Leyla Sutherland is a queer multidisciplinary artist and cultural worker with a background in theatre, media arts and project management. Her artistic practice includes performance creation, sound and audio walk design, and installation work and has been presented at OFFTA (Montreal), FAU (Erlangen, GER) and Théâtre aux Écuries (Montreal). She is a graduate of Concordia University (2018) and was most recently the Program Manager at the Independent Media Arts Alliance for the Digital Skills for Youth Program.
Staff and Board
“My background is in community arts and theatre, so to find a space like the VEC feels almost too perfect to be true. I am deeply inspired by the grassroots history and ongoing support the venue has from the community, and I am passionate about maintaining and supporting the local music, performance and arts scenes through this beautiful space. This opportunity came at a time that I was looking to ground myself somewhere new, so to land somewhere with such strong roots feels very complimentary to that desire.”
Pete brings multiple years of experience in event production to the VEC, with a focus on live sound and production management. Previously a board member, he now brings his skills to the VEC team as a technician and arts administrator.
Elizabeth is the Booking Manager at the VEC with multiple years experience in the event industry. She has a passion for performance and performs frequently on the VEC stage and across Canada as a burlesque and dance artist.
Meet Dane, our Bar Manager with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry from restaurants, to bars, to breweries, he has been around the block. A passion for all things art and music led him to the VEC where he worked part-time while enjoying a career in Wildlife Management and Conservation.
Eventually making VEC home to help build onto an already wonderful foundation. A lover of dark beer and nice whiskey on the rocks, he hopes to transfer that love and help to create some fun rotating cocktails and taps, and help to serve a beautiful community in a fun and safe environment for everyone. Cheers!
Bartender and Tech
Keith Williams (aka Keith Sonic)
Keith Williams has worked on and produced over a hundred shows at the VEC since 2010. Keith is regularly seen behind the bar or in the tech booth. You can also find him painting at Art Battle or bombing at a comedy show.
Kurt served as Interim Executive Director at VEC in 2022. For the past 8 years Kurt ran TEDxYYC, one of Canada’s largest independently organized TED events in Calgary. He has over 15 years experience working in non-profits, with over 8 of those years working with Arts based organizations. In spring 2022, Kurt co-founded Shift Talks, a speaker and conversation series aimed at empowering ideas for our fast changing world.
Kurt also coaches speakers, and does communication consulting for small businesses and non-profits doing great work in the community. Kurt loves to work and be at the intersection of technology, climate issues, and art – which also inspires a lot of his Sci-Fi writing and theatre he does on the side.
Board Vice President
Known to many as their burlesque alter ego, Scarlett Hummingbird, Shayli Robinson is proudly queer and a Member of Lyackson First Nation, with lineage to the Lekwungen, Quwut’sun, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh mustimuhw. She has an extensive volunteer background in non-profit boards & administration, performance art, and community engagement; and several years’ experience working with provincial government, Indigenous tourism & education, political organizations, and Coast Salish governance & administration. When they aren’t hamming it up on the VEC stage, she loves to nerd out over governance, art, policy, and Salish woolly dogs.
Shayli has been grateful to serve in a number of community-based roles: as a member of her Nation’s Comprehensive Community Planning Committee; board director and affiliated artist of The Hustler’s Art Collective; member of the Isle of Tease Burlesque Festival’s diversity and executive teams; member of Peers Victoria Resource Society’s Gender-Based Housing Advisory Committee; co-founder of ColorQoded Arts Collective; and board secretary then executive director of Victoria Poetry Project Society.
Shannon (she/they) is a queer administrative professional with a passion for organization and working with Indigenous communities. Shannon holds a BA in Anthropology and Indigenous Studies from UVic and has called Victoria home for over 8 years. Her professional career has spanned the non profit sector, affordable housing, Indigenous language revitalization, international education, economic development, and travel and tourism. Shannon works on anti-racism initiatives with a local non-profit and they are currently a grant writing consultant working with nonprofits serving people with disabilities.
Since joining the VEC board, they made their burlesque debut at Miss Rosie Bitt’s Brand New Boobies Showcase. Shannon is an advocate for social and systemic change through education, community-building, and action. She is an avid supporter of the arts, regularly attending VEC events like burlesque, drag, Confabulation, concerts and comedy. Shannon is proud to serve on the board of this integral community gathering place where acceptance, inclusivity, affordability, creativity, and equity are centred and celebrated.
Juan José Hidd
Juan’s purpose is about connecting people and building community. He believes in collaboration rather than competition and in creating a place of welcome for people from all walks of life. On a professional level, he has a background in Sociology and an MBA, which reflect in his warm approach to people paired with a focus on building things that can be of value to the community.
Juan currently works in technology and his consulting business, with a passion for building up organizations that are socially conscious & community-oriented. He loves hiking, running, and climbing, and is the father of two kids.
Spencer “Kanaka” Sacht Lund has worked in the Performing Arts for 15 years, with a career spanning across 4 countries and numerous departments. Primarily involved in production management and design, Spencer is a proud proponent of the VEC as an integral space for the performing arts in Victoria. He is honoured to serve on the board of directors.
Spencer also has experience as both a Secondary School Teacher, as well as a Sessional University Instructor.
He is a founding board member of the “Nanaimo Fringe Theatre Festival”
Haley has been working in the film industry for over 14 years, currently in the capacity of a Location Manager for films and television. She has a background in theatre, event planning and volunteering at festivals. Born and raised in Victoria, she is grateful to be part
of an organization that promotes a safe, dynamic space to showcase local talent and expression. She hopes to give back as a board member of the VEC, where she has enjoyed so many events, shows and gatherings throughout the past ten years.
Alex is a newish Victorian and an even newer board member. They are proudly queer and determined to create and be a part of safe and inclusive communities. A former head brewer for Herald Street Brew Works, Alex loves to nerd out about fermented foods and beverages. They enjoy live music across genres and have experience in event promotion and ticket sales.