat Mangalji
Jim McIntosh
Carol Mitchell
Jolande Oudshoorn