The Travelling Stage Studio


Giving students a place to be exactly who they are through
dance, music and drama classes!

At The Travelling Stage, we encourage participants to take up space, use their voice and be who they are. The focus of our performance classes is on increasing self-esteem, building self-confidence and cultivating a sense of community. We pride ourselves in the quality of our dance, music and drama classes and we strive to make a significant impact in the lives of everyone who walks through our doors by providing an inclusive environment.

The Travelling Stage Studio recognizes the unique abilities and valuable contributions of our participants, teachers, employees and families. Everyone is welcome and everyone belongs. We strive to cultivate an authentic and inclusive community to be proud of, with relationships that continue to build over time.

Meet Toni Grates, Founder and Director of The Travelling Stage Studio, teacher of Drama Classes

Toni Grates, Founding Director

Toni Grates is the Founding Director of The Travelling Stage; a company she started 22 years ago with a big dream, a hand-made poster and a laundry basket full of props. She spends much of her time creating and advocating for arts opportunities for young people.

She’s worked as an actor and a writer for YTV and CityTV and has performed on, directed and written for stages across North America.

In addition to her work with The Travelling Stage, she teaches Drama and Dance Education at Brock University. She is also honoured to oversee a Far North Community Engagement Initiative in remote communities in the NWT as far as the Arctic Ocean, where The Travelling Stage is working alongside consultants, elders and school superintendents to engage communities through the arts.

She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Durham Catholic District School Board, where she was first inspired by her high school drama teacher, Mr. Jim Finan. She believes that arts education is essential and has committed her career to creating as many accessible and inclusive opportunities as she can for students and teachers.

She strives to lead with compassion and creativity, and she is grateful for an extraordinary office and teaching team who are also committed to making an impact and driving change through arts education. Toni is currently completing her Master of Education from the University of Toronto with a dual emphasis on Arts in Education and Indigenous Education and Decolonization. She is a very proud mom to two boys, ages 8 and 13.

Capturing moments of creative expression: Our stage in frames!

Tanya Cochrane, Community Program Coordinator, The Travelling Stage

Tanya Cochrane

Durham Region Community Program Coordinator

Meet Tanya, our Program Coordinator with an unmatched knack for organization, attention to detail, and top-tier customer service. With a background spanning Office Administration and Management in both profit and not-for-profit domains, she brings a dynamic edge to The Travelling Stage team. Tanya’s educational blend in Materials Engineering, Business Administration, Human Resources, and Adult Learning fuels her diverse approach. Beyond her professional pursuits, she has enlightened seniors through technology workshops and actively served her community through volunteering, committee roles, and advisory boards. Tanya’s passion for making a difference shines as she orchestrates excellence behind the scenes, infusing every endeavour with her unwavering dedication.

Fatima Melo, Accounts Manager, The Travelling Stage

Fatima Melo

Accounts Coordinator

Embarking on her artistic journey within the corridors of St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering, Fatima’s passion for drama ignited. A serendipitous encounter with The Travelling Stage’s visionary, Toni Grates, during an OAC Creative Writing Class and Student Council campaign, furthered her connection to the arts.

While honing her skills at York University, Fatima ventured into diverse corporate realms. With a remarkable two decades as a Client Manager in Banking and Insurance, coupled with 15 years of entrepreneurial ventures, she sought new horizons. Now, embracing the intricacies of small business, Fatima’s synergy of passion for the Arts and seasoned expertise finds its crescendo within The Travelling Stage team.

More about our dance, music and drama classes

Our adult acting classes are currently full, but we are accepting a waitlist!

For years our Travelling Stage Studio community talked about how much fun it would be if we offered adult acting classes. Each year we tried, but not enough adults registered for us to offer the program. That all changed in late 2022 when a very brave group of adults now affectionately known as the ‘OGs’ took to the stage. The final presentation was such a success that our adult acting classes are now full with a waitlist! Be sure to join our mailing list if you’d like to receive info on our next session.

“Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.”

— Willem Dafoe, American actor

Do you have a young performer who only wants to participate in drama classes without the singing and dancing?

We’ve got you covered! The Travelling Stage offers straight drama classes for ages 5 and up. These programs focus on embodying character, finding voice and everything in between. Our drama classes are rooted in improvisation and an approach known as collective creation (also known as devised theatre). There is no large-scale production at the end of this program, but we do host an in class open house where students showcase some of their work.

Elizabeth DeGrazia Drama Classes Whitby
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Elizabeth DeGrazia

Teaching Artist

Hailing from Nebraska, Elizabeth’s journey is harmonized by a Performance Degree from The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Her Broadway overture commenced as Blanche Ingram in the Musical Production of Jane Eyre, etched in the Broadway cast recording and her personal opus, One Love One Lifetime. A radiant chapter as Christine Daae unfolded in The Phantom of the Opera on both Broadway and Toronto stages. Elizabeth’s cadence danced with Cynthia Dale at the Stratford Festival, portraying Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes. The melody of her career resounds through musical theatre and resonates with Toronto Operetta Theatre classics like The Mikado, The Gondoliers, Kismet and The Student Prince.

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Christina Bernicky

Teaching Artist

Meet Christina, a dance prodigy who ignited her passion at age four. From ballet to hip hop, she’s mastered various styles and has been a competitive dancer since eight. A former award-winning choreographer at Brock University, she helmed the Dance Club, nurturing her ardour for the art. After graduating with honours in Arts and Education, she’s a Certified Teacher, deeply rooted in the Durham Catholic District School Board. An integral part of The Travelling Stage, Christina shines through Durham’s vibrant productions, including The Wizard of Oz, Lion King Jr., High School Musical, Frozen Jr., The Little Mermaid and Grease. A radiant recent addition to her journey: welcoming her second son.

Noah Webster Drama-Classes Whitby
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Noah Webster

Teaching Artist

A York University Theatre Program honours graduate, Noah Webster’s creative odyssey revolves around devised theatre. From acting to scriptwriting, movement to mindfulness, his kaleidoscopic studies converged to sculpt a versatile multidisciplinary artist. Noah’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of devised theatre, where his passion for performance blossomed into vibrant expertise.

Jasmine Solano Drama Classes Whitby
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Jasmine Solano

Teaching Artist

A seasoned and passionate theatrical virtuoso, Jasmine’s educational roots trace back to film and theatre at Queen’s University. Since 2016, she’s orchestrated transformative programs for young talents in drama, dance, and vocal music across Durham Region. Unveiling creativity’s realm is her perpetual pursuit, and Jasmine’s dynamic leadership was showcased in spearheading The Travelling Stage Lakeview Community Arts Program in South Oshawa. Her dedication resonates in every artistic venture she undertakes.

Mary Lynne Calvert Drama Classes
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Mary Lynne Calvert

Teaching Artist

With 28 years of enriching the Durham Catholic District School Board, Mary Lynne’s harmonious journey led her through the corridors of music education. Recently retired from All Saints Catholic Secondary School’s Arts and Media Program, she masterfully conducted both grade 7 and vocal music. As a director and vocalist, Mary Lynne’s footprints grace multiple Durham Region ensembles. Now, she embarks on a thrilling new chapter, infusing The Travelling Stage Studio with her decades of resonant experience.

Carolyn Goff, Drama Classes Whitby
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Carolyn Goff

Teaching Artist

Carolyn Goff grew up studying ballet and jazz before turning to a professional acting career at age 16. Her work spread over areas of commercial, film and TV before returning to the stage in 2015. Carolyn’s passion for character development has always centred around movement. Relying on her dance training, Carolyn’s process has always begun with how one moves throughout the world based on background and relationships. A single mother of two children, Carolyn has always loved working with kids and watching them as they discover the world around them through creative expression.

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