Diana Belshaw (Head of Acting) was Director of the Theatre Performance Program for twelve years, as well as founder of the Acting for Film and Television Program at Humber. She is nationally known for her advocacy for innovation in actor-training, and has spoken about actor training at conferences in both Canada and the United States, most recently in May 2016 at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. She co-edited the issue ofCanadian Theatre Review on ‘Acting Training in English-Speaking Canada’, published in Fall 2014.
Diana feels privileged to have spent her life in the performing arts since her teenage years with Holiday Theatre in Vancouver, through degrees at the University of British Columbia and at the Yale School of Drama. She has performed and directed across the country from the Vancouver Playhouse to the National Arts Centre, with companies such as Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre and a long association with the Blyth Festival, and is particularly proud of her contribution to the development of new works as both actor and director.
This spring, she directed Burning Mom for fu-gen’s Walk-the Walk Festival and returned to the stage in March 2015 for Factory Theatre’s production of The Unplugging, a post-apocalyptic play written by Yvette Nolan, under the direction of Nina Lee Aquino. As well as in original work, she has appeared in a number of classical roles, most notably in two ground-breaking productions of King Lear which Richard Rose directed at Necessary Angel in which she played the Earl of Kent. Diana has also had a busy career as an actor in film and television. She was a regular on a number of television series, played leading roles on film and episodic dramas, and has done her fair share of forgettable day roles and commercials.
Diana was the Professional Theatre Co-ordinator at Theatre Ontario where she established Theatre Ontario’s Showcase for graduating theatre school students; she was a founder of the Entertainment Industry Coalition which continues to protect the public from scam talent agencies and she is still deeply involved in activities within the professional theatre community. For her work over the years, she has received both a Harold Award given by the independent theatre community in Toronto and a Maggie Bassett Award given annually by Theatre Ontario to an individual who has made a significant contribution to theatre in Ontario.
However, the most rewarding part of her career has been working with young actors, both professionally and as a teacher. She is deeply grateful for the generosity of commitment that faculty, guest artists, professional advisors and students have brought to our work at Humber. She continues to be amazed by the courage and passion of her graduates, and celebrates the impact they are having on the theatre community.