Photo of Julie Kiraly (she/her)

Festival Producer

Julie Kiraly (she/her)

Julie Kiraly is a performer, dancer, and producer based in amiskwaciwâskahikan/Edmonton. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s Drama Program, she is the co-founder and CEO of Hit That Jive Productions, and creator of the Play the Fool Festival. Julie specializes in Lindy Hop and other Jazz-era dances, and has been a  performer, choreographer, teacher, and competitor, locally and abroad since 2003. Her competition wins include events in Montreal, Ottawa, Seattle, Vancouver, and Edinburgh. Julie has produced many events over the last decade, including the inaugural Edmonton Clown Festival (now Play the Fool), workshops, dance camps, and special events.


Photo of Christine Lesiak (she/her)

Festival Director

Christine Lesiak (she/her)

Christine Lesiak is an Edmonton-based theatre artist, and co-founder of Small Matters Productions. She is co-creator and co-performer of five full-length clown shows, most recently the Edmonton Fringe Festival Holdover hit For Science! (2018-22), and Over Her Dead Body (2017 Fringe Theatre Presentation Series). She is writer and performer of her one-woman show, Ask Aggie (2013), has created, performed, and directed countless short clown-based works, and toured throughout Canada and to New York. Her site-specific productions (writer/performer) include 900 Seconds (2015 Found Festival) and The Object of Constellations (2016). She curated & co-produced of Small Matters’ Fool’s Gold Cabaret nights (2010-12), a performance series that provided a mentorship program for emerging theatre clown performers, and was the inspiration for Play the Fool’s Rookie Cabaret program, and created the monthly Small Matters Physical Comedy Lab. She is a frequent collaborator with Catch the Keys Productions (Dead Centre of Town, 900 Seconds, The Runcible Riddle).

Christine holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Alberta. She has taught within the Drama Department at the University of Alberta, at Edmonton Digital Arts College, within Toy Guns Dance Theatre’s programs, and privately.


Photo of Shreela Chakrabartty (she/her)

Film Program Director

Shreela Chakrabartty (she/her)

Shreela Chakrabartty is a long time Edmonton festival junkie with a love of live performance and theatrical screenings. She debuted as a movie director in 2014 with the release of the Shreela & Kash audacious box office theatrical hit thriller, Rock Paper Dice Enter, nominated for AMPIA’s Best Narrative Feature award. Lake Shore Drive was her followup feature that led to her recognition as outstanding in film in America. After releasing two documentaries and when she is not dabbling in Heritage, you’ll find her directing the weekly YouTube travel series, #ridingwithkash.


Photo of Chris Dela Cruz

Technical Director / Production Manager

Chris Dela Cruz

Chris Dela Cruz is a professional theatre technician, and has been with Play the Fool theatre festival since 2017. Chris has taught technical theatre to students all over Alberta with Theatre Prospero. Chris is also involved in several community festivals and events in the 118 Avenue area, including the Kaleido Festival, Yule Ave Festival, SkirtsAfire festival, and Drive-In Movies.

Photo of Kijo Gatama (she/her)

Associate Festival Director (Theatre)

Kijo Gatama (she/her)

Kijo Eunice Gatama is an Edmonton-based theatre performer, actor, clown, dancer, and emerging artistic director. Co-curator and producer of Fear The Festival (alongside Ghostlight Theatre company), a horror film festival centring around elevating explorations by self-identifying members of IBPOC artists, as well as co-founder of Shakespeare’s Hunnies an emerging artist blog. As a playwright, Gatama strives to create theatre that explores more Queer Afro-Canadian experiences and story-telling. Most recently, Kijo played Annette in God of Carnage, directed by Pat Darbasie. Other select theatre credits include The Lobbyist in Expanse Theatre Festival, Magpie The Conqueror a satirical clown piece in Play The Fool featured films, Titania in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antonio in Twelfth Night, and Phoebe from a re-imagination of the amazonians by Danielle LaRose in Amazonomachy with Tiger Heart’s Collective. Thank you for supporting live-theatre! Kijo Gatama will be graduating from The University of Alberta’s BFA-Acting program in 2022.