Board Members

Sophie Else

Sophie Else was born in Tanzania and for much of her early life lived all over the world. After studying Theatre at school in England she went on to do her degree in Theology before settling in Toronto with her two children. Since then she has started a charity in partnership with a village in South Africa, worked as a gardener, bookkeeper, personal assistant and is currently employed as as a project administrator for the International Center for Evidence Based Medicine. But through all this Sophie’s greatest love is for writing and reading poetry. She has published a chap book In Search of Whitman with LyricalMyrica Press, read her work at Hot Sauced Words and the Art Bar. She is now working on her first full-length manuscript.



Zoe Garnett

Gale Zoë Garnett

Zoë writes {most forms}, acts {most forms, varied languages, over 150 plays}, leads workshops in improvisation and all aspects of public readings, narrates films, travels, cooks, learns languages, and ‘activistifies’. Born in New Zealand, 23 July 1949. Came to Canada at age 11. As Chair of International Affairs Committee, Writers’ Union of Canada, (2007-2013), sent 210 Canadian children’s books to Nyaka AIDS Orphans’ School, Uganda. Currently writing fifth novel, children’s book and first play. Recording audio book of Visible Amazement. Gave Keynote Presentation in Århus, Denmark {2011} re New Canadian Writing. Inducted in 2015, into Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Canadian Film Awards {Genies} nominated for Tribute, 1980. Has thus far been published as author in Canada. USA, France, Germany, Denmark and Bulgaria. First poetry collection, Pomegranate Moments {LyricalMyrical,Canada, 2015}. Books include Room Tone, Visible Amazement, Transient Dancing and Savage Adoration. Member, officer and former councillor, Canadian Actors’ Equity; member and former councillor, ACTRA; Member SAGAFTRA; Member, PEN Canada. She is a founding member of ErgoArts Theatre {English and Greek}, and deeply honoured to be invited by Soheil Parsa as a board member of the extraordinary and intercultural Modern Times Stage Company.

Diana Manole

Diana Manole (PhD, University of Toronto) is a Romanian-Canadian scholar, a Pushcart prize-nominated English-language poet, as well as an award-winning playwright and literary translator. She has published extensively in Canada, the US, and the UK on post-colonial and post-communist theatre, exilic theatre, and intercultural performance. Her article, “Accented Actors: From Stage to Stages via a Convenience Store” (Theatre Research in Canada, 2015), was the first scholarly investigation of actors’ immigrant accents in Canadian theatre. She has also worked on numerous projects as a theatre and television director, print dramaturg, and script writer, both in Canada and Romania. She lives in Toronto and teaches at Trent University.



Lili Nabavi Photo

Lili Nabavi

Lili Nabavi graduated with a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from National University of Iran. She later obtained a second degree in Landscape Architecture from Ryerson University. She has worked in the Ministry of Municipal Affair and Housing in Toronto as an Urban Planner and as a freelance designer in building and landscaping…
She teaches Persian Language to non-Persian speakers. Lili has been very active in the community and served on the board of directors of many organizations including the Canadian Society of Iranian Engineers and Architects (1992-1994), Center for Iranian Artists of Ontario (1992-1995), and Iranian Women Organization of Ontario (2007-2009). Her dedication to education has led her to run over 30 workshops and courses for Self-Esteem and Meditation since 1998 and teaching Persian literature in Toronto Farsi Schools. She has been an active volunteer for Children’s Aid Society and ran workshops for Iranian Cancer support group in Toronto as well. She was on the Tirgan executive board of Directors and served as the Operation Director on Tirgan Festival at Harbourfront Center on 2008 and as advisor and master of ceremony on 2011. Lili has been involved in the media in many contexts including hosting a weekly radio program for Radio SIT (since 2000). She hosted a TV program called Image of Iran TV which is about Women’s social difficulties in the world and Iran (since 2006- 2010). She is an avid researcher and writer in poetry and different areas of Mysticism, Sufism and Rumi’s poems, which are published in Sufi Magazine (published in London, England).


Richard Shimoda  (Treasurer)

Richard served for nearly twenty years as director and treasurer of the Toronto Japanese Language School, one of the oldest privately funded Japanese schools in Canada. Richard is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CA) and lawyer who has worked in both a financial and legal capacity in the private and public sector, including the Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Sport. Richard practiced corporate and finance law at a major Canadian law firm and, since 2008, has been Senior Legal Counsel at The Bank of Nova Scotia where he deals with, among other things, the bank’s sponsorship of artistic and cultural activities as well as professional and amateur sports. Richard also specializes in social media legal issues and has spoken on the topic at various conferences.




charles c. smith (Chair)

  • charles c. smith is a published poet, playwright and essayist who has written and edited twelve books.  He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, has edited three collections of poetry, has four published books of poetry – including Partial Lives- Williams Wallace Press, and travelogue of the bereaved, Mawanzi House (formerly TSAR Publications) – and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry Canada Review, the Quille and Quire, Descant, Dandelion, the Amethyst Review, Bywords, Canadian Ethnic Studies and others.  he has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council for both his poetry and for his work with the ‘wind in the leaves collective’ where he is artistic director of a multidisciplinary performance group involving dance, image, recorded and live music based on his poetry. 

charles has published articles with Stanford Law and Policy, University of Toronto Press, Alberta Law Review, Captus Press and his writings on racial profiling and Black lives in Canada have been published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His research has been commissioned by several institutions including the African Canadian Community Coalition on Racial Profiling, the Court Challenges Program of Canada, the Chief Justice of Ontario (former) Task Force on Professional Responsibility, the Ontario Ministries of the Attorney General and Community Safety ‘Community Task Force on Hate Crimes’, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

He has presented papers at the Ottawa Faculty of Law, the Ministry of Multiculturalism Canada, the Alberta Law Society (100th Anniversary), Queen’s University and has been keynote at the Black Law Students Association, McGill and Concordia University ‘Ethno-Racial Art History’ and White Water Gallery Big Dream Conference.

charles is the Cultural Liaison in the Dean’s Office at the University of Toronto Scarborough where he lectures in the English Department/Creative Writing. he is the Executive Director for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario and a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives where he has published four books (two edited) ranging in subjects from racial profiling to anti-racism in education and pluralism in the arts. his most recent book with the Centre is titled “The Dirty War: The Making of the Myth of Black Dangerousness”.