She Spreads

Something strange is infecting small town Alberta

She Spreads is a funny, surprising and poetic theatrical film.

Streaming online February 23-27, 2022

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Something strange is happening. Nobody knows why. But it is spreading.

A butcher receives a mountain of meat. A Haul Truck Driver is stuck in a dream. A bartender is growing wings.

She Spreads is funny, surprising and poetic. When it feels like the world is collapsing, what do we sacrifice in order to survive? What are the possibilities beyond the edge….

Press & Images

Neema Bickersteth's head with a crane inside it

Picture by Jessica Rose

She Spreads

The theatre rumbled with a sound that sent the hairs rising at the back of my's mysterious and mysitcal

She Spreads (formerly titled Dead Roads)

With moments of stillness alternating with pationate speeches of desire, these Dead Roads are far from lifeless

Zoe Sweet flipping her hair and looking into a grey sky

Picture by Jessica Rose

Darwin Lyons overlayed with an urban background

Picture by Jessica Rose

She Spreads's like a dream, disjointed and unreal

The Team

Neema Bickersteth

Co-Creator, Actor: Haul Truck Driver

A headshot of Neema Bickersteth, a black woman with an elegant dress on

Neema Bickersteth is an award-winning singer, actor and maker of multi-disciplinary work. She has performed internationally in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, including having the great honour of performing for the XIVth Dalai Lama, for Shirin Abadi, and for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In recent years, Neema has specialized in contemporary multidisciplinary music projects.

Darwin Lyons

Co-Creator, Producer, Actor: Butcher

Darwin Lyons's headshot

Photo by: Calvin Thomas

Darwin Lyons (she/her) creates things in theatre, film and on the interent. She is grateful to work and live in Tkaronto. She is a Director, Actor, Writer, Educator and Producer. Her work has been supported by The Toronto Fringe, Why Not Theatre’s Riser Project, The National Arts Centre’s October Oasis and the Factory Wired Series among other wonderful institutions. A film she associate produced and starred in, 9 9 . 7 % was an Official Selection at AGLIFF. Favourite Directing credits include: Paradise Comics (Fila-ment Incubator) Well Born (as co-director, SoCo and Truthn-Lies Theatre). She has acted on stages accross Canada. Darwin was the Artistic Producer of The Paprika Festival from 2015–2017 and the associate director of the Banff Citadel Training Program in 2019.

Clare Preuss

Co Creator, Director

A headshot of a redheaded woman in her 40's in a snowy backdrop, Clare Preuss

Photo by: Spence Estabrooks

Clare (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist who has worked with innovative creators across Turtle Island as well as in Germany, Lebanon, Switzerland and Uganda. She has collaborated with ARTICLE 11, Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Banff Centre, Bayimba International Festival, BeMe Theatre, Blyth Festival, Buddies in Bad Times, Bucket Club, Buffalo Infringement Festival, Cahoots Theatre, Canadian Stage, Chromatic Theatre, Driftwood Theatre, Factory Theatre, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, FRICTION GROUP, Guild Theatre, Gwaandak Theatre, Ghost River Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, New Harlem Productions, National Arts Centre, Nightwood Theatre, Paprika Festival, Ramshackle Theatre, Stratford Festival, SummerWorks, Sundown Theatre, Theatre Direct Canada, Theatre Monnot Beirut, Theatre Passe Muraille, Volcano and Young People’s Theatre, among others. Clare is a recipient of the Houselighters of the Citadel Theatre Award and has been nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award, John Hirsch Director Prize, John Hirsch Director Award and twice for the Gina Wilkinson Award. It's her pleasure to collaborate with the incredible team of artists on She Spreads and to be back in Dish With One Spoon territory for this world premiere. Clare is the Artistic Director at Downstage in Mohkinstsis-Calgary. @clarepreuss

Zoë Sweet

Co-Creator, Producer, Actor: Bartender

A headshot of Zoe Sweet

Photo by: Shaun Benson

Zoë Sweet is a performer, theatre maker, teacher, movement coach and co-Artistic Director of FeverGraph Theatre Company and Co-Artistic Producer of The Dead Roads Collective. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from York University and received her Honours B.A. in Theatre from University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. She has been teaching acting and movement for the last 15 years, most recently at Queen’s University with the Dan School of Drama and Music. Zoe is a multiple MY Theatre Award Nominee (Toronto) as both an actor and producer.

