Who’s who in The Seat Next to the King

The Cast


Kwaku Okyere – Bayard


Kwaku Okyere first started acting when he was ambushed and taken to his first community theatre audition when he was eleven; he has never looked back since.

A Ghanaian actor, writer, and mover from Brampton, Ontario, Kwaku’s favourite credits include:

  • playing 8 different characters from a young orphan to an elderly blind prophet in Wajdi Mouawad’s epic, Tideline (directed by Ken Gass – Canadian Rep/Hart House Theatre),
  • the Praise Singer in a workshop of Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka’s masterpiece, Death and the King’s Horseman (directed by Chiamaka Ugwu – Cardinal Direction), and
  • Philomena the Clown in The Clowns (directed by Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith – Humber).

Kwaku is also in the midst of creating a solo show with Judith Thompson’s RARE Theatre Company, which he’ll be performing in summer 2018.

Stay tuned!


Conor Ling – Walter

Conor_Ling_thumbOriginally from the UK, Conor grew up in Toronto before moving to New York where he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Conor is thrilled to be a part of the Toronto Fringe Festival for the first time.

Past credits include:

  • Sense & Sensibility and Les Liasons Dangereuses (Amicus Productions),
  • A Rose Upon the Blood (Red Sandcastle Theatre),
  • The Fox on the Fairway (The Village Players),
  • 20/20 and You’re Trying My Patience (InspiraTO Festival).

New York Credits include:

  • R+J: An Uncivil Tale (Rebel Theatre),
  • Dancing at Lughnasa (Mary MacArthur Theatre) and
  • Fifth of July (Lester Martin Theatre).



The Production Team


Steven Elliott Jackson – Playwright

Steven JacksonSteven Elliott Jackson was the recipient of the 2017 Best New Play at the Toronto Fringe for “The Seat Next To The King” and previously placed second in the contest in 2007 for “The State Of Tennessee”.
He is the Artistic Director for Minmar Gaslight Productions as well as its family theatre company, 3 Little Bears Productions with his partner Todd Davies.

Previous credits:

  • Brothers And Arms (2010, Toronto Fringe Festival),
  • The Dark Part Of The Snow (2011, Mount Marty College, Yankton, ND),
  • Real Life Superhero (2012, Toronto Dance Theatre),
  • The State Of Tennessee (2013, Theatre Passe Muraille),
  • Rapunzel (adaptation, 2014, Toronto Kids Fringe/Stage Centre Productions),
  • Threesome (2016, Red Sandcastle Theatre).

Upcoming Productions:

  • The Prince’s Big Adventurer (Nov. 2017, Stage Centre Productions),
  • A Question Of Character (Jan. 2017/ Stage Centre Productions),
  • Real Life Superhero (Spring 2018, Brandon, MB)

Currently, he is developing Kick Start: Featuring the music of Lisa Loeb for a future reading

Tanisha Taitt – Director

Tanisha TaittTanisha Taitt is a director/actor/playwright/arts educator/activist and accidental essayist. She has worked with Obsidian, NAC, The Musical Stage Company, Nightwood, BIBT and Soulpepper, and spent two seasons as a Resident Artist-Educator with YPT.

Tanisha is a Drama mentor for tdsbCreates, a TDSB/TAC initiative that brings professional artists into classrooms to nurture artistic expression in students and teachers. She is an Anti-Oppression facilitator and Director of the Peace Camp program for Children’s Peace Theatre, an organization that teaches young people about conflict transformation through theatre.

Also a singer and songsmith, she is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award for excellence in songwriting.

Tanisha spent 7 years as the Toronto and then the National producer for V-Day/One Billion Rising — the global movement to end violence against women and girls.

In 2014, she founded Teenage Graceland, a youth theatre collective that challenges societal attitudes leading to gender-based violence. Tanisha was ‘Harolded’ in 2013 and in 2015, critic Lynn Slotkin bestowed upon her an inaugural “Tootsie” Award in the “They Can Do Anything” category.

She is currently writing two musical theatrical works: FORCE, a musical about rape; and ERACED, which began when she heard the voices of unarmed dead black men singing to her in her sleep.

Tanisha is the new co-host of The HUM Human Rights & the Arts podcast and will make her hosting debut this June.

She is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.


Tara Mohan – Stage Manager

Tara is a professional Stage Manager who enjoys working on theatre, dance, musicals, and everything in between.

She has had the pleasure of working with a number of Toronto-based companies and organizations, including Why Not Theatre, Gadfly Dance, Hart House Theatre, Expect Theatre, George Brown Dance, and Toronto Dance Theatre.

Favourite credits include:  

  • Expect Theatre’s PlayME Past,
  • Why Not Theatre/Butcher’s Block Collective’s Butcher,
  • George Brown Dance’s Unleashed,
  • MotionLive/IFT Theatre’s Oraltorio: A Theatrical MiXtape,
  • Toronto Dance Theatre’s Animated,
  • Hart House Theatre/Canadian Rep Theatre’s Tideline.
  • For The LOT: Avenue Q, Blacktop Sky, Peter and the Starcatcher.
  • For Hart House Theatre: Boeing Boeing, We the Family.


Brandon Goncalves – Lighting Designer

Brandon GoncalvesBrandon Goncalves is a recent graduate of York University – Glendon College.

For Lionheart Productions, Lighting Design credits include:

  • The Breakfast Club,
  • Spring Awakening, and most recently,
  • Heathers the Musical.

Other credits include;

  • Samyogita 2016,
  • Rukmini’s Gold (Winner of the Toronto Fringe 2015 New Play Contest), and
  • Électro Bing Bang for Le Groupe Théâtre Novo.

Other design work at this year’s Fringe: Odd One Out by Maureen Gualtieri at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace.