Meet The Puddle wordmark

Did you know that a group of Platypuses 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 and 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.

Samantha Bitonti

Actor, puppeteer, clown

“Music that's grand and chock full of beans!”

–Samantha in the role of the Gimquat

Samantha is thrilled to be joining the Platypus team for the 2022-2023 season! Combining her love of clown, puppetry, music, and Theatre for Young Audiences, Samantha is eager to bring to life your favourite characters from How the Gimquat Found her Song, Presto, Mambo! and Rhythm in your Rubbish. Samantha calls Montréal home, and loves to spend her days playing Shakespeare with Repercussion Theatre, and cultivating creativity for kids aged 4 to 99 as a drama teacher with Geordie Theatre School. It’s no wonder bringing something classical to the hearts and minds of young people is right up her alley! Asking questions and getting to the heart of a story is what she’s all about: believing firmly that curiosity and connection lead to joy and abundance. Samantha loves acting, singing in the car, her friends and family, her cat Tilly, and ice cream. See you at the theatre!

Colin Heath

Actor, clown

“How good it is to fly!”

–Colin in the role of Max in "Presto, Mambo!"

Colin is from Victoria and he wears lots of hats. He has worn his Acting Hat since the late 70’s with companies like Kaleidoscope, Story Theatre and The Belfry, then in Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, New York and all over, with shows like The Number 14, The Overcoat and Lord of the Rings. He wore his Acrobat Hat when he toured with Cirque du Soleil to Los Angeles and Paris and all over. Later, with Cirque he wore his Clown Hat at Royal Albert Hall in London and in Moscow, Buenos Aires and all over. He wore his Playwright Hat when he wrote For Art’s Sake, Man From the Capital, Don Quixote (an adaptation with Peter Anderson) and The Apple Orchard, for which he also wore his Composing Hat. Lately he’s been wearing his Painting Hat a lot in Magog, Quebec, where he lives. His Grumpy Hat is gathering cobwebs at the back of his closet, but his new Platypus Hat feels pretty good!

Graham Ross

Illustrator "Charlotte and the Music-Maker"

““Mumbledee, bumbledee, quiver and quake, Candies and ice cream and cho-co-late cake.”

–from "Charlotte and the Music-Maker"

Look! Look what I’ve done!! These were the words of an eight-year-old as he held up the drawing of a vibrant red fire engine. Oh Graham, that’s wonderful. Really? Oh, this is good. You draw a picture and you get a reaction. I could get into this! And so, it began. A graduate of the illustration program at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada, Graham began his career as a book designer for the respected Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart. Graham thought he would stick around the big city and in addition to his work as a book designer, he would cultivate his Flock of Seagulls hair style and work on his dance floor moves. But alas, soon follicles receded and shoulder pads deflated, so Graham moved back to his hometown of Ottawa, Canada to contemplate his next career move. It was in Ottawa, that Graham began his freelance illustration and graphic design career. A career that has resulted in illustrations for such publishers as Orca Book Publishers, Scholastic Canada, and Meadowside Books of the United Kingdom, as well as numerous Canadian government agencies and private design firms and now… Platypus Theatre! Grham lives in Merrickville, Ontario in a little log cabin nestled in the woods with his wife Jenn. Together they tootle around in a 1972 VW bus.

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. And as often as possible, she jets off to far places to photograph the world, most recently in the far reaches of Mongolia. Wendy has also 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!