Derek Chan (陳嘉昊) (he/him)
Managing Artistic Director
Derek Chan (陳嘉昊) grew up in colonial Hong Kong, studied in Norway, and currently lives and works on the stolen and ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, colonially known as Vancouver. Derek received his BFA in theatre performance from Simon Fraser University. A playwright, director, performer, translator, and producer, Derek has been co-artistic director of rice & beans theatre since 2010. He has also worked with Playwrights Theatre Centre (artistic director apprentice), Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (associate artistic producer), and the rEvolver Festival (guest curator). Derek has been a National Arts Centre English Theatre Artist in Residence (19/20) with yellow objects, a new installation-exhibition in support of the ongoing pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. His play, Chicken Girl (2019/20), won the Sydney Risk Award for Outstanding Original Play by an Emerging Playwright, and was nominated for Outstanding Original Script at the Jessies.
Annie Jang (she/her)
Annie was born and raised on the unceded, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She graduated from UBC with a BFA in Theatre Production & Design (2009), with a focus on stage management before finding her vocation in arts administration. Annie first joined the vAct family as a volunteer in 2010. Since then she has weaved in and out of vAct in various capacities, and is proud to have witnessed the growth of the company under the artistic leadership of Joyce Lam, Donna Yamamoto, and now Derek Chan.
Karen Tsui (she/they)
Karen is a second-generation Chinese immigrant-settler living, working, and creating on unceded Coast Salish territory, including the lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen), and qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen) Indigenous peoples. Holding a deep interest in the arts, community outreach, and social justice, she was previously involved with the Vancouver International Film Festival, bc211, Humanize Consulting, UBC Geering Up Engineering Outreach, Rainbow Refugee, and Dixon Transition Society. Karen is a painter, novice garment maker, and occasional piano player who received her B.A. in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice from UBC in 2020. If you ever happen to spot her in the outdoors, be sure to take caution when approaching, as her reactive wiener dog is always on the lookout.
Laara Ong (she/her)
Donor Relations & Outreach Coordinator
Laara is a professional actor having performed in theatres across Canada. She was nominated for a Jessie award for her role in Golden Child and for a Sterling award for Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl. Other credits include The Yoko Ono Project, A Season in Purgatory and Yellow Fever. It has been a privilege for her to be a part of vAct, working beside such visionaries to see it become a major presence in the Vancouver arts scene.
Anjela Magpantay (she/her)
Programming and Outreach Associate
Christian Ching (he/they)
Associate Artistic Producer
Karla Comanda (they/she)
Karla Comanda is a Vancouver-based poet, playwright, editor, translator, educator, and arts administrator. Born and raised in Manila, her poems have appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, filling station, decomp, Poetry is Dead, Room Magazine, and others.
Karla has taught writing workshops for the UBC Philippine Studies Series, Vancouver Public Library, Migrante BC, La Salle University – Ozamiz, Co.ERASGA, and other community organizations and institutions. In 2019, she hosted the Sinag-Araw Writing Workshop, a poetry workshop series created for Filipino youth in the diaspora.
Penny Tham is a retired corporate securities lawyer. She has extensive experience working in senior positions with international financial institutions around the world. After 25 years of living in Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, Singapore and London she returned to Vancouver where she grew up. She is an enthusiastic theatre goer.
Jessica Louie (she/her)
Jessica Louie is a passionate entrepreneur and educator, who thrives in helping individuals with their business and professional growth. Jessica graduated from the Sauder School of Business in Finance, followed by completing the Diploma in Accounting Program in 2010. In 2014, after achieving her Chartered Professional Accountant designation with Ernst & Young LLP in Vancouver, BC, Jessica started her own accounting practice Jessica W. Louie, Chartered Professional Accountant catering to the Film & Entertainment Industry, Non-Profit Organizations and Entrepreneurs. She also decided to take a more creative path and was awarded Top Student at the 6 month Hair Art Design Program with John Casablanca Institute and ran a mobile hairdressing business for three years. Her love for teaching and guiding her clients led her to becoming a continuing Adjunct Professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business starting in 2017 and at the Robert H. Lee Graduate School starting in 2018. Today Jessica has grown her Accounting Practice to an eleven person team comprising fellow CPAs, bookkeepers and students and you can also find her at film offices around the city during production!
Kenton Low (he/him)
Kenton brings leadership and marketing expertise to the vAct Board. He has worked in several industries including entertainment where he served as a senior executive at the Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios.
Wendy Lee (she/her)
Wendy is a partner of Koffman Kalef LLP, Business Lawyers and has practiced corporate and securities law since 1985. She is an avid theatregoer and supporter of various performing arts groups around Vancouver. Wendy had been involved in providing support and advice to vAct “behind the scenes” for many years before joining the Board in June 2019. She is currently also a member of the Finance Committee and of the Nominations Committee at The University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft and previously served on the Executive of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch Women Lawyers Forum for six years.
Helen Wong (she/her)
Helen is the Senior Philanthropy Officer at the VGH + UBC Hospital Foundation and has worked at Ballet BC, the Arts Club Theatre Company, and the Company Art Gallery. She is a fundraising professional who has experience with private-sector revenue generation, grant writing, and event coordination. Helen is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and also serves as a Board Director for the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation.
Claire Sakaki (she/her)
Advisory Committee Member
Claire is the Executive Director of Bard on the Beach and has worked at Soulpepper Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, and the Canadian Opera Company. Claire is a graduate of Georgetown University (Non-Profit Executive Program), Queen’s University (BAH Psychology), and the Income Manager’s Program (University of Waterloo). Claire received the John Hobday Award in Arts Management, sits on the Board of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and is a member of the Labour Relations Committee for PACT and the Vancouver Cultural Services External Advisory Committee.
Advisory Committee Member
Dr. Stanley Hamilton (OBC) is an emeritus professor at UBC Sauder School of Business. After retiring from UBC, Stan served for seven years on the board of directors of the Arts Club Theatre Company including a term as Chair, on the BC Arts Council for seven years, four as Chair and as Project Manager for the BMO Theatre Centre for two years. Stan currently serves as a director of the Stanley Theatre Society and a board member of Ballet BC. We are honoured to have Stan on the vAct Advisory Committee.
Advisory Committee Member
Terry is the Managing Partner of Alexander Whitehead Executive Search, a Vancouver-based firm specializing in senior executive search in natural resources and the not-for-profit sectors. Previously, he worked in professional theatre for 15 years as a fund development professional with the Arts Club and Theatre Calgary. Terry is a member of the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver International Film Festival.