Rena Cohen, Artistic Director
Rena began her career as a theatre director, teacher and critic. She holds an MFA in Theatre (Directing) and has a strong artistic history, as well as a reputation for innovative, strategic arts administration. Rena is thrilled to combine management with artistic oversight in her leadership role with Realwheels.
Rena remains an active community volunteer. She is Past President of the largest Reform synagogue on the west coast, for whom she oversaw a successful strategic planning initiative and leadership transition, and where she recently provided leadership on a refugee sponsorship initiative. She also serves as a speech and presentations coach to select private and corporate clients.
Living with two invisible chronic diseases currently in remission, Rena self-identifies as able-bodied: “I challenge myself to understand and internalize the diverse voices of disability communities, and am committed to authentically reflect a broad range of disability-inclusive values throughout Realwheels’ activity and culture”.
Ashley Sutton, General Manager
Ashley is an experienced producer, actor, production manager, and stage manager. A graduate of Capilano University’s Arts and Entertainment Management program, Ashley’s career as an arts administrator encompass other performing arts as well as theatre, including dance and music.
Highlights include working with Rumble Theatre on the Tremors Festival (2016), Sears BC Drama Festival (2016), Flamenco Rosario (2017 & 2018), Turning Point Ensemble (2018) and Harrison Festival of the Arts (Production Coordinator, 2017-2019). She is also an active board member for Offtopic Theatre Society.
“The Realwheels community has been incredibly warm and welcoming and I’m excited to join the passionate team here.”
Lindsey Adams, Communications Director
Coming from an administrative background, Lindsey is also a visual artist, who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University. Having worked in a variety of settings, Lindsey finds that none encompasses her interests as well as her position with Realwheels, where she finds great pleasure in combining her passion for the creative with her administrative talents.
Jayson McLean, Production Manager
Jayson feels privileged to have served as Technical Director on the team that mounted Realwheels’ inaugural production, Skydive. Jayson has also served as Production Manager on Wheel Voices to the Max!, Associate Producer on Re-calculating, TD/ Set Designer for Super Voices, Production Manager/ Set Designer for SexyVoices, Associate Producer on Creeps, and set/ lighting designer on Comedy on Wheels. Jayson’s career encompasses theatre, film, television, dance, opera and live music. Theatres: The Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage, UofT Opera Program, and touring with Blue Rodeo. He is also a faculty member at Capilano University.
Mary Ann Anderson, Fundraising Consultant
Mary Ann is a Vancouver-based arts administrator who has worked in the local cultural community since 1989. A graduate of the University of Toronto’s Arts Administration Program, Mary Ann has been the ED of several arts organizations, including arts service groups, galleries, artist cooperatives and municipal government agencies. Mary Ann has experience in public fundraising, in the development of fundraising plans, and she was responsible for the delivery of the North Vancouver municipal granting program, working with 50+ arts organizations over 12 years.
James Sanders is the founding Artistic Director of Realwheels.
In 1998, James graduated as valedictorian earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Simon Fraser University.
His professional career includes acting, writing, and producing for the stage and screen. Quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury, James is committed to positive and accurate representations of disability in the media. His goal is to represent characters with a disability in stories where issues of disability are not the central source of conflict. His favourite compliment for his acting was when he performed the role of Uncle Ernie in The Who’s musical, Tommy. An audience member asked the director, “Why didn’t James stand up during the curtain call?”
James lives and works in Vancouver with his amazingly supportive wife Barbara and adorable son, Max.
Menno Plukker is a Theatrical Agent for the Performing Arts and Entertainment in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
He has a solid reputation on the national and international scenes, as an agent who has efficiently broadened touring markets for theatre and dance companies. His mandate is more specifically to develop touring opportunities abroad, and to book performances for theatre, and dance and music companies, thereby increasing the visibility and presence of the artists and companies he represents. His main goal is to create a stable and sustainable working environment which will allow the artists he represents to develop and maintain an international career.