Favourite credits include: Behaviour (world premiere Great Canadian Theatre Company), Butcher (Theatre Kingston), The Red Hose is Leaving (Summerworks), It’s Your Funeral (Upper Canada Playhouse), Brave New World (Litmus Theatre), Dead Roads (Dead Roads Collective) Objections to Sex and Violence (Praxis Theatre/Fevergraph), Look Back In Anger (Fevergraph), Enough Rope (Fevergraph – Summerworks).

Upcoming: Zoe is currently working on a new play with award winning playwright Sophia Fabiilli and Sarah Kitz set to premiere in 2023.

Pip Bradford

Production Manager

A headshot of Pip Bradford

Photo by: Graham Isador

Pip Bradford is an independent producer, production manager, and stage manager who works with many companies in Toronto, including Anandam DanceTheatre, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, 7a*11d Performance Art Festival, SummerWorks, Luminato, Red Sky Performance, Nightwood Theatre, and The Theatre Centre. You’ve probably seen something she’s done, but you almost certainly didn’t see her do it. Pip also creates installation art with Rebecca Vandevelde as Art is Hard Productions, most recently reprising their installation BLANKET FORT for The Bentway for Family Day 2020. In her spare time, Pip works as a member of the Means of Production, a collective of freelance production staff seeking to promote values-based production work while advocating for equitable working conditions and providing resources to the independent production community. She is also a zine reviewer for Broken Pencil Magazine.

Jackie Chau

Set Designer and Costume Designer

A headshot of Jackie Chau

Jackie has been designing sets and costumes in over 200 productions spanning over 20 years. She predominantly works out of Toronto, and her theatre work can be seen across Canada and has toured internationally. In addition, she is a production designer and art director for film and television. Selected theatre design credits include: Sexy Laundry (Theatre Aquarius) Annie Mae’s Movement, The Place Between, Salt Baby, Almighty Voice and His Wife, Giiwedin, Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, From Thine Eyes, HUFF (NEPA), Antigone Insurgency, Someone is Going to Come, Talking Masks, Like the First Time, Charge of the Expormidable Moose, Ubu Mayor, Smyth/Williams, Music Music Life Death Music (One Little Goat), Gas Girls, Cake (New Harlem Productions), The Making Of St. Jerome (eastBOUND Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (TD Dream in High Park/Can Stage), Zadie's Shoes, Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre), Brown Balls, Mixie and the Halfbreeds (Fu-Gen), The Swearing Jar (Prairie Theatre Exchange), Dirty Butterfly (Bound to Create), Fish Eyes Trilogy (Nightswimming), Canada 300 (Watermark Theatre), Cannibal! the Musical (Starvox Entertainment), Twist Your Dickens (Second City Chicago/Toronto), Mini Me Makeover – Designer and Co-host (CBC Kids/Expect Theatre), Moment, Pomona, Dissidents, Human Animals, OIL (ARC Theatre), KISS (ARC/Theatre Smash/Can Stage), A Year with Frog and Toad (Manitoba Theatre for Young People), Cowboy Versus Samurai, 39 Steps, Oraltorio, Yellow Rabbit (Soulpepper), and The Komagata Maru Incident (Stratford Festival). Jackie was named in NOW magazine's Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009, nominated for the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design, nominated for a Saskatoon Area Theatre (SAT) award, 2 Broadway World awards and has received 8 Dora nominations for outstanding set and costume design.

