As Above – Program

The Belfry Theatre presents

As Above

By Christine Quintana


Gabrielle Rose – Jo
Hrothgar Mathews – Rick
Sereana Malani – Everyone Else
Christine Quintana – Standby – Everyone Else

Creative Team

Christine Quintana – Playwright
Meg Roe – Director
Camellia Koo – Set Designer
Stephanie Kong – Costume Designer
John Webber – Lighting Designer
Alessandro Juliani – Composer & Sound Designer
Emily Cooper – Projection Designer
Tasha Faye Evans – Cultural Dramaturg
Treena Stubel – Intimacy Director
Caryn Fehr – Stage Manager
Becca Jorgensen – Assistant Stage Manager

As Above is approximately 90 minutes long with no intermission.

The Belfry Theatre is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and engages professional Artists who are members of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the terms of the jointly negotiated Canadian Theatre Agreement.

As Above was commissioned by the Belfry Theatre.

This production of As Above is supported in part by generous gifts from the Vi Armstrong Play Creation Fund and Ronald Polstein “In Loving Memory of Juliana.”

This production of As Above is generously sponsored by



Playwright’s Notes

The first time I heard the phrase “hungry ghost,” it struck me to my core. I encountered this concept while reading Dr. Gabor Maté’s seminal text on the psychosocial roots of addiction, but have since encountered it again and again, in Buddhist teachings, in Indigenous stories. It’s a brutally resonant image—a formless, stomachless being with an insatiable hunger, that consumes more and more but never feels full.

We see hungry ghosts everywhere in our world, in the colonialism and imperialism that drive the extraction that ravages our planet, in the epidemics of addiction that ravage our families, friends, and neighbours; we are haunted by the violence and despair they bring, and are still left profoundly empty despite their promised satisfaction.

One thing that can truly satiate the hungry ghost in all of us is connection; our connections to our fellow humans, to the plant world, the animal world, the spirit world. Trees, in their steadfast interconnectedness, can be our teachers that show us how to leave the “realm of hungry ghosts” and come back into relationship with ourselves and each other. With every refusal to participate in the systems that isolate us and keep us starved, we step back towards wholeness. From the cedar, to the ceiba, to the olive tree—let us find ourselves full of their teachings, their love, and their hope.

Christine Quintana

Special thanks
Briony Penn, Allen Larocque, The Mother Tree Project, Angela Roe, Michael Shamata, Sandra Ferens, Scott Bellis, Kayla Dunbar, Jiv Parasram, Molly MacKinnon, James Fagan Tait, Sally Zori, Steph Troughton, Angie Descalzi.

Manhattan Theatre Club Workshop – February 2023: GT Upchurch, David Zayas, Annette O’Toole, Nichole Shalhoub, Laura Smith.

Belfry Theatre Workshop – December 2021: Melissa Oei, Gabrielle Rose, Hrothgar Mathews, Meg Roe, Tasha Faye Evans

This play was written on the ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations; of the Lekwungen peoples, also known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations; and on Treaty 7 territory.

…from the Artistic Director

The only thing I love more than inviting someone to write a play for the Belfry—is seeing it on our stage and watching audiences engage with it.

And so, here we are: a brand new play by our country’s hottest writer—!

I commissioned Christine Quintana in 2019, after seeing her play Never the Last. There have been numerous drafts, but the beautiful core of the play was present from the very beginning. Some of the play was written high above Fernwood Square, in the Belfry Tower. Changes were made after a workshop in Vancouver, and further revisions followed a workshop at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York.

The Vancouver workshop featured the great Gabrielle Rose in the role of Jo. Hearing her read the script aloud for the first time, just seated around a table, was a remarkable event and a great privilege. Incredibly, this is Gabrielle’s first time on this stage. If we had to wait this long, this is the perfect play for her Belfry debut—!

That workshop was led by the amazing Meg Roe, familiar to our audiences from her amazing performances in Trying, Urinetown, and Onegin. We are blessed to have her guide this play to the stage, in the company of this beautiful cast and wonderful creative team—!

Please enjoy this very human play—!

