New Generation of Leadership at urban ink

Vancouver’s leading producer of indigenous and inter-cultural performance works, urban ink Productions, has announced the appointment of Corey Payette as artistic director, completing a leadership change that began in June with the appointment of Kate Declerck as general manager.

Corey replaces Diane Roberts, who is leaving after seven successful years with urban ink to pursue her individual practice.

From Northern Ontario, of Oji-cree heritage, Corey has worked as a playwright, actor, composer, and director across Canada. He founded Raven Theatre Performance Society, focusing on new works by Indigenous artists, has worked as an artistic associate with Full Circle: First Nations’ Performance, educations coordinator with the Talking Stick Festival, and produced the Moccasin Trek tours, facilitating 100 workshops for over 5,000 youth in schools around BC.

As a playwright, Corey's work has been developed at the Vancouver Playhouse, Firehall Arts Centre, Western Canada Theatre, Arts Club Theatre, and Raven Theatre. His second original musical "Children of God" is currently in development. Corey’s acting credits include the world premiere of the musical ‘Beyond Eden’ at Theatre Calgary/Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ at the Vancouver Playhouse, three summers at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, and toured the Yukon with Gwaandak Theatre as the lead in their world premier production ‘JUSTICE’ at the Yukon Arts Centre and was also presented at the National Arts Centre for their Northern Scene Festival.  

Corey holds a B.F.A. in music from York University, composed the film score to the documentary AMIN AMIR (OMNI TV) and is on the Board of Directors of Vancouver Native Health Society providing mental, physical, and spiritual relief to Aboriginal people on the DTES, Vancouver, BC.

Corey will join urban ink’s new general manager Kate Declerk in shaping the company’s future.

Kate has specialized in not-for-profit management and arts-based community program development and over the past 15 years has worked in Amsterdam (NL), Montreal (CA), London (UK), and Brussels (BE) and has travelled to over 30 countries worldwide as former programs officer of Jeunesses Musicales International and executive director of the JMI Foundation.

The opportunity to learn from artists and cultural organizations within diverse socio-cultural contexts and observe how cultural resources can be applied to achieve a broad range of community development objectives (including peace and conflict resolution, public education, intercultural dialogue, and tackling discrimination) has fuelled her dedication to work at the intersection between art and activism.

Since relocating to Vancouver in 2012, Kate worked as production coordinator on the film ‘Maleficent’ (2014) and founded Creativa International, organizing the creation of the 100 foot “Word to Your Motherland” mural and hip hop education tour in Surrey BC.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University and a Masters in Cultural Management from Northumbria University (UK).

In announcing their new generation of leadership urban ink’s board president Jennifer Reddy stated: “There is no doubt that the urban ink community is in for a vibrant future. That bright future is due to the exceptional leadership of Diane Roberts, who crafted a process of collaborating between Indigenous and Intercultural artists, mentored emerging artists, and developed new work by diverse artists for the past seven years. urban ink will now be championed and built-upon by Corey and Kate.

“We’ve brought these two together to lead a powerful team of creative game-changers in the world of indigenous and intercultural performance. urban ink looks forward to connecting with you all at our AGM in the fall where we will have a chance to gather, reflect on urban ink’s history, and share ideas for the future!" 


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