Spencer Estabrooks

Director of Photography and Editor

A headshot of Spencer Estabrooks, a while man with a beard

Growing up on a farm outside of Red Deer, Spencer Estabrooks films have been shaped by the rural landscapes and mythology of Alberta. He’s written, directed and edited dozens of short westerns, horrors, comedies, and documentaries. In 2014, he created a short film and monster called “Sharkasaurus”; a half T-Rex, half Megaldon, all Alberta cryptozoological monster. After a successful film festival run he adapted it into a graphic novel, published by Renegade Arts Entertainment. It is currently being developed into 2 more books, a feature film, and a toy series from Last Resort Toys. In 2019 he launched the third season of his Award winning fantasy comedy series “One Hit Die”. Described as “Lord of the Rings Shot like the Office”, the series has been delighting international audiences on Amazon Prime and The Fantasy Network. Estabrooks continues to find ways to tell his genre projects stories through graphic novels, animation, documentary, web series and feature films. From Alberta beer history to mythical stories of blind gunmen in the old west, his eccentric genre stories are rooted in Alberta and the beauty he finds in it.

Julia Howman

Lighting Co-Designer

A headshot of Julia Howman

Julia Howman is a multidisciplinary designer and theatre technician whose work concentrates on the use of projection and lighting in live performance and immersive art. She is the co-creator and production designer of Broadleaf Theatre’s The Chemical Valley Project, which has been touring nationally, internationally, and digitally since 2017. Julia is a settler on Turtle Island, was raised in Doha, Qatar, and currently resides in Tkaronto.

Other recent credits include: Assistant Production Designer, The Tape Escape(Outside the March); Projection Consultant, EUNOIA (Fujiwara Dance Inventions); 3 seasons with the Blyth Festival as House/Studio Technician.

David Mesiha

Sound Designer

A headshot of David Mesiha

David is a Toronto & Vancouver based award winning music composer, sound/video designer and Theatre maker and is co- artistic director at Theatre Conspiracy. David’s practice centres around examining questions of form in interactive and performance arts. As Interactive Experience Designer at The Cultch’s Digital Storytelling team, David is developing unique trans-media experiences that leverage and expand theatrical story-worlds and utilize a wide range of technologies and techniques including Mixed media, Web based and live content and recently has begun development on AR/VR experienced. Chosen credits include as co-creator & Music Composer for the award winning show Foreign Radical (Theatre Conspiracy). Sound designer for The Humans (Arts Club Theatre), Antigone (YPT), Oraltorio (IFT), Sound of the Beast (Theatre Passe Muraille) and Terminus (Pi Theatre), Mixed Media: Miss Vancouver, The Relay, Forget Me Not (Online components), Film & tV:+-40, Spirit Glitch, The Mission, Toward You David currently is a core member of The Cultch’s Digital Storytelling Team, focusing on creating innovative trans-media experiences. He is also leading the development and creation of Same Difference, an immersive mixed media theatre piece that deconstructs issues of identity, belonging, sameness and difference through the view point of immigrants and refugees., The Cultch Story Telling,

Natércia Napoleão

PR & Marketing Manager

A headshot of Natércia Napoleão, a Brazillian woman with curly red hair

Photo by: Brianne Jang (BB Collective Photography) & April M. Killins

Over the past eighteen years, she has had a wide influence within the Albertan theatre community and beyond, with experience in site-specific theatre, dance theatre, multimedia performance, television, musicals, and a wide range of classical and contemporary theatre. She recently starred in the acclaimed Fado: The Saddest Music in the World (JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award) at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver. Recent directing credits include Orange Skies (Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwright's Unit), and the multidisciplinary theatre piece, Threshold (The Lobbyists collective/2021 Chinook Series). As a producer with manidoons collective, Natércia will be supporting the workshop and premiere production of esteemed playwright Yolanda Bonnell’s newest play, White Girls in Moccasins, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in the spring of 2022. Natércia is currently writing her first full-length play, Michener Park. Recent essays include, “Reimagining Community and the Workplace of Theatre” (Culture Days AB) and “2020: Year of the Iconoclast" (Theatre Alberta). Natércia is the incoming CAEA representative for the Alberta North/N.W.T region.

Stage Manager

A black and white image of a white woman with blonde hair, Sarah O'Brien

Sarah is delighted to be creating and travelling with this team of amazing artists. Recent credits include Fall For Dance North’s streamed presentations of Caleb Teicher and Guillaume Coté, George Brown Theatre School’s production of Cymbeline and Festival Antigonish’s promenade-style Robin Hood: The Great Escape. Upcoming adventures include New Harlem Productions’ The First Stone, and more time in the Betty Oliphant Theatre with the National Ballet School.

