My Team

IMG_0826 - Version 2

(left to right) Heather Annis, Denise Oliver, Phil Koole, Kathleen Le Roux

In health care I work in duo with a partner who is specially selected and trained for therapeutic clown work. My current regular therapeutic clown partners are Heather Annis and  Phil Koole with Denise Oliver as our occasional guest artist.

Heather Marie Annis – Therapeutic Clown Artist, “Peachy Keen”

Heather Annis-headshot1Heather Marie Annis is a local writer, actor and environmentalist with a BFA in Theatre and a MA in Environmental Studies from York University. Her work specializes in theatre for social and environmental justice and her involvement in community arts projects includes: The Longest Way Around, a play created with the community members of Shawanaga First Nations Reserve; socio-environmental show, The Way (BareBack Theatre); and facilitating youth workshops. Heather is the co-artistic director of Up Your Nose and In Your Toes Productions where she is creator/performer (Morro) of the clown-based duo Morro and Jasp . She has performed in over 100 performances since 2006 in the various Morro and Jasp shows she created including the Dora award-winning Go Bake Yourself, the 2012 Fringe hit, Of Mice and Morro and Jasp and most recently the   highly acclaimed Factory Theatre production of Morro and Jasp 9 to 5.

Heather has worked as a therapeutic clown in duo with Kathleen since 2011, and is keen to continue to bring her skills to the very specialized environment of health-care.

Denise Oliver – Therapeutic Clown Artist, “Missy”

Denise Oliver HeadshotDenise Oliver is a professional actress/comedienne and therapeutic clown artist.  A graduate of Moncton University’s drama program and with a background in improvisation, Denise first came to clowning in the role of Rosabelle, one of the network hosts of Treehouse TV in 1997.  She worked closely with Kathleen Le Roux (as Tansy) for four years creating and performing the Treehouse interstitial segments and live shows that formed the backbone of her clown technique. Denise now has two beautiful daughters, is an accomplished voice actress for numerous animated television series including Wayside, My Friend Rabbit, Beyblade and Sidekick (YTV, Treehouse TV, Teletoon) and works in a variety of producing and directing roles in children’s animation. With a passion for helping others and a fascination for the meaningful work of the therapeutic clown in adult and elder care, Denise has been delving deeper and deeper into the work through training and mentorship with Kathleen and her team. She is delighted to be working with the team on an occasional basis as needed.

Phil Koole – Therapeutic Clown Artist, “Yope”

Phil Koole is a Toronto based clown who received his BFA in Theatre and Netherlandic Studies from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where his interest in clown and physical theatre was sparked.  He’s performed at The Foolish Cabaret, The Red Nose District, and The Toronto Festival of Clowns.  He created Halapatooloo, a duo clown show performed at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival (Outstanding Ensemble, NOW Magazine), and in the summer of 2013, to the delight of many park visitors young and old, he self-produced and performed twelve one hour sessions of improvisational clown with his clown ‘Grup’ and his magical rope in parks across the city of Toronto. Phil is currently developing new work with his clown partner Liam Morris and performing as the duo “Bravo and Ink” in various Toronto cabarets, theatres and festivals.

Phil has been working with Kathleen and her team since 2014 and he is honoured to be given the opportunity to serve the health-care community in this capacity.

Jan Stirling-Twist – Psychosocial Consultant & Reflective Practice Leader

Throughout her career Jan Stirling Twist has been committed to building productive links between the fields of the arts, education, health, and social care.  Whether as an actress, clown, drama therapist, trainer, or inter-generational arts programmer Jan has consistently sought to use creativity as a means of making meaningful relationships with, and improving the quality of life for people living in long-term care.

Jan has a post-graduate diploma in Dramatherapy from the University of Hertfordshire in England where she subsequently taught in the Art and Arts Therapies Department for several years.  She has studied clown with Jan Henderson, Richard Pochinko, Pierre Byland, and Francine Cote; and has also trained both with and for the therapeutic clown organizations Hearts & Minds in Edinburgh, and Dr Clown in Toronto.  

As a co-founder of Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit Performance Troupe Jan helped to instigate and deliver an innovative story-making program that traveled to day centres and care settings throughout Alberta.  Jan’s dramatherapy practice in the UK focused largely on work with frail elders making the adjustment to long-term care; alongside this she offered reflective practice sessions for management and care staff in these settings.  For five years Jan held the role of Arts Development and Training Manager with the inter-generational arts organization, Magic Me, in London England.  There she was responsible for the development and delivery of arts projects which brought young people from local communities and schools together with elders in day centers and long-term care homes.  Jan also developed and co-delivered Continuing Professional Development programs for expressive artists, teachers, and care-workers working in partnership with Magic Me.

Jan has a strong commitment to best practice and believes that reflection, evaluation, on-going training, and research are crucial to the development and understanding of innovative and valuable work.  Jan is particularly eager to contribute her expertise to the growth of Therapeutic Clown practice in Canada.