About Us

Who we are and what we do

Theaturtle was established in 1999 to create essential, ecstatic theatre that touches the earth and ignites the soul. We develop our work slowly, with intention and passion, then glide into national and international waters to share our physically and musically robust theatre.

Vision & Mission

We envision a theatre sourced in all the arts — paintings, songs, literature, dance — where narrative, image and music flow together like a waterborne turtle’s journey.

Our mission is to engage passionately with and employ meticulous attention to dynamic theatrical productions which tour the world.

Our Story

In 1999, Adam Nashman’s “The Song”, featuring Alon Nashman and Deborah Hay, was hailed as “…a tribute to the possibilities of the human body and human imagination” (National Post). In 2002, Wajdi Mouawad’s “Alphonse” was called “A One-Man Wonder” (Toronto Star) and was nominated for Dora and Brickenden Awards. “Alphonse” was performed at South Africa’s National Arts Festival in 2018, and in parks across Canada featuring actors Kaleb Alexander, Gabe Maharjan, or Evelyn Gray. Alon and Mark Cassidy of Threshold Theatre developed “Kafka and Son”, based on a letter Franz Kafka wrote to his father. The play has won awards in Canada, Europe and Africa. Most recently, Kafka and Son was featured at Rockport Summer Music, and at Soho Playhouse, New York. In 2006, “The Snow Queen”, adapted by Canadian composer Patrick Cardy, was brought to theatrical completion with visuals by Andrea Lundy at The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Directed by Alon and performed with some of Canada’s finest string quartets, The Snow Queen played at Toronto’s Young Centre, Calgary ProMusica, Ottawa’s Museum of Civilization, and Vancouver’s Roundhouse. In 2009, Alon directed a workshop production of a new musical play, “Noah’s Great Rainbow” by Sam Chaiton and featuring music by Mighty Popo, Waleed Abdulhamid and David Buchbinder. Theaturtle tours the Stratford Festival production of “HIRSCH”, created by Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson, about legendary Canadian director John Hirsch. In 2017, “CHARLOTTE: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music”, an international collaboration based on the remarkable life and artwork of Charlotte Salomon, premiered at Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and World Stage Design Festival in Taipei, and has toured to Israel’s Jaffa Fest, Svetanova Litomysl Festival, and at the Czech National Theatre. In development are “Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”, an incendiary stand-up set delivered by Sigmund Freud, “Mimi on the Beach,” a new musical inspired by the songs of Jane Siberry, “Kiuryaq” (with Akpik Theatre), an immersive circumpolar experience exploring the power and mystery of the Northern Lights, and a new play about radical artist, architect and environmentalist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. 

Awards & Nominations

  • 4 Dora Award Nominations
  • 6 Fringe Best in Fest Awards
  • 2021 Public History Award
    Heritage Toronto
  • 2019 Critics’ Choice Award
    Orlando Fringe Winter Fest
  • 2017 Fringe Encore Series Selection
    Soho Playhouse, New York
  • 2015 Arena Stage Award
    National Arts Festival, South Africa
  • 2014 Jury Award
    Thespis Festival, Germany
  • 2013 Outstanding Performance
    Prague Fringe
  • 2008 Outstanding Touring Production, Brickenden Award
    London, Canada

Alon Nashman | Artistic Director

Alon Nashman is a performer, director, creator, and producer of theatre. Selected credits include: Scorched* (Dora Nomination: Performance), Remnants* (Tarragon Theatre), Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well, Botticelli in the Fire/Sunday in Sodom*, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Dora Nomination: Performance), THIS (Toronto Theatre Critics Award, Dora Nomination: Performance) (Canadian Stage), Hedda Gabler (Volcano / Buddies in Bad Times), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot* (Birdland Theatre), If Jesus Met Nanabush (De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre), The Barber of Seville (Persephone Theatre), Easy Lenny Lazmon and the Great Western Ascension* (Go Chicken Go), Reading Hebron, A Short History of Night (Factory Theatre), HIRSCH, and Birds of a Kind (Stratford Festival). Alon was Narrator/Storyteller in Tales of Two Cities with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Under the banner of Theaturtle, Alon has been involved with the creation, production and touring of numerous theatre pieces including Adam Nashman’s The Song, Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse (Dora and Brickenden Awards); Kafka and Son, developed with Mark Cassidy of Threshold Theatre, The Snow Queen (Dora Nominations for Production and Performance), HIRSCH created with Paul Thompson for Stratford Festival of Canada, and Charlotte: A Tri-coloured Play with Music, developed with UK-based scenographer/director Pamela Howard and Czech composer Aleš Březina. (*Dora Award: Production)

Staff & Team

Valeriy Kostyuk | Associate Producer

Valeriy Kostyuk is a Toronto based producer. For Starvox Entertainment, Valeriy manages exciting projects such as Champions of Magic, John Ross Bowie’s Four Chords and a Gun, and WOW Vegas Spectacular in Dubai. With Lighthouse Immersive Valeriy has been part of the Immersive Van Gogh team, the first immersive exhibit which safely opened in Toronto in July 2020. Valeriy manages the Illusionarium Exhibit which opened in Toronto in July 2021. For Theaturtle, Valeriy has worked on projects such as the international tour of CHARLOTTE: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music, and the 2020 COVID-19 safe tour of Toronto City Parks of Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse. Valeriy independently produces multidisciplinary arts projects abroad. Previously Valeriy collaborated with renowned eastern European companies such as Maski-Show Theatre and Kobzov Circus. Valeriy holds a BFA in Theatre from York University, with a focus on production and design.

Board of Directors

Alanis King | board of directors

Alanis King is a playwright and director originally from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. King was the first First Nations woman to graduate from the National Theatre School of Canada, and began working in theatre in 1986. She is the past Artistic Director of De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre, the Three Fires Music Festival, Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto, and Saskatchewan Native Theatre. King was the past Festival Director for the Aboriginal Voices Festival in Toronto, assisting the content development and media project Buffalo Tracks for Aboriginal People’s Television Network. Alanis King completed an eight-week intensive program at New York Film Academy and at George Brown College in Toronto where she wrote her first feature length screenplay. The film then went on to be screened at The Aboriginal Voices Festival and the ImagiNative Media Arts Festival. Her plays include The Daphne Odjig Art Show, Odeh Gamig Kwewak (aka. The Heart Dwellers), If Jesus Met Nanabush, The Tommy Prince Story, and The Manatoulin Incident.

Wole Oguntokun | board of directors

Wole Oguntokun is a playwright and artistic director of the international performing arts company Renegade Theatre, and the Canada-based Theatre Planet Studios Ltd. He was a Global Fellow of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in 2015, 2016 and 2018. He has presented and directed plays at the Cross Currents Festival in Washington DC, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Globe Theatre in London, the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali, Rwanda, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival and numerous festivals in Nigeria. He was moderator at the award of the Europe Theatre Special Prize to the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, in Rome in December 2017, Artistic Consultant to the Directors’ Projects at the Shaw Theatre Festival, Ontario, Canada in 2018 and was a resident International Guest Artiste for at the Svalegangen Theatre in Arhus, Denmark in the same year. Wole is recipient of “Best Dramatic Writing of the Year” Young-Howze award in 2021 for “The Emancipation of Yankee Oluwale.”

Mark S. Anshan | board of directors

Mark is a lawyer and a former Canadian diplomat, serving on several non-profit boards. He provides legal, business, strategic and organisational advice to not-for-profits and charities. Mark is a Canadian lawyer, called to the Ontario bar in 1984. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he served in the Canadian Foreign Service at the United Nations and the Canadian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. As a lawyer and executive, Mark has been involved in the management and reorganisation of several companies and not-for-profit organisations, having served as a senior executive and chair and board member. He has extensive experience in management, strategic planning, governance and organising businesses. He serves on several boards in the Canadian Jewish Community as well as boards in the General community. Mark is a past President of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, and past Chair of ARZA Canada and ARZENU.