The Grand Theatre presents Vigilante on the Spriet Stage

A Catalyst Theatre Production

Book, Music, and Lyrics by JONATHAN CHRISTENSON
Commissioned by the Citadel Theatre
Developed in collaboration with the National Arts Centre

Starring Jan Alexandra Smith



LONDON, ONTARIO, FEBRUARY 11, 2019 - In an encore presentation, the Grand Theatre is thrilled to bring back Edmonton’s acclaimed Catalyst Theatre with the powerhouse rock musical, VIGILANTE.  Starring JAN ALEXANDRA SMITH as the matriarch of the notorious Donnelly family, this local tale of brutal revenge and frontier justice takes the Spriet Stage from February 19 to March 9. The Title Sponsor is Selectpath.

Vigilante played to sold-out houses at the Grand two years ago, and London has inundated us with requests to bring it back,” said Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director.  “It gives us great pleasure to present this production, once again, for an extended stay.”

VIGILANTE brings us back to Lucan’s Roman Line of 1880 to tell the story of the Donnellys, Irish immigrants who settled in Canada in the mid-nineteenth century, and the shocking massacre of Johannah Donnelly and her devoted sons. There are several questions surrounding the Donnellys -- were they truly hated by others in Biddulph County? Were they actually responsible for vandalizing and attacking competing stagecoach companies and committing a series of crimes against their fellow townspeople?

The Donnellys story has attracted many writers and historians over the years, but the facts remain elusive; even with the historical truths we have available in 2019, it’s impossible to know all of the details of the Donnellys’ lives in Southwestern Ontario.

“The Donnellys of Vigilante are unapologetically imaginary and this story is closer to a dream of what might have happened than a representation of the historical Donnellys — a ‘what if,’ inspired by the fragments of historical fact that we have at our disposal,” said said Jonathan Christenson, creator and director.

This 19th century story, popularized in local lore, continues to fascinate today's historians and hobbyists, with an undercurrent that in many ways remains as relevant today as it did almost 200 years ago.    

"In an age when the politics of anger are on the rise, when vigilantism is re-surfacing as a viable alternative to the perceived failures of our judiciary systems, and acts of terror are increasingly normalized all over the world, their story feels ripe for retelling and full of fresh meaning and relevance nearly two hundred years after it first happened,” said Christenson.

JAN ALEXANDRA SMITH, as Johannah Donnelly, returns to the Grand for the third time this season following performances as Mrs. Ross in TIMOTHY FINDLEY’S THE WARS and her historic performance as Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Catalyst Theatre creates original productions that have been presented at more than 85 theatres throughout Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Australia and the United States. Catalyst Theatre is also the recip­ient of more than 120 local, national and international awards & nominations including three Lortel Award nominations.

VIGILANTE premiered in 2015 with the commission of the Citadel Theatre (Edmonton) and was developed in collaboration with Canada’s National Arts Centre.

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group.


The Wednesday Speakeasy Series

Following each Wednesday evening performance, patrons are invited to extend their theatre experience and get closer to the artists with exclusive talks, casual conversations, and spontaneous happenings in the relaxed atmosphere of the Poster Lounge.

Wednesday Speakeasy: February 20 & 27 and March 6.

Pre-Show Theatre Talks

Arrive a little early to the Wednesday matinee and join host James Stewart Reaney as he sparks creative conversations about the production.

Pre-Show Theatre Talks with James Stewart Reaney: Wednesday, March 6 at 12pm.

VIGILANTE is on the Spriet Stage from February 19 to March 9, 2019.  Tickets range from $29.95 to $86 and are available at, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street. Prices include HST and are subject to change.

About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director
Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming with The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America. The Grand’s season runs from September to May.


WHEN: Tuesday, February 19 at 1:00 pm (cameras, please arrive at 12:45pm to set up)
WHERE: Grand Theatre, Spriet Stage, 471 Richmond Street
WHAT: VIGILANTE - photo, video, and interview opportunities for media

For more information please contact:
Ashley Roberts, Communications Consultant, Grand Theatre
aroberts [at] (aroberts[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)

Cell: 937-554-1894


A Catalyst Theatre Production

Book, Music, and Lyrics by JONATHAN CHRISTENSON


Commissioned by the Citadel Theatre
Developed in collaboration with the National Arts Centre