Michael Shamata

…from the Executive Director

It is such a pleasure to be immersed in the world of As Above and we are delighted to have this wonderful team creating it. I had been thinking about forests and the interconnectedness of their different parts, as I reflected on the role of the Belfry within the cultural ecology of Victoria. I thought of you, our loyal audience, donors, and volunteers, our partners in this ecology. I am so grateful that we all inhabit this world of art together. Thank you again for supporting the Belfry, we hope you love the work as much as we do.

Isaac Thomas


Gabrielle Rose – Jo

Gabrielle Rose is a veteran award-winning film, television and theatre actress with more than 50 years’ experience. Most recently, she appeared in several television series such as Night Agent, Virgin River, and Yellow Jackets. Her large resume of theatre roles includes Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals, and Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth Rex. Gabrielle has received numerous awards for her work in film, TV, and theatre. She has also received several lifetime achievement awards: The Sam Payne, Woman of the Year for Vancouver Women in Film, Vancouver Critics Lifetime Achievement, and the Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction. She has a star on the Vancouver Walk of Fame. She just received a UBCP/ACTRA award for her role on The Night Agent. This past year she worked with Bruce Sweeney on his latest film, She Talks to Strangers, which premiered at the Whistler Film Festival; recently completed work on an indie feature called Hanne and the High Sea; and her voice was featured in the latest Kidd Pivot dance theatre piece, Assembly Hall. This is Gabrielle’s first time working at the Belfry. She is thrilled to be working with Meg Roe again on this exciting new play by Christine Quintana.

Hrothgar Mathews – Rick

Hrothgar last worked at the Belfry six years ago in the play Forget About Tomorrow. Since then, he’s been working in television with roles on the series Motherland, Fort Salem and When Calls The Heart, as well as numerous TV movies.

Over 30 years ago Hrothgar acted in a play in Toronto where he met Gabrielle Rose. They’ve since had two kids together and got married. This will be only the second time they have worked together on stage.

Sereana Malani – Everyone Else

Born in the Fiji Islands and raised in unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm territory, Sereana now calls Snuneymuxw territory home. Select credits include Gross Misconduct (SpeakEasy), Valley Song (Gateway), Happy Place (Touchstone), You Will Remember Me (Ruby Slippers), Clybourne Park (Citadel Theatre), and five seasons at Bard on the Beach. She is a graduate of the BFA Acting program at the University of Alberta. An emerging Director, Assistant Director credits include Romeo & Juliet (Bard), Hey Viola! (WCT). Next up she will be directing the world premiere of NET for hapax theatre. When she’s not onstage, Sereana is a full-time Mum to Eli and Tevita.

Creative Team

Christine Quintana – Playwright / Standby – Everyone Else

Born in Los Angeles to a Mexican-American father and a Dutch British-Canadian mother, Christine is now a grateful visitor to the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and TsleilWaututh people. Christine is an actor, playwright, co-Artistic Producer of Delinquent Theatre, and artistic associate of Neworld Theatre. Winner of a LA Drama Critic’s Circle Award, Dora Mavor Moore Award, Jessie Richardson Theatre Award, Tom Hendry Award, a Governor General’s Award nomination, and the Siminovitch Protégée Prize for Playwriting, her works have been translated and performed in Spanish, French, German, and ASL. As a performer, she’s acted on stages big and small, in a camper van, in neighbourhoods across East Vancouver, and on a farm. She is working on a commission for the Manhattan Theatre Club and will premiere four new works across Canada in the 2023/24 season. She is a graduate of UBC’s BFA Acting Program.

Meg Roe – Director

Meg’s work as an actor, director, composer, sound designer, and dramaturg has been seen across Canada at Crow’s Theatre, Shaw Festival, Theatre Calgary, Canadian Stage, Factory Theatre, PuSh Festival, Alberta Theatre Projects, Soulpepper, Bard on the Beach, Theatre Junction, Citadel Theatre, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Electric Company Theatre, Blackbird Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, Arts Club, Belfry Theatre, Theatre SKAM, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Catalyst Theatre, RealWheels, Intrepid Theatre, Elbow Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse, Western Canada Theatre, National Arts Centre, Centaur Theatre, Banff Centre, Yukon Arts Centre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Why Not Theatre, Savage Society, vAct, Theatre Replacement, Rumble Theatre, The Cultch, Luminato Festival, and internationally with the American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco), Center Theater Group (Los Angeles), and as a collaborator with Crystal Pite’s renowned dance company Kidd Pivot. She scored Esie Mensah’s short film Tessel, and Why Not Theatre’s feature What You Won’t Do For Love.

