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A black background with faded Musical Stage Company logos overlaid. White, top-centered text reads, “ANNOUNCING OUR 2021-22 RBC APPRENTICES” Centered are 8 circular headshots with white borders, all spaced and aligned evenly in 2 rows of 4, with their matching name underneath in text. Left to right (row 1); Avery Jean Brennan, David Andrew Reid, Haneul Yi, Kareem Vaude. Left to right (row 2); Kaylee Hardwood, Maddie Bautista, Matthew Joseph, Rosie Callaghan.

Introducing our 2021-22 RBC Apprentices & Leadership Fund Recipients

This week, we’re thrilled to announce the artists who will be taking part in the RBC Apprentice Program for 2021-22. The RBC Apprentice Program offers eight young artists one year of mentorship with The Musical Stage Company, learning from our local and visiting artists and receiving substantial showcase opportunities to help build the foundation for their careers.

Our RBC Apprentices include the winners of The Syd and Shirley Banks Prize for Emerging Musical Theatre Artists, the recipients of the Kathleen C. Freeman Leadership Development Fund, and four other incredible artists.

Learn more about these artists and what they’re most excited for during their RBC Apprenticeship below!


Avery Jean Brennan, a white Transfeminine person with dark brown eyes and long brown hair smiles at the camera. They are wearing blue circular earrings and a blue denim dress. They are standing in front of a white backdrop with their arms folded across their chest, and their nails are painted bright purple.

Avery Jean Brennan (they/them)
RBC Apprentice Artistic Director

Avery Jean Brennan is a Transfeminine actor, director, musical director, playwright, and producer. Over the past five years, they have facilitated workshops on Trans Inclusive Practices in the Arts; which they have led for theatre and film production companies across Canada. Recently, they were nominated for the Bra d’Or Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada for their advocacy work. Avery Jean received their musical direction training through various Associate and Apprentice positions in theatres across Canada, including a residency through Neptune Theatre’s RBC Chrysalis Project. They have studied writing under dramaturg Christopher Weddell, composer/lyricist Leslie Arden, and through The Musical Stage Company’s NoteWorthy Program.

Avery Jean’s first original musical, THE PANSY CRAZE, was the recipient of Queer Theatre Toronto’s inaugural LGBTQ Fringe Award for pushing boundaries in representation for Queer & Trans characters in musical theatre. They are currently writing the book for multi-award-winning songwriter Gabrielle Papillon’s new musical, MIND THE LIGHT. Their most recent appearance as a performer was for a digital semi-staged presentation of their latest original work, NO COUNTRY FOR THEY/THEMS, which they produced through Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Festival.

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

While Artistic Direction requires someone to wear many different hats at once, there are few training opportunities in how to wear those hats together. After spending the past few years honing my personal artistic & business mandates, producing practices, and creative practices, I am so excited to spend this year learning more about how I can blend them all together. This is exactly what I have been looking for as a next step in my journey as an artistic leader.


David Andrew Reid (he/him)
RBC Apprentice Choreographer

David is a Jamaican-Canadian theatre artist who moved to Canada to pursue his education & career. Graduating from Sheridan College with an Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance, David has performed on stages across Canada, including Shaw Festival, Drayton Theatre, Neptune Theatre & multiple Elgin Theatre productions. David‘s journey as a choreographer has consisted of various dance captain, assistant & associate choreographer positions. He most recently made his solo debut at The Musical Stage Company as the Movement Director of BLACKOUT; thereafter as the Choreographer of INTO THE WOODS for Talk Is Free Theatre. David is very humbled and excited for this apprenticeship to further develop his craft a choreographer and artist behind the table. 

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

The RBC Choreographer’s Apprenticeship represents a commitment to artist development in a time where the theatre industry is finally reexamining itself and is making (or should be) long overdue changes to how we approach creation, storytelling, hiring, rehearsing, community outreach, every fibre of what was established through the colonial lens. It is an exciting time to have this opportunity to observe, learn and share on the inside or “behind the table” during what will hopefully be the new age of theatre in Canada. I am most excited to work on multiple projects in varying stages of development and to collaborate with all the fantastic artists working on them.


Haneul is a Korean-Canadian performer. In this image, he is wearing a knitted gray sweater, and is smiling facing the camera.

Haneul Yi (he/him)
RBC Apprentice Music Director

Haneul Yi is a Korean-Canadian multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, actor-musician, music director/arranger. He is a recent graduate of the Honours Bach. of Music Theatre Performance of Sheridan College, and he is the recipient of the 2021 Jon Kaplan Award. Recent credits and training include Spring Awakening and the Charlottetown Festival Young Company – Aqsarniit.

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

The RBC Apprenticeship is a big step and milestone in my journey. I’m excited to work with the most capable artists and creatives Canada has to offer. I expect greater things from this experience than I could have imagined.


