Alissa has used two of her core values – creativity and lifelong learning – to cultivate an extraordinary career that incorporates her love of Education and the Arts.
Alissa started her career teaching elementary music in St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg. Despite leaving her permanent position to pursue life as a freelance artist, teaching remained a meaningful vocation. As a valued percussion and drama clinician, she is a regular instructor at Manitoba Theatre for Young People as well as several school divisions in Winnipeg. Her skills as an educator led to a term teaching senior drama at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate and as James Forsythe’s replacement during his 2017-18 sabbatical at Brandon University.
As an actor, Alissa has built an impressive resume, gaining credits on Winnipeg’s most prominent stages, most recently in Sense & Sensibility at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. With the experience of eight Theatre for Young Audience tours across Manitoba, Alissa uses theatre as a medium to empower young people to understand and shape their worlds. In 2019-20, she was chosen to adapt and direct Prairie Theatre Exchange’s (PTE’s) family holiday show and tour, Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess. This production was Alissa’s professional playwriting/directing debut and its success has led to a future commission. As a creator, Alissa is known for her physical comedy and clown expertise. She is a founding member of the all-female bouffon ensemble, The Talentless Lumps and the clown duo The Red Nose Diaries, who were commissioned for family entertainment at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. She is currently a member of PTE’s Emerging Playwrights Unit.
The importance of lifelong learning has led Alissa to continued professional development, and in 2015 she was named the Reg Skene Emerging Artist by the Manitoba Association of Playwrights. Training highlights include a summer at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, England, several sessions at The Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance in Ontario, with John Turner of Mump & Smoot, and a directing mentorship with PTE’s Artistic Director, Thomas Morgan Jones, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Alissa volunteers her time as a speaker coach for TEDx Winnipeg, a Board member for Green Kids Inc. (a theatre company dedicated to environmental education) and is a longtime volunteer for the Winnipeg Folk Festival. One of her favourite pastimes is singing and playing the washboard for the sweet and cheeky Fu Fu Chi Chi Choir.
Alissa received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2020.