Burnaby Summer Theatre

The Burnaby Summer Theatre Program has been running for over 25 years, and is sponsored by the Burnaby Arts Council and funded by Canada Summer Jobs. 

Each year, a group of emerging artists create a free, all ages, and outdoor original show that they perform throughout Burnaby. This program works to break down the barriers and allows people from all walks of life to witness the magic of live theatre. This year’s emerging artists Christian Billet, Stella Jack-Rennie, and Emma Schellenberg are mentored and directed by Jessie Award winning artist, Susan Bertoia. They have created a show called “Stories From a Suitcase”.

Stories from a Suitcase is a high energy, 35 minute piece of theatre for all ages. Join 3 storytellers as they share adaptations of Italian Folktales. From a very wise clock, to a farmer trading his sheep, to a sad sad prince, these stories are strung together by music, acrobatics, and audience participation. As if by magic, their three suitcases contain all that is needed for each story, and perhaps enough for one more. 

Susan Bertoia – Creative Director

Susan Bertoia is a professional theatre artist, performer, director, devisor, writer, drama teacher, and mom to three amazing humans. Susan’s invigorating artistic style, with specialization in physical theatre and mask performance, make her a well sought-out teaching artist and performer throughout Canada. Her work explores transposing the poetry of life into the comedic and dramatic moments for the stage. Susan’s artistic leadership has been described as engaging, encouraging and disarming.

Christian Billet – Stage Manager / Actor

Christian Billet (he/him) graduated from UBC Acting and has a strong passion for comedy. With his clowning and character training, he brings joy and laughter to audiences of all ages. Christian is excited about being part of his first touring show and hopes to do more theatre for young audiences in the future. Christian is grateful to work, live, and play on the unceded, traditional, and ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people.

Stella Jack Rennie – Actor / Writer

Stella Jack-Rennie (they/she) is ecstatic to be a part of the Burnaby Summer Theatre Program and to work on Stories From a Suitcase. Having recently worked on another devised children’s storytelling show “One of A Kind” for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Stella couldn’t get enough of it so they’re back for more! She is thankful to live and work on the stolen land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Stella spent her high school years studying theatre at Arts Umbrella’s Pre-Professional Theatre Programs and Carousel Theatre’s Teen Shakespeare Program, and is going into her second term in Studio 58’s  acting program in the fall.

Emma Schellenberg – Actor / Writer

Emma Schellenberg (she/her) is an actor, singer, dancer, writer, and just generally a creative. She is thrilled to be performing in  “Stories From a Suitcase” and is so thankful to be one of the co-creators through the Burnaby Summer Theatre Program. She studied Musical Theatre at Capilano University and graduated with a Musical Theatre Diploma, later continuing on to complete her Bachelor’s in Performing Arts. She has had the privilege of venturing into the worlds of film, tv, and voiceover, as well as acquiring select stage credits such as Ensemble in The Drowsy Chaperone (Theatre Under the Stars), Josie Pye in Anne of Green Gables (CapU Theatre), and Tormentor in Jesus Christ Superstar (Uncle Randy Productions) which earned her a 2017 Special Award in the Applause Ovation Awards.  She is grateful to work, live, and play on the unceded, traditional, and ancestral lands of the scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples.