March 10 – 19 (times below)
KWLT, 9 Princess St. E., Waterloo, ON

A delightful, heart-warming telling of the classic Grimms’ with contemporary resonances, Witches in the Woods is a clever new take on the tale. Premiere production of a locally created, original Theatre for Young Audience play. For our times and for all people. All ages.

Produced by Pat the Dog Theatre Creation and Lightning Banjo Productions

SHOW DATES: March 10 – March 19

Show runs 60 minutes without intermission.

Tickets: $20 Adult, $15 (under 14)

MARCH 11    7PM
MARCH 12    7PM
MARCH 15    7 PM


Playwright – Amy Neufeld
Director: Lisa O’Connell
Choreographer – Tara Butler
Set Design – Drew Ripley
Lighting Design – Sharon DiGenova
Stage Manager –


Sybil – Jennifer Cornish
Yara – Vanessa Spence
Mr. Hidebound  – Kez Vicario-Robinson
Nerezza – Anna Maste
Cowell – Kevin White
Gretel – Joy Soltys
Hansel – Sunny Ticknor-Malton
Willow Women: Tara Butler, Sarah DaSilva, Mackenzie Buchwald

Creative Team

Playwright Amy Neufeld is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Lightning Banjo Productions. She has an Honours BA in English Literature from Laurier, and a Theatre Arts Diploma from MacEwan University. Previous writing credits for Lightning Banjo Productions include Cinderella, CEO, Betty and the Beast, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Friends, and The Velveteen Rabbit. Amy was a member of Pat the Dog’s Women’s Room in 2021, and wrote and performed Wish Fish as part of Lumen 2022.

Director Lisa O’Connell (she/her) is the founding Artistic Director of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, a catalyst for theatre which produces annually the PlaySmelter Northern New Works Festival (Sudbury) and Femme Folks Fest (Waterloo Region). A fierce advocate for regional theatre artists she has dramaturged and/or directed new works for theatre  presented at CanStage/Toronto, Theatre Aquarius/Hamilton, Grand Theatre/London, Sudbury Theatre Centre, IMPACT Festival/Waterloo, Summerworks, Toronto Fringe and more.  O’Connell divides her time between her artistic homes in Waterloo, ON and Sudbury, ON.

Choreographer Tara Butler is the Artistic Director of Dust and Soul Dance Projects, a company she established in November 2021. Dust and Soul Dance projects is committed to offering yearly professional and original contemporary dance performances for the Waterloo region as well as outreach through creative movement workshops for the community. The companies first performance “Dance Takes Berlin” was a huge sucess and played to 2 sold out performances at The Registry theatre. The next performance titled “Precarious”  is  June 16th, and 17th here at The Registry.

Tara began her career with The National Ballet of Canada and then danced for The Alberta Ballet for 2 years. She then joined Canada’s Ballet Jorgen where she was a celebrated Principal Dancer for 16 years. She has guest performed and taught internationally and is thrilled to continue sharing her artistry and passion for the art of dance.

Set Designer Drew Ripley is a Professional Artist, Actor and Professional speaker based in Kitchener Ontario Canada. As an award winning balloon artist, Drew has discovered a medium that can stir the emotions and create the unexpected. His talents have led him to several major projects in Canada, the USA, Qatar, and even Israel. These one of a kind projects are designed for major events and typically use a minimum of 40,000 balloons.

Set Designer Drew Ripley is a Professional Artist, Actor and Professional speaker based in Kitchener Ontario Canada. As an award winning balloon artist, Drew has discovered a medium that can stir the emotions and create the unexpected. His talents have led him to several major projects in Canada, the USA, Qatar, and even Israel. These one of a kind projects are designed for major events and typically use a minimum of 40,000 balloons.

Lighting Designer Sharon DiGenova is a Production Stage Manager and award-winning Lighting Designer, who began her career in a Broadway touring house in Massachusetts, where she worked in all aspects of technical theatre on numerous Tony Award winning productions. She has since been engaged in many capacities in a multitude of disciplines – designing for dance, theatre, multi-media, circus and even freak shows. She has toured internationally to over 350 cities (several times over) in more than 30 countries throughout North & South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East. She has collaborated with scores of National artists, companies and festivals ranging from The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Co. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes and Canada’s internationally acclaimed Holy Body Tattoo. She has also lit numerous international festivals and artists including the IABD (International Association of Blacks in Dance) Conference, The Toronto International Tap Festival; as well as International Artists including: multi award winning dancer Patricia Guerrero and Flamenco master, Joaquin Grilo.


Local actor/producer Jennifer Cornish is recipient of a Region of Waterloo Arts Award in Performing Arts. She is well-known for her performance of the Irish play “Myra’s Story”, for which she was awarded Best Tragedy at the world’s largest juried solo show festival, held in NYC. Other favourite roles include:  Bakersfield Mist (Elmira Theatre Co); Shirley Valentine (4th Wall); The Other Place; An Act Of God (Downtown Theatre Project); Kimberly Akimbo; Pearl Gidley (Lost & Found); and Dine Her, a romantic comedy with zombies, performed at the Harmony Lunch Diner in Waterloo

Vanessa Spence is a classically trained theatre actor, producer, emerging playwright and director, and professional human being. She is the Producer at Obsidian Theatre and Artistic Director of Virtu Arts Theatre which supports Black artists in regions outside of Toronto. Selected Credits: Playwriting & Directing: Stretch Marks (Virtu Arts Theatre), Post-Democracy (Auditing Assistant Director); Producing: Fairview (Obsidian Theatre, Canadian Stage); Dixon Road (Obsidian Theatre, The Musical Stage Company); Is God Is (Obsidian Theatre, Necessary Angel Theatre, Canadian Stage); Cast Iron (Obsidian Theatre, Factory Theatre). Upcoming: Of The Sea (Obsidian Theatre, Tapestry Opera).

Kez is a nonbinary, genderqueer comedian/artistic performer from Kitchener ON. They have performed at the Just For Laughs Festival, Guelph Comedy Festival, SpeakNorth, Together We’re Boisterous, Pinch Cabaret, Joke’s at Jane’s, The Making Box, and QueerCab, to name a few! In the past they have worked with theatre companies such as Page 1 Productions, Green Light Arts, Lightning Banjo Productions, Dead Name Theatre, and JM Drama. Kez wears their heart not only on their sleeve, but as a 3 piece suit.

This is Anna Maste’s fifth show with Lightning Banjo, and it’s always a blast. Past favorite credits include Cora in Calendar Girls (TCP), Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web (Lightning Banjo), Carrie in Carousel (TCP), Squeaky Fromme in Assassins (Scarborough Music Theatre), and Charity in Sweet Charity (Music Theatre Etobicoke). Much love to Ed, Pieter and Dani for their enduring support.

Kevin White is an actor and library technician. He has previously appeared on stage with JM Drama, Lightning Banjo Productions, Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, and more. More recently, he presented a solo performance of a full-text dramatic recitation of Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony. He is also a member of the JM Drama board of directors, and a supporter of Waterloo Region, Yes! in my Backyard (WRYIMBY) and the Unsheltered Campaign through the Civic Hub.

Joy Garofalo is a visual artist and printmaker from Kitchener-Waterloo with a deep and abiding love for theatre. She has worn many hats through the years, from director, to stage manager, to preschool teacher, and most recently, to mother. Lightning Banjo Productions holds a special place in her heart, as it has given her the gift of performing for young audiences after many years away from the stage, and her roles in shows such as Charlotte’s Web, Peter Rabbit and Friends, and Velveteen Rabbit have been a delight to bring to life.

Sunny Ticknor-Malton is an old hat with a young heart and is thrilled to play a role which lets out the happy hyperactive child that lives inside him. When Sunny is not performing or directing with groups such as TCP New Hamburg, Lost and Found Theatre, KW Little Theatre, Lightning Banjo Productions, and more, they enjoy adventures with their two dramatic children and one supportive wife, as well as pleasant walks in the woods, since trees are very good listeners. Sweet young Hansel is a pleasure to portray, especially with such a wonderful and talented cast and crew alongside… you might say “they’re a sort of magic”.

Sarah DaSilva is a competitive dancer, singer, actor as well as a musician playing violin and piano. She is a triple threat major in Eastwood’s IAP program. She has done three seasons at the prestigious Stratford Festival as well as several local theatre productions. She has also played Klara in Ballet Jorgen The Nutcracker, a Canadian Tradition. Etc: Love to Mom & Dad; Thanks to 10 Talent Management and all my wonderful teachers. Enjoy the show! XO

Mackenzie Buchwald is a dancer from Waterloo, Ontario. She started dancing at 2 years old and is now a Senior competitive dancer at In Motion Dance School. Her training includes ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and acro. Her ballet training includes both Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dance syllabi. Most recently she completed her Intermediate exam in both methods. Mackenzie works as a teacher at In Motion and enjoys working with kids.