Did you know that a group of Platypuses (or platypodes) is called a puddle? Some discredit this saying there is no such thing because platypuses are solitary creatures and don’t live in groups. While we feel bad for those wild, lonely platypuses, at Platypus Theatre we’re going to hang out together in our puddle. Hop in!

Peter Duschenes

Artistic Director, Writer, Actor

“Listen, just listen, to the music abounding In every small thing of our daily surroundings.”

–Peter as the Wizard in How the Gimquat Found Her Song

Peter is the poppa of this platypus puddle. Thousands of young classical music fans have Peter to thank for introducing them to symphonic music. He co-founded the Platypus Theatre touring company in 1989 to make orchestral music accessible for youth, and more than half a million concert-goers have benefitted from his creativity. As an award-winning playwright, Peter’s writing credits include – among others – all eight Platypus productions, the television adaptation of How the Gimquat Found Her Song which won Best Children's Program at the prestigious Banff World Television Festival in 2008. In addition to his roles in Platypus shows, he has also acted and directed with companies across Canada and the United States. When Peter isn’t busy helping the Gimquat find her song, he and his wife Sarah are helping their children, Magda and Theo, find their socks. 

Danielle Desormeaux

Actor

“A gory man’s pants??”

–Danielle in the role of the Gimquat

Danielle is one of the more adaptable creatures in the Platypus Theatre touring company. You can see her as the Gimquat in How the Gimquat Found Her Song, as Corky in Bach to the Future, as Emily in Emily Saves the Orchestra and as a hobo in Rhythm in Your Rubbish, a production she helped create. She is a highly-accomplished actor who has worked extensively in theatre, in film, and also as several animated characters on TV. She is also an experienced improviser and clown, and has written and created a number of critically-acclaimed works. Danielle has been a part of the Platypus touring company for 17 years but will never forget "the first time I heard a live orchestra playing on stage with me it literally took my breath away. I couldn't believe how powerful the sound was. Then I thought: Wow! Best job ever!" 

Amelia Griffin

Dancer

“Aaaarrrrgh! Grmphrrrr… Blechhhh”

–Amelia in the role of Cacopholus the Monster

Amélia is one of the more graceful platypuses in the puddle, although she plays one of the most fearsome characters: THE MONSTER, Cacopholous, (and Timpy and Melody) in Emily Saves the Orchestra, as well as the Bird, Duck, Cat, Custodian, and the big bad Wolf in Peter and the Wolf. One of her favourite memories is seeing a young boy post-show, introducing herself as the monster, and seeing the look of amazement and confusion pass over his face. Outside of her work with Platypus touring company, Amelia dances professionally for Dorsale Danse, Tara Luz Danse, Théatre Dérives Urbaines, and Propeller Dance, and has recently presented her self-choreographed solo “Having Held You” at the National Arts Centre, in Ottawa. She is also a certified Ashtanga Yoga instructor, and Yoga Therapist. 

Mélissa Roy

Dancer

“I would dance every step that I took. I would sing every word that I spoke.”

–Uncle from Bach to the Future

Mélissa is the most recent platypus to enter the puddle. She mostly plays Peter in Platypus Theatre’s newest production Peter and the Wolf, but is also sometimes a cop or a cat or a bird. There are a lot of crazy costume changes in that show. Since graduating from the professional contemporary dance program at the School of Dance in 2010, she has developed her craft as a dancer and choreographer with a number of prominent companies in Montreal and Ottawa Ontario and Quebec. In Peter and the Wolf, her favorite part is the duet between Peter and his duck. The kids in the audience always burst out laughing, and it reminds her why she loves to dance.

Emmanuelle Zeesman

Actor

“You know what I meeeeeeaaaans?”

–Emmanuelle in the role of the Gimquat

Emmanuelle loves that line and its outrageous hip movements from How the Gimquat Found Her Song. She uses it frequently in her daily life. In addition to playing the role of the Gimquat and Corky in Bach to the Future, Emmanuelle has led audiences on many thrilling missions to defeat the horrible monster as Emily in Emily Saves the Orchestra. Her list of other theatrical acting credits is longer than she is, including her role in Blood Brothers for which she won the Capital Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, and her roles in off-Broadway productions of A Christmas Carol and The Little Mermaid. She is also a dynamite singer and performed across France as lead vocalist for the New Rochelle Festival touring company. Emmanuelle will never forget when the Gimquat’s foot accidentally got caught in the conductor’s podium and she ended the Can Can in the splits before falling to the ground. 

Steve Arnold

Actor

“Christmas carols give my master indigestion.”

–Steve’s favourite line from Emily Saves the Orchestra

Steve plays the smarty-pants Opus in Emily Saves the Orchestra. He especially enjoys waiting for his entrance behind the oh-so-powerful brass section while the orchestra performs Tchaikovsky. When he’s not working as a member of Platypus’ touring company, he is well-known in the Ottawa theatre scene having worked as an actor in professional productions throughout the region for almost a decade. Steve says he can empathize with the monster Cacopholous because he too gets indigestion whenever Jingle Bells is playing. 

Wendy Rockburn

Stage Manager

“Standby light cue number 4… light cue number 4… go!”

–Wendy in the role of Stage Manager

Want to know who and what goes where and when and how? Wendy’s the one who has it well under control. Since 2005, Wendy has expertly juggled all of the details for Platypus Theatre productions, from monster’s heads to lighting cues. Not only does she manage the Platypus touring company’s stage, but she also works with theatres all over Eastern and Central Canada. As often as she can, she jets off to far places to photograph the world, and has been known to skydive over the desert in Namibia or outrace a gaucho in Argentina. Her favorite part about Platypus shows is watching the kids follow every turn in the story in rapt attention. And the climax of the Gimquat still makes her cry, even after all of these years. No wonder we’re wild about Wendy!