Johannah Donnelly JAN ALEXANDRA SMITH*
James Donnelly/Fight Director/Captain DAVID LEYSHON*
Daniel Donnelly/Ensemble KRIS JOSEPH*
Robert Donnelly/Ensemble ERIC MORIN*
Will Donnelly/Ensemble CARSON NATTRASS*
Tommy Donnelly/Ensemble SCOTT WALTERS*
Michael Donnelly/Ensemble BENJAMIN WARDLE*
Johnny Donnelly/Ensemble ERIC WIGSTON*


Keyboards, Banjo, Bass TAYLOR COCHRANE
Guitar, Mandolin, Tin Whistle EARL PEREIRA


Choreographer LAURA KREWSKI*
Orchestration & Vocal Arrangements JONATHAN CHRISTENSON
Music Producer & Additional Orchestrations MATTHEW SKOPYK
Sound Designer WADE STAPLES
Music Director (Band) MATTHEW SKOPYK
Music Director (Singers) JONATHAN CHRISTENSON
Production Dramaturg SARAH GARTON STANLEY
Original Voice, Speech & Text Director BETTY MOULTON
Costume, Hair & Make Up Designer NARDA McCARROLL
Dialect Coach DOUG MERTZ


Stage Manager JOHN RAYMOND*
Assistant Stage Manager MOLLY PEARSON*
Sound Operator MICHAEL CARON
Set Consultant – Scenic Paint & Finishes MARISSA KOCHANSKI
Consulting Scenic Carpenter CHRIS HAYES
Associate to the Lighting Designer JEFF PRYBUS
Hair Styling by LLOYD G. BELL

* Appears with Permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association


Jan Alexandra Smith  Johannah Donnelly
FOR THE GRAND THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, Timothy Findley’s The Wars, High School Project Evita (Director/Choreographer),The Dining Room. SELECT THEATRE CREDITS: Much Ado About Nothing (Director, Shakespeare Co.); Vigilante (Catalyst Theatre); The Hollow (Director, Vertigo Theatre); Mamma Mia!, Alice Through The Looking Glass (Charlottetown Festival); Seussical  (Director/Choreographer, St. Lawerence College); As You Like It, Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare in High Park/CanStage); The Mountaintop, God of Carnage (Director, Theatre Calgary); Lost (Theatre Calgary); Forests (Tarragon); Shakespeare’s Will (Citadel Theatre); Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Shaw Festival); Les Misérables (Royal Alexandra).

Brooklyne Alexander  Production Manager
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Brooklyne is a Production Manager as well as an Administrator and Producer who has worked across the country and now balances her time between Winnipeg and Edmonton. While in Winnipeg, Brooklyne has worked for Rainbow Stage, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, True North Sports and Entertainment, One Trunk Theatre, Moving Target Theatre, Sick + Twisted Theatre, as well as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Prior to moving to Winnipeg, she worked for Catalyst Theatre as the Assistant Producer, and couldn’t be happier to be back with the incredible team at Catalyst in her new position. Brooklyne is a graduate of the National Theatre School’s Production and Technical Arts Program (previously the Production Program) and is an experienced visual artist.

Michael Caron  Sound Operator
THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): A Bright Room Called Day (Studio Theatre); live mixer Breaking Up is Hard to Do , Beauty and the Beast (Rainbow Stage); sound designer, Dead Centre of Town (Catch the Keys Productions, annual). OTHER: Hailing from Saskatchewan, Michael is a sound designer, audio technician and composer. He has been professionally involved with theatre and live performance audio since 1995. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA in Technical Theatre program. Michael is very pleased to be returning to Catalyst’s production of Vigilante.

Jonathan Christenson  Director, Book, Music, and Lyrics
Jonathan is a director, writer and composer who has spearheaded the creation of 22 original Canadian productions. He has directed at more than 85 theatres across Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Australia and the United States, including in London’s West End and New York’s Broadway district. His work has been recognized with nearly 60 British, Canadian and American awards and nominations, including a Lucille Lortel nomination for the Outstanding Musical of New York’s 2015 Off-Broadway season. In his role as artistic director of Catalyst Theatre, he’s been instrumental in the creation of a 150- seat black box theatre in Edmonton (the company’s home from 1996 to 2015), in creating an international presenting series which hosted the work of artists from across Canada, Russia, Germany, South Africa, Scotland, Ireland and England, and in curating a multi-disciplinary performance series that brought together more than fifty Edmonton based artists from theatre, music, visual art, dance, and the media arts. Jonathan was also named one of “Alberta’s Fifty Most Influential People” by Venture Magazine, was chosen as one of Alberta’s one hundred most significant theatre artists of the past one hundred years by Alberta Playwrights Network, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Siminovitch Prize in Directing.

