SNAFU Board of Directors
President: Mercedes Bátiz-Benét
Mercedes Bátiz-Benét is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and award-winning director. She was born and raised in Mexico and in 1997 she moved to Canada. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing in both poetry and drama, and a BA Honours in Philosophy from the University of Victoria, as well as a Diploma in Film Production from the Pacific Film & New Media Academy. Productions of her work include Faust: Ignis Fatuus (FaustFest International Festival), Shining Through, El Jinete - A Mariachi Opera, Cruel Tears/Lágrimas Crueles, a Puente/Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre co-production, and as co-writer, The Umbrella, The Secret Sorrow of Hatchet Jack Macphee for The Caravan Farm Theatre, The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and Puente Theatre’s Gruff. In 2014, Mercedes won the Canadian Stage Award for Direction at the SummerWorks Festival with her play El Jinete - A Mariachi Opera, and in February of 2015 she was chosen as the Distinguished Alumna of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria. She is the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction editor at Bayeux Arts, and the artistic director of Puente Theatre.
Director: Grahame Merke
Grahame Merke studied Theatre and English at the University of Winnipeg, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours). He also holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria. After graduating from the U of W, he worked as an actor for various professional theatre companies, including touring productions to Scotland with Winnipeg's Prairie Theatre Exchange and to Australia, New Zealand and across Canada with Toronto's Native Earth Performing Arts. He has also produced and directed several theatre productions in Winnipeg. He loves Shakespeare and is a proud supporter of the arts.
Director: Sarah Jane Pelzer
Sarah Jane Pelzer is a Canadian stage director and teacher based in Vancouver, BC. She has directed and assisted and taught across Canada at Edmonton and Manitoba Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Vancouver Opera. Upcoming she will join the guest lecturer roster at the VSO school of music.
Favourite projects include Dido and Aeneas and an original adaptation of The Fairy Queen for the VCM and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon at Vancouver Opera.
Prior to her transition to directing and teaching, Ms. Pelzer was a performer and theatre-maker most known for originating the role of Jane Doe in Atomic Vaudeville’s international award-winning musical Ride the Cyclone.
Director: Erin Crowley
Erin spent her previous life working as a Stage Manager in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Much of that time was spent taking the ‘show on the road’ with numerous children’s productions. After moving to Victoria, she learned the ropes of arts administration, finding out she had an affinity for numbers, budgets and spread sheets with Theatre SKAM. In 2015, Erin joined the Prison Arts Collective and William Head on Stage as a volunteer, Stage Management mentor and eventually a mentor in board governance. Her experience at William Head inspired her to make a change and in the fall of 2018 she completed a BA in Justice Studies from Royal Roads University. She is now an aspiring Policy Analyst and works in the admin team of Policy and Legislation for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. She is the proud mom of a beautiful girl named Maeve and a wily kitten named Oliver. Erin, Maeve, Oliver and Erin’s husband Rob live on a beautiful property in North Saanich overlooking the Haro Strait. Erin is pleased to remain part of the Victoria theatre community by supporting local arts and serving on SNAFU’s Board of Directors.
Director: Kris Atwood
Kris Atwood is an applied sociologist whose research focuses on the ways in which technological choices shape and are shaped by social practices and relationships. She received her PhD from the University of Calgary in 2014 and, in keeping with her belief that knowledge translation should not be limited to scholarly production, worked intensively with SNAFU to co-create a theatrical production of her doctoral dissertation, which was performed in Victoria in 2019. Kris is a writer, quilter, photographer, and painter who undertakes health communications technology projects with physicians in her professional life. She lives in Fernwood with her husband and three lizards. Kris is grateful for the opportunity to give back to SNAFU by serving on the Board.