who is teiya?

Photo Credit: Lindsay Stokoe.

Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a multidisciplinary queer, gender non-binary performer/creator, and first-generation Nikkei-Canadian of Japanese and German roots. Recently heralded as “a force of a nature” (Toronto Star) Teiya comes from a background of over 12 years of singing operatic roles across North America and Europe and has recently begun a career in multi-disciplinary theatre creation and acting. Equally comfortable on the operatic, concert hall or cabaret stage, you can find them singing and making music with or without a microphone, sometimes even with a taiko drum or looping machine.

2017 marks the creation and ongoing development of Teiya’s first ever solo work — an opera-inspired theatre piece entitled The Queen In Me (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre 2017; Tapestry Opera, SummerWorks, ROM Friday Night Live 2018; Queer Arts Festival 2019) directed by Nightwood Theatre’s new artistic director Andrea Donaldson, which originated during Buddies’ Emerging Creators Unit. The debut work reflects Teiya’s passion to revolutionize and queer the operatic art-form.

This work and their new work YORU: The Queer of the Night are currently in development with the support of Theatre Gargantua’s SideStream Cycle and the new Toronto indie opera initiative Amplified Opera, where Teiya shares the position of co-artistic director with director/producer/writer Aria Umezawa (co-founder and past artistic director of indie opera company Opera 5).

Teiya is also an active voice teacher, founder of the voice and wellness studio The Vocal Dōjō, and as a theatre maker and performer is a founding member of the Queer AF Collective with Bilal Baig, François Macdonald, and Sofía Rodríguez.

Since 2017, Teiya has been an apprentice with Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers and performs regularly throughout the Toronto area as a taiko drummer. In December they will preset their large-scale theatrical concert at the Betty Oliphant Theatre since 2016, where Teiya collaborated as a featured soloist.

This season Teiya produced the independent opera Pomegranate by Kye Marshall and Amanda Hale which premiered in June 2019, and was a part of Generator’s Artist Producer Training program.