Camellia Koo – Set Designer

Camellia is a Toronto based set and costume designer for theatre, opera, and dance. Designs for theatre include collaborations with Canadian Stage, Electric Company, Factory Theatre, National Arts Centre, Soulpepper Theatre, the Shaw Festival, the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre. Designs for opera and ballet include collaborations with Against the Grain, Boston Lyric Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Edmonton Opera, Helikon Opera (Moscow), Minnesota Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Santa Fe Opera, and Tapestry New Opera. Camellia has received six Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Sterling Award, a Chalmers Award Grant, the 2006 Siminovitch Protégé Prize, and Virginia and the Myrtle Cooper Award for Costume Design.

Stephanie Kong – Costume Designer

Stephanie is a Vancouver based costume designer, and holds a BFA in Theatre Design and Production from UBC. Costume Design credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Arts Club Theatre), Grease (Western Canada Theatre), Something Rotten! (Theatre Under the Stars), How the World Began (Pacific Theatre), and Cipher (Vertigo Theatre). Film & TV credits include DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Head Cutter) and The Magicians (Cutter). Other credits include Ovation Award winner in Costume Design. Jessie Award winner in Costume Design. CAFTCAD Award nominee in Excellence in Costume Building. Currently, Stephanie is Assistant Costume Designer for Apple TV’s limited series, Firebug. @stephanieytkong

John Webber – Lighting Designer

John is honoured to be working with such a wonderful group of artists, and also to be back at the Belfry Theatre. A long-time designer of both sets and lighting, he has had the privilege of working with some of Canada’s most talented and adventurous
artists. Past credits at the Belfry include Onegin, Jitters, Half Life, (set and lighting), and One Last Kiss. Past favourite credits include Kinky Boots, Angels in America (parts 1 and 2), for the Arts Club Theatre Company; The Sound of Music, Chelsea Hotel, Wizard of Oz for Western Canada Theatre; and Rigoletto and Marriage of Figaro for Vancouver Opera.

Alessandro Juliani – Composer & Sound Designer

Alessandro (AJ) currently makes his living as an actor, singer, composer, and sound designer. He has been working at these disciplines off and on for the last 35 years. As a composer and sound designer, his work has been heard recently in Assembly Hall, Revisor, Betroffenheit, (Kidd Pivot/Electric Company); Middletown, The Lady from the Sea, Trifles, Prince Caspian, and On The Razzle (Shaw Festival/Crow’s Theatre); To Kill A Mockingbird (Stratford Festival); The Great Leap, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, Saint Joan (Arts Club); Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, The Tempest (Bard on the Beach); and King Lear (NAC). Film and TV credits include: Donkeyhead (Netflix); Big Trees (NFB), and Wait for Rain (Motion 58). He makes his home in Vancouver with his partner and frequent collaborator, Meg Roe, and their three children.

Emily Cooper – Projection Designer

Emily Cooper is a photographer and projection designer working in the arts across Canada. She has photographed countless performances at the Belfry Theatre over the years. For this production of As Above, Emily’s work comes to life in the form of projection design. Other projection design credits: Pacific Opera’s The Birds (2023), Pacific Opera’s The Garden of Alice (2022), Studio 58’s The Skin of our Teeth (2018), and Deux ans de Votre Vie for Theatre La Seizième (2015). Over the last 15 years Emily’s photography has been featured on 20+ Georgia Straight covers, and her work has won both the Communication Arts award and the Applied Arts award.