Taylor Cochrane  Computer Programming, Keyboards, Banjo, and Bass
At 15, Taylor Cochrane released his first full-length record entitled Awesome Like A Possum. The album was nothing to write home about but it was the beginning of Cochrane’s passionate addiction to writing music. Years later, 36?, one of Cochrane’s most prolific ongoing musical endeavours, released the record Where Do We Go From Here? The album received critical acclaim and brought home the band a Western Canadian Music Award for Rock Recording of the Year. That same year, 36? was awarded third place in The Peak Performance Project, an Alberta wide musical development competition. Cochrane is currently working on new records under 36? and Jason Famous. His work on Vigilante marks the beginning of his hands-on experience with long time passion of musical theatre.

Sarah Garton Stanley  Production Dramaturg
THEATRE CREDITS: Maker, observer, experimenter, and conversationalist, Sarah is the Associate Artistic Director of NAC English Theatre; recent directing projects: Out The Window (Luminato); We Keep Coming Back (Factory Theatre, Toronto, English Theatre Berlin, Nowy Teatr, Warsaw, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre); Bunny (Tarragon + Stratford); Awkward and Embarrassing Conversations About Difference (Neworld); Kill Me Now (RMTC/NAC); Helen Lawrence (CanStage, Arts Club, bam, Kammerspiele etc.,); co-creator and creative Catalyst SpiderWebShow and foldA. OTHER: Sarah is working with Catalyst on their newest creation: The Invisible: Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

Leah Grandmont  Violin
THEATRE CREDITS: East Coast Kitchen Party, Scotland Sings, Women of Country, The VPP Jamboree, Fiddler on the Loose 2 (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia); Ghost: The Musical (Drayton Entertainment). Leah appeared on America’s Got Talent as a member of Stacey Kay’s band, and toured across Canada, Germany, and Scotland as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Leah began studying the violin at age 3 and recently completed her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Kris Joseph  Daniel Donnelly/Ensemble
Kris lives in Edmonton but has performed across the country. CREDITS INCLUDE: Oliver, Creation, A Christmas Carol, Mother Courage, Macbeth (Canada’s National Arts Centre); The Three Musketeers, Little Women (Citadel Theatre); Runcible Riddle (Catch The Keys); Much Ado About Nothing (Thou Art Here); Equivocation (Persephone Theatre); Whispering Pines, Facts and Zadie’s Shoes (Great Canadian Theatre Company); The Turn of The Screw (Screwdriver Collective); The Pillowman (Vision Theatre); Doubt (Gladstone Productions). He is finishing a double Masters degree, and will soon be insufferable at parties.

Laura Krewski  Choreographer
CHOREOGRAPHY CREDITS: Frankenstein, Nevermore, Hunchback, Fortune Falls (Catalyst Theatre); Mamma Mia, West Side Story, Shakespeare in Love, Spamalot (Citadel Theatre); Next to Normal (Citadel Theatre/Theatre Calgary); Enron (NAC); Chicago, Jesus Christ Super Star and Footloose (The Mayfield); Home is a Beautiful Word I Think I’m Fallin’, Spelling Bee (Belfry Theatre). She also created The Yellow Wallpaper for the Chinook Series. Awards include the YWCA Woman of Distinction, four Sterlings, a Betty Mitchell and a Lucille Lortel nomination for work on Nevermore. Upcoming is The Invisible for Catalyst Theatre.

Beth Kates  Lighting Designer
FOR THE GRAND THEATRE: Silence. THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): 1837, Mr. New Years Eve, The Last Donnelly Standing, Ipperwash, SEEDS (Blyth Festival); MacHomer, Bigger Than Jesus (Wyrd); Brimful of Asha (WhyNot Theatre/Soulpepper); Ragtime, Alice in Wonderland, Pygmalion (Shaw Festival). OTHER: Co-Creator (with Neil Christensen) Bury The Wren: a VR/AR/Carbon Reality performance; Transmissions by filmmaker Lisa Jackson; O’wet by Quelemia Sparrow; Between Breaths with Jillian Keiley. Beth is an Award-winning Set, Lighting, & Projection Designer, Digital Dramaturg, MFA Candidate (Drama/CompSci)- University of Calgary & mom to Aaron; &

David Leyshon  James Donnelly, Fight Director/Captain
FOR THE GRAND THEATRE: A Christmas Carol. SELECTED THEATRE: Fiddler of the Roof, My Fair Lady (Port Hope); One For The Pot (Drayton); It’s A Wonderful Life (Theatre Aquarius); Art, Billy Bishop (Theatre Northwest); The Comedy of Errors, The Importance of Being Earnest (Neptune Theatre); A Few Good Men (Citadel/RMTC); The 39 Steps (Globe Theatre); The Three Musketeers (Citadel Theatre); An Ideal Husband (Theatre Calgary); MMLJWW (Mirvish); Hamlet, The Taming of The Shrew (Stratford Festival); seven seasons with the Shaw Festival. SELECTED FILM AND TV: Murdoch Mysteries. OTHER: University of Regina (BFA); Part time instructor at Sheridan College.

Narda McCarroll  Costume Designer
Narda is a set, costumes and lighting designer currently based in Calgary. THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): Bronte: The Word Without (Stratford Festival); The Penelopiad, Julius Caesar, Vimy (Citadel Theatre); To the Light, Glory, The Circle, Mary’s Wedding (Alberta Theatre Projects); Turn of the Screw, Sweeney Todd (Vertigo Theatre); The Drowning Girls (Bent out of Shape National Tour). Narda designed the costumes for The Freewill Shakespeare Festival in Edmonton for 16 seasons. She also designed the costumes for the feature film Cut Bank. Narda’s website is

Eric Morin  Robert Donnelly, Ensemble
Eric is beyond excited to be reviving the role of Robert Donnelly in this daring and heartfelt production.  Eric Morin is a multi-disciplinary artist who was raised in London, ON. He is a graduate of the Banff/Citadel Professional Theatre Training Program (2011/12), earned his BFA at Ryerson University and attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.  This February, Eric was appointed as one of the Artistic Associates of the Artillery Collective: an independent theatre company dedicated to producing provocative work Feels good to be home.

Carson Nattrass  Will Donnelly, Ensemble
THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): Performed across Canada for the National Arts Centre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Rainbow Stage, Mirvish Productions, The Belfry Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Free Will Players, Theatre Calgary, Ground Zero, Regina Globe, Persephone Theatre, Magnus Theatre, Theatre Orangeville, Talk is Free and Festival Antigonish. Currently the Artistic Director of Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage. OTHER: Thank you Jonathan Christenson and Catalyst Theatre for adopting me into your incomparable theatre family. Thank you, Sharon and Theo, for being my supportive, loving, every day, real-life family.

Molly Pearson  Assistant Stage Manager
THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): Last Chance Leduc (Snowflake Productions); Shakespeare’s R&J (Kill Your Television); Bello (Concrete Theatre/l’Unitheatre); A Comedy of Errors and The Merchant of Venice (The Freewill Shakespeare Festival); Made In Italy (The Citadel Theatre); Bust (Theatre Network); The Passion of Narcisse Mondoux (Northern Light Theatre/l’UniTheatre); Children of God, A Christmas Carol, and Peter and the Starcatcher (The Citadel Theatre).

John Raymond  Stage Manager
FOR CATALYST THEATRE: Vigilante, Blue Orphan, Sticky Shoes, Frankenstein, Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Hunchback, The Soul Collector, Elephant Wake, Songs for Sinners & Saints and has previously toured Catalyst Theatre productions to Toronto, Ottawa, London, Saskatoon, Vancouver, New York City, and London, England. OTHER: Over a thirty-year career he has also worked for Centaur Theatre, Canadian Stage, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Citadel Theatre, Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Banff Centre for the Arts and Edmonton Opera. John is a Full Professor in the University of Alberta’s Drama Production where he leads Canada’s only specialized BFA in Stage Management.

Earl Pereira  Guitar, Mandolin, Tin Whistle
Earl Pereira is best known as one of the most successful musicians to come from Saskatchewan as a current member of his band The Steadies and former band Wide Mouth Mason. Pereira is a 3-Time JUNO nominee, 9-Time WCMA winner, and has toured the world having opened for icon acts such as The Rolling Stones. Pereira starred in a 3-person play in 2018, Naked Tourist Sacred Mountain and in the major motion picture The Recruit starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell.

