The People of CTYP

Carole Higgins, Artistic Director


Carole is in her 14th season as Artistic Director of CTYP. Her many directing credits include Busytown, The Cat in the Hat, The Wizard of Oz, Birdbrain, A Year with Frog and Toad, Love You Forever…, Seussical The Big League, Peter Pan and many more plays for Carousel Theatre for Young People, and the hockey comedy ‘Nucklehead Fever for Western Canada Theatre and TheatreOne. Over the years, her directing work has been honoured with two Jessie Awards and six nominations. Prior to becoming Artistic Director of CTYP, she played in regional theatres across British Columbia,including Western Canada Theatre, the Caravan Farm Theatre, TheatreOne and CTYP, where she made her professional debut in The Diary of Anne Frank in 1994. Carole has also served as a guest faculty member at Arts Umbrella, on audition panels for the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and Studio 58 and as a guest lecturer on Theatre for Young Audiences at the University of the Fraser Valley. She sits on the Board of Directors for Western Gold Theatre. Carole clearly remembers the magic of seeing her first play at age three.

 Aliyah Amarshi, Managing Director

As a child growing up in Vancouver, Aliyah fondly remembers watching Carousel Theatre for Young People productions and seeing stories come to life on stage.  She is fortunate to now be a part of this incredible organization that ignites the imaginations of the young and young at heart. Aliyah is an MBA graduate from the Sauder School of Business at UBC and combines this business knowledge with a life-long passion for the performing arts. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and Board of Directors of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (Chair, Diversity Portfolio).






Keith Davidson, President

Keith DavidsonKeith has contributed his time, talent, and energy to Carousel Theatre for Young People (CTYP) since 2009 when he volunteered his services as Assistant Stage Manager for the Lawyer Show annual fundraiser. Actively involved ever since, he is honoured to serve as the current President of the Board of Directors. During the day Keith is a Business Consultant at TELUS, providing insight and intelligence into their entertainment products.




Tory Ross, Vice President

Tory RossTory has nearly thirty years’ experience in administration, event management, and communications in both the non-profit and corporate sectors. Currently the Executive Assistant at a commercial property development and management company, Tory has held positions with the Vancouver International Wine Festival, Sport BC, and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. She has served on the Boards of VanDusen Botanical Garden Association, PAL (Performing Arts Lodge) Vancouver, and the False Creek Community Association.  Tory’s hobbies include dragon boat racing and gardening.





Stephen Robertson, Secretary

Stephen RobertsonStephen is a partner in the Securities and Capital Markets Group at the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, where his practice focuses on advising clients with respect to securities and investment management industry matters. Stephen also has an affinity for the stage, having performed in the Lawyer Show’s productions of Spamalot, Guys & Dolls, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, and As You Like It.






Kathie Schwaia, Treasurer

Kathie SchwaiaKathie is a Certified General Accountant providing accounting services to small businesses.  A Board Member of Carousel Theatre for Young People since 1982, Kathie has also served on the Board of The Mavor Moore Theatre Society since 2001. Other organizations she supports are Face the World Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Vancouver Symphony, the Arts Club and the Metro Theatre. For fun Kathie takes Zoomba dance classes and enjoys great adventures with Brady in unexplored dog parks.





Jennifer Atkinson, Director

Jennifer_Finals (30)

After obtaining a BA from the University of Victoria, Jennifer has built her career as a fundraiser, event planner and project manager in Vancouver’s charitable sector. Currently, she is the Senior Manager, Community Partnerships with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. A life-long lover of the arts, she believes passionately in building positive, engaged communities through volunteerism. In her free time, she loves to tap dance, kick box and explore beautiful Vancouver with her 4 year old son, Connor & husband, Colin.



Gwen Floyd, Director

Gwen FloydGwen is an educator and a mother to two budding thespians, Aidan and Quinlan. Since her eldest son Aidan started theatre school when he was four, Gwen and her husband Anthony have been active supporters of all that Carousel Theatre for Young People does. With a BA in music and a Bachelor of Education, Gwen understands the importance of live theatre and its positive impact on children. Community-minded and tech-savvy, Gwen is a member of her sons’ school PAC and has organized numerous fundraising events.




Fila Testini, Director

Fila TestiniFila was born in Italy and immigrated to Canada in 1969. With a certificate in Business Administration from Capilano College, her background includes finance, time management, leadership, event planning, health care, and food industry management. A volunteer in the arts community since 2002, Fila has been a strong supporter of Patrick Street Productions, Douglas Ballet Academy, and Theatre Under the Stars. Fila believes in being a strong role model for her two children who share her passion for musical theatre.





 Tanja Dixon-Warren, Director

Tanja Dixon-WarrenTanja has been working as a freelance actor, producer, director, teacher and mentor for over 28 years.  She is the Managing Producer of Full Circle: First Nations Performance (Talking Stick Festival) and the Artistic Producer / Co-Founder of Hoarse Raven Theatre. An active member of the community, with a long history of mentoring emerging artists and arts administrators, Tanja served for 15 years on the board of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA). She has also served as a board member with Quintessence Musical Theatre Projects, First Vancouver Theatrespace Society (Vancouver Fringe Festival) and was a Jury Member for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Tanja has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations for her achievements in performing, producing, and business.






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