Tasha Faye Evans – Cultural Dramaturg

Tasha Faye Evans is a dancer, theatre artist, creative consultant, cultural programmer, and educator from Coast Salish, Welsh and European Jewish grandparents. Her work is an integration of dance, theatre and culture rooted in the sacred responsibility to care for the future of all of our relations. Her current projects include Cedar Woman, a dance honouring a legacy of Coast Salish women spanning all the way back to the Great Flood, and In the Presence of Ancestors, a life-long exhibition of five Coast Salish House posts being carved and raised in Port Moody. With decades of creation and production, Tasha has participated in performances and festivals nationally and internationally.

Treena Stubel – Intimacy Director

Treena Stubel has been working in theatre for over thirty years as a choreographer, dancer, actor, movement director, and, most recently, as a director and intimacy director. She has appeared in numerous stage productions and has created physical theatre works for festivals in Canada and abroad. She has choreographed for Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, Bard On The Beach, the Belfry Theatre, the Caravan Farm Theatre, Atomic Vaudeville, Theatre SKAM, and her own company Bounce Performance Works. She was the original choreographer and movement director of the Dora Award-winning musical Ride The Cyclone, which has gone on to US productions, including Off Broadway. She is also a sought-after teacher of movement, and holds an MFA in Lecoq Physical Theatre from LISPA in London, UK.

Caryn Fehr – Stage Manager

Caryn is grateful to be back at the wonderful Belfry Theatre where she has previously stage-managed Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, Same Old Same Old, Forget About Tomorrow, The Valley, The Best Brothers, How To Disappear Completely, and Proud. Recent credits with the Arts Club Theatre Company include Mom’s the Word: Talkin’ Turkey, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Beneath Springhill, Buffoon, The Shoplifters, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Once, and The Waiting Room. She has toured with productions throughout Canada and to Ireland. Other Vancouver productions include work with The Vancouver Playhouse, New Play Centre, Firehall Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Axis Theatre, and the Fringe Festival. Caryn is a recipient of the Mary Phillips Prize, a Jessie award for behind-the-scenes achievement.

Becca Jorgensen – Assistant Stage Manager

Becca has spent eight seasons with the Belfry, starting with the 2016 SPARK Festival, where she began her professional theatre career. Since then, she has supported teams here at the Belfry and across Canada, including productions with the Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Savage Society, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Arts Club Theatre Company, Chemainus Theatre Festival, Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People, The Wonderheads, Open Pit Theatre, and many more. Becca is a graduate of the University of Victoria (BFA Theatre Production & Management), a marathoner, and is most proud of her dog, Larry

About the Belfry

The Belfry Theatre is on the land of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. The Lək̓ʷəŋən people have been keepers of this land for millennia and we offer our respect and gratitude for our uninvited presence on their territory.

These lands are within the disputed Douglas Treaties territories, treaties that were negotiated verbally, signed to blank pieces of paper by the Indigenous leaders and then had text added by the colonial government. The colonial perspective on the treaty is one of a sale of land, while the Indigenous perspective is a sharing of territory.

The Songhees are members of the Te’mexw Treaty Association seeking a modern treaty with the Crown on their rights, territory and self-government.

The Belfry Theatre is a registered Canadian charity, 11921 5549 RR0001.

The Belfry Theatre is a member of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Destination Greater Victoria, and the Professional Arts Alliance of Greater Victoria.

2023–24 Board of Directors
President – Alison Watt
Vice President – Gillian Wood
Secretary – Mikaila Mauro
Treasurer – Kathy Veldhoen
Past President – Richard Brownsey
Cathi Charles Wherry
Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair
Kini McDonald
Daniela Pinto
Joni Steinman
Stephen Tax

Honorary Board of Directors
Chair Emeritus – Patrick Stewart
Sherri Bird
Barbara Greeniaus
Robert Johnston Q.C.
John Keay
Joan Snowden
Dr. Brian Winsby
Michael Ziegler