Kareem Vaude is a Non - Binary, Arab artist in their early twenties. They have light brown skin and green/blue/grey eyes. They have a full beard and long curly hair pulled back into a ponytail with the sides shaved all the way down. They have dark bushy eyebrows and their hair is black while their beard has a blend of dark and auburn hairs. They are wearing a black, long sleeved shirt and resting their chin on their elbow.

Kareem Vaude (they/them)
RBC Apprentice Director

Kareem Vaude is a Non-Binary, Arab-Canadian artist currently located in Tkaronto. They are a multidisciplinary creator whose skill set includes: acting, writing, directing, producing, and lyricism. Their personal and artistic mandate is to create/produce/act in works that tell the stories of marginalized peoples as well as advocate for equality and diversity throughout this industry. They are a graduate of George Brown’s 2020 Theatre School Ensemble where they trained in classical theatre performance. Kareem is the Co-Artistic Director for their company, G’RILLA INC. where they are fortunate to work alongside their dear friend and colleague, Nicole Pryce.

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

This opportunity has given me a sense of validity in this industry of the path ahead. As a multi-disciplinary artist, it has lit a fire within me to use this apprenticeship to not only grow as a director, but to also allow it to seep into my other skill sets and build up every aspect of me as an artist. I look forward to working alongside the incredible Ray Hogg, as well as the other stellar artists involved, and to collaborating to create a memorable and epic showcase piece!


Kaylee Harwood, a caucasian woman with long curly brown hair, stands on one foot against a cream wall, holding reading glasses while looking at the camera. She is wearing a sleeveless, black turtleneck, and brown trousers and has one hand in her pocket.

Kaylee Harwood (she/her)
RBC Apprentice Director & The Kathleen C. Freeman Leadership Development Fund Recipient

Kaylee is a west-coast raised, award-winning performer, currently based in Toronto. Prior to the shutdown, she toured for two years across North America, and has performed on Broadway, at Radio City Music Hall, La Jolla Playhouse, the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, The Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, Citadel Theatre, Arts Club, Rainbow Stage, Next Stage Festival, Western Canada Theatre, Teatro Proscenium, Yonge Street Theatricals, Carousel Theatre and Chemainus Theatre Festival. On screen, she’s appeared on WORKING MOMS, REIGN, MAYDAY, GOOD WITCH, AMERICA’S GOT TALENT and THE TONY AWARDS.

Kaylee is excited to be pursuing mentorship in direction with The Musical Stage Company, where she’s been proud to have been part of developing new work as a performer over the years (REFRAMED, REPRINT, KELLY V. KELLY, & Launch Pad [2019]). She’s worked as a choreographer and dance captain, and has led masterclasses at U of T, Stratford, Shaw and TWU. Kaylee is also a voiceover artist, audiobook narrator, singing teacher, and since the shutdown has launched a fibre art business.

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

There’s an incredible opportunity, especially as we emerge from the collective devastation of the last year, for everything we know about how we create and the stories we tell to evolve. I aim to be an advocate for growth within our craft, mindful of traditions that have shaped our industry until now while expanding my personal vocabulary within the greater conversation to amplify voices that are traditionally diminished. Having been part of developing new work with The Musical Stage Company over the years as an actor, I know them to be committed industry leaders in every way. I am excited to learn from them in a structured manner how to nurture inclusive, open-hearted environments for our brave creative processes in my new field of inquiry as a director. This opportunity will allow me to narrow gaps in my experience and to be mentored by directors who are navigating our ever-evolving industry in real time.


Maddie Bautista is a queer Filipina in her mid-twenties, with brown skin and long, straight black hair. She has one arm raised above her forehead to protect herself from the sun, which is shining directly at her. Her eyes are looking above the horizon and off the camera, and there is lush, green foliage behind her, dappled with sunlight.

Maddie Bautista (she/her)
RBC Apprentice Sound Designer & The Kathleen C. Freeman Leadership Development Fund Recipient

Maddie Bautista (she/her) is a Bi, Saudi Arabia-born Filipina sound designer and composer based in Treaty 13, Tkaronto (Haudenosaunee, Wendat, Anishnaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit). Maddie has been nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her sound design in ERASER (RISER 2019), and nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award (2020). She is part of The Musical Stage Company & Prime Mover’s, NoteWorthy 2021 Cohort as a new musical theatre composer. Selected sound credits: I AM WILLIAM (Stratford Festival) OIL (ARC), BUG (manidoons collective), WAH WAH WAH (Wildside 2020), PRIVATE EYES (lemonTree creations), OUR FATHERS, SONS, LOVERS, AND LITTLE BROTHERS (b current).

