Photo credit: Laurence Philomene and Geoffrey Simon Brown
Elena Eli Belyea is a queer playwright, performer, producer, arts educator, and Artistic Director of Tiny Bear Jaws.
Past credits and collaborations include: co-founding the Common Ground Arts Society’s Found Festival (a showcase of multidisciplinary arts events that take place in non-traditional venues), co-creating and performing in The Worst Thing I Could Be (Is Happy) (produced by Tiny Bear Jaws and presented as part of Buddies in Bad Times' 2018 Rhubarb Festival, Toronto, February 2018), playwright of Cleave (produced by Tiny Bear Jaws and presented as part of Fringe Theatre's curated Backstage Season, Edmonton, March 2018), writing and performing in Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (produced by Tiny Bear Jaws and presented by Downstage Theatre in Calgary, Fringe Theatre in Edmonton, and the Sunset Theatre in Wells, summer of 2018; French translation premiered at Théâtre Prospero in May 2018). Elena was also a member of the 2016-2017 Write From the Hip Playwriting Unit (Nightwood Theatre, Toronto). Elena’s plays have received numerous awards, including First Place in the 2015 Wildside National Playwriting Competition with Cleave (also included as part of the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s 2018 Surefire List).
Upcoming: Smoke (premiering with Downstage Theatre in Calgary, February 2019) and developing a new play with support from Tarragon Theatre's as the recipient of their 2018-2019 RBC Emerging Playwright Award.
Elena is a graduate of the University of Alberta as well as the National Theatre School of Canada (Playwriting), and has mentored emerging writers and theatre makers for almost a decade through numerous arts organizations such as the University of Virginia’s Young Writers’ Workshop, The Citadel Theatre’s Foote Theatre School, the University of Alberta’s New Works Festival, to name a few.
"Belyea skillfully works the room, eliciting plenty of laughs but also a deep sense of anger and sadness." - Montreal Gazette
“As the Tiny Bear Jaws canon confirms, Belyea is a deft hand at funny, staccato, overlapping dialogue.” - Liz Nicholls
"This show earns its transformation from laughs to tears as it sinks its teeth into weighty subject matter. By the end, Belyea has made us laugh, terrified us, and tugged at our heartstrings. An A+ show! ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆" - Vue Weekly
"I thought, "You cannot pull this off." But [then] totally does. It's incredible." - 9 to 5 dot cc Podcast
"Elena Belyea and Ben Stevens present exceptional performances... A beautiful debut production by promising local talents." - Vue Weekly
"And no, I have not forgotten Shakespeare’s clowns, Dogberry (Elena Belyea) and Verges (Oscar Derkx). I was just leaving my praise for them for a final hurrah. From their difference in heights to their unabashed clowning, Belyea and Derkx are the scene stealers Shakespeare intended." - Calgary Herald
"The playwrights, Elena Belyea and Colin Matty, are enormously talented. It's commonplace to warn us about the end of the world, and nearly impossible to discover ways to dramatize the planet's last days. Belyea and Matty are careful to leave out the clichés and focus on dynamic scenes - sad, funny, beautiful, incomprehensible." - Edmonton Journal