Jamie Anderson – Box Office Clerk & FOH Supervisor
Castor Angus – Box Office Clerk
Kate Barry – Development Officer
Alison Bendall – FOH Supervisor & Box Office Clerk
Claire Cacheux – Box Office Clerk
Helena Descoteau – Box Office Supervisor
Mark Dusseault – Director of Marketing &Communications
Linda Findlay – Head of Wardrobe
Mike Ford – Director of Production & Operations
Ian Gibson – Audience Services Manager
Keith Houghton – Head Technician & Systems Administrator
Valerie Houle – Producer
Nora Kidston – Front of House Manager
Carole Klemm – Head Scenic Artist
Jeff Kulak – Graphic Designer
Jeremy MacLeod – Technical Director
Patricia O’Brien – Director of Finance
Peter Pokorny – Head of Props & Scenic Carpenter
Dale Pudwell – Master Carpenter
Sophia Radford – Box Office Supervisor
Michael Shamata – Artistic Director
Susan Stevenson – Director of Development
Isaac Thomas – Executive Director
Cian Waldron – Box Office Clerk
Deborah Williams – Associate Artist & Flame Facilitator
Celena Cook Custodial Celena’s Cleaning Co.

B4Play Host – Gregor Craigie
Photographers – David Cooper, Emily Cooper, Jo-Ann Richards, Peter Pokorny, and Don Craig
Belfry 101 Instructors – Dave Morris & Nicole Malcolm
Venue Technician – Hannah Abbey
Props Assistant – Jamie Anderson
Scenic Painter – Lara Shepard
Scenic Carpenter – Christian Tervo
Running Crew – Grace Carmichael
Lighting Crew – Branden Sugden, Alison Bendall
Scenic Support – India Walter & Sam Estok

Thank you to our Community Connectors: Ariel Reyes, Fiona Bramble, Katherine Ross, Nicola Watts, Debra Sheets, Tania Betiku, Thembelihle Moyo, Olvie Li, Carmen Rodriguez, Jess Barton, Cassidy VillebrunBuracas, Alex Taylor-McCallum and Dahlila Isabelle Charlie

Smartphones, Cameras, and Recording Devices
The use of cameras, smartphones or audio/visual recording equipment is prohibited. Please turn off all personal electronic devices prior to the performance. If you need to be contacted in an emergency, please leave your name and seat number with our House Manager.

Latecomers & Re-admission
The Director of each production designates moments in the show when the seating of latecomers will cause the least distraction for actors and audience members. Should you leave the theatre, our House Manager will not be able to reseat you until one of these breaks and may not be able to return you to your original seat, but you can watch the performance on the monitor in our lobby.

Perfume and Cologne
Please refrain from using perfume and cologne when you come to the theatre. Some of our patrons are highly allergic to scents.

Food & Drinks
Only food or drinks that you purchase at the concession are permitted in the theatre.

Lost and Found
Please check with our House Manager if you have lost an item in the theatre.

Lobby Touchscreen
The TV monitor in our new lobby is a touchscreen device. By touching the screen, you can delve deeper into each production, learn about the artists who created the show, and much more.

Babes in Arms
The Belfry is proud to produce adult contemporary theatre. Most of our productions are not suitable for young children. Sorry, we do not admit babes in arms.


Live talk shows hosted by CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie and featuring artists from the upcoming show, along with experts
from the community, have been designed to provide insight into each Mainstage production. Each event is held the Saturday prior to Opening, is free to attend and is also live streamed on Facebook, and available as a podcast on our website.

Listen and download the full interviews from each B4Play, recent stories from The Flame, our storytelling series, and more at

Upstage Magazine
Our magazine provides insight into each Mainstage production, further enriching your experience. Upstage is available in the
Lobby and on our website. Drop us a line at for an advance copy.


Talkback Thursday
Thurs., Feb. 22 following the performance. On the third Thursday performance during the run of each show, most (usually all) of the actors return to the stage to answer your questions and provide insight into the play you have just experienced. These Q & A sessions last approximately 20 minutes.


VocalEye – As Above
Sunday, February 25 at 2 pm (in-person event with Touch Tour & Social After)
For patrons with low or no vision, we offer one VocalEye performance during most Mainstage productions. Trained Audio
Describers provide descriptions of the visual elements of the show, allowing people with low vision to enjoy the theatrical experience without missing any of the details. More information at the Box Office.

Hearing Assist
For patrons who are hard of hearing, the theatre is equipped with an infra-red hearing assist system and a neck loop system. We have twelve devices of each system available through the Box Office.