She is the Artistic Facilitator of FIXT POINT Arts & Media’s Empathy Squad – a national training program for podcast creators. She is Co-Artistic Producer of Bad Muse Collective with Korean-Canadian sound designer, Deanna H. Choi. Bad Muse is currently in residence with fu-GEN Theatre to create LOVE YOU WRONG TIME – an explosive theatrical concert reckoning with Asian femininity and sexuality through music, bar games, and sound design. www.maddiebautista.com

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

The Kathleen C. Freeman Leadership Development Fund makes it possible for me to further advance my technical skill in sound design, braid my artistry with the fresh and necessary ideas of new musical theatre artists, and grow with community where I could not find a foothold before. This investment in early-career artists’ practice and imagination can birth works beyond the traditional canon’s most spectacular dreams. Let’s get this bread!


Matthew Joseph (he/they), a black non-binary artist with dark brown eyes and a fade, delivers a warm but subtle smirk to the camera. He is wearing a white crew neck shirt and standing against an eggshell white background.

Matthew Joseph (he/they)
RBC Apprentice Performer & Banks Prize Winner

Matthew “Nova” Joseph, is a non-binary singer/songwriter, actor, mover, and recording artist with Haitian roots and life experience across Turtle Island. They also hold citizenship between the US and Canada. They are incredibly passionate about using storytelling as a vehicle for authentic expression, connection, and healing, and are specifically focused on deconstructing the conventional parameters of ‘Manhood’. They are also a neurodiverse artist and welcome further specific questioning for those that they come in contact with.

Matthew attended Sheridan College for the Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre from 2017 – 2021. While he was pursuing his degree, he was part of the Charlottetown Festival’s Young Company (2018 & 2019). There he made lifelong friendships, learned valuable industry lessons and became invested in bolstering and supporting the voices of indigenous creators. In 2019 Matthew and two friends formed the singing trio ‘CZN’. They have since released 12 singles and a 4 song EP on all major platforms, and recently appeared on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, getting all 4 yes’ from the judges. CZN was also the winner of the 2020 Canadian Families Got Talent competition, where they were hand-picked out of thousands of submissions across Canada, by Simon Cowell.

In their free time, Matthew loves learning new skills (like the guitar), lifting up unheard voices, writing music and playing video games like League of Legends! They hope that by living a fully authentic life and creating exciting art that others will be inspired to do the same, and they are committed to providing that space for others whenever possible! Currently they are performing in two shows at StageWest Calgary, FEELIN’ GROOVY – THE BEST OF FOLK ROCK & CANADIAN SUPERSTARS – FROM THE NINETIES TO NOW.

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

My goal in life is to create art with inspiring individuals for as long as possible, and this opportunity with The Musical Stage Company is an incredible affirmation of that goal. I am consistently amazed by the minds that are part of [The Musical Stage Company’s] projects and am honoured to begin this exciting journey of collaboration! I can’t wait to learn all I can from this experience! Stay blessed.


Rosie Callaghan, a white woman with red shoulder-length hair, looks at the camera with a small smile. She wears a green turtleneck.

Rosie Callaghan (she/her)
RBC Apprentice Performer & Banks Prize Winner

Rosie Callaghan is an award-winning performer originally hailing from Tiohtià:ke (Montreal, Quebec). She is a proud graduate of both Dawson College’s Professional Theatre program and Randolph College for the Performing Arts. Since graduating, she has been part of the development of many new theatre pieces, including THE HOCKEY SWEATER (Segal Centre), FRANKENSTEIN (Kidoons/Geordie), THE CAPTAIN AURORA SAGA (Kaleidoscope/Montreal Fringe), and several pieces for Playwright’s Workshop Montreal.

Selected Credits include: LAST NIGHT AT THE GAYETY (Centaur Theatre), IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU (Segal Centre/DWYT), OMEN: THE MUSICAL (Creation Coffin/Toronto Fringe), SPRING AWAKENING (Persephone Productions), HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL (We Are Here Prod.), TICK TICK … BOOM! (Rentrobuff), and HAIR (In The Wings). She was also selected as a participant in Eclipse Theatre Company’s inaugural Emerging Artists Showcase. Most recently, she spent the summer in Mi’kma’ki (Antigonish, Nova Scotia), working with Festival Antigonish on their immersive show, ROBIN HOOD: THE GREAT ESCAPE. Rosie is extremely passionate about immersive and site-specific theatre and hopes to be able to continue to create theatre pieces in those genres.

What are you most looking forward to learning or discovering during your apprenticeship year with The Musical Stage Company? What does this opportunity represent to you?

I am beyond humbled that the team at The Musical Stage Company believes in me, and I cannot wait to begin learning with them! Receiving the Banks Prize is truly a culmination of hard work, perseverance, and continually refining my craft. I am so excited to be able to work under Canada’s leading artists and learn more about myself, my craft, and how I fit into the Canadian musical theatre landscape.