Echo Zhou

Lighting Co-Designer

A headshot of Echo Zhou

Photo by: Dahlia Katz

Echo is a Chinese-born Tkaronto based scenographer for theatre and live performances, production and stage manager for international collaboration. She was one of the cohort members of Why Not Theatre's ThisGen Fellowship 2020. Recent works include: Mno Bimaadiziwin(Theatre by the Bay, Canada), Serving Elizabeth (Thousand Island Playhouse, Canada), Stories in the Woods (Frog in Hand, Canada), Made in Macau (TPAM 2020, Japan), Wah Wah Wah (Wildside Festival and SummerWorks Festival, Canada), Cake (Theatre Passes Muraille, Canada), Permanence (Libby Brodie Production UK), Life Between Heaven and Earth (National Theatre of China), Mr.Shi and His Lover (Music Picnic), I Swallowed Moon Made of Iron (Music Picnic). Upcoming projects: Into the Woods(Talk is Free Theatre), White Girls in Moccasins(Manidoons Collective, Canada). Echo is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada. For Grandpapa.

Thank Yous

Special thanks to Nina Lee Aquino for her dramaturgical support during our Factory Theatre’s The Lab Creation Residency

Queen's Thank Yous

  • Queen's Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Queen's English Department
  • Queen's Cultural Studies Department
  • Gobal Development Studies
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  • 1000 Islands Playhouse
  • Acting Upstage Company
  • Aimee Bouchard
  • Aimee Campeau
  • Artscape
  • Aislinn Rose
  • Amy Lee at Morro and Jasp
  • Amy Wislon at Raise the Root
  • Andrea Scott
  • Anthony Spagnolo
  • Canadian Stage
  • Corey Payette
  • Curbside Cycle
  • Daniel Pink
  • Derek and Sue Sweet
  • The Drake
  • Emily Grant
  • Factory Theatre
  • Fides Krucker
  • Float Toronto
  • Franco Boni
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company
  • lara lmartin
  • Insomnia Restaurant
  • Janet Stewart
  • Janet and Roger Beck
  • Jenna Harris
  • John Millard
  • Jonathan Sconza
  • Juxtapose Annex
  • John Reid
  • Julie Elkerri
  • Kat Gauthier
  • Katherine Rawlinson
  • Kula Yoga Studio
  • Kaitlyn Riordin
  • Kate Gordon
  • Kathy Sullivan and Tom Stuckey
  • Lesley Robertson
  • Lin Bennet
  • Maddy Ziss
  • Malabars
  • Marco Lappano
  • Marg Fisher
  • Marysia Bucholc and Mark Wright
  • Michael Wheeler
  • Michelle Galuszka
  • Michelle Ramsey
  • Michelle W Harris
  • Michelle Yagi
  • Mosaic Yoga
  • The Nashkawas
  • Native Earth Performing Arts
  • Pam Gimartin
  • Paul DeJong
  • Paul Gelineau
  • Paul Muir
  • Pip Bradford
  • Playwrights Canada Press
  • Remington North
  • Roni Hoffman
  • Rosa Shahsavari
  • Rosamund Small
  • Rosemary Doyle
  • Ross Manson
  • Sallie Lyons and Jay Fisher
  • Samantha Mussells
  • Sanagans Meat Locker
  • Sarah Hutchison
  • Sarah Stanley
  • Soulpepper Theatre Company
  • Steam Whistle Brewery
  • The Stratford Festival
  • Sue and Derek Sweet
  • Tarragon Theatre
  • The Theatre Centre
  • Thomas L Mallon
  • Tosha Doiron
  • Vanessa Rosa
  • Whitney Ross-Barris
  • Zoë Erwin-Longstaff


  • Factory Theatre
  • The National Arts Centre
  • Why Not Theatre

Other Thanks Yous

  • Candice Zaina
  • Chelsea McBroom
  • Danielle Hoffer
  • Michelle Thorne
  • Misty Oakes
  • Steph Link
  • Trish DeHoog
  • Wendy Thorne
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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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