Matthew Skopyk  Music Producer and Additional Orchestrations
THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Romeo & Juliet, Titus Andronicus, As You Like It, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Twelfth Night, Othello (Freewill Shakespeare Festival); Once (Citadel Theatre); The Humans (Citadel Theatre/Canadian Stages); Shakespeare in Love (Citadel Theatre/ Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Romeo & Juliet (Kill Your Television); Vigilante, Fortune Falls (Catalyst Theatre/Citadel Theatre/Persephone Theatre/National Arts Centre/The Grand Theatre); Playing With Fire: The Theo Fleury Story (Citadel Theatre/Persephone Theatre/ Alberta Theatre Projects/ Neptune Theatre/Centaur Theatre); ENRON (National Arts Centre); Whisper (Studio Theatre/Catalyst Theatre).

Kurtis Schultz  Percussion
Kurtis Schultz is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ from Edmonton, Alberta. He has been involved in a variety of groups and projects for more than 20 years. After completing the jazz performance diploma at MacEwan University, he spent one year performing in the University of Alberta Big Band. Following this, he decided to dive head first into music production and audio engineering. He currently plays full time in the international touring band, The Steadies. Splitting his time between these endeavors, Kurtis has found a way to devote himself to creativity and music, constantly pushing forward and looking for new opportunities to share his art with others.

Wade Staples  Sound Designer
FOR CATALYST THEATRE (SELECTED): The Blue Orphan, Frankenstein, Carmen Angel, Nevermore, Hunchback, The Soul Collector, Vigilante. OTHER: Wade holds diplomas in Music, Recording, and Theatre Production from MacEwan University, where he has been an instructor and sound designer for the Theatre Production program for the past twenty-five years. A former board member of the Associated Designers of Canada, Wade has designed and toured numerous productions across Canada, the United States, Australia, and Europe. He is also a director of a production company offering services in theatrical design, consulting, rentals and sales, and production management. Wade was honored to be selected in 2017 to serve as a juror for the 2019 ADC Canadian Exhibition to be held during the Prague Quadrennial of Design 2019.

Scott Walters  Tommy Donnelly, Ensemble
THEATRE CREDITS: Mary Poppins (Arts Club Theatre); Evil Dead: The Musical, We Will Rock You (Mirvish); Alice Through the Looking Glass (Citadel/nac). OTHER:  Scott is jubilant to rejoin Catalyst’s Vigilante, at the gorgeous Grand Theatre, in London! Scott’s favourite role to date has been the role as a new dad of his baby girl. He loves his family for their continued love and support, throughout it all. Grateful for the love of his life and wife, Sara!

Benjamin Wardle  Michael Donnelly, Ensemble
THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): Smile Off Your Face (Best Production-Summerworks Festival); Fair Verona (Lost&Gone); Vigilante, The Soul Collector (Catalyst Theatre); West Side Story (Citadel); Peter and The Starcatcher (Arts Club); Cabaret, Chicago (Mayfield); Andrew and Andrea, Mavra, La Tragedie de Carmen (Assistant Director - LTO); That Summer (Theatre Northwest); Romeo and Juliet, James and The Giant Peach (ProjectX). OTHER: Benjamin is so ready to be back at the Grand with the Donnellys!

Scott White  Guitar
For almost his entire life Scott has wanted to be in the band. He took piano lessons as a small child but his music didn’t take off until he received a guitar for Christmas at age 11. Scott plays guitar in several groups in Calgary, most notably in 36?, which will be releasing their second full length album in early 2019.

Eric Wigston  Johnny Donnelly, Ensemble
THEATRE CREDITS (SELECTED): The Soul Collector (Catalyst); The Secret Garden, Mary and Max, Twelfth Night, One Man, Two Guvnors, A Christmas Carol (Theatre Calgary); Touch Me: Songs for a (dis)connected Age (TC UP CLOSE w/Forte Musical Theatre); Romeo & Juliet (The Shakespeare Company); Jeremy de Bergerac (Forte); Evil Dead: The Musical (Hit and Myth Productions); Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol (Citadel); Spring Awakening (Artist Collective Theatre); Lest We Forget, That Men May Fly (Lunchbox); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Shear Madness (Mayfield). OTHER: Eric is absolutely thrilled to be joining the Donnelly clan. He is a theatre artist based in Alberta. He would like to thank his family